Best wake-up lights: the best sunrise lamps for a smoother start to your day

The best wake-up lights to help you get out of bed in the morning - so you can finally ditch the alarm clock

Hatch Restore Smart Light
(Image credit: Hatch)

The best wake-up lights are a must-have if you're looking for a smoother, more pleasant start to your day because, let's be honest, no one enjoys being startled by a jarring alarm clock every morning. So, as their name suggests, wake-up lights use light and sound to gently wake you up in the morning. Before alarm clocks were invented, humans relied on the rising sun to know when it was time to start their day, which is what wake-up lights try to replicate—a pretty genius idea.

The best wake-up lights will slowly brighten your bedroom over a period of time, letting you come around from sleepy slumber at your own pace. Many of them also come with audio features like different nature sounds or FM radio, so if you're a heavy sleeper, you can opt to have gentle noise accompanying the light when it's time to get up. On the reverse side of the AM setting is the wind-down mode, which simulates the sunset by gradually getting darker, letting your body know it's time for sleep. 

Many tech companies now offer wake-up lights, and their popularity has flooded the mainstream market in recent years. We've selected some below to help you wake up feeling brighter and more energized, as well as highlighted a few Black Friday deals cropping up before the official retail holiday rolls around. And if, in the meantime, you're looking for more health-beneficial smart tech, we have assembled some of the best smart light bulbs in another guide, as well.

Early Black Friday deals on wake up lights

Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

The best wake up lights in 2024

Wake-up lights use light and sound to gently wake you up and simulate the rising sun, providing a smoother start to the day. Many models also come with audio features and a wind-down mode to improve sleep. The popularity of these devices has grown significantly, and you can find some of the top options — which include both the Hatch light and Philips light featured above — in the edit below.

Chirp Alarm Clock & Wake Up Light in front of window showing sunrise

(Image credit: Chirp)

Choosing the best wake up lights

If you're wanting to add some smart sleep tech to your morning, it's probably because you're hoping for a seamless start to your day where you feel more positive and energized. It's therefore important that a wake-up light will make your life easier, not more complicated, so before buying one, we recommend reading how it works to gather a sense of whether you'd feel confident setting it up and using it every day. 

With that in mind, there are a few factors to consider before you invest your money in a wake-up light. 

How bright you'd like the light to be when it wakes you up in the morning is a matter of personal preference, so we think lights that offer more brightness levels are better. Look for those which can adjust to between 20 and 25 levels. 

A lot of lights offer different colors, which can make them a fun nightlight to have in the bedroom. Also, keep in mind the color temperature of the sunrise light. There are products that try to simulate colors of the sunrise using LED light technology, and others that simply get brighter over the duration of the alarm. The former is more proven to improve your mood and energy levels in the morning, whereas the latter is simply a way to wake you up. 

Most wake-up lights have different sound options as well, which could be important for you if you're a heavy sleeper and you're not sure the light in itself would be enough to get you out of bed. Nature sounds are a nice companion to the growing light in the morning, so have a look at whether these are available. If you'd prefer to wake up to the sound of the radio, a lot of modern wake-up lights will offer this.

Switch type
How you can adjust the settings of the wake-up light affects your overall experience of it. If you're likely to hit snooze in the morning, we suggest a touch-operated light because these are a lot easier to work when you're half-asleep in the morning. Buttons work fine, but if these are quite small and on the back of the light, they're not ideal. Some smart wake-up lights can be controlled via an app, a great option if you're a little more tech-savvy. 

Lastly, wake-up lights come in all shapes and sizes. If your bedside table is already a bit cluttered, look for more compact designs. If you want to have a wake-up light as a bit of a centerpiece, there are bigger options available, which also make the buttons or touchpads easier to navigate. 

Are wake up lights worth it?

In its purest form, the idea behind smart homes and the devices that form them is to help make life easier and more enjoyable, and the best wake up lights are part of that. It's the same idea behind 'human-centric lighting', which aligns your home with your natural rhythms. If you want a smart device that fits into your life (and the life you want), they can be a really good investment.

About this guide

We spent a lot of time browsing wake-up lights online and reading the product descriptions to decide which ones were good enough to make our list. Using the above criteria, we took into consideration all the important factors like brightness and audio settings, ease of use, and nighttime modes. We read the customer reviews of each product, and only included those with a majority of positive responses. 

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.

With contributions from