Does your phone’s annoying ringtone occasionally make you want to travel to the fiery mountain where it was forged and destroy it, once and for all? No? Me neither – phones are expensive, and it’s easy enough to change your ringtone if it bothers you that much. Don’t throw your phone in a volcano, that’s crazy.
But whether you’re sick of the sound, or just having trouble telling your phone apart from everyone else’s, finding a new sound can help.
We’ve shown you how to create and install custom ringtones on Android, and even tips for making ringtones on Windows Phone 8, but if you’d rather just download some ringtones directly we’ve got you covered.
Here are five sites we found with sounds that don’t suck – all totally legal to download right now.
iRingPro (Free): Great Collection of Professional Ringtones
Let’s begin with a collection of professional sounds that won’t leave you embarrassed if your phone rings during a meeting. Three collections – Origin, Zen, and Tek – are all calm, minimalist sets of ringtones built around a theme, none of which will grate on your nerves.
“As professional users ourselves,” the sounds’ creators write, “we abhorred the use of annoying pop songs and silly sound effects”. Their response: sounds that claim to be “elegant, respectful and sophisticated”. When I checked them out I found them to be calming but still distinctive.
There are enough sounds that you could set unique tones for different friends and apps. All are professionally produced, yet all are free of charge. Why? Back in 2007 iRingPro was a company that created and sold ringtones, but after the co-founder’s death all sounds were made free as a tribute.
Downloads are offered for iOS and Android, complete with instructions, but you’ll need a computer to set everything up.
Cleartones (From $10): Collections of Minimalist Ringtones
Cleartones offers three sets of minimalist ringtones, designed to be distinctive without being distracting. Called “the least annoying ringtones ever” by Wired, Cleartones offers several sets for $10 each.
There’s Cleartones Pure, which aims to be as simple as possible; Cleartones Organic, which is similar but produced with acoustic instruments; and Cleartones Classic, which closely resemble old-school ringtones but with a lighter touch.
You can hear the tones in your browser before buying, and even if paying for ringtones sounds insane to you I recommend you give it a listen. You’ll get an idea of how unintrusive a ringtone can be, which if nothing else could inspire you to look for something similar somewhere else.
Dev Tones (Free samples, $35 for the set): Royalty-Free Sounds for Your App
If you’re making an application, Dev Tones is worth looking into. This is a set of royalty-free sounds, meaning once you pay for them you’re free to use them in your app.
But even if you’re not creating an app, Dev Tones is worth checking out because of the free download offered with worthwhile sounds. A few apps I use regularly make use of these sounds, which is of course the point.
NASA Ringtones: Use History as Your Ringtone
If you want to hear humanity reaching for the stars, with every ring of your phone, this site is worth checking out. There are some historical bleeps and bloops, or you could stick with classic phrases like “The Eagle Has Landed”.
It’s not for everyone, but I thought it was a unique enough idea that someone out there just might love it. To that person: you’re welcome.
Zedge (Android, iOS, Free): So Many Ringtones
Here’s an Android app you can download and browse a seemingly endless collection of ringtones, everything from movie sounds to songs. The quality varies quite a bit, and search can be unwieldy, but if you can imagine something it’s there…so you can quickly download it.
I’ve been trying to stick to authorized sources of consistent quality for this article, but Zedge is too massive to not include. It seems pretty clear to me that rights aren’t clear on everything in this app, and the ads can be a bit of a nightmare, but if you can’t find something in here you don’t like, it probably doesn’t exist.
Any Other Favorite Ringtones?
We’ve gone over a bunch of ringtones in our time. For example: we’ve shown you how to create Android ringtones on your phone, how retro video game sounds make amazing ringtones, and even where ringtones that sound like real phones.
But we want to know: what are your favorite ringtones, and where do you find them? Let’s share links in the comments below, okay? And talk about the kinds of sounds you like best.