As someone who slept through many a California earthquake, I can’t oversell the importance of heavy duty alarm clocks. If you tend to sleep through alarms—and everything else—you’ll want to grab one of these alarm clocks and reclaim your day.
Although both types of clocks appear more or less the same, there’s one notable thing that sets them apart: the decibel (dB) level. Standard alarm clocks range from about 60-90 dB (for reference, 60dB is how loud a normal conversation is while 90dB is loud yelling or a truck passing close by). Alternatively, heavy duty options can extend up to 120 decibels (think: an ambulance siren or a nearby thunderclap).
Before buying just any old alarm clock you find, there are a few features common to this type of alarm clock that you should familiarize yourself with first. Understanding each feature will make it easier for you to decide which one you should get.
- Wake Method: While most of these alarm clocks rely on ear-piercing noise to rouse you, a few use other methods. Some have a connected device that shakes intensely along with the alarm noise; typically you’ll set this near or under your pillow. Others have you solve a puzzle or step on a sensor to get the alarm to shut off. Quite clever.
- Decibels: As we mentioned earlier, heavy duty alarm clocks tend to have a louder decibel threshold to help wake us heavy sleepers up. However, if you’re worried about your hearing, you might want to choose an option that lets you adjust how loud it gets.
- Customizable Sound: Screeching hideous atonal noises not your thing? That’s understandable. Some of these clocks let you customize your wake-up sound, allowing you to wake up to the sound of soothing death metal instead.
- Power Source: The whole point of these is to wake you up, and the best heavy duty alarm clocks have a backup power source, like a built-in battery. If this feature is a big deal to you, verify that the clock you choose has it before purchasing.
- Snooze Options: Believe me, I get it—waking up the first time your alarm goes off is lame. Some of these alarm clocks have a snooze button and let you customize the duration of the snooze, letting you catch a few more zzz’s before you face the day. A few others, though, do not have this option and are instead aimed at getting you up and out of bed on the first try. It just comes down to whether or not you want the option to snooze.
- Dimmable Display: Nobody wants an unnecessarily bright LED display keeping them awake at night. Make sure the clock you choose automatically dims or makes it easy to manually dim its display to your liking.
- Durable Design: This one makes sense—these alarm clocks need to be durable enough to hold up to angry half-awake swats from those of us determined to keep sleeping. And for the alarm clocks that move or require interaction to turn off, they’ll need to hold up to day-in, day-out use.
Just look at this thing. There’s no reason to doubt that the Sonic Alert Loud Alarm Clock won’t wake up even the most obstinate of zombies. With a nickname like “The Skull,” rest assured this guy packs a punch. The obscenely loud 113dB alarm has an adjustable tone and volume controls, along with a 12-volt bed shaker that goes the extra mile to make sure you wake up.
You can easily customize how long The Skull will snooze, with options ranging anywhere from 1-30 minutes. It also has a dimmer, allowing you to adjust how bright it is, along with battery backup so it’ll keep ticking even when the power goes out. Don’t like the clock’s skull? You’re in luck. There’s also a skull-free Sonic Bomb that has the same features and comes in seven colors for a less intense vibe.
A Siren and a Shake
Ruggie is honestly ingenious, as it requires you to actually stand on it to turn it off. And guess what? That wakes you up and gets you out of bed, which is the end goal here, right? Ruggie looks like a small mat or carpet, and you have to step on it for anywhere from 3-30 seconds to stop the alarm. You can use its default noises, which range from 90-120dB, or upload your own MP3 files to it. The clock doesn’t have a snooze function, as it’s designed to get you up and out of bed in the morning.
Ruggie is made with memory foam wrapped in super soft and fluffy fabric, so it feels pleasant (plus it beats stepping on a cold hardwood floor first thing in the morning). It’s available in either blue or grey, and its simple design looks good in any bedroom. With its innovative no-snooze design, Ruggie is the best option for those looking to stop hitting the snooze button.
Step On It to Stop It
This alarm clock helps you get up and stay up, because you have to stand on it for a set period of time to turn off the sound.
Want an inexpensive traditional alarm clock that still makes plenty of noise? The Peakeep Twin Bell Alarm Clock offers just that. Battery operated, it keeps things pretty simple, right down to the clear and easy-to-read clock face that depicts numbers in a large print for sleepy users.
There’s no snooze button here—just the classic hammer-hitting-the-bells alarm. Otherwise, the continuous sweep motion of the hands means no annoying ticking noise. You can press a button to backlight the clock if you want to see the time in a dark room. You will have to set the alarm manually before each use, however. The clock has a timeless and stylish design, and comes in five colors so you have plenty of options.
Simple but Downright Loud
With its small design and loud siren, the Screaming Meanie TZ-120 Alarm Timer is a force to be reckoned with no matter where you take it. Its slim design—which is just a little larger than a smartphone—means it won’t take up much space on your nightstand or in a suitcase. Plus, it has a 9V battery so you won’t have to worry about bringing along a plug converter either.
Volume settings ranging from 70-120dB give you control over just how loud it gets (which is nice to have if you live in an apartment, or with roommates). It is more of a timer than a dedicated alarm clock, though. It doesn’t keep time, and each time you want to use it you’ll have to set up how long you want it to run for before the timer goes off. The timer is loud and reliable, though, making it perfect for use when staying in busy cities.
Great for Travelling
Last but certainly not least on our list is Clocky. This adorable robot alarm clock springs to life when its super loud alarm goes off—it will roll around on your nightstand then fall off and keep rolling and jumping around on the ground. You’ll actually need to get out of bed, chase Clocky down, and catch it in order to turn it off.
Clocky can maneuver equally well on carpet and hardwood flooring. It runs on four AAA batteries and offers a single snooze (though if you want to get up, catch it, and hit snooze only to repeat that 1-8 minutes later, that’s your choice). Clocky sounds like R2-D2, and its cute design will charm you and help you get up the first time.
Chase After It
This adorable little guy will have you up and out of bed chasing it down to turn off its alarm.