The Best Free Background Noise Generators for Working, Gaming, and Studying

The Best Free Background Noise Generators for Working, Gaming, and Studying thumbnail

There are tons of background sound sites and apps, but most do the same things. We’ve compiled the best ones, all free online, plus a collection of the best background sound mobile apps. Use them as background noise while you work, read, study, play a tabletop RPG, or even in the background of a party.

Complex soundscapes for gaming and reading

These lively soundscapes have a lot of moving parts. They’re great for background sound during a tabletop RPG, or for recreating the sounds of your favorite book or movie.

Basic soundscapes for reading and working

These sites offer fewer options, so they’re less distracting. Use these collections of nature sounds and café ambience while you quietly work and study.

  • Listen to Wikipedia: Visualizes Wikipedia edits in real time, with gentle ambient sound effects that give a zen garden vibe.
  • White Noise Web Player: A simple Flash player offering white, gray, brown, pink, blue, and violet noise. You’ll need to enable Flash in your browser.
  • Noisli: Choose and combine 16 simple ambiences, including forest, coffeeshop, and train tracks. I like to combine the library and campfire settings; I call it Fahrenheit 451.
  • A Soft Murmur: Mix 10 ambiences, including thunder, crickets, birds, and Tibetan singing bowl. Also on iOS and Android.
  • Soundrown: Mix 10 ambiences, including café, playground, fountain, and nighttime forest.
  • Coffitivity: Three coffeehouse loops full of unintelligible chatter, to drown out silence and give the feel of working in a café. Also on Mac.
  • Jazz and Rain: Two sounds, baby: the gentle hiss of rain and sweet smooth jazz.

Chill music for reading and working

Some people can listen to any kind of music while they work, but a lot of us need especially calm, instrumental, or ambient music. Some of these mixes are livelier than others, but they’re all more ideal for working than typical pop and rock.

Apps for on-the-go noise

Unlike all the resources above, some of these apps cost a little money, usually under $5.

About the author

Nick Douglas

Staff Writer, Lifehacker | Nick has written for Gawker, the Awl, the Toast, the Daily Dot, Urlesque, and the web series “Jaywalk Cop.” He currently runs the horror-comedy podcast “Roommate From Hell.”

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