Clocks Buying Guide

Ticktock: It's clock time. Clocks in the home wake us from sleep, keep us on track, help us monitor our schedules, and do so much more.

Types of Clocks

Types of Clocks

Clocks are essential, and ubiquitous, elements of our rooms. Bedside, they gently (or not so gently) wake us in the morning or from a weekend nap. In living spaces, they help us mark the hours until school or work, practice or bed. Elsewhere they may be more decorative, making a design statement while marking the time. There are loads of options for you to find the right clocks for every room in the house—alarm clocks, clock radios, cuckoo clocks, desktop clocks, floor and grandfather clocks, mantel clocks, projection clocks, wall clocks, and talking clocks.

Alarm Clocks

Alarm clocks may be powered by batteries or electricity. They are traditional in function, sounding off at the set alarm time.

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Clock Radios

Clock radios combine a clock with a radio, often in a nightstand-appropriate size. These feature a small speaker to project the radio broadcast and can wake the person using either a traditional buzzer or the radio sound.

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Cuckoo Clocks

A traditional item in many homes, a cuckoo clock features an element—often a bird—that "announces" the time on the hour. These clocks tend to be decorative in nature and often need winding.

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Desktop Clocks

A midsize clock, the desktop clock is proportioned appropriately to fit on top of a desk. These clocks range in functionality and style depending on your needs. Some display only the time, while others have radio and alarm functions, too.

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Floor and Grandfather Clocks

Floor and grandfather clocks rest on the ground and are often head-height, if not taller. The clocks typically have a body section, with the clock face on the top. Grandfather clocks may also have chimes that announce the time on the hour.

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Mantel Clocks

A bit bigger than a traditional alarm clock, a mantel clock is designed to sit on a shelf or mantel and be readable from a few feet away. These can be found in a variety of styles and materials.

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Projection Clocks

A projection clock resembles a typical alarm clock or clock radio, with one important distinction: It projects the time, often in large numerals, onto a wall or nearby surface.

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Talking Clocks

Talking or voice-controlled clocks are incredible tools for people who have low or no vision. These clocks function just as other alarm clocks or clock radios, but they can respond to voice commands and provide time and alarm controls with talking functions, too.

Wall Clocks

Wall clocks are just that: clocks designed to hang on a wall. They can be inexpensive—think round outdoor clocks made of plastic—or ornate and costly. There's a wall clock for virtually every style of decor.

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Product Features

Product Features

Unlike appliances in the kitchen—some to cook, some to clean, some to preserve—all clocks have a similar purpose: keeping track of time. Therefore, just a few product features may impact your purchase. Those include power source—probably the biggest option to consider—as well as sound options, material, and expandability. Use this overview to carefully consider those factors before you buy.

Power Source

Most clocks are powered either by batteries or electric sources, or electricity backed up by battery power. Batteries mean portability, enabling you to move the clock from room to room, while a plug-in means reliability.

Sound Options

Clocks that announce the time—grandfather clocks, alarm clocks—may have different sound options. Make sure your choice is appropriate to your expectations and needs.


Clocks can be made of nearly any material, from inexpensive plastic to hard-to-find hardwood. Finishes and patterns vary, too, as do colors and compositions. Choose one that fits with your decor and your style.


Some clocks—particularly desktop, alarm, and clock radios—may have docking stations to attach a smartphone or MP3 player. That allows you to use your clock as small speaker or charger, too.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Even as our lives have become inundated with technology, clocks retain an essential and necessary function. We cannot do what we need to do—school, work, volunteer, cook—without noting the passage of time. And many clocks are affordable as well as decorative, making them good building blocks for most every room's decor. As you find the clock that works for you, review purchase considerations including size, time readability, and care. Here's help in this short guide.


For diminutive alarm clocks and clock radios, size is less an issue than it is for larger items such as grandfather clocks. Before making an investment in an heirloom-style piece, make sure you have the space for it.

Time Readability

Particularly for tabletop versions that help to keep you on task or wake you from a slumber, it's important to be able to read the numbers on a clock. For more decorative pieces, readability may be less of an issue.


Most clocks do just fine with a quick weekly dusting. Larger pieces, such as grandfather clocks, may require more intensive care, such as regularly oiling the parts.

Decor on sale

Better Homes and Gardens
$18.54 $16.00

Better Homes and Gardens Fox Pendulum Clock:Product dimensions: 7.75" x 1.375" x 11.375" (19.69 cm x 3.49 cm x 28.89 cm)WoodFox si...lhouette clockWall and tabletop display capabilityEasy to hangRequires 1 AA battery (not included) read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$19.48 $15.66

Keep track of time in style with this Better Homes and Gardens 20" Home Wall Clock. It features a rectangle shape and large multic...olor raised letters. The clock letters are yellow, red and blue. Add a classic touch of décor to your living room or dining room with this big rectangle clock. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$29.97 $23.29

Better Homes and Gardens Atomic Digital Wall Clock with Forecast, Black:Weather forecast icons with animated raindrops (stormy)Wir...eless outdoor temperature (F/C) with trend arrowMonitors indoor temperature (F/C) with trend arrowAtomic time and date with manual setting (on/off option)Automatically updates for Daylight Saving Time (on/off option)12/24 hour time displayPerpetual calendar (month/date/weekday)Crescendo alarm sound10 minute snoozeWall hanging or free standingLow battery icon for clock and sensorTransmission range: 300' (91m)Indoor Temperature range: 32 F to 122 F (0 C to +50 C)Outdoor Temperature range: -40 F to 140 F (-40 C to 60 C)Clock: 2 AA alkaline batteries (not included)Sensor: 2 AA alkaline batteries (not included) read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$10.97 $8.08

Better Homes and Gardens Curved Birdcage Table Clock:10.6" clockDecorative table clockCurved metal frameMetal bird accentsDurable ...metal handsQuartz accuracy read more

Better Homes and Gardens
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Better Homes and Gardens Metal Bicycle Table Clock:14" clockMetal table clockMetal frameBicycle designQuartz accuracyDurable metal... hands read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$19.97 $17.97

The Analog Atomic Wall Clock relieves you of the hassle of resetting your clock every daylight saving time. WWVB radio frequency s...ignals adjust the time for you, updating it automatically to your time zone setting. This clock is accurate to the second, and features large, easy-to-read viewing numbers. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$16.97 $15.82

Better Homes and Gardens 15.25" Bird Wall Clock:15" x 10.25" x 1.5"Unique wall clock has a wrought iron frameGlass lensQuality qua...rtz movementRequires 1 AA battery to operate (sold separately) read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$14.92 $11.00

Better Homes and Gardens Retro 9.5" Round Kitchen Wall Clock:Retro design9.5" roundRed kitchen clock wall also comes in blackChrom...e bezelConvex glass lensRed second handBattery-operated (1 AA battery, not included) read more

Better Homes and Gardens
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Better Homes and Gardens Captains Wheel Clock:13" (33.02cm) plastic weighted caseDecorative clock has nautical wheel designGlass l...ensDimensions: 15.55"L x 2.09"W x 14.96"H (34.5 cm x 5.31 cm x 38 cm)Colour: white, black read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$19.97 $17.78

Better Homes and Gardens Love Clock, Pink:Plastic framePlastic lensEasy to hang or display on tabletopPink dimensional frame spell...s "Love"Product dimensions: 15.75" x 2" x 8.125" (40.01 cm x 5.08 cm x 20.64 cm) read more

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