Red light alarm clock
November 19, 2013 7:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm having a tough time finding an alarm clock with a pure red light digital display that can hold a radio station in tune or otherwise play a pleasant sound, with a large snooze button. The better quality ones are in the blue light spectrum. Since exposure to blue light is related to age-related macular degeneration and sleep disturbance, I'd prefer looking at only red light in the dark. I also tried an alarm clock app for my phone, but the red light option is stylized so not really red light only. So, can anyone recommend a good quality red light alarm clock?
posted by alusru to Shopping (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Define "better quality." All of the alarm clocks I had growing up had red LED displays, no blue or white light at all, and they all held a radio station in tune, subject to the strength of radio signals in the various places where I lived (they did not have a "pleasant sound" mode outside of the radio option, however). I mean, I'll send you one if you want; I never use it now that I have a phone alarm.

Can you give us more detail about exactly what is lacking in the alarm clocks you turn up if you search Amazon for "red LED radio alarm clock"?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 7:30 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

& are you opposed to a filter over it to be less blue?
posted by tilde at 7:40 PM on November 19, 2013

I have used good red light digital alarm clock apps on both Android and iPhone. The Android one is called AdyClock and the iPhone one was made by iHandy. I don't remember how big the snooze button was on the iPhone one but the Android one is huge. Both had decent pleasant waking sounds, and the iPhone app also had the ability to play iTunes.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:49 PM on November 19, 2013

though i haven't used it, this one from amazon seems to fit the bill.

if you haven't had trouble with analog tuners you might try second-hand stores for some older alarm clocks.

is your issue with blue or green ones from experience or from what you've read? because i don't think they're that expensive to buy one, and if you don't like it, give it to a friend.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:11 PM on November 19, 2013

cupcake1337: Blue light is well-known (scientifically) to disrupt sleep and circadian rhythms. It's having that negative effect on you regardless of whether you feel like it is.
posted by Blitz at 8:32 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, if red light with radio and large snooze button are your criteria, I think your nearest thrift store will have as good a selection as anyplace. Heck, you could take home four or five clocks and see which one you like best, for the price of a single new one. I've been using one of these guys for the past 15-20 years, and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't last another 20/+. Those old timey (ok, from like the '70s or '80s) rectangular wood-grain plastic clocks are generally built like tanks as well.
posted by gueneverey at 8:36 PM on November 19, 2013

I've had this model for probably ten years now, and it's served me pretty well. You could probably go to the local thrift shops and buy a used clock for just a few bucks that would work just as well, and probably save you a few bucks.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:36 PM on November 19, 2013

This seems to fit the bill.

FWIW, you received far more blue light from your computer screen in typing this question than you might receive from glancing at a clock because your display is probably backlit with LEDs. Fluorescent light, computer/tv flat screens, and LEDs are all major sources of blue light. A few seconds glancing at a clock is nothing compared to hours spent looking at computer and tv screens. So, this may be a matter of being penny wise and pound foolish. Blue light does not have to look "blue" to you. It is a matter of the spectrum of that particular light source.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:16 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

This is the newer model of the one I have and like. I specifically got red light for the same sleep hygiene reasons you're talking about, and this one has been great. Snooze is large and on top, radio is fine. I especially like the dual alarms and that you can set weekday only ones. Oh and the battery backup so that it still goes off if the power goes out.
posted by ansate at 9:19 PM on November 19, 2013

I have one of these Timex clocks and I just decided to keep it even though one of the alarm switches recently broke. Red light with high-low dimmer switch, "soothing sounds" that you can set as your wakeup sound, large snooze button. It also has a built-in flashlight, which is really quite handy. (Flashlight has a small green LED on it, but I turn it so it faces the body of the clock--it snaps into the back--and its faint glow doesn't bother me.) I don't know if the tuner drifts, since I never use the radio, but on the rare occasions I do turn it on, it seems to be fine. It's also got a battery backup and automatically sets its time.

It's an older model, and the Alarm 1 slider switch on mine snapped after under two years of infrequent use, so buyer beware. But I shopped for a new clock when I found out that repair was as expensive as replacement, and couldn't find one with similar features. I reckon I'll just use Alarm 2 until that switch breaks, then I'll get some Sugru and fix them.
posted by bink at 11:45 PM on November 19, 2013

In my experience, there is no such thing as a clock radio that sounds good, particularly ones with red LEDs, as you've observed. Perhaps you could buy a cheap alarm clock and use that along with some small computer speakers and an mp3 player? If you want radio stations, even a cheap Sansa Clip+ has a built in FM tuner. This was my solution to a similar problem (none of the clock radios I could find had large enough digits for me to see them without my glasses).
posted by Aleyn at 12:19 AM on November 20, 2013

Seconding guenevery's suggestion of looking for an older unit at a thrift store: I've had this GE clock radio for 20+ years and it's a tank.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:00 AM on November 20, 2013

I was going to suggest the exact same GE model Alvy Ampersand just recommended. If you search eBay for "ge alarm clock radio" you'll find several for sale. It seems to have everything you're looking for, and I've had mine for probably 20 years now, and it still works great.
posted by LolaGeek at 10:01 AM on November 20, 2013

This one is LED but with a nice warm light, birdy sounds, etc., and my favorite part is the completely red time display that does not disrupt my sleep at all. You can get it for about $110 from Cotsco (retails for around $140), including free shipping. It is not cheap by any means, but is very well-made and nicely-designed. I am loving it.
posted by ravioli at 5:47 PM on November 20, 2013

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