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Imagine this: the steady hum of a fan, the rush of a waterfall, or a crackling fire. Sounds nice, right?

White noise machines are designed to play these serene sounds to help calm you, drown out environmental noises, or fill unwanted silence.

While not everyone benefits from one, white noise machines can be great for people who have a hard time getting good sleep because of distracting sounds.

If this sounds familiar, read on to find our picks for the best white noise machines so you can create a bedroom that’s music to your ears.

A white noise machine uses sound to minimize ambient noise. That makes them useful when you’re trying to fall asleep, but they also help block distracting sounds if you need to focus.

White noise machines come in a range of options. Some machines emit a true white noise, which sounds like static. Others have a low hum, similar to a fan. Some deliver sounds of nature, like rain, thunderstorms, ocean waves, or crackling fire. Many white noise machines offer adjustability features, so you can switch sounds or play with volume and speed.

You can find small white noise machines that are designed for travel, as well as bigger versions with other features, like an alarm clock or light. There are also free white noise apps for smartphones.

Here, we’ve included six white noise machines, each with an element that’s a little different than the others.

  • Variety. We looked at machines that work for various scenarios, such as for travel or children. But we also included a classic, no-frills option if you’re just starting out with white noise machines. A couple of machines also have variety in frequencies, sound types, and additional features.
  • Price. When it comes to white noise machines, you have options depending on your budget. You can either purchase an actual machine (some have more bells and whistles than others), or you can try free white noise applications on your smartphone. Five of the six machines we included are under $100, and one of them is free.
  • Reviews and trials. We looked at online customer reviews, asked current white machine users for their feedback, and even tested products to determine which were the best of the best.

Healthline’s Medical Affairs team also vets products for brand integrity and safety, researching products to ensure they’re up to industry standards and best practices.

Pricing guide

Each product indicates its price as one of the following:

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = $30–$60
  • $$$ = $61–$120
  • $$$$ = over $120

Best classic white noise machine

Yogasleep Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine

  • Price: $$
  • Features: adjustable tone and volume, two speeds
  • Size: fits on most nightstands; 5.59 x 5.59 x 3.46 inches
  • Who it’s best for: those who want a simple, no-frills white noise machine

If you’re looking for a standard white noise machine, the Dohm Classic is your pal. Yogasleep has been around for half of a decade, creating noise machines such as this low tech classic.

The machine comes in two speed options. By twisting the outer shell of the machine, you can also shift the volume and pitch to the noise setting you prefer. The sound is less electronic and more like a natural-sounding fan or a low hum.

While it doesn’t come with too many sound options, the machine is simple to use and great if you really want the noise of a fan without the fan.

As far as customer reviews go, the Dohm Classic is a slam dunk. Buyers really love the product for its simplicity, versatility, and soothing sound. Many customers say that they can’t possibly live without it, and some of our own friends and acquaintances swear by it. When we used the product for the night, we quickly loved its soft sound and constant rhythm.

On the other hand, some customers don’t find the noise loud enough to block out certain sounds, such as lower bass volumes or shrill pitches. Others are disappointed by the lack of variety and subtle adjustments.

This classic pick is really a no-frills classic — meaning there’s no rainforest atmosphere or crackling fire sounds — and the limited volume adjustability may not fit your needs. But overall, if you’re looking for that basic noise machine, this one fits the bill.

Pros

  • simple and straightforward
  • excellent reviews
  • reasonable price point

Cons

  • limited sound options
  • limited volume adjustability

Best white noise machine for masking sound

LectroFan Classic

  • Price: $$
  • Features: 20 noise options and a timer
  • Size: fits on most nightstands, potentially portable; 2 x 4 x 2 inches
  • Who it’s best for: those who want true white noise

Not everyone finds the sound of a fan soothing or helpful when trying to sleep. Others might like the literal sound of white noise, a constant static sound (similar to a television left untuned). That’s where the LectroFan comes in.

This machine has 20 noise options to choose from, 10 of which fall into the fan category and 10 that sound like static white noise. Each sound emits a different pitch (higher or lower), and it can be switched with the press of a button to find your perfect frequency.

The LectroFan can also get really loud (within a limit), so if you’re really trying to drown out any outside noise, this one works. You can set a timer for 60 minutes, which is great if you want to doze off to the noise but not have it on all night.

Overall, customers really love the LectroFan as a classic white noise machine. For most, it’s loud enough to drown out barking dogs, snoring, a neighbor’s music, or even a construction site.

Whether they prefer the white noise or the fan sounds, reviewers really like having options to choose from. For those who feel like some white noise machines are too quiet or soft, they might find comfort in LectroFan’s heavy static noise.

Conversely, a few customers feel that the LectroFan is too harsh and doesn’t sound like the everyday fan they wanted. Others say they think the sounds are too electronic or metallic, and the machine doesn’t create a soothing feeling. But, if you’re looking to tackle any unwanted noise while you’re sleeping, the LectroFan may meet those demands.

Pros

  • lots of sounds options
  • timer for convenience
  • reasonable price point
  • smaller size

Cons

  • sounds may not be soothing for everyone
  • not ideal for those who prefer sounds like crashing waves or rainforest atmosphere

Best portable white noise machine

Yogasleep Travel Mini Sound Machine

  • Price: $
  • Features: 3–6 noise options, adjustable volume, and a night-light
  • Size: fits in most jacket pockets; 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.77 inches
  • Who it’s best for: those who want something portable

The Yogasleep Travel Mini Sound Machine is great for taking white noise on the go. It’s smaller than an adult’s palm and includes sounds like a stream, a thunderstorm, and a “Dohm Sound,” which is essentially static noise. It also has adjustable volume and a small, adjustable night-light.

Reviewers say the Travel Mini’s battery life lasts through the night, with one reviewer saying that the fully charged product lasts 24 hours before it dies.

People also report that it’s great for traveling and that the little night-light is a warm white color that’s great for nighttime. But some reviewers find it too small to adjust. They say the function buttons are hard to tell apart at night since they all feel the same.

We tested this product — as well as the Yogasleep Rohm Travel Sound Machine — and we loved them both. In the end, we decided to recommend the Travel Mini because we like the night-light and babbling brook sounds. But we would gladly take either on a trip.

Pros

  • portable
  • six sound options
  • adjustable volume
  • adjustable nightlight
  • inexpensive

Cons

  • small size may make it hard to use
  • buttons on the smaller side

Best white noise machine for children

Hatch Baby Rest

  • Price: $$$
  • Features: night-light, alert system, and adjustable color, brightness, sounds, and volume
  • Size: fits on most nightstands; 4 x 4 x 6.25 inches
  • Who it’s best for: children

A sound machine, night-light, and time-to-rise alert system all in one, the Hatch Baby Rest may be a parent’s dream white noise machine for their child.

You can use your phone to control the specific hue, brightness, volume, and tone of your sound as well as a time-to-rise alert with color indications. It comes with 11 sound options that include classic white noise and sounds like the ocean, wind, water streams, and more.

The Hatch Baby Rest is meant to promote a healthy circadian rhythm and sleep schedule for all ages. The company highlights the sound machine’s ability to grow with your child’s needs — from diaper changes to wakeup time for preschool.

This sound machine is incredibly popular with parents. The system has a near-perfect rating by Amazon customers (13,600 reviews, in fact), and the users we spoke with swear by it for their children — they even joke that they now want one for themselves, too.

Reviewers are impressed with how the machine helps their children calm down and fall asleep at night. Reviewers also love the ability to change the settings from another room, instead of getting up in the middle of the night to switch off the light or pick a different sound.

But some parents find the sound options limited, not comforting enough, or too high pitched. Other parents note that without the app, the Hatch Baby Rest is hard to operate since the buttons are on the bottom of the machine.

Overall, if you’re looking for a white noise machine for your children, this one has more than enough parents vouching for its success.

Pros

  • smartphone controlled
  • multiple features, including night-light and time-to-rise alert
  • highly adjustable

Cons

  • hard to operate without app (buttons on the bottom of the machines)

Best multipurpose white noise machine

Loftie Clock

  • Price: $$$$
  • Features: clock, night-light, media player, and speaker
  • Size: fits on most nightstands; 2.75 x 6.5 x 2.75 inches
  • Who it’s best for: those who want multiple features

If you’re looking for an all-in-one option, then the Loftie Clock might fit the bill. Its mission is to be a replacement for your phone by incorporating applications without the distractions.

Released in 2020, this product includes an alarm clock, a night-light, and 15 white noise options (including basic sounds as well as options like a crackling fire and lakeside beach).

You can also choose from playlists like sound baths or breathwork. Breathwork is designed to promote the use of breath in how you handle stress and anxiety. An app is included to set up the clock, but you don’t need it to use the device.

Reviews for the Loftie Clock are somewhat mixed, with some customers loving the product and others finding issues with it. People enjoy the applications and the breathwork as a nice session to do in the morning. Customers also like the noise options and the customization it offers.

Others say they’re disappointed by what they got at the high price point. Several have reported issues with Wi-Fi connection and the phone application. Some people also say the clock doesn’t come with all the features it should, but customer service was quick to answer questions and send any replacements.

In our own testing, we particularly enjoyed the alarm clock in the morning and the different soothing sound options. For some, this multifunction sound machine might be exactly what they want. We recommend keeping an eye on reviews as the product gains popularity — especially at this price point.

Pros

  • smartphone controlled
  • lots of features, including alarm clock and night-light
  • additional features like sound baths and breathwork

Cons

  • mixed customer reviews
  • high price point

Best white noise app

myNoise

  • Price: free
  • Features: timer, alarm, and adjustable tone, volume, and sound
  • Who it’s best for: those who don’t want a device at all

Purchasing a white noise machine might not be for everyone, but there are some cheaper (and even free) options that you can get on your phone.

The myNoise app, available for both Android and iOS, provides several customizable sound options — from standard white noise to Tibetan choir and warp speed.

Listeners can adjust each sound to incorporate more bass or high pitches, or they can use the app’s “animate” option to automatically adjust those settings.

You can set a timer for the sounds as well as an alarm. Some of the sounds work best with headphones, but we enjoy them without headphones, too.

The app comes with a few free sound options, but you can also purchase others from the app for a dollar, such as a fireplace, traffic, or a Japanese oase.

Reviewers really enjoy the myNoise app, primarily citing how great the sounds are free of charge and how the app delves into specific sounds for individual tastes.

Some people also say that the app does a great job drowning out outside noise and that the extensive customization helps give them nice variety.

While some customers say that the app is a bit buggy and has crashed a few times, this affordable white noise machine is a great option overall.

Pros

  • it’s free, with in-app purchases available for different sounds
  • sound choices are customizable and adjustable

Cons

  • headphones may be needed improve experience
  • some have experienced technical difficulties with occasional bugs and crashes

When shopping for a white noise machine, there are some features to keep in mind that can fit your lifestyle. Here are some common options to consider:

Type of machine

Some may want a product with extra functions, while others are just looking for the most standard equipment they can find. If you like the idea of an all-in-one product with sounds, lights, and special features, you might want to look in a higher price range.

If you just want a simple product, you can find affordable options and even free applications on your phone. White noise machines come in all variations, so try to figure out what works well for you and your nightly routine.

White noise variety

More standard white noise machines may have fewer options to choose from. But if you already know what sounds work best for you, variety might not be an important feature.

Some people might prefer an ability to shift sounds, tones, and pitch night by night, or they might not know what works best for them yet. In that case, it might be a good idea to try out a multi-sound application or machine that includes white noise, nature sounds, techno music (works for some people!), and soothing ocean sounds.

Volume and tone control

Volume control and tone shifting can be essential for your noise machine depending on how you plan to use it. Some may want to drown out all outside sounds with the loudest safe volume they can set. Others might not have that issue, but instead want a white noise machine for comfort in their room or their child’s.

If volume really matters to you, check out the products that can be set really quiet or incredibly loud, such as the LectroFan. The same goes for tone. If you’re looking for a variety in sound waves, some white noise machines might suit you better than others.

ProductPriceKey featuresSize
Yogasleep Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine$$adjustable tone, volume, and speed5.59″ x 5.59″ x 3.46″
LectroFan Classic$$20 noise options and timer2″ x 4″ x 2″
Yogasleep Travel Mini Sound Machine$3–6 noise options, adjustable volume, and a night-light2.5″ x 2.5″ x 1.77″
Hatch Baby Rest$$$night-light, alert system, adjustable color, adjustable brightness, adjustable volume, and 11 sound options4″ x 4″ x 6.25″
Loftie Clock$$$$clock, night-light, media player, and speaker, sound baths, and breathwork2.75″ x 6.5″ x 2.75″
myNoisefreetimer, alarm, and adjustable tone, volume, and soundN/A

How do white noise machines work?

White noise machines work by masking ambient noise with sounds that relax the listener.

True white noise has a range of frequencies and sounds like a humming noise. Other kinds of white noise are actually pink or brown noises, which tend to have a lower frequency and more intensity. These sounds are often calming and familiar, like rain or ocean waves.

How do you use a white noise machine?

For the most part, white noise machines are used without headphones. However, some products, such as the myNoise app, say headphones are OK for certain sounds.

As for placement, it really depends on personal preference. Yogasleep suggests putting your sound machine just outside your bedroom door, closest to the noise you want to mask. But if you just want the machine to fall asleep, you can place the device close to your bed for the best effect.

As for volume, it’s important to consider what’s healthy for your ears. The World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that people avoid listening to sounds more than 70 decibels over a 24-hour period or 75 decibels over an 8-hour period.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), normal conversation is about 60 decibels and a washing machine is around 70. Decibels in the 70s may be considered annoyingly loud, so keep that in mind when you adjust the volume on your white noise machine.

Who are white noise machines best for?

White noise machines might not be for everyone, but they can be great for people dealing with a snoring roommate, intrusive outside noises, insomnia, or other sleep disorders. Incorporating a white noise machine into your nightly schedule might not be necessary if you don’t have reason for it.

Are white noise machines OK for babies?

White noise machines have been shown to benefit children’s sleep. They may aid in a baby’s sleep patterns or cover unwanted noises during the nighttime or during a nap.

A 2018 study found that playing white noise machines specifically helped with crying and the sleeping durations of colicky babies. For children, pediatricians advise keeping the white noise machine at least 7 feet away from the bed.

Parents should also keep the volume lower than the maximum or under 50 decibels as recommended for hospital nurseries, according to a 2014 study.

But this research also found that white noise machines could be harmful — depending on the volume level — and they could increase an infant’s risk of hearing loss. Some white noise machines go over the sound limit for babies and pregnant people, which can also be harmful to the fetus (if over 45 decibels).

It’s also important to keep in mind that some babies might not need or want white noise to fall asleep, or they might become dependent on the system, which could ultimately disrupt a child’s sleep.

When considering a white noise machine, a soothing sound while drifting off can be beneficial for some, but not everyone should assume they need one.

There are numerous options to choose from, from a standard white noise machine to more elaborate all-in-one clocks and affordable phone applications.

In the end, the decision comes down to your specific needs, your personal lifestyle, and if you like the sound of techno music at 4 a.m.


Elena Bruess is a writer and multimedia journalist based in Chicago. Her work covers the intersection of health, environment, and human rights. You can follow her on Twitter here.