Best wake-up lights 2020: Sunrise lamps to help you wake naturally

Start the day right, with the best wake-up lights from Lumie, Philips and more

Best wake-up light
(Image credit: Lumie)

The best wake-up lights, also known as sunrise lamps, allow you to wake up in a more natural way that's in keeping with your body's rhythms. They do this by mimicking the gradual rising of the sun, awakening you bit-by-bit, in a gentle and relaxed way. If you're thinking of investing in one, now's a great time to do it: we regularly see price drops on wake up lights from the likes of Lumie and Philips amongst the best Black Friday deals.  

Wake-up lights help you start the day feeling more alert and in a better mood. It's certainly nicer than being shocked away by a noisy alarm clock, which can be particularly jarring if it disrupts the deepest part of your sleep cycle. So a wakeup light can be a great investment in your health and wellbeing. Particularly right now, with the cold and dark winter mornings we're facing over the next few months. And if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), they're pretty much a must-have.

There are other ways you can make sure you feel better refreshed in the mornings too. Check out our best mattress guide to ensure you get a good night's kip, and keep an eye on how well you're sleeping with our guide to sleep trackers

Black Friday 2020
If previous years' events are anything to go by, we're expecting some excellent Black Friday wakeup light deals this year (as well as, incidentally, some big Black Friday mattress deals). Our price tool will automatically pull in the cheapest prices, including any offers, and we'll be reporting on the very best deals in the run up to Black Friday, the day itself, and Cyber Monday too. 

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best wake-up light: Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB

(Image credit: Lumie )

1. Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB

The best wake-up light overall

Specifications
Best for: Functionality
Power type: Mains
Output: 370 lumens
Radio: DAB
Reasons to buy
+Excellent light and sound quality+Sleek design+Certified for SAD treatment
Reasons to avoid
-On the pricier side

Rated as a Class 1 graded medical device that's recommended for sufferers of SAD, the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB isn't just a wake-up light; it's also a light and sound machine, a DAB radio and Bluetooth speaker. This, together with a solid, luxurious design, means it feels less like an obtrusive clinical accessory and more like a natural part of your bedroom decor.

We've chosen the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe as our pick for the best wake-up light overall, for a number of reasons. They include its superior sound and light quality, the fact it lets you connect and charge your phone by USB, and its huge range of options for how you use it as a wakeup light. 

Among these is a great low-blue light mode, which specially designed to help you wind down before bed by signalling your body to produce melatonin, and counteracting the false wakefulness incurred by using phones and tablets late at night. It does this by cycling through shades of pink, orange and red, just like a real sunset. And it even has a light-sensitive, auto-dimming display so that all that hard work isn’t undone if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

The best wake-up light: Philips Somneo

2. Philips Somneo

The second best wake-up light overall

Specifications
Best for: Personalised wake up settings
Power type: Mains
Output: 315 Lux
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+Morning light colour changes+Sunset simulation
Reasons to avoid
-Design won't be for everyone

The Somneo is Philips' flagship wake-up light, a feature-packed model that works just as well for getting you off to sleep again at the end of the day. For mornings, you can choose how long your light takes to get to full brightness, as well as selecting your own maximum brightness from an impressive 25 levels. This granularity is great if you’re a light sleeper, or someone who's more sensitive to light in general. 

Audio is delivered in the form of built-in nature sounds, FM radio, or your own music player which you can connect via an AUX cable. Along with a sunset mode that's similar to the Lumie’s, the Somneo offers a light-guided breathing mode to promote pre-bed relaxation, giving you seven rhythms of light intensity or sound to follow.

There are a few nice touches in terms of user-friendliness, too. The touch display makes the Somneo easy to set up and adjust. The display brightness adjusts automatically to your room’s light (though you can adjust it manually, too). And if you get up in the middle of the night, you can tap the top of the lamp for a gentle red glow – just enough to see by without flooding the room with light. Our one criticism? The design, with its weird hole in the middle, is divisive. Philips describes it as 'sleek and stylish'; others may disagree.

best wake-up light: Beurer WL 75

(Image credit: Beurer)

3. Beurer WL 75 Wake Up App Controlled Light

A great-looking option for stylish sleepers

Specifications
Best for: Ease of use
Power type: Mains
Output: 2000 lumens
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up and use+Bluetooth streaming+Individual daily settings
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky plug

Even the best wake-up lights can be let down by poorly-designed companion apps. Not so the Beurer WL 75. Its app’s interface is a dream to use, making the light itself fantastically simple to set up and program. We especially like that you can set different profiles for each day of the week. The Beurer also offers a natural-feeling sunrise mode, a gentle, gradual fade-in of red to white that really will help you feel refreshed on waking. You can also choose sunset mode to be lulled to sleep, or take advantage of the Beurer’s Bluetooth connectivity to stream music or play radio, at any time of the night or day. Finally, no review would be complete without a nod to the Beurer’s design. Some found it on the large side, especially the hefty plug, but in our humble opinion, it’s easily one of the best-looking of the bunch.

Best wake-up light: Philips HF3531/01

(Image credit: Philips)

4. Philips HF3531/01 SmartSleep Wake-up Light

A cheaper Philips option, with many of the same features

Specifications
Best for: Simple design
Power type: Mains
Output: 300 Lux
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+20 light intensities+Natural wake-up sounds+Snooze function
Reasons to avoid
-Radio could be better

If the Philips Somneo is too expensive for your tastes, or you just don't like the design, here's a cheaper option that's nonetheless packed with features. The HF3531/01 SmartSleep Wake-up Light uses a coloured sunrise simulation to help you wake naturally, gradually increasing the light over 30 minutes, from a soft dawn, through orange and eventually bright yellow light. To complete your blissful awakening, the SmartSleep follows this up with a natural wake-up sound: there are seven to choose from including forest birds, ocean waves and Nepalese singing bowls.

These sounds gradually increase in volume over a minute and a half. Alternatively, you can tune into an FM radio station. If you're still not quite ready to wake up, there's a snooze option, and you can lull yourself to sleep at night with the device's sunset simulation – like the wake-up routine only in reverse. There are 20 brightness settings, so you can find the level of light that works best for you, and the SmartSleep automatically adjusts its own brightness level so the display won't keep you up at night. If you do need to rise in the early hours, though, there's a midnight light option that'll illuminate your room with a dim orange light, which is a little more restful.

Best wake-up light: LBell Wake Up Light

(Image credit: LBell)

5. LBell Wake Up Light

The best budget wake-up light

Specifications
Best for: Price
Power type: Mains
Output: Not specified
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+Loads of options+Smart assistant integration+Super cheap
Reasons to avoid
-Sound isn't great-App setup can be tricky

If all these wake-up lights seem too pricey, here's an option that ticks most of the boxes, has some great reviews under its belt, and will cost you a fraction of the price of every other light listed here. The LBell Wake Up Light includes features found in many the other wake-up lights, including a sunrise and sunset simulation, seven different light colours and 20 light intensity settings. It comes with a set of seven natural sounds to ease you into the day, as well as an FM radio, and it comes with four alarm clocks and a snooze function that you can use up to five times.

It connects to your WiFi and can be controlled through an app, as well as being compatible with smart assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, so that you can use voice commands to set it up the way you want. There's even a USB charging port in the back so you can keep your phone charged overnight. So why the low price? Well, the sound quality isn't the best, it can be tricky to get set up with the app, and you can't choose to be woken by light only, without any audio. That said, if price is your deciding factor then there's a lot to like here.

Lumie Zest

6. Lumie Zest

The best wake-up light for treating SAD

Specifications
Best for: SAD
Power type: Mains
Output: 2000 Lux
Radio: No
Reasons to buy
+2000 lux +15-30 minute sunrise setting
Reasons to avoid
-No battery power 

If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or just feel the winter blues once the nights start drawing in, this could be the choice for you. The Lumie Zest is a combination wake-up light and SAD lamp that's certified to deliver light therapy that will improve your overall mood. Most importantly, it boasts an output of up to 2000 lux, which is a lot more powerful than the other wake-up lights on this list. Twenty to 30 minutes of light therapy a day is recommended to feel an improvement. 

It's small and compact, so it can be taken anywhere (although you will need a socket as there's no battery option), and it's pretty easy to customise to your needs. It's not the cheapest wake-up light on this list, but if you're looking for effective treatment of SAD, we feel the higher brightness output more than justifies the price.

best wake-up light: Hatch Baby Rest Night Light

(Image credit: Hatch)

7. Hatch Baby Rest+

The best wake-up light for parents of young children

Specifications
Best for: Kids
Power type: Mains
Output: Unspecified
Radio: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Multiple products in one+Control from your device+Suitable for babies and children
Reasons to avoid
-Cable can be temperamental

The Hatch Baby Rest+ is our pick as the best wake-up light for kids. It's also a night light, white noise machine and okay-to-wake clock (aka time-to-rise clock). And best of all, this lovely device is extremely customisable, allowing you to create schedules of sounds and lights to fit your child’s routine. 

How about a soothing combination of white noise and low light to ease a small baby into waking? Or a colour-coded system that gives your toddler the green light (literally) to come and hassle you in bed only after a pre-approved wake-up time? It’s all controllable from your smartphone or tablet, so if you’re getting up for an early-hours feed, or checking in to see if they’re awake, you can adjust the settings accordingly from wherever you are. No rude awakenings for them, no bumping into furniture in the dark for you.

FITFORT Alarm Clock Wake Up Light

(Image credit: Fitfort)

8. Fitfort Alarm Clock Wake Up Light

The best super-cheap wake-up light

Specifications
Best for: Saving money
Power type: Battery
Output: 500 Lux
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Nice looking+Does the basic job well
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks advanced features

The cheapest wake-up light on our list, the battery powered Fitfort Alarm Clock Wake Up Light offers an impressive range of features considering its super-low price. In the morning, it gradually brightens from 10% to 100% across 30 minutes, and offers the reverse at the end of the day to help you get to sleep. During the night, the time display offers three settings: light, dim and off. There's also a snooze function, a reading light, an FM radio, six natural alarm sounds, and a choice of colours including green, red, blue, pink, orange and indigo. 

And that's your lot, basically: this is certainly not the most advanced wake-up light you'll find. Plus, the sound is low quality, and the buttons aren't the easiest to use in practice. That said, if you're looking for something basic, this still represents an incredible bargain in our eyes.

COULAX Wake Up Light Wood Grain Sunrise Alarm Clock

(Image credit: Coulax)

9. Coulax Wake Up Light

This budget wake-up light offers excellent value

Specifications
Best for: Budget value
Power type: Mains
Output: 102.34LM
Radio: FM
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Range of sounds+Doubles as atmosphere lamp
Reasons to avoid
-Sound quality not great

Another cheap option that's surprisingly decent, the Coulax Wake Up Light has a wood effect design that makes it stand out from the others on this list aesthetically; whether for good or bad will depend on your personal taste. Functionally speaking, though, everything works well. The device gradually increases the brightness of your room from warm red to bright white in the morning, across 10-60 minutes. You can also use it to get to sleep at night over 10-120 minutes. 

On the downside, the sound is low quality; you can't use the wake-up light without the sound; and once you turn the alarm off, the light goes off too, which can be a little annoying. But that said, with a snooze function, FM radio, 20 levels of brightness and seven different sounds to wake up to, this all adds up to a real bargain at just £32.99 at time of writing. Particularly as you can set a maximum brightness level, and use it as a bedside lamp or colourful atmosphere lamp too.