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The Best Smart Alarm Clocks to Keep on Your Nightstand

A smart alarm clock can set alarms, play calming music while you sleep, and answer questions in the morning about the day ahead.

5 smart alarm clocks on a bed side table
Tucker Bowe

A smart alarm clock is essentially a smart speaker — like an Amazon Echo or a Sonos One — but one that's specially designed with extra privacy features so that it can live in your bedroom. It typically doesn't have a camera (but if it does, you can shut it off). Its mics can be turned off, too. And, unlike most smart speakers, a smart alarm clock has a display so that it can, well, show you the time.

Aside from the obvious and aforementioned privacy features, a good smart alarm clock needs to do a few things. It needs to be able to display the time and tell you the time (the latter of which you should be able to do with a voice command). It needs to be set an alarm (again, via voice command). And it needs to be able to play music (specifically sleep sounds like blowing wind or falling rain).

Today's breed of smart alarm clocks come in various shapes and sizes, and many of them come with extra abilities. They automatically adjust their brightness and dimming depending on the time of the day. They allow you to snooze them quickly or stop the alarm. Thanks to their displays, they can show you the weather or play videos from the likes of YouTube or Prime Video. And thanks to their camera, they can also video call or show you footage from a compatible smart home camera.

That said, depending on your needs, concerns and existing smart home ecosystem, not every smart alarm clock is going to be right for you.

What to Look for

Ecosystem: You want to buy a smart alarm clock that's consistent with the other smart devices in your home. If your smart home is built around Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri (HomeKit), you want a smart alarm clock that also fits in that ecosystem. It'll make your life and controlling all your devices a lot easier.

Camera: Most people don't want a device with a camera in their bedroom. So even though every smart alarm clock that does have a built-in camera allows you to manually turn it off, its mere presence might be a deal breaker. That said, the camera does afford some special features like video calls.

Sound quality: A smart alarm clock can also function as a speaker — and sound quality is definitely important. Since many of these smart alarm clocks are tiny, they generally don't sound all that great. That said, there are a few that impress.

Size and display: Space is limited on your nightstand and depending on the size of the smart alarm clock, it might not fit (or fit well). Of course, the larger the smart alarm clock the more likely the larger its display will be; and that's going to make it easier to view and read content (like the time, weather or news).

Special features: Some smart alarm clocks are more capable and feature-packed than others. Some of the integrated ports (or a wireless charger) so you can charge other devices, while others have special sleep monitoring features so you can get a better idea of your sleep health without having to wear a smartwatch.

How We Tested

smart alarm clocks on a bed side table
Tucker Bowe

We tested each of the below smart alarm clocks on a nightstand and in a bedroom situation. We evaluated each on their sound quality, display responsiveness and how smart/useful each was when responding to queries or executing tasks that are vital for an alarm clock, such as setting alarms and answering questions about the day.

The Best Smart Alarm Clocks

Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)

Google
The Best Smart Alarm Clock for Google Assistant
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
walmart.com
$54.99

  • Best display of any smart alarm clock
  • Google Assistant is very smart
  • Can track and monitor your sleep

  • Slightly expensive
  • No extra ports or integrated wireless charger

Google's second-generation Nest Hub is probably the best smart alarm clock you can buy. It's got the biggest and best display. It’s really smart, thanks to a tight integration with Google Assistant. And it just has a bunch of neat features. You can use it as a digital photo frame and display your albums from Google Photos. You can use your voice to summon videos from YouTube or a live feed from a smart home camera (it's compatible with a lot of them, made by Nest or a third party). The speaker is decent, too. But maybe the coolest thing is that it has a radar sensor that (working in tandem with the other sensors) can measure your breathing and movement while you sleep. Basically, it can you how to sleep without requiring you to wear a wearable. And that's pretty cool.

The Nest Hub (Gen 2) is available in four different colors: chalk, charcoal, mist (blue) and sand (light pink).

Amazon Echo Show 5

Courtesy
The Best Smart Alarm Clock for Alexa
Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen)
amazon.com
$84.99
$39.99 (53% off)

  • Perfect size for a nightstand
  • Works with a wide-variety of devices
  • Frequently on sale

  • Display can be slow
  • Clunky interface
  • No extra ports or integrated wireless charger

The Echo Show 5 is a smaller and more privacy-focused version of Amazon’s Echo Show (2nd Gen). It has a camera for things like video calls, but there’s a built-in cover so you can manually block it whenever you like (including all the time). It responds Alexa and you can even use voice commands to delete recordings instead of having to use the Alexa app; you can say “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” or “Alexa, delete what I just said” to swiftly delete voice data. It works with a large variety of Amazon's speakers and smart home devices, so you can group it in a multi-room system with other Echo devices or summon a live feed from a compatible security camera (there is a lot of that support Alexa). The Echo Show 5 isn't the best speaker, nor is its display as intuitive or responsive as the Nest Hub, for example. But it's a solid, capable and affordable smart alarm clock for anybody with an Amazon smart home.

Lenovo Smart Clock 2

Courtesy
Lenovo Smart Clock (Gen 2)
lenovo.com
$69.99

  • Perfect size for a night stand
  • Google Assistant is very smart
  • Frequently on sale

  • Display and features aren't as nice as Google's Nest Hub
  • Wireless charger costs extra

Lenovo's second-generation Smart Clock looks very much like the original (now discontinued). It has the same 4-inch display as its predecessor and still comes integrated with Google Assistant, but Lenovo gave it a better speaker (that plays stereo) and made it slightly taller. This new design allows the Smart Clock 2 to be compatible with a wireless charging dock, which you could use to charge your smartphone overnight. The wireless charging dock is sold separately, but you'll likely want to get it because it has a built-in USB port (so you charge another device) and it has a neat nightlight feature.

The Smart Clock 2 costs $50 on Lenovo's website. You can buy it with a wireless charging dock for an extra $20. It's available in grey or blue.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Courtesy
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
amazon.com
$59.99
$49.99 (17% off)

  • Compatible with a wide variety of smart devices
  • Frequently on sale
  • Speaker is surprisingly good

  • No smart display or integrated camera

The latest Echo Dot isn't technically a smart display — but it's still a worthy inclusion on this list. It sports a new spherical design and a nice fabric finish. It has a single front-firing speaker and, if you like, you can pair it with another Echo Dot for a stereo setup. The built-in LED clock also makes it feel sort of like a smart display. That feature costs an extra $10 over the standard Echo Dot, but it also turns it into an excellent nightstand accessory for anybody with an Alexa smart home.

The Echo Dot with Clock is available in two colors: glacier white and twilight blue.

Anker Soundcore Wakey

Courtesy
The Best Non-Smart Alternative
Anker Wakey
amazon.com
$89.99

  • Lack of smarts means less worrying about privacy
  • Integrated wireless charger is nice
  • Bluetooth streaming

  • No built-in voice assistant or smart display
  • Difficult to find and buy
  • Smartphone needs to be nearby to do most things

The Wakey is a little bit of an outlier on this list because 1) it doesn't have a display and 2) it doesn't have any Wi-Fi connectivity and, therefore, doesn't have a built-in voice assistant. The main drawback is that your smartphone needs to be nearby and connected to the Wakey for it does most things, including setting alarms. And that can be frustrating. But the lack of connectivity also means you have fewer privacy concerns with the Wakey. It does have a built-in digital clock and a built-in speaker, the latter of which you can stream music from your smartphone via Bluetooth or use a hardwire connection (thanks to its AUX or USB-A ports). Additionally, the Wakey has two special features. It has a built-in Qi-wireless charging pad, so you can charge your smartphone at night. And it comes with an antenna in case you wanted to listen to AM/FM radio.

The Soundcore Wakey is available in two colors: white or black.

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