Which smart clocks are best?
Clocks that have to be manually adjusted for daylight savings or reset in the event of a power outage are inconvenient. Manually managing the clocks in your house becomes one of many chores, while a smart clock can make your daily routine a little easier.
If you need a smart clock with an alarm, radio and Bluetooth speaker all rolled into one, the top choice is the iHome iBT234. It serves both as a bedside clock and a charging hub for mobile devices.
What to know before you buy a smart clock
Do you need a smart speaker?
Maybe you already have a smart speaker and you want a clock to go with it? Or perhaps you want a smart clock as the first smart device for your home? Depending on your plans for other devices to connect your home, you may want to determine what virtual assistant software you intend to use. Not all smart devices are compatible, so if you want to have everything in your home interconnected, it might be worth taking some time to plan out.
Which digital assistant do you use?
If you do not already own smart devices or use a digital assistant, which one you use is not really a concern. However, if you already use Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, it is important to find a smart clock that is compatible with your existing devices and software. If you do not need the smart features and a normal digital clock would suffice, there are many more options. Smart clocks that are designed to connect with your other favorite smart devices are not as easy to find, though. Always check which software and devices a smart clock can connect with before you buy one.
Do you use your phone as an alarm?
If you need a smart clock to be your alarm clock for a bedroom, it needs to have a variety of built-in functions. This will be more expensive. Smart clocks with advanced capabilities are useful, but they are always going to be more restrictive in terms of what smart assistants or devices can be linked.
What to look for in a quality smart clock
The smart clock’s display should be clear and easy to read at a glance. Many smart clocks that also feature built-in speakers will often have the digital clock display discreetly blend in with the larger design of the device. Some smart clocks change the brightness of the display automatically and some can be manually adjusted. If you plan to use the smart clock in a bedroom, consider the brightness desired for your digital display.
If your smart clock is meant to serve as an alarm clock, a quality speaker is crucial. Speakers can also be convenient additions to smart clocks since they can join a family of other smart speaker devices and play any audio you want, not just alarm sounds. If you do not like alarm tones, a smart clock with a built-in speaker is very useful because your alarm could play music or the radio.
There are many different options for smart clocks. Some have radios built-in, some have Bluetooth-enabled speakers to connect all your devices, some can serve as a charging hub for mobile devices and some feature a built-in wireless charger on the clock itself. Depending on what you need your clock to do in addition to displaying the time and setting alarms, there is probably a smart device that would help.
How much you can expect to spend on a smart clock
Smart clock devices with basic features or that need to connect to other smart devices to access assistant software or additional features can be found for less than $50. If you want an all-in-one smart clock, be prepared to spend more than $50.
Smart clock FAQ
What smart assistant should I use for my devices?
A. This comes down to personal preference. If you have smart devices in your home already, getting a smart clock that is compatible with the smart assistant you already use is probably best. Do some research on popular assistant software like Alexa or Google Assistant and find the types of smart devices you want to connect in your home. Smart clocks and speakers are generally unable to connect to all digital assistants for voice commands and additional features, so if you already use one it will limit your possible options for a smart clock.
Are smart clocks just smart speakers with a digital clock display?
A. No, you should be careful when picking out a smart clock device. Some have built-in speakers and some are meant to be connected with existing smart speaker devices. Some of them are simply electronic speakers with Bluetooth or another method of connectivity that lets users connect devices to the clock and use the speaker. Not all smart clocks have the same functions as a smart speaker, so be aware of what they can really do before you buy.
What’s the best smart clock to buy?
Top smart clock
What you need to know: This alarm clock also doubles as an FM radio and Bluetooth smart speaker that can be controlled manually or with voice commands.
What you’ll love: The control panel on top of the clock is streamlined and intuitive. Users can connect Siri or Google Assistant to control the device with voice commands. The clock can also be a USB charging station for phones and mobile devices. Bluetooth-enabled devices can connect directly to the smart speaker to play audio wirelessly or users can listen to FM radio signals. Alarms can be set that trigger regular alarm tones, music from a connected Bluetooth device or turn on a favorite FM radio station.
What you should consider: Because it can adapt to different smart assistants hosted on other devices, there is not a built-in smart assistant. Users have to connect their mobile devices to use existing smart assistant software, while the smart clock serves as a Bluetooth speaker for the connected device.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top smart clock for the money
What you need to know: This affordable smart clock add-on is ideal if you already own an Echo Flex smart speaker or plan to buy one.
What you’ll love: The smart clock plugs into the Echo Flex via a USB port and functions right out of the box with no additional setup required. Timers and alarms can be set via voice commands using the built-in Alexa software. The smart clock’s light display uses a built-in sensor to automatically adjust to the brightness of the room so that the digital clock display is easy to read. It can display in a 12- or 24-hour format.
What you should consider: It cannot function by itself and must be plugged into the Echo Flex smart speaker. However, the combined cost of these devices is more affordable than many alternatives.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This stand-alone smart device for a nightstand or table has a clear clock display in addition to serving as a speaker with built-in Alexa smart assistant software.
What you’ll love: It comes in two colors and can connect to the rest of the Amazon Echo device family. You can set alarms, timers and more using voice commands. If you set an alarm, it can be snoozed by pressing the classic digital alarm clock button on the top of the smart clock.
What you should consider: Some users have had trouble getting the device to hear their commands in comparison to other Echo devices.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money
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