The Best Wake-Up Lights 2021Updated on January 24, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
If you’ve ever found yourself startled into being awake and lashing out at the snooze button on your alarm clock or cell phone, you’ve probably thought, “there has to be a better way!”
Thankfully, there is a better way to start your day: a wake-up light.
While the abrupt way of beginning the day is common, it’s far from ideal, and a wake-up light provides a more relaxing and sensible start to the morning.
A wake-up light works by incrementally increasing the amount of light that it emits as you get closer to the set time to wake up. This gives your body time to adjust and provides a more gradual end to a night’s sleep.
The features and functions of a wake-up light can vary significantly, and that can make it hard to identify the best one for your bedroom. Our guide highlights our top picks for the best wake-up lights and reviews the critical information that you need to make an informed purchase.
Our Top Picks
|Wake-Up Light||7 colors; 10 brightness settings; can be charged via USB or plug; battery backup||$27|
|Wake-Up Light||Sunrise and sunset settings; 20 brightness levels; 8-hour backup power||$137|
|Lumie Bodyclock Active 250||Wake-up and dimming timers up to 90 minutes; security lighting feature for when you’re away from home; fully-dimmable display||$125|
|Sunrise Alarm Clock||10 brightness settings; multi-color display; battery backup; sunrise and sunset options||$19|
|Glow Light||Durable and portable; brightness adjustments with just a twist; brightness changes for wake-up or bedtime; low-level nightlight function; smartphone app for controls and sync||$89|
Totobaby Wake Up Light
Why we like it:
- Excellent price point
- Multiple colors and brightness levels
- FM radio plus 6 sounds
- Sunrise and sunset functions
The Totobay Wake-Up Light has 10 brightness settings and can be set to gradually brighten or darken for both sunrise and sunset simulations.
The light can be warm white or one of six other colors: green, red, blue, purple, orange, or indigo.
- USB or wall chargeable and has battery backup
- Seven colors to choose from
- 10 brightness settings
A 30-minute timer is available to begin the process of gradually increasing or decreasing light.
An easy one-touch snooze button lets you get extra sleep after the alarm goes off.
The Totobay light features 6 natural sounds and FM radio.
The price for this wake-up light is $27.99, which is lower than most wake-up lights and many basic clock radios as well.
The return window for this wake-up light is 30 days if you purchase through Amazon.
Totobay does not list any warranty information for this light.
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Why we like it:
- Broad range of brightness options
- Can be used to help waking up or fall asleep
- Backup power for up to 8 hours
- 90-day sleep trial and 2-year warranty
This light has 20 brightness settings, allowing it to project a wide range of light levels. It has a sunrise simulation that utilizes yellow and red colored lights, and it can be used for sunset dimming as well.
- Offers both sunrise and sunset simulation
- 20 light settings
- 8-hour backup power system
For waking up, the light can be set to start gaining brightness between 20 and 40 minutes before your wake-up time.
For nighttime, it can be set to dim within a range of 5 to 60 minutes.
It has an easy-to-tap snooze button.
For the alarm, you can choose from five wake-up sounds or FM radio.
The Philips Wake-Up Light costs $137.97, which is on the higher-end of the price range for these products.
Philips offers a 90-day sleep trial during which you can return the wake-up light for a full refund if you aren’t happy with it.
The light comes with a 2-year warranty.
Northern Light Technologies Lumie Bodyclock Wake-Up Light
Why we like it:
- 15-90 minute range for timer settings
- Dims to complete darkness
- Usable for sunrise or sunset simulations
- Backup power to prevent losing settings in a power outage
The Northern Light Technologies Lumie Bodyclock has a fully-dimmable light, meaning that it can be completely dark, including the time display.
The light can be programmed to get slowly brighter or darker, making it usable for waking up or going to bed.
It has a security setting that allows the light to automatically turn on and off if you are away from home, such as on vacation, but don’t want your household to remain dark the whole time.
- Security feature for lighting when you are away from home
- Timers up to 90 minutes for morning and night
- Decreasing volume with sunset settings
- Fully-dimmable display
When setting the light to gradually brighten or dim, time ranges include 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes.
There is a centrally-placed button for easy one-touch snooze.
This light comes with 6 sounds to choose from as well as the option to wake up to FM radio.
The Lumie Bodyclock costs $125.10, which is on the higher end of the price range for wake-up lights.
If you purchase the Lumie Bodyclock from Amazon, you have 30 days to try it out and return it for a refund if you are not satisfied.
The Lumie Bodyclock comes with a 1-year warranty.
hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
Why we like it:
- Affordable price point
- Extensive range of brightness settings and colors
- Timer up to 60 minutes for morning or night
The Sunrise Alarm Clock has 10 brightness settings and can feature 8 different colors.
Light can be set to automatically brighten or dim depending on whether you are using it to wake up or to go to sleep.
- Battery backup and USB charging options along with normal plug
- Multiple color displays and 10 brightness levels
- Works for sunrise or sunset
For the morning or evening, the timer can be set for a time up to 60 minutes.
A snooze is easily pressed to extend sleeping time once the alarm has gone off.
The Sunrise Alarm Clock comes with 6 available alarm sounds and an FM radio option.
This wake-up light costs $19.99, which is an extremely competitive price for these products.
You have 30 days to try out the Sunrise Alarm Clock with the option to return it for a complete refund if you are unsatisfied with it for any reason.
The Sunrise Alarm Clock comes with a 2-year warranty from hOmeLabs.
Casper Glow Light
Why we like it:
- Impressive functionality with smooth and simple operation
- Works for both the morning and evening
- Bluetooth and app controls, including for multiple lights
- Limited blue light exposure
- Fully portable and durable
The Casper Glow uses warm white LED light with amber LED accents. It is fully dimmable by twisting the lamp, and it can be used as a dim night light by giving it a gentle shake.
Flipping the light over starts it on a timer to slowly dim before bed. It can be programmed as a wake-up light using the smartphone app.
The light is portable and easily removed from its base for use in multiple locations.
The LED lights have limited blue light to reduce the negatives of light exposure before bed.
- Built-in gyroscope allows gradual brightness adjustments by twisting the light
- Portable and usable as a nightlight
- Durable plastic exterior protects against drops
- Smartphone app can control light, set wake-up schedule, and sync multiple Glow Lights
To use the Glow Light for gradual wake-up lighting, you must use the smartphone app. The app offers a timer of up to 30 minutes before your planned wake-up time.
For dimming, the timer is 45 minutes, and it can be paused by pressing the button on the top of the light.
There is no alarm feature for the Glow Light, and it does not have any sound or radio options.
The cost of one Glow Light is $89, and two can be purchased for $169. This is above the average price for many wake-up lights but far from the most expensive model.
Casper offers a sleep trial of 30 nights. During this trial, you can try out the Glow Light, and if you aren’t satisfied, you can send it back for a full refund.
The Glow Light comes with a 6-month limited warranty.
Best Wake-Up Lights Buying Guide
If you’re used to the standard type of alarm clock, buying a wake-up light may seem like a big change. Knowing how to separate the good from the bad and find a fit for your needs requires understanding some essential background about wake-up lights.
How Do Wake-Up Lights Work?
A wake-up light is like a dimmer in reverse. It gradually gets brighter as you get closer and closer to your set time to wake up. This increasing brightness may be combined with color or sound to create a relaxing environment for when you first open your eyes.
Instead of a shrieking alarm in the dark, a wake-up alarm provides a calm way to ease your mind and body into being awake.
How Can a Wake-Up Light Improve My Morning?
Each of us has an internal clock that works to regulate the functioning of most systems of the body, including wakefulness and sleep. Research indicates that this clock works best when it is lined up with the day-night cycle where we live.
Our body has a natural sleep drive that encourages us to rest, and it also responds to a circadian alerting system that uses light to promote activity and alertness. These two drives operate in a back-and-forth way throughout the day.
A wake-up light manages this balance by exposing your body to light for a period of time before you actually wake up. This acts as a signal to your body that day is coming, letting it ramp up in preparation.
In the natural day-night cycle, it doesn’t go from pitch-black to bright sun. Instead, there’s first light, sunrise, and eventually full daylight. A wake-up light resembles this natural progression instead of having an instantaneous transition from dark to light.
With this gentle increase in light exposure, a wake-up light helps you begin the day more relaxed and well-rested.
What Features Are Available on Wake-Up Lights?
Virtually all wake-up lights have the same basic functionality of slowly increasing in brightness, but some models provide additional features.
Many wake-up lights have only one color light, such as a yellow or white light. Others, though, can display a wide range of colors.
Sound Variety and Volume
Most wake-up lights offer sound in addition to just light. The number and type of sounds available can represent a feature that can help distinguish between models.
Types of sounds from wake-up lights fall into a few categories.
- Alarms: because the increasing light alone may not be enough to wake you up, an alarm is built into most wake-up lights. Some models allow you to choose between several alarm sounds.
- Ambient noise: to create a more relaxing environment, some wake-up lights give you the option of having soothing sounds increase gradually along with the light.
- Radio: many wake-up lights allow you to play the radio or to use the radio as an alarm. Some may offer only FM while others have AM and FM.
The range of volume levels can be a feature. Some wake-up lights give you more control over how loud your alarm or any other sounds will be and how that volume changes as you approach your wake-up time.
Even after easing gradually into waking up, you may still want to doze for a few extra minutes. For this reason, a feature on many wake-up alarms is a snooze function similar to that available on most standard alarm clocks.
The slow increase in light is made for starting the morning, but some of these lights can also help ease you into sleep by gradually dimming before bedtime. This feature is sometimes referred to as a sunset setting because of how it simulates the slow descent of the sun and the measured transition from day into night.
Some wake-up lights have a battery backup to help preserve your alarm and settings even if the power goes out.
What Are the Key Considerations When Shopping For a Wake-Up Light?
If you’re investigating different wake-up lights, it can help to focus on the most important factors that will help you find the right product for you.
Brightness and Color Settings
The number of brightness levels offered by the wake-up clock can affect how much flexibility you have to find the right pattern to start your morning. If you want more control, look for a wake-up clock with 10 or more brightness settings and a longer timer.
Having colored light in addition to white or yellow gives enhanced customization, so it’s important to think about whether this function matters for you.
In the previous section, we reviewed the range of features that may be available with wake-up lights. Think about which of those features are “must haves” and rule out any models that don’t include them. Then think about which features are “nice to have” and use that list to home in on the choice that best suits your needs.
It’s worth investing in a quality wake-up light since it is something that you will use every day and that can help start your day off right. At the same time, it has to fit within your budget.
The lowest-priced and most basic wake-up lights can be found from $20-$40 while more feature-packed or luxury models can be in excess of $130.
A sleep trial lets you try out a wake-up light for a period of time with the ability to return it for a full refund if it doesn’t work for you.
If you’ve always used a normal clock radio with an alarm to wake up, you might be unsure about whether a wake-up light will help you. In that case, look for a sleep trial of at least 30 nights to test the product out in your own home.
A warranty of at least one year can help protect your purchase in the event that there is a defect in your wake-up light. If your wake-up light has bulbs that cannot be replaced, then a warranty that is robust carries even more value.
|1||Totobay Wake Up Light||$27|
|2||Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock||$137|
|3||Northern Light Technologies Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-Up Light||$125|
|4||hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock||$19|
|5||Casper Glow Light||$89|