Whether you need a sound machine to help a baby sleep, to help yourself sleep, or to drown out unwanted noises, we all know that sleep and focus are essential to our way of life.
Here at Swift Moves, we have used a lot of (digital) ink discussing our favorite premium white noise machines like Hatch Restore, Loftie, Philips SmartSleep, and Lumie. But all of these products can cost $100+, and we haven’t spent enough time evaluating budget-friendly options.
For $50 or less, it is possible to find a quality white noise machine from a reputable brand. In this guide, we will discuss some of our favorite options.
Best White Noise Machines Under $50
Marpac Yogasleep Dohm Classic
This device is marketed as “the original white noise machine,” and traces its roots back to 1962. The Dohm has a simple, unspectacular exterior. But this hides an elegant and brilliant design — a working fan contained within the sound machine.
Most white noise machines generate noise digitally or via a recording, whereas the Dohm Classic relies on an actual fan. This leads to fewer electronic components, thus increasing the life expectancy of the device. However, because the sound is not generated digitally, you get fewer noise options.
Unlike many devices on the list, which offer a number of tones, white noise options, and sleep sounds, Dohm isn’t very customizable. You can choose between a low or high volume, as well as an adjustable tone.
Marpac assembles these sound machines in the U.S., and offers a limited 1 year warranty. For a similar white noise machine that is less expensive and even easier to operate, also consider the Yogasleep Dohm Uno.
Ultimately, the simplicity of the device makes it a top choice on our list. Our only real complaint is that it requires a constant power source, since it doesn’t contain a built-in rechargeable battery.
Hatch Rest Mini
We have previously written about how much we love Hatch baby products. All three versions of the Hatch Rest belong on a “Best Of” list, but only the Hatch Rest Mini retails for under $50 at the time of publish. If you are able to find a Hatch Baby Rest on sale for less than $50, it immediately jumps to #1 on this list.
Hatch Rest Mini is “smarter” than the other devices on this list, with a high quality speaker, fully customizable sleep timer, a variety of soothing sounds, and a companion app. Simply put, this is the most feature-packed and high performing white noise machine currently available for less than $50.
However, Hatch Rest Mini loses points for a couple reasons. First, there is no built-in rechargeable battery. Instead, it requires a constant power source. So, despite its small size, this isn’t really a portable device. Second, although the Hatch app provides a lot of features and customization, many of these features are locked behind a paywall. And the monthly subscription fee adds a significant expense to the purchase price of the Hatch Rest Mini.
Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan
The ‘LectroFan includes 10 fan sounds, 10 ambient noises (white noise, brown noise, etc.), and the makers are so confident in the device that they offer a 1,000 day satisfaction guarantee.
LectroFan is marketed as “non-looping,” so this is a good choice for anyone who is sensitive to the slight pause that can be heard on looping audio tracks. Some sound machines we have tested have very noticeable pauses when the track loops, so this is something to be mindful of.
The sleep timer can be set to “60 minutes” or “On,” so there isn’t much customization in terms of time. Like the Marpac Dohm discussed above, the design of LectroFan is utilitarian and unspectacular.
This device loses points for lacking a built-in rechargeable battery. So a constant power source is required. However, Adaptive Sound Technologies also make similar products that include a built-in battery, such as LectroFan Micro2 and LectroFan Alpha.
Most of the sound machines that have been discussed above provide good function, but are unimpressive when it comes to style. The Snooz Go adds some style, with a beautiful design and a carrying strap that makes the device perfect for on-the-go use.
This is the first sound machine on our list with a built-in rechargeable battery. Not only does it have a battery, but the battery is powerful enough to run the device for up to 20 hours between charges. And it charges via USB-C, which makes things convenient.
In addition to the battery and carrying strap, the device’s size further enhances its portability. The device is less than 4″ and less than 1/3 of a pound.
Snooz Go has 6 sleep sounds, all of which are non-looping. And another great feature is that, unlike most sound machines, it is bluetooth-enabled. This means that you can use the Snooz Go as a portable speaker, and play music or your preferred sleep sounds. This feature adds a tremendous amount of functionality to the device.
If you value portability and a stylish design, it will be tough to beat the Snooz Go. In fact, we love it so much that this is a product that we just can’t stop talking about.
Marpac Yogasleep Hushh
This sound machine competes with the above Snooz Go when it comes to size and portability. Like Snooz Go, the Yogasleep Hushh is less than 4″. And it is even lighter than Snooz Go, weighing in at less than 4 ounces.
Hushh has a built-in rechargeable battery, but the battery only has 6 hours of function between charges. It charges via micro-USB, which is more prone to port failure than the industry-standard USB-C.
The Yogasleep Hushh has a few features that make it stand out from other budget sound machines. First, it has a clip at the top of the device to further improve its portability. Second, it has an LED night light. The light isn’t particularly bright, but it really doesn’t need to be. And third, it has a child lock that can prevent a child from adjusting settings if the device is within his or her reach. This is convenient when using the sound machine in a crib, carseat, or stroller.
Operation is simple, with fully-adjustable volume and only 3 sound options (2 white noise sounds and an ocean sound).
There is nothing premium about this device. But the low price, combined with excellent portability, some unique features, and the reliable Marpac Yogasleep name, makes it a great purchase.
Yogasleep Pocket Baby Soother
The Pocket Baby Soother is definitely the cutest option on the list, if that matters to you at all. With an MSRP of ~$20, it is the cheapest option as well. The best feature here is that you have 4 styles to choose from, each with a removable silicone wrap that decorates the sound machine to look like an animal. So, you can choose from the fox design pictured above, or a dinosaur, penguin, or unicorn.
The device is extremely simple and extremely portable. It is just over 3 inches at its widest point, and weighs less than 4 ounces. A hook at the top allows you to hang it in a convenient location. It is truly a handheld device.
The Pocket Baby Soother offers 6 sleep sounds, including white noises, ocean sounds, an lullaby options. There are a few preset timer options, as well.
A built-in rechargeable battery powers the device for 10+ hours between charges.
As soon as you use it, you will notice that the build quality is unspectacular. To be sure, this is an inexpensive plastic device. But, considering the price, it is a good purchase even if the device only lasts for a year or two. And if you have to replace it, it gives you a chance to choose a different animal style.
The Dreamegg product lineup is confusing, with many different sound machines in the same price range with similar features. So our choice of the D3, rather than a different Dreamegg model, was somewhat arbitrary.
Dreamegg D3 is one of the more feature-dense products on this list. Whereas some other budget sound machines only give you a few sound options, the D3 offers 29 sound choices. This means you can choose between white noise (7 options), fan sounds (7 options), and nature sounds (15 options). Volume levels are fully adjustable, and there are a few preset sleep timer options. Our only complaint is that, despite the large number of sound options, some of them are poor quality and sound harsh.
The device has a built-in battery that provides up to 12 hours of runtime. And the build quality is solid — this is a heavy device for the size, with a stable base.
Features That Matter
In choosing the best sound machine under $50, start by considering the features that matter most to you. The following discussion will focus on key features in a sound machine.
Design, Power Source, & Portability
Some white noise machines, like the 1.6 pound Marpac Dohm, have stable bases and are clearly intended to sit on a desk or nightstand. Others, like the Snooz Go and Yogasleep Pocket Baby Soother, weigh only a few ounces and include straps or hooks, making them perfect for on-the-go use.
One thing to be careful of is a “portable” device that lacks a built-in battery. In sound machines (and tech products in general), there are many products that are marketed as “portable,” yet require a constant power source. This is misleading and inconvenient.
Any parent knows how challenging it can be to put a baby down for a nap. The last thing you want is a power outage to silence your sound machine and wake your baby up mid-nap! It doesn’t happen often, but anyone that has experienced it can tell you what a nightmare the situation can be.
There is a wide range of sound options among budget white noise machine. Many products offer 30+ sleep sounds, while some (like the Baby Shusher) offer only one.
In theory, it is better to have more sound options. But in reality, the quality of the sounds matters more than the quantity. Some budget sound machines offer 30+ sounds, but most of them are scratchy and unpleasant to hear. Additionally, some of them have tracks that are less than 90 seconds in length, with an audible pause (“loop”) each time the track starts over.
Software & App
In the sub-$50 price range, most white noise machines lack a companion app.
We give props to Hatch Rest Mini for having the most “smarts” of any product on this list. The companion app is excellent, but also comes with a monthly fee if you want to access premium features. So, it seems that the monthly fee may be subsidizing the low cost of the device. (In other words, you think the device is inexpensive due to the <$50 price tag, but then you spend another $50+ per year to use the features on the app).
Since it is tough to find a good app-compatible sound machine under $50, a more important consideration is the software and features of the sound machine itself. For example, having sleep timers in addition to a “continuous on” mode. An adjustable sleep timer allows you to save battery life and customize the device to your needs. Having fully-adjustable volume, rather than just one or two volume options, also makes the sound machine more enjoyable to use.
Another excellent feature, which is seen in the Snooz Go, is the ability to use your sound machine as a bluetooth speaker. With a bluetooth-enabled device, you can choose your own sleep sounds, rather than being stuck with the few preset options that came with the product.
In this price range, most white noise machines don’t have premium features like night lights or clock displays. But there are still some, like the Yogasleep Hushh, that have an LED night light.
Another lighting consideration — choose a device that doesn’t have any unintentional or distracting indicator lights. Many people purchase a sound machine and alarm clock combo, only to find out that the alarm clock light cannot be turned off. Now you have a baby that is skipping nap-time because he is distracted by a digital clock! And some sound machines with built-in rechargeable batteries have a battery status light that flashes an annoying red strobe light when the battery is low!
Warranty & Support
If you noticed that we put 3 Marpac products (Dohm Classic, Hushh, and Yogasleep Pocket Baby Soother) on our “Best Of” list, you may have been able to guess that we love the Marpac Yogasleep brand.
In the sub-$50 price range, there is a lot of junk being sold. But when brands like Marpac Yogasleep and Hatch are making products for less than $50, there is no need to buy a product from an unknown brand that offers no customer support.
It is not uncommon to find a white noise machine that offers a 1 year warranty. Some devices even give you more than a year, like the Adaptive Sound Technologies ‘LectroFan and its 1,000 day satisfaction guarantee!
Be sure to consider not only the warranty length, but also the likelihood that the company will honor the warranty. As I look through white noise machines under $50, I see a lot of brands that may not even exist in 12 months. Good luck getting them to honor your warranty!
Oftentimes, we view electronics in the sub-$50 price range as cheap, throwaway products. Thankfully, when it comes to white noise machines under $50, we can find a quality product from an industry-leading brand.
Remember to consider the sound options, portability (including built-in battery), and device software before you make a purchase decision.
If you want to find a budget-friendly sound machine, choose any of the options on the above list. We promise, you will soon be sleeping soundly!