If you landed on this blog post, you’re probably wondering, what’s the best wake up light? Imho, you asked the right person. 🙂 From expensive to cheap – and everything in between… I’ve tried my fair share of wake up lights. As a result, as you might suspect, I have a strong opinion about this particular type of alarm clock.
Before I get into which wake up light is my holy grail, let’s briefly touch on why anyone would even want a wake up light alarm in the first place. What’s so great about wake up lights (AKA sunrise alarm clocks)?
My Wake Up Light Taught Me How to Wake Up Early
Prior to my experimenting with wake up lights, I was dabbling in waking up early, but I couldn’t make the habit stick. During that time, I was toggling between suffering through groggy days on mornings I forced myself to wake up early and sleeping in way too late on mornings I chose to ignore my cell phone’s alarm.
I wasn’t having much success making early rising work for me. I was feeling miserable all the time, regardless of how much sleep I was getting. I hadn’t yet discovered how to wake up early and not feel tired or groggy.
Enter the Wake Up Light…
After asking some avid early risers I know how they wake up early and appear to do so effortlessly, one of those people let me in on a secret.
She gave me a brief explanation of how sleep cycles work, which I already knew a bit about, but didn’t realize how relevant it was for developing the habit of waking up early.
What she told me was basically this: If you wake up at the wrong part of your sleep cycle, regardless of how much actual sleep you got, you’re going to wake up tired and groggy. That mirrored my experience exactly – I just didn’t know it was because my normal alarm clock was interrupting my sleep cycle.
Then she told me she uses a wake up light alarm with a sunrise simulation feature. I didn’t think to ask about which one she was using, so I obliviously went on my merry way with the intention of looking up wake up lights on Amazon when I got home.
That’s exactly what I did, in fact. I went on Amazon, typed in “wake up light” and bought the cheapest one I could find. It cost me less than $20, so I was psyched to be taking one step closer to my goal of becoming an early riser for less than $20.
I received the wake up light in the mail a couple of days later. It worked well for about 2 weeks. I was waking up early practically on autopilot and was gaining more and more energy by the day as my body got used to the schedule.
Why I Don’t Recommend the Cheapo Knock-Off Wake Up Lights
However, at the two-week mark, the $20 wake up light broke. It stopped powering on. Strike one.
I went back on Amazon and looked for another wake up light with good reviews that cost a little more. I settled on a $40 model.
Same story, different wake up light… It worked well for about a month. Then the light stopped working. Strike two. Ugh!
I Still Love You, Wake Up Lights…
Because I loved the concept of the wake up light so much and felt that it made a difference in whether I woke up early or not, I decided to give it another chance, but I was unsure which model to choose. For a while, I went back to using my cell phone’s alarm clock.
I saw the more expensive Philips models, but I was leery of spending more than $50 on a wake up light when, so far, the two other cheapo off-brand wake up lights were pretty much disposable. I realize Philips has no connection with the 2 cheap models I already tried, but I was still skeptical. I was getting sick of spending money on alarm clocks.
Enter the Philips Somneo Wake Up Light
My birthday rolled around and someone who knows me very well gifted me the Philips Somneo HF3650 / HF3660 wake up light. That was almost 2 years ago. My Somneo wake up light has been working like a champ since then. I guess it really is true that you get what you pay for.
As you can probably guess, I strongly recommend the Somneo model. You can check it out on Amazon, which is where you can get it at the best price, by clicking on the image below:
The Runner Up… Budget-Friendly Philips HF3500/60
My cousin has been using the Philips HF3500 wake up light for about a year and has no complaints. You can check out its budget-friendly price by clicking here or by clicking the image below:
The HF3500 doesn’t have as many features as my Somneo, but for her, it does the job and it probably will for you, too. For example, it only has one wake up sound while the Somneo has 7 along with an FM radio setting.
Another significant difference is that the HF3500/60 model only has 10 brightness settings and a maximum light intensity of 200 lux compared to the 25 brightness settings and 320 lux level of the Somneo. This makes the sunrise feature a much smoother, more natural experience with the Somneo, but still… the budget-friendly HF3500/60 is so much better than the slightly cheaper $20-$40 knock-off models.
If I hadn’t received a Somneo for my birthday, I probably would’ve bought the HF3500 too since the price is attractive.
What About the Mid-Range Philips HF3520 Model?
Since the HF3520 is made by Philips (and judging by the Amazon reviews) it looks good, too. I’m only including it here as a side note and not as a recommendation because I don’t have any experience with it or know anyone who does.
You can find the HF3520 by clicking here or by clicking the image below:
The HF3520 seems to be a good middle ground (price-wise and feature-wise) between the Somneo and HF3500/60. It does look bulky and heavy, but that’s pretty irrelevant considering it’s just going to be sitting on a nightstand or table. However, if you’re short on space or don’t like clutter, that might be a factor.
A Final Word About the Best Wake Up Light
In my mind, the best wake up light is one that lasts 2 years and counting. For me, the best wake up light is the Philips Somneo.
Whatever you decide, I’d definitely stick with one of the Philips wake up lights because they have proven themselves to be reliable, lasting for years.
Don’t waste your money on wake up lights that keep breaking. If you add them up, they end up being more expensive than just purchasing a good Philips wake up light in the first place…