I'm looking for a new alarm clock. My wife is hyper-sensitive to lights in the bedroom, but we both like to know what time it is without having to reach over to the nightstand (this seems to make it harder to get back to sleep) and I often get up long before her. I've spent hours searching, but there are just so many out there and the terminology to describe what I need is so generic as to make it impossible to find. To make matters worse, most alarm clocks seem to be getting brighter and louder than they were 30 years ago, and many seem to tout the very features I don't want (loud alarm, night light, etc.). I need an alarm clock that meets the following requirements:

  • Plug in with battery backup--I can't afford to have the batteries die or the power go out in the middle of the night and not get woken up.
  • Very low light: Constantly lit so we can read it from about 4 feet away, but giving off less light than a single micro LED (even that often casts a shadow in a dark room), while still visible during the day without manual adjustment--probably a tritium or phosphorescent display.
  • Highly adjustable alarm loudness. I currently use a clock-radio with the volume on VERY low--it can barely be heard from across the room, not at all with the furnace blower going.
  • Less than $20

It would be really cool and I'd be willing to pay extra if it had any of the following features:

  • Bluetooth connectivity/speaker for daytime use
  • Automatic daylight savings adjustment
  • iPhone (lightning) charging/dock
  • Multiple alarm settings for weekday/weekend

FYI: my current system is a clock-radio with paper put over the LED display to dim it sufficiently, but it's now so dim that it can't be seen during the day at all, and the radio isn't great--the reception is affected by the proximity of my hand to the radio.

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    I had read about a alarm clock that projects the time on the ceiling. so you can check the time without even moving your neck. The projected light may be dimmed I guess and if I remember correctly it also had voice controls.
    – Ghos3t
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 5:32

2 Answers 2


Except for the $20 price tag, I'd recommend (and recommend against; see below) the Google Pixel smartphone! I have a Pixel 3 on a wireless charging stand. When dormant (after only a few seconds), the display is quite dim (and, being an amateur astronomer, I am extraordinarily picky about "dim" displays). Also, a smartphone matches (even if subsumes) your other criteria, such as Bluetooth, automatic time, and multiple alarm settings.

My counter-recommendation is that having a smart phone near where you sleep is an obvious temptation for bad behavior (awakening in the middle of the night to check the news). As with any surgeon's-scalpel sort of tool, you must exercise diligence.


An additional recommendation: the Cubie series of bedside clocks; there are at least four models (listed under "Cubi") on Amazon. My spouse has one and its display is somewhat dim; it autosets time (somehow) and has USB charging ports. Be advised that its idea of "now" and yours might differ: hers is consistently three minutes behind the time our smartphones report.

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