alarm clock with wake up light
February 12, 2018 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Hive Mind, which alarm clock with a wake-up light should I buy?

Not much else to say here, except there are many options on Amazon and I'm overwhelmed.

Waking up is hard so I need help. It's pretty simple.

I look forward to your recommendations. Thanks!
posted by thereemix to Shopping (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I have no recommendations for alarm clocks with lights, but here's an alternative: My wife has always had a hard time waking up to sound, but her Fitbit wristband with its vibrating alarm has always worked for her. I see that Amazon has several under-$40 fitness tracker wristbands with this feature.
posted by davcoo at 9:56 AM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had a Lumie Bodyclock a few years ago and liked it. These days I have Philips Hue lights hooked up to Alexa that come on in the morning automatically (via ifttt i think) and that also works well.
posted by corvine at 9:58 AM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have this Phillips sunrise alarm clock and use it's wake-up alarm timer in conjunction with my phone for the audible component. The clock has nature sounds and regular clock-radio functions for two independent alarm configurations, I just don't use them because I don't want to have to enable/disable different audio alarm settings for the weekdays vs weekend.
The one-button feature to trigger a timer that slowly redshifts and dims to turn off at night is pretty fantastic.
posted by janell at 10:15 AM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a Philips sunrise alarm clock (not sure which model). The light works great and I love it, but the radio alarm is a little wonky (turns off and on with no warning). I have not tried to get it exchanged because I haven't had time.
posted by 8603 at 10:20 AM on February 12, 2018

Here's my answer from a similar question from a couple of years ago, the other answers there might help as well.
posted by mireille at 10:26 AM on February 12, 2018

I bought this one in the fall and have no complaints at all.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2018

I have this philips one.

I like it a lot, I thought it was the visually nicest looking model, for some reason. I use some kind of tune+birdsong noise as an alarm with the light, and it's nice. you can tap on the light for a snooze. It also has two different alarm presets, which are easy to toggle on and off.

A feature? that I find strange is that when you turn off the alarm when it's going off by pressing the button, it just turns off the alarm, it doesn't reset it for the next day. So you have to remember to either press the button twice right then, or turn it on when you go to bed. In a way it's nice, but I have definitely had to peel myself out of bed to push the alarm button across the room a couple times. At least it's super easy from the screen to tell if you have an alarm set.

I do like that the clock numbers, while bright enough to easily read, don't seem to be bright enough to cast any light into the room.
posted by euphoria066 at 10:36 AM on February 12, 2018

I still use and love the Withings Aura I recommended in this thread.
posted by hanov3r at 10:46 AM on February 12, 2018

I use a Philips HF3520, and I'm kinda in love with it.

It's the second-to-top-of-the-line Philips alarm clock. Compared to other Philips models, it adds red light, adjustable sunrise durations, and a second alarm, which makes it easy to set it for a different time on weekends, if that's a thing you want to do. Most people, me included, could probably do without some of those features and should instead buy a cheaper model (I bought mine at a substantial discount during the holiday deal season). The clock can't be turned completely dark, which is probably a dealbreaker for some folks.

There's a newer and fancier version of this alarm clock, the HF3650. It offers a few more features (more sounds, more light levels, a USB charging port, etc.), but reviews are kinda mixed. Many people complain about the lack of physical buttons to turn the alarm on and off. It does, however, offer the option to turn the clock display off entirely.
posted by box at 11:33 AM on February 12, 2018

I switched from a Phillips sun simulating alarm clock to a Hue bulb programmed to do the same thing. I've not noticed a difference in efficacy and the lamp is way more versatile than the alarm clock.
posted by Candleman at 12:54 PM on February 12, 2018

As a counterpoint, I have this light and absolutely despise it. I hate this alarm clock so much. Partly, to be fair, it is because I have found that I'm not a "wake up light" kind of person, but also this one is terribly designed. The control scheme is confusing, the alarm is loud as hell and not adjustable, and you snooze by hitting the alarm clock -- except it is round, so the alarm clock rolls off the nightstand half the time! I hate this clock. Do not buy this clock.
posted by good day merlock at 1:54 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Having had both a Lumie Bodyclock and a Philips, the Philips is better. Mine is a previous generation that looks like the 3510.

There's a newer and fancier version of this alarm clock, the HF3650. It offers a few more features (more sounds, more light levels, a USB charging port, etc.), but reviews are kinda mixed. Many people complain about the lack of physical buttons to turn the alarm on and off.

That sounds really annoying. The worst aspect of my Philips is that changing the time requires using the touchscreen which also beeps every time you use it. Not good if anyone around is sleeping. More physical buttons is better.
posted by grouse at 1:57 PM on February 12, 2018

I don’t remember which one I had, but the thing I hated most about it that I hasn’t even considered before I bought it was that, with whichever model I had, when I hit snooze it also turned the light off for the nine minutes of snooze time. I really needed it to keep the light on, otherwise I would fall deeply back to sleep. If that’s a thing for you, I’d recommend checking to see what they do when you hit snooze.

(I ended up just buying a timer outlet for my room light and using that in conjunction with a regular alarm clock. It didn’t fade, but that wasn’t particularly important to me. And I could use the alarm noises that work for me instead of whatever comes on the fancy light up alarm clock.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:32 PM on February 12, 2018

(And it was WAY cheaper.)
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:33 PM on February 12, 2018

I went with the Philips HF3520 after seeing it recommended on the green and I'm also in love with it. Colored sunrise + birdsong is a really wonderful way to wake up. I bought it for my husband's birthday six months ago and we still talk about how awesome it is every morning!
posted by 826628 at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2018

I tried one of those Philips alarm clocks about a year ago and I don't think I've loathed a product I've purchased more than I loathed that clock. It worked as advertised and the light would indeed fade in to wake me up. But the controls and user interface were horrible to the point of being nearly impossible to use (I should not have to sit close to a device, squint to read the tiny writing, and then consult the instruction manual when that device is just an alarm clock!). It also did not have a battery back up which is an unforgivable omission in an alarm clock.

These days I use a set of programmable lights (hue) and a simple batch file that fades them and changes colors to simulate a sunrise. The same script also turns on my mp3 player and fades it in using a large, randomly shuffled playlist of wakeup-appropriate songs. I can't snooze the batch file - I suppose I could wake up, remote into my server, kill the script, and reset it to run in 10 minutes but then I'm fully awake - but that's a bug that's really a beneficial feature.
posted by ElKevbo at 7:21 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

My husband has a Philips tower-style (like this one, I think they discontinued it) wakeup clock and uses it every morning. It works really well: you can snooze the noise without snoozing the light, there are different light settings, etc.

I bought my daughter a cheap $30 knock-off, and (1) you can only charge it with a USB charger; (2) there's no way to adjust the volume on the alarm. So it works ok as a bedside lamp, but the wake-up feature is totally crap, because you can't not have it make noise, and snoozing the noise turns off the light, which is dumb. So don't buy that one, and make sure when you buy one that you can adjust the sounds independently of the lights!
posted by leahwrenn at 10:20 PM on February 12, 2018

Just as one more data point, I wanted to advise you NOT to get the Philips HF3500. The interface is bad and it's full of bizarre quirks. You can't set it to have just the light with no alarm, or just the alarm with no light. And if you wake up early and turn off the alarm to avoid waking up your partner, the light leaps up to full brightness -- which wakes up your partner.
posted by yankeefog at 3:00 AM on February 13, 2018

From personal experience: Don't get the sunrise clock, get Hue or other programmable light bulbs and turn your entire bedroom into a sunrise alarm. I tried two different sunrise alarms and neither of them got bright enough to rouse me as much as I needed to be roused, but programming the Hue bulbs to fade in so that when my other alarm goes off I'm already sleeping lightly works really well. Bonus: I don't wince from the light when I open my eyes anymore!
posted by oblique red at 9:19 AM on February 13, 2018

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