This article about Best Portable Sound Machines for Babies was written by baby travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
I have stayed in many different places while traveling with my kids, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not always easy to get a baby to sleep in a new environment. This is important to address as getting a baby to sleep on holidays, is crucial to everyone being well rested and enjoying the family vacation as much as possible. In my experience, an effective portable white noise machine is a big part of the solution to this challenge.
One of the most important tips I’ve ever received for getting your baby to sleep on vacation is to recreate your baby’s at home sleep environment (as best you can). It’s the one tip that has worked consistently for us when we travel. I’ve found the most effective way to do this is to travel with a portable white noise machine.
I use a white noise machine at home, so it only makes sense that I would travel with one as well. White noise machines are the perfect way to help mimic our baby’s at home sleep environment. Not only that, but they can help to block out unfamiliar noises when we travel that might otherwise keep our baby awake.
Using white noise or other soothing sounds, similar to at home, is one of the easiest ways to do this. In fact, I’ve even brought my white noise machine for flying with a baby or toddler. I’ve discovered that it drown out the ambient noise in a plane, such as other passengers talking, announcements, etc.
Hotel rooms can be especially troublesome, as people talking in the hallways or a room next to the elevator can be the cause for unfamiliar noises that keep your baby awake. Apartments rented through Airbnb can have similar issues, especially considering multi-level apartment buildings or street noise. And, if you ever go camping with a baby, the noise from other campers usually extends long after your little one’s bedtime.
It’s worth using up a little luggage space for packing the best baby sound machine to help your baby sleep restfully. Whether you decide to purchase a portable white noise machine or use an app on your phone, using soothing sounds to help your baby sleep is one of my top recommended baby travel essentials.
Top 3 Baby White Noise Machines for Travel
If you don’t have the time to read the whole article, here are my top picks for the best portable sounds machines:
Baby Shusher – best for those that want one to use at home and on the road. The Baby Shusher plays a human voice shushing to calm your baby.
Best Affordable Travel White Noise Machine
Yogasleep Hushh– best for parents looking for the best value. This highly rated white noise machine is USB-rechargeable, has continuous play or a shut-off timer plus it has a small amber LED nightlight.
Best Affordable Travel White Noise Machine:
MyBaby SoundSpa – best for the budget conscious traveler. This portable white noise machine still offers 4 sounds and 4 shut-off timer options.
What You’ll Find in This Article on the Best Travel Sound Machines:
12 Best Travel White Noise Machines for Baby
Based on my personal experiences traveling with my children, here are my picks for the best travel white noise machines for babies. These baby sound machines are small and portable and can be used at the hotel or on the stroller for naps on-the-go.
Using an app on your phone or a tablet is another great option I’ve used in a pinch. The benefit of having a separate white noise machine is that you’ll still have access to your phone while your baby is sleeping!
One of the top rated baby sound machines in this list, the Hushh has just the basic features needed in a portable white noise machine for baby. It has 3 sounds and is USB rechargeable. It’s both small and portable with an integrated clip to attach it to a stroller for on-the-go.
How is this different than the Rohm also created by Yogasleep? This one has a lock feature so little hands can’t change the volume. It also has a night light. Both features are baby specific for this white noise machine for babies.
This on-the-go baby white noise machine has 4 sound options and 4 timer settings. It can be set to play for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. With no cord, it can be moved anywhere in the room. It uses 3 AAA batteries (not included).
With an integrated clip and built-in stand allows it to be used in all scenarios: attach it to a stroller or easily move it closer to the crib. This durable baby sleep machine can go anywhere with you.
Inspired by the Happiest Baby on the Block book, this portable baby sound machine provides the fourth ‘S’ with a loud shushing noise to calm and help your baby drift off to sleep. This popular and highly rated baby sound machine is battery operated with 2 AA batteries included. It has two timed settings of 15 and 30 minutes, after which it will automatically shut off. Its portable size makes it perfect for travel.
As you can see from my pictures, we traveled with a SoundBub by WavHello for many years. What I liked most about it is that it is both a baby sound machine and a Bluetooth speaker in one. It has 6 soothing white noise sounds to help baby sleep and a rechargeable battery. This portable white noise machine for baby is perfect for travel with it’s small size, rechargeable battery and integrated clip.
The Bluetooth speaker makes it ideal for toddlers, where it can double as an audiobook or music player. With both an auto-off timer and the ability to play all night, it’s versatile enough to suit any family!
This soft and cuddly elephant plays 5 sounds, including songs and nature sounds, to soothe your baby to sleep. It has 3 automatic shut off options: 15, 30 and 45 minutes. It also has the ability to project a starry sky if it will help calm your baby. It has three different light color options and the display will shut off with the sound.
This white noise machine for travel uses 3 AAA batteries (included) and has no rechargeable option.
This rechargeable portable white noise machine has up to 38 hours of playback time, plus it can be used while recharging. It plays 8 white noise sounds for baby including popular white noise sounds like a shusher or fan. It also has an optional night light feature. There are three auto-shut off timer options for 30, 60 minutes or off for continuous play.
The strap allows it to easily be attached to a stroller when on-the-go and it’s small enough to travel with.
This fun baby sound machine in a dinosaur shape is made by Yogasleep who also makes this very highly rated travel white noise machine or the Hushh also found in this list. If dinosaurs don’t fit your nursery theme, there are 3 other options to choose from: fox, unicorn or penguin. This portable sized baby sound machine has 6 sleep sounds (including white noise and fan) and 3 auto-off sleep timers of 30, 60 and 120 minutes.
This baby sound machine is USB-rechargeable and will play all night on a single charge. It has an integrated clip and is made with a food-grade silicone cover, in case little hands get ahold of it.
A nightlight and sound machine in one, this device has 11 sounds and both brightness and volume levels that can be adjusted. The sounds include shushing by a human voice, white noise and a vacuum cleaner. It also can be set to play all night or on a timer. It has a USB rechargeable battery for easy portability.
There is an optional charging cradle for this sound machine that can be used at home. It also comes with a clip and removable lanyard to make attaching it to a stroller or diaper bag easy.
The only baby sleep sound machine that also has a vibrate option, but it only has a 20 minute automatic shut off. It can be attached to a crib, bassinet or stroller. This baby sound machine has 5 sounds with adjustable volume and vibration speeds.
Playing four nature sounds and two lullabies, this baby white noise machine can easily attach to strollers for on-the-go use. It has an adjustable timer to allow it to be used on continuous play, or to shut off after 15, 30 or 45 minutes.
Battery operated (3 AAA batteries, not included) this sound machine is portable for traveling with a baby.
Customize your baby’s sleep environment with this 2 in 1 sound machine and night light. With 31 sounds and 8 color options for the night light, you’ll have plenty of options. It has multiple volume levels and 3 night light modes. While it needs to be plugged in, it’s still small enough that it could be used for travel with a toddler or baby. It can be powered by AC or by using a USB port.
This sound machine and nightlight can be used on continuous play or by setting one of the three timers (1, 2 or 3 hours). The light will fade off as the timer setting is reached.
This Skip Hop Stroll & Go Portable Baby Sleep Soother is another owl shaped portable white noise machine with two lullabies and two nature sounds. This baby sound machine is portable with a silicone strap to attach it to a stroller when on the go. It is not rechargeable and requires AAA batteries that are not included. It has an auto-off timer for 15, 30 and 60 minutes.
While this portable white noise machine is definitely budget friendly, Skip Hop makes a slightly larger and more expensive version that works as both a sound machine and a nightlight. It needs to be plugged in, so it’s not as useful on the go unless just using it a hotel or Airbnb. This more expensive sound machine has options for an elephant or an owl and can be set to play all night.
Auto-off timer of 15, 30 or 60 minutes
Requires AAA batteries
While I love the idea of a multi-use item like the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine (which is a sound machine, night light and time-to-rise alert all in one) for home use, I wouldn’t recommend it for travel.
What Makes the Best Travel White Noise Machine for Babies
Based on my experience, here are the five features that are most important to review when researching the top baby sound machines.
Ability to recharge is best, but for short trips a battery operated one with new batteries.
How long is the usage between charges. This is important if you want to use it for the whole night.
Look for one that is small in size and portable.
On-the-go use with a clip for a stroller makes it easy to use when out exploring.
Automatic shut-off timers or continuous play are key, depending on what is best for your baby.
9 Things to Consider When Purchasing the Best Portable Sound Machine for Baby
When you are looking for the best portable white noise machine, there are a few things to consider. I have them listed all below and it’s important to read through these questions so you know exactly what you are looking for!
What types of noise would you like it to play? Would you prefer your white noise machine play lullabies in addition to white noise?
How long will you be playing it for? Do you want it to play all night or just as your baby is falling asleep?
Is it battery operated or can it be charged by USB?
How long does the USB charged battery last? Will it last all night?
Can you use it while it’s charging?
What other functions does the white noise machine have?
Will it last through baby and toddler years (with other functions like night light or setting awake time)
Does it have an automatic timer if you don’t want to use it all night.
Is a cry-activated soother important?
Benefits of White Noise for Babies
In his book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp goes into detail about using white noise for babies to sleep. It helps to calm your baby. When babies are in the womb, they are constantly hearing noises.
By using a white noise or sound machine your baby’s calming reflexing is activated. This will help keep your baby calm and get to sleep.
If you use a white noise machine at home, then for the best success on getting your baby to sleep while traveling, you’ll want to have some type of portable sound machine with you.
Is a White Noise Machine Necessary for Toddlers
I’m not a sleep expert, but from my own experience I have found creating a similar sleep environment to home will still help toddlers sleep while traveling.
The added benefit of having a portable white noise machine is blocking out unfamiliar noises to help keep your toddler asleep. Nightlights might help your toddler sleep in a new environment as well.
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.