The Best White Noise Machines for Drowning Out Distractions
Does sound distract or keep you awake? A white noise machine can help.
Many people use noise-canceling headphones to dampen sounds. But there’s another option that doesn’t require wearing bulky earcups: white noise 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.
We’re taking a look at the best white noise machines you can buy.
What Is a White Noise Machine and Why Use One?
A white noise machine is a device that 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.
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 ear, aside from sound waves. Similarly, noise-canceling headphones put a damper on the volume of outside noises. But these remove ambient sounds using active or passive noise control through methods like soundproofing.
Aside from the bedroom, they are superb devices for reducing distractions in general. A white noise machine for an office can help you better focus. 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. White noise machines are also ideal for sleeping with anxiety or tinnitus.
For home or on the go, take a look at the HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine. The device can be powered with the provided AC adapter or with four AA batteries. You can select from six different sounds; white noise, thunder, ocean, summer night, brook, and rain.
While the machine can run all night, an auto-off timer can be set for 15, 30, or 60 minutes to conserve battery power. To better customize the sound, there is also an adjustable volume knob.
The Marpac Dohm Classic is all about white noise. Featuring a real fan, the machine produces a continuous stream of natural-sounding audio. The machine uses an 8-foot long plug for AC power.
There are two different volume levels to select from. You can also adjust the sound and tone by twisting the outside casing. To help the device fit in with your home decor, this sound machine is available in white, black, gray, or tan.
The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine is made to grow with your child. With an infant, the machine offers a white noise sound machine and night light. After a few years, once a toddler, you can set a time-to-rise color, so they’ll know when it’s time to get up out of bed.
You can control settings, including volume and brightness, with a companion smartphone app so you won’t need to bother your sleeping child. The app also allows you to set schedules for the light and sound. A toddler lock on the sound machine will help make sure little hands can’t change any settings.
If you’re looking for a variety of different sounds to select from to help cancel noise, you’ll want the Big Red Rooster 8 Sound White Noise Machine. As the name suggests, there are eight different options—box fan, small fan, brown noise, pink noise, white noise, summer night, rain, and ocean.
There’s also an auto-off timer which can be set for 15, 30, or 60 minutes. You can power the machine with the AC adapter or three AA batteries. A black or white version is available.
The Sound+Sleep Sound Machine offers 10 different noise options, each with three levels of richness to help you find a perfect combination for sleep or relaxation. Some of the more unique sound choices include fireplace, city, and train along with the usual white noise.
The device constantly monitors the surrounding room and then will adjust the sound to better cancel noise. You can also take advantage of the 3.5mm audio connector on the front of the machine to listen with headphones or use a larger speaker.
To help you better sleep, the front panel lighting will automatically dim. There is also an optional sleep timer that will reduce the volume after 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.
The SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine features non-looping sound from a built-in fan. You can adjust the tone of the sound by twisting the outer shell. There are also 10 volume settings to select from.
With the companion smartphone app, you can remotely control the machine and customize an automatic on/off schedule. You can select from a white or black version of the machine, depending on your preference, too.
The Best White Noise Canceling Machines
Any of these white noise machines can help cancel out sounds and help you sleep at night. During the day, they can also help you to concentrate better and focus.
And if you’re looking for another alternative option that doesn’t require another device, make sure to take a look at the best sleep apps for tracking and improving sleep .
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