If you struggle to concentrate or sleep, sound masking machines are small devices that sit on a bedside table or desk and create ambient background noise to block out the annoying noise and make you (or your baby) drift off to sleep!
But they’re not just for sleep. You can use one to block out unwanted noises from busy roads, noisy neighbors, snoring partners, or whatever other noise is winding you up. They also help with concentration, so they are great for studying.
The products we review here vary in terms of the noises they make; some just generate white noise, while others have various sounds like rushing water, birdsong, and jungle.
- Noise Cancelling Devices: Product Guide
- The Benefits of Using a Noise Cancelling Machine
- Buying Guide: Key Considerations
Noise Cancelling Devices: Product Guide
Yogasleep Dohm Uno
One of the standout features of the Dohm Uno is its simplicity. It produces natural white noise using a fan-based mechanism, creating the soothing sounds of rushing air without the disturbance of actual moving air. This signature sound has been crafted to provide a calming ambiance, effectively masking background noise and promoting better sleep. Whether you’re looking for office privacy, trying to soothe babies or kids, or simply seeking respite from a noisy environment, the Dohm Uno delivers a customized sound experience tailored to your preferences.
Powered by a 120V AC plug, all you do is plug it in, flip the switch to on, and rotate the collar to find the perfect sound for your needs. It serves as a natural sleep aid, offering relief from issues like tinnitus, noisy snorers, and unfamiliar hotel rooms. It’s also a blessing for pet owners, providing a calming balm for sound-sensitive dogs by masking external noises.
What sets the Dohm Uno apart is its quality. Marpac (the founding company) has been the gold standard in white noise machines for over 50 years, and the Dohm Uno lives up to this legacy. The device is assembled in the USA and comes with a one-year limited warranty.
What we like:
- Provides natural white noise with the soothing sounds of rushing air, promoting better sleep and creating a peaceful ambiance.
- Backed by over 50 years of excellence, Yogasleep’s Dohm Uno offers a customized sound experience, masking background noise for improved sleep, office privacy, baby soothing, and relief from various disturbances.
- Featuring a user-friendly design, it’s easy to use.
Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound+Sleep SE
Another very portable sound masking device is the Adaptive Sound+Sleep SE. This machine is digital and has a variety of soundscaping options.
Although the sounds are pre-recorded, the machine manages to avoid repetition by randomizing the order of the recorded natural sounds, so that each time you listen it will be different.
Perhaps the cleverest feature of the Sound+Sleep SE is the way it ‘hears’ what’s going on in its immediate environment. The machine detects intrusive noises and reacts to them with sounds that will mask them while not becoming intrusive themselves.
The Sound+Sleep SE also has a sleep timer, so that you can set it to send you to sleep and quieten down in 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. It also has the choice of being powered by battery or plugged into either a USB connection or a mains supply.
This will be perfect for those who need to wind down and would like the help of some smart technology to do this.
What we like:
- Listens and adapts to your environment. It responds to the changes in sound and instantly adjusts the audio volume and mix
- Rich & immersive sound categories include: Rainfall, Ocean, Brook, City, Crowds, Meditate, Small Fan, Large Fan, White Noise, Pink Noise, Brown Noise, Waterfall, and Meadow
- Versatile power options – Can be used on battery or mains supply
Another digital machine, the HoMedics SoundSleep is the best value for money on our list. Either batteries or an adaptor can power it, and it has six presets to choose from, including white noise and natural weather.
There’s a timer so that you can set it to turn off after 15, 30 or 60 minutes, so you don’t need to worry about it being on all night and potentially overheating.
This will suit those who are on a budget, and who want something that’s small and simple to set up. It will be less suited to those who demand higher quality features.
What we like:
- Includes 6 digitally recorded relaxing sounds designed to mimic the natural environment: White Noise, Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night, and Brook
- Lightweight, compact, and easily fits into your purse, bag, or suitcase
- Makes the perfect baby sound machine and baby registry must-have
- Good value for the money
Magicteam Sound Machine
What sets this sleep sound machine apart is its precise volume and timer settings. With 32 levels of volume, it’s ideal for creating a peaceful environment for baby sleep, and you can easily adjust it to your comfort level. The timer feature allows you to choose from various time options – 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours, or continuous play, ensuring you have control over your sleep duration.
The unique design of this machine is both sleek and portable. Its solid-state design, measuring 6.3 inches by 4 inches by 2.4 inches, makes it easy to carry around for home use, in the office, or during travel.
The memory function automatically restores your previous volume, sound, and time settings, providing convenience and continuity in your sleep routine. It can be powered by both AC and USB, offering flexibility in usage.
What we like:
- 20 non-looping sleep sounds, including classic white noise, calming brown noise, soothing pink noise
- Timer settings
- Really affordable
Hatch Rest Go Portable Sound Machine
Hatch Rest Go is a game-changer for parents, making naps on-the-go a breeze for both parents and babies.
With 10 soothing sounds, including classic White Noise, calming Hush, gentle Heartbeat, and serene Ocean waves, Hatch Rest Go provides the perfect ambiance for your little ones, helping them doze off peacefully wherever they are.
One of the standout features of Rest Go is its user-friendly design. The device boasts three easy buttons for quick sound selection and volume control, making it simple to operate even in the midst of a hectic day.
Additionally, it comes with a convenient ring that can be easily clipped onto strollers, diaper bags, or car seats, ensuring you can take it with you wherever you go. Plus, it’s drop-proof and drool-friendly (lol), making it durable enough to withstand the playful hands of little ones.
With its rechargeable battery that lasts up to 15 hours, you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep sounds throughout the day, too. Plus, the color options, including Mint, Honey, Peach, Putty, and Slate, add a touch of personalization to match your style.
What we like:
- Makes on-the-go naps effortless for both parents and babies, ensuring peace and convenience wherever you are
- 10 soothing sounds creates a calming ambiance, helping your little ones doze off peacefully in any environment
- User-Friendly Design: Featuring three easy buttons and a clip-on ring to add to your child’s stroller or crib
LectroFan White Noise Machine
The device offers a diverse range of 20 unique non-looping sounds, including 10 fan sounds and 10 white noise variations. This selection includes pink and brown noise, providing a comprehensive array of options to suit your preferences. The non-looping feature ensures a seamless auditory experience, allowing you to enjoy uninterrupted relaxation.
In terms of safety and convenience, LectroFan boasts a safe, solid-state design powered by both AC and USB. Its dynamic creation of unique, non-repeating sounds occurs without any moving parts, ensuring longevity and reliability. The precise volume control feature enables you to set the perfect sound level tailored to your specific environment, enhancing the overall user experience.
What we like:
- 20 unique non-looping sounds, including fan and white noise variations
- Powered by AC or USB, and precise volume control further enhance its convenience and effectiveness
- Good alternative to the Yogasleep Dohm
The Benefits of Using a Noise Cancelling Machine
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep. There are many causes of insomnia, but one topic that’s often overlooked is your ‘sound environment’. Typically, we think of noise as a distraction, but in the case of white noise or other relaxing sounds, it can have the opposite effect: noise can actually help you sleep. These machines aren’t guaranteed to give you a decent night’s sleep, but they certainly won’t hurt.
Likewise, if your baby is struggling to sleep through, this can be partly because they were used to hearing many sounds as they slept in your womb (it can be difficult for kids to adjust to overly-quiet bedrooms or nurseries). One of these devices may be worth a try.
Improves Concentration and Focus
One of the major downsides of all the technology at our fingertips these days (we check our phones on average once every 12 minutes) is that it’s become harder than ever to concentrate – social media companies especially are vying for your attention all the time.
The impact of interruption on individual productivity is hugely negative – distracting ambient noise is one of the biggest causes of interruption and one of the commonest complaints raised by employees (largely because of the increase of open-plan offices). Using one of these devices won’t give you 100% of your concentration back, but it will definitely help.
Alleviates Hearing Loss
A common problem for many musicians is the hearing damage they inevitably suffer from gigging. Whether it’s playing a live show, rehearsals or just the rotten luck of being stuck next to an enthusiastic percussion section – it’s an unfortunate fact that you’ll often find yourself with persistent ringing in your ears. Sound masking devices won’t eliminate the ringing, but they may help to alleviate it.
Buying Guide: Key Considerations
How Many Presets?
Sound masking machines usually have a variety of ready-made ‘soundscapes’ as well as the standard white, pink or brown noise; you can relax listening to birdsong, oceans, running rain, etc. Do you have a particular sound you prefer? Have a think and see if the product includes it.
Many sound masking machines also include sleep timers which gradually lower in volume until you drop off asleep (and then switch off automatically). If that’s something that appeals to you, make sure the product has that feature. Some have headphone jacks too, which is a nice touch.