You won't find a shortage of alarm clock apps in the Google Play store and the iTunes App Store. In fact, there are so many alarm clock apps that it's almost impossible to find what you're really looking for. With that in mind, here are some of the best alarm clocks for any situation you might find yourself in.
You Want to Wake Up Gently
Waking up is hard as it is. You want nothing more than a pleasant sound to start your day off right. Thankfully, you have a few different options for doing just that.
If you're into the idea of an app that wakes you up gradually with soothing sounds, we're fans of Wake on the iPhone, because it's simple and easy to use. It lets you wake up to soothing sounds that get louder over time. We're also fans ofRise for iOS, which works similarly to Wake but has a larger feature set that includes custom playlists and sleep timers.
For Android, Timely is a great app that operates a lot like Rise for iOS. We're also fans of Warmly on Android, because it offers lots of different sounds to wake up to. For music that slowly turns on, Doubletwist alarm clock on Android is a fantastic choice.
If you're really interested in soothing sounds, you might also want to check out the previously mentioned ZenAwake for the iPhone. ZenAwake plays for an even longer transition period and wakes you up over the course of 10 minutes.
You Need (a lot of) Help Waking Up in the Morning
Not everyone likes waking up early in the morning, and that means you might need a little bit of an extra push to get yourself out of bed in the morning.
Amazingly, you have a lot of options for sadistic alarm clocks that will absolutely force you to get up. Which one is best for you really depends on how much help you need.
If you can usually wake up without too much prodding, an app like Wave Alarm for iPhone and Android might be all you need. You can just wave your arm over the clock to make it snooze. This makes you exert a little cognitive effort to help you wake up without really taxing your brain too much.
If you really need to force yourself awake, you'll need to take more extreme measures. This means a more sadistic app might be needed. For Android, we're fans of Morning Routine, an app that makes you scan products around the house with your phone before the alarm turns off. This forces you to get out of bed and walk around just to turn off your alarm. Similarly, Walk Me Up forces you to walk around the room a bit (without scanning items) before it turns off the alarm tones.
For the iPhone, we're fans of a couple of different apps. If you like making your whole morning routine a game, Wake N Shake makes you vigorously shake your alarm clock in the morning to turn it off. The better you shake, the higher you climb on the leaderboards. If that social functionality isn't your thing, CARROT Alarm forces you to do a variety of puzzles and tasks to turn the alarm off. It's as annoying as it sounds, but it definitely wakes you up.
You Want to Wake Up to the News Like in the Old Days
Just because you're using your smartphone as an alarm doesn't mean you can't wake up to a good old-fashioned AM/FM radio. Well, maybe not the AM/FM part, but otherwise your smartphone is just as good of a replacement.
For a traditional radio alarm clock, we like RadiON for Android and iPhone. As you'd expect, just pick a radio station and alarm time, then RadiON does the rest. It works with thousands of radio stations, from music to talk, so you should be able to find whatever you're looking for.
If live radio isn't your thing, Public Radio & Podcast for Android is a podcast player with a built-in alarm clock. Just set your alarm clock time, and the app wakes you up to your favourite public radio podcast every morning.
You Want to Wake Up at the Perfect (Biological) Time
If none of the above alarm clocks sounds right for you, that doesn't mean you can't improve your sleep a little. In fact, a whole category of smartphone alarm clocks exist that are built solely to wake you up at the biologically perfect time.
We've talked before about how you can use an app to get better sleep. These apps are deceptively simple. Just set your smartphone on your bed, and the app tracks your movement with the built in accelerometer. When it tracks your movement, it figures out where you are in your sleep schedule and tries to wake you up at the optimal time.
You have a surprisingly large number of options for sleep cycle tracking alarms, but we like Sleep Cycle on iOS, Sleep as Android, or Sleepbot for iOS and Android. Most of the apps are free, so they're worth experimenting with if you want to get better sleep or if you just want to make your morning a little smoother.