In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 4 Best Sound Machines for Baby

We purchased and tested sound machines from VTech, MyBaby, Housbay, and more to find the best sleepytime soothers for babies
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Best Sound Machines for Baby
The VTech Myla The Monkey is a great option for travels away from home and offers both night light and sound machine functions, all wrapped up into one.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Our Top Picks

By Wendy Schmitz ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday April 19, 2024

Is your little one struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep? We purchased 7 impressive sound machines for testing. A good sound machine can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep by providing a constant sound in the background that is both soothing and blocks out other sounds to help prevent startling noises from disrupting sleep. We researched over 50 potential noise and sound machines for our review before buying popular choices for side-by-side testing. We tested quality, features, ease of use, and more to find the best choices for different goals and budget concerns.

Setting up a soothing nursery might also include choosing a the best bassinet or a top-ranked night light for kids. If you need more nursery essentials, we've probably tested those too.

Editor's Note: We conducted a product review for our sound machine review on April 19, 2024, for buying advice to find the right sound machine for your little one.


Favorite Portable Option

VTech Myla The Monkey

Number of Sounds: 10 | Timer: 60 min
Music and nature sounds
Two levels of night light
Two attachment methods
No wall plug

The VTech Myla The Monkey is a portable noise machine that includes lullabies and nature sounds with a white noise option. It comes with a two-level nightlight and two attachment features. This monkey is super cute, and little ones like the sweet face and glowing cheeks. We like the easy-to-push buttons and the simple, intuitive interface that we could sort out without using the instruction manual. It is also rechargeable, so there are no pesky batteries to change or keep on hand.

The only bummer we see for Myla is the lack of a wall plug. This decision in modern gadgets seems like the manufacturers' way of saving money. Still, it feels like an unfinished product as some people may not have extra plug adapters or modern USB plugs waiting for a cord on standby. The Housbay White Noise Sound Machine plugs in and turns eight different colors that could be soothing for little ones. Otherwise, the Myla monkey is cute, easy to use, and has nice-sounding music and sounds with on-the-go possibilities consisting of a tail in the shape of a hook and a Velcro attachment.

sound machine baby - favorite portable option
The V-Tech portable Myla is a great option for staying at home or traveling about on errands or around the globe.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Budget Friendly Simple Machine

MyBaby Soundspa On-The-Go

Number of Sounds: 4 | Timer: 15, 30, 45, 60 min
Easy to use
Fewer sound choices
Battery only
No overnight feature

The MyBaby Soundspa On-The-Go is a portable sound machine that runs on batteries. This wallet-friendly option has a ring attachment and a simple user interface. The buttons are big and easy to use, including a helpful timer that can run for up to an hour before it shuts off. You can choose between 4 different sounds, including heartbeat, lullaby, white noise, and ocean sounds.

While this device is super easy to use, it is also reasonably simplistic, with few features and less impressive sounds. We think parents might go through many batteries and wish they were rechargeable, like our favorite portable choice. The Housbay White Noise Sound Machine can be plugged in and save parents the battery hassles if they don't specifically need a travel-friendly choice where plugging in could be difficult. However, this inexpensive choice has much to love, and we think most babies will find something to like with this straightforward sound machine.

sound machine baby - budget friendly simple machine
The MyBaby is a straightforward option that is easy to use and gets the job done without all the bells and whistles like projection or night light.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Lots of Noise Options

Housbay White Noise Sound Machine

Number of Sounds: 31 | Timer: 60, 120, 180 min
Lots of sound options
Colored nightlight
Easy to use
Lots of buttons
Not very intuitive

The Housbay White Noise Sound Machine is a ball-shaped noise maker that lights up with multiple colors (8!) and has so many lullabies and noises that you can listen to something different almost every night of the month. We like that you can choose your favorite nightlight color and that there is a song, fan noise, or nature nose for everyone, including the ability to adjust the white noise pitch level! It has three different timers or can run unchecked until you turn it off.

The user interface on the Housbay isn't user-friendly. We took a stab at it, and after much button pushing, we accepted whatever it landed on. We assume regular use and the instruction manual will help, but it doesn't seem necessary for something this simple to be this confusing. If your little one needs a kid-friendly design, the VTech Myla The Monkey is an adorable monkey that has a subtle glow and different sounds. Despite the need for some brushing up on your reading skills, we think this noisemaker is a good choice for babies, kids, and adults alike, with a setting suitable for most users.

sound machine baby - lots of noise options
The Housbay comes with a cord and wall plug, something we didn't see on all of the competition.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Straightforward Shusher

Baby Shusher

Number of Sounds: 1 | Timer: 15, 30 min
Pleasent sound
Only 1 sound
Short timers

The Baby Shusher is a small portable noisemaker that emits a soft shushing sound akin to a rainmaker stick. This simple sound maker is travel-friendly and has shorter timer options. We think it would be good as a cue that sleeping time is happening, but it doesn't run all night, making it a good choice for parents who don't want or need an all-night solution.

This sound machine has no variety; it makes one sound. You're out of luck if your little one doesn't have an affinity for the sound. Also, it only has two timers and no long-term play option, which could be a deal-breaker for those who like ambient noise all night to stay asleep. Alternatively, the Housbay White Noise Sound Machine has multiple different sounds and can run all night long. Overall, we think the Shusher has limitations, but it makes an excellent cue in a nighttime routine that could get little ones prepped for sleep and dreamland.

sound machine baby - straightforward shusher
Nothing is simpler than the BabyShusher and its one sound two-timer selection with volume control design.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Does Everything

Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine: Moonlight & Melodies

Number of Sounds: 8 | Timer: 15, 30, 60 min
Lullabies and nature
Not the best sound
Speaker fabric gathers stuff

The Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine: Moonlight & Melodies has something for everyone, with various lullabies and nature sounds from which to choose. It also features a dimmable nightlight in the owl's belly and a projection of the moon and stars on the ceiling. The user interface is intuitive, and the buttons are easy to press. We like that it has different timers or can run infinitely. Little ones like the owl design, but be forewarned, this design might increase demands to hold it as they get older, and it isn't intended for holding.

We didn't love the sounds on this machine. The lullabies have a tinny quality that can be harsh on the ears, and the heartbeat sound is not soothing, even if it isn't frightening like some of the competition. Also, the fabric on the owl wings over the speakers collects everything, from dog hair to dirt; ours were dirty within two days of unpacking the bird. The sound and design on the VTech Myla The Monkey is better than the Skip Hop, in our tests. However, we like the concept of the Skip Hop and think some parents and babies will love it, but much like other all-in-one products, we don't think it does one thing exceptionally well and is mediocre at everything.

sound machine baby - the skip hop has a usb-friendly cord and includes a wall plug giving...
The Skip Hop has a USB-friendly cord and includes a wall plug giving you plug-in versatility and options.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Basic Sound Machine

HoMedics Sound Spa

Number of Sounds: 5 | Timer: 15, 30, 60 min
Simple to use
Visible settings
Old school design
Foley sounding noise

The HoMedics Sound Spa harkens to the golden age of sound machines as they rose to popularity in the early 2000s. This machine has a button for everything, and better yet, they tell you at a glance what is happening and are super easy to use; no instructions necessary. We like the simple look and basic features and think adults might like this easy, straightforward choice.

This sound machine has no features for the baby. While it has a few sounds and timer features, there are no lullabies, nightlights, or cute designs. While this alone isn't a deal-breaker, the sounds might be. The Housbay White Noise Sound Machine has better sounds, in our opinion, and we like the color changing. While a competitor's thunderstorm was so convincing, we could practically smell the rain, during testing, this unit sounded like a new foley artist giving it his best shot for auditions for cartoon noisemaker. In short, it can meet expectations if you don't compare it side-by-side with the competition. Unfortunately, for this Homedic option, we did.

sound machine baby - the homedic option comes with a cord and plug, unlike some of the...
The Homedic option comes with a cord and plug, unlike some of the competition that lacks a wall plug.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Fan Only Sounds

LectroFan White Noise Machine

Number of Sounds: 20 | Timer: 60 min
Continuous play
Different pitches
Strange sounds
No way to tell the setting

The LectroFan White Noise Machine is a basic white noise machine intended for a broader range of users than babies hoping for continuous sleep. This makes it less baby-centric, as it only has white and fan noise selections. This machine has a 60-minute timer or can be turned on for constant use, and the user interface is user-friendly.

Unfortunately, the tone of almost every sound option is not easy on the ears, and adults in our tests were somewhat agitated by the pitch for many of them. The sounds overly stimulated even the dogs in the testing area, and we wonder if babies will find them soothing or stimulating. Also, there is nothing to indicate what sound you are playing, and while the unit will remember from time to time what you played last, it doesn't retain this information if you unplug it. With 20 sounds to choose from, finding the one you like could be challenging. We think this is a fine sound machine, but it wouldn't be our top pick for babies or kids, and we prefer the more straightforward and kid-centric VTech Myla The Monkey for babies and little ones who need some nighttime soothing.

sound machine baby - the lectrofan only offers white noise and fan sounds at a variety of...
The Lectrofan only offers white noise and fan sounds at a variety of pitches.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

sound machine baby - we tested the top sound machines to find the best options for every...
We tested the top sound machines to find the best options for every family depending on your needs and budget.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

How We Test Sound Machines

We researched over 20 potential noise makers for kids before choosing products to test. We considered those specifically designed for little ones and others suitable for all family members. We used each product for at least two nights and assessed any features, from the variety of sound or musical options to timers or nightlights, if they were offered. Each tester reported their findings and feelings about which products offered the best quality, features, and ease of use. We considered feedback from little ones and parents alike and whether or not babies seemed soothed or relaxed due to the machine use.

sound machine baby - the timer for sleepyme is located on the bottom and one of the...
The timer for SleepyMe is located on the bottom and one of the easier options to use.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Why You Should Trust Us

Since 2013, BabyGearLab has been testing baby gear and kids' products. We spent hours researching products before buying and using them side-by-side to find the absolute best options in each category for every kind of family. To find the best sound machines and white noise makers, we started by researching the top and most popular products available. We narrowed our selection to those we felt had the most potential to impress during testing. From there, we bought the top 10 competitors for testing. Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, mom of two, led the noisemaker team with a long history of using fans and other white noise generators for blissful sleep. Wendy and her children used each product in this review to give you the details to find the right one for your family, needs, and budget.

How to Choose a Sound Machine

Sound machines can be useful tools for soothing or entertaining little ones. Finding one that meets your needs and budget doesn't have to be a guessing game. Asking yourself a few questions about your goals can help you decide.


Why do you need one?

Asking yourself why you want a sound machine and what you hope it will accomplish is job one. Some parents are looking for something to drown out ambient noises, while others want something to help create calm or induce sleep. What your ultimate goals are will drive which options you are most attracted to. Some options are straightforward, with sounds that vary between white noise and waves and soft nature sounds. While others are more baby-centric and include lullabies and shushing sounds designed to mimic womb-like noise.

Other Features

If you want additional features over a simple noise maker, then this is the time to consider it. If your goal is more of a multi-purpose tool, then a baby-centric product might be more what you desire. Some of the options include nightlights and portability with rechargeable or changeable batteries for away-from-home use.

sound machine baby - the plug for the housbay is not a standard plug which could mean you...
The plug for the Housbay is not a standard plug which could mean you need to toss the whole unit if you lose the plug.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Analysis and Test Results

We purchased and used the most popular sound machines on the market, from truly baby-centric products to those with a more generalized purpose. We have the details you need to find the device that best meets your needs.

sound machine baby - the skip hop user interface might look busy, but it is...
The Skip Hop User interface might look busy, but it is straightforward and you always know what you are getting without the need for toggling through sounds while your baby waits.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Ease of Use

We thought these sound machines would all be relatively easy to use. While they all come with only a handful of buttons and icons that seem intuitive, most require toggling through all the options in a rotation, so you have to flip through the sounds multiple times to find what you want. You may not know what it is or how to get back to it should the sound change at any given point. Without any information on the device (which is true for most of them), you are flying blind, and we didn't think that was the best choice, even if it likely kept costs low.

The V-Tech Mila Monkey has super easy-to-use touch-friendly buttons and presses easily. The interface is user-friendly and straightforward, so you can skip the manual. Almost nothing is easier to use than the Baby Shusher as it has two twisting parts, one that gives you the timer and the other the volume. However, this simplicity also translates to limited features with one sound and only two timers, so if you want all night or a sound other than white noise, then forget it. The hardest products to use are the more adult varieties with very few buttons that you repeatedly press to switch between almost identical sounds, like the LectroFan White Noise Machine, which only has different pitches, none of which are pleasing to listen to long-term.

sound machine baby - the housbay has a friendly user interface and a glowing round body...
The Housbay has a friendly user interface and a glowing round body that makes it suitable for little ones who like a nightlight.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Everyone wants different features depending on their goals for using a sound machine. A night light to illuminate the darkness might feel like an excellent feature for those with younger infants, as it can help you see better when providing nighttime feeding. Or, your little one might relax quicker with a ceiling projector show. While the primary goal of a sound machine is to help create a peaceful environment conducive to sleep, that doesn't mean you need to settle for a dull white noise maker with no bells and whistles. We disliked the basic noise machine in this lineup, not for its lack of features but for the harsh pitches of its sounds.

The LectroFan has limited features, and none are genuinely baby-centric. This option has no nature or lullabies, with ten different pitches for white noise and fan sounds. Also, the sounds are somewhat painful to the ears depending on the settings, and a few even caused dog howling in our test area. Having no other features was just the nail in the coffin for this basic product.

sound machine baby - the zonpor user interface could use more buttons to avoid the...
The Zonpor user interface could use more buttons to avoid the frustration of toggling through options with limited buttons.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Alternatively, the Skip Hop Owl has almost every feature a parent might want, including a nightlight you can dim, a ceiling projector with stars, lullabies, nature sounds, and timers. However, compared to the competition during testing, we felt this option didn't do anything very well. The sounds are sub-par, and the ceiling projection isn't strong enough to show more than fuzzy light blobs on the ceiling and walls.

sound machine baby - myla the v-tech portable sound machine has a nightlight, lullabies...
Myla the V-Tech portable sound machine has a nightlight, lullabies, nature sounds, and timers all in a portable, adorable little monkey.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

The V-Tech Myla Monkey is a favorite with multiple features. This cute little monkey comes with a nightlight and has various sound options, timers, and two attachment methods to keep it nearby. The sounds are relatively good, and we like that it is rechargeable, so you don't need to purchase batteries or keep them on hand continuously.

sound machine baby - a familiar sound machine can help your little one fall asleep and...
A familiar sound machine can help your little one fall asleep and stay asleep even in new environments.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff


Selecting the best sound machine for your goals can be more challenging than you think, depending on your requirements. Should you choose one with nature sounds or lullabies? Both? Are the sounds natural? Does it include timers, or will it run all night for uninterrupted sleep? Luckily, we purchased and tested each option for you in this review. We believe there is a machine in this group for everyone in your family. Whether you are considering a portable device with an adorable monkey face or want nature sounds and nightlight, there is something for everyone in this lineup.

Wendy Schmitz