The 8 Best Sound Machines for Sleep

Marpac's Yogasleep Dohm Sound Machine offers nonlooping sound for better sleep

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Creating a soothing environment to get a good night's sleep can be difficult, especially if loud noises keep you up at night. A sound machine makes for a helpful addition to the bedroom environment if you’re looking to distract the mind and tune out any unwanted sounds. Sounds machines block out unwanted noise and "having a sound that you are accustomed to falling asleep to can be a positive element of your bedtime routine,” says Rebecca Robbins, MD, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and sleep scientist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. 

Reviewed & Approved

We recommend Marpac's Yogasleep Dohm Sound Machine because it has nonlooping sound and can be easily adjusted. AIRSEE White Noise Machine is an affordable option that comes with 31 sounds, including white noise, ocean rain, and waves.

When looking for a sound machine, consider the types of sounds you might fall asleep to, such as white noise and rainfall. If you’re unsure what type of sounds might work best for you, get a machine with a variety of choices and volume levels to test out at night. “If you are worried about becoming dependent upon the machine, look into one that is portable and could come with you when you travel,” Dr. Robbins adds. 

We researched dozens of sound machines and evaluated them for design, number of sound effects, additional features, and price.

Here are the best sound machines for sleep on the market today.

Best Overall: Marpac Yogasleep Dohm Classic Natural Sound Machine

4.9
Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Nonlooping sound

  • Adjustable tone and volume

  • Compact design

Cons
  • No additional features

We chose Marpac's Yogasleep Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine as our top pick because it's a simple machine with tonal adjustments. It has two available noise levels, which creates a fan-based natural white noise that assists in blocking out any other sounds and helping you sleep at night. Although there are no additional features with this product, its simple design can be a draw for many sleepers. Customers say that the machine works so well that they can no longer sleep at night without using it.

Number of Sound Effects: 1 | Additional Features: None

Best Budget: AIRSEE White Noise Machine with Baby/Adult Night Light

AIRSEE White Noise Machine with Baby Night Light

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Multiple sound options

  • Great for kids and adults

Cons
  • Sound loop is noticeable

  • No all-night option

Just because a sound machine is on the cheaper end does not mean it will lack in quality. The AIRSEE White Noise Machine comes with 31 sounds—including white noise, fan sounds, and waves—to soothe anyone to sleep. Besides the plethora of sounds that can assist with sleep, the machine also comes with a timer that allows you to pick when you would like for it to shut off instead of having it run all night long.

This sound machine also makes a great addition to a children’s bedroom because it comes equipped with multiple light modes—making it perfect for a child who needs a night light or a parent needing to see during late-night feedings.

Number of Sound Effects: 31 | Additional Features: Night light, timer, memory function

Best for Car Seats: Marpac Hushh Compact Sound Machine

4.5
Marpac Hushh Portable White Noise Machine for Ba

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Compact and portable

  • Can be attached to car seat

  • Childproof lock

Cons
  • Only three sound options

Sometimes a moving vehicle is not enough to lull a child to sleep. That is where Marpac's Yogasleep Hushh Compact Sound Machine comes in. The travel-sized sound machine is easy to transport at just 3.5 inches in diameter. The machine also comes with a clip that you can place on strollers, car seats and other surfaces around the home or in a vehicle.

The machine comes equipped with three sound options, a night light, and a child lock that prevents any kid from pulling the machine off of where it is hanging. Customers say that the transportability of the machine makes it a great option to use for their children.

Number of sound effects: 3 | Additional features: USB rechargeable

What the Experts Say

"Portability plays a huge role here, as you want to be able to position your sound machine anywhere in the room—and maybe even take it with you on a trip if needed." Laura Bates, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Best for Toddlers: Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

hatch-white-noise

Courtesy of Target 

Pros
  • Wide range of sounds

  • Colorful night light

  • Can be controlled via phone

Cons
  • Requires app download

  • Touch feature isn't always reliable

Convincing your toddler that it is bedtime is not always the easiest feat. But the Hatch Baby Rest sound machine helps that process. The sound machine features a wide range of sound effects that are all available through the machine’s smart app.

Besides choosing different sounds through the app, you can also select a variety of colors that the machine emits throughout the night. When it is time to wake up your child, the time-to-rise feature (which you can set to a specific time each day) will alter the light of the machine. This informs your child that it is time to get up or that they are allowed to now leave their bedroom.

A special child lock feature prevents your toddler from altering the machine without your approval. One parent said this sound machine is now a go-to item in their household when getting their child to sleep at night.

Number of Sound Effects: 12 | Additional Features: 2-way audio monitor, time-to-rise feature, colorful night light, smartphone app

Best for Babies: Letsfit T126L Full-featured Sound Machine

Letsfit White Noise Machine with Adjustable Baby Nightlight

Courtesy: Letsfit

Pros
  • Plays lullabies for babies

  • Features an adjustable night light

  • Automatic shut-off timer

Cons
  • Sound loop is noticeable

  • Some may find controls difficult to use

Soothe your fussy baby to sleep with the Letsfit Full-featured Sound Machine. It comes equipped with 14 sound options to select between so you can see what works best to help your little one fall asleep. The sounds available include white noise, crickets, thunderstorm, and rain.

The machine also comes equipped with a night light you can use for late-night feedings or to keep on all night long for your child. Additionally, the machine has a timer in case you don’t want to use it all night. But the best part about this machine is its affordability.

Number of Sound Effects: 14 | Additional Features: Night light, timer, memory function

What the Experts Say

"To help your baby doze off easily and sleep soundly, white noise is a must. [It] helps create a comfortable environment for your baby. The best white noise for sleeping mimics the sounds babies hear in the womb." Harvey Karp, MD, pediatrician, author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” and co-founder of SNOO

Best for Adults: Big Red Rooster Serene Evolution 6 Sound White Noise Machine

Big Red Rooster 6 Sound White Noise Machine
Pros
  • Compact and portable

  • International travel adapter

  • Affordable

Cons
  • High-frequency noises may bother some

Sometimes it can be difficult to turn off your mind after a long workday. But Big Red Rooster's Serene Evolution 6 Sound White Noise Machine assists your de-stressing with its six soothing sleep sounds, including white noise, rain, and the ocean. These sounds work to mask the outside noise that can hinder your ability to sleep and help you nod off with ease. The machine also comes equipped with a self timer that will shut the noises off at 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals.

The machine is lightweight and portable, making it great for traveling, and it has the capability to operate on battery or plug-in power. This makes the machine easy to transport if you find you need to use it while traveling.

Number of Sound Effects: 6 | Additional Features: Travel-friendly adapter

What the Experts Say

“In choosing a sound machine, it’s nice to have options and controls. Lower volume, good sound quality, and a range of sounds that are pleasing—and boring—are helpful.” Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine

Best for Snoring: AVANTEK Noise Sound Machine for Sleeping

AVANTEK Noise Sound Machine

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Adjustable volume

  • Compact and portable

  • Plays up to 7 hours straight

Cons
  • Not all sounds have same quality

  • Sound loop is noticeable

Instead of outdoor noises keeping you up late into the night, it might be a snoring partner. Consider investing in a sound machine like the AVANTEK Noise Sound Machine for Sleeping to help drown out the snoring. The sound machine comes with a plethora of features to assist with sleeping at night, such as 20 soothing sounds and an automatic shut-off timer that runs from one to seven hours long.

What makes the machine optimal for loud snoring is its 30 volume levels, so you can adjust the machine to your liking in an effort to tune out the loud noises. The machine is also portable and compact in size, making it easy to pack for your next vacation or work trip.

Number of Sound Effects: 20 | Additional Features: Timer

Best With Alarm Clock: Reacher R3 Dual Alarm Clock and White Noise Machine

Reacher R3 Dual Alarm Clock and White Noise Machine

Walmart

Pros
  • Dual function machine

  • Multiple sound options available

  • Design includes charging station

Cons
  • Not all sounds have the same quality

  • Sound loop is noticeable

Declutter the bedside table by getting a sound machine and alarm clock all in one. The Reacher R3 Dual Alarm Clock and White Noise Machine gives you both a functional clock to wake you up each morning and a sound machine with 12 sounds to soothe you to sleep. Choose between white noise, fan sounds, birds, or thunderstorms each night. These sounds can run all night long or you can set the automatic shut-off feature to a scheduled time from 15 to 150 minutes after starting them. The machine is a plug-in, but it can run on battery power for up to 3.5 hours after being unplugged.

Number of Sound Effects: 12 | Additional Features: Alarm clock, charging station, memory function

What the Experts Say

“The bedroom is truly the foundation of your good night's rest. The dictates of an optimal bedroom include temperature, sound, and light considerations.” — Rebecca Robbins, MD, instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and sleep scientist with Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a simple sound machine that will help you nod off every night without delay, then we suggest getting the Marpac's Yogasleep Dohm Sound Machine (view at Amazon). Although it has no additional features, the simple design and affordability make it a go-to pick. If you’re looking for something with more features that will work great for kids, then we suggest the Hatch Baby Rest (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in a Sound Machine for Sleep

Volume

A peaceful, subtle, box fan sound is the ideal volume when it comes to sound machines.

"Loud, unexpected, or overly variable sounds can catch our attention and interfere with sleep," Dimitriu says. "A good sound machine would ideally create a gentle backdrop of very neutral noise—in this case, white noise machines or the sound of a fan can be helpful."

If you're a particularly light sleeper, you may want to take volume level into consideration when looking for a sound machine. While most offer a range of volumes, be prepared to give your machine a test run.

Sound Effects

Many sound machines on the market offer white noise as their primary feature, which is a great middle ground when it comes to sleep machine sounds. Others offer a wide variety of sounds, such as the ocean, rain, and forest sounds.

"I think the most important factor you need to consider is the sound variety and adjustments," Bates says. "White noise machines don’t work for everyone, so you might want multiple sound (and volume) options to choose from in order to find the most comfortable solution for your restful sleep."

Sound machines made particularly for babies often feature lullabies that play on a loop throughout the night. If you're partial to one particular sound effect, be sure to double-check the description to make sure it includes your preferred noise before purchasing your sound machine.

Additional Features

As well as playing sleep-friendly sounds, some sound machines do double duty. Particular models feature alarm clocks and built-in thermometers, so you get a little more bang for your buck. Take a look at all of the features each model has to offer before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should you stop using a sound machine for your baby?

    Sound machines can be helpful tools to aid babies (particularly newborns) in falling asleep and staying asleep. 

    “Over nine months of pregnancy, babies get used to noisy and snug environments,” explains Dr. Dimitriu. “This is why babies like being swaddled, and also why babies like some gentle background sounds as opposed to complete silence.” 

    Around the age of three to four months, “the calming reflex will gradually disappear,” Karp says. “But by then, your infant will be aware of the connection between white noise and the pleasure of sleep.” So white noise machines can continue being helpful to parents. 

  • Can sound machines cause hearing problems?

    Any prolonged or very loud noise can damage hearing—and research has shown that some sound machines are too loud, especially for infants. As a result, it’s recommended sound be kept to 50 decibels around infants to prevent hearing issues. “Quieter is always a safer option,” Bates says. 

    Of course, if your baby is crying and can’t hear the sound machine, it’s okay to turn it up temporarily. “The sound needed to turn on the calming reflex when a baby is crying is a rough, rumbly noise that’s as loud as his crying,” explains Dr. Karp. But “Once your baby is calm, lower the level of your white noise to about the loudness of a shower”—or even less if you can get away with it. 

  • Can you become dependent on sound machines for sleeping?

    Yes, it is possible for both adults and children to get so used to their sound machine, says Dr. Dimitriu, that it leads to a “mild dependence on sound machines that forms over time, much as how people get used to their bedroom or favorite blanket.” This could make it more difficult for you to fall asleep somewhere that’s quieter than you’re used to—like hotel rooms, different houses, etc. 

    However, “It isn’t a bad form of addiction,” says Bates. 

Why Trust Verywell Health

Simone Scully is a New York-based writer and editor with years of experience writing about health, wellness, science, and lifestyle. Her byline has appeared at Healthline, Well+Good, Narratively, Romper, Mother Figure’s magazine, Nautilus, and AskMen, among other places.


Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, she has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.

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  1. Hugh SC, Wolter NE, Propst EJ, Gordon KA, Cushing SL, Papsin BC. Infant sleep machines and hazardous sound pressure levels. Pediatrics. 2014;133(4):677-681. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3617