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10 Best Sound Machines And White-Noise Machines (2023): Cheap, Night Lights, Lullabies

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Best for Classic Sleep SoundsLectroFan Classic

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If You Sleep Best to the Sound of a FanYogasleep Dohm Classic

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A Multipurpose Machine with a Large LibraryHatch Rest (2nd Generation)

Read moreI cannot sleep in total silence. I need the hum of a fan or the crackle of a fire. Too much noise and I can’t turn my brain off, but too little and every toss, turn, or sniffle is amplified. Whether you feel the same or not, you probably still don’t get enough sleep, and if you’re like most people, it’s not for lack of trying. Help is available. A good sound machine (also called a white-noise machine or sleep machine) is just one tool in an arsenal of gadgets that can help you get your recommended number of z’s.

WIRED’s gear reviewers have filled their homes with sound machines for everything from muffling Witcher battles in the living room while the kids snooze to keeping us asleep while night-owl partners sneak into bed. These are our favorite machines for getting some shut-eye.

Check out our many other buying guides for getting a good night’s rest, such as the Best Mattresses and the Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks.

Updated March 2023: We’ve added the Baby Brezza portable machine and Hatch Restore 2. We’ve also added the Allway Aqua 10 Bluetooth speaker and humidifier to our honorable mentions.

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Photograph: LectroFan

Best for Classic Sleep SoundsLectroFan Classic

The Lectrofan Classic is in several WIRED staffers’ homes, divided between children and adults. At 4 inches across and 2 inches tall, it’s small enough to fit on the most crowded cabinet top.

There are no bird sounds or fireplaces, but you can choose between fans or a spectrum of pink, brown, or white noise. It has a 60-minute timer and cranks up to a whopping 85 decibels, or stays low enough to barely hear it at all. If you’re buying for a child, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns parents to keep sound machines to around 50 decibels and farther than 200 centimeters (6.5 feet) from where your baby sleeps.

★ Alternative: The Lectrofan Evo ($57) is another solid option from this brand. The Evo has a few more sound choices (like ocean noises) and looks nicer, but we prefer the buttons on the Classic. They’re better for fiddling with in the dark.

Photograph: Marpac

If You Sleep Best to the Sound of a FanYogasleep Dohm Classic

Yogasleep’s Dohm (originally called the Sleep-Mate) was invented in 1962, and it’s still one of the most reliable sound machines you can buy. At 4 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide, it’s a little larger than the LectroFan, but it’s much simpler. A rotating fan is set within the Dohm’s acoustic housing, and it has just two settings (the lower one is under 55 decibels). If you normally sleep with a box fan running but don’t want dust bunnies blown into your face all night, this is the pick for you. Don’t be alarmed if you see Marpac on the packaging or buy page—it’s the same company.

Photograph: Hatch

A Multipurpose Machine with a Large LibraryHatch Rest (2nd Generation)

The second-generation Hatch Rest combines a sound machine and night-light with two added features for children: time-to-rest and time-to-rise lights. These are called beacons, and they’re helpful reminders for adults too. This version also includes a dimmable clock, and it’s controllable via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. In the app, you can customize colors, adjust the volume, and pick from the sound library. Tapping the top of the Hatch Rest cycles through sounds and turns it on and off. (There’s a child-lock function to prevent kids from messing with the settings, and it still gives them control of the nightlight button on the back of the machine.)

You don’t have to subscribe, but if you do, the $50 annual Hatch membership offers great bedtime stories, lullabies, and meditations I absolutely adore. It’s just a shame none are included in the base price. Hatch has a few different models too. We’ve tested and like the Rest Plus ($90), which adds Amazon Alexa support and includes an audio monitor. We don’t recommend the Rest Mini ($40), though, as it stopped turning on for us after several months. 

Photograph: Amazon

A Portable MachineDreamegg D11

This is marketed for babies—there’s a shhhh sound that sounds comforting and a child lock on the back to disable the buttons. But anyone can use a portable sound machine! If you frequent hotels, occasionally like to drown out distractions in your office, or have a child who’s fussy in the car, it’s nice to pick it up and go where you need to go.

The D11 has 11 sounds including a fan, lullaby music, and even a busy restaurant-like sound with muffled chatter. It’s small but can get quite loud, and the swirl design works as a night light. There are 30-, 60-, and 90-minute timers, or you can leave it running continuously. It charges via USB-C, and if you use a timer, the battery should last you for a few nights. I left it on for nearly 12 hours in my office and it was still going the next day.

★ Another Great Portable Machine: The Baby Brezza Sleep and Soother ($30) is super light, can run on batteries or be plugged in, and has 18 sleep sounds and three timer options (or it plays continuously). There’s also a night light with three brightness levels. I think both babies and adults will like it.