Clock Radio Buying Guide

A clock radio is a combination product designed so that the clock can be set for the radio to go on at a desired time. Most feature digital, rather than analog, clocks and AM/FM radio dials. Clock radios are convenient for those who do not like to wake up to a loud buzzer or bell of a traditional clock.

Types of Clock Radios

Kids Clock radios are sturdily built to take the roughhousing of children. In addition, you can find a variety of kids' themed clock radios such as Disney's Phineas and Ferb, My Little Pony, and Monster High. Kids love when items like clocks have their favorite characters, so these are sure to be a hit. You can find one to fit the character decor of your child's room.

Projection clock radios are also popular, especially with teens and young adults. These clock radios feature a special light that projects the time, and sometimes the date or the weather, onto the wall or ceiling of a darkened room. This category of clock radios cost a little more than the average clock radio, but many think it is worth the extra money.

Clock radio docking stations are one of the newest types of clock radios. Not only do they have all of the features of a typical clock radio, but there is also a place to dock your cellphone or smartphone for overnight charging. It is like having two devices in one package.

Mini clock radios are popular with those who travel a lot or do not have a lot of space. They can easily be packed in a suitcase, and some even come with their own packing case. They pack all of their features into a smaller design for ease of transporting.

Large display clock radios are perfect for those who do not see well, especially when they take their glasses off at night. The larger LED numerals are easily spotted, and they often allow for brightness adjustment as well.

Pay Care Attention to

Dual Alarm

This comes in handy for a couple who wake at different times but only have one clock. It is also useful for one person who wakes up at different times on different days. Two alarms can be set and toggled between, or both can be set for one day.

Sound options

Clock radios have a variety of alarm sounds to wake you up. With some clocks, you can choose between beeping, the radio, or nature sounds, depending on your tastes. In addition, many offer graduated sound, starting off quietly and getting louder until you turn it off. Also, be sure to learn about the sound quality because some are better than others.

Battery backup

This is an essential feature, especially when there is a power failure. It will keep the clock's time, even if it does not show the display, so when the power goes back on again, the clock will show the right time. In addition, if the power goes out during the night, the alarm will still sound, waking you up as expected.


You want a clock radio that will fit the decor of the room it will be kept in. A trim, sleek design fits into many rooms better than a clunky clock radio. Additionally, you will want to be sure that the clock is the proper size to fit the space that you have available.

Radio-controlled self-setting

These clock radios receive the time from a central radio transmitter so that you never have to set the clock. These are very accurate time keepers, and they even switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time automatically.


Clock radio displays should be bright enough to be seen but not so bright as to disturb sleep. The size of the display should also be well suited to the user, especially if they take off glasses at night and need a larger display at that time. Moreover, some clock radios have an automatic dimming feature that will dim the light of the clock either when the light in the room is low or on a timer. This prevents the clock from being too bright while you are trying to sleep.

Top Brands and Product Lines


Sony ICFC1 features gradual alarm, battery backup, pre-set time, and AM/FM radio.

Sony Dream Machine Clock Radio features green LED display, sleek design, dual alarm, and automatic time set.


Timex T236B Dual Alarm Clock Radio with USB Charge Port features a USB port along with an AM/FM tuner, red LCD display, battery backup, and dual alarm.


Emerson CKS1708 Smart-Set Radio Alarm Clock has an automatic set time, blue LED clock display, 3 dimmer settings, digital FM tuner, and dual alarm.


Electrahome Projection Alarm Clock has a battery backup feature as well as self-set, dual alarm, blue LCD display, and digital tuning of AM/FM radio.


iHome IBT230 Bluetooth Bedside Dual Alarm Clock Radio with speakerphone also has a USB charging port, display dimmer, and 6 preset radio stations.


Timex Decorative XBBU Dual Alarm Clock with USB Charging and Night Light has a 4-setting night light, LED display, and dual alarms.


Phillips AJ3116M/37 Digital Tuning Clock Radio has many of the features of the more expensive models, including dual alarm, digital tuning with presets, and large display, without the high price tag.