If you’re one of those people who enjoy falling asleep to the sound of pitter patter or easily fall asleep while laying down on the beach, a noise machine might be of great use. A noise machine is used to help you fall asleep and also to promote deeper and longer sleep. It is usually used by people who find it difficult to fall asleep due to other noises in the environment. Therefore a white noise machine can be introduced to your sleep routine to turn sleepless nights into restful ones.
What Is A White Noise Machine?
A white noise machine produces calming sounds to cover up background sounds and help the user fall asleep. These soothing sounds can vary from the sound of raindrops to waves crashing on a beach.
Choosing The Right White Noise Machine
There are a lot of factors that come with purchasing a white noise machine. Here are our favorite white noise machines in the market:
Best White Noise Machine - Top Pick:
Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine
This white noise fan has been on the market since the early 1960s. It is utterly simple, well-built, sturdy, and reliable.
One of the most important things to point out is that the DOHM Sound Machine does not rely on digital loops to create its sound. It is all “real” white noise sound driven by a fan which doesn’t provide any airflow, instead of being focused entirely on creating just sound. The DOHM machine is a pure white noise machine. That is its sole function, even though you can alter its intensity and pitch somewhat with its controls. It does that single job very well, and people swear by their DOHM.
Online reviews for the DOHM tell of how parents are finally getting enough sleep. They love their DOHM, because it produces completely regular, unvarying sound, with no beginnings and endings to disturb the baby. The volume can be adjusted high enough that they can comfortably sit in the next room watching a movie, with perfectly normal sound levels, yet their activities are undetectable in the nursery.
More importantly, being plugged into the wall, it is not going to shut off after some time, waking the baby. The baby sleeps for more extended periods and even seems to calm down and “get ready” for sleep when you turn it on, even before laying them down. In other words, babies love it, too. It’s like a signal that it is time to sleep, and they dive right into the idea.
“My husband snores a lot and I'm a very light sleeper so I wish I had found this little wonder years ago! I never would have guessed it could make such a difference! Now we both get a full night's sleep!” -Barbara
Best White Noise Machine Under $50:
LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine
“I've had this for several years now and it is still going strong, so that means I'm paying only a penny or three a day to help ensure a good night's sleep. I'd call that a solid investment.” -Kaz
AVANTEK White Noise Sound Machine
“This thing is great! It has multiple white noise sounds to choose from and also a good selection of nature sounds. It’s also quite small but is able to put out quality volume.” -Liz
Dreamegg D1 White Noise Sound Machine
“This has significantly helped me and my 7-month-old baby fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.” -Dodong
Aurola Sleep Sound Machine
“I really like the sound. It helps during the winter months when I don’t want a fan running during the night.” -Mary
Best White Noise Machine Under $25:
Big Red Rooster White Noise Sound Machine
“The sounds are so lifelike that it's almost spooky. If you close your eyes, you'll swear you were drifting along on the tide at the beach or relaxing in a hammock during a summer shower.” -Philip
LectroSound White Noise Machine
“I love the range of sounds and the adjustable volume level. I love that the nightlight can be ANY color and that I can adjust the brightness. And once I have my favorite setting saved, I just push the button and it goes on, no fiddling with the app on my phone.” -Eryn
Best White Noise Machine For Travel:
Homedics SoundSpa Ultra-Portable Sound Machine
“I love this very portable sound machine. I take it with me when I travel. The settings are easy to use and the volume range is good for different settings.” -Victoria
LectroFan Micro Wireless Sleep Sound Machine
“I have 2 other LectroFans that I use regularly, but for travel, this is the best! Small enough to easily pack.” -M. Slavin
MONOLED White Noise Machine
“The clarity of the sounds is remarkable for its size and with no loop you aren't awakened by the sounds starting over.” -Hillary
How Does A White Noise Machine Work?
Since our mind notices the slight changes in noise, it becomes annoying as we notice the changes when we are trying to fall asleep. When we become alert to even the slightest of sounds, it will keep us awake and we won’t be able to concentrate on falling asleep.
White noise changes the overall sound level in the background and creates a masking effect. This way, our mind won’t be alerted by changing noise levels in the environment.
Humans can hear between 20 cycles per second (hertz or Hz) up to 20,000 Hz when we are babies. We quickly lose that capability to hear very high sounds, and by the time we’re 16-20, we can only hear up to about 17,000 Hz. By age 30, we only hear up to 14,000 Hz. Students have used this difference to cheat on tests, by sharing test answers with ultrasonic devices that the teachers and proctors cannot hear.
White noise is composed of all the frequencies we might be able to hear, from 20-20,000 Hz, being fired off at equal strength on a random basis, so it sounds like an untuned radio making a sh-h-h-h sound, or to some people, like heavy rain. If you emphasize certain portions of the spectrum, for example, the bass, it becomes “pink” noise, sounding a bit like a distant thunderstorm.
Throughout the audio spectrum, you’ll find certain spots that are very appealing to humans and some parts we hate. Brown noise is even more bass-focused than pink noise, sounding like a heavy industrial fan, and is very popular. Orange noise is less bass-focused, with more highs, and much of the middle frequencies removed. Green noise is nearly all bass-less, low, middle frequencies. Purple noise is just two blended deep bass tones, whereas blue noise is the opposite of pink noise with no low frequencies and more power in the high frequencies, sounding like constant rain composed of tiny droplets.
However, there is a problem with using such apps on your phone: The tiny speakers on a typical smartphone will not reproduce the audio spectrum as designed. Sound synthesis requires a decent-sized speaker if it is to have a chance of accurately reproducing the low frequencies necessary in many of these sounds—even much of the low-mid-range can be lost.
What you need to ask yourself here is: While I could buy a big box of chocolate candies, with dozens of flavors, should I do that when all I truly need is chocolate?
You’ll probably find that you don’t need ten different colors of sound and a thunderstorm with raindrops, Chinese Shrine chimes, and the clickety-clack of a moving train to get to sleep. And your baby certainly does not crave variety. All they want is a predictable, calming environment that says, “It’s time to sleep".
Variety may be the spice of life, but spicy stuff can keep you up all night long… Maybe it is time for some plain vanilla before you head for bed.