We all have to admit that the alarm clock is one of the best inventions ever. If it weren’t for them, we surely wouldn’t be able to get out of bed early in the morning to go to our jobs – and being late to our job would get us fired. Getting fired would also mean no money to pay rent, and no money to pay rent would make us homeless. Ah, God bless alarm clocks.
But why would you buy a new clock rather than using the one on your phone, for instance? Well, for one, a clock that mainly works as an alarm is fancy. Plus, imagine what would happen if you suddenly ran out of battery in the middle of the night.
New-generation alarm clocks also have certain features that will make sure you don’t hit that “snooze” button.
What Is An Alarm Clock
An alarm clock is basically a regular clock that will start ringing at a specified time. Their main use is to wake you up in the morning or after a nap, but they are also very useful for other purposes as well.
Alarm clocks have come a very long way since the day they first came into being. The first alarm clocks would follow the sun or use hourglasses, and when the time came, it would “raise the alarm” – which would be either pebble on a gong or blown trumpets. That seemed like the proper way to wake up.
Alarm clocks started taking different shapes over time. While before you had only an annoying ringing sound to deal with, now you can choose your song or pick a radio station to start playing when the alarm time hits.
Smarter alarm clocks even let you choose the song, so you can decide if you want to wake up with the soothing sound of a piano or with the shrilling screech of a nuclear alarm – because every morning should obviously begin with a heart attack.
Types Of Alarm Clocks
Since everyone needs an alarm clock at some point, humankind became very creative with the designs. For instance, light sleepers would do well with alarm clocks that are barely audible, only vibrating as it wakes you up.
On the other hand, a heavy sleeper would sleep right through it – so unless it’s one of those alarms that jump off the nightstand and start ringing loudly as they hide from you, then you have no chances of waking up. Depending on what kind of sleeper you are, here are the types of alarm clocks that you can go for.
Analog Alarm Clock
Analog clocks are those that you probably grew up seeing on your grandparent’s nightstand before cell phone alarms even came into existence. Quartz and a battery power this old-fashioned wake-up system, and it shows the time by means of rotating hands. Their ringtones are also usually pretty basic – a ringing sound.
These alarm clocks lack any fancy features that most modern alarms do. However, they’re simple, cheap, and effective. Plus, if you are into vintage stuff, a nicely-built one may be a very great acquisition to your home.
Digital Alarm Clock
As the name suggests, the digital clock will display time digitally. Therefore, instead of trying to figure out the time by staring half-asleep at the circle of a clock, you’ll see the time right away. Plus, unlike analog clocks, these may also use real-life sounds or music to wake you up.
Digital alarm clocks are often referred to as “electronic clocks;” however, the digital part only refers to the display. You can find analog-styled alarm clocks that are driven electronically or digital ones that use the same clockwork mechanism as the grandfather alarm clock. The only thing that’s different is the way it shows you the time.
Atomic Alarm Clock
Unlike analog and digital alarm clocks that use quartz to power them, atomic alarm clocks use electron transition frequencies or other electronic spectrums of atoms to keep track of time. It is usually the best-rated alarm clock since it displays time most accurately, and can be connected to other devices using GPS or other tools with atomic-wave receptors.
Projection Alarm Clock
Also going under the name of “ceiling clock,” a projection alarm can be either a digital or analog clock that has been equipped with a projector. This projector will create an image on a suitable screen when it’s time to wake up – most of the time using the ceiling for it.
The advantage of this device is that you can put it anywhere. A lot of people prefer keeping their clock close to check the time if they wake up throughout the night, and end up hitting the “snooze” button on and on.
However, these types of alarm clocks can be placed at the other end of the room, and you can still see the time. This technique will get you out of bed whether you like it or not, since you’ll have to go and shut off the sound. Also, this is the best buy alarm clock if your vision is bad.
Gentle Wakeup Alarm Clock
Also known as the silent alarm clock, the gentle wake-up system is for those who don’t want to get a heart attack every morning. These types of people wake up at every sound, and if something very loud wakes them from their slumber, they end up being in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
They may be called “silent,” but they aren’t always quiet. Indeed, there are some alarm clocks that only use vibration to wake you up as gently as possible. The best vibrating alarm clock will make you wake up while still allowing your spouse to sleep soundly.
On the other hand, a gentle wake up alarm clock can also use a gradual alarm that starts at a low volume and then gets louder as the seconds pass. Therefore, instead of abruptly waking up and not knowing what’s happening and what world you’re in, you’ll gradually work your way into the “world of the awake.”
Heavy Sleeper Alarm Clock
This is where things start to get serious. Some people would be able to sleep through a hurricane without waking up – most of them hitting the snooze button without even noticing it.
Before they know it, it’s 10 AM, they’re two hours late for work, and they pray to God that their boss hasn’t noticed yet that they’re not there. You’ll need the best loud alarm clock if you want to avoid this situation.
These alarm clocks may be equipped with different functions, such as sonic bomb sounds that vibrate through the windows, thumping alerting lights that will wake up even the dead, or even wheels that will activate when the alarm starts ringing and make it go under the bed.
You’ll have no chance of hitting the snooze button, and you’ll have to get up in order to look for the clock. By the time you’re done with the whole ordeal, you’ll be fully awake and no longer feel like going back to sleep.
Travel Alarm Clock
Travel alarm clocks are a good thing to have around when you are traveling, especially if you are doing so for business and are literally “on the clock.” Since travelers need to travel fairly light, these alarm clocks were made to be compact enough to put in a suitcase or a pocket from your suit.
Since these alarm clocks were made to be compact, they may not have all the fancy extras as a home clock would have. Sure enough, modern travel clocks may have figured out a way to squeeze some features in, but they will still be pretty basic.
Kids Alarm Clock
When adults think about alarm clocks, they usually have one thing in mind: functionality and the ability to wake them up. Kids, on the other hand, are mostly interested in the way they look and how they sound. If the device has a design that they consider attractive, they will also love using it.
Furthermore, the best children’s alarm clock needs to be simple to use. You may need to show them how to do it once or twice, but eventually they will have to know how to set their own alarm – so a simple setting will be very convenient for you and your little ones.
Alarm Clock Specs
Depending on how and when you plan on using the clock, there are certain specifications to consider when buying it. Here are the most important features.
The power source is usually dependant on the type of alarm; however, when buying your own clock, you may still want to think if you want a battery or outlet-operated power source.
Outlet-powered clocks don’t need you to replace the batteries constantly; however, one power outage, and you’ll wake up like the McCallister family from Home Alone, screaming and running around like wild bats because you’re very late.
Battery-powered alarm clocks are very convenient because they can be taken and placed everywhere. If you’re going camping, for instance, you won’t have a power outlet to plug in your clock – so you’ll need batteries. However, you’ll constantly have to change the batteries, so unless you have rechargeable ones, it will cost you some cash in the long run.
There are two types of people in this world: some that finds LCD and LED displays a more convenient and modern option, and others that believe that the retro designs of traditional clocks should be all the rage.
Those who want a digital display will look for things such as screen brightness and whether or not it’s easy on the eyes. Some alarm clocks may display the time on the ceiling or wall, making it easier for the individual to view the time.
Some alarm clocks will force you to wake up right away; however, others will let you doze off for a couple more minutes and wake you up again after a few moments. This setting is called “snooze.”
Depending on the clock, the snooze option may be fixed (it will ring again after 10 minutes, for example), or you can program the snooze yourself. Therefore, if you feel like “snoozing” for 15 minutes, you’re free to do so.
A timer setting is also something that most people look for in an alarm clock – specifically, a dual timer. This option will let you set two alarms that will go off at different times. If your schedule during the week differs from the one on Saturday, then this setting may be something you should consider.
Some people buy alarm clocks just to use them as alarm clocks; on the other hand, there are also tech-savvy people that won’t settle for a device unless it has some extra capabilities. Beyond showing the time, some clocks may also tell you the temperature or show different time zones. Others are alarm clocks that have a Bluetooth stereo speaker.
Some clocks will have automatic daylight saving time options or use radio frequencies to change the time itself. Furthermore, in the case of a power outage, some clocks will be able to reset themselves so that you won’t accidentally oversleep.
There are so many fancy features to look into that you can’t even list all of them. While old alarm clocks may have been pretty basic, the modern-age ones are packed with a lot of options.
Analog Vs. Digital Alarm Clocks
Choosing your wake-up device will always be a debate: should you stay analog or should you just go with the flow and change to digital? Is there any reason why you should choose one over the other?
We have to admit; there’s a certain appeal when it comes to analog alarm clocks. Not only do they give a vintage look to your home, but they are also more energy efficient. With energy costs going through the roofs, an analog clock will be a money-saving acquisition.
An analog clock will be able to run on the same batteries for months, and they are also a great ally of the “green movement” since they do not have flashy, energy-consuming LED lights. Plus, if you need these clocks for larger environments such as colleges or hospitals, the analog option may be a good investment.
Digital alarm clocks, on the other hand, were not so popular at first. People were avoiding them either for their looks or other reasons. Now, only few households have analog alarm clocks – most of them going digital. And here is the reason why they “swapped” teams:
If you look at the hands of the clock, you can’t always accurately tell the time – especially if you are in a rush to get ready and go out the door. Plus, analog alarm clocks need to be reset once in a while, because it’s common for the hands to “skip a beat” now and then. Before you know it, it skipped so many that you’ll wake up later than the time you were actually supposed to.
They’re Easier To Read
“Wait, what did that hand position read again?” A sad but true fact is that reading analog alarm clocks is never taught in schools anymore. A lot have gone digital, and you’ll only see a few ones that still have analog on their wall. So, even if you buy the best kid alarm clock, he or she may not know exactly the time for the alarm.
You Only Set It Once
Today’s digital alarm clocks represent a very convenient option since they have the AM/PM option. Therefore, if you have to be up at 7:30 AM, you need to only set it once for the entire week.
Analog clocks, on the other hand, may need to be turned off if you don’t want it to go off at 7:30 PM as well. Since they go through the cycle twice, they won’t know the exact time of day, so you’ll have to stop and reset that alarm continuously.
They Have Fewer Problems
How many times were you late for work because your clock decided it was a great idea to break a spring during the night? Since analog clocks have an entire mechanism based on coils, cogs, and springs, they are very likely to either speed up or slow down.
Digital alarm clocks, on the other hand, work on precise electronics with no parts that are moving, making it less likely to have internal errors like that. Digital alarm clocks seem to be the favorite choice; but then again, it all depends on your preferences.
In order to make sure that you don’t pick out an alarm clock that will fail you on the first ring, you need to invest in a brand that you can actually trust. Popular brands are popular for a reason, so you may take a look at the options below:
Sonic Alert has two things in mind when building clocks: efficiency and simplicity. They do not want the mumbo jumbo that comes with various modern alarm clocks, but they do want to make sure that you will wake up.
All Sonic Alert alarm clocks will be equipped with features such as amplified sounds, but you may also get one with a bed shaker – which will surely wake you up.
iHome alarm clocks are for those who love having some extras attached to their devices. If you are one of those people that want to connect their phone to the clock’s speaker, then you can simply get a model with a Bluetooth connection.
They also make alarm clocks with special compartments where you can charge your phone. The best iHome alarm clock can have many features that you can play around with.
Philips alarm clocks have always been popular for the fact that they are durable. They may look simple, but they can do the job right. If you are on the lookout for the best silent alarm clock, Philips has some models with vibration technology that you may find interesting.
Electrohome has many digital models with features that may look attractive to every buyer, such as a radio, projector, or phone charging outlet. Electrohome alarm clocks are versatile and they are usually compact enough to be placed just about everywhere.
When it comes to taking care of your clock, there is one golden rule that you need to follow: if you’re not a professional, don’t try to fix it yourself. You may only end up breaking it more than it already is.
You may, however, want to make sure that it’s always dust-free. If dust gets into the mechanism, it may cause it to malfunction sooner that it was supposed to. Also, for battery-powered alarm clocks, you may want to use alkaline batteries, since they work with non-acidic paste and are less likely to damage your device.
Alarm clocks are literally something we can’t live without. We need them to get to school or to work, and without alarm clocks, we’d live in a state of complete chaos. Sure, we all have our internal alarm clocks – but sadly, some of them are set for noon.
No matter if you want a digital or an analog alarm clock, you need to take into consideration every factor. How loud do you want it? Where do you want to plug it? Do you want to plug it? What sounds does it come with? Think about everything that will allow you to wake up when you’re supposed to.
The best bedroom alarm clock will make the difference between waking up on time and diving straight into the NASCAR morning races. For more tips, you may also check our buying guide.