Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of ways to have the best sleep of your life — including the best weighted blankets, sheets, and mattress toppers — here we’ve rounded up the best sound machines and white-noise machines, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated sound machine
This Strategist editor-approved white noise machine is also the top-rated pick on Amazon, with over 10,000 five-star reviews. One customer, who swears by this machine, writes, “I have four of these. I love them. I give them as gifts to every friend who has a new baby. My first was for an open office to help drown out private conversations from a nearby kitchen that I really didn’t want to hear. My second was for my first baby. We got a third when my second was born and finally I got my own so I could sleep through my husband’s snoring.” Another estimates that they’ve run it about 15 thousand hours over four and a half years of ownership, saying, “We could only come up with 14 days from 2.7.14 to 9.16.18 that this device was turned off at night time. Every single other night, from 7pm to 7am, this device has started up and run perfectly. That is quite a feat for a fan in a noise making device. This device, for our family, has the perfect tone/noise/sound of any we both have had, ever.” One reviewer hadn’t found success with other noise machines until they tried the Dohm. “It has a built-in fan that makes the sound of rushing air without actually blowing air,” they write. “Pretty amazing technology in my opinion.”
Best-rated (less expensive) sound machine
“This machine is amazing,” one reviewer writes of our less expensive pick for sound machines, saying, “Not only Big Red Rooster is better, it is actually an outstanding machine. Very compact and the sound is amazingly clear, no crackling. I could honestly compare it to my Bose speaker sound quality. So if you are thinking about ordering it — do it.” Another calls the sound options “crisp and clear,” continuing “It was bought for a puppy who routinely awakened at 4 A.M. ‘screaming!’ Since she started using her sound machine she now sleeps to 6 A.M. and awakens pleasantly! Best purchase ever (for the entire household)!” One reviewer looks forward to traveling with their machine: “This device is very lightweight. It would be perfect for traveling — and if you’ve ever been in a hotel these days, you know NO ONE is polite anymore about coming in at 11 P.M., with doors banging and kids running up and down the halls. So, yeah. Worth every penny.”
Best sound machine to block noise
Reviewers raved about the noise-blocking abilities of the LectroFan, with one reviewer writing that the noise from their neighbors was so loud at night, “I almost considered moving out or at least switching to an upstairs unit … That is, until I happened upon this amazing little device.” They continue, “This thing was absolutely perfect for me, as it only had white noise and fan sounds (and a variety of ’em!) that can get loud enough to mask anything. I mean ANYTHING. I can now peacefully snooze through not only my neighbors’ stomping kitchen antics, but also the 8 A.M. garbage truck arriving bright and early every Wednesday.” Reviewers praised that it has “a plethora of choices concerning volume and intensity of sound,” and one said, “I call the Lectrofan my ‘Little Cone of Silence.’” Another reviewer said this machine “stopped me from causing bodily harm to my neighbor,” who likes to shovel gravel in the morning. They continue, “The machine somehow COMPLETELY covers the noise from the shovel, the toilet flushing next to my room, dogs barking, etc. It is incredible.”
Best non-looping white noise machine
“Like most others who buy sound machines, I’m a light, fan sleeper and I’m surrounded by neighborhood kids, barking puppy dogs, and crowing roosters,” writes one reviewer, who calls this LectroFan white-noise machine “beyond awesome. I have absolutely no idea why the Marpac has twice as many reviews and followers on Amazon as this machine, because the LectroFan is obviously the superior machine. It is MUCH louder and FAR more extensive in range of ability.” Many reviewers appreciate that it’s a non-looping machine, as well. “My favorite feature is the no-looping,” says one, adding, “If you have had to listen to a sound machine with a looped noise for any length of time, you will begin to hear what sounds like alien chanting, or repetitive phrases that sound rather creepy coming through a baby monitor.” Another reviewer admits, “Loved it so much I bought a second for myself and my husband. It’s small, simple to use, and effective — We sleep really well, and I’m used to waking up to every single noise!”
Best fan noise machine
“Much to my husband’s dismay, I’ve had to run a box fan 365 nights of the year, because I have hot feet. This winter, I found that I don’t need the fan blowing on me, but I needed the sound of the fan to fall asleep,” one reviewer says, adding, “This little device has a fan sound that allows me to fall asleep with no problem with no cold air blowing around the room at night.” And many other reviewers facing the same dilemma gravitate toward this sound machine, including this reviewer, who writes, “I got this because I have trouble sleeping without a fan on and then it would get to cold. This does the trick and I totally recommend. You can set it to time or just leave it running all night.”
Best white-noise machine with nature sounds
Reviewers praised this sound machine for its vast library of available sounds and lack of a loop. “I suffer from tinnitus and it is difficult to get something to cover up that constant noise,” one reviewer writes. “This machine does it better than I ever thought possible. Also very important, the sounds are not looping. It is surprisingly easy to detect the loop on most sound machines. No loop here, so you won’t go bonkers waiting for the next repeat to happen in your head.” Another, who described the machine as essential for helping their autistic child sleep, writes, “There is a wonderful variety of sounds to choose from so you will find the one you like the best. I was nervous to spend [money] on this but it was so worth getting a good night’s sleep. It’s also very calming for kids or adults having meltdowns.” In short, a reviewer writes, “This is the Rolls of white noise machines. Buy this.”
Best travel sound machine
This portable sound machine is a top pick for those who need a white-noise machine when they travel, like one who writes, “Size is great, especially if you want to take it on your travels. Great features and ability to set a timer. Bought on recommendation of friend who travels internationally often and uses on trips and at home.” Another reviewer and her husband like this sound machine so much, they brought it to the great outdoors: “My husband and I have gone camping with this machine on many occasions for several days at a time. The description says it holds a charge for up to 12 hours, but we have used it for at least two nights at a time (16+ hours) without needing to recharge it. It’s also portable and light weight so it is really easy to take anywhere with us.”
Best portable white-noise machine with headphone jack
This mini sound machine is designed to be used with headphones, a solution reviewers have found useful for travel and office work. “I love that this sound machine has a headphone jack. This is perfect when I travel and have to share a hotel room with someone that wouldn’t like the noise,” one writes. “I use this in the office to drown out all the noise. I couldn’t be happier with this product,” another says.
Best adaptive sound machine
“I was losing my mind with my loud neighbors. The stomping, the door slamming, etc. was waking me up early in the A.M. hours. I needed a sound machine to block out their noises. I finally found it,” raves one reviewer of this high-fidelity sound machine from Sound+Sleep. They add, “This machine has an ‘adaptive’ sound feature that raises the volume of its noise when it hears other nosies. So when my jerk neighbors slam doors, it adjusts itself.” This noise-canceling feature is a selling point for many other reviewers, too, like one who lives on a “very busy street,” and writes, “The machine actually produces louder sounds when it detects an increased noise volume in my bedroom. So if it hears a truck rumbling by, it will raise its volume to cancel out the loud noise from the truck. Then once the truck has passed, it will lower the volume back down.”
But even those who have never turned on adaptive mode like this sound machine’s variety of noises: “I can adjust the volume to cancel out any noise in the neighborhood, including barking dogs and garbage trucks. It has more settings than I’ll ever use but I like having the choice. Some of the settings I find better for meditation than sleep, like ‘meadow,’ and yes, there’s even one marked meditation featuring a sitar. For sleeping, I like the ‘brown noise,’ ‘small fan,’ and ‘rain’ options best.” They also add, “It’s also nice that I can plug my phone into it via the USB port for overnight recharging.”
Best light and sound machine
This sound machine has the added feature of an auroralike light show projected onto the ceiling, complete with lasers. “I’m 42 and I’m not at all a ‘kid at heart,’ and I don’t believe this is just for kids,” one reviewer writes. “This helps to soothe my stress. It also helps with my anxiety, and I love using aromatherapy and looking at the lights. It is the most relaxing ‘me time’ that I get!” Another reviewer explains, “There are six sounds to choose from, in addition to Bluetooth, so there are lots of choices there, too.” One reviewer purchased it for use in their 1-year-old’s room: “I bought this again, mostly as a fun nightlight for our evening bottle and for some petty ambiance before bed, and I LOVE IT! It is really lovely and my daughter seems to really enjoy it. She used to play and climb around in her crib until she would settle down and go to bed, now she lays down in amazement.”
Best sound machine with essential-oil diffuser
This sound machine doubles as an essential-oil diffuser, leading one reviewer to write, “At night I add lavender oil, turn the light option off, and play the rain sound as I drift to sleep. It turns off a couple hours later and I don’t even notice. Definitely recommend to anyone who has trouble falling asleep!” Another says, “We like that you can use just the sounds and misting of the essential oils without the light. It’s so relaxing I need it myself to fall asleep.” It made an essential-oil convert of another reviewer, who writes, “Always thought of trying one of these things so I tried this one out even though I was skeptical that I would enjoy it but it turns out I love this sound machine/diffuser I fall asleep to it every night it’s so peaceful.”
Best baby white-noise machine
Reviewers loved the versatility of this sound machine which can run on batteries or be plugged into a wall. “We like having it on all night for our family, which would kill batteries on the travel version,” wrote one reviewer, who had previously had a batteries-only version. Reviewers were also pleased with the variety of sounds to choose from: “Had the heartbeat sound both our children loved when they were newborns,” one reviewer wrote. Another preferred the machine’s lullaby music, but noted that the volume “gets loud enough to drown out the loud stomping sounds of our upstairs neighbors” and allows their child to sleep.
Best smart baby sound machine
This cute monkey-shaped soother has a hook so it can be hung from a stroller or crib, and its cheeks glow for a subtle nightlight effect. “By far the coolest part of this is the downloadable app that allows you to select and program what you want from the preloaded songs, sounds, and stories, and put them in any order you want. I like that you can choose as little or as much of the preloaded items as you want,” one reviewer writes. The app also allows you to record your own stories or messages. One reviewer writes, “I can’t wait for grandparents to come so they can record their own stories for her! I may have to purchase another for our 3-year-old son because he is getting quite attached to his big sister’s!” Another reviewer used it to keep their older toddler in bed: “I recorded ‘Don’t come into mommy and daddy’s bed at night. Stay in your own room, PLEASE!’”
Best baby light and sound machine
“Are you an anal retentive mother like me? Then boy, do I have the product for you,” starts one reviewer when writing of this Hatch Baby nightlight/sound machine. “I spent a lot of time researching sound machines and initially purchased this for our newborn. It worked great for nighttime feedings as you can adjust the light brightness from your phone. Have a big blowout that occurred at 2 A.M.? Fear not. This light will get you through that changing without having to wake the baby with bright overhead lights.” Plus, this sound machine also acts as an okay-to-wake light, a feature lauded by dozens of reviewers, including one who writes, “I was a bit hesitant to buy a $60 night light and sound machine — but this product really turned out to be worth every penny. Our 2 year old was waking at 4:45 every morning and after telling him it wasn’t time to get up … Now I can set a okay-to-wake light, and it comes on each morning to let him know he can get up.” Plus, the sound machine itself helps lots of kids fall, and stay, asleep. One parent writes, “I don’t know what wizard made this thing, but I went from swaddling a six-month-old baby to being able to put her down in a sleep sack and she’ll sleep for an hour/hour and a half, no problem. She also went from waking every two hours to sleeping at least 4 to 5 without a night feed.” Their review concludes, “It’s saved my sanity and allowed me to finally get some sleep. 100 percent recommend.”
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