Between the extreme wind, heavy snow, and very cold temperatures, we’ve had a lot of power outages. I got tired of resetting all of the clocks plugged into shore power (see what I did there vanlifers?!), so I decided to get a few battery-powered atomic clocks. That way the clocks keep the time during power outages AND reset themselves when Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins and ends. Double win!
I ended up getting four different atomic clocks that sync with the WWVB broadcast from NIST. (Bad joke: What tim eis it? It’s NisTime!) Two of the four I like. The others I am returning as soon as the driveway is shoveled and I can get into town!
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When DST begins and ends, I get so confused. Did I lose an hour? What is the true time? Will I get an extra hour of sleep? Did I spring ahead or is it time for turning back the clock? I just know that I hate Daylight Savings and it is time for a permanent daylight savings. Or permanent standard time. Either one is okay with me.
But today is not the day for those issues. Today is the day to find the best atomic clock. Here are the ones I purchased to review for you:
WallerGe Digital Atomic Wall Clock:
The first one to arrive was the WallerGe Atomic Clock:
This one is on the wall in our family room. The numbers are big enough to read from the couch, and I can see the temperature in the room at a glance. I give it a solid 3.8 out of 4 stars. It came with the batteries and quickly acquired the correct time and date from the official atomic clock at www.time.gov, aka NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Boulder, CO. I love that it will automatically update the time when Daylight Savings Time (DST) kicks in. Why not four stars? It doesn’t light up in the dark which I didn’t realize I wanted until this one was on the wall. At the time I purchased it, the WallerGe clock was $28
Marathon Atomic Clock:
Once I realized I wanted a clock that would light up at night I ordered the Marathon clock which was about $40.
I really like this one. It came with batteries so I set it up right out of the box. I clicked the button to get the atomic time reading from NIST and it updated right away. I put it in the bedroom and when I wake up in the middle of the night I can easily read the time, even without my glasses.
There are three settings for the light; off, high, and low. There is a little sensor on the front that can tell if it’s dark or not. When it’s dark, the light turns on.
It’s got six times zones to choose from, so it works anywhere from Newfoundland to the west coast – all of Canada, Mexico, and most of the continental US. (Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii. You’ll need a different clock!)
October 2021 Update: The Marathon Clock is by far my favorite!
Sharp Atomic Clock:
An analog atomic clock is like a unicorn. This NIST clock from Sharp is perfect for just above the sink in the kitchen. It reminds me of a classroom clock. (I loved school!) I really wanted to like this one, but it wasn’t totally silent, and the time was sometimes off by a few minutes.
LaCrosse Technology Atomic Clock:
The last one we tried out was the LaCrosse Atomic Clock, and it was the worst.
I got this atomic alarm clock because the digits are large and I thought it might be hard to read the Marathon clock in the dark. Wrong.
- You actually need to push a button to turn on the light. Having it across the bedroom and expecting to read it while still in the dark is unrealistic. The light on this one is either on or off. If it’s on, it is extra bright, even with the low setting. If the light is off, it’s unreadable in the dark.
- In addition, it came with the alarm pre-set to midnight and turned on. So the first night we tried it, we were blasted awake at midnight!
- Third, it didn’t come with batteries, so I had to dig around for a while before I found the right ones.
- Then, it took its sweet time (55 minutes!) to get the time signal from NIST. After the first 20 minutes, I realized that it was no longer searching for the signal so I needed to push the button again. (And again and again every five minutes after that until it finally captured the signal.)
- This clock was around $24. Since the Daylight Savings Time (DST) is tomorrow I’ll get a chance to see if it updates automatically before I return it. (It did.)
Now is a great time to get an atomic clock that you don’t have to reset after every power outage or Daylight Savings Time (DST) change. And, just for fun, here is a link to a daylight savings meme or two.
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Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.
Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Macs and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly. You can find more on our website or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.
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