How to Choose a White Noise Machine for the Office

While most people think of white noise machines as sleeping aids, they can be helpful when used in office environments. Sound masking can be beneficial for increasing productivity and making unwanted background noise seem less disruptive, but you must choose the right white noise machine if you plan on using one in your office.

If you are unsure how to choose a white noise machine for your office, we are here to help! Not only will we explain why white noise machines can be useful for offices, but we will also explain how you can choose the perfect white noise machine. By following this guide, you will be able to find the best white noise machine for your office!

What Are the Benefits of Using a White Noise Machine in an Office?

If you are unsure if you should even purchase a white noise sound machine to use as a sound masking system for your office in the first place, consider the following benefits that they can offer:

White Noise Machines Can Help with Concentration

White noise sound machines can block ambient noise, minimizing noise distractions and helping to increase concentration. Think about some of the noise distractions you hear in a typical office, like ringing phones, noisy copy machines, and conversations between other people. If your noise masking can help block out unwanted noise, don’t you think you would be able to focus more on your work?

White Noise Machines Can Help Improve Productivity

If white noise is used regularly during all working hours, it can increase productivity by subconsciously stimulating the mind. If the office always has a familiar sound, your mind will start to associate that low, rumbling white noise with productivity. The second you hear it, your mind will instantly flip into work mode. The sense of familiarity white noise can stimulate in your mind can help you focus and block out the world outside of work.

How to Choose an Office-Friendly White Noise Machine

There are several features to look for if you are in the market for a new white noise sound machine for your office. The following are the features we feel are the most important:

  1. Sound Quality and the Number of Settings:

Lower quality white noise machines tend to create a harsh and somewhat annoying type of white noise. If you want your new white noise machine to help with productivity and concentration, you want to choose one that can generate low-frequency white noise rather than high-frequency white noise.

If your budget allows, you should look for an acoustic sound machine or a sound conditioner. These create a more consistent and lower frequency white noise than the less expensive, electronic white noise machines, which play pre-recorded white noise on a loop. We have previously recommended the Yogasleep Dohm, which actually uses a working fan to generate sound.

Choosing a machine that offers a variety of settings will also help you fine-tune your white noise machine and find the perfect volume and frequency for your preferences. Where some of the lower quality machines only have a simple On/Off button, the higher end models will have up to 30 different settings for you to choose from, as well as an adjustable volume control dial. 

Everyone has different preferences, so the more versatile your machine is, the better the chances are that you can find a type of white noise that works for you and your co-workers, be it the noise of a summer night, a blowing fan, or a natural sound, like rain in a tropical rain forest. Some also give you other sound options, like brown noise or pink noise, both of which can also mask distracting sounds.

  1. Appearance and Design

While functionality should always be your main concern, choosing a sound masking machine that is subtle in appearance can help it blend into the background. The best white noise sound machines almost look like a small Bluetooth speaker or a smart speaker, so they will not look out of place in an office environment. 

We also find it is helpful to choose a white noise machine that does not have distracting LEDs or a backlit display screen, as this also helps them blend in and be less of a distraction.

  1. Programmable Modes

Another feature of the higher-end white noise machines is creating custom settings. If your white noise machine automatically creates your preferred type of white noise when you turn it on, you will not have to waste as much time adjusting it when you sit down to start your workday.

With some of the best models, you can even program when your white noise machine starts to emit white noise. Having your white noise machine gradually increase the amount of white noise it generates as the day goes on and distractions increase can be beneficial, especially if you find that your attention tends to waver later in the day.

  1. Portability

If you want a 2-in-1 white noise machine that can generate frequencies that help with productivity and help people fall asleep, you should also keep an eye on how portable it is. 

If the white noise machine is compact and discreet, you will be able to pack it away in a bag and take it with you at the end of the workday. If you choose a smaller and more portable white noise machine, there is also a better chance that you will be able to fit it into a discreet location, like behind your computer monitor or on a nearby windowsill.

And if you choose a portable model, be sure that it also includes a built-in battery. There is nothing “portable” about a sound machine that requires a constant power source from an electrical outlet.

  1. Affordability

While it may seem like you will have to spend a fortune to purchase a white noise machine that has all of the features we listed above, the truth is many high-quality white noise machines are available at budget-friendly prices. Plus, white noise machines are bound to be more affordable than installing an office sound masking system.

Here are some of our favorite white noise machines that can be found for less than $50.

When assessing quality, pay attention to customer reviews, settings, design, and programmability rather than focusing purely on the price. A lengthy warranty is also a good sign of quality, as it means the manufacturer stands behind its product.

Final Words

While a white noise machine might not be for everyone, it can be incredibly beneficial for some people. Whether you work in a small cubical or large, wide-open office space, you should be able to find a product type that will work for you. Just make sure to keep the features we discussed above in consideration when you are shopping for a white noise machine for the office.

If you don’t know where to begin your search, click here or here for write-ups of the top white noise machines we have ever reviewed.