The LectroFan is one of today’s best-selling and most popular white noise machines you’ll find…but is it all it’s cracked up to be? And is it really worth almost $50?
I want to help you make the right choice so I really worked hard to share all the details you need before spending a dime. I’ve included samples of the fan & noise sounds, too!
- Getting to know the LectroFan white noise machine
- Unboxing & first impressions
- Build quality & fit and finish
- Taking it apart: What’s inside?
- Checking out the controls + how to use it
- What does the LectroFan white noise machine sound like?
- Questions & answers: Things to know before buying
- LectroFan Evo vs Classic
- LectroFan vs Marpac Dohm white noise machine
- Owner’s manual quality
- My thoughts after using it in everyday life
- Review summary: Is the LectroFan worth it?
Getting to know the LectroFan white noise machine
Adaptive Sound Technologies Incorporated (ASTI) has a full range of different sound machine products they offer. Nearly all share the same basic functionality: they produce white noise to help block distracting sounds & give relief from many common problems. Depending on the model, each has more or fewer features for particular customer needs.
The LectroFan white noise machine (also called the “classic” model for reference) is one of Adaptive Sound Technologies Incorporated’s best-selling & most popular products.
Nearly all of the company’s products are used to provide relief for common problems like distracting noise or sleep issues by generating different types of white noise. Unlike the design used in some competitors such as the Marpac Dohm noise machine, the LectroFan & other ASTI products use solid-state technology.
No moving parts are used such as a fan and electric motor, for example. It’s all done using electronics and a speaker.
LectroFan features & basic things to know
The white noise machine works from a 5V power supply. You can use the provided AC-DC adapter or, for added convenience, you can plug it directly into nearly any USB jack.
The LectroFan Classic provides a total of 20 sounds: 10 noise and 10 fan sounds divided into 2 sound categories chosen from the Fan or Noise button settings.
LectroFan Classic sound list table
|10||Oscillating fan||Pure white|
There’s also a 60-minute timer that lets you drift off to sleep and have the noise machine turn off by itself.
In case the white color doesn’t suit your fancy, the LectroFan Classic model is also available in a handsome black color, too.
Unboxing & first impressions
I’ve been looking forward to owning & testing the LectroFan especially since it’s easily one of the best-selling devices out there of its kind.
Finally, I got my hands on one! It’s well-packaged and I got a great impression right away.
When opening the box up, you’ll find a handy insert telling you how to reach out to ASTI in case you’ve got questions or a problem. Very nice.
What’s in the box?
Shown: Inside the box you’ll find the owner’s manual, customer support insert, the LectroFan unit, AC-DC 5V USB adapter, and the USB power cable.
What are the 2 extra pieces in the LectroFan box?
Inside the box, you’ll find 2 very important parts. These are the AC-DC USB 5V power adapter and the USB-DC plug power cable. There’s also a nice owner’s manual and a customer service insert in case you need to reach out for help or questions.
Getting it ready to use
Before using the LectroFan and enjoying soothing white noise or one of the fan sounds, you’ll need to install the power cable as shown. It’s easy, however, and only takes a few seconds.
Since it’s not pre-installed, I had to connect the included USB-to-barrel connector style power cable. To do so, it’s just a matter of plugging in the round (barrel) connector into the jack.
On the bottom of the sound machine are two wire guides that help to keep the wire in place on your table or nightstand. The wire simply pushes into those and there’s a line molded on the back of the unit to help you guide the wire.
Once installed, it forms a curved shape as you see here. That’s it – it’s quick and easy!
Build quality & fit and finish
Close up images of the white noise machine. It’s really well-made and looks to be a quality little device. Mine looked great upon closeup inspection with no defects or cosmetic problems, either.
As I always like to do, I gave the LectroFan a closeup lookover to check for any quality control or design defects and so forth. I’m happy to say it looks great!
Quality is excellent, and there are no noticeable gaps or fit and finish problems. It’s well put together and obviously isn’t an “el cheapo” device.
Overall, I’m very happy with mine and it’s all I expected from the company (especially because there are thousands of happy buyer reviews).
One thing I noticed right away is that it’s really solid in the hand – and there’s a bit of weight to it, too.
It doesn’t at all feel cheap or flimsy like some others I’ve seen. It’s solid and I’m impressed with what they’ve done!
Taking it apart: What’s inside?
I disassembled my LectroFan to check out the internal parts. Inside is a nicely designed sound generator board and a small but beefy loudspeaker that generates the sounds you hear.
What can I say? As an engineer, I’m really curious about how different things work. I took apart my unit to peek into not just how it works but also the quality of the parts used.
I have to say it’s well done!
The LectroFan uses 2 main parts:
- A loudspeaker
- Electronic sound generator board
The speaker’s small, but based on my audio electronics design experience it’s a good one. A hefty magnet & decent power rating told me right away they chose this based on the ability of the speaker to create good bass & sound range.
The electronic board inside is well-done and looks good (as opposed to much cheaper boards I’ve seen in products in the past).
The board contains push button switches, a sound generator microprocessor chip, and an audio amplifier chip. I also noticed there’s a thin foam sheet attached to the plastic housing that helps seal it off for the best sound response just like a speaker box.
That’s not all that’s required, though – the critical part, the sound patterns it makes, are designed into the software to create the right equalization (EQ) needed to help block noise.
More about that later.
Checking out the controls + how to use it
The controls on the LectroFan are really simple & straightforward. It’s a breeze to use and includes an additional feature not shown here which I’ll explain below.
It’s really simple to use – it was like second nature to me in only a minute or two.
The control quality is great and the soft rubber push buttons have a good “feel” to them. After connecting power, the unit will automatically turn on to the default or last set noise sound selected.
That’s an option you can change, however, so don’t worry!
1. How to use the controls
It’s as easy as powering the unit on-off. When turned on, the last used sound you used will start playing automatically.
However, one thing I need to get across is that the last setting isn’t saved unless the unit is turned off with the power button instead of just disconnecting power.
In other words, the last setting you used to be restored automatically the next time you use it, you’ll need to have turned it off with the power button. If not, the last one saved will be used if power is removed then restored.
Fresh out of the box the first sound used is brown noise.
Choosing sounds & adjusting the volume
Each time you select the Fan Sounds or Noise Sounds button, the last sound you used will start playing. That’s because the last one is saved when you change modes or turn the unit off.
That’s great because I’d go crazy if I had to rotate through the sounds all over again each time! Fortunately, it’s smartly designed and everything works smoothly, making it easy.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are 10 fan sounds and 10 noise sounds to choose from. Selecting sounds works like this:
- Pushing the fan or noise button scrolls through each of the 10 sounds in each category, starting with #1 (brown noise).
- Once sound #10 is reached, pushing the button again triggers a “whoop” sound indicating it’s starting back again at sound #1.
It’s really easy to use & you can push the button very quickly if you like.
2. Using the sleep timer
To use the sleep timer and have it shut off automatically, just push the button. 60 minutes later it’ll turn off by itself.
What I don’t like, however, is that unlike other models you don’t hear a short tone to indicate you’ve pushed the button. You can also add extra time (in increments of 60 minutes each button push) if you like, which is nice.
Unfortunately, the manual doesn’t state what the maximum time you can use is but I believe it’s 8 hours (8 button pushes).
3. Turning off the auto-start feature
From the factory, the device is set to automatically start producing the last sound you used when it was turned off when powered is plugged in again (after having been removed).
What’s cool is that you can turn this feature off easily. To do so:
- Turn it off using the power button
- Press and hold the volume down button while pressing & releasing the power button
You can also restore the feature if you like, as the instruction manual tells you how.
What does the LectroFan white noise machine sound like?
Since this is a really important question for this kind of product, I really wanted to do it right! I’ll go into a lot of detail, but I’ll try to keep it relatively short
The LectroFan uses a built-in equalization (EQ) design to compensate for weaker sound ranges of the speaker as well as boosting or cutting certain sound frequencies to produce the sounds you hear.
Long story short, the LectroFan produces artificial sounds that are based on brown noise. Each sound is a variation of brown or white noise and some have pitch & sound adjustments to simulate an electric fan running.
There are a few things to know:
- For noise, starting with Brown, each sequential selection increases the pitch in the upper range of the noise.
- Fan sounds are mostly similar to noise too, but a little bit different because they’re not made to reproduce pure noise. They don’t increase in pitch but are different unique sounds altogether.
Rather than just reading about it, check out the sounds I recorded here to help.
LectroFan demonstration video #1: Noise sounds
In this video, I start with the default (first) sound, brown noise. I then go through the other 9 sounds and loop back to the 1st one again by using the noise sound button to show you how it works.
You can hear the short “whoop” sound after the 10th noise sound is played. That means it’s starting back over at sound #1.
LectroFan demonstration video #2: Fan sounds
In this recording you’ll hear all 10 simulated electric fan sounds the unit provides. I start with the first (large fan) and go through the remaining additional 9 sounds before returning back to the first.
How the LectroFan produces white noise and fan sounds
A real-time analyzer (RTA) snapshot of the sound frequencies produced by the brown noise sound from the LectroFan. As you can see, there’s a “bump” (higher amount of volume) in the bass region. That’s because the unit is purposely designed to produce good bass frequencies to help block out distracting & bothersome sounds.
To help explain how it works, I’m posting snapshots from using a calibrated microphone and my sound analyzer program that allows you & I to “see” the sounds produced for some example noises.
By looking at the range of sounds on the analyzer we can see how the LectroFan works to help us concentrate or sleep better:
- For all sounds you can choose, it produces a higher volume in the bass frequency range which is important for blocking distracting outside sounds.
- Additional higher-pitched sounds are used to change the overall sound type and can mask (hide) other sounds, too.
The LectroFan does a very good job of masking sounds by producing enough bass. That’s important because many bothersome sounds like traffic, the human voice, music, and others produce sound frequencies that within the bass regions you see here.
Those are some of the most annoying & hard to block sounds so it’s important that a white noise machine is purposely designed to help.
Mellow fan – low example
The “mellow fan – low” setting for the device is seen here. Still plenty of bass to block outside noise, with the addition of some different higher pitch sounds to give simulate an electric fan.
Pink noise example
The pink noise output of the LectroFan is seen here. Pink noise is often used for audio testing & setup, but also can be used to block outside sounds, too. Here you can see there’s more volume to the higher-pitched range of frequencies.
Questions & answers: Things to know before buying
Does the LectroFan noise machine get loud?
Measuring the volume of the LectroFan white noise machine using different sounds.
To give you the basic answer, in general, it’s moderately loud to medium, depending on the sound you choose. It’s not “loud” when compared to other things like a loud stereo, a TV turned up very high, and so on.
It’s also important to remember that to our ears, certain sounds seem louder as we’re more sensitive to those. Because of that, the volume you hear will depend on the fan or noise sounds you’re playing.
To show you some real data, I measured the maximum volume from 1 meter (3.28 feet) using a sound volume meter. All measurements are in Decibels (dB).
|Pure white noise||77.5|
To sort of summarize, at the highest volume, the LectroFan is about 6-8 dB louder than an average conversation between people (around 60+dB). However, the full-range noise sounds like Pure White seem much louder because they have a lot more upper-frequency sounds than the others.
(Yes, that’s me speaking from personal experience as a light sleeper!)
Does the LectroFan sleep machine have noticeable loops?
The LectroFan doesn’t loop or have a fixed recording that stops and starts again as some devices do.
That’s because it’s a continuous sound generator and doesn’t have that problem.
That’s great because the “skip” sound (brief pause & interruption) that happens with looping is distracting and can interrupt your relaxation since many people notice it.
What white noise blocks best?
In my experience, there isn’t a best white noise for everyone to use with it. However, from my personal experience I find these to be some of the best:
- Attic fan (#6)
- Vent fan (#8)
- Oscillating fan (#10)
- Brown (#1)
- Tan (#4)
- Amber (#5), Cream (#6), & Pink (#7)
Note that I mentioned the last few as in some cases if you’re dealing with bothersome outside sounds with a higher pitch you’ll need them to help block them.
Can I plug my LectroFan into a computer USB port?
Yes! In fact, you can use a wide range of USB 5V power sources:
- Home or laptop PC USB jacks
- Cell phone chargers with USB ports
- External battery packs (take it on the go!)
- Car USB phone charger ports
When plugging it into a computer, however, it won’t connect to your operating system so you don’t need drivers or any software. It only uses the electrical provided by the port (0.5 amps or less).
LectroFan Evo vs Classic
The LectroFan Evo is the company’s update to the LectroFan white noise machine. That’s why I mentioned the name “Classic” at the beginning of my review, as it helps separate the original (Classic) from the Evo.
The Evo model is extremely similar aside from a new cosmetic design & styling. Here’s a list of the differences vs the classic model:
- The push button controls are identical in function but are redesigned and use pictures instead of word labels.
- A headphone jack is provided.
- The fan & noise options are identical, but the noise category adds 2 new sounds: ocean & moving surf (12 total).
- The slanted top of the Evo model directs the sound output slightly better – but not in a really beneficial way.
- Slightly more bass sound output than the classic model.
- The timer button now sounds a short tone to indicate you pushed it.
Those aren’t major differences, though. In case you’re wondering, at the time of this review the Evo and the LectroFan classic are priced almost exactly the same.
The Evo still has the same quality design & construction I’ve enjoyed with its older sibling, I’m very happy to say.
The small differences are worth considering if you love ocean sounds or use headphones regularly. Aside from that, don’t lose any sleep over buying the Classic vs the Evo.
I’m still a fan of the classic and I’ve been happy with it so far. (Don’t feel like you’re missing out on any big features if you don’t buy the Evo, that is!)
The Evo is an updated version of the classic LectroFan design. Functionally, it’s nearly identical but adds 2 new noise sounds, a headphone jack, and otherwise minor changes.
Honestly, it’s a matter of personal preference and whether or not having access to a headphone jack is a dealbreaker for you. I will say, though, that I really like the ocean & surf sounds on the Evo I reviewed here.
The gentle changing sound effects they offer are very relaxing.
LectroFan vs Marpac Dohm white noise machine
I’m a former owner of the Marpac Dohm and I happen to know it’s still a popular unit. In fact, it’s often used in “quiet rooms” and therapy offices, for example, for added privacy and calm.
After owning and testing both, here’s what you need to know;
- The LectroFan is more energy-efficient and can be powered from both AC power & USB power. The Marpac can only be used with a standard wall outlet.
- Both are available with other color options including black.
- The Marpac Dohm is larger than the LectroFan – almost twice as tall.
- The Marpac Dohm is very limited in the sound tones it can produce and volume, too.
- While the LectroFan has no parts to wear out, the Marpac uses a traditional motor and fan design.
Honestly, in my opinion, the LectroFan far outways the Marpac Dohm by a long shot.
The only real advantage I can think of for the Marpac is that it generates “real” white noise (more of a brown noise) since it uses a motor to turn a small fan and move air.
The problem with it though is that I notice the Marpac’s sound is sort of “hollow” because of the plastic used and that it’s not as solid as the LectroFan. That always bothered me about the Marpac Dohm model.
Advantages of the LectroFan vs Marpac Dohm
The sound made by the Marpac is very limited. You can adjust the sound tone a bit by rotating the outer plastic shell, but there’s almost no real adjustment.
The LectroFan lets you pick from a lot more sounds as it simulates both electric fans and 10 different noise patterns.
While the Marpac has only two volume settings (low speed & high speed, for lower & higher volumes, respectively) the LectroFan gives you a lot more control over it.
One thing really seals the deal for me, though: I can take my LectroFan anywhere and it’s not a problem finding a power source.
Unlike the Marpac, I don’t have to use it only with an AC power outlet – any USB power jack will do! The LectroFan is also smaller and fits into my backpack or luggage no problem when I travel.
Owner’s manual quality
Not too much to add here, except that the owner’s manual is well done. It’s clear, helpful, and explains how to use your noise machine properly.
It’s a bit short since there isn’t much material to cover, but it’s great for getting started with your LectroFan right away. Advanced Sound Technologies is also a really good company to deal with for customer service, I might add.
My thoughts after using it in everyday life
I’ve been using my LectroFan white noise machine in both my bedroom & small office. It’s a nice little unit, and I noticed I felt calmer & more focused right away after picking a sound I liked! It’s also great for taking naps too (haha).
After owning the LectroFan for some time, here are my honest thoughts, both good and bad:
- It does indeed help! Once I picked one of my favorite noise or fan sounds, I noticed I felt calm & more focused right away.
- The fan sounds are fairly close to what real electric fans sound like but don’t expect them to sound the same. Some tones that you hear with a real electric fan (like a box fan) just aren’t there.
- It’s really easy to use & deal with both during the day and night. I like it, and it wasn’t long before using it became second nature.
I’ve noticed it helped me in several ways: both sleep and work. I know many people who’ve told me they need some “background sound” in order to go to sleep, and it’s a great choice for that.
Not everyone wants to have to hear music or the TV on in the background. With the LectroFan, you can use a soothing sound that won’t disturb others as well.
Review summary: Is the LectroFan worth it?
While there are cheaper units out there, ASTI’s LectroFan proves the old saying that “you get what you pay for.” In my opinion, it’s definitely worth it.
It’s a great little unit that works well, is simple to use, and really does help for blocking typical sound problems to help you focus, sleep better, or just unwind and relax.
Don’t expect it to be able to block extreme noises as no white noise machine can do that.
While I wish the fan sounds were as accurate as real-life fans, that’s a small gripe. It’s a great little unit that’s well-designed and helps keep unwanted bothersome sounds from affecting your quality of life.
Add the ability to power it from any USB or AC source and you’ve got a winner. I’m glad I bought mine and I’m sure you will be, too!
Take my advice and don’t pass it up! Take a moment and find out now why it's one of the all-time highest-rated and best-selling white noise machines at Amazon.
Quality - 10/10
Sound options - 8/10
Value - 7.8/10
Ease of use - 10/10
Features - 8.7/10
Sound quality - 8.2/10
Sound blocking effectiveness - 8.6/10
A great little white noise machine that does it right. Solid quality, ease of use, and good design make it a smart choice.
Is it the cheapest you can find? No. However, the LectroFan is one of the best-selling & most popular white noise machines for a reason: It’s a quality product that does what it’s supposed to well. While the electric fan sounds could be better, they provide soothing & effective masking of bothersome outside sounds. With 10 fan sounds & 10 noise options, you’re sure to find several that work best for you.
Controls are super simple and a breeze to use. Power options are good both at home and on the road. Compared to competitors like Marpac, it’s a better value & offers a lot more features & control. Thanks to smart design it’s effective at blocking many common noise problems to help you sleep, relax, and enjoy a better quality of life. You won’t regret picking one up!
- USB & AC power options work well
- Low power draw (0.5A max)
- Ideal for travel
- Great design & build quality
- Good bass response/EQ for effective noise blocking
- Black color option
- Good customer support options
- Auto-off timer feature
- Very easy to use
- Auto-start/memory features
- Extended warranty available
- Carrying case available
- Pricier than some competitors
- Maximum volume could be better
- Electric fan sounds could be more accurate
- No nature sounds provided
- No battery power option
- Auto-off timer 60 min. increments only
- Pure white noise sound seems unneeded
- Extended warranty is a bit expensive ($20)