Ask Yourself These Questions...
What do you want your clock radio to do?
A basic clock radio will wake you up at a pre-set time, with an alarm or the radio. Generally, there is also a snooze button to allow you a few more minutes of sleep after that initial wake-up call. With a more sophisticated alarm clock, the snooze time can be adjusted from one to nine minutes; but most come pre-set with a nine-minute delay.
How much flexibility do you want your clock radio to have?
You can opt for an alarm clock with a dual alarm function, allowing you to set two different alarm times - after the first alarm goes off, the second alarm remains set. And there are now some alarm clocks with a triple alarm function, further expanding the number of independent alarm settings. You may also find a clock radio that lets you set the alarm to gradually increase in volume the longer it rings.
How big do you want your clock radio to be?
A larger display of 1.4 inches (4 centimeters) is easier to see, but will make your clock radio a little taller than the standard display size of 0.9 inches (2 centimeters).
Do you want to wake to CD?
Some alarm clocks have grown to become compact stereo systems. Inexpensive clock radios traditionally only offer mono sound with a built-in tuner. You can improve the sound by choosing a stereo clock radio with tuner or, for a little more money, a clock radio with a built-in CD player. With the CD player, you'll have a third alarm option - buzzer, radio or CD. Wake to your favourite music every day!
How much do you want to pay?
An inexpensive clock radio, with basic functions, is available from as little as $10 to as much as $30. For a radio with dual or multiple wake functions, prices start at $25. The more sophisticated stereo CD/clock radios range from $80 to $150.
Consider These Important Features...
- Dimmer control. Most clock radios have a pre-set brightness for the clock display, but some allow you to control that brightness for a softer light.
- Number of wake functions. A single wake function is basic, but a dual wake alarm function allows you to set two individual wake times on one clock radio.
- Power back-up. Provides a battery back-up for the clock settings. If the power goes out, your clock radio will continue to run on the battery until normal power is restored.
- Setting controls. Some clock radios can be set either in reverse or forward, allowing you to set the time and alarm quickly.