White noise machines are one of the most effective ways to mask disrupting noise at night, helping you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep.
I’ve tested all of the latest and most popular white noise machines, and in this review will be talking about the best 5.
Whether you’re looking for the most authentic white noise, a lightweight and portable device, or one with additional relaxing sounds for babies, you’ll hopefully find the right one below.
Why use a white noise machine?
If you can’t sleep because of noise coming from inside or outside of your house, you have 3 main ways to deal with the problematic sound:
- Try and stop it at the source – you can ask someone to turn the television down, but you can’t stop traffic though.
- Wear earplugs – an effective option, but not advisable to do every night.
- Mask the noise by creating a stable and relaxing ambient sound – this is where white noise machines can work wonders.
Who will benefit from using one?
- If you can’t sleep or work due to noise beyond your control – such as a neighbor’s television, traffic or the weather.
- Shift or night workers who struggle to sleep in the daytime because of noise.
- If you find that white noise or nature sounds help you relax and sleep better.
- People with tinnitus.
- Babies and small children sometimes fall asleep quicker with white noise. Babies are accustomed to noise from being in the womb, and white noise helps prevent them waking up because of sudden sounds like a doorbell or phone.
Which style to choose?
There are 2 main options to choose from:
- A pure white noise machine that generates the sound naturally.
- A machine which has recordings of white noise, sometimes also with soundscapes like ocean, rain, river or forest.
So with those points in mind, here are my recommended white noise machines in 2018.
Best range of white noise and fan sounds
The LectroFan is my top pick because it offers the widest range of white noise, producing the sound dynamically rather than using recordings.
You have the choice of listening to either white noise or fan sounds, both of which have 10 variations. So with 20 possible frequencies, you should be able to find one that’s relaxing, and blocks out other sounds effectively.
A key point in its favor is that it’s one of the smallest and most lightweight white noise machines I’ve seen. So it looks unobtrusive on a bedside table, and takes up very little space when travelling.
Here are the key points to consider:
- A range of 10 fan sounds and 10 white noise sounds, including deeper pink and brown noise.
- The volume can be turned up surprisingly high, easily filling a large bedroom and masking external noise.
- There’s no sound looping.
- You can play it all night or choose a 60 minute auto-off timer.
- It’s very lightweight and compact, ideal for travelling.
- You can plug it into the mains or any device with a USB output. So it can be powered by a computer, battery power bank, or a mains adapter used for charging phones or tablets.
The only potential downside is that it doesn’t have soundscapes like some other machines do. So if you like birdsong and oceans, you might prefer the Avantek or Big Red Rooster below.
But if it’s pure white noise that you’re most interested in, rather than nature sounds, the LectroFan is a great option. With so many different types of white noise, and such high quality sound, you’ll be able to mask most external sound and sleep in peace.
2. Marpac Dohm
Produces white noise naturally with an internal fan
The Marpac Dohm DS (Dual Speed) is the only machine which actually produces white noise with an internal fan. So unlike other white noise machines, it produces the sound naturally rather than playing recordings.
Like the Lectofran, it doesn’t have extra features; it was designed to do a single job as effectively as possible without using space for extra features you might never use.
The Marpac Dohm creates white noise internally by literally pushing air through the machine, and the resulting sound is natural and calming to listen to.
Despite looking like it doesn’t have many settings, you can control the sound in two ways. First, you choose one of two speed settings. Then you twist the collar to adjust the space the air is pushed through by the fan. This allows you to refine the exact volume and pitch that you like.
Here are the key points to note:
- It’s the only white noise machine that produces the sound naturally with an internal fan.
- There’s no looping or recording.
- You can customize the settings to find the exact sound you like.
- It has a sleek and unobtrusive design.
- Comes in 3 colors – white, beige or black.
- It has a one year warranty.
The potential downsides are the lack of a range of nature sounds if you like to have those additional options. There’s also no auto-off timer, and it’s the heaviest of the devices in this review, making it less convenient for travel.
But if you like the idea of having the most authentic white noise, the Marpac Dohm is the one to go for – especially if you like fan sounds in particular.
Easy to use with a wide range of sounds
The Avantek white noise machine, like the LectroFan, is a very compact and lightweight device which takes up little space on a bedside table or desk.
It offers a couple of useful features which make using it as simple as possible. Firstly, there are very few buttons – just the power, volume up and down, next and previous tracks and a button to adjust the timer. So it’s easy to change settings in the dark if you need to.
Secondly, there’s a handy memory function, so the next time you turn it on it will automatically resume your last chosen track and volume level, along with the same auto-off timer for the previous night.
The Avantek gives you the choice of 20 different sounds. Along with a range of white noise and fan frequencies, there are some calming nature sounds such as rain and waves. However, there are also a couple of not particularly soothing sounds, such as the howling wind and ticking clock.
Here are the key points to consider:
- It’s small, compact and very easy to use.
- There are 20 sounds to choose from: 6 white noise, 6 fan sounds, rain, campfire, waves, streams, clock, birds, wind and crickets.
- With 30 volume levels (max a very loud 115 dB), you can easily mask external noise.
- Choice of continuous play all night, or an auto-off timer ranging from 1 to 7 hours, with gradual volume reduction.
- Use with a USB or mains adapter.
The main downside is that some of the nature tracks have obviously short looping, such as the sound of birds and crickets. And as I already mentioned, some of the sounds aren’t so relaxing.
Overall though, there are plenty of relaxing nature sounds, and the white noise is good quality. So if you’re looking for a device that offers the widest choice of different sounds, with 20 options and decent sound quality, the Avantek is a very good option.
4. Big Red Rooster
Low price, easy to use, with a version for babies
It’s not big and it’s not red, but the Big Red Rooster is a sleep sound machine, albeit a basic one with just a handful of different sounds and settings to choose from.
Like many of the current generation of modern sound machines, it only offers one white noise option, along with 5 different nature sounds to choose from.
What I liked about it though is how easy it is to find and press the buttons in the dark. They are all neatly lined up on top of the machine, and all quite large and easy to use.
There are actually 3 versions of the Big Red Rooster – the standard one (pictured above), a baby one which includes lullabies, and a premium one which has 10 sounds instead of 6.
Here are the key points:
- It’s small and compact.
- It can be used with mains power or 3 x AA batteries if needed.
- You can play it all night, or select a 15, 30 or 60 minute auto-off timer.
- For its size, the maximum volume is pretty good.
- The standard version has 6 sounds: white noise, rain, brook, thunder, ocean, and summer night.
- The baby version has some variation of sounds: lullaby, rock-a-bye, twinkle twinkle, white noise, ocean, and heart beat.
- The premium version is slightly larger, and has the same sounds as the standard version + 4 extra ones: song bird, heart beat, rain forest, and waterfall.
The main downsides concern the sound quality and recordings. Some sounds have obvious looping, such as the thunder and ocean, which repeat the same thunder or wave over and over. And for the baby version, the heart beat isn’t realistic, and the lullabies aren’t the highest quality I’ve heard.
However, for the price, some of the sounds are quite good and the white noise is fine, which is a key factor when choosing a white noise machine of course. And it’s handy that it can be battery operated if you’re on the move.
I do think there are more advanced devices available in general, but if you’re looking at the budget end of the spectrum, it’s one of the better machines.
Available at: amazon.com
5. HoMedics Sound Spa
A lower priced option
The Homedics Sound Spa is another reasonable choice in the lower price range, and is a white noise machine that’s been around for many years now.
What I like about it is that the sound quality is surprisingly good for the price. When compared with one of the more powerful machines I’ve looked at in this review, it’s noticeably quieter and more basic.
But for the low price, it still produces good enough sound to mask low to mid volume external noise, and hopefully help you sleep better.
These are the key points to consider:
- It has 6 different soundscapes to choose from: white noise, ocean, thunder, rain, summer night, and brook.
- You can keep it playing all night, or choose a 15, 30 or 60 minute auto-off timer.
- You can choose to plug it into the mains or use 4 x AA batteries.
- It’s small, lightweight and good for travelling.
The main downside is the fairly obvious looping of the soundscapes and predictable patterns, which is the major reason to consider one of the previous sound machines.
But overall, if you don’t want to spend too much, and just need something that will play relaxing sounds to help you sleep, it’s one of the better white noise machines in its price bracket.