Best Wake Up Light Alarm Clock 2020

Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Well, you're not alone. Millions of people have found that using a wake up light alarm clock helped them to wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to go.

If this sounds familiar to you then check out some of our best wake up light alarm clock reviews of 2020 to see if a sunrise alarm clock could help you to fight off those winter blues and wake up naturally.

best wake up light alarm clock

The human body naturally operates according to circadian rhythms. Many things about our lifestyles today disrupt this natural cycle, including blue light from electronic devices and even alarm clocks.

A sunrise alarm clock will harness the body's natural rhythms to wake you up at the optimal time and in an optimal way while still making sure you get up when you need to.

Benefits of using a Wake Up Light Alarm Clock

Can't decide if you should buy a wake up light alarm clock? Here's an overview of a few benefits of using a sunrise simulation alarm clock:

  • Wake up to light – the way nature intended
  • Can be used as a FM radio
  • No more waking up to loud beeping sounds
  • Wake up to nature sounds like birds chirping, ocean waves etc.
  • Can be used as a reading lamp
  • Wake up feeling less tired and more energetic


Best Wake Up Light Alarm Clocks 2020 Comparison

 Philips HF3520Philips HF3510Philips HF3505Philips HF3500
philips hf3520 sunlight alarm clockphilips hf3510 sunrise alarm clockphilips hf3505 sunlight alarm clockphilips hf3500 sunlight alarm clock
Sunrise simulation duration Adjustable (20-40 min)Adjustable (20-40 min) 30 min 30 min
Colors in sunrise simulation Red, Orange, Yellow Orange, Yellow Yellow Yellow
Sunset simulation
Reading lamp
Adjustable display
Maximum light intensity 300 lux 300 lux 200 lux 200 lux
FM radio
Number of wake-up sounds 5321
Number of alarms 2111
Check Price

Check out Philips HF3520

Best Wake Up Light Alarm Clock Reviews 2020

Philips HF3520

Philips HF3520 Wake Up Light

This may be the best wake up light alarm clock that Philips makes. It offers a full multi-colored simulation of the sunrise, unlike many other wake up light alarm clocks that only use white/yellow lights.

The colored simulation isn't necessarily a vital feature but it's one that many people enjoy. You can choose the length of time it takes for the light to reach full brightness from 20-40 minutes.

It might take some experimenting to see how you best respond to how gradually you like to wake up. It's nice to have the option to choose the duration, something many other wake up lights do not offer.

You can also select the overall brightness, up to a maximum of 300 lux. The HF3520 can also do a sunset simulation to help you wind down at the end of the day. To make sure you get up, you can optionally select from five wake up sounds or even use FM radio. There is also a snooze feature.


Philips HF3510

Philips HF3510 Wake Up Light

Like the HF3520, the HF3510 gives you a choice of optional wake up sounds or FM radio, it can help you wind down with a dusk simulation, it has a snooze button, it gives you a choice of brightness settings and wake up time duration, and reaches a maximum brightness of 300 lux.

Unlike the HF3520, the HF3510 doesn't offer the full-color simulation of the sunrise. In addition to helping you start and end your day with the biological power of light, this works as an adjustable brightness reading lamp.


Philips HF3505

Philips HF3505 Wake Up Light

The HF3505 doesn't offer as many features overall as the HF3520 or HF3510 but it is a solid wake up light alarm clock. It only gives you a choice of 10 brightness settings and reaches a maximum intensity of 200 lux. There is no sunset simulation option but you can use it as a bedside reading lamp and enjoy the FM radio.

There are also a few natural wake up sounds to use if you're concerned about waking up from light alone. This wake up light alarm clock always brightens gradually over a period of 30 minutes so you don't get a choice like with the HF3520 and HF3510 but the half hour time period is usually just right for most people.


Philips HF3500

Philips HF3500 Wake Up Light

The HF3500 is the best wake up light alarm clock that Philips makes at the lower price point. It's definitely one of the best wake up light alarm clocks at this price point overall. It doesn't offer everything the other models do but it offers all most people will need. It wakes you gradually over 30 minutes and reaches a maximum brightness of 200 lux.

There is a snooze feature and an optional wake up sound for backup. Unlike the other Philips wake up light alarm clocks, the only sound is a traditional alarm beeping sound rather than a choice of gentle nature sounds or an FM radio. The HF3500 does have a snooze feature and can serve as a bedside reading lamp with your choice of 10 brightness settings.


Finding the best wake up light alarm clock

Sunrise alarm clocks use light to mimic a sunrise, helping you wake up more gradually and naturally. This helps you to wake up at the best point during your sleep cycle and will result in less grogginess and more energy to start your day.

To find the best wake up light alarm clock for you, consider the following:

  • Brightness: The brightness intensity of a wake up light alarm clock is measured in lux. Typical brightness ranges for these clocks will be 100-300 lux, though you will see them with intensities as high as 10,000 lux. Generally, you want to go with as bright as you can afford.
  • Light Source: Some wake up light alarm clocks use halogen bulbs while others use LED lights. Halogen tends to create a higher quality of light while LED offers less heat and lower energy consumption.
  • Color: Many wake up light alarm clocks just have a yellow/white bulb, but others feature multi-colored lights that really mimic the full color palette of the sunrise.
  • Sounds: For people who are worried about waking up from light alone, many wake up light alarm clocks also offer sounds as a back-up. You'll see some with traditional alarm sounds but also a variety of other more gentle sounds for waking up like ocean waves or birdsong. Some even let you wake up to a favorite radio station or to your own music.
  • Timing: The time period of the “sunrise” can be an important consideration. Some sunrise alarm clocks don't give you an option and just have a fixed time period of 30 minutes while others let you set your desired cycle from a range of 15-60 minutes. The best time range for you is hard to say without experience as it's really a matter of personal preference.
  • Sunset: Some sunrise alarm clocks also have a sunset feature that helps you wind down towards sleep by mimicking the sunset. This is a very useful feature for people who find it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Light Therapy: For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, choosing a sunrise alarm clock that can also offer appropriate daytime light therapy can be a nice option. The best wake up light alarm clock for a person with SAD will feature a high lux intensity, ideally around 10,000 lux.
  • Extra Features: Some wake up light alarm clocks have bonus features that might be attractive to some people. These include serving as an adjustable brightness reading lamp or nightlight and serving as a speaker to play music or other media from a phone or MP3 player.

Benefits of the Best Wake Up Light Alarm Clock

You might think that sunrise alarm clocks are just gimmicky but they have a number of proven benefits. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the benefits of using a natural light alarm clock as part of your daily routine:

Wake Up Light Alarm Clocks Promote Ideal Hormonal Balance

When you wake up during the point of your sleep cycle known as deep sleep, your hormonal balance is sent into a tailspin.

This can have a drastic negative effect on things like your mood and your energy levels. The old cliche of getting up on the wrong side of the bed is really rooted in this reality.

The way we wake up can make us crabby versus happy or drained versus energized.

Sunrise alarm clocks help wake you up more gradually, making sure you aren't in that deep sleep stage when you wake. When you wake up with more balanced hormones, you'll start your day happier and with more energy.


One hormone that sunrise alarm clocks will help regulate is cortisol. This is known as the stress hormone, since feelings of stress can cause a cortisol spike. Cortisol should follow a natural rhythm, peaking first thing in the day. Light naturally triggers this response. When you start the day with peak cortisol, you won't be as groggy. You might not even need to rely as heavily on caffeine.

Waking up to light is just more pleasant. Sunrises are beautiful and even an artificial sunrise can create a feeling of happiness.


Melatonin is the hormone that is most heavily involved in the sleep cycle. Unlike cortisol which should peak in the morning, melatonin should peak at night and be at its lowest level in the morning. Melatonin is very responsive to light. A wake up light alarm clock that helps mimic natural light cycles will help keep your melatonin operating at optimal levels. This will help with your energy during the day and also help you fall asleep more easily at night.

Wake Up Light Alarm Clocks Are Just More Pleasant

Is there anything worse than that blaring beep of an alarm clock? It must be one of the world's most hated sounds!

For people with anxiety, the loud and jarring sound of an alarm can trigger an anxious response that doesn't set you up for a good day.

Waking up to light is just more pleasant. Sunrises are beautiful and even an artificial sunrise can create a feeling of happiness.

Even if the hormones weren't being balanced, the pleasantness factor of wake up light alarm clocks help you start your day in a much happier frame of mind.

If you don't trust light alone, even the alarm sounds on sunrise alarm clocks are more pleasant than traditional alarms. You can choose from gentle sounds that get louder gradually or you can even wake up to the music of your choice on many of these sunrise alarm clocks.

Wake Up Light Alarm Clocks Can Be Therapeutic For People With SAD

Especially in parts of the world where there is much less light during the winter months, SAD is a big problem. People with SAD struggle with depression and low energy during these darker months.

Light therapy has been proven to effectively treat SAD because it helps to reset the biological clock. A wake up light alarm clock can be an effective part of a light therapy routine for SAD.

The best sunrise alarm clocks for people with SAD are those that not only mimic the sunrise while waking you up gradually but can also be used during the day for sessions of light therapy. The best wake up light alarm clock for people SAD will have a high intensity of light.

Wake Up Light Alarm Clock Jargon Buster

If you’re planning to buy a wake up light alarm clock there are a few common terms and jargon you’ll come across, the list below will explain a few of these terms so you’ll be better informed to make the best decision for your needs:

Sunrise Simulation

sunrise simulation alarm clock

All wake up light alarm clocks will have a sunrise simulation feature, for this reason some people will refer to these type of clocks as “sunrise alarm clocks”.

These two terms are the same and all it means is that the clock will start to gradually glow and get brighter over a period of time – very much like a normal sunrise.

Sunset Simulation

sunset simulation alarm clock

The sunset simulation feature is a very useful feature that most high end models have, this feature essentially mimics a natural sunset – which means the light will start out bright and slowly decrease in brightness until the light goes out.

Not all sunrise simulation alarm clocks have the sunset simulation feature, if this is a feature you want then you’ll need to make sure you check the specs to ensure it does.


light intensity LUX

Lux is a standardized unit of measurement of light level intensity, in layman’s term this is used to describe how bright the sunrise alarm clock can be, typical sunrise simulation alarm clocks can range from anywhere between 200-300 lux.

A wake up light alarm clock should not be confused with a SAD lamp which is normally 10,000 lux.

Backup Alarm

light alarm clock

A backup alarm is another useful feature of some sunrise alarm clocks. If you don’t feel confident that you’ll wake up from the light alone then you can set a backup alarm just to be on the safe side. Not all models have this alarm so you’ll need to check the specs to ensure it does.

Some models like the Philips HF3520 even have the option to play nature sounds instead to that annoying beeping sound you get from standard alarm clocks.

All in all, wake up light alarm clocks have the power to completely transform your mornings and your life. I hope this guide has helped you find the best wake up light alarm clock for you.

Once you experience the benefits of waking up gradually and naturally with light, you'll never look back.