The Big Red Rooster is one of very few white noise machine machines that can be operated either by using standard AA batteries or a USB cable.
It’s somewhat limited by only having six sound choices and the speaker struggles on louder volumes. But if you want a budget sound machine, and need one that works with normal batteries, it’s a good option.
The good points
- Works with normal batteries (3xAA) or a USB cable.
- Small and lightweight.
- Reasonable sound quality on low to mid volume.
- Auto-off timers from 15 to 30 minutes or continuous play.
- Small timer lights so you know which one is set.
- Each sound has a large, labeled button.
- Limited number of sounds.
- Clicky buttons.
- Speaker distortion on maximum volume.
The six sounds
The Big Red Rooster has a choice of six sounds. Here’s what I thought about each of them:
- White noise: the standard option found in most white noise machines. It sounds fine to me, though it might be too intense for some people.
- Rain: seems like heavy rain on a window. On louder volumes, the speaker doesn’t cope so well. Use this one on low to mid volume for best effect.
- Ocean: sounds good – more of a gentle lapping wave sound than a powerful ocean. On a short loop, but well spliced together. No added bird sounds.
- Brook: my favorite on this machine. A pleasant, constant running water sound. No animal sounds overlaid.
- Summer night: combines a light fan sound with crickets. A slightly odd combination for my taste.
- Thunder: the sound of distant thunder. On a loop, but still sounds quite good.
Speaker quality, volume and sound masking
The speaker faces sideways, allowing for targeted listening. The quality is reasonable, especially for the price. But on loud volumes, the thunder and rain don’t sound so crisp.
Compared to some of the higher end models, like the LectroFan and Avantek, the max volume isn’t as high. But it’s still good enough to mask a lot of external noise.
Using it in the bedroom, I was able to block out the sound of the TV in another room, people talking and some kitchen noise. But loud traffic, music or dogs barking might still reach your ears.
There are essentially four options:
- Constant play
- 15 minute timer
- 30 minute timer
- 60 minute timer
It’s good to have this choice, and the timers work well. One hour is probably enough if you’re planning on using a timer at all.
Design and size
The Big Red Rooster looks neat from a distance, with its glossy white finish and simple buttons. And those big labeled buttons make it very easy to use.
However, if you inspect it closely or press any button, it’s obvious that it’s made from quite light plastic and doesn’t feel as robust as it first appears.
It is relatively compact though, which is good for travel. Measuring 4 x 4.4 x 2.6 inches and weighing 5.9 ounces, you can easily pack it in a suitcase or car.
The power options, along with the small size, make this a conveniently portable device.
It comes with an AC power adaptor and USB cable, so you can plug it into any standard socket. The cable is a good length to reach a nightstand from a wall socket close by.
It also takes 3 AA batteries if you need to use it where there’s no power source close by. Many sound machines don’t have a battery option at all, so this is one of the big points in the Rooster’s favor.
Lack of sound choice
Six sound options isn’t a lot, especially compared to more high-end machines. I think it’s better to at least include a couple of deeper pink or brown noise options.
By comparison, the Lectrofan, Avantek and Sound+Sleep have 20 or more sound options.
The buttons make a loud click sound when you press them. Not a major issue, but if you need to smoothly change sounds in the night, it’s a bit jarring.
Sound quality suffers at a loud volume
For this price, you’re not going to get an amazing speaker, and it’s actually fine on low to mid volume.
But if you need a loud machine to drown out noise, you might find the louder volume on the Big Red Rooster is as bothersome as the sound you’re trying to mask.
If you don’t want to spend much on a white noise machine, the Big Red Rooster is one of the better ones I’ve seen for under $20.
Probably the main points in its favor are the easy to use buttons and the fact that it can be battery operated, which isn’t common with these devices.
However, you do get what you pay for. And in this case, that means a very limited number of sounds and a design that feels cheaply made.
One final note is that there are two very similar models. The one reviewed here is for adults, but they also make another one for babies, which you can tell by the inclusion of a lullaby sound. So be sure to check before you buy.