Unwelcome Sounds Waking You Up? Try These White Noise Machines For Quieter Nights

At night we become sensitive to sounds in and outside of our homes. Check out our top picks for white noise machines to block sounds for a more blissful sleep environment.


Whether your partner is snoring or the delivery trucks just won’t stop beeping, annoying nighttime noises keep you up into the late-night hours. A white noise machine can help drown out these disruptive sounds for a more peaceful sleep.

Our top three choices for white noise machines:

Marpac Dohm Classic


LectroFan Classic


Hatch Restore


Read on to learn more about these and other great white noise machine options.

Nighttime Noise Has Real Consequences

Some people seem to become incapable of hearing when they fall asleep. You know those people. You might live with one. They’re the type of people you describe by saying “he could sleep through a bomb blast”.

We envy these people. We envy them because so many of us can’t sleep like that. Loud noises, particularly in cities, routinely disturb our sleep and have been linked to insomnia.

Even when we don’t actively wake up, loud noises can influence the quality of sleep that we get. They can startle us from deep sleep into lighter sleep without our knowing, preventing us from feeling restored when we wake up the next morning.

Disruptive noises can come from either outdoors – like the taxi, honking at 3 am or sirens from the firehouse down the street – or inside your own house – like your partner, the love of your life, whom you could strangle when they start snoring as soon as they nod off.

How Do Sound Machines Help?

While we can’t do much about the sources of noise that disturb us, many people find relief with a white noise machine. These operate by putting out sound across a range of frequencies, low to high. Our ears tend to hear this as a steady “hiss”.

That “hiss” essentially drowns out the other noises that awaken us. In most cases, it’s the change in sound that wakes us, not the sound itself.

The sound machine’s steady, unchanging hiss across a range of frequencies drowns out those disturbing sounds or makes them less jarring. It can help you remain blissfully asleep when your neighbor starts shooting off fireworks at 2:30 am.

How Do I Find The Right White Noise Machine?

There are numerous options from standalone noise machines to mobile apps to a simple fan you might already own. To help narrow your search, check out our recommendations for top white noise machines.

Some white noise machines are essentially a small fan. They are great for people who don’t want to get bogged down in creating just the right sound. The fan noise is what you get.

For many, the white noise caused by a fan can actually be the most natural and soothing solution.

However, they also offer fewer options for customization that other sounds machines tend to offer.

The Dohm is a great, simple sound machine. It has an “on” and “off” button, “high” and “low” volume options, and you can twist it to adjust the tone of the fan noise.

A sound machine without a fan usually uses a speaker to do its job. It plays white noise (or other sounds) to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

The benefit of electronically-generated sound machines is the variety of sleep sounds they can generate, namely “pink noise” and “brown noise”.

  • Pink Noise: Natural sounds that mimic white noise, so you can pretend you’re listening to a gurgling brook, running through your 3rd floor walkup.
  • Brown Noise: Like pink noise but at a deeper frequency, like strong waterfalls and thunder.

Some people, however, find these sounds to feel more artificial than machines with fans.

Despite the name, the Lectrofan doesn’t actually use fan noise. It does offer a range of fan sounds, though, including 10 pink and brown noise variations. As a bonus, it includes a sleep timer.

White Noise apps are common these days and easy to find. Because their function is so basic, most are free and allow you to purchase additional sounds and features for a low price.

A huge benefit here is you can easily travel with this option. As long as you have your phone with you, you’re also carrying your white noise machine.

A major drawback, on the other hand, is you need to sleep with your phone next to you. This can be challenging for those of us trying to limit screen time before bed.

MyNoise is one popular, free app, available on iOS or Android. It allows you to adjust the frequencies in the sounds to achieve a unique blend of white noise. It also offers additional sounds for $.99, or access to the whole library of 150 sounds for $9.99.

Many people work hard to create comfortable sleeping areas at home, only to find that those amenities don’t exist when they need to travel. A portable white noise machine can help you get to sleep, no matter where in the world you are.

The Rohm is a handy white noise machine that you can take anywhere. It’s smaller than the Marpac Classic, battery-operated, and offers three different sound options.

Most sound machines do not include clocks, so it can be difficult to find one with an alarm. Those that do tend to have either a more limited library of sounds or are more expensive.

There are options, however, if you would prefer a white noise machine that can help you wake up. And while an alarm clock may not be the most attractive feature, we argue it can be one of the most important. After all, waking up at the same time every morning is recommended to improve your sleep quality.

Note that the alarm is actually a gentler one than what you’re typically used to, and is designed to wake you up less abruptly.

The Hatch Restore is a recent development that includes a library of pink and white noise, a digital clock, and an alarm that you can set to wake you gently when you need to get up.

We’re going a little old school here, but some ceiling fans actually do a great job of providing white noise. They also help your bedroom feel cooler, so a fan may be a good option if you find the temperature is yet another factor keeping you up at night.

Many ceiling fans are engineered to be quiet, though, so you may find that they don’t do a great job of drowning out the fire department’s nightly circuit around your block.

The Hunter Low Profile ceiling fan is inexpensive (for a ceiling fan) and can provide both ventilation and fan noise to make your sleep a little more restful.

You can find a lot of white noise or pink noise tracks on just about any music or video service, including Spotify and YouTube.

Whether it’s white noise, pink noise, or brown noise, whatever type of sound you can imagine, a streaming service can provide it. The cost is free, which is great. However, most sites will include ads unless you sign up for premium. Plus, it can be annoying to have to set up every night.

Nighttime noises are unavoidable, but they don’t have to disturb your sleep. Finding the right white noise machine can block out unwanted sounds and keep you resting blissfully.