If you have any type of job that has you spending long stretches of time in the same office space with a lot of people, chances are you’ve felt irritated by all of the noise. Your coworker in the next cubicle will have their music playing, and someone will be blowing their nose. And, to make things worse, the open-concept office somehow makes every conversation seem louder.
And, there always seem to be additional noises you just can’t figure out. What’s that whirring, clanging noise in the distance? You don’t know, and you’ll probably never find out. But, you sure hope it’s not very important.
You don’t need to be particularly sensitive to noise to become irritable after some time spent in a loud environment. Unfortunately, the fact that our world seems to be evolving to be even noisier isn’t helping.
Whether you work in a noisy manufacturing plant, or in an office space where sound travels, this article should have something to ease your suffering.
Sometime back, I posted an article about the best ways to soundproof your office. In it, I wrote about how getting a white noise machine for your office space might be beneficial. In this article, I plan to elaborate on that position. If you stick around, I’ll also share some top-rated sound masking machines you could use in your office.
So, in the following article, I’ll briefly explain the science behind white noise and why it can help you with noise canceling. Then, I’ll tell you which features to keep an eye out for while shopping for white noise machines. Finally, I’ll review some of the best white noise machines on the market. So, let’s begin.
White Noise Helps You Mask Sounds and Be More Efficient
We all know that many people work best when they have some kind of noise in the background. Research has shown how distracting conversation can be when we’re trying to focus. The same goes for music with lyrics. Any unfamiliar noise, as a matter of fact, detracts from the matter at hand.
That is why many people can work comfortably around noise that is incredibly familiar – like having an episode of Friends playing while you work, for example. White noise, on the other hand, doesn’t have words or melody our brains need to get used to. We can’t get distracted and sing along to it.
In addition, white noise has sound masking properties. Since it’s actually just a mix of all humanly accessible sound frequencies playing at the same time, white noise is effective at covering sudden noises that occur within the same specter of 20-20,000 Hz.
By having all of these sounds in your ear at the same time, white noise allows you to focus exclusively on a single task. It drowns out outside noise and your inner voice, too, until you’re forced to do your work. Also, white noise can let you do your job, while not bothering people in the surrounding cubicles.
So, there are good reasons to have your own white noise machine at the office. Most people won’t even notice it, but it’ll improve your productivity. Or, if you’re a business owner looking into creating a good work environment – it will improve your employees’ productivity. Here’s an article that explains the pros and cons of using white noise in the workplace.
Now, let’s see why you might want your office sound masking machine to have certain features.
Things to Look for in Office White Noise Machines
There are several things you should pay attention to when shopping for white noise machines for your office. I’ve divided them into four categories:
- Sound quality and volume
So, allow me to explain why you should care about each of these.
Sound Quality and Volume
Obviously, you’ll be bringing in another source of sound to your office, so you should be careful. You’ll definitely want to avoid any machine that can conceivably produce an annoying sound. There are probably many other colleagues in your office space who are as irritated as you are with the noise levels, and you should take care not to add to that.
If you want to have the best sound quality possible, keep an eye out for acoustic sound machines, or sound conditioners, as opposed to electric white noise machines. Also, you might want to go for machines who have non-looping claims. You might even consider those that offer various other sounds, aside from white noise. Of course, if you stick to white noise only, looping shouldn’t be an issue.
So, with the white noise setting, you can be pretty sure that the machine will do a good job at noise canceling. However, to avoid agitating your coworkers, you should also make sure that the machine has at least a few volume settings.
The appearance of a white noise machine might be important to some, while others will care more about its functionality. Besides personal taste, make sure you pay attention to your work environment. Ask yourself if your boss would mind having a flashy or weird-looking machine in the office. Most white noise machines on the market are of the ordinary variety, anyway. So, if your boss needs you to maintain a professional environment, you’ll be covered by any of the machines in my reviews.
If you’re going to be using the same machine at work and at home, you might want to consider having a smaller model that can easily fit in your bag. If you’re a business owner looking to improve your employees’ productivity, you may want to buy something bulkier and of higher quality, though. In that case, the machine will probably stay in the office.
Naturally, your budget will be pretty important when shopping for a white noise machine. You wouldn’t want to buy a gadget for your work and have it cost you a serious percentage of your paycheck.
Luckily, most of the noise canceling machines I’ll be reviewing will be in the $50 range. That’s not really high or low end. I’ll also throw in a few $30 options, just so you’ll be aware of the features each price tier offers. And, for those who like to splurge, I’ll also review a $100 white noise machine.
10 Best White Noise Machines for Office Spaces (2021)
Finally, we managed to get to the good part! Allow me to present some of the best white noise machines for office spaces. The sound masking machines on this list are great for making your cubicle quiet enough to get some work done.
1. Homedics Portable White Noise Sound Machine
This white noise sound machine from Homedics may not be the most visually interesting product on this list, but it’s a perfectly decent one to start us off with. Moreover, its shape and button placement make it one of the most ergonomically sound designs on the market.
The oval-shaped device is 6.81 inches wide and 5.81 inches deep. Additionally, since it has such a low profile, it can sit on your nightstand or office desk and fit perfectly into your hand when you decide to adjust the settings.
Speaking of which, the machine comes with 6 pre-programmed sound profiles. To hear regular white noise, press the rightmost button of the six that surround the speaker in the middle of the device. Going counterclockwise from there, you’ll find rain, summer night, brook, ocean, and thunder soundscapes.
On the shallow end of the sound machine, you’ll find the volume and timer controls. The volume dial on the left also serves as the power button. If the machine is on, the green LED light between the dial and the timer button will be on. There are also three LED indicators around the timer button, signaling whether you’ve chosen the 15, 30, or 60-minute shutdown delay.
When it comes to powering the device, the manufacturer has included two options. On the one hand, the device can run on four AA batteries. However, if you’re going to keep the machine in your office, you can simply plug it into a wall outlet. Now, all you need to do is decide whether you want the silver, gold, or navy version of this product.
- 6.81 by 5.81-inch disc-shaped device
- Up to 60-minute shutdown delay
- Adjustable volume dial
- 6 soothing sound profiles
- Comes with an outlet adapter but can use batteries
2. Letsfit White Noise Machine With Adjustable Baby Night Light
If you’re looking for a machine that can offer more diverse sound profiles, this Letsfit device should do the trick. It has as many as 14 high-fidelity sound profiles — or sleep soundtracks, according to the product description.
Three of those are different versions of white noise, two “clothes dryer” options, and the sound of a spinning fan. On top of that, there are five natural soundscapes to choose from — crickets, birds, the ocean, a brook, and a thunderstorm. Lastly, another three of those settings are lullabies — Hush Little Baby, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Rock-a-Bye Baby.
To get to your desired sound profile, you’ll have to press the buttons on the side of the short cylindrical device. You can switch the sound by pressing the volume keys quickly. If you want to change the volume levels, hold down the same buttons. The key at the bottom is the timer setting, allowing you to delay shutdown by 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes.
The ring-shaped part around the speaker on top of the device could also help you adjust your settings. Holding down the power symbol on the ring turns the machine on and off. However, tapping it will merely activate the subtle nightlight on the underside of the device. On either side of the power symbol, you’ll find the previous and next track keys, surrounded by the volume controls.
Ultimately, this product is a perfect blend of useful features and simple design. The side of the device even comes in four colors — black, gray, white, and wood grain.
- A round tabletop white noise machine
- Up to 2 hours of shutdown delay
- Adjustable volume
- 14 sound profiles
- Nightlight on the bottom edge
3. Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine
The Marpac Dohm white noise machine is different from the ones mentioned above, and it’s a bit higher in price since it costs about $50. It’s only 3.3 inches tall, so it’s still small enough to fit in a bag, but it has an almost 6-inch wide circular base.
This device also produces Marpac’s signature “Dohm” noise by having asymmetrical fans rotating at two possible speeds within an acoustic casing. Since it’s this kind of an acoustic machine, it only has a single switch you can flip upwards or downwards, high or low. Remember, acoustic machines make their own sounds, as opposed to digital ones that simply play white noise through speakers. Once this acoustic machine is up and running, you can rotate the upper casing to adjust the tone.
Before you decide to purchase Marpac’s sound machine, you might want to see if you even like their signature white noise enough to want to listen to it while you work. Its simplicity extends to its power source, as it can only run on AC. Either way, this white noise machine comes highly recommended. However, I predict that the moving mechanical parts can be more easily damaged than the parts of a digital machine.
Marpac’s white noise machine comes in white, black, gray, or tan. So, pick out the one that best matches your office space, and adjust the settings however you like them. When you adjust the sound to where you like it, the setting won’t change since it’s a mechanical machine. The sound quality will remain consistent for the same reason.
- 3.3 x 6 inches acoustic machine
- 4 colors available
- Easy to use and fine-tune
- 2 fan speeds produce Dohm noise
- Only runs on AC
4. LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine
LectroFan’s white noise machine is another wildly popular product for offices. This device is only 2.25 inches tall with a 4-inch heptagonal base. It also goes for around $50 at online retailers. The speaker is on top, and the control buttons are on the sides.
This white noise machine has 10 fan sounds and 10 other sounds, including white, pink and brown noise. Pink and brown noises, since I didn’t explain them earlier, have the same frequencies as white noises. The difference is that pink and brown noises have more balance between the volumes of the sounds in low and high ends of the spectrum. So, the high-frequency tones aren’t as loud as they can be in white noise.
Just like the other white noise machines, LectroFan also has volume and timer settings. However, you can only set the timer for 60 minutes, which isn’t the longest period, as you’ve seen. However, if you intend to use it at work, I don’t think you’ll have use for the timer setting, anyway.
The device is powered by AC or USB cable, which means that you can plug it into your work computer and keep it on your desk. Since it’s completely digital, it should use up less energy than it takes to get mechanical fans moving.
- Popular for offices
- 2.25 tall with a 4-inch base
- 1-hour timer and volume buttons
- 20 sounds
- USB or AC charging
5. Magicteam Sound Machine With 20 Non-Looping Sounds
The Magicteam sound machine is 2.4 inches tall with a 6.3 by 4-inch rectangular base. Its sleek build is a mix of reflective and matt black surfaces and rounded corners, which come together to form a device that would look stellar in any office. On top of that, the blue LED lights around the top rim and behind the control keys will help you locate the device and adjust the settings even at night.
The device has 20 non-looping sounds, including at least four white noise profiles. In addition to the standard white noise, it can also play brown, pink, and even blue noise. Additionally, you’ll have your pick of nature sounds such as bubbling brooks, crackling bonfires, ocean waves, and many more.
Moreover, getting to the sound you want is incredibly simple. The five buttons you need are all horizontally lined up at the bottom of the device. The first key on the left doubles as the power button and the timer control. Holding the key will start the device. However, every subsequent tap will delay the shutdown of the device by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 hours.
The next two keys to the right control the volume, giving you 32 levels to play around with. Lastly, the rightmost buttons are for switching between sound profiles. Best of all, the machine should automatically restore the volume and sound you were using before it powered down.
The product comes with a two-piece charger that combines a USB cable with an AC adapter. So you can either keep the device plugged into your computer or find the nearest outlet.
- 2.4 inches tall with a 6.3 by 4-inch base
- Up to 5 hours of delay
- 32 volume levels
- 20 non-looping sounds
- AC or USB power
6. Anescra White Noise Machine With Night Light and Built-in Rechargeable Battery
The Anescra white noise device is a 2-in-1 sound machine and night light unlike any you’ve ever seen. The LED part of the product can be dim enough to fall asleep with but also bright enough to dominate an otherwise dreary office space. You could even change the color of the light — there are five brightness levels and seven colors to choose from. Additionally, you could keep it steady or make it pulse in a breathing pattern according to your preferences.
The controls are all fairly straightforward and located on top of the 2.4-inch tall device. The timer and power buttons are next to each other, surrounded by volume controls. If you press the timer key, one of the four symbols in the center will light up to indicate how long the shutdown delay will be.
Going clockwise from the volume down key, you’ll find three buttons for light brightness and color adjustments. The other three symbols in that line let you choose between 24 sound profiles. Namely, you can select one of the 7 white noise variants, 7 fan sounds, or 10 nature sounds.
The base of the machine is a 4-inch circle so you’ll be able to carry it to and from work with ease. Moreover, it’s powered by a rechargeable battery so you won’t even have to take the charger to work. Ultimately, you should get about 20 hours of use out of the device before having to charge it.
- A 2.4-inch tall device with a 4-inch circular base
- Up to 90-minute shutdown delay
- 24 high fidelity sounds
- A large, adjustable light feature
- Rechargeable battery
7. BST-100 Sound Oasis Bluetooth Sound Therapy System
The BTS-100 is another Sound Oasis product that uses a preloaded memory card to store 10 sounds. However, this device is not only a white noise machine but also a Bluetooth speaker – and I’m all for dual-purpose gadgets. The product itself is almost 3 inches tall, and it has a 2.5-inch wide circular base, and it’s also very lightweight. Even though the BTS-100 is fairly unremarkable as a white noise machine, the fact that it’s a dual-purpose gadget bumps up its price to around $60.
The controls, along with the power button and volume control, are all positioned around the bottom of the device. You can hit play or pause the track when you use the device as a Bluetooth speaker. Speaking of which, you can turn on the Bluetooth mode by holding the power button for 3 seconds. That will make the white noise machine visible to your other Bluetooth devices, so you will be able to pair them.
This Sound Oasis device is powered by internal rechargeable batteries and comes with a USB cord. Its small size makes it a great fit for an office space. Also, you’d be able to liven up your coworkers by switching to music during your break.
- 3 x 2.5 inches
- Circular design
- 10 sounds on a preloaded memory card
- Doubles as a Bluetooth speaker
- Rechargeable battery and USB cord
8. Adaptive Sound Technologies Sound + Sleep
The Sound + Sleep white noise machine is almost 5 inches tall with a tear-shaped base. It’s surely one of the most interesting-looking devices on this list, while still looking professional, and it goes for upwards of $70.
The whole top side of the device is covered by a speaker which plays High Fidelity non-looping sounds. This machine will need to be plugged into an outlet, so no batteries or USB cables.
All of the controls are centered in one area on the side. These controls include a big track dial, as well as power, timer, and volume buttons. Additionally, there’s also a display button that dims the light indicator.
There are about 5 nature sounds and 4 ambient sounds, as well as the standard white noise setting. The timer allows for the device to shut down in 30, 60, 90, and even 120 minutes.
This Adaptive device offers two more very interesting settings – “adaptive” and “richness”. By using the machine with the adaptive feature on, the device will automatically adjust the volume of the sound to drown out anything that’s happening in your surroundings. So, if someone in your office space started to laugh loudly, this device should compensate in volume.
This setting is a staple of Adaptive Sound Technology devices. The richness feature, on the other side, allows you to adjust the content in each track. There are two levels, so if you press it once, your ocean will also have seagulls. And, if you press once more, more ambient noise will be added.
The only downside of this white noise machine might be its size, as it might be too bulky for some bags.
- 5 inches tall with a 7-inch base
- 10 non-looping High Fidelity sounds (white noise, nature, and ambient)
- 2-hour timer, track dial, volume buttons
- Adaptive and richness features
9. SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine
Finally, let’s see what kind of features you can get with a $100 white noise machine. The SNOOZ white noise machine is 3.5 inches tall and 5 inches wide, having an almost ball-like shape, but with a flattened bottom and top.
The device has three control buttons on top of the machine, the power button, and two volume controls. The circular grate that surrounds the sides of the device is available in black or gray. This machine produces white noise by having a spinning fan inside of the acoustic casing.
In spite of the arguably old-fashioned mechanical mechanism, this device has the tech features to justify its price. The manufacturer has an iOS and Android app that goes along with SNOOZ.
The app can turn the auto scheduler on and off, and it has a special nursery calibration. Aside from that, the app can also control several devices. So, you may use one at work, and another one at home, for example.
The SNOOZ white noise sound machine also has 10 volume levels. But after all of this, can we really say that any acoustic white noise machine is worth this kind of money. Even with the app connectivity feature, I’m not sure. If you’re thinking about buying it, that’s a question only you’ll be able to answer.
- 3.5 x 5 inches acoustic machine
- Power switch and volume controls
- App that is compatible with iOS and Android
- Nursery calibration, auto-scheduler
10. Douni Wood Grain Sleep Sound Machine
If you want to bring some nature into your office, the Douni white noise machine is the perfect product for you. But believe it or not, its stylish, light wood grain exterior is only matched by the excellent features it offers.
The 2.3-inch tall, round device has a speaker on top and a small control panel on the side. The top three buttons allow you to choose your preferred soundscape from three categories. Namely, the key with a musical note on it offers a selection of ten classic nature sounds. Meanwhile, the other two each offer seven fan and white noise options.
In the row of buttons under the sound settings, you’ll find a timer button that can delay shutdown by 30, 60, or 90 minutes. When you use that feature, you’ll see the corresponding indicator above the sound selections light up. Next, you have the middle two keys, which are your volume controls, allowing you to choose between 32 increments. The power button is further to the right.
The 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of that little control panel is a particularly useful feature of this product. The device also comes with a USB charging cable as well as an AC adapter. So you can choose whether you want to power it through an electrical outlet, a portable battery pack, or your computer.
- A 2.3-inch tall round device
- Up to 90-minute shutdown delay
- 24 non-looping sound profiles
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- AC or USB power
More on Office Sound Masking Machines
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how a white noise machine could help you cancel the noise and keep your focus. If you’re tired of having to put up with loud noises and struggling to concentrate, you could try one of the devices I covered in my reviews.
Once more, I’d say that you should go for a machine that’s in your price range. That is why I tried to review machines from several price categories. Luckily, if you work in a smaller cubicle, any of these small and cheaper devices should work just fine. However, if I were you, I would try to find one that at least has a USB cable, so you can use it with a power bank.
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