iPhone alarm clocks

My husband and I need a new alarm clock and, after many deliberations, we have decided to go with a unit that works in conjunction with our iPhones. Since the units are all multi-functional (they’re all iPhone chargers, and all but the first include speakers to play music from iTunes at better quality than the phone speaker), I thought I would share with you our finalists.

The Kensington K33458US Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone and iPod Touch

The Kensington K33458US Nightstand Charging Dock for iPhone and iPod Touch

This is the most basic of all the options. It’s really only a charging dock that helps your iPhone stand on its side. It works with the Kensington Rise and Shine clock and weather app available in the app store. We found it to be a bit overpriced ($20) for just a charger but its design is simple and straightforward.

The Philips DC315/37 Speaker System for iPod/iPhone with LED clock radio

The Philips DC315/37 Speaker System for iPod/iPhone with LED clock radio

It has a futuristic and sleek design, along with a built-in FM tuner and auxiliary input. I specifically like the auxiliary input to use with even more devices. My husband likes the LED screen on this one, but I’d prefer a bolder typeface. It’s $89, which I think is a bit more than I want to spend.

The iHome iP99BR Dual Alarm Clock Radio with Dock for iPod, iPhone

The iHome iP99BR Dual Alarm Clock Radio with Dock for iPod, iPhone

This one looks like a more traditional alarm clock radio than the others, takes up a bit more space than the others, and is a lot more expensive than the others ($139). It comes with a remote for the person on the far-side of the bed. It’s okay, but neither of our favorites.

The Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio for iPod and iPhone with hidden sliding dock tray

The Sony ICF-C7IP Clock Radio for iPod and iPhone with hidden sliding dock tray

The dock slides in so that the unit is smaller when the iPhone isn’t attached. It also comes with a remote for the person to use on the far-side of the bed. This is my choice because it’s functional, good quality, reasonably priced ($62), and looks decent without an iPhone in it. You’ll have to guess which unit my husband prefers.

Do you have any of the units mentioned above? Another one we didn’t consider? We still haven’t made our purchase, so tell us about your alarm clock preferences in the comments.

59 Comments for “iPhone alarm clocks”

  1. posted by PJ Doland on

    Nitestands need to be clean and orderly too. These devices eliminate the need for multiple unitaskers. They also provide a “home” for your iphone by eliminating the need for an extra charging cable plugged into the wall.

  2. posted by GT Billings on

    I have an older version of the iHome, and it comes in handy when I want to play from my Rest&Relax playlist when I can’t get to sleep, or some upbeat tunes while I fold and put away laundry. I’m a big fan of it.

    However, I have a very small nightstand and I’d like something that wouldn’t take up so much space. I love the simple charger idea — but would the phone be loud enough on its own to wake you up?

  3. posted by Meg on

    I had an older version of the iHome for my iPod nano and, athough the speakers were great, it kept horrible time. I don’t know why, but within a few days of setting it, it would be slow again! Maybe they’ve improved it (or maybe I was setting it wrong??) but I’d advise against that one.

  4. posted by chzplz on

    Great timing – I’m looking for one of these now!

    I have an ipod classic, so the Kensington won’t work for me.

    The Sony one gets a major negative from me, because reviewers say the display can be too bright for light-sensitive sleepers, even when on the dimmest setting. That is a huge problem for me.

    I’m down to the Philips (which reviewers have said has questionable build quality), and the iHome (which I’ve used and liked in hotels, but is spendy).

    Off to best buy…

  5. posted by xo on

    i’ve been work on this for the past two weeks (while reading erin’s book!)

    i purchased and then returned the ihome ip99br. i found it a little lacking on sound quality and build. it was replaced with the teac hd-1 at costco. $99. it gives you hd radio (superior quality… wow. npr never sounded so good.) and ipod/phone charging. remote. and a stylish look that husbands will probably like. be aware that it’s heavy … as is the remote.

    the other side of the bed got a moshi. hate to say it, but i love this weird product. it has minimal buttons. i talk to it across the room and it works. they say they are going to have mp3/radio/tv lamp extras in the future. i might buy into it when they do.

    the negatives on both the choices is that they take BATTERIES for backup. (grrr!) and they don’t set themselves if you don’t have batteries. why doesn’t every electronic product automatically set itself after power failures? … it’s not like the time/date info is being processed by the radio when it is playing … (which i think it is.)

  6. posted by JCos on

    I am already using my iPhone as my alarm clock anyways – either plugged into my computer or just plugged into a power outlet – I’m considering one of these options too.

  7. posted by Kat on

    I have been looking too. For an extra $10, you can get the duel ipod dock on the iHome (link: http://store.apple.com/us/prod.....TQ5NzIwODg). I think if I were going to shell out the extra cash for a clock with as many features as this, two docks will work perfectly. I only have one nightstand, and one alarm clock. My husband can have the remote, we both can charge our phones and I have one less nightstand/clock/lamp setup cluttering my small space.

  8. posted by MsDasha on

    I have an older iHome radio/ipod thing. I LOVE it. Its about 4 years old and no complaints. The only problem is that it only works with older iPods and doesn’t work with my iPhone, but that is not their fault. I think of your choices that is the only one that is a full on Radio – I listen to NPR all the time so I need the radio. If you don’t then I guess it doesn’t matter.

  9. posted by Shani on

    I just use my iPhone itself. I love how it can aggregate multiple alarms (5:45, 6:00, 6:15, etc) or ones for throughout the day. I find I sleep better without a bright light on the bedside table, and I can just touch the button if I wake up and want to know what time it is.

    I don’t know if excessive charging can wear out the iPhone’s battery, but you might want to think about that.

  10. posted by Chloe on

    I don’t understand what is inherently wrong with using the “Clock–>Alarm clock” feature of an iPhone. That’s a standard Apple app you can use for free. And trust me, if you have your volume set high and you use the free ‘duck/quack’ sound it will wake you up! My husband and I haven’t used the unitasker of an alarm clock in nearly five years! Every phone has this feature and you’re planning on charging it at night in your bedroom anyway!

  11. posted by Bridget on

    I gotta say…the new one I bought that has an attachment to a light has been FANTASTIC! So, if you set your alarm for 6 am, the light starts turning on at 5:30 and is at full power at 6…perfect, especially now that the sun doesn’t rise til 8 am, and I’m up at 5:45.


    I know it’s not an ipod alarm clock, but it’s nice since you plug the receiver right into your bedside lamp, and it’s one of those things you can do that makes a bit difference in the efficacy of your wake-up routine.

  12. posted by Eli on

    gimme a basic plain ol digital clock from walmart for 6 bucks, please. No bells and whistles, no fancy “space age” looking contraptions. now THAT’s uncluttered.

  13. posted by Kendra on

    Seriously? $62 for an alarm clock just because it’s compatible with your iphone? Plain old alarm clocks might very well be unitaskers, but since when is buying an expensive doo-dad the best option? Purchases like this create clutter in one’s bank account, and in my opinion are a downright waste of hard-earned money!

  14. posted by Krys on

    I have the travel version of the iHome, which I think is fantastic. I use it at home as my standard alarm clock, and then it goes on the road with me, too. I’d rather not travel with an alarm clock, but since most hotel iHomes are not meant to be used with the phone, you have to put the phone in Airplane mode. The travel iHome doesn’t require that, which is good, since when I travel for work, I need my phone “on” at all times.

    It was $99, but it comes with a remote control, the sound quality is great, it has a battery backup, and it still functions as an alarm clock even without the phone attached.

  15. posted by Kendra on

    P.S. Our alarm clock has no electronic or battery components whatsoever…we have two cats with perfect internal clocks that wake us promptly at 6:00 a.m. with the message “MOM! DAD! It’s time for breakfast!” LOL!!!

  16. posted by iHome Owner on

    I have the newer iHome featured above. Audio quality isn’t great on it. Not really sure about the advantage over plugging in your iPhone and using the built-in alarm. Unless you need a clock, it’s just more clutter. I wish I had saved money and space, and bought a small travel alarm clock for backup and to see the time.

  17. posted by sandra on

    i searched for the perfect alarm clock a long time and testet some.
    i wanted to use my iphone to listen to some music in the evening and to wake me in the morning, but then i had to change the volume before falling asleep.

    now i use a radio-controlled, battery-powered (travel)clock with 2 alarm times. seems so much more reliable. additionally i use alarm clock 2 on my mac (as a student i only have one room) so i don’t have to do without music in the morning.


  18. posted by Jennifer on

    My husband and I just got the dual-dock iHome, and so far like it a lot (have had it about a week). I suppose we could have just gotten two chargers like the first one you mentioned, but the speaker is a nice bonus.

  19. posted by lh on

    The Kensington dock looks neat, but I just don’t want to have to remember to bring my iPhone to bed with me every night and then risk knocking it onto the floor in the morning. Or wake up to it buzzing when someone decides to send me a meeting invitation or SMS at 2am. The bigger alarm docks would probably help with the knocking onto the floor, though.

  20. posted by kayfree on

    I just use my iTouch for my alarm. It plugs right in to my small JBL speaker. The “clock” function built into the iTouch/iPhone lets me choose from many good wake up sounds. (I like the harp and the bell tower.) So no need for extra stuff by the bed. I guess if you really want a radio/CD business along with it, you need more gear. But I think there’s a cheap app that lets you go to the music on your iPhone/iTouch.

  21. posted by Kalani on

    Yeah…. I have to agree with the people who say these are more unitaskers than the alarm clocks they supposedly replace. I have a regular old cell phone (it doesn’t even take pictures) and it wakes me up every day just fine. I have a hard time believing that the all-powerful iPhone doesn’t have a decent alarm clock already built in. But for those who like iPhone gadgets, I suppose these are some nifty options.

  22. posted by Mike E on

    Just make sure it says “Works with iPhone” on the packaging. I bought a ihome alarm dock that was made for iPod, but did not have the works with iPhone logo. I dont even use it now because you get the cell phone speaker tick all night long (if you dont know what im talking about put your phone next to a speaker)

  23. posted by Sara on

    After reading through many of the comments, I’m not entirely sure why you’re getting any sort of iPhone dock. You don’t explicitly mention that you like to listen to the radio or your iPod to help you wake up (I had an alarm clock that would turn on the radio to wake me up).

    Otherwise, I think in your position, I would just buy one of the plugs that takes the standard iPod USB charger and plugs into the wall. When I was in South America over the summer, I used my iPod as an alarm with my headphones pointed towards my bed (or on my bed with me) and the volume turned up full blast. It worked like a charm.

  24. posted by Robb Irrgang on

    I looked at the Kensington when it was announced and had a fit over the price. Then I went on eBay and ordered 5 white docks from Hong Kong for about $3 each and just put a normal dock in most rooms where I’d need to charge up. Night stand, desk and one at the office. Easier, and a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Also, Awaken for iPhone blows the Kensington clock app out of the water, so really, pass on the Kensington if you’re savvy.

  25. posted by Freddy on

    The only one that makes any sense is the Kensington and the form is not very attractive. The rest are just alarm clocks with speakers that happen to charge the iPhone and play music stored on it.

    Sometimes unitask items make more sense. A combination telephone answering machine, one or the other breaks and requires you to replace the whole thing and dispose of a perfectly functional piece of equipment. A combination washer/dryer does a very poor job drying and is very inefficient. A lot of toaster ovens don’t toast well and don’t work very well as an oven.

    So why not just get a nice simple little travel alarm? That would be multifunctional.

  26. posted by Denise on

    I also do not understand since this is an unclutterer site why you cannot just use your cell phone alarm.

  27. posted by PJ Doland on


    Because your cell phone alarm doesn’t also play music and over-the-air radio.

  28. posted by kathleen on

    I got a little stereo i-home alarm at Radio Shack. http://www.radioshack.com/prod.....Id=3601478. It’s very small, but has surprisingly good sound. It has an alarm, or you can insert your ip-pod/phone and wake up to tunes. It also has a fall asleep to tunes feature. You can also plug in auxiliaries, such as a portable cd player, and you can even use it to amplify your macbook sound. Display is too bright – I just put a piece of cardboard in front of it at night.

  29. posted by Keely on

    I’m with all the other naysayers. I was figuring this was a Unitasker Wednesday feature, paying $100 for a piece of hardware that replicates every function that’s already either freely available on the iPhone or can be added for a very small fee. Clock display – included. Dim or turn off display – included. Battery backup – included. Snooze function – included. Wake up to music – available from a number of $.99 apps. Travel alarm – included. Play music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. after waking – included. Listen to over-the-air radio or satellite – available.

    Makes no sense whatsoever.

  30. posted by chacha1 on

    I’ll bet hubby likes the Philips. It’s the space-age-iest. … As a person who also has cats and who can attest to their general efficiency as waker-uppers, a caveat: they can definitely FAIL on a cold morning!

    I don’t like having electrical gadgets in our sleeping area, and we don’t have nightstands, so this discussion is kind of moot for me but I had to laugh at all the negativity! Erin doesn’t come in your house and judge your “clutter”!

  31. posted by Aimee on

    I love my older iHome. It replaced the bulky stereo I lugged around for years and I generally think of it more as a stereo that happens to have alarms. Since I wake to the NPR, I actually prefer the iHome to be on a bookshelf across the room and I just keep a $10 travel alarm on my nightstand (small & simple).

  32. posted by Kerri on

    My husband just recently got me the Kensington, because I was propping my iPhone up against something else to use as an alarm clock anyway (and it would occasionally slide down and fall over). I have been happy with it. I always had my phone plugged in on my nightstand every night, anyway, and was using the alarm on it. Happy with the Kensington.
    Agree with last comment by Keely.

  33. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Keely — Have you ever listened to music or streaming radio (not with ear phones) for long periods of time from the iPhone speaker? It’s awful. Yes, the alarm on the iPhone is great — specifically for travel — but day-in-day-out music or radio listening through the internal speaker is bad.

    Being an unclutterer doesn’t mean that you deny yourself the benefits of modern living — it means that you use everything you have. Since this device is multi-functional, gets rid of the need for a phone charger, and serves a music-listening desire in our home it’s not clutter. If you wouldn’t use it, however, don’t buy an alarm clock such as this.

  34. posted by SD on

    I don’t know that I’d want to have my head that close to a cell phone all night long, every night.

  35. posted by Magchunk on

    We actually have a dock that is a little bigger than this, but we keep it in the kitchen. We can listen to the radio in the morning, put on our own tunes when cooking dinner in the evening, and we love having a clock and alarm in the room we’re in last before leaving in the morning. Helps keep us on track as I’m usually half-asleep in the morning!

    In the bedroom, he has a standard digital alarm clock because he doesn’t like having his phone in the bedroom (his email checks automatically and makes noise). I just use my phone, resting on a soft pad on my nightstand so the vibration doesn’t jar me awake. I like the multiple alarm-time options (and use them!) and I have an application “Ambiance” that plays white noise while I fall asleep at night.

  36. posted by Milan on

    Thisone is way better than the others:

    Altec Lansing Moondance Home M302 Alarm Clock Radio (80$)

  37. posted by Laura on

    You might want to reconsider what the most important features are for you. If what you are looking for is to listen to music (versus the alarm clock type features, like a display you can read in the middle of the night and an alarm), you might want to look at iPhone speakers only, as you probably would have more options.

    FWIW, my husband uses the iPhone alarm function as his alarm clock, though it’s a rare day that our daughter doesn’t wake us up before the alarm anyway.

  38. posted by Jurgen on

    Whereas I still have my alarm clock on my bedstand, I don’t use it for the alarmfunction anymore. The familiar screaming beep sound is too annoying.

    Instead I now use a very simple radio which wakes me promptly at 7.00 AM with my favorite news radio station. Much nicer to wake up with than that horrible alarmsound hundreds of millions of people still use worldwide. That’s really not the way I want to start my day.

    If the radio were to go broke, i’d buy a similar small radio but now also with wifi reception – opening up radiostations from all over the world. I never use my cell phones alarmfunction.

  39. posted by Red on

    I think I like the first option best. It’s very simple, doesn’t take up much space at all and is cheap! I don’t care for the second one because it’s a clock on its own. Sure, its nice that it charges the iPhone, but the iPhone itself isn’t the clock. It’s like having two clocks side by side! That’s just my two cents. 😉

  40. posted by Julie Minevich on

    This is quite a timely post, Erin!

    I recently went ahead and ordered the Philips system you have featured. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t leave a review, but I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for as soon as I walked past the box in the store… (I later returned it and purchased through Amazon with a gift certificate I had there.)

    There were a few things that sold me:
    – The ability to set two different alarms. For me this is the number one reason I have strayed from a tradition alarm clock and instead use my iPhone – I love not having to worry about remembering to turn the alarm off for weekends (and back on again).
    – The design. I like that the iPhone is so nicely integrated with the overall design of the alarm clock. I think it will look sleek and clean in my room.
    – Gradual alarm volume. I think this is a really cool feature and will make waking up much more pleasant. Right now, the thing that I really dislike about using my iPhone as an alarm is that I’m not able to have it play music or the radio as the alarm. With the Philips speakers, I’ll be able to do just that, and in a less jarring way, at that.

    I’m one of those people that gets analysis-paralysis so I was very happy to find something that I think will fit my needs. Hopefully it’ll work out! 🙂

    Best of luck with your decision!

  41. posted by Peter on

    I use the Rise and Shine App (App itself is free) without the charger. I use my normal charger and prop the iPhone on its side.

  42. posted by JM on

    I didn’t know time existed in the land of misfit toys 🙂

  43. posted by Lee on

    I just use the Sleep Cycle app that supposedly wakes you at the lightest point in your sleep cycle. You just plug in your iphone and them put it face down on your side of the bed. Haven’t been using it long so I can’t testify as to it’s effectiveness but it’s only a buck so I figured it was worth a try.

  44. posted by susteph on

    i’m with peter, above. i use the app “night clock,” which comes with lots of features you’d want in a, er, night clock: choice of alarms, dimmable display, etc. i use it plugged in with the apple wall charger. i prop it up with the $4.00 case i got from amazon. so when i’m done reading (the kindle app) in bed, i just turn the ipod into my alarm clock. simple.

  45. posted by Lyn on

    The 1st option, I’ve been told by my teenagers who seem to know all this, is apt to burn an image onto your iPhone screen. Has anyone else heard this?

  46. posted by Allison on

    Man, people are cranky. Go have some eggnog or something! If you don’t see the use of the iPhone alarm clocks, fine, but I challenge all these critical people to prove that they don’t own one item that somebody else might find to be useless or a unitasker.

    Anyway, I have an iPod speaker(I don’t own an iPhone) and only use the iPod alarm function when I’m traveling. I’ve had a small bedside alarm clock for years (prior to having an iPod) that is set to the radio. When it dies, I will use the alarm function on either my iPod or BlackBerry.

  47. posted by sharon on

    I have the iHome model shown. I got it from
    Bed Bath & Beyond for $80 using their 20% off
    coupon. I really like it. I love the dual
    alarms and the option of making a playlist
    on your iPod to wake up to. I can
    pull it into the bath to listen while I am in the shower. The
    sound is pretty decent for the size. Set up is
    pretty easy.

  48. posted by Baudattitude on

    We have two cats that love to nuzzle things, so I think any unit with the iPhone just kind of sticking out the top is destined to failure. The Philips unit looks like it might survive nighttime curiosity, so that’d be my pick despite the cost.

    Personally, though, I’m with the crowd that just uses the built-in alarm function. I deeply hate the “old time phone” ringtone, so I’ve got my alarm set to that. Never fails to wake me up.

  49. posted by xo on

    so am i the only one that sorta likes the moshi?


    (it was avail at bed bath and beyond … got it for around $30)

    it’s not exactly a unitasker; looks good on the nightstand. it tells you the time, date, and temperature by simply talking to it. to set the alarm, you tell it when you want to wake up. it has a gradual alarm. it has sleep sounds. (usually three choices each time.)

    erin, you rock.

  50. posted by Catherine on

    These are all great, but what would be better is one that could charge two phones at once. That way we could reduce three power cables in the bedroom (two chargers and a clock) into just one. Just dreaming…

  51. posted by kre8iv1 on

    I’ve been eyeing this one:


    can’t wait to hear what you think!

  52. posted by Brian Hollar on

    Download the Kensington software for free and get a stand for the iPhone that you can use for other purposes (watching video, etc.) and fold away when not in use. Less clutter and cheaper too!

  53. posted by Andy on

    I agree. What’s the point of any of these? Just get a cheap stand for the iPhone and use an alarm app (the built-in one works great for my purposes).

  54. posted by calel on

    I’m still using the same alarm clock that I got when I was 7…23 years ago.

    Do the newer versions of the iPhone not come with the dock anymore? My 1st gen had one.

  55. posted by Lizzie on

    I had three issues with my alarm clock situation: a beloved old Ipod that no longer worked when not plugged in, a tiny nightstand and the need for a clock that would be absolutely dark except when I wanted to see the numbers. I have the triangular iHome and I love! Small profile. Unlit unless you press it (although it has various levels of light which other, better sleeping people could choose). And my first Ipod has a home! The speaker quality is only fair, but I still put music on while I’m ironing and such.

  56. posted by Freddy on

    Hmmm. I ran across this new Electrolux vacuum cleaner with built-in speaker and iPod dock and it made me think back to this article.


    An alarm clock with a built-in iPhone dock makes no more sense to me than the vacuum cleaner, especially since an iPhone can function as an alarm clock but an iPod can’t vaccum.

  57. posted by Scott on

    The only thing holding me back from getting one of these radios is that I want it to have HD as well. No point in being obsolete in a couple of years. Has anyone found a good HD option other than Costco’s Teac HD-1 mentioned earlier?

  58. posted by faith on

    i have the ihome ip97, i got it for Christmas. i love it but im an extremely deep sleeper so i have to set the ipod alarm and buzzer to make sure it wakes me up. sound is great, i can blare it if i want, i got it at costco for 89. i have an ipod nano 2nd gen and ipod video ( the original, 5th gen) but it says its compatible with the iphone as well so i would deff recommend it

  59. posted by Joanna on

    I actually didn’t buy an alarm clock, and I can still use my iPhone as an alarm clock. There’s an app called Alarm Clock that has all the functionality of a regular alarm clock, and I think I paid 99 cents for it. I use the charger that came with the phone and a stand that holds the phone horizontally. I can wake up to whatever music or sound I choose at whatever volume, and it’s totally portable. I love it!

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