What do you have sitting on your bedside table right now? For a lot of people, that answer is simple. Along with a lamp and maybe a book or two, you probably have a clock radio. Whether you are looking to buy your first clock radio or replace an old clock radio with an upgraded model with more capabilities, there is no denying that the clock radio is among the most useful appliances you can have in your bedroom. With it, you are always on time. and always entertained and up-to-date.
Planning on purchasing a clock radio, but not sure where to begin in your search? We have compiled a table comparing features and prices for top clock radios on the market right now.
Still not sure where to begin? Below, you can learn everything you need to know about clock radios to make the perfect purchase.
What is a Clock Radio?
A clock radio is a very simple and straightforward device. It is a small radio which you set on a bedside table. You can glance over at the time and reach over to tune the radio without leaving your bed. The clock can wake you up in the morning using an alarm sound, or you can set it up so that it plays radio instead.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Clock Radio
Are you visually impaired?
If you are, it is extra important to choose a device with a large, clear, bright LCD display. Look for one which features high contrast.
How much space do you have?
While you are paying attention to the technical aspects of a clock radio, it is easy to overlook something as simple as the dimensions. But you should make sure you measure the spot where you want to place the radio, and then check the length, width, and height of the radio you are thinking of buying.
Features and Add-Ons to Look For When Shopping for a Clock Radio
Some clock radios have a cool feature where they will project the date and time information at the wall or ceiling. That way you can set up the display in such a fashion where you never have to turn your head to see what time it is. This feature may also be helpful for the visually impaired as you can cast a large projection.
Gradual wake-up alarm
If you set your clock radio alarm on a setting which is too quiet, it may not wake you up on time. But if you put it on a really loud setting, it can startle you unpleasantly awake. A solution is to purchase a clock radio which has a gradual wake-up alarm. This is a setting where the alarm will begin quietly and gradually scale up in volume. That way it will not startle you, but will progressively become loud enough to wake you up.
Easy tuning and pre-sets
A clock radio which includes a large tuning knob which can turn smoothly will be easiest to tune to the station you want. Also look for a radio which allows you to program in a number of pre-sets. That way you do not have to scan through all the stations to listen to the AM or FM station that you want. If you listen to a lot of different radio stations on a regular basis, buy a radio which offers you a larger selection of pre-sets.
Programmable sleep timer
Enjoy falling asleep to the radio, but don’t want it playing all night? Some clock radios include a programmable sleep timer. You can set the timer to play the radio until you are asleep, and then turn off automatically. You should have a number of different settings available for this, i.e. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 90 minutes, and so on. That way you can customize the sleep timer to the length of time it usually takes you to nod off.
Multiple power options
Most clock radios run primarily or entirely on AC power. But you may find some which also can use batteries. It is uncommon for batteries to be a main power option, but they may be available as a backup power supply. That way if there is a power outage, you do not have to worry about your alarm clock not going off when you need it most. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to work late because you were asleep when a tree fell over a power line. With a battery backup, you will never again be late for work because of a power cut in the morning.
Input for MP3 players and mobile devices
Want to listen to your own music instead of the radio? Now you can purchase clock radios which include a 3.5mm AUX input which allows you to plug in your iPad, iPhone, Android, or other MP3 device. That means you can enjoy any of your music files through the clock radio speakers. This is a lot more convenient than taking your MP3 player and setting it on your nightstand and trying to listen to your music through your earphones!
Most clock radio speakers feature fairly basic sound quality, but if you shop around, you may be able to locate speakers which feature greater clarity of sound as well as equalizer controls for bass, treble, and mid-tones.
This feature is now pretty much standard with all clock radios, but you should always make sure it is included if it is something you are likely to make use of. The snooze button allows you to catch a few extra minutes of sleep and then have the alarm go off again.
Now you know what features are important to shop for in a clock radio. Scroll back up to the top of the page to take a closer look at our comparison chart. By comparing prices and features for top models, you can buy the clock radio which is a perfect fit for your needs!
Electrohome EAAC601: Has an Awesome Built-In Projector
The EAAC601 isn’t just an ordinary alarm clock. If you look closely, you’ll see a tiny projector located on the top left side of its body. The EAAC601 also sports a second unique feature: a built-in thermometer. Additionally, the EAAC601 is nice and loud. It’ll definitely wake you up when it’s time to get dressed and go to work.
- Projects the time on your wall. Find out what time it is without rolling over on your side.
- Nearsighted people can read it. The numbers look nice and big.
- Adjustable backlight. If the projector or clock are preventing you from getting rest, you can adjust the brightness.
- 2 alarm times. Use the EAAC601’s dual alarm mode to set a backup.
- Thermometer functionality. Checks the ambient temperature in your room.
- Great all-purpose gift idea. If you’re unsure of what to get an acquaintance for their birthday, buy them an EAAC601.
- Radio mode. If you don’t like the default alarm, you can opt to wake up to radio instead.
To get the most out of this clock, you need to connect a total of 3 power cords.
Sony ICFC1: the iPod of Digital Clocks
The Sony ICFC1 proves that it’s sometimes hip to be square. People who own this clock love its compact size and minimalist design. The ICFC1 doesn’t do anything special. It wakes you up in the morning, tells you what time it is… and that’s about it. Its adjustable backlight and battery backup features are quite handy, though.
- Sony quality. The Sony brand name means that you won’t wind up with a piece of broken plastic shortly after you buy this clock.
- Gets the job done. Use it to find out what time it is and set your morning alarm.
- Large snooze bar. The snooze button is easy to feel around for in the dark.
- Amber LED display. This clock’s pleasing honey colored backlight won’t distract your eyes at night.
- Battery backup. If the power goes out, you’ll still wake up on time.
- Adjustable brightness. Turn down the brightness if you’re sensitive to light at night.
- Gradual wakeup mode. Opt to wake up slowly instead of right away.
If you get this clock, you’ll be stuck using the AM-PM time format. The ICFC1 doesn’t have a 24 hour mode.
Sangean RCR-5BK: Impressive Quality Sound
The RCR-5BK looks like a plain old alarm clock– the kind that you might find in a hotel. But actually, you can get surprisingly good sound out of this clock’s powerful speakers. Another nice thing about the RCR-5BK is its curved edges. If you’ve ever hurt yourself with the side of a clock in the morning, you’ll appreciate the RCR-5BK’s smooth exterior.
- Great sound quality. This clock is quite small, but it sounds huge.
- Buttons click when you press them. If you’re a fan of buttons that make noise, you might like this clock’s interface.
- Adjustable brightness. Crank the light levels down at night if you’re sensitive to bright clock displays.
- Battery backup. The RCR-5BK won’t leave you hanging if a power outage occurs.
- Curved edges. Its smooth sides prevent injuries.
- Gradual volume alarm mode. Opt to wake up slowly if you don’t like loud alarms.
- Weekday alarm mode. Allows you to get the sleep you need and deserve.
This clock sounds amazing, but its weak radio reception may frustrate you if you live out of town.