Best Sound Machines of 2021
The Letsfit White Noise Machine offers the best hands-down rainstorm sounds in the bunch and possibly in real life too. This simple sound machine has a variety of different sound features including 3 white noise, 3 lullabies, 3 fan sound effects, and 5 relaxing natural sounds. It also sports a nightlight with different light levels. We especially loved the thunderstorm setting and found it so soothing we left it on for days and could almost smell the rain it was so realistic. This product has multiple timers or can be left on until you turn it off, making it ideal for background noise or restless sleepers who need all night distractions. We also like that the unit will remember the previous settings if you leave it plugged in.
This is not a baby-centric product and while it has lullabies and a nightlight, it isn't cute or something little ones can play with. It also has a design that children will find boring which can be a blessing if you want to avoid little ones from playing with it. Probably the biggest downside is it doesn't tell you what setting you are on, so you might have to go around the bend more than once to find what you want. In the end, this is one of our favorite options and if you want realistic nature sounds it should be on your shortlist of contenders.
The VTech Myla The Monkey is a portable noise machine that includes lullabies and nature sounds with a white noise option. It comes with a two-level nightlight and two attachment features. This monkey is super cute and little ones like the sweet face and glowing cheeks. We like the easy-to-push buttons and the simple intuitive interface that we were able to sort out without the use of the instruction manual. It is also rechargeable, so there are no pesky batteries to change or keep on hand.The only bummer we see for the Myla is the lack of a wall plug. This decision in modern gadgets seems like the manufacturers' way of saving money but ends up feeling like an unfinished product as some people may not have extra plug adapters or modern USB plugs on standby waiting for a cord. Otherwise, this monkey is cute, easy to use, has nice sounding music and sounds with on-the-go possibilities consisting of a tail in the shape of a hook and a Velcro attachment.
The MyBaby Soundspa On-The-Go is a portable sound machine that runs on batteries. This wallet-friendly option has a ring attachment and a simple user interface. The buttons are big and easy to use and it includes a useful timer that can run for up to an hour before it shuts off. You can choose between 4 different sounds including heartbeat, lullaby, white noise, and ocean sounds.While this device is super easy to use, it is also fairly simplistic with few features and less impressive sounds. We think parents might end up going through a lot of batteries and we wish it were rechargeable like our favorite portable choice. However, there is much to love about this inexpensive choice and we think most babies will find something to like with this straightforward sound machine.
The Housbay White Noise Sound Machine is a ball-shaped noise maker that lights up with multiple different colors (8!) and has so many lullabies and noises you can listen to something different almost every night of the month. We like that you can choose your favorite nightlight color and that there is a song, fan noise, or nature nose for everyone including the ability to adjust the white noise pitch level! It has 3 different timers or can run unchecked until you turn it off.The user interface on the HOusbay isn't user-friendly. We took a stab at it and after much button pushing we sort of just accepted whatever it landed on. We assume regular use and the instruction manual will help, but it doesn't seem necessary for something this simple to be this confusing. Despite the need for some brushing up on your reading skills, we think this noisemaker is a good choice for babies, kids, and adults alike with a setting suitable for most users.
The SleepyMe Smart Sleep Soother is a very baby-centric sound machine /soother with 4 sounds and 6 lullabies to choose from. We love the cute chicken under a half-shell design and the semi-disguised buttons on the back that kids may not notice for a while. The shell has a star pattern design that projects on the ceiling and has 3 color options or rotating colors. Little ones find the lights mesmerizing and most of the sounds soothing. This product has 3 timers and turns off automatically.We don't like that this product lacks a wall plug component. It assumes you either have one or you have modern outlets with USB ports. Also, the heartbeat sound is downright frightening and our testers grew anxious and upset while listening to it. If you like horror movies, it might be okay, but otherwise, we think it is a hard pass. Also, the songs are a little tinny sounding and we think they could be better produced. However, overall, there is much to love about this cute option and we know little ones will agree with us.
The Baby Shusher is a small and portable noisemaker that emits a soft shushing sound almost akin to a rainmaker stick. This simple sound maker is travel-friendly and has shorter timer options. We think it would be good as a cue that sleeping time is happening, but it doesn't run all night making it a good choice for parents who don't want or need an all-night solution.This sound machine has no variety, it makes one sound and that is all. If your little one doesn't have an affinity for the sound, then you're out of luck. Also, it only has two timers and no long-term play option which could be a deal-breaker for those who like ambient noise all night to stay asleep. Overall, we think the Shusher has limitations but it makes an excellent cue in a nighttime routine that could get little ones prepped for sleep and dreamland.
The Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine has something for everyone with a variety of lullabies and nature sounds to choose from. It also features a dimmable nightlight in the owl's belly and a projection of the moon and stars for the ceiling. The user interface is intuitive and the buttons are easy to press. We like that it has different timers or can run infinitely. Little ones like the owl design, but be forewarned this design might increase demands to hold it as they get older and it isn't really intended for holding.We didn't love the sounds on this machine. The lullabies have a tinny quality to them that can be harsh on the ears and the heartbeat sound is not soothing, even if it isn't frightening like some of the competition. Also, the fabric on the owl wings over the speakers collects everything, from dog hair to dirt, ours were dirty within two days of unpacking the bird. Overall, we like the concept of this machine and think some parents and babies will love it, but much like other all-in-one products, we don't think it does anyone thing particularly well and is sort of mediocre at everything.
The HoMedics Sound Spa harkens back to the golden age of sound machines as they rose to popularity in the early 2000s. This machine has a button for everything and better yet, they tell you at a glance what is happening and are super easy to use, no instructions necessary. We like the simple look and basic features and think adults might like this easy, straightforward choice.This sound machine has no features for the baby. While it has a handful of sounds and timer features, there are no lullabies, nightlights, or cute designs. While this alone isn't a deal-breaker, the sounds might be. While a competitor's thunderstorm was so convincing we could practically smell the rain, during testing this unit sounded like a new foley artist giving it his best shot for auditions for cartoon noisemaker. In short, it can meet expectations if you don't compare it side-by-side with the competition, Unfortunately, for this Homedic option, we did.
The Zonpor White Noise Machine is a UFO-shaped noisemaker that has a variety of sounds to choose from. It also has different projector options include two with stars and a white glow. The User interface is simple and easy to sort out, but we wish there were more buttons so it was easier to toggle through it. We like that it has the ability to be portable with a battery and little ones like the color-changing projection.This machine advertises 28 sounds but the manual says 20 and some are so similar we couldn't tell you how many are there. This lack of consistency and clarity is worrisome in a product. The projection is also not bright enough to reach the ceiling in any way that is useful and it ends up looking like fuzzy blobs instead of stars.
The LectroFan White Noise Machine is a basic white noise machine that is intended for a wider range of users than babies hoping for continuous sleep. This makes it less bay-centric and it only has white and fan noises to choose from. This machine has a 60-minute timer, or continuous use and the user interface is very user-friendly.Unfortunately, the tone of almost every sound option is not easy on the ears, and adults in our tests were somewhat agitated by the pitch for many of them Even the dogs in the testing area were overly stimulated by the sounds and we wonder if babies will find them soothing or stimulating. Also, there is nothing to indicate what sound you are playing, and while the unit will remember from time to time what you played last, it doesn't retain this information if you unplug it. With 20 sounds to choose from, it could make it difficult to find the one you like. Overall, we think this is a fine sound machine but it wouldn't be our top pick for babies or kids.
Why You Should Trust Us
Since 2013, BabyGearLab has been testing all sorts of baby gear and kids products. We spent hours researching products before buying and using them side-by-side to find the absolute best options in each category for every kind of family. To find the best sound machines and white noise makers, we started by researching the top products and most popular products available. We narrowed our selection to those we felt had the most potential to impress during testing. From there, we bought the top 10 competitors for testing. Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, mom of two, led the noisemaker team with a long history of using fans and other white noise generators for blissful sleep. Wendy and her children used each product in this review to give you the details you need to find the right one for your family, needs, and budget.
We used each product for at least 2 nights each and assessed any features from the variety of sound or musical options to timers or nightlights if they offered them. Each tester reported their findings and feelings about the products and which offered the best quality, features, ease of use, and more.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased and used the most popular sound machines on the market from truly baby-centric products to those that have a more generalized purpose. We have the details you need to find the machine that best meets your needs.
Ease of Use
We thought these sound machines would all be relatively easy to use. While they all come with only a handful of buttons and icons that seem intuitive, most of them requiring toggling through all the options in a rotation, so you have to flip through the sounds multiple times to find what you want and you may not know what it is or how to get back to it should the sound be changed at any given point. Without any information on the device (which is true for most of them), you are sort of flying blind and we didn't think that was the best choice, even if it likely kept costs low.
The sleepyMe might be adorable but it isn't the easiest option to use. We had difficulty with the buttons being something you don't push but only touch and they only work part of the time. Also, the projector control doesn't seem to work well as the dimmer results in only minor changes. Alternatively, the V-Tech Mila Monkey has super easy-to-use buttons that are touch-friendly and press easily. The interface is user-friendly and straightforward which means you can skip the manual.
Almost nothing is easier to use than the Baby Shusher as it has two twisting parts, one that gives you the timer and the other the volume. However, this simplicity also translates to limited features with one sound and only two timers, so if you want all night or a sound other than white noise, then forget it. The hardest to use are the more adult varieties that have very few buttons and make you press them repeatedly to switch sounds that are almost identical like the LectroFan White Noise Machine that only has different pitches, none of which are pleasing to listen to long-term.
Everyone wants different features depending on their goals for using a sound machine. For those with younger infants, a night light might feel like a great feature as it can help you see better when providing nighttime feeding. Or, your little one might relax quicker with a ceiling projector show. While the main goal of a sound machine is to help create a peaceful environment conducive to sleep, that doesn't mean you need to settle for a boring white noise maker with no bells and whistles. In fact, we disliked the basic noise machine in this lineup, not for its lack of features but for the harsh pitches of its sounds.
The LectroFan has limited features and none are truly baby-centric. With 10 different pitches for both white noise and fan sounds, this option has no nature or lullabies. Also, the sounds are somewhat painful to the ears depending on the settings and a few even caused dog howling in our test area. Having no other features was just the nail in the coffin for this basic product.
Alternatively, the Skip Hop Owl has almost every feature a parent might want including a nightlight you can dim, a ceiling projector with stars, lullabies, nature sounds, and timers. However, during testing, compared to the competition, we felt this option didn't do anything very well. The sounds are sort of sub-par and the ceiling projection isn't strong enough to show more than fuzzy light blobs on the ceiling and walls.
The V-Tech Myla Monkey might be one of our favorites with multiple features. This little monkey is cute comes with a nightlight, has multiple sound options with timers, and two different attachment methods to keep it close at hand. The sounds are fairly good and we like that it is rechargeable so you don't need a bunch of batteries on hand. We also like the features on the Letsfit White Noise Machine. This basic unit might look sort of boring compared to a monkey, but it offers a lot of sounds including lullabies and the best rainstorm we've ever heard. It also has a nightlight, timers, and comes with a wall plug, something we didn't find on all the competition. Overall, we think it has the features that are truly useful and while it doesn't offer a light show, you can find that in a separate product that focuses its attention on doing projections well instead of trying to everything and failing.
Finding the right sound machine for your needs can be trickier than you think. Should you get one with nature sounds or lullabies? What about both? How natural are the sounds? Does it have timers for babies or can you run it all night like for uninterrupted sleep? Luckily, in our review, we bought and tested each product for you. We believe there is a machine in this group for everyone in your family. Whether you want a portable machine with an adorable monkey face or you hope for nature sounds and nightlight there is something for you in this review.
— Wendy Schmitz