Also known as planetarium projectors, galaxy projectors, or constellation projectors, star projectors are machines that cast images of stars, constellations, the moon, and other celestial objects. Even though these beautiful lamp-like devices were originally designed for use in the domes of planetariums, nowadays, you can buy small, tabletop versions for your home to project various celestial images onto your ceiling and/or walls.
Buying Guide for Star Projectors
Why buy a star projector?
A good star projector can be a beautiful, functional, and even educational addition to any home. They tend to be spherical and are covered with several lenses. A bright electrical lamp inside the center of the sphere shines out through the lenses, which creates and projects the desired celestial images. Many star projectors spin or rotate in order to simulate the way constellations move and change throughout the seasons. If you like to sleep with a night-light or have a child that does so, a home star projector can make for a fun, unique, and beautiful night-light. They’re great for setting a mood as a lighting device for parties or simply as a distinctive decorative device. If you have children, a home star projector can also be a surprisingly educational tool to help them learn about astronomy and the galaxy. If you have a friend or loved one who is a big fan of astronomy or outer space, a star projector can make for a great gift as well.
What should you look for in a star projector?
- Images: Consider the image or images you want your star projector to showcase in your home. Any model you buy will, at the very least, show starry skies, but you aren’t limited to this image alone. Some home star projectors can also show various celestial images such as the earth, sun, moon, other planets, cosmos, nebulae, galaxies, and auroras. Others can switch over to show ocean waves if you ever want to mix up your display. Certain modern models can even double as a disco ball or strobe light for parties if you’re so inclined. Be sure to check a star projector’s listing and see which image or images it offers and whether or not it rotates or moves if you want that particular special effect. You’ll also want to check how far the device can project its images, as not all models are created equal in this regard.
- Brightness: How bright do you want your star projector to be? The brighter the setting, the sharper and more lifelike the image will appear. If you’re looking for greater realism in your star projector or want to use it as an educational device, you’re going to want a brighter image. If you plan to mainly use it to set a mood or as a night-light, brightness might not be as important of a factor. You can also look for star projectors with several brightness settings, which gives you the option to brighten or dim the projection as needed.
- Extras: Modern star projectors have more convenient and useful settings and extra features than ever before. Some require remote controls, while others can be controlled directly from your smartphone and plug into your wireless internet network. Others can even be paired with Alexa or other smart devices. Some need to be plugged into wall sockets, but there are just as many battery- or USB-powered models available. Some offer several single or multiple color combinations and/or lighting modes. Others hook up to your Bluetooth devices to play music for parties or read audiobooks while you’re relaxing at home. Some may even come equipped with white noise options to help you fall asleep at night. And others have built-in timers, allowing you to set it for an hour or two before bed so that it’ll turn off as you sleep rather than running all night and wasting battery life or power.
How expensive are star projectors?
The price of a personal star projector can vary considerably, depending on several different factors. They may cost as little as $30 to $60 and as much as $200 to $300. As with many products, you’ll get what you pay for when it comes to home star projectors. If you mostly want a start projector to serve as a night-light or novelty ambient lighting, a less expensive model should suit your needs just fine. If you want one with lots of extra, enhanced features or a more scientific, educational model, springing for a pricier star projector is probably going to be a necessity. The more realistic and accurate to life a star projector is, the more expensive it’ll be.
Our Picks for the Most Dazzling Star Projectors
Lupantte Galaxy Light Projector for Bedroom
An affordable star projector that has a surprising number of useful, extra features like voice control and a timer.
Pros: This classic little star projector is surprisingly versatile with plenty of advanced features, considering how affordable it is. Through it, you can play the music playlist that best suits your party’s theme, either via Bluetooth on your mobile phone or a USB thumb drive. The four movement speeds, 28 color combinations, and three brightness levels make this star projector a perfect disco ball, stage party light, DJ light, or strobe lamp, depending on your needs for the event in question. To control and change the power, brightness, or colors, you can use either your phone, the remote control, or even voice control if you so choose. There’s also a night-light mode if you prefer. A built-in timer can be set to turn the projector off automatically, so it’s not left on all night after you’ve drifted off to sleep.
Cons: When playing music, you may notice some buzzing noise or static coming from the speaker, depending on the volume and source, that might require some tweaking to get rid of. Also note that this soccer ball-like projector is made of light plastic, so it won’t be as durable or strong as some other sturdier models.
Bottom Line: A star projector can be a great addition to create light, color, and ambiance at any party. Whether you’re hosting a small, casual get-together with a few friends, having an intimate dinner with your significant other, or throwing a large holiday or birthday party, this star projector is sure to enhance your event and delight your guests.
BlissLights LED Laser Star Projector
A compact, high-quality star projector that will fit well on even the smallest nightstand or shelf.
Pros: This star projector is the perfect size to place on even the narrowest nightstand. It can also easily be tucked away on a shelf, windowsill, or wherever you care to place it, as long as the cord is within reach of a wall outlet. The rotating LED light projects the choice of a blue nebula cloud or blue stars. The direct diode laser, precision glass optics, and holographic technology project a clear, crisp image onto a desired surface. The gentle drifting of the aurora effects will create a relaxing, soothing feel to the room of your choosing. The simple, clearly marked button controls allow you to quickly change the light effects, brightness level, or rotating motion. It also has a six-hour timer, so it’ll shut off all on its own for safety and energy-saving purposes.
Cons: Note that blue and green are your only color options with this star projector, rather than the 10 to 20+ colors offered by many similar models. And as handy as the auto-shutoff timer might be, you can’t tweak or adjust the timer at all.
Bottom Line: If you have limited shelf or bedside table space, you may think that buying a home star projector isn’t an option for you. This compact yet crisp model is the perfect solution to this problem, able to project soothing stars, nebula images, and mood lighting in even the tightest spaces.
Fortally Kids Star Night Light
A rotating, colorful, and easy-to-operate star projector that makes for an especially great night-light.
Pros: If you want a star projector that was designed first and foremost as a night-light, this is the device for you. It can rotate a full 360 degrees if you so choose, with 12 different colors to create a beautiful star and moon pattern in your living room, bedroom, or even the bathroom. The base of the device itself is also available in seven different colors to better match your home or your child’s room. You can turn the device on and off, start or stop its rotation, adjust the volume, change the brightness, or cycle between lighting modes directly on the machine with just the press of a few buttons. Since this was designed to be a kid-friendly night-light, the controls are quite simple and easy to use. If you or your child’s nightstand isn’t within a reasonable distance of a power outlet, there’s no need to worry—this star projector can be powered via four AAA batteries (not included) or any device that the included USB cord can plug into, including a portable battery or laptop. And this is quite an inexpensive star projector overall.
Cons: If you want to use a power adapter to plug this star projector into the wall, you’ll have to buy your own separately. Also be sure to turn it off yourself before you go to bed at night, as there isn’t a timer or auto-shutoff feature.
Bottom Line: Lots of kids love having their own little night-light in their room or require one to help them fall asleep if they’re afraid of the dark. This star projector was designed specifically as a kid-friendly night-light to bring the colorful night sky into your child’s bedroom, though it’ll work equally well as a party accent too.
SunTime Star Projector Galaxy Night Light
Not all star projectors have to be round to work properly, as this adorable astronaut-shaped model aptly proves.
Pros: If you want your own star projector at home but don’t like the soccer ball-like appearance that most of them have, you’ll love this unique astronaut-shaped option. Cute and decorative, it works just as well as a traditional model despite its unconventional shape. Use the arms to tilt the star projector’s head for a full 360-degree rotation, and it comes with a remote control that you can use to operate it from a pretty reasonable distance. There are eight possible nebula effects to choose between, each with its own different color, so you can switch between them depending on the mood you want to set. There’s also a built-in timer for 45 or 90 minutes, so you won’t have to worry about falling asleep and leaving the projector running all night.
Cons: This is one projector that has to be plugged in at all times to work, and the power adapter cord is a bit on the short side, which somewhat limits where you can place it. You may find the astronaut is a bit top-heavy, leading to it toppling over on occasion or having trouble fitting into its base.
Bottom Line: Mix up the appearance of your home star projector a bit with this adorable little astronaut-shaped model. Not only is it an excellent star projector in its own right, but it’ll make a cute little decoration for your shelf or nightstand, even when it’s not in use.
Rossetta Galaxy Projector for Bedroom
A star projector that has a built-in white noise machine in addition to the Bluetooth connection to better help you drift to sleep.
Pros: This is another versatile star projector that makes for a great party feature or night-light as well as mood lighting. Most notable are the eight different white noise sounds you have to choose from, so you can play whichever you or your little one finds the most soothing. It also has a Bluetooth connector, so you can play your personal playlist instead if desired. The auto-off timer can be set to switch off automatically after one or two hours, and it will automatically shut itself off after four hours. The included remote allows you to turn the light on and off, start or stop the device’s rotation and speed, change the brightness level, or switch between the 16 colors, even from across the room. The device is available in several different frame color options too.
Cons: Unlike a lot of home star projectors, this one doesn’t have a rotating or tiltable option. You’ll have to manually adjust or tilt it if it’s not at the angle you want or not covering your entire wall or ceiling. Also keep in mind that you have to have an iPhone in order to access the Bluetooth feature via your phone; it’s not compatible with Android smartphones.
Bottom Line: While plenty of modern home star projectors have some sort of USB or Bluetooth connection (or both) to play music, not all of them have a white noise machine built-in. This device has both, making it a perfect choice for those who have trouble falling asleep.
Bring outer space’s bright lights and wonders into your home with your own star projector. Whether you want to help your child learn their astronomy, want some unique and beautiful lighting for your home or party, or simply love the night sky, you’ll be glad that you invested in your own little home planetarium by buying one of these dazzling little projectors.