Good volume range
Hard to use
How did we test the Sonic Bomb alarm clock?
Reviewed brought in nearly a dozen alarm clocks for evaluation in two settings: at our labs, and in the tester’s home—in this case, it was mine. In the lab, I took objective measurements of the alarm’s volume and display's brightness. I used these to assess the clocks' range of the visual and audio settings, to calculate whether the alarms had a great deal of versatility, or if they had limited options for users.
At home, I simply woke up with the alarm for a morning or two to see how it fared in a real-world setting. I wasn’t checking if the alarms woke me up (spoiler alert: they did) so much as what the experience of waking up with them was like. I considered questions on whether the tone was pleasant, if there were multiple options, and so on.
What we like about the Sonic Bomb alarm clock
It has a wide volume range
If you want something that’s loud, look no further. The Sonic Bomb doesn’t have a massive selection of alarm tones, but it does have a tremendous array of volumes. In our testing, this clock reached a maximum of 90 decibels, far greater than any other alarm we got our hands on. That said, we don’t recommend using it at that volume, as any sounds above 70 decibels can damage hearing. The CDC says this applies over a prolonged period—but even short bursts of 90 decibels are eyebrow-raising for me, at least.
I tested its volume in our office’s sound-isolating closet where we toy around with things like the best headphones. The Sonic Bomb was so loud that a few of my coworkers flocked to the vicinity to check that there wasn’t some urgent building alarm going off.
You can set two alarms
While experts recommend keeping a similar sleeping schedule from day to day, we recognize that this isn’t always the case. The Sonic Bomb alarm has the option for you to set two different alarms, so you can determine which one best fits the next day in the evening before you doze off.
The clock doesn’t have a feature to set a recurring alarm pattern—say, the alarm goes off every weekday. Instead, you can just opt to leave one alarm or the other on indefinitely.
It includes a bed shaker and flashing lights
For folks who suffer hearing loss, or who otherwise won’t stir with sound alone, the Sonic Bomb comes with a bonus bed shaker, that can be placed. We didn’t test any clocks that came with such a feature for its efficacy, but a handful of Amazon reviewers like this aspect of the Sonic Bomb. “The bed shaker alone can wake me up, and the alarm sound can wake the whole house when it goes off,” one writes.
The clock also has built-in strobe lights that go off with the alarm. You can determine if you want to wake up with just the sound or vibration, or both—but the lights go off regardless.
What we don’t like about the Sonic Bomb alarm clock
It only has one alarm sound
If volume is what you’re after, this alarm clock takes the cake. If, however, you’re looking for more versatility and to wake up to a loud, albeit pleasant tone, it’s not the pick for you. The Sonic Bomb has just one sound—the dreadful alarm-clock beeping. However, you can tinker with the tone of the sound—as in, you can adjust the pitch and quality of the sound. It’s, more or less, a slightly customizable beeping. Of course the volume can be adjusted, too.
It feels cheap
With most types of products, whether it’s hairdryers or pillows, you can tell when something is well made. The Sonic Bomb alarm clock does not impress quality upon holding it. When I first took it out of the box, I was surprised by how insubstantial it felt—the plastic had a cheap feel to it, especially compared to nicer alarm clocks I’d tested.
It’s difficult to use
The Sonic Bomb’s interface isn’t anything to write home about. When I attempted to set an alarm, I found myself breezing past the time I was aiming for again and again. This was partially because I was distracted by chatting with a colleague, but it was mainly because the clock only has two buttons to adjust the time: one labelled “fast” and the other “slow.”
In other words, you can progress the time the alarm will go off quickly or slowly. However, you can only go forward, as the clock lacks an option to go back. So if you skip past 7:30 a.m.—even by a minute or two—you have to hold the “fast” button until you’ve circled back around, then switch to the “slow” button before it’s too late. For those who are impatient (like me), it won’t prove a fun game. Instead, it might become frustrating—especially if you regularly change alarm times and the two programmable settings aren't enough.
I also accidentally activated a set of flashing lights, which were difficult to turn off. In fact, I had to whip out the manual and consult it to figure out how to disable them. They’re bright, and may be a good tool for waking people up, but they proved more of a hassle than anything while I was trying to test other features.
What are other Sonic Bomb alarm clock buyers saying?
Amazon reviewers seem to love the Sonic Bomb alarm clock. It has 4.6 stars and more than 20,000 reviews to date.
Again and again it’s lauded for, well, its volume. In one lengthy review, a customer describes their woes with heavy sleeping and discovering the alarm. “I happened across this surreptitious alarm clock marketed toward those who sleep like a railroad tie instead of a normal human being should,” they begin. “Literally never heard of it. The ad promised to wake the heaviest of sleepers.”
“Really, I’m not even sure why [there’s] a snooze button on this thing. If you have heart issues, do not get this. If you suffer from anxiety, do not get this,” they continue. “This alarm is no joke. But it’s effective. I often find myself waking up before the alarm even goes off due to what I believe is almost fear.”
Most other reviewers don’t have such strong feelings about the alarm. As for the fear factor the reviewer describes, we imagine decreasing the volume would abate the issue. (Even though it sounds like that’s the effect they’re going for.)
Is the Sonic Bomb alarm clock worth it?
The answer depends on the person buying it. If you want a loud alarm clock, the Sonic Bomb will not disappoint. The price isn’t outrageous—though it’s more expensive than many of the other more basic alarms we tested.
It’s not a bad alarm clock by any means, it’s just not a great one, either. If you’re looking for a better experience waking up, consider the Sharp Dreamcaster. It’s our top pick of the best alarm clocks, and it’s even got sound machine features. There’s also the Loftie, which we dubbed our best upgrade pick. It features loads of settings, from multiple alarm tones to meditations and breathing exercises. We’d eagerly recommend either for anyone hoping to consistently wake up on the right side of the bed.
The Sonic Bomb is just that: a jarring, loud alarm clock. If that’s what you’re looking for, it may work perfectly, but for most, we think there are better options out there.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer, Sleep@lindseyvix
Lindsey writes about sleep, lifestyle, and more for Reviewed. In her waking hours, she likes to spend time outside, read, cook, and bake. She holds a master’s in journalism from Boston University and bachelors' degrees in English Literature and Anthropology from the University of Utah.
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