What Are White Noise Machines and Should You Get One?

White Noise Machine

White noise machines are electronic devices that are used to produce or play white noise or other sounds that the listener might find soothing such as the sound of rain falling, wind, ocean waves, and running water.  They actually have several purposes. However, the most common purpose that people use white noise machines for is to aid in sleeping.

What is White Noise?

White noise is the noise that is what is created by equally combining all the frequencies of sounds together at once. Because of this white noise can be used to mask other sounds.

Why Does White Noise Help People Sleep Better?

If white noise is a type of sound why doesn’t it wake people up or prevent them from falling asleep in the first place?

When there are sudden changes in the noise around us it can startle a person who is trying to sleep. White noise helps to block these changes in sound thus enabling us to have a more peaceful sleep.

The key to using white noise to help you sleep is the fact that it is constant. After a while, constant white noise that doesn’t have any sudden changes in volume becomes something that the brain can tune out or ignore. This combined with the fact that white noise when at the proper level can block out the changing sounds around us that might otherwise startle us and prevent us from sleeping.

Who Would Benefit From Sleeping With White Noise?

People who go to bed when there is still activity going on around the home will often find that it is easier to sleep with the help of white noise. Likewise, people who work odd shifts and need to sleep during the day when there is more activity and sounds around them will also often appreciate the help of white noise when trying to sleep.

The following sleep environments might benefit from using white noise:

  • nurseries
  • children’s rooms
  • daycare centers
  • college dorms/residence halls
  • apartments
  • homes by busy streets or highways

The following people might benefit from using white noise while sleeping:

  • babies
  • children who go to bed while adults or others are still awake
  • people who suffer from anxiety
  • insomnia sufferers
  • people with tinnitus
  • people who work the 3rd shift (overnights)

So What is a White Noise Machine?

A white noise machine is an electronic device that produces soothing sounds that help to mask the sounds around us thereby allowing us to get a more restful sleep.

White noise machines come in two main types:

  • Mechanical – Mechanical machines that consist of a fan inside of an enclosed housing that is used to create the white noise sound. These mechanical machines may have a switch that allows you to control the speed of the fan. They also have small adjustable holes or vents in the housing that allows you to customize the volume and tone to match your sound preference.
  • Digital – Digital machines will produce or playback a variety of soothing sounds. They can either digitally produce white noise or playback audio tracks of sounds such as falling rain, the ocean, flowing water, birds, lullabies. These audio tracks can be set to automatically replay once the end of the track is reached. Digital white noise machines will also have a volume control so you can adjust the sounds to your preferences and sleeping environment.

Here is an example of a highly rated mechanical white noise machine:


Yogasleep Dohm Classic (White) The Original White Noise Machine (actual fan inside)

Yogasleep Dohm Classic

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The Yogasleep Dohm Classic produces the soothing sound of rushing air without the unwanted breeze created by a fan. It comes with a two-speed fan and an adjustable cap that allows you to make the sound holes larger or smaller so you can customize the volume and tone of the sound.

Marpac designed the Dohm Classic with convenience and portability in mind. It has a long 6-foot power cord so you can place the unit pretty much wherever you want. The Dohm Classic is compact and stands just 3-1/4 inches high with a base diameter of 5-3/4 inches and weighs only 1 ½ pounds, which makes it easy to fit on your nightstand and bring with you when you travel.

Its’ sturdy construction durability is backed by a one-year warranty.

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Here is an example of a highly rated digital white noise machine:

Adaptive Sound Technologies – Sound+Sleep – Sleep Therapy Machine

Adaptive Sound Technologies - Sound+Sleep - Sleep Therapy Machine

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The Adaptive Sound Technologies – Sound+Sleep – Sleep Therapy Machine is a full-featured unit that should satisfy most anyone’s needs for a sleep therapy/white noise machine. It comes with 10 different sound options for you to choose from including the traditional white noise option that you would expect.

In addition to the many different sound profiles you have to choose from, Adaptive Sound Technologies packed this unit with many other great features. These features include:

  • Volume control
  • Adaptive Sound technology that listens for background noise and can automatically adjust the volume to help ensure that you don’t have your sleep disrupted.
  • A timer that can be set to gradually turn off the unit in 30, 60, 90, or 120 minute time increments. If you don’t want to use the timer you can always use the all-night continuous play option.

While larger than some of the travel-sized units, the Sound+Sleep sleep therapy machine is still relatively compact. Weighing in at 2 pounds the Sound+Sleep’s dimensions are 7.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches.

The Sound+Sleep comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty, and a 30 day return policy so you can feel safe with your purchase.

Learn More Here

Many white noise machines don’t actually produce white noise. These machines might actually be producing pink noise instead. Pink noise is similar to white noise, but it has more emphasis on lower frequencies. Similar to white noise, pink noise can also be used to block out distracting sounds.

Why Not Use a Fan Instead?

Fans can create an approximation of white noise, which is why many people like to use them to help them sleep and don’t see any need for a white noise machine. So why shouldn’t we all just use a fan instead?

There are several reasons why people might prefer a white noise machine instead of a fan:

  • Some people don’t like the feeling of air blowing on them or circulating around the room when they sleep.
  • People who suffer from allergies might not do well with fans blowing around dust and allergens in the place where they sleep.
  • Fans can be bulky and take up too much space – especially in smaller bedrooms.
  • If you travel a lot trying to bring a bulky fan with you on every trip is inconvenient.

White Noise is Also Useful in Other Settings

Using white noise during the day might help you be more productive. The sound masking effect of white noise can be used to block distracting sounds in offices, libraries, and other public places. Sometimes white noise might even be broadcast over a PA system.

In noisy workplaces where people can’t use a white noise machine, they might opt to use noise isolating or noise cancelling headphones.

Here are some bestselling white noise machines on Amazon:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Magicteam Sound Machine White Noise Machine with 20 Non Looping Natural Soothing Sounds Memory Function 32 Levels of Volume Powered by AC or USB and Sleep Sound Timer Therapy for Baby Kids Adults
  • ❤20 Non-Looping Sleep Sounds: White noise ,Brown noise, pink noise, blue noise, fan,brook, rain, ocean,bird and Bonfire,suitable for for Baby and Kids and Adults.
  • ❤Precise Volume & Timer Settings:With 32 Levels of Volume ,it is perfect for baby sleeping .And you can set 1 hour,2 hours,3 hours,4 hours,5 hours and continuous play,control the comfort level for your own environment.
  • ❤Unique Design: Solid-state design with 6.3 inch*4 inch *2.4 inch,it is portable for home, office or travel,can give you a perfect sleep.
  • ❤Function & Safety:Memory function automatically restores your previous volume, sound and time,it is powered by AC or USB.The machine is approved by FCC, CE and RoHS,don't need to worry about accidents.
  • ❤Any issue just don’t hesitate to contact us.We will try our best to help you!
Bestseller No. 2
Yogasleep Dohm UNO White Noise Machine with Real Fan Inside, Adjustable Tone, Non-Looping Sound, Sleep Aid & Noise Canceling For Adults & Baby, Office Privacy, Registry Gift, Travel & Home Essential
  • THE ORIGINAL WHITE NOISE MACHINE, SIMPLIFIED: Beloved by generations since 1962, the Dohm Uno model features our fan-based natural white noise producing our signature sound – the soothing ambient sounds of rushing air, without the disturbance of actual moving air.
  • CUSTOMIZED SOUND EXPERIENCE: With one-speed option for adjustable tone, the Dohm Uno makes it simple to create a personalized sound environment, excellently masking background noise and allowing for better sleep, office privacy, effective soothing for kids and babies, and calming for sound-sensitive dogs.
  • UNBEATABLE QUALITY & GUARANTEE: Sleeping is believing. For over 50 years, Yogasleep by Marpac has been the gold standard in white noise machines - read the reviews and you'll learn why. Assembled for decades in the USA and backed by a one-year limited warranty and the always exceptional Yogasleep customer service promise, we stand behind each product and offer you a 30-day return policy.
  • SIMPLE TO USE: Powered by a 6-foot 120V AC plug, just plug in the Dohm Uno, flip the switch to on, then rotate the collar to find the best sound for you. Let the noise-masking magic happen for a natural sleep aid, office privacy, baby soothing, tinnitus relief, respite from noisy snorers and unfamiliar hotel rooms, and a relaxing calming balm for barking dogs.
  • CLASSIC DESIGN: Featuring a compact and basic design that fits anywhere and blends unobtrusively into surroundings.
Bestseller No. 3
LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer
  • [After Sale Service] Buy our products with confidence as they are designed in the USA & backed by an excellent customer care team also in the USA. LectroFan is supported by a 1,000-day satisfaction guarantee.
  • [Masks Noise] Helps block out disruptive environmental noises. It can help improve sleep, focus, privacy, and relaxation. Helpful for any age.
  • [20 Non-Looping Sounds] A total of 20 unique non-looping sounds. 10 fan sounds & 10 white noise variations, including pink & brown noise.
  • [Safe] Safe, solid-state design is powered by AC or USB and dynamically creates unique, non-repeating sounds without moving parts. Power: 110V AC, USB
  • [Volume Control] Precise volume control allows you to set the perfect level for your unique environment.
SaleBestseller No. 4
Homedics SoundSleep White Noise Sound Machine, Silver, Small Travel Sound Machine with 6 Relaxing Nature Sounds, Portable Sound Therapy for Home, Office, Nursery, Auto-Off Timer, by Homedics
  • White Noise Sound Machine: The Homedics White Noise Sound Machine includes 6 digitally recorded relaxing sounds designed to mimic the natural environment: White Noise, Thunder, Ocean, Rain, Summer Night, and Brook
  • Compact and Portable: This portable sound machine is lightweight, compact, and easily fits into your purse, bag, or suitcase
  • Baby Sleep Aid: Add these rhythmic sounds to your baby’s sleep routine to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer; it makes the perfect baby sound machine and baby registry must-have
  • Auto-Off Timer and Volume Controls: Choose to play relaxation sounds on this ambient sound machine continuously or opt for the auto-off timer; the timer features 3 options: 15, 30, or 60 minutes; adjust the volume with convenient volume control buttons
  • What’s in the Box: (1) Homedics White Noise Sound Machine, (1) Wall Outlet Adapter, (1) Quick-Start Guide
SaleBestseller No. 5
BrownNoise Sound Machine with 30 Soothing Sounds 12 Colors Night Light White Noise Machine for Adults Baby Kids Sleep Machines Memory Function 36 Volume Levels 5 Timers for Home Office Travel
  • ❤[30 Natural and Soothing Sounds] Our white noise machine provides 30 soothing sounds, including 3 Brown noise, 2 White noise(White noise, Pink noise), 2 fan noises( Loud and Soft Fan), 10 lullabies and 15 natural sounds( Rain, Sea waves, Brook, Bird, Train, etc.). This sound machine suitable for relieve stress, relax your mind and create a relaxing sleep environment.
  • ❤[12 Night Light Colors] Sound machine with 12 kinds of light color, to suit your personal preferences at any time. You can choose the suitable nightlight to decorate the environment and create the perfect atmosphere for sleep and rest.
  • ❤[10 Adjustable Levels Night Light] An adjustable soft lighting creates a comfortable sleeping atmosphere for baby kids and adults. Change your surroundings to create the perfect atmosphere for baby sleep, it is the best choice for night feedings.
  • ❤[5 Timer Settings & Memory Function] This sound healing machine can be played continuously or 1,2,3, 4 hours auto-off timer, it is good for taking naps, relaxation, meditation, concentration while studying and working. The white noise machine is powered by AC. Our white noise machine can remember the last sound and volume level you selected when restarted, no need to reset to your previous settings.
  • ❤[Easy to Use & Compact Design] Tap the power button to turn/off the sound playing. Tap the night light button to turn on /off the nightlight. With the lightweight and compact design, it is perfect for home, office or travel.
SaleBestseller No. 6
White Noise Machine for Sleeping, 25 Soothing Natural Sounds & 10 Colors Night Light, Timer, Volume Control & Memory Function, Sound Therapy for Baby & Adults
  • 25 SOOTHING SOUNDS FOR QUALITY SLEEP - The white noise machine includes 5 lullaby sounds, 10 variations of white noise (bonfire, wind, fan, rain) and 10 different natural sounds (forest, birds, ocean waves and others). You can choose the most soothing and relaxing background noise according to your needs.
  • SLEEP SOUND MACHINE WITH NIGHT LIGHT - The function of the night light provides a favorable atmosphere for a calm deep sleep, for rest and relaxation. You can adjust 10 different colors - 3 brightness warm colors, red, blue, purple, yellow, green, and also turn off the light by half. A night light provides a gentle illumination that can offer a sense of security, comfort, and visibility during the nighttime.
  • 30 LEVELS OF VOLUME CONTROL - The volume control function allows you to personalize the sound level according to your preference, creating a customized sound environment that promotes relaxation and sleep. Additionally, adjusting the volume effectively masks disruptive sounds in your surroundings, which is especially useful for individuals living in urban areas or with noise sensitivity.
  • TIMER SETTINGS AND MEMORY FUNCTION - The timer setting function in a white noise machine allows users to set a specific duration for the sound machine: 15/30/60/90 minutes. This feature is useful for those who prefer to have white noise playing only during their sleep or specific time intervals. You can use the white noise machine as a music speaker by connecting to it via Bluetooth.
  • SOUND THERAPY FOR ADULTS AND KIDS - White noise can help create a calming environment that promotes relaxation and better sleep for adults and toddlers. The soft and continuous sound of white noise eliminates other noises, preventing the child from worrying during sleep. The white noise machine creates a sense of familiarity and safety by imitating the sounds babies are used to while in the womb.
SaleBestseller No. 7
Dreamegg White Noise Machine - Portable Sound Machine for Baby Adult, Features Powerful Battery, 21 Soothing Sound, Noise Canceling for Office & Sleeping, Sound Therapy for Home, Travel, Registry Gift
  • 【COMPACT BUT POWERFUL】- D11 Max has more skills. Designed for all things sleep, this sound machine comes with favorable features: rechargeable battery, 21 soothing sounds, customized timers, various volume levels, child-lock for safety, and even memory functions! It is not only a sleep soother sound machine for baby kids, but also an effective white noise machine for adults sleeping & relaxation.
  • 【HUGE BATTERY, WORRY-FREE ON THE GO】- Everything D11 max has, PLUS a LONG-LASTING battery. The portable sound machine is built with unbeatable1800mAh battery compared with 500mAh of others. Easily lasts through the night and into daytime naps on a single charge. For parents who are worried about baby getting naps on the go and especially when the power goes out, it is definitely a life saver! Battery is built in (comes with a USB-C cord to charge) so no need to worry about buying any.
  • 【HELPS SETTLE-IN & STAY ASLEEP】- Moms know how precious sleep can be. Turn it on to create peaceful sleep environment to help crying baby calm down and stay asleep. Choose from selected 21 soothing sounds including classic white noise sounds, to baby lullabies and nature sounds. Fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer with this baby sound machine.
  • 【ULTRA PORTABLE AND CORDLESS】 - D11 Max make magic happen for better sleep anywhere. Small and lightweight makes it a perfect travel noise machine. It is extremely convenient when you are packing around so much stuff whether for a baby or for your travel. With a lanyard and loop, you can easily hang it on the stroller or car seat or suitcase. Take it along in the car, on walks, hotel stays, business trips to enjoy portable freedom.
  • 【HAPPY EXPERIENCE, CUSTOMERS TURN BACK】- Dreamegg has been the standard in white noise sound machine. Neutral look makes it fit into any room décor and works with aesthetic very well. D11 Max is the fancy gift choice with unbeatable quality for babies and also for adults who struggles to switch off or wind down after a long hard day. 365 days warranty saves you worry and friendly customer support brings your smile back on face.
Bestseller No. 8
Yogasleep Dohm Classic (White) The Original White Noise Sound Machine, Soothing Natural Sounds from a Real Fan, Sleep Therapy for Adults & Baby, Noise Cancelling for Office Privacy & Meditation
  • THE ORIGINAL WHITE NOISE SOUND MACHINE: Beloved by millions since 1962, the Dohm Classic model features our fan-based natural white noise, it produces the soothing ambient sounds of moving air..Music tracks:Fan, White Noise.
  • CUSTOMIZED SOUND EXPERIENCE: With two speed options for adjustable tone and volume, the Dohm Classic excellently cancels background noise for better sleep for children, adults, office privacy, and soothing sound-sensitive pets.
  • UNBEATABLE QUALITY & GUARANTEE: For over 60 years, YOGASLEEP has been the gold standard in white noise sound machines. Handmade in the USA and backed by an exceptional YOGASLEEP customer experience, we stand behind each product and also offer you a 30-day return policy.
  • SIMPLE TO USE: Powered by an 7-foot 120V AC cord, simply plug in, flip the switch to high or low, then rotate the cap and collar to find the best sound for you. Let the noise-masking magic begin to help as a natural sleep aid, baby soothing, tinnitus relief, and respite from noisy snorers.
  • CLASSIC DESIGN: Featuring a simple design that blends unobtrusively into surroundings. Also available in white, black, gray, pink, tan, and camo. Cleaning & Care: Simply wipe the exterior with a damp cloth.
SaleBestseller No. 9
BGOVERSS White Noise Sound Machine with 14 Soothing Sounds and 10 Levels Night Light for Sleeping, 5 Timers and Memory Feature Plug in Sound Machine for Nursery Baby Kids Adults, White
  • 14 Soothing Sleep Sound: The White Noise Sound Machine is expertly designed, it includes 6 White noises, 3 lullabies and 5 relaxing nature sounds. Creates a relaxing sleep atmosphere and refined listening experience.
  • 10 Levels Warm Night Light: With 10 levels warm night light to create the perfect atmosphere as a sleep aid for kids, adults or babies. Change the environment around you and as a perfect soothing baby sleep assistance, it is ideal for night time feeds.
  • 5 Timers and Memory Functions: The portable white noise sound machine can be played continuously at 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min intervals with auto-off settings. With a built-in memory function, the sound machine remembers the last sound and volume setting used, for quick and easy set up.
  • Privacy and Concentration: The sleep sound machine can also be used for meditation, yoga, or offices. Simply adjust the volume to cover up conversations, making it perfect for office privacy.
  • Easy to use, You can customize the brightness levels by tapping the metal grill to trun on/off the nightlight. And tap the power button to turn on/off sound playing.
Bestseller No. 10
White Noise Machine with 30 High Fidelity Soundtracks, 7 Colors Night Lights, Full Touch Metal Grille and Buttons, Timer and Memory Features, Plug in, Sound Machine for Baby, Adults
  • - KIPCUSH TECHNOLOGY: Kipcush sound machines incorporates the most advanced audio non-loop technology and dynamic random audio generation technology. All the soothing sounds are fully tested in our Kipcush Sleep Lab; We GUARANTEE there are no annoying looping noises or patterns.
  • - 30 HIGH-FIDELITY SOOTHING SOUNDS: White noise, pink noise, brown noise, fan noise, nature sounds and lullabies. With up to 32 volume settings, the Kipcush white noise machine effectively blocks out external noises, helping you and your family immerse themselves in a relaxing environment and improve significantly the quality of sleep.
  • - EASY TOUCH CONTROLS: The large touchable speaker mesh can be used to turn the light on or off; allowing you to easily turn on the light in the dark. Choose from 7 different ambient lights and a default nightlight.
  • - CUSTOMIZABLE EQUALIZER SETTINGS: There are also 4 equalizer modes available that helps you further customize a selected sound into pop, rock, jazz or classical style to suite your mood and preference, and a 3.5-mm headphone jack is also built-in for immersive listening experiences to prevent disturbing others around you.
  • - 120-MIN TIMER AND MEMORY SETTING: The Kipcush noise machine includes timer functions at 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120-min intervals. It can also play continuously throughout the night. Our sleep machines can also remember the last sound and volume you adjusted. Setup once and it’s done !

Last update on 2024-05-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API