The Best White Noise Machine for Canceling Distractions
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Does sound distract or keep you awake? A white noise machine can help.

Most people use noise-canceling headphones to dampen sounds. But there’s another option that doesn’t require wearing bulky earcups: white noise (a random audio signal with differing frequencies and equal intensities) does the same job. With a nature-emulating soundscape, such as wind blustering through trees or a gently rushing waterfall, white noise is well-suited to a variety of applications.

Find out what a white noise machine is, why you should use one, and discover the best white noise machines for canceling distractions!

What Is a White Noise Machine?

A white noise machine is a device which produces sounds with equal intensities but varied frequencies. These bits of random audio form a unified whole that’s soothing and mimics naturally occurring sounds such as a waterfall or the wind whistling through trees. However, there’s a bit of a misconception. Some machines don’t produce white noise. Instead, they play pink noise or even other colors of noise.

Pink noise differs in that it’s more powerful and louder at lower frequencies, whereas white noise maintains equal power. Additionally, many white noise machines include modes that play sounds such as traffic, rain, and the ocean.

Why Use a White Noise Machine?

White noise devices are mostly used as sleep aids. Because of their ambient sounds, these machines can mask outside noises by forming a sort of sonic wall. Essentially, it’s like wearing earplugs but without the hassle of shoving anything into your earl. Aside from sound waves. Similarly, noise-canceling headphones The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles Looking for the best noise-canceling headphones? If you're an audiophile, these high-quality options are your best bets. Read More put a damper on the volume of outside noises. But these remove ambient sounds using active or passive noise control through methods like soundproofing.

A set of noise-canceling headphones is better tailored to listening to music in a loud space. By reducing ambient sounds from outside, you don’t need to pump up the volume on your music. Still, a good pair of noise-canceling cans may be useful for trying to sleep on a crowded plane, for instance.

best white noise machine

Aside from the bedroom, white noise machines are superb devices for reducing distractions White Noise vs. Noise Isolation vs. Playlists: The Best Sound for Focus White Noise vs. Noise Isolation vs. Playlists: The Best Sound for Focus The Internet has a lot of advice on the best music to boost your productivity. But it is not always as simple as it sounds. Let's actively find out which music is helpful. Read More in general. That makes these gadgets ideal for work and study companions, and arguably better than noise cancellation or music playlists. While I’m totally fine with silence while working, I’m distracted by both outside noises and a lack of noise. Therefore, when writing and editing I either have music playing, maybe a movie or show on in the background. I’ve found white noise beneficial as well for providing a restful backdrop which doubles for sound cancellation.

Notably, babies may sleep better with white noise machines. Since they’re accustomed to ambient sounds in the womb, white noise generators provide a familiar experience. Moreover, white noise machines might be ideal for sleeping with anxiety or tinnitus.

The Best White Noise Machine

These are the best white noise machines you can buy!

Marpac Dohm-DS

Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine, White Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine, White Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Marpac Dohm-DS - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

For a reasonably-priced, no-frills white noise generator, check out the Marpac Dohm DS. It’s pretty basic and comes in a circular form factor. There are no frills here. The utilitarian design isn’t limited to its appearance. It also comes with some relatively straightforward features.

TopTenReviews enjoyed the sounds produced which deliver a natural feel while eliminating outside noises. However, the Marpac Dohm DS is incredibly basic. There’s a simple on/off switch. Moreover, the Marpac Dohm makes use of a physical fan, rather than playing back recorded clips. As TopTenReviews notes, this creates a continuous stream of white noise. Aside from its super basic feature set, the Marpac Dohm performs exquisitely, making it one of the best white noise machines available.

Pros

  • Excellent sound production
  • Actual fan

Cons

  • Extremely basic feature set

Big Red Rooster

Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine - Sound Machine For Sleeping & Relaxation - 6 Natural and Soothing Sounds - Plug In Or Battery Powered - Portable Sleep Sound Therapy for Home, Office or Travel Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine - Sound Machine For Sleeping & Relaxation - 6 Natural and Soothing Sounds - Plug In Or Battery Powered - Portable Sleep Sound Therapy for Home, Office or Travel Buy Now At Amazon $18.99

Big Red Rooster - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

For an incredibly affordable sound machine, the Big Red Rooster is a top choice. Its compact design makes it well-suited to travel and placement on a nightstand. Plus, it looks like a basic bedside speaker. But the Big Red Rooster includes three iterations: the vanilla sound machine, a premium offering with 10 sounds as opposed to six, and a baby Big Red Rooster replete with lullabies.

With a small stature and surprisingly loud maximum volume, the Big Red Rooster is a solid entry-level white noise machine. Additionally, there is a battery power option. With several modes ranging from white noise to brook, thunder, summer night, ocean, and rain, there’s a ton of choice. Stepping up to the premium version adds heartbeat, rain forest, waterfall, and songbird. Then for the baby variant, you’ll find rock-a-bye, lullaby, ocean, heartbeat, twinkle twinkle, and white noise. Unfortunately, at such a low cost, there are a few downsides. Notably, the recording quality isn’t high-end, and there’s some noticeable looping. Nevertheless, for an inexpensive and effective white noise machine, the Big Red Rooster is a top choice.

Pros

  • Compact form factor
  • Optional battery power
  • Several timer modes
  • Good volume
  • Three versions

Cons

  • Some obvious sound looping

ArtNaturals White Noise Sound Machine and Essential Oil Diffuser

ArtNaturals Sound Machine & Essential Oil Diffuser - (300ml Tank) - 6 Calming and Natural Sounds - Aromatherapy and White Noise for Relaxation and Sleeping - Baby, Kids, and Adults - Night Light ArtNaturals Sound Machine & Essential Oil Diffuser - (300ml Tank) - 6 Calming and Natural Sounds - Aromatherapy and White Noise for Relaxation and Sleeping - Baby, Kids, and Adults - Night Light Buy Now At Amazon $29.95

ArtNaturals White Noise Sound Machine & Essential Oil Diffuser - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

Essential oil diffusers are incredibly popular. The ArtNaturals unit combines both of these gadgets into a nifty device. Boasting an impressive 4.4 out of five on 40 Amazon reviews, the ArtNaturals white noise machine and essential oil diffuser sports six sound modes engineered for relaxation and noise cancellation.

The other element is a 300-milliliter essential oil diffuser which uses quiet ultrasound vibrations to mist oils into the room. There’s an onboard light as well which can be turned off. However, the noise machine portion automatically shuts off after two hours. As such, it’s not ideal for those seeking a continuous, all-night white noise generator. Ultimately, the ArtNaturals diffuser-sound machine combo is an excellent bet for an entry-level white noise machine — but it will leave power users wanting.

Pros

  • Doubles as an essential oil diffuser
  • Light
  • Six noise modes

Cons

  • Maximum noise machine runtime of two hours

LectroFan

Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer Buy Now At Amazon $49.95

LectroFan - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

With an affordable cost and loads of features, the LectroFan is a superb white noise machine. It’s extremely effective at blocking out noise from your surroundings, and balances features with convenience. You’ll find both fan noises and white noise, plus two power options: a 60-minute timer and on/off switch. Plus, there’s a volume control.

Both the white noise and fan options feature ten sounds that are non-repeating. Because of its fantastic sound masking and feature array that’s a step above barebones devices, the LectroFan is a phenomenal pick.

Pros

  • Excellent sound masking
  • Fan and white noise modes
  • Timer

Cons

  • Fairly barebones feature set

HoMedics SoundSpa SS-2000

White Noise Sound Machine | Portable Sleep Therapy for Home, Office, Baby & Travel | 6 Relaxing & Soothing Nature Sounds, Battery or Adapter Charging Options, Auto-Off Timer | HoMedics Sound Spa White Noise Sound Machine | Portable Sleep Therapy for Home, Office, Baby & Travel | 6 Relaxing & Soothing Nature Sounds, Battery or Adapter Charging Options, Auto-Off Timer | HoMedics Sound Spa Buy Now At Amazon $18.99

HoMedics SS-2000 - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

Easily among the most inexpensive noise machines, the HoMedics S-2000 runs off of a wall adapter or batteries. You’ll find six modes including white noise, ocean, thunder, summer night, rain, and a babbling brook. The HoMedics SoundSpa SS-2200 can run all night, or on a 15-, 30-, or 60-minute timer. Alternatively, try the auto time off.

Unfortunately, a few users noted slightly strange sounds on occasion. Nevertheless, with a four of five on over 1,000 Amazon reviews, it’s a wonderful, small but mighty device. Because it’s portable and affordable, the HoMedics SoundSpa SS-2000 is the best bet among white noise machines.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Six sound modes
  • Runs all night
  • Timer and auto off

Cons

  • Some occasionally unnatural sounds

Sound+Sleep

Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine with Real Non-Looping Nature Sounds, Fan Sounds, White Noise, and Adaptive Sound Technology Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine with Real Non-Looping Nature Sounds, Fan Sounds, White Noise, and Adaptive Sound Technology Buy Now At Amazon $77.40

Sound+Sleep - White Noise Machine
Image Credit: Amazon

For the best in white noise machines, Sound+Sleep reigns supreme. Its premium white noise generators provide top-notch quality, though they come at a higher cost. The Sound+Sleep employs sound profiles with a library of 30 non-repeating environments. There’s adaptive sound which automatically responds to your surroundings by adjusting the volume. In addition to its ability to run all night, the Sound+Sleep has a sleep timer which reduces the volume after 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes. For private listening, there’s a built-in headphone jack.

This high-end white noise machine does not come cheap. For a slightly less pricey version, check out the Sound+Sleep Mini which also touts battery operation for sound masking on the go. Or if you need the utmost in noise machines, there’s the Sound+Sleep Special Edition.

Pros

  • Tons of unique, non-repeating sounds
  • Adaptive listening
  • Sleep timer
  • Headphone jack

Cons

  • Expensive

The DIY White Noise Machine

While a dedicated sound machine presents the best route, you can cobble together your own noise machine. Simply use any device such as a phone, tablet, or PC and a speaker. Then, find a white noise track on a site like YouTube, a white noise app 3 White Noise Apps To Help You Sleep, Concentrate & Relax 3 White Noise Apps To Help You Sleep, Concentrate & Relax If you're trying to sleep or work and an incessant background noise won't let up, these apps will help. Read More , or an audio file you’ve got downloaded.

I’ve used my laptop and a Bluetooth speaker plus the Fan White Noise 11 hour video. If you’re as geeky as I am, you may also enjoy the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” ambient engine noise 12-hour mix.

Then there’s the manual way of using an actual fan for white noise. A quick search reveals loads of white noise sources, but these ambient nature sound sites 5 Sites With Nature Background Sounds and White Noise to Help You Focus 5 Sites With Nature Background Sounds and White Noise to Help You Focus Make nature sounds a part of your day. Here are 5 free resources for sounds that will help calm you down so you can get things done – or just relax. Read More and white noise are bound to help you focus.

The Best White Noise Machines for Canceling Distractions

White noise machines are incredibly popular and useful. After I began using one, I discovered a better sleep cycle. However, I also paired this with blue light filters on my mobile devices and laptop to further improve my sleep schedule. Aside from at night, I quite appreciate using a noise machine in my home office while working as a break from listening to music, or even pulling up a white noise track on YouTube up when at my co-working space.

Looking to amp up your productivity online? Find the best music Find the Best Music to Boost Your Productivity Online Find the Best Music to Boost Your Productivity Online Listening to music helps you focus and get more done, according to music therapists. What kind of music will improve your mood, and make you more productive? And where should you start looking for music? Read More to get you in the work mood. Or try these productivity bots 10 Productivity Bots to Automate Tasks and Save Time 10 Productivity Bots to Automate Tasks and Save Time Whenever a repetitive task follows a pattern, consider automating it. Artificial intelligence (AI) bots can learn these patterns and save you time. Read More to automate tasks and save time.

Which white noise machines do you recommend?

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  1. Armando
    January 24, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    I was hoping to find a selection of good white iOS/Android apps in this article. I was dissapointed to find none. These machines all seem ok, but the fact that they are physical is something note everyone can cope with. It’d be awesome if you guys can publish something related to this but specific to mobile apps.

  2. rudy
    January 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    I have used the Homedics sound machine for years. No problems at all. I use the white noise settings, it is volume adjusted, and on all night. Works great. I also use occasionally an Alexa Echo app for white noise. That works very well with the Dot or Echo. I have tried Android apps on my phone, but have had problems with them staying on all night and couldn't find the perfect white noise setting.