The best wake up lights, also known as sunrise lamps, are designed to wake you up in a more natural way that's in keeping with your body's rhythms. They do this with a gradually brightening light that mimics the rising of the sun, awakening you bit-by-bit. Most will have the option to add sounds towards the end of the cycle, just to make doubly sure you're up when you need to be, and many come with a sunset cycle designed to help you wind down in the evening, too.
Many find that using a wake-up light rather than a traditional alarm clock helps them start the day feeling more alert and in a better mood. So a wakeup light can be a great investment in your health and wellbeing. These aren't to be confused with SAD lamps – while some sunrise lamps can be used for light therapy, if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, you should consult our best SAD lamp guide instead. And of course they can double up as one of the best bedside lamps, too.
To put together this guide, we've tested out a range of different sunrise lamps from leading brands to see what they offer and how effective they are. Lumie is perhaps the biggest name in this field, although Beurer also makes a wide range of excellent models, and there are plenty of smaller brand versions worth checking out too. Read on for our pick of the best wake up lights on the market right now.
The best wake up lights 2022 reviewed
We think the best wake-up light right now is the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300. The Bodyclock range is a big player in the world of sunrise lamps, and although this isn't the fanciest of the lineup, it offers the best balance of features to price, by our reckoning. In our Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 review, our tester found the light effects soothing and natural, moving from dim red and to a warm yellow glow when it's time to get up. The sunset option, with option to add sounds such as white noice, is helpful for anyone who struggles to unwind, too. We also appreciated the fact that the display auto-dims based on how bright the room is, and switches off totally at night unless you set it otherwise. In terms of customisation options, you're spoilt for choice. For sunrise and sunset, you can adjust the duration (15-90 minutes), and explore any of an impressive range of wake up and sleep sounds (including, interestingly, 'goat') or the option to play FM radio instead. Like all the Bodyclocks, you can tap on the top of the lamp to snooze it for 10 minutes.
So where are the down-sides? Like the rest of the range, the Shine 300 is operated by button rather than via a companion app, and while it's nice to not have to download yet another thing to your phone, getting to grips with the control panel does feel fiddly and old-fashioned. For that reason, this isn't ideal for those who don't have a regular wake-up time, because resetting it each night takes a lot longer than just using your phone alarm (you can set different alarm settings for weekdays vs weekends, however). You're also sacrificing some of the added extras that appear on pricier models – there's no low-blue light for bedtime, and no Bluetooth functionality, for instance. However, it offers pretty much everything we think you need from a wakeup light (and a few more bits besides), without having to pay a premium for those features you don't necessarily need. There's a 45-day trial that you can use to make sure you love it, too.
Even the best wake-up lights can be let down by poorly-designed companion apps. Not so the Beurer WL 75. Its app's interface is a dream to use, making the light itself fantastically simple to set up and program. We especially like that you can set different profiles for each day of the week. The Beurer also offers a natural-feeling sunrise mode, a gentle, gradual fade-in of red to white that really will help you feel refreshed on waking. You can also choose sunset mode to be lulled to sleep, or take advantage of the Beurer’s Bluetooth connectivity to stream music or play radio, at any time of the night or day. Finally, no review would be complete without a nod to the Beurer’s design. Some found it on the large side, especially the hefty plug, but in our humble opinion, it’s easily one of the best-looking of the bunch.
The cheapest sunrise lamp on our list, the battery powered Fitfort Alarm Clock Wake Up Light offers an impressive range of features considering its super-low price. In the morning, it gradually brightens from 10% to 100% across 30 minutes, and offers the reverse at the end of the day to help you get to sleep. During the night, the time display offers three settings: light, dim and off. There's also a snooze function, a reading light, an FM radio, six natural alarm sounds, and a choice of colours including green, red, blue, pink, orange and indigo.
And that's your lot, basically: this is certainly not the most advanced wake-up light you'll find. Plus, the sound is low quality, and the buttons aren't the easiest to use in practice. That said, if you're looking for something basic, this still represents an incredible bargain in our eyes.
The Somneo is Philips' flagship wake-up light, a feature-packed model that works just as well for getting you off to sleep again at the end of the day. For mornings, you can choose how long your light takes to get to full brightness, as well as selecting your own maximum brightness from an impressive 25 levels. This granularity is great if you’re a light sleeper, or someone who's more sensitive to light in general. Audio is delivered in the form of built-in nature sounds, FM radio, or your own music player which you can connect via an AUX cable. Along with a sunset mode that's similar to the Lumie’s, the Somneo offers a light-guided breathing mode to promote pre-bed relaxation, giving you seven rhythms of light intensity or sound to follow.
The Beurer WL50 offers a good range of features for the price point. The morning and evening cycles work well, although the customisation options are a little limited. The cycle duration can be set to 10, 20 or 30 minutes (on the shorter side, but probably fine for most people) and there are only three alarm sounds. There's a tap to snooze option, and you can preset sunrise and sunset cycles in advance, if you like. As well as working well a wakeup and wind-down lamp, it also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, FM radio, a desk lamp or even a mood light – ideal for people who don't want dozens of devices on their bedside table. Head to our Beurer WL50 Wake Up Light review for more info.
The Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB is the priciest and most feature-rich option in the range. This isn't just a wake-up light; it's also a light and sound machine, a DAB radio and Bluetooth speaker. Like the more basic Bodyclock Shine 300 at the top of our list, it sports a high-quality design that feels less like an obtrusive clinical accessory and more like a natural part of your bedroom decor. And also like the Shine 300, it's button- rather than app-operated, which is faffy if you have an irregular wake-up schedule.
When it comes to the wakeup and wind-down functions, this sunrise lamp creates a genuinely lovely experience, with soothing light and sound functions and a plethora of customisation options. There are some differences in functionality here compared to cheaper models – this model has a low-blue light mode for the evenings, and offers 30+ sound options while the Shine 300 only has 15, for example. However, the main points of difference are in the added extras, which include the ability to use it as a Bluetooth speaker (the sound is bright and pairing speedy), DAB radio (which sounds great when you find a station, but proved rather too location-dependent for the tester in our Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB review), and a USB port into which you can plug your phone to minimise bedside clutter. Whether those extras are enough to make you want to shell out the extra dosh for this range-topping model is up to you, but we'd probably only be swayed if we found it on sale.
The Hatch Baby Rest+ is our pick as the best wake-up light for kids. It's also a night light, white noise machine and okay-to-wake clock (aka time-to-rise clock). And best of all, this lovely device is extremely customisable, allowing you to create schedules of sounds and lights to fit your child’s routine.
How about a soothing combination of white noise and low light to ease a small baby into waking? Or a colour-coded system that gives your toddler the green light (literally) to come and hassle you in bed only after a pre-approved wake-up time? It’s all controllable from your smartphone or tablet, so if you’re getting up for an early-hours feed, or checking in to see if they’re awake, you can adjust the settings accordingly from wherever you are. No rude awakenings for them, no bumping into furniture in the dark for you.
Another cheap option that's surprisingly decent, the Coulax Wake Up Light has a wood effect design that makes it stand out from the others on this list aesthetically; whether for good or bad will depend on your personal taste. Functionally speaking, though, everything works well. The device gradually increases the brightness of your room from warm red to bright white in the morning, across 10-60 minutes. You can also use it to get to sleep at night over 10-120 minutes.
On the downside, the sound is low quality; you can't use this sunrise lamp without the sound; and once you turn the alarm off, the light goes off too, which can be a little annoying. But that said, with a snooze function, FM radio, 20 levels of brightness and seven different sounds to wake up to, this all adds up to a real bargain at just £32.99 at time of writing. Particularly as you can set a maximum brightness level, and use it as a bedside lamp or colourful atmosphere lamp too.
If the Philips Somneo is too expensive for your tastes, or you just don't like the design, here's a cheaper option that's nonetheless packed with features. The HF3531/01 SmartSleep Wake-up Light uses a coloured sunrise simulation to help you wake naturally, gradually increasing the light over 30 minutes, from a soft dawn, through orange and eventually bright yellow light. To complete your blissful awakening, the SmartSleep follows this up with a natural wake-up sound: there are seven to choose from including forest birds, ocean waves and Nepalese singing bowls.
These sounds gradually increase in volume over a minute and a half. Alternatively, you can tune into an FM radio station. If you're still not quite ready to wake up, there's a snooze option, and you can lull yourself to sleep at night with the device's sunset simulation – like the wake-up routine only in reverse. There are 20 brightness settings, so you can find the level of light that works best for you, and the SmartSleep automatically adjusts its own brightness level so the display won't keep you up at night. If you do need to rise in the early hours, though, there's a midnight light option that'll illuminate your room with a dim orange light, which is a little more restful.
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or just feel the winter blues once the nights start drawing in, this could be the sunrise lamp for you. The Lumie Zest is a combination wake-up light and SAD lamp that's certified to deliver light therapy that will improve your overall mood. Most importantly, it boasts an output of up to 2000 lux, which is a lot more powerful than the other wake-up lights on this list. Twenty to 30 minutes of light therapy a day is recommended to feel an improvement.
It's small and compact, so it can be taken anywhere (although you will need a socket as there's no battery option), and it's pretty easy to customise to your needs. It's not the cheapest wake-up light on this list, but if you're looking for effective treatment of SAD, we feel the higher brightness output more than justifies the price.
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How we test the best wakeup lights
To put together this ranking, wherever possible we call the wakeup light in and spend a couple of weeks testing it out to see how it performs. Primarily we look at how effective it is at that soothing wakeup process, including the different light and sounds functions and customisation options. We'll also consider other features such as evening modes and radio, as well as how easy the setup and use is (this is an area where things can get fiddly). Finally, we'll look at the design – how smart it's going to look on a bedside table, and whether it feels high quality or not.
In the cases where we haven't been able to get hold of a product, but feel it's worthy of inclusion, we research what other customers and reviewers have said, and combine that with what we know about the market to put together an informed blurb for you to base your decision off. Find out more about how we test at T3 here.