Workplaces with loud ambient noises can make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand, making us cranky and irritable. A study by the University of Sydney found that for people working in non-enclosed or open-plan office spaces, the most prominent complaint was the noise level.
Working from home or having your own office can mean reduced levels of noise when it comes to the people around you, but open doors or thin walls can still present an issue. While studies also show that an ambient level of 70 dB can boost our creativity, a noisy workplace can get in the way of you accomplishing your tasks, which is when noise becomes a problem.
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to combat a noisy office space, and one of them is a white-noise machine for privacy. Not only will you be rid of the annoying humdrum of life around you, but you will also have privacy from your coworkers or anyone that shares your workspace.
BEST WHITE NOISE MACHINE FOR OFFICE PRIVACY: OUR TOP 4 PICKS
BEST OVERALL: LECTROFAN WHITE NOISE MACHINE
RUNNER UP: MARPAC DOHM-DS DUAL SPEED WHITE NOISE SOUND MACHINE
BEST FOR NOISY WORKSPACES: ADAPTIVE SOUND TECHNOLOGIES WHITE NOISE MACHINE
BEST FOR OFFICE PRIVACY AND SLEEP: HOMEDICS HDS-2000 DEEP SLEEP II
1. LECTROFAN WHITE NOISE MACHINE
This offering by Lectrofan fits every requirement a great white noise machine for your office should have. It offers thirty volume settings and twenty different sound options, with ten of them being different fan sounds and the other ten noise variations, so you are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a sound that suits you best.
The settings for non repeating and random sounds mask any intruding noises, as it electronically generates white noise using algorithms, producing genuinely random sounds. The sounds range from low frequency “dark noise” to high frequency “white noise” sound like variations of static, rushing wind, or low rumbles.
The machine is compact and lightweight, meaning won’t take up too much space in your office, and you can easily take it wherever you want some noise blocking and privacy. The polished look makes it appropriate for all office environments.
The LectroFan white noise machine has everything you need for your office, and it’s super simple to set up and transport. The minimalist interface also means its easy to change the volume settings even at low light. The 60-minute auto-off timer is a useful feature if you’re looking to block noise for a certain amount of time.
2. MARPAC DOHM DS DUAL SPEED WHITE NOISE SOUND MACHINE
Marpac has been manufacturing these machines for decades, and it shows with the Dohm white noise machine. This model is particularly suitable for office use, as it blocks out a lot more noise than other devices by producing a very full and rich white noise sound.
The noise is made in the device from a small built-in fan inside an acoustic chamber, therefore making this a natural noise machine. When the fan is moving, the sound echoes out of the device, creating a pleasant and non-repetitive sound to give you privacy while blocking ambient noises. The volume and tone can be adjusted by twisting the top dome part right or left.
The sound of the fan is controlled by two-speed settings. The higher speed is louder and has a somewhat different sound than the lower speed. When using the low-speed setting, the device does not require a lot of power to run, while still providing a soothing white noise tone.
If you are in the market for a simple and straightforward device, you can’t go wrong with the Dohm-DS. One of the most considerable advantages is that the white noise is natural, which to a lot of users sounds better than pre-recorded options. The one downside is that the device is bulky, so it’s not great for transporting or keeping on top of your desk.
BEST FOR NOISY WORKSPACES
3. ECOTONES SOUND + SLEEP MACHINE
The Ecotones Sound Sleep machine from Adaptive Sound Technologies is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a feature-laden device. The sound coming from the high-quality speakers is crisp and clear, and you can set more than ten different natural options, including a white noise that’s non-repetitive. You can also set the sounds to various richness settings, removing or adding extra details from the base sound, such as occasional seagull background noise when you choose a more vibrant ocean sound.
The dial can be used to set the various different programs, which include white noise, and soothing sounds: meditation, waterfall, fireplace, brook, ocean, rainfall, meadow, city, and train, which were recorded from real life and nature. The full sound is calming with three tone settings for intensity and depth.
Something that makes this machine an excellent option for noisy workspaces is the adaptive sound technology. This feature automatically adjusts the sound volume when the ambient noise increases. The device will compensate to mask out any sound, including any sudden loud noises. Therefore, you won’t be disturbed by any noise, including the annoying or random sounds that would break through the white noise of most other sound machines.
If your office or workspace environment is more noisy than average, then the Adaptive Sound machine is your best bet. The device gives you lots of sound options, ensuring that all users will find something to suit their needs.
BEST FOR OFFICE PRIVACY AND SLEEP
4. HOMEDICS HDS-2000 DEEP SLEEP II
This type of device is more commonly used for getting a good night’s sleep, but it works just as well in a workspace setting. You can choose between four unique white noise sounds plus eight different relaxation sounds, including water and nature, and you can even combine some of the sounds, so you have a better noise-blocking experience. Since the sound comes from dual speakers, it is crisp and clear, efficiently canceling any ambient noise.
The white noise category features four sounds (mask, relax, calm, and soothe), and while the mask tone was specifically designed to block unnecessary distractions and external noise, the relax tone also works great as a noise blocker while soothe can be efficiently used in many different situations as it has the highest pitch. Therefore, you can choose the setting that works best for you and your environment.
The device is larger than other white noise machines due to the dual speakers, though they assist in producing a much better sound, with better sound quality. The treble and bass can also be adjusted so that you can get your perfect tone.
The Homedics device gives you a great deal of adjustment options, making it great for office and home use; it’s the complete package. With natural and realistic sound profiles that are adjustable in both volume and tone coming from the dual speakers, the sound masking ability is one of the best available.
5. SOUND OASIS S-550-05 SOUND THERAPY SYSTEM
The Sound Oasis machine will blend seamlessly into your office space with its modern design. While it doesn’t have any white noise sounds per se, all six different nature sounds have built-in background white noise, so you still get a noise-masking effect.
The recorded clips are very long, so the looping is barely noticeable and won’t distract you. And if you really want a set of white noise sounds, you can replace the sound card, which comes loaded with white noise settings.
Another great feature is that the machine can be adaptor powered or battery powered, meaning you won’t be at a disadvantage if you don’t have any nearby outlets.
There are other machines with clearer sound quality than the Sound Oasis, but it’s still useful at masking loud office or ambient sounds and giving you privacy. The volume can be adjusted to a high setting, covering up any distracting noises and letting you focus on the task at hand.
This is an excellent device for any workspace due to its flexibility and design; even if you don’t get the same rich quality of sound you get from other white noise machines. Nonetheless, if you are not happy with the pre-set sounds, you can always get a new sound card, so you’ll never be bored, and you’ll be sure to find a white noise sound you enjoy.
Benefits of Using White Noise Machines for the Office
White noise is not overly distracting, acting instead as a background noise, masking sound or any other loud noises around you that can make it difficult for you to concentrate. It also allows you to block out annoying sounds, voices, and other background distractions that much more efficiently.
Another great benefit of using a white noise machine is that unlike with music, these sounds won’t actively distract others around you, as it is mostly unnoticeable, or not considered an annoyance.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of a white noise machine is that it won’t fully occupy your mind, but keeps enough of your brain active helping you avoid distracting ambient sound, so that you can concentrate on the task at hand. While it may seem like an easier option to just plug in a set of noise canceling headphones for work and listen to music, your brain will focus on listening to the music, and headphones can be inconvenient and uncomfortable in office environments.
White noise machines, also called noise cancelling machines, are not only excellent at masking ambient sounds, but they also mask sounds between offices, making sure any private conversations remain confidential. Therefore, you can carry out a conference call or a private talk with a co-worker without anyone else around you overhearing any snippets of the conversation.
Features of White Noise Machines
White noise generators come in a wide range of price points, and their price is mostly determined by their features. In order for you to choose the best noise machine for you, we discuss the most popular features, so you know what to look out for according to your needs.
Noise masking is the term used to refer to the feature of blocking out disturbing and intrusive noise, which can prevent you from concentrating while at work. Using a machine with a high level of noise masking is a great way to create a private space where you can have confidential conversations with clients or co-workers.
The quality of the sound can be realized with either an electronic or a mechanical unit. A mechanical unit comes with a particular type of fan that produces a satisfying, enjoyable and agreeable white noise. These machines are simple to use and have a long lifespan, along with simple tone and volume variations.
An electronic unit typically comes with pre-recorded sounds, including crickets, waves, birds, rain, or water, which are repeated on a loop. While some users enjoy these, others may find them intrusive.
Sound machines with continuous play mean that the sound will play repeatedly looping back and forth and playing the same sound over and over.
Some machines offer Bluetooth capability, which means you can connect them to a speaker. These are an excellent option for professional offices, as you can store the device somewhere out of the way and play the sounds from a small speaker on your desk.
Choosing the Best White Noise Machine for Office Privacy
When choosing the best white noise machine for you, you need to pick one that is work appropriate. While some can double as sleeping aids and office privacy aids, make sure that you choose one that suits your office needs.
Some of the things you need to take into consideration are the following:
Noise Masking Capabilities
The machine that you purchase needs to specifically do what you want it to do: mask sounds. Therefore, get a device that plays actual white (or red, brown, or pink) noise, so it blocks the ambient noise around you while also providing you with privacy.
Adjustable Sound Settings and Volume
Look for a device that has several sound settings, in case the sound bothers you or the people around you. The adjustable sound is vital as if it’s too quiet or too loud, then there’s not really a point in you having one of these machines. The important thing is to give yourself options so that you can create the most relaxed and productive office environment.
Adding an irritating or chaotic noise to your already annoying ambient noises will only create a more significant issue. The best white noise machine for office privacy will offer high sound quality, so it might be a good idea to invest in an acoustic sound machine instead of an electric device. The speaker should be high-quality, and it should have a variety of sounds.