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Modern planetarium projectors, also known as star projectors, are able to show not only the modern night sky as visible from Earth, but the sky as visible from points far distant in space and time. But we don’t think it will be interesting for your little one.
When shopping for the best star projectors, make sure you consider the bulb type. While being more expensive, the LED lights make big difference in durability and brightness when compared to incandescent ones. You should also focus on the style of a product, as for your child you would want to buy a projector that excels at soothing or entertaining rather than realistically depicting the real night sky. Before rounding up our 10 top picks we reviewed 52 different models. The highlight is the BlissLights Sky Lite , which is rightfully our Editor’s Choice.
"2-in-1 night light and star projector with several lighting modes available: color change, rotation, and a night light with a choice of 4 colors; stylish design; Suitable for children and adults; features an impressive 995-minute timer."
A field of drifting green stars against a transforming blue nebula cloud
Real laser diodes
Simple button controls
120V AC adapter is included
There are many things that fascinate kids, but hardly will you see something that fascinates them more than a star projector like the BlissLights Sky Lite – Laser Projector. It’s such an incredible invention which delivers soothing aurora effects that are certain to relax your little tykes. Whether you want to use it every night or you simply need it for a special occasion, it’s designed to fit all purposes. Some star projectors are battery-powered, but such models often drain quickly, much to the disappointment of excited kids. With this model, there’s no such problem since it can only be powered by electricity.
The device also comes in a sleek and round shape, which is as elegant as possible. Thanks to its beautiful design, it effortlessly fits any interior. Moving on, the projector comes with a user-friendly interface, which makes everything even more interesting. It’s capable of changing your room’s ambiance in a second. Depending on how it’s tiled, the night light projector can cover both the ceiling and the walls. You don’t also need to worry about leaving it in your child’s room since it’s made using safe electronic parts and resistant plastic. And to give you more flexibility, it comes with multiple settings, allowing you to dim it when you like or choose to leave out either the stars or the cloud.
In terms of the dimensions, the unit is ideal for any room. It’s also important to mention that it projects blue, yellow, and other calming lights, thereby encouraging relaxation and improving the sleep quality. One last thing you would like to hear is that the lamp already comes assembled, so you don’t have any assembling to do. Just plug it and mesmerize the little kids. However, it doesn’t come with a remote control, which undermines the hard work of the manufacturer to make it as convenient as possible.
If you are looking to have a romantic night with your significant other or set the mood at a party, then this is the star projector for you! It is simple to use, since it only has four different controls. These controls change the lighting mode, as well as help to set the timer, which can go from 5 minutes of run time to 995 minutes. Even if you don’t want to project this device’s display onto the walls or ceiling of a room, it is completely mesmerizing to look at and will be a great fit for any bedroom.
The four LED’s that are used in this model to project the starry sky is exceptionally bright and don’t need complete darkness to be seen. The projector uses 4 AAA batteries for its power, or the included USB power cord. This, when coupled with the longevity of the LED bulbs, helps to keep this projector up and running for a good long time.
Why are we impressed?
Automatically switches between colors
Can be used as a projector or just as a night light
While it’s rightly said that nothing in the world can attain perfection, we can argue that the LBell 2 in 1 Night Light projector is close, at least. In a total showcase of awesomeness, the star projector displays drifting stars and rotates through about ten dissimilar colors in a 360-degree projection. Like most top-rated night light projectors, this one also comes with a convenient remote control, which enables you to easily switch the modes, adjust between the three brightness levels, cycle through its effects, adjust its volume, start the motion, and switch it on or off. It comes with an overwhelming number of fancy features, incredibly.
Unsurprisingly, the unit is equipped with a mini Bluetooth speaker, so that you can improve the general effect. There is also a sound-activated flicker mode, which enables the projection to change between colors according to the beat of the music or the clap of your hands, thereby producing a proper disco effect. Depending on your personal preference, you can also choose between mixed and monochrome colors. Importantly, there is an auto-off timer as well, making sure that the device doesn’t overwork when you forget to turn it off.
In general, this device is ridiculously convenient to use and provides a lot of value for money. Lest we forget, the product is extremely cheap, making it an appealing option for people who are on a tight budget. In fact, it’s a struggle to fault this splendid product. If we must mention one downside, it’s the fact that it produces a slight noise when put in a swirling motion.
The Colorsmoon Night Light Projector is another contender for one of the best magical star projectors in the market. What we noticed to be most impressive is how it incorporates three of the most relaxing experiences into a single device. This includes looking at the stars, looking at the waves in the ocean, and listening to music. It is no surprise that it fits a romantic setting fairly well and should have no problems putting your kids to sleep.
As for the stars and the ocean waves, you can customize the experience as you see fit. This includes changing the brightness settings, changing the colors, and even changing the wave effects. The color options available are red, blue, green, and white for the waves, although the colors of the stars remain constant. Additionally, there are up to 10 brightness levels to choose from depending on various factors, e.g., ambient light, the size of the room, and more. You can even change how fast the stars will be moving across the ceiling.
With regards to music, the projector has built-in Bluetooth speakers. As such, you can play music directly from your phone or laptop to enhance the experience. The device’s exterior is pretty sleek and elegant, and it ships with a USB cable and a remote controller. As for the remote, you have a range of 32 feet from where you can control the device.
Lastly, we liked that it has an auto-shut-off feature that you can use if you don’t like leaving the device on throughout the night.
What are our favorite features?
Ocean wave projections
What could be better?
The wall plug for the USB cable is not included
While you can change the colors of the waves, the stars are a constant green
Project a complete starry night sky (educational guide with constellations included)
3 color options
3 AAA batteries
Contain no BPA, phthalate, latex, or lead
This is by far the best all-around star projector for kids. It is cute, cuddly, and can light up their room and transform it into three different colored night skies. It is simple to use. All you need to do is push the on button and then select the color of your choice. It will then remain on for 45 minutes, which is plenty of time for your little one to soothe themselves to sleep staring at the stars. You just need to be sure that the room is pretty dark, or the lights won’t quite be bright enough to shine through.
You can also rest easy, since this turtle contains no BPA, phthalate, latex, or lead, making it the perfect sleeping companion. Plus, its batteries are impossible for a little one to access, since they are wrapped up in its tummy and kept under a panel which is screwed down.
Featuring up to eight rotating colors, the SOAIY Aurora Night Light Projector is a perfect option for any adults’ dinner or kids’ party. To be honest, it’s designed to beautify any space and you can hardly argue. Apart from being designed to enhance the aesthetics of any space, the manufacturers also had convenience and ease of use in mind, which explains why they have included a time button and remote control. In addition to that, it features a powerful inbuilt battery that offers 13 to 14 hours of power when fully charged. With this, you won’t have to worry about the battery running out in the middle of your party.
The unit is also available in a wide variety of colors, making sure that every buyer gets their preferred color. More interestingly, its cordless operation ensures that it can be used in the outdoors as well as it can be used in the indoors. It’s a portable and compact unit that guarantees convenience. Among its myriad of interesting features is a Bluetooth speaker, which allows you to enjoy music as you enjoy the sight. There is also a timer that lets you set it to go off in one, two, or four hours later. The unit also features magnificent aurora lights with varieties of colors, creating a romantic, relaxing, and cool environment.
While it’s always adored by children, adults too can find it useful. If you’re someone who dreads the dark, it can be used as a little light. And since it comes with a remote control, you can remotely control the brightness, volume, shift the lights, and set the timer. However, the LEDs are not as bright as advertised. Also, while the idea of adding a speaker is nice, the speaker won’t blow you out of water.
4 additional high-res discs (Southern Hemisphere, Warped Andromeda, Day Earth and Moon, Night Earth and Moon)
Double-sided poster of northern and southern hemisphere included
Unlike most of the star projectors on this list, which project less realistic stars, this unit makes it look like the real night sky is right in your room with you. It comes with four different projection disks to make it feel like you are looking right at the night sky. This would make a great gift for a teacher, since you can use it to study the night sky.
As you would expect with an item that uses this amount of realism, this projector is not quite as easy to set up as some others and might take a bit of practice to get right. After you figure it out though, you can project pretty much anywhere, in any size room.
3 lighting modes (steady warm white light, multiple colors, rotation)
9 lighting patterns (different colors and gradients)
4 AAA batteries or USB cable
If you are looking for a nice star projector with plenty of color options and won’t break the bank, then this might be your best choice. This star projector works well in pretty much any size room, thanks to its circular design. It can be used with either a USB power cable or 4 AAA batteries, which make it great for traveling.
This projector also has tons of modes to choose from. You can utilize three different lighting modes and nine different lighting patterns. This can be a bit tricky to figure out at first, since there are only three buttons to get to all of these settings. However, if you look through the manual carefully and practice a bit with it, you shouldn’t have too much trouble using it with ease.
This cute and cuddly owl is perfect for your little one’s bedroom. It could even be used in their bed, since it is so soft. It has a set run time of 30 minutes, which will help to save a bit of battery power each night, and should provide enough time for your kid to fall asleep.
The projector for this owl is on its tummy, making it a bit difficult to aim at both the ceiling and the walls at the same time. However, it should still be a wonderful sleep aid, since it can also be used as a sound machine of sorts. With the press of a button, the projector will also play out ten different lullabies to your little one, which will help to send them off to bed peacefully.
What makes it stand out?
Cute, cuddly, and soft
Easy to use
Plays music for extra soothing effect
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Can’t be projected to the wall and ceiling at the same time
Another alternative for kids is the RTOSY Night Light Projector, and it also happens to be one of the most portable. Consequently, taking it with you and your kids on a camping trip is not out of the question.
It also has two power options to cater to this kind of functionality. For the home bedroom, you just plug the included USB cable into a wall socket, your laptop, or a power bank. That said, it doesn’t come with a wall plug, so you might have to connect it to the one you use with your phone. Alternatively, you can buy four AAA batteries for when you don’t have a socket.
It is a Night light + star projector, which also projects several images of the moon depending on the color settings you pick. These rotate around your ceiling as long as the device is on. Furthermore, it features an inbuilt speaker, although this one has no Bluetooth functionality. It does, however, have TF card support, and one 128M option is already included in the purchase with 12 lullabies that you can select, delete or add to depending on your preferences.
Like a few other competitors, you control it via a remote, and you even get a timer. Lastly, we were pretty impressed by the blue LED screen. Despite being used in a dark room, it is bright without hurting your eyes.
What stands out?
Built-in 128M TF card
Two power options
Screen is built for night use
What cons did we manage to find?
No Bluetooth option for music playback
No control over the rotation speed
Things to Consider
There are several different factors that you need to take into account when you are trying to get the best star projector, no matter what you intend to use it for in your home.
Use and purpose
The first thing that you need to figure out is what you actually need the star projector for. Some models can be used for children only, and some are mostly for adults, and then some others are more of a hybrid model and have modes that are designed for both children and grownups. Listed below are the features that you should look for depending on how you intend to utilize the projector.
When you are looking for a star projector for your kid, you are usually looking for one that is going to help soothe them to sleep. If you want them to have it in their bed with them, it should be soft and free of any harmful chemicals. It should also be childproof so that they cannot access the batteries in any way. These models can also have some sound or musical choices to sooth your little one.
Star projectors for adults don’t need to be cute and cuddly, as they do for kids, and should instead be stylish and sleek. These models will usually have a variety of projection options, and even be a home planetarium with a great realistic night sky projection.
Hybrid models are star projectors that are mostly for helping soothe someone to sleep, whether they are a kid or an adult. Also, if you’re after a star propjector for an adult, a great idea would be getting a budget-friendly projector under $100 and playing a video of a starry sky: you’ll get an incredibly realistic projection, especially if you opt for a 3D projector – you’ll feel like you’re in space!
The lighting modes that star projectors offer all depend on what you want the projector for. If you intend to utilize it to put a kid to sleep, a steady, smooth image is ideal. If, however, you are trying to get a party jumping, then the lighting can be a bit more erratic. Aside from the speed with which the lighting effects move, you should also look for a projector that offers several different color modes. This will allow you to set the color to match the mood or your preference.
Regardless of what type of lighting modes you want in your model, be sure to look for one with straightforward controls that are easy to understand and fine-tune so that you can get exactly what you want out of your projector.
Light bulb type
When it comes to these star projectors, you have two bulb choices. You can either go with the cheaper, but not as long lasting, incandescent bulbs, or you can get LEDs, which are more expensive but will last a long time. LEDs are also a bit brighter than the normal bulbs, making them ideal for settings where it won’t be completely dark.
If you do decide to go with a projector that uses the cheaper bulbs, you will need to make sure that the room that you are using it in is pretty much completely dark. Otherwise, you won’t really be able to see the projections at all.
There are some laser star projectors on the market that claim to apply laser light which is coherent and thus much more concentrated and powerful than the light emitted by LEDs. However, laser technology is pricier, and we doubt that these star projectors are really laser. Even in case they are, you need to think about safety. The thing is, though lasers are considered eye-safe, this doesn’t mean they cannot damage your eyes. It actually means that you will likely blink or look away before the laser causes any damage.
You need to be careful when you are selecting your star projector because they all have different power requirements. All of them can operate on battery power, which usually consists of different numbers of AA or AAA batteries. Some can then be plugged in and run on electrical power as well through a USB.
What you need to watch out for, however, are the ones that run exclusively on battery power. Not that switching out batteries is that big of a deal, but rather that it might not suit your needs. If you are looking to run your projector for a long time, say at a party, the last thing you want is for it to run out of battery power.
No matter what materials your preferred projector is made with, it should be durably built and well designed (luckily all of the projectors on our list are!). The only time that materials really should come into question is if you intend to use the projector with a little child, since they might sleep with it. In that case, they also might inadvertently put some of it in their mouth in their sleep, which could be an issue if the device is built with harmful plastics.
To free yourself from the worry of this type of situation, be sure to look for projectors that contain no BPA, phthalate, latex, or lead. That way, you will be sure that your little one is completely safe with the projector all night long.
Again, the style of your projector all depends on your intended use. If you are looking to get one for your kid, you’ll want one that is both cute, cuddly, and functional. On the other hand, if you want one for yourself, a projector that is both stylish and sleek will be more appropriate.
You can also choose from two distinct projection styles, regardless of who will be using it. Some projectors can fill up a whole room – walls and ceiling, while some can only do the walls, or the ceiling separately. Depending on your needs, you’ll need to make sure the projector you select can project in the way that you want it to.
Some projectors for children will also offer you some sounds as well. These are usually white noises or lullabies, to help soothe your little ones to sleep. While this is not required, it certainly is a plus.
So there you have it! Now you know everything that you need to know to find the best star projector for your needs! Hopefully, this article has been a big help in your search. Best of luck, and have a great day!