If you have difficulty falling and staying asleep, the last thing you’d think you need is more noise. However, white noise is different. For decades, people have used this soothing static to block out distractions so they can concentrate, relax, or sleep.

You can find a wide variety of options, but they’re not all the same, even if they make similar sounds. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the best white noise machines, how they work, and what features to consider.

A better night’s rest awaits. Let’s get started!  

What is the Best White Noise Machine?

Here’s a rundown of our eight favorites:

How Does White Noise Help You Sleep?

White noise is a combination of many different frequencies played simultaneously at equal intensity. It sounds like static. Technically, white noise is a specific set of frequencies, although the term “white noise” is often used to describe any low, repetitive sound meant to block other sounds.

Essentially, white noise machines mask external noises by creating a static barrier. Even when played at a high volume, white noise typically isn’t distracting. Instead, it’s used to block distractions, helping you focus or fall asleep.

How to Choose a White Noise Machine

Although white noise machines all tend to look somewhat similar, they have many features you’ll want to consider. Here’s a rundown:

Size

Make sure the white noise machine will fit on your nightstand or desk. Additionally, make sure it has enough open space surrounding it so the speaker isn’t blocked.

Most white noise machines are no more than 6” tall by 6” wide, but you can also find many that are much smaller. If you want to keep it in one spot most of the time, size isn’t terribly important. However, you’ll want one that’s as small and lightweight as possible if you plan to travel with it or use it in public places.

Power

You can plug almost all of these machines into a standard wall outlet. While that’s fine, if the unit stays in your home or office, a cord does limit portability. If you plan to use it in many different locations, look for one powered by batteries or via a USB cable.

Headphone Jack

A headphone jack is useful if you want to listen to white noise in public, such as at work or in the library. Keep in mind that white noise at a high volume doesn’t necessarily seem loud. Make sure you keep the volume below 80 dB to help protect your ears.

Shutoff Timer

You don’t necessarily have to run your white noise machine all night. Many people use them to fall asleep but then want them to shut off. For example, you might want the ability to hear a loud, unexpected noise in your house during the night.

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Most white noise machines have auto-shutoff features. You’ll find options ranging from 30 to 120 minutes. If you typically have difficulty falling asleep, you might want a machine with longer shutoff times.  

Volume Control

Most machines don’t have unlimited volume increments. Instead, they have a range of predetermined volumes. You want a wide range of options.

Additionally, you want volume that’s easy to control. Look for units with a separate knob or large buttons. You want the option to raise and lower the volume by touch instead of sight so that you can make adjustments in a dark room.

Sound Options

As mentioned earlier, white noise is mainly used as a generic term, so most white noise machines play various sounds. All of them play the static sound, typically referred to as white noise. You can also find many that play sounds such as flowing water, rain, murmuring crowds, campfires, and more.

It’s all personal preference as to what sounds you want. Some people prefer the traditional white noise, while others like a wider variety.

Looping

Some white noise machines generate sounds dynamically, while others play a recorded loop. Many people prefer dynamic sounds because they find it distracting when the loop starts over. However, while you’ll find no shortage of dynamically generated white noise, it’s rarer to find a machine that makes unique natural sounds.

1. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine – Best Overall

Our top choice is this all-in-one machine from Hatch. It’s a white noise maker, alarm clock, and nightlight. Even better, every aspect of it can be controlled remotely by phone.

It’s an excellent choice for infants and kids because it provides soft, comfortable light that’s easy to fall asleep to. However, it also provides enough illumination for midnight diaper changes. A locking feature means kids can’t change the settings manually, and it stays cool to the touch even after long periods of use.

Adults will also find that it improves sleep. The soothing colors combined with the white noise create a relaxing, distraction-free environment.

Pros

  • Combines white noise with soft, colorful lighting
  • Sleek, unobtrusive design
  • All features can be controlled remotely from your phone.
  • Designed to help young children sleep comfortably

Cons

  • The app collects some personal information, such as your location.

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine – Best Runner-Up

Letsfit’s white noise machine is powerful, portable, and packed with features. You can choose between 14 different sounds, including three types of white noise, five nature sounds, three fan sounds, and three lullabies. You can select a different sound for every night of the week!

Additionally, it has robust and reliable control functions. You can set it to automatically shut off after 15, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes. Once you’ve picked the volume and noise type, your settings are stored in the machine’s memory, so you don’t have to make adjustments every night.

Finally, another notable feature here is the unit’s nightlight. When turned on, it emits a soft, pleasant light with enough brightness that you can change a baby’s diaper or drink a glass of water.

Overall, it’s a compact and versatile choice well-suited for a bedside table or office.

Pros

  • Compact 4.8” by 4.8” size
  • Features 14 different types of white noise  
  • Includes six auto-shutoff options
  • Built-in nightlight provides soft illumination.

Cons

  • Touch operation not as easy to use as a switch.
  • You have to unplug it to turn it off completely.

3. Homedics White Noise Sound Machine

If you’re looking for a compact and powerful white noise machine, you’ll find a lot to like with this option from Homedics. At 6.5” by 6”, it easily slides into a backpack or duffel bag. Plus, you can plug it into the wall or power it with batteries so that you can use it practically anywhere.

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It offers six different sounds: White Noise, Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Brook, and Summer Night. While all of them effectively mask noise, the white noise option is arguably the best option for sleeping, as many of the water-based sounds include loud dripping noises.

Settings are easy to access thanks to a recessed button, small lights, and oversized volume knob. You can change the tone, adjust the volume, and set the timer even in low-light conditions.

Pros

  • Portable and battery-powered
  • Includes white noise plus five nature-inspired sounds
  • It has three auto-shutoff times plus the ability to run all night.

Cons

  • The unit’s lights are fairly bright.
  • Doesn’t include much sound variety

4. Yogasleep Dohm Classic

Yogasleep is the original manufacturer of white noise machines, and their Dohm Classic works a bit differently than the others on our list. Instead of emitting digital sound, it uses an interior fan to create white noise in real-time.

Two-speed options let you adjust the rushing air’s speed, sound, and tone to effectively mask most ambient noises. At the same time, because the product isn’t a fan, you aren’t bothered by moving air.

Originally created in 1962, the Dohm has been helping people fall asleep since 1962. Today, they’re a trusted name in white noise machines. Each machine includes a 101-night guarantee during which you can return it with no questions asked.

Pros

  • The manufacturer is highly regarded
  • Creates white noise with an internal fan
  • Two settings let you adjust the volume and speed.

Cons

  • Doesn’t emit nature-inspired sounds
  • Doesn’t include a headphone jack

5. Douni Sleep Sound Machine

If you’re looking for a machine that makes a wide variety of sounds, this option from Douni has you covered. It can emit 24 different soothing sounds, including seven variations of white noise, ten nature sounds, and even a Lullaby specifically for infants.

It’s only 2.3 inches high and weighs a light 9.7 ounces, so you’ll have no problem finding space for it on your nightstand or desk. Even better, it has a wood-grain finish that helps add an element of coziness to any room.

Finally, another key feature you’ll find here is the 3.5mm ear jack so that you can listen privately. With or without headphones, the machine offers a wide range of nuanced volume control. You can choose between 32 volume levels in 85dB increments.

Pros

  • 24 sound options including white noise, nature, and baby-friendly
  • 32 volume levels allow for precise control
  • Small and portable with classic faux-wood design
  • Includes built-in headphone jack

Cons

  • It makes a low beep at the end of the white noise loop.
  • The power cord can feel a bit loose.

6. Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan

You can rest easy knowing your machine will likely last for years because the LectroFan is well-built with no moving parts. It’s one of the most durable options on our list. Even better, it’s backed by a 1,000-day guarantee.  

Another interesting feature here is that the white noise is dynamically generated. Instead of listening to a loop, the white noise you hear will be totally unique every time.

Finally, we like how it’s easy to power. You can plug it into a standard outlet, but it’s also powered through any USB port. The ability to power it from your laptop makes it a good choice if you want to use it in an office, library, or other public places.

Pros

  • Solid construction with no moving components
  • Dynamic, unique white noise generation
  • Plugs into wall outlets and USB ports

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a headphone jack
  • The company can be difficult to reach for returns.

7. MagicTeam Sound Machine

Avoid the annoyance of repetitive sounds with MagicTeam’s non-looping white noise machine. It offers 20 options, including white, brown, pink, and blue noise generation. Additionally, you can select dynamic nature sounds such as ocean, bonfire, or birds.

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The large, backlit buttons on the front let you adjust the volume, auto shutoff times, and sound type. Because the unit’s only 6.3” by 4”, you’ll have no problem finding a spot for it in your bedroom or office. Overall, it’s compact, durable, and easy-to-use.

Pros

  • Includes multiple non-looping noise colors (white, pink, blue, etc.)
  • Dynamically generates a variety of nature sounds.
  • Compact design fits easily on most tables and desks.

Cons

  • Doesn’t automatically change sounds
  • The timer is marked in lights instead of an easy-to-read number.

8. Airsee Sound Machine and Night Light

Airsee’s offering is worth considering if you want a white noise machine with a built-in night light. The light here provides soft, warm illumination that allows for easy sleeping while also increasing the comfort level of the room.

It’s a machine designed with infants and toddlers in mind. One of the sound options is a Fetal Heartbeat Sound, which helps calm newborn babies.

Aside from sound specifically for little ones, the machine also emits 31 non-looping sounds, including eight white noise tones, 16 nature sounds, and seven different types of fan noises. You can adjust the volume and set three different auto-shutoff timers (30, 60, and 120 minutes).

Pros

  • Includes sounds designed specifically for young children.
  • Features 31 non-looping sounds, including white noise and nature
  • Includes a built-in nightlight and headphone jack

Cons

  • It must be plugged into an outlet (no battery option).
  • Satisfaction guarantee offered for only 30 days

Best Phone Apps to Help You Sleep

Are you interested in white noise as a sleep aid but aren’t quite ready to buy a white noise machine? These apps are an inexpensive way to experience the effects of white noise on your sleep.

myNoise

This popular app offers extensive customization. You can choose a wide range of color noise, including white, pink, and brown. If you’re not sure what you want, click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, and the app will choose for you. Aside from a wide range of free soundscapes, you can also purchase extras for just $1 each.

Sleep Pillow

As another popular choice, Sleep Pillow lets you choose up to three sounds to make a custom mix as another popular choice. You also have a wide range of volume control options. While the basic features are free, extras such as an alarm clock and extended shutoff timer are unlocked for a one-time fee of $19.99.

Dark Noise

Dark Noise is a white noise app with two key features. It has an incredibly user-friendly design with deep customization. Also, it easily integrates with Siri. You can transfer any soundscape from your phone to speakers elsewhere in your house.

Which White Noise Machine is Best for You?

All of the machines listed above have lots to offer, including multiple volume settings, timers, and easy portability. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, we recommend the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine.

It stands out from the crowd thanks to its built-in nightlight, which adds soft color to a room. It’s ideal for infants and kids who are afraid of the dark, plus it’s unobtrusive but bright enough to aid with diaper changes. Another feature we like is how you can control it with your phone.

If you’re looking for an app instead of a machine, myNoise is both free and feature-filled. You can create custom sounds or simply click to hear something random.

No matter which white noise machine you choose, you’ll enjoy increased peace and more restful nights.

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