The Best White Noise Machines In 2020

A fan, app, or white noise machine?

“Why should I buy a white noise machine when I could use a free app or a fan?”

This is a question people sometimes ask me after watching my white noise machine videos on YouTube. It’s a perfectly valid question, so I thought I’d also address it here before I dive into the reviews in this article.

My short answer is this: if you’re happy using a smartphone app or a fan, then don’t buy a sound machine. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Don’t get me wrong – I think white noise machines can be very useful. But if you have your doubts, I’d say trust your instincts and save yourself some money.

And on that note, here’s another option you might like if you own a smart speaker. Try saying this: “Hey Google, play white noise” or “Alexa, play the sound of rain”.

Now I’ve finished shooting myself in the foot where my website income is concerned (they are affiliate links below), let’s talk more positively about when a white noise machine might be a better option than an app or a fan.

Why use a white noise machine?

Although apps, fans, and smart speakers will probably be good enough for some people, there are a few solid reasons to consider using a standalone white noise machine.

Firstly, not everyone wants air blowing around their bedroom in colder weather, so a standard fan isn’t always appropriate. A white noise machine with a small encased fan will give you a similar soothing sound, but without the air movement.

Secondly, not everyone owns a smart speaker or wants one in their bedroom. I certainly wouldn’t buy one just to play white noise, unless you were already thinking of getting one for other reasons.

Thirdly, a white noise machine might be more convenient and effective than an app. Listening to white noise through a smartphone app will steadily drain the battery. And if you’re playing white noise to kids, you either need to leave the phone in their bedroom or have it within range of a Bluetooth speaker.

Good white noise machines tend to have louder volume and better speaker quality than many phones. And although regularly listening to white noise very loudly isn’t ideal, I know some people specifically want that, such as when their neighbors are having a party.

It also helps to put the device next to the window, door, or wall where the intrusive sound is coming from. So that could mean not having your phone on your nightstand. A minor detail perhaps, but one to consider.

Some white noise machines have more sound options than the free versions of phone apps. And the recordings used by apps aren’t always of the highest quality.

One or two devices also double as nightlights, and nearly all have timer functions. I also like how easy they are to operate in the dark, as they tend to have easy to use buttons, so you change the settings without having to squint at your blinding phone screen in the dark.

So with all that said, let’s take a look at my recommended white noise machines. I’ve tried to include a good range, from high-end to budget, white noise to nature sounds, compact to large and feature-rich.

1. LectroFan Evo

Most white noise and fan sounds, and loud maximum volume

charcoal color lectrofan white noise machine

Key points

  • Sounds: 10 white noise, 10 fans, 2 ocean surf
  • Headphone jack: Yes
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: Power adaptor with USB cable

Most people use a white noise machine to block out annoying external noise by replacing it with a sound that’s more relaxing and constant. So it helps to have different sounds to pick from so you can find at least one you like.

It’s also useful to have a good range of volume so you can block out louder noise if you need to, but turn it down when it’s quieter outside. The LectroFan Evo will allow you to do just that, with a good range of sounds and incremental volume controls.

It has the widest range of white noise and fan sounds of all the machines I’ve tested. It’s great that it doesn’t just have intense white noise, but deeper sounding colors like pink and brown noise too, which many people find more relaxing. Think powerful waterfall and TV static, and you can imagine the two ends of the spectrum it offers.

The speaker quality is excellent, and the maximum volume is very loud. So if you need it to block out disruptive external noise, it’s up to the task. But you can also turn it down on quieter nights to give your ears a break. The white noise is dynamically generated rather than using recordings, which results in a non-repeating and constant sound.

It also has two of the most important extra features I look out for: a headphone jack for private listening, and auto-off timers if you don’t need your white noise on all night.

If you’re looking for lots of different nature sounds, the LectroFan Evo might not be the one for you as it just has two ocean surf. And if you need one with a rechargeable internal battery, one of the devices below might suit you better.

But if you’d like a white noise machine for your home or office that caters to every taste of white noise and fan sounds, the LectroFan Evo does its job very well, while maintaining a clean modern design and a compact size. It’s middle of the range in terms of price too at under $50. So although not a budget option, it’s considerably less than the most expensive devices.

2. Snooz

Real fan inside and an option to control it with a smartphone app

snooz sound machine

Key points

  • Sounds: Internal fan, adjustable to change the tone
  • Headphone jack: No
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: Power adaptor
  • Extra features: Dimmable nightlight, accompanying app with extra timer features, volume control with the fan speed

The Snooz is the first of two white noise machines I’ll be looking at that have a real fan inside them. What I personally love about them is that the sound is authentic. If you’re going to listen to the sound of a fan, it may as well be a real one!

One of the common criticisms of other machines that have internal fans is their typically low volume. The Dohm DS, for example, has two speeds which gives you a volume change, but it’s still pretty quiet.

The Snooz has 10 volume settings, based on the fan speed, and the maximum volume is by far the loudest of any I’ve tested that use a real fan. In fact, it’s louder than many standard white noise machines with a speaker and recordings.

You can also adjust the tone of the sound by rotating the side cap, which changes how the air flows through the case. There’s a nightlight of sorts on the buttons, which gives just enough light to see where things are in the bedroom. It’s not a particularly warm glow, but it’s a useful feature nonetheless.

Both a pro and a con is the accompanying smartphone app. It’s a con in that some features can only be accessed with the app, like the timers. That’s not exactly universally user-friendly. But for those who do have a smartphone, I really like how you can set multiple timers per day of the week, with a fade in and fade out options that I’ve not seen on any other device.

It’s also nice that you can turn it off without getting out of bed if you’ve got it on the windowsill to mask external noise.

The Snooz looks great aesthetically, which helps offset the fact that it’s one of the more expensive white noise machines out there. Even so, this probably won’t be the right one for you if you’re on a tight budget.

But if you enjoy listening to fan sounds, and have been frustrated by the lack of sound blocking because of the low volume of other mechanical fan style white noise machines, the Snooz is a great choice. If it weren’t for the fact that it didn’t have alternative white noise or nature sounds, I’d probably have put it top of this list.

3. Avantek

An easy to use device with a good balance of white noise and nature sounds

AVANTEK WHITE NOISE MACHINE

Key points

  • Sounds: 6 white noise, 6 fan sounds, 8 nature
  • Headphone jack: No
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: Power adaptor or USB

The Avantek is the first of several I’ll look at that combine white noise, fan sounds and nature sounds. It’s a good one if you’re not sure what kind of white noise might work for you, or if you know you like to switch between standard white noise or more natural sounds like rain.

It’s not the jazziest looking device, but I like the simplicity and the fact that it’s very easy to use. There are simple buttons for the volume, sound choice, timers and power. And you can power it either with the included power adaptor or just the USB cable and any USB outlet in your home.

The speaker quality is surprisingly good for such a simple-looking machine, with decent volume that will help block out other noise. The nature sounds are on reasonable length loops that aren’t obvious unless you really try to spot them.

It’s good that there are various white noise and fan sound options, ranging from deeper to more intense. So you should find one or two you like and that help mask external noise while you sleep or work.

There are seven timer options, which is more than most have. And tiny LED lights tell you how long the timer is, which is a useful feature that too many devices seem to omit.

The price is reasonable considering how many sounds it offers. You can usually pick it up for under $40, which is half the price of the most expensive brands, and not much more than reasonable budget devices. So all in all, I think the Avantek is a good all-rounder. It might not have as many features as some of the most flashy machines, but it gets the basics right while being very user-friendly.

4. Sound+Sleep Special Edition

Wide range of nature sounds, white noise and fans

sound+sleep special edition

Key points

  • Sounds: 44 nature and ambient, 12 white noise, 8 fans
  • Headphone jack: Yes
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: Power adaptor
  • Extra features: 2 x USB charging ports, responsive volume, audio-in cable to play your own music

The Sound+Sleep Special Edition takes a different approach to the minimalist design most white noise machines have, packing more sounds and features than any other.

It has 16 main categories on the central dial, and a selection button to choose between four variations. That makes 64 different sound choices in total.

Some settings just add extra detail, for example adding thunder to the rain. Others are very different, such as a train ride or boat ride. I really like how you can decide if you have birds with your brook, wind with your rain, or just keep it simple. And it also has a broad range of brown to white noise, industrial or house fans.

One feature that’s unique to this device is responsive volume. If you select that, it will automatically change the volume according to the ambient noise levels in the room. It’s a feature not everyone will want to use, but it does work well.

It has a useful headphone jack, auto-off timers, and two USB charging ports for your smartphone or other devices. There’s an audio-in cable, so you can play your own sounds or music through the speaker. The speaker itself produces clear sound, and I found it’s capable of masking noise coming from outside the room.

The main downside is that it needs to be plugged in at all times using the included power adaptor. It’s also larger than most other devices I’ve tested, so it’s one to keep in the bedroom or office rather than travel with. The Sound+Sleep devices (there are a few variations) are also one of the most expensive white noise machines out there, so it’s not a budget option.

With so many sounds and features though, this is a very versatile device and one for people who love nature sounds, and who prefer their tech to be rich in features.

5. Dohm Uno

A simple device with soft sounds made by an internal fan

marpac uno

Key points

  • Sounds: Rushing air from an internal fan
  • Headphone jack: No
  • Auto-off timer: No
  • Power: Standard plug

The Dohm Uno is a newer version of the classic Marpac Dohm – the first white noise machine to use an internal mechanical fan. Marpac merged with the company YogaSleep, so the old Marpac Uno is now called the Dohm Uno.

The Dohm Uno couldn’t be easier to operate. All you do it press the single large button it has, which will start up the internal fan and push air out of the little air holes. The only option you have to change the sound is to twist the cap, which slightly changes the sound the air makes as it comes out.

And that really is it – there’s nothing else to do with the Dohm Uno. It does a simple job, and it does it pretty well as the resulting sound is authentic and relaxing to listen to.

My main criticism is that the sound produced is relatively quiet compared to all the others I’ve tested. It’s ideal if you like the sound of air, but don’t want to actually have air moving around your room.

However, if you really need it to mask out external sound, it will struggle. And if you’re looking for additional features like a headphone jack, internal battery, or auto-off timers, you won’t find that with the Uno.

Despite the lack of volume and extra features, if you like the idea of having the authentic sound of air made by a real fan, the Dohm Uno is a good choice and reasonably priced at just under $30.

6. LectroFan Micro 2

An internal battery, Bluetooth speaker and small size make it good for travel

lectrofan micro 2

Key points

  • Sounds: 5 fans, 4 white noise, 2 ocean surf
  • Headphone jack: No
  • Auto-off timer: No
  • Power: Internal rechargeable battery.
  • Extra features: Can be used as a Bluetooth speaker

The LectroFan Micro 2 is my personal favorite for travel or for outside use. It has an internal rechargeable battery (charged with the included USB cable) that will last an admirably long time: 20 hours with white noise and 40 hours on the Bluetooth setting.

Like the LectroFan Evo, there’s a good variety of white noise, ranging from relaxing brown noise to more intense white noise. There are enough fan sounds to cater to different tastes, and two ocean surf which are pleasingly non-repeating.

I like that it can be used as a Bluetooth speaker, so you can play your own music or different nature sounds if you prefer. It’s a really nice option that just opens a door to having more variety.

For such a tiny device, the speaker is surprisingly powerful, and it will easily drown out most noise coming from outside the room. I also like that you can swivel the speaker, so you can point it upwards to fill the room with sound or to the side if you prefer.

The main downsides are that there’s no auto-off timer and that the buttons are quite small and fiddly. It’s not an issue for me, but I can imagine it could be for some people. It’s also worth noting that there are only two nature sounds.

Overall though, the LectroFan Micro 2 is a fantastic white noise machine for travel, being on the go, and avoiding the need to be plugged in at all times. And for around $35, the price is pretty good comparatively.

7. Dreamegg D3

Good for young kids, with an additional lullaby

dreamegg d3 sound machine

Key points

  • Sounds: 9 nature, 7 white noise, 7 fans, 1 lullaby
  • Headphone jack: Yes
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: USB cable included

The Dreamegg D3 is a good mid-range white noise machine that was designed with the parents of young children in mind.

In addition to the eight relaxing nature sounds, there’s also a soothing lullaby and a hypnotic heartbeat sound. But if that doesn’t quite work, there’s enough white noise and fan sounds to try out too.

The internal rechargeable battery also makes it useful for parents, as you can place it wherever you like in a room without needing to think about the power source. And the auto-off timers help prevent it from running for longer than really necessary.

I also really like that they have the white noise, fan sounds and nature recordings split into three category buttons. That means it’s quicker to cycle through them to find the exact sound you want.

If you’re going to use it yourself, there’s a handy headphone jack for personal listening, and that also helps keep external noise at bay even better.

My main criticism is that some of the nature sounds are on shortish loops. But that’s very common with sound machines, and not noticeable with some of the sounds.

Overall, the Dreamegg D3 is a good choice for parents, but also for people looking for a good all-round device for their own use (perhaps minus the lullaby!). It has a good balance of features and sounds, and for a reasonable price of around $30.

Update: more recently, the Dreamegg D11 came out, which is even more compact, cheaper, and has a nice nightlight. So that’s another one that parents might like to consider – you can also find it on Amazon.

8. Big Red Rooster

A budget device powered either by USB or standard AA batteries

big red rooster sound machine

Key points

  • Sounds: 5 nature, 1 white noise
  • Headphone jack: No
  • Auto-off timer: Yes
  • Power: 3 x AA batteries, or included USB cable and power adaptor

The Big Red Rooster is the only white noise machine in my current selection that can be used with normal batteries. It takes 3 x AA, which aren’t included. It does come with a standard power adaptor though, so batteries aren’t the only power option.

It only has six sounds, which is quite limited. But it’s very easy to use the Rooster as each sound has a labelled button so you can quickly select them. Those buttons are a little ‘clicky’ though, which lets the device down in terms of overall feel and quality.

The nature recordings, as is so often the case, are on short loops, but they do sound reasonably good. The thunder needs to be kept at a lower volume though, or it tends to distort while rattling the casing.

There are auto-off timers, which is useful. But there’s no headphone jack or other additional features. The speaker quality is okay for a budget device, just nothing to get too excited about.

Overall, I think this is one for people who really don’t want to spend much on a white noise machine and appreciate the extra portability that comes from having the option to use normal batteries.

But if you’re looking for high-quality sound, I’d perhaps stretch the budget a bit further. For around $20 you get a low-cost device like this, while for $30-$50, the quality increases significantly.


See my in-depth reviews and videos

As I mentioned at the start of the article, I have a YouTube channel where I discuss and play through the sounds of many white noise machines.

I’ve also filmed and written individual reviews of the ones covered in this comparison that you might find useful.

In 2019, I created a review of 10 different white noise machines, which you can watch here on my YouTube channel.

I did have it included at the top of this article until recently, but the number two product has been discontinued. And since it takes me a long time to do those comparisons, I haven’t gotten around to doing a new one yet!

However, I believe the video overall is still useful and relevant as a comparison. And six of the eight machines I’ve discussed in this article feature in that video.

You can also see my individual reviews and videos of the white noise machines on these pages on my blog:

I haven’t written an article about the Avantek, but I do have a basic video on YouTube in which I just play all the sounds.

If you have any questions about the sound machines I’ve covered in this article, feel free to ask through the contact page or get in touch on my YouTube channel, where I always reply to questions about the individual ones.