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White noise sound machines – TOP 5 choices – Jan ’17 update

Top Pick in White Noise Sleep Machines

top_pick_white_noise_machine_lectrofan_asm1007_model It took just under a year to put together a guide on white noise sleep machine and we first published it in September 2016. The testing for this guide included 25 people over a period of 11 months.

So, this is the second update to the list and not much has changed in the rankings – the Lectrofan sound machine is still at the top.

We’ll also get into the best portable and sound machines for babies. But, first things first.

 

 

Skip to the part you’re interested in:

 

We’ve divided the guide into a few categories and we’ll start by presenting the overall winner, the runner up and the rest of the TOP 5.

The Best White Noise Sleep Machines

 

TOP 2 compared

#1 - the LectrofanRunner-up - the ASM1002
asm1007
asm1002
Owner satisfaction %95 %81 %
Price$$$
Loops noticeable?No loops,
sound is non-repeating
Barely noticeable, only a small %
of people picks up the repetition
Nature sounds?No10 nature sounds
Dimensions4.4 x 4.4 x 2.2 "4.5 x 5.5 x 7.5 "
Weight1.4 lbs2.6 lbs
Timer included?YesYes
Sound quality97 / 10092 / 100
Volume95 / 10094 / 100
Versatility92 / 10098 / 100
Design97 / 10092 / 100
Value for money97 / 10090 / 100
Overall Ratings96 / 10093 / 100

The Best White Noise Machine Overall – the Lectrofan

 

Lectrofan officially has 95% owner satisfaction rate and less than 3% of users reported any issues with their sleep machine.

We have very few products rated at 95 or over on the whole of 3Beds and those that are belong to the category of luxury air mattresses that cost thousands – that alone speaks volumes about the customer satisfaction with this Lectrofan.

white lectrofan 1

The specs of the Lectrofan sound machine:

  • As opposed to most sound machines, the sounds of this Lectrofan is non-looping but generates dynamically using their unique algorithm
  • Types of white noise sounds – 10
  • Fan sounds – 10
  • Sleep time (multi hour)
  • The white noise masks any disruptive sounds…traffic, noisy neighbors…
  • Minimal simple design with no moving parts
  • No motor, which makes it a safer and longer lasting than sleep machines that include motors
  • Fine control of volume – 50 settings with 1db increments

Moving on to our analysis of the Lectrofan, based on what we heard from our featured testers.

Simplicity of the Lectrofan white noise

One of the things that we love doing here at 3beds is exposing products for what they are, that means clearly drawing the lines in the sand between true value and practicality and marketing gimmicks. These gimmicks just add to the price and, after you played with them for a week, you forget they’re there.

None of that with the Lectrofan…

This machine doesn’t give you many button to play with and it doesn’t include a motor.

 

Unboxing of the Lectrofan

lectrofan asm1007

The Lectrofan comes with a power adapter and can be plugged into either a USB port of a computer or standard DC outlet

 

Basically, it offers the use two main options – the standard white noises and the sound of a fan (which is also kind of a white noise). Within those two options, you have 10 setting to choose from in terms of the depth of the pitch and 50 volume settings.

side view lectrofan sound machine_asm1007The fan sound as per the Lectrofan reviews– 97 /100

Most of white noise machines are pretty good at masking conversations in offices but the fan sound itself in other machines doesn’t even come close to how realistic and calming the fan sound of this Lectrofan is.

Ratings in the category are 97/100, which practically means there’ little to no room for improvement in the fan sounds.

We found that its main competitors that have been around for much longer have a more unnatural fan sound (tenor at higher pitch) and fewer options to adjust it.

Bottom line – the reviews show that Lectrofan has the truest and most natural fan sounds from all the machines on the list.

The versatility of the volume settings allows you to better adjust the volume and how deep the pitch is to the level noise outside – versatility rated at 93/100, also the best-rated on the list.

Volume – 95 / 100

The underappreciated fact (we feel) is the fact that the sounds are generated on-the-go and are non repetitive and that’s how the white noise of an actual fan works.

Additionally, as you might well know, the same sound on loop does get boring and often irritating after a while. So, white the sound sleep machines that loop sounds; you might find yourself replacing irritating sounds with another irritating sound.

Also, as we mentioned, we believe that they hit the sweet spot between practicality and options to choose from.

The volume can be surprisingly high for such a small device – Based on the Lectrofan reviews and our experience sound quality rating is a whopping 95/100.

carry case for the sleep machine reviewsVersatility – 92 / 100

This was a tough one. The Lectrofan is not as versatile as some of the other machines on this list, but we are not sure whether the options included in the others are the right kind of versatility…you know, the kind you’ll actually use.

If you do get the Lectrofan, we DO NOT believe that you’ll find yourself in a situations where you’d say, “Geez, if I only had that feature now.’

So, it’s not all-singing-all-dancing, but it’s just right.

Having said that, the name of the rating category is “Versatility”, hence the slightly lower rating than other machines on the list, again, all based on the reviews of the Lectrofan.

Design – 97 / 100

You could get a wrong impression about the machine by looking at photos, everybody at the office here agreed that it looks kind of retro. It’s not retro, if you are looking for the retro feel in the design you look at the next machine on our list, the Marpac Dohm.

It’s smaller than its competitors (4.4 x 4.4 x 2.2 inches), which makes the footprint of the base 14.5 square inches. At this size, the Lectrofan will be the choice of travelers.

Slick and modern, those would be the two words to describe the looks of this Lectrofan. Its simplicity embodied – if these machine would be phones, this would be an iPhone –simple, clean and minimal. The design of this little eye candy was praised again and again in the Lectrofan reviews we gathered.

We’d love it however, if they offered other color choices (apart from black and white) some time soon.

Value for money – 97 / 100

By far the best value for money of all the machines listed here, this Lectrofan is high-end modern product that costs about half as much as similar modern products with more features you’ll never use and similar breathtaking design.

Overall rating of the Lectrofan sound machine – 95/100.

 

Runner-up – Ecotones ASM 1002 aka. Adaptive Sleep Sound

 

Most people that already researched white noise machines know this baby as the Ecotones ASM 1002, so to make things easier that’s what we’ll call it.

Doesn’t sound as cool as the “Adaptive Sound Sleep Technologies” but it’s much easier both for us and for you, the reader.When we have products with such complicated names we usually give them a nickname that’s a short version of the name, most often consisting of the first letter, but as you probably understand, we won’t be doing that here…

adaptive sound asm1002 by ecotonesLuxury among white noise and sound machines

This is the high end product of the list and it costs a few dozen bucks more than the other options listed. It’s for us to present all the features that this eye candy comes with and for you to decide whether you need them.

The one feature that sets it apart from the other machines on the list is what the company calls “Adaptive Sound Technology” and it adds real value to the product.

This machine recognizes and adapts to the levels of noise outside, which is a pretty big deal, if you think about it.

And the best part it, it’s not a gimmick, it works with surprising accuracy.

Fact sheet of the Ecotones ASM 1002:

controls

  • Includes unique white noise sounds, fan sounds and nature sounds
  • Dimensions – 7.5×5.5×4.5 inches
  • Weight – 2 lbs
  • Sleep timer – not one, a range of them
  • The Adaptive technologies change the volume as the outside noise changes
  • 10 soundscapes – all sounding pretty realistic
  • Recording randomly selected to avoid looping
  • Richness settings (an example of this would be adding an owl hoot to a soundscape)

 

Unboxing the ASM1002

unboxing asm1002 ecotones

Sound – 92 / 100

The ASM 1002 comes as close as a digital machine can to the natural sound of a fan whirling inside.

In fact, we’d bet you 5 bucks that if you didn’t see this machine and the Marpac Dohm or the Lectrofan, you would have a pretty hard time recognizing which fan sounds comes from which machine.

In fact, that test sounds good; we’ll make a note and do that in for the next update.

ecotones mini

Mini version of the ASM1002 in white and silver

Volume – 94 / 100

This is high-end item and the quality/clarity of the sound. As we mentioned, it’s also as natural as it gets with digital machines.

The sound richness and adjustable frequencies is what makes or breaks a sound machine, otherwise we’d just download white noise or natural sounds and play it from our phones.

If you are into meditation and/or aromatherapy this is the machine to have.

If this makes any sense (and these are quotes from the users we talked to) the sound of the Ecotones ASM1002 feels much thicker, it fills the room much better than any less expensive digital model might and just as good as other sound machines.

Versatility – 98 / 100

There are a few gimmick sound settings that come with the ASM 1002 that you are not likely to use any time soon (like the train, machinery or helicopters) but most of the features are carefully planned.

The ASM 1002 is the most versatile sound machine on the list – it is THE ONLY machine that includes high quality whit noise (regular and fan) and a variety of natural sounds.

It allows you to set the initial sound level for every setting and then it adjusts to mask any noise.

The only question remaining is why the other machines don’t have the adaptive sound function.

Design – 92/100

sound machine on desk

This one is a looker (as you can see) and the reason, we believe, that it received lower ratings for design is that the looks are a better fit for a modern home than say, exotically furnished house.

Value for money – 90/100

You have the Marpac Dohm that produces fan sounds and then you have less expensive machines (like the ones from HoMedics) that produce only natural sound.
Add all the variety of settings and especially the system of adaptive sound and it seems like money well spent.

The Ecotones ASM 1002 is an all-in-one and as such, worth the few extra dozen bucks.

Final Rating of the Ecotones ASM 1002 – 93 / 100.

 

# 3 –  HoMedics Sound Spa

 

ss20000 machine homedicThis sound machine gave us a good laugh when we first looked into it. The listing on Amazon said that it include the sound of “pain”.

“Well, there’s a company taking a different approach and thinking outside the box”, we thought.

It was obviously a typo and they did change the listing to “rain” soon, but the joke of the pain sound still lingers around the office.

A budget-friendly solution

This is the machine that took home that little cup that we give out to the best budget solution out there.

It’s portable and you get a nice carry bag along with the machine.

The only issue might be, the machine is so inexpensive that the carry bag cost about half the price of the machine.

Basic facts about the HoMedics sound machine:

  • Six digital sounds including white noise and adjustable volume
  • Timer – auto off at 15, 30 or 60 min.
  • Adapter or battery-operated
  • Dimensions: 6.5x6x2
  • Very light – only 8 ounces
  • Warranty – 1 year
Fan sound – N/A

The white noise included in the HoMedics does sound somewhat like a fan but since that was not the intention of the company, we deemed it inappropriate to rate this.

Sound & volume – 92/100

ss20000 machine homedicThere are other sound machines in this price range but almost all of them have sound quality issues and sound like playing white noise from a computer or your phone.

The most common issues are clicking sounds and the richness of the sound. That’s not the case with the HoMedics – the sound is realistic and deep and there’s no loop of the sounds that as far as we noticed.

It does lack in richness of the sounds. Take the sound of the ocean, it’s only waves crashing with nothing added (an occasional seagull would be nice).

On the other hand, the volume can be jacked up to be pretty loud.

We found the rain sound to be the most realistic.

Versatility – 80 / 100

ss20000 machine homedicThe HoMedics sound machine can be considered versatile, especially having the price in mind.

The white noise sounds do a pretty good job at masking disturbing noises and it does sound somewhat like a fan. With the nature sounds that pretty much covers the whole spectrum.

It is somewhat limited in options compared to say, the Ecotones we talked about above.

The timer function is there but it’s limited to just turning off the device. There’s no option (which many people like) for the device to continue with a faint sound of a heartbeat which is there with the more advanced models.

On the other hand, the timer doesn’t turn the device completely off, it just stops the sounds.

Design – 87/100

PROS: Small, compact and light.

CONS: There a tiny green light that stays on even when the sounds stop, we have no explanation on why would one need a light on a sleep machine. And it’s not a subtle light, either,

Value for money: 92/100

 

It’s right up there with the best when it comes to value for money ratings, not because it’s as good but simply because it’s so inexpensive and still covers all the main features and sounds.

Overall rating of the HoMedics machine is 89/100.

 

#4 – Marpac Dohm DS

 

dohm ds unpackedMarpac Dohm is a classic and it’s probably still one of the best sellers among white noise sleep machines. They made their first sound conditioner in 1962 and the current Marpac Dohm model is the 4th generation.

The National Sleep Foundation made the Marpac Dohm their official sound conditioner.

The owner satisfaction of the Marpac Dohm is at 88% and, except for out winner the Lectrofan, it’s one of the least expensive machines on the list.

About 5% of the users have reported reliability or durability issues.

The fact sheet of the Marpac Dohm:

dohm white noise conditioner

  • Two speeds
  • The machine is run by a motor and there’s no actual moving air – a built-in fan creates a sound of rushing air, no digital recordings
  • Warranty – 1-year limited
  • Dimensions: 5.8×5.8×3.2 “
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Assembled in the USA – up to the point of publishing this guide we haven’t been able to find the out where the parts are made
  • The sound doesn’t loop since it’s produced by an actual fan
Sound – 92 / 100

The fan sound in this Marpac Dohm sounds pretty natural as it should, since the sound you’re hearing is actual air moving inside the machine.

So, there’s no digital recording and no air going outside the machine. The later can be either a con or a pro, depending on preferences.

Sound quality and volume – 88/100

As we mentioned the sound of the Marpac Dohm is natural, but the volume settings are nothing to write home about. There are two speed settings that influence the volume somewhat. After choosing one of the two settings, you use the collar to adjust the pitch.

By twisting the collar you change the way air moves inside and that’s what changes the pitch depth.

Unboxing the Marpac Dohm

unboxing the marpac dohm

 

Versatility – 78 /100

The relatively low score in the category of versatility that the Marpac Dohm sound machine got is not necessarily a bad thing.

It just means that the machine is basic and it’s designed with a simple goal in mind in mind. It doesn’t do much, but it does it well.

The one feature that should be there and it’s not is simple timer.

Well, maybe in the 5th generation…

Design – 88 / 100

top view of the sleep easy sound conditioner

We know that the design is a matter of taste but our rating model is statistical and that means that it includes those differences and the rating reflects what most people love.
When we talked about the Lectrofan, we mentioned that the Marpac Dohm looks kind of retro.

The small holes at the top, the slant opening on the sides and the on and off button make Marpac Dohm DS look like it belong in a motel room from the eighties with flowery curtain designs.

In terms of design, if the Lectrofan is the iPhone, the Marpac Dohm is Nokia 3310.

Yes, you might have noticed we are not fans of the design.

We can get on board with the holes and the slanted “cuts” because they serve a purpose, but what’s with the on and off button. It looks like the original fell off and you used super glue to replace it with the one from your old stereo.

Enough of our rant about the design, the ratings are not affected by our opinions anyway, they are an aggregate of user reviews.

And users gave a solid 88/100 to the Marpac Dohm DS.

Value for money – 90 / 100

As we said, the Marpac Dohm is a pretty basic machine but it’s very good at what it does.

It’s less expensive than most of similar machines, hence the very good 99/100 value for money.

Overall rating of the Marpac Dohm is 87/100.

 

#5 – Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound

front view of wave premiumThe Wave Premium Sleep Therapy machine is rated at 87/100, sharing the 3rd/4th place with the Marpac Dohm.

What the company making the Wave premium machines is saying about it:

  • Suitable for both adults and babies
  • 6 rich nature sounds
  • USB charger for your phone or tablet
  • Shut off timer – 15, 30, 60 minutes
What we think about the Wave Premium Sleep Therapy Sound Machine

The Wave Premium is the only machine on the list with a full 5-year warranty and that speaks volumes towards the quality of the product.

But let’s see what makes it tick and how well.

This is the one item on the list that’s not designed to block and mask other sounds. Having said that, it does so pretty well in the fan and white noise mode.

Sound quality

Fairly good for the price tag and rated at 88/100.

Volume control – 88/100

wave premium sleep sideThe Wave Premium comes with pretty well balanced sounds.

We are not exactly sure why but in most of the simpler and less expensive sound machines the sound of rain is the richest and more natural.

The company making the Wave Premium machine (Pure enrichment) got the pitch just right. A high pitch can be a problem with sound machines in this price range, but not with this sleep machine.

For a sound machine that’s not made to mask or block other sounds, it does so pretty well. However, if masking traffic sounds is one the primary reasons you are looking into sound machines; the Wave Premium is probably not for you.

Versatility – 86/100

The Wave Premium covers what a well-rounded sound machine should – from a nice fan sound and white noise to oceans and summer nights.

We don’t expect fancy features (like adding sounds of birds) to be included in this price range. It also features a standard auto shut off, so we are rating it a solid 86/100.

Design – 88/100

wave premium sleep tableThe design of the wave premium is a bit limited. It does look good, but it’s slick and contemporary design is best suited for modern homes.

It is probably the most distinctive look here, but since it’s not universal and it comes with a light which is not great for sensitive people, we can’t rate it any higher than 88/100.

And yes, the USB port is a nifty little plus for the Wave.

Value for money

The Wave Premium Sleep looks like it costs at least 3 times as much, take our word for it.

It’s going to be a talking point for any people that are new to your bedroom, more likely that most of the other machines listed here.

It also packs most of the features the more expensive models do – value for $ – 92 / 100.

Overall rating of the Wave Premium Sleep – 87/100.

 

Best for travelers – Marpac Rohm Portable

marpac rohm portableIf you end up getting a sound sleep machine, be prepared for one thing, you’ll get used to it and it will become a part of your sleep routine. So, we are including a category of portable sleep machines ideal for travelers, whether it’s camping or a vacation.

Although some of the sound machines we already listed can be battery-operated, there’s a type of portable sleep machines that are designed with travelers in mind.They’re extremely light, small and inexpensive.

If you choose your portable sound machine right, you won’t be able to tell the difference between he portable one and the one sitting on your bedside table.The best portable sound machine is the Marpac Rohm.

It’s rated at 92/100 with a rating of 94 in both sound quality and portability (weighs only 3.7 ounces).

Fact Sheet of the Marpac Rohm:

  • Number of sound options  – 3 (bright and deep white noise & gentle surf)
  • USB-rechargeable
  • Warranty – 1-year factory limited warranty
  • 3.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.5×1.8×3.8 “
Sound quality – 92/100

Unlike the Marpac Dohm, this portable sound machine (as most of them) does not move any air. The sound is digital, but by far the purest and richest from any of the portable sound machines we looked into.

Although it’s not produced in the same way, kudos to Marpac for making the sound very close in quality to that of a Marpac Dohm. Most people become particular about the pitch of the white noise and they got it just right in the Marpac Rohm.

Portability – 96/100

The Marpac Rohm fits in a pocket.

It’s about the size of hockey pack and amazingly light at 3.7 ounces.

It’s rechargeable but the battery could be better, it’s a simple lithium-ion.

rohm portable white noise compared size glassesOn the more positive note, it does run plugged in using the USB port.

It’s not a problem if you are traveling to a hotel or car camping (you can use an adapter and charge it in the cigarette lighter outlet) but if you are backpacking and don’t have access to power for days at a time, you are probably better of with a device that allows you to simply replace the batteries, like the HoMedics Sound Spa.

Versatility – 89/100

We use different criteria to rate versatility of a regular and a portable sound machine. The Marpac Rohm is all about the sound noise but it does provide options for different types of white noise.

If you are used to nature sounds and that’s what helps you fall asleep, again, you are better of with the HoMedics Sound Spa.

 

 

 

Design – 90/100

rohm portable white noise compared size glassesThe Marpac Rohm is smartly designed whichever way you look at it.
It looks sleek and modern and it’s functional. You can hang it using the cord that comes with it. Great for hanging it on the doorknob of your office and cancelling out all the

gossip that might be coming your way.

The USB charging works well but it’s unclear why a wall adapter doesn’t come included.

If you don’t want your computer to run while the Rohm is charging, you will need a wall adapter for the USB.

Value for money – 92/100

Another rating that we have to approach differently in portable sound machines. The value for money is in the fact that you can conveniently carry it around and not in the number of features.

The features are limited, but the small and light Rohm is worth it.

Final rating of the Marpac Rohm – 92/100.

 

Honorable mention – Conair Sound Therapy Machine

 
Conair Sound MachineLet’ take a few minutes and list the white noise and sleep sound machines that didn’t make it to the top 4 with a brief summary about each of them.

Conair Sound Therapy Sound Machine review

Sound Therapy Sound Machine?

That’s how this machine is listed with all the retailers that carry it and the name itself is not promising.

It’s as if the iPhone was called “iPhone device that you can phone people with.”

But looking past the sound-sound thing in the name, the Conair Therapy is actually one of the most popular sound machines out there.

Whatever you want to call it – Conair sound machine, noise machine or a sound therapy sound machine, it’s a solid product rated at 72/100.

It is the most inexpensive items on the list:

About Conair Sound machine:

  • Materials  – plastic
  • Choice of 10 soothing sounds and volume control
  • Auto off timer – 60 minutes
  • Adapter or battery-operated
  • Dimensions –  2.5×5.7×8.8 “
  • Weight – 1 lbs

The company making the sleep machine, Conair has a 75% satisfaction rate among users, which is surprisingly low compared to the others on this list.

Sound quality and loops

At best, the Conair Therapy Sound machine plays sounds of underwhelming reality and richness. The sounds sequences are short and play on a noticeable loop.
Quality of the material and volume controls

The Conair sound therapy sound machine (we just love saying it) doesn’t feel well-made, the plastic is flimsy and the volume control knob has been reported to short out after a few months of use.

Overall quality rating of the Conair Sound Therapy machine 78/100.

Sleep tight,

James Menta

james

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