What if … there was a perfect white noise machine for your baby?
What if … it was also a nightlight?
And an audio baby monitor?
And, it evolved as your baby grew into a toddler and beyond? Into a time-to-wake trainer and alarm clock?
That (yes, all of that) is the promise of the Rest Plus from Hatch.
Does it live up to the promise? We find out in our Hatch Rest Plus review. Actually, technically, reviews plural since both of us co-founders here at Fathercraft tested the Rest+ with our kids—me with my 3 year old Ruby and John with his two year old Calvin. Our older kids (6 and 7) tried it out too.
Here’s what we found … first in video form, then in our detailed written review.
Please note: Fathercraft is reader-supported: we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
What is a Hatch Rest? And what adds the Plus?
The Hatch Rest is a combination of a few things:
- A sound machine (aka white noise machine)
- A nightlight
- A time-to-rise / time-to-wake system for toddlers and older kids
- An iOS/Android app that allows you to control the Rest from your phone (only via Bluetooth for the Rest)
The Hatch Rest+ adds a few features on top of the core Rest features: a clock, 2-way audio monitor, a backup battery (for storms or naps), and the ability to control it through Alexa and over wifi.
Let’s delve briefly into each one of those things:
White noise & sound options. White noise is something we’ve talked about frequently before here at Fathercraft; we’re strong believers that white noise helps kids sleep. And we’re not alone: it’s a strong recommendation of experts like Dr. Harvey Karp, who built in to products like the Snoo (our review here), and was highly recommended by Dr. Natalie Barnett, PhD, in our interviews with her for our Baby Sleep School online course.
But, a good white noise solution is surprisingly hard to find—one that plays the white noise all night long, isn’t bulky, has good volume range, and that has a strong selection of noises. Before the Rest+, I was using an old Amazon Fire tablet, John was using an old iPhone with a cracked screen.
The Rest and Rest+ bring with them a selection of 8 white noise options (from rain to wind to ocean waves) and 3 lullaby tunes.
A nightlight. Pretty self-explanatory here, BUT a couple of things to note: first, if you’re like me, you believe that color matters, and soft colors with red hues can help with sleep. Secondly, brightness, and the ability to control brightness, is super helpful. Nightlights can have several applications with babies and young kids; a reading light before bed, a middle-of-the-night feeding light for young babies, an all-night-long comfort light for older kids (just a note, we believe babies, in particular, should sleep in darkness).
with Hatch Rest/+, you have the ability to control color to an infinite degree using a color wheel in the app and an LED bulb that can produce any color in the rainbow. Additionally, you can control the brightness level with the push of a virtual button.
The time-to-rise system. If you’ve got a kid who’s out of the crib, it’s not going to surprise you to hear that kids LOVE to get out of bed early in the morning. Especially kids who are too young to tell time, even with a digital clock. With a time-to-rise system, you use another system to visually tell kids it’s time to get up or (please, please) it’s too early to come see mommy and daddy. With Rest, you can program a time to rise that changes the color of the Rest’s nightlight from, say, red to green. You can also build in sound if you want it to be a true alarm clock, or keep sound levels the same if you don’t want to let your child wake up on her own.
2-way audio monitor. Let’s get straight to the point here: you’re probably going to want a video baby monitor for a baby. We’ve got much more on that topic, including our pick for best baby monitor, over here. With that said, there are certainly applications for an audio-only monitor, and you can get by with just that if you so choose. We like it for older kids and trips to grandma’s house. The 2-way in this monitor refers to the fact you can talk to your child through the Rest+, helpful for attempts at, “time to go back to sleep …” from the comfort of your own bed/couch.
The iOS/Android App. The Rest/Rest Plus have some physical controls, but they can both be controlled, and programmed, with a smartphone app. The app allows you to turn the machine on and off, set color, brightness, and white noise. But, Rest products take it a step further by allowing you to program different combinations of these things at different times of day/days of week—scheduling bedtimes, wake times, and naps.
All the other Hatch Rest+ features. Rest+ takes things up a notch; a battery that lasts for a few hours if you’re napping somewhere else, ability to control via wifi if you’re out of Bluetooth range, and the ability to control your Rest+ with Amazon’s Alexa (useful so you don’t have to go through the process of opening the app on your phone.
Alright, you’ve got the basics, and the not-so-basics, let’s jump into the review.
Our Hatch Rest Plus reviews
A note to kick things off here; John and I tested the Rest+ independently and then compared notes. We found we agreed on most stuff, so you’ll find notes from both of our reviews mixed in here. I’ve noted where experience differed.
Setting up the Rest+
First things first: setup and installation.
The first thing you notice about the Rest+ is that it feels like a modern IOT product; the packaging is sleek and well-designed, the unboxing experience is simple and pleasing, and the contents of the box are sparse; just the Rest+, the power cord, and a slim instruction manual (your app will guide you through most of the setup.)
The first step is to connect your Rest+ to wifi. John was able to do this with no trouble at all, I struggled a bit, perhaps something to do with my dual-band router where I combined 2.4 and 5 gigahertz.
One thing I found slightly annoying was that when I reached out to customer service for help, I got back a generic response, it appeared the representative hadn’t read my message, she suggested the methods I said I’d already tried, and then requested proof of purchase along with other information, which seemed like an extra step that had me searching through my email.
But, round 2 got me a different rep who was much more helpful, and my Rest Plus magically connected right before I attempted her setup hack, which involved first connecting my Rest Plus to my phone’s hotspot.
Once connected to wifi, setup was a breeze, guided by the app you learn the basic features and can set up your first ‘program’.
And that is that. Let’s dive into using the Rest+
Using the Rest Plus
Once set up, the Rest Plus is quite easy to use, and you have choices.
On the device, you’ll find volume and brightness up/down buttons; turn either one up or down easily with the push of a button. Plus, on top of the device you’ll find a ‘touch ring’ (a metal band around the top), which can be used to turn on and off the device and cycle through any pre-set color and sound combinations you’ve programmed with your app.
As we mentioned earlier, the app allows you to pick light, sound, and color combinations, program intervals of time (naps, bedtime, sleep time, wake time), use the two-way audio monitor on the Rest Plus, or add users to your device.
Ok, here we go: what’d we like, what didn’t we, and what’s the final verdict?
Design. The Rest and Rest Plus are undeniably sleek; part of the club when it comes to companies producing stuff for babies and kids that belongs in the conversation with products from Apple, Nest, and other leading consumer goods companies.
Creating programs. If you’re a parent already, you know bedtime is chock-full of things to do to get your kid ready; getting a cup for water filled, reading stories, turning down lights … it goes on and on … not to mention actually getting your kid in bed. We loved the fact we could program Rest+ to turn on at exactly bedtime with white noise and light at perfect levels—two less things to do.
Once we got more comfortable, we ended up setting up multiple programs; in my house that meant a brighter light and louder white noise levels from 7-10 to help everybody get to sleep and stay asleep while the apartment was noisier, then turn down brightness and noise levels overnight, switch to green at 7 AM (but no noise as I didn’t want it to be an alarm clock).
High-quality, powerful speakers and light. This thing can get bright, and loud, if you need it to.
The Toddler lock. Our 3 year old immediately figured out how to use the touch ring, then quite quickly stopped playing with it after we turned on the toddler lock and she realized she couldn’t play around with the lights.
Colors! As a big believer in red light for sleep, I was able to incorporate that into nightlight. Ok, actually it’s pink until the girls fall asleep because they like that a lot better, then switches to dim red overnight.
The app interface. The Hatch Rest app is simple, intuitive, and easy to use.
The wish it was different
The flip side to powerful light and sound: this thing is incredibly powerful, we ended up having brightness at just 2% overnight, it still feels a little bright.
You can’t adjust clock brightness. Speaking of bright, the LED numbers on the digital clock at the base of the unit are too bright for our taste.
It’s kinda big, which makes it less travel-friendly. The Rest Plus doesn’t seem overly big, until you start to think about putting it into a suitcase. And, given how loud and bright it is, it just doesn’t seem like it needs to be as big as it is. If your kid gets attached to it, you’re gonna want to think about bringing it on trips, it’s going to take some room in your luggage. To be fair though, there is a decent amount of tech packed into the guts of this thing.
Smudges easily. So, little grabby hands are going to = a frequently smudged device.
Inconsistent volume levels across sounds. Some white noise options seemed to have different volume levels—for example the TV static seemed quite loud at 30% volume, the forest sounds quite quiet.
Limited music choices, can’t play your own. With just 3 lullaby music options, your choice is definitely quite limited, we think it’d be cool if you could play your own music library through the Rest’s speaker.
A verdict—is the Hatch sound machine worth it?
$89 ain’t cheap for something that’s primary functions are white noise and a nightlight. After all, you can pick up a nightlight for a few bucks. And you can find cheap white noise machines too. That said, we loved the thoughtful design of the Rest Plus, and that it was designed to be a product your child can use starting at birth and for years and years after.
After extensive testing, we’d put it in the ‘it’s a luxury, but it sure is nice’ bucket—you can find cheaper alternatives that work well, but the feature-packed machine does have some seriously handy stuff built in.
Pricing and where to buy
Hatch Rest Pricing is pretty simple, if not super cheap:
$59.99 for the Rest
$89.99 for the Rest Plus
$11.99 for a set of 3 ‘coverlets’ to decorate your Rest or Rest Plus.
The mobile app is free to use and there are no subscriptions.
Hatch Rest+ FAQs
Does the Hatch Rest use batteries? It depends on the model; the Hatch Rest does not have a battery backup option—it’s plug power or nothing. Upgrading to the Rest Plus gets you a battery backup that lasts for a few hours.
Can you play your own music on Hatch Rest/+? Nope, not currently. You can only use pre-recorded white noise options and lullabies. But, an app-based product like this does leave the possibility open in the future if the company decides to go that way.
Does Hatch Rest work with Alexa? Again here, depends on the model; Rest does not, Rest Plus does. Fun fact: Amazon actually invested in Hatch Co, presumably to add more devices with Alexa skills to its arsenal.
How do you connect to the Hatch Baby? Via iOS or Android smartphone app, or with controls located right on the device.
Is this the same Hatch Company I saw on Shark Tank? Sure is. Co-founder Ann Crady Weiss got a deal with Shark Chris Sacca back in 2016, even after being turned down by all 5 Sharks, typically the kiss of death. More here.