|Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine|
|SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine|
|Pictek White Noise Machine|
|HemingWeigh White Noise sound Machine|
|LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine|
Basic OverviewIs a Sound Machine Best for a Baby?Should you use a White Noise Machine for your Baby?Benefits of white noise for a baby.What makes the best sound machine for a baby?Make sure your white noise machine is safe for your baby.What sound quality does the sound machine for my baby produce?How easy is the sound machine for your nursery to use?The Best Sound Machine for Your BabyWinner: Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound MachineHigh-End Option: Snooz White Noise Sound MachineRunner Up: Pictek White Noise MachineBudget Option: HemingWeigh White Noise Sound MachineSpeaker Option: Lectrofan Hi Fi White Noise MachineTesting your white noise sound machine for safe levelsWhat are safe levels of volume for a white noise machine?How do you make sure that your white noise sound machine is safe for your baby?Testing the decibel level of your white noise sound machine.
Instead of asking what is the best sound machine for a baby, perhaps the first question that we should be asking is,
I’m glad you asked. A study by Dr. J A Spencer from The Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology in London titled White Noise and Sleep Induction divided 40 infants into two randomized groups. Within the test group 80% of the babies fell asleep within five minutes of being introduced to white noise. That is compared to only 25% falling asleep within five minutes in the non-white noise control group. This study concluded that; “White noise may help mothers settle difficult babies.”
That’s more than three times as likely to fall asleep quickly using a White Noise Machine!
Okay, so white noise works to help babies fall asleep. But, is it safe?
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study led by Dr. Sarah Hugh titled; Infant Sleep Machines and Hazardous Sound Pressure Levels. This study measured the sound outputs of 14 different “Infant Sound Machines” at full volume from 3 different distances to test if “the consistent use of these devices raises concerns for increasing an infant’s risk of noise-induced hearing loss.”
Keep in Mind: The current recommended noise limit for infants in hospital nurseries is no more than 50dB.
This study found that ALL 14 machines tested were louder than 50 dB at full volume within a distance of 30 cm. Three machines tested at greater the 85dB, which exceeds the safe levels for adult occupational noise levels.
White noise machines have the capacity to “produce output sound pressure levels that may be damaging to infant hearing and auditory development.” Keep this in mind when choosing a white noise machine for your baby. We will outline safe use recommendation from pediatricians below. With these safety concerns in mind we set out to find the best white noise machines for your baby.
Although excessive noise can be harmful for babies, white noise, at reasonable levels can be very beneficial.
White noise can help your baby sleep better by reducing stress. White noise helps babies fall asleep faster and helps them sleep longer, by reducing distractions when your baby cycles through their sleep arousal cycles.
The “shuushing” sound that you make to calm your crying baby is white noise. Babies respond to this sound that their parents make and it soothes them into crying less. A white noise machine makes the same sound and it is soothing coming from the machine as well.
White noise may help prevent SIDS. Studies have shown that babies that have a fan in their room are at a lower risk of SIDS. We don’t know whether it is the moving air of the white noise produced by the fan, but we do know that white noise reduces active sleep which is the sleep cycle where SIDS is most likely to occur.
The benefits far outweigh the risks, so as long as you take the very easy precautions when introducing white noise to your baby’s room you should have nothing to worry about and you and your baby will both benefit from a white noise machine and much better sleep.
There are several things that you need to consider when deciding which sound machine is best for your baby. I will lay out what we feel are the most important here. For a more definitive list check out our buying guide on white noise machines. Our recommended white noise machines for adults can be found here.
As we discussed above, sound machines that are too loud can be damaging to your baby’s ears. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can not only cause hearing loss, but can also lead to delayed or encumbered speech and language development. This danger is not only a concern of the volume of the device, but also it’s proximity. Experts recommend that sound machines be no closer to your infant that 200 cm. For this reason we recommend that you do not place any sound machines in the crib with your baby.
Some manufactures offer white noise devices inside of toys such as stuffed animals and mobiles. We strongly advise against these types of white noise or sound machines. It may be tempting to have a dual function device that is both a toy and a sleep aid for functionality and aesthetic reasons, but it is simply not worth the risk to your baby’s health.
Counter top style sound machines are not only safer, they are also more reliable, more consistent, more versatile, and longer lasting.
It is widely accepted that white noise machines are a useful sleep aid for babies that have trouble getting to or staying asleep. What isn’t completely understood is why. Many doctors speculate that the reason is that the sound that a white noise machine makes can simulate the sound that a baby hears while in the womb. We find this to be a plausible explanation and use that assumption when thinking about which white noise machine is best for an infant.
For this reason we tend to recommend sound machines that produce natural sounds as opposed to electronic or recorded sounds. Natural sounds are most often produced by an actual internal fan that spins mechanically inside the machine. This type of mechanism provides a fuller and more natural sound that is more soothing and creates real world white noise that more accurately mimics in-utero sounds.
This doesn’t necessarily disqualify white nose machines that produce electronic or prerecorded sounds. Some of the best machines use these sound producing technologies and there are a few that we will recommend for your baby. But, you will notice that the top of our list of best white noise machines for babies will be populated by the more natural sound producing machines.
The last thing you want to do when your baby has finally gotten to sleep is to do anything that will immediately wake them up again. That is why ease of use is so important. You don’t want to be stumbling around in the dark trying to quietly adjust any setting and accidentally pump up the volume, change settings, or turn the machine off.
The name of the game when choosing the best white noise machine for your baby is very simple controls and the fewer the better. Your baby doesn’t need to switch back and forth between birds, waterfalls, thunderstorms, and straight white noise like you might want to do. Your baby needs consistency. Once you find the settings that works best for your baby, all you really need is a simple on and off button.
We used the criteria outlined above to compare the best rated white noise machines for your baby on Amazon and came up with this list that we are recommending.
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine is our number one choice for use in a nursery and our pick for Best Sound Machine For a Baby.
The Dohm All Natural Sound Machine is the model that we use in our own home. It’s ease of use, affordability, sleek design, and consistent natural sound make it the perfect option for almost any use.
Marpac has been making the Dohm white noise machine for over 55 years right here in America. Their classic simple design has been copied by many over the years but not yet improved upon.
This machine fits all of our criteria exceptionally. With two fan speeds and easy to use volume and tone controls it is very easy to insure that the sound output is safe for your baby. Because it uses a real internal fan, you get authentic natural white noise at safe levels. A simple toggle switch switches between off and the two different fan speeds and just gently twisting the enclosure adjusts the volume and tone easily, making this the easiest sound machine to use.
The only real drawback to this sound machine that others feature is a sleep timer. Although that is a nice feature for some, we don’t think that it is necessary for use in a nursery. We find that it is best to just let the natural white noise fill the room all throughout nap time or through the night.
The SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine is the priciest machine on our list, but this machine earns the high price tag. It would be a beautiful addition to any Nursery.
Easily the most beautiful sound machine on out list. Not only is it visually striking in appearance, it’s polyester and nylon wrap give it a soft exterior that is really pleasant to the touch.
Just like the Marpac Dohm, the Snooz White Noise Machine uses a real internal fan which creates authentic full spectrum sound with no looping tracks like you get with prerecorded speaker style sound machines.
The operation of this machine is just like the Dohm. The Snooz, however, offers ten different fan speeds instead of just the two offered on the Dohm. The tonal adjustment mechanism is the same. Just turn the exterior shell to change the value of the tone.
The major advantage that Snooz has over the Marpac Dohm is its bluetooth connectivity. The app that pairs with this sound machine allows for setting sleep timers, making sound adjustments and switching between multiple machines as well as setting nursery mode.
One word of caution: This white noise machine is VERY loud when turned up all the way. Please make sure that if you are going to use this machine for your baby, that not only is it turned down to its lower settings, but that it is also across the room and not next to the bed or crib.
The Pictek White Noise Machine Is the runner up on our list because it basically has all of the functionality of our winner, the Dohm white noise machine by Marpac, and is very highly rated by Amazon reviewers, but it is just too new to put the full force of our recommendation behind an unproven product.
The Pictek sound machine is basically a souped up version of Marpac’s Dohm Machine. We just aren’t ready to recommend it over the Dohm yet because it’s too new. Although, the warrantee doesn’t hurt it’s case.
Although we feel that the Dohm looks a little nicer, the Pictek has a couple of nice upgraded features over the Dohm. While the Dohm has two fan speed settings, the Pictek has a variable speed motor which gives you much more control over the volume. Keep in mind that this sound machine can be as loud as 85dB so be careful with placement and volume in your infants room.
A couple of other features that the Pictek boasts over the Dohm are the two USB charging ports. It’s a nice addition if you need a cellphone charger, but extra features create more points of failure. We will keep an eye on the longevity of this machine. The Pictek also has a two setting sleep timer for either 30 minutes or 60 minutes.
The Hemingweigh White Noise Sound Machine is a fabulous low cost option if you don’t need anything fancy. This machine uses the same style of internal fan and shell rotation adjustment as our more expensive options with fewer features.
This really simple and attractive white noise sound machine is a good choice for your babies room. This is the only machine on our list that features a nightlight. If that is a feature that you are interested in then this is probably the sound machine for you.
The two USB charging ports are a nice addition, but don’t seem to be very useful in a child’s room or nursery. You can adjust the tone of this white noise machine like the others by twisting the exterior shell, but this machine has a more limited adjustment than our other recommendations.
The Lectrofan High Fidelity White Noise Machine is your best option if you want a sound machine that generates electronically produced white noise instead of a mechanical natural fan produced sound.
This is the machine that we chose as the best white noise machine for adults. It is one of the most versatile white noise machines on the market and even features settings across a broad spectrum of noises including pink and brown noises in addition to white. You can read our article on white noise here that breaks down the different between white noise, pink noise, and brown noise.
Even though we prefer the natural sound that an actual fan produces in the other machines on this list, the high fidelity speaker featured in the Lectrofan White Noise machine is the best in it’s class. It’s ten different fan sounds comes close to imitating the real thing. As an added bonus, you get ten more sounds of varying values that you can experiment with.
Because this white noise machine has an actual speaker, it can get very loud so make sure that you use caution when placing it in your child’s room.
Before you set up any white noise sound machine in your child’s room or nursery you need to make sure the safety of your child’s hearing is your number one priority.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a noise level of no more than 50dB for infants in hospital nurseries. Each of the white noise sound machines on our recommended list has the potential to exceed these levels, as do all commercially available white noise sound machines. This is why we recommend caution and testing when choosing a white noise sound machine for a baby and also where to place it in that babies room. Prolonged exposure to excessive noise can not only damage your infants hearing, but also be detrimental to long term auditory development.
You should never place your white noise sound machine inside the crib with your baby. We also advise to not even place it on a bedside table. For the most effective use of a white noise sound machine, you should place it on the far side of the room. This not only keeps the sound reaching your babies ears at a safer level, but it is also more effective because you get a more uniform sound filling the entire room. You should also operate your white noise sound machine at lower levels.
There are several apps available in the app store that can test decibel levels. Download the app of your choice (read the reviews), but it is worth buying a paid app. Place your new decibel meter in the crib or on the bed where your child sleeps then place the white noise sound machine in the room where you want it located and turn it on. As long as your reading is <50dB you should be fine.
Please let us know in the comments what you think about these white noise machines and how your baby responded to the introduction of white noise into their lives. If you have any white noise sound machine recommendations that we missed let us know.