The best under pillow speakers 2022

Under-pillow speakers are simple, inexpensive, and can make a huge difference to your sleep if you suffer from tinnitus or have your mind racing at night. As their name suggests, they slide under your pillow and transmit sound through the foam or bottom, directly to your ear. It works surprisingly well and there’s hardly any sound leakage to disturb your partner.

Sleep headphones are a great idea, but they’re difficult to use and some people find it uncomfortable to sleep with something around their head. They also tend to be quite expensive. You can get a good under pillow speaker for a fraction of the price, and because it’s so simple, it should last you many, many years.

You’ll notice that none of the speakers here are wireless. This is for a very good reason: wireless speakers contain a lithium battery, which can be very dangerous if overheated. The safe operating range of these batteries is quite narrow and it can easily get too hot under a pillow.

Whether you want to listen to a podcast, ambient noise from an app like Rainy Mood, an audiobook, or relaxing music, there’s an under-the-pillow speaker for you.

Roberts Radio Pillow Talk Speaker

(Image credit: future)

Enjoy podcasts, music, rain effects and more at night

Features

Dimensions: 100mm x 80mm x 26mm

To input: 3.5mm headphone jack

Cable length: 2m

Reasons to buy

+

Impressive audio quality

+

No battery to overheat

+

Slim design

Reasons to avoid

No inline volume control

Parameter switch not working

The Roberts Radio Pillow Talk speaker has the best sound quality of any under pillow speaker we tested. Roberts has put his decades of experience to good use in this little device (measuring 100mm x 80mm x 26mm) and even through your pillow it manages to deliver sound in impressive detail.

That’s rare for an under pillow speaker and shows that price doesn’t always reflect quality. Most similar devices – even those that cost several times as much – offer muddy sound that’s okay if you just want some ambient noise to help with tinnitus, but not suitable for music or audiobooks. That’s not a problem here; settle in for the night and you’ll hear your favorite tunes or podcasts almost as clearly as you would with headphones, without the discomfort.

We only have two small complaints about the Roberts Radio Pillow Talk speaker. Firstly, there’s no volume control in the cable, so you’ll need to adjust the sound on your phone or radio before settling in for the night – a minor but potentially annoying issue if you wake up at night and want to make a change. Second, there’s a small three-position switch on the side of the speaker that doesn’t seem to do anything. Roberts says you should choose the setting that gives you the best sound, but it has no noticeable effect.

That’s no problem, though; the Pillow Talk sound is the best we’ve heard from any under-the-pillow speaker, and whatever you like to listen to at night, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Read our full Roberts Radio Pillow Talk Speaker Review

SoundLAB pillow speaker

(Image credit: future)

Extremely affordable and surprisingly effective

Features

Dimensions: 87mm x 87mm x 26mm

To input: 3.5mm headphone jack

Cable length: 65cm

Reasons to buy

+

Extremely cheap

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Good sound for the price

Reasons to avoid

Requires headphone jack

No inline volume control

Costing just $9.99 / £7.99 (around AU$15), the SoundLAB pillow speaker is remarkably cheap, but it’s also one of the best around.

Its plastic casing is an odd “ivory” hue reminiscent of PC components from the 1990s, and its complete lack of branding is odd, but it’s actually very well designed. The lightly textured case keeps it from slipping under your pillow, and the use of speaker grilles on the sides rather than the top means sound isn’t muffled en route to your ear.

It’s got the slim shape you’d expect from an under-pillow speaker, and its flat casing is impossible to feel even if you’re a light sleeper. Its cable isn’t quite as long as the Roberts Radio Pillow Talk speaker, above, but it still gives you plenty of slack to reach from a phone on your bedside table.

It doesn’t render high frequencies as well as the Pillow Talk, which means podcasts and audiobooks can sound a bit muddy, but very reasonable for the price and superior to the Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy plus pillow speakers dear below.

Read our full SoundLAB pillow speaker review

Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow Speakers

(Image credit: future)

Two tiny under-the-pillow speakers that work best for ambient sounds

Features

Dimensions: 60 x 60 x 25 mm each

To input: 3.5mm headphone jack

Cable length: 2m

Reasons to buy

+

Audible at both ends of your pillow

+

Particularly long cable

Reasons to avoid

Slippery plastic case

High frequencies are muffled

Unlike the others in this guide, which require you to rest your head directly on top, this pair of under-the-pillow smart speakers can be spaced out so you can hear sound even as you toss and turn at night. However, they don’t offer stereo sound for back sleepers; if you want, you will have to invest a little more in Sound Oasis Under Pillow Powered Speakers (opens in a new tab)that connect to an AC outlet.

This simple set of speakers was the quietest of any we tested. It’s not a big deal (after all, your ear is only a few inches away and you don’t want the sound leaking to bother your partner), but we had to crank the volume all the way up using the wheel built into the 2m cable, and turn it almost all the way on our phone as well.

As with the SoundLAB Pillow Speaker above, higher frequencies are somewhat muffled, but that’s not necessarily a problem; if the low frequencies of brown or pink noise help you fall asleep at night, these little speakers will deliver it perfectly.

Read our full Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow Speaker Review

This article is part of TechRadar’s coverage of Sleep Awareness Week 2022 (Sunday, March 13 through Saturday, March 19), an annual event hosted by the National Sleep Foundation to highlight the connection between sleep and health. We’ve teamed up with experts in their field to bring you proven sleep techniques and tips to help you fall asleep easier, and we’ve rounded up the best sleep kit to turn your bedroom into a haven of zen.

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