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Best Star Projector

For as long as humans have existed, we’ve had a preoccupation with the night sky. This remains true today, where sleeping under a starry sky is seen as a liberating and fulfilling experience. However, many people live in places too cold to sleep outside, or in a city, where sleeping outside is a bad idea, to put it lightly.

There is a solution, however. A star projector will light up your room with a gentle glow and show you all of the stars and systems you could possibly want, whilst you stay warm and comfortable in your own home. As with all things, there are some good ones and some… not so good, so we’ve taken the time to create a list and find out once and for all which is the best star projector for you.

Best Star Projector – Comparison Table

The table below shows you the name and a couple of relevant specifications of each product. Relax, you don’t have to make a decision based on this information alone, this is just to help you get a feel for the projectors we’ll be covering.

Product NameAstronomically AccurateRotation
Mokoqi Night Lighting LampNoYes
SlowTon Starlight ProjectorNoYes
In My Room Star Theater ProNoYes
Sega Homestar ProjectorYesYes
BulbHead Star ShowerNoNo
Arotek Star ProjectorNoYes

As you can see, we have a wide range of different models here, all suited to a specific niche, and we’ll be looking a little closer at each of these in order to ascertain where they’re best used and any strengths or weaknesses they might have. That said, let’s get started with the Night Lighting Lamp from Mokoqi.

1

Mokoqi Night Lighting Lamp – Best Star Projector for Children

Almost everyone knows of a toddler that doesn’t want to go to sleep at bedtime, but with the Mokoqi star projector, they’ll be asleep before they know it. If your child has a colour preference, that’s okay too, since it comes in blue, purple or pink variants.

There are three buttons on the front of the unit: the first activates a nightlight mode, which projects stars and moons in a warm, yellowish colour – perfect for children who might be easily distracted by a multi-coloured projection.

The second button activates a similar mode, except the stars can be red, blue or green as well as the original yellow (you can choose one colour, or a combination), and the third button adds a slow rotation which is relaxing and designed to lull your child to sleep.

This unit can be powered either through a USB cable connected to a computer or by three AAA batteries, which aren’t included. If possible, we’d recommend using the USB cable, since the batteries seem to last around 8 hours or so, meaning you only get one full night’s use out of them, which isn’t exactly economical, although it might be fine if you’re traveling.

If we had one particular critique of this product, it’d be that despite being aimed at very young children, it’s quite fragile. The body is made of plastic, but the top half of the dome pops off (in case you wanted to get a different projection – the manufacturer sells alternate top halves) and as a result, we’d recommend placing this on a shelf or in a location your child cannot reach.

All things considered this will make a great addition to your child’s nursery or bedroom. It looks great and it’s inexpensive too, which is a bonus as far as we’re concerned. One thing’s for sure – your child will love it.

PROS
  • Decent range of customization
  • Pretty inexpensive
  • Two power options
CONS
  • Slightly fragile
  • Batteries last one night
2

Slowton Starlight Projector – Best Low Budget Projector

Here we have another low-cost star projector, and like the Mokoqi, it’s aimed at young children, however, it’s a little more versatile and we think that this could offer you additional benefits as a result.

Firstly, yes, this is a star projector, but this is just one aspect of the product. The top half of the projector pops off and can be replaced with one of two alternatives. The first is an underwater themed projection with fish and bubbles and the second is (rather strangely) a “happy birthday” themed one.

There are two buttons: the first cycles through various colours and modes (sequential colour changing, multicoloured or slow fade), whilst the second controls the rotation and brightness of the projection. This is simple enough once you get the hang of it, but can be a little confusing at first. The projected images have a nice, soft appearance and are very easy on the eyes, never too bright.

As far as power goes, you’re spoilt for choice. You can use 3 AA batteries, a USB cable connected to a computer or via a wall socket using a USB adaptor, although this isn’t included so you’d need to buy one. If you plan to use this often, we’d advise you to go down the adaptor route, since they’re inexpensive and don’t require you to keep a computer in your child’s room.

All things considered, we think that kids will love this projector. It’s neat looking and has a couple of different display options, and it gives you a surprising amount of control over the projection for such an inexpensive model. There is a small amount of noise when it rotates, but the main appeal here is its cute, cartoony stars changing colours, so as long as the kids are happy, we’re happy.

PROS
  • A few different projection options
  • Various power options
  • Surprising amount of control over brightness/colour
CONS
  • Small amount of noise when rotating
  • Slightly confusing controls
3

In My Room Star Theater Pro – Best Mid-Budget Projector

There’s a bit of a price increase between the previous model we reviewed and this one, and the reason for that is that we’ve made the jump from projectors essentially aimed at children to ones aimed squarely at adults. Comparatively, these projectors have additional functionality and performance, as well as higher durability, and the Star Theater Pro is no exception.

This model projects 10,000 stars across your wall or ceiling, which, whilst not astronomically accurate, look fantastic and really help set the mood of a room. It uses an ultra-bright white light to provide a highly defined display and stars with varying levels of brightness.

The star field disk can be switched out for one which shows the Earth, Sun, and moon, but we prefer the stars since the alternate one is a little too vibrant to be relaxing. The unit can either remain stationary or rotate, and we found the speed of the rotation to be just right – fast enough to be noticeable but not so fast that you feel uncomfortable watching it. It’s also one of the only projectors we’ve encountered that creates no sound when rotating, which is a huge bonus for those using this as an ambient light.

There are two options for powering this unit – either by using the included AC adapter or by 3 AA batteries which help to ensure that you can place this projector wherever you want it, although due to the high power output, we wouldn’t expect the batteries to last more than a night or so.

As well as the projector and disks, this model comes with a lens cover and CD of planetarium music. This helps to add a new dimension to the experience, and although you may or may not find it to be to your tastes, it’s a nice addition.

This projector has a lot to offer, and as a result, we can’t hold the price against it. It’s a more advanced unit with a wide range of features and customization, and as a result, it’s perfect for teenagers or adults who are either interested in stars or are just looking for a calming ambient light.

PROS
  • Crisp, clear display
  • No sound when rotating
  • Choice of power options
CONS
  • Cost may be prohibitive
4

Product Name - Ultra Short Description.
Example: iRobot Braava 380t – Great for Busy Households

The Sega Homestar is an upmarket home planetarium which was created by Guinness record holder Takayuki Ohira who is famous for his high-quality planetariums. As a result, this model has a slew of features to justify its high cost.

 It projects up to 60,000 astronomically accurate stars from the northern hemisphere and comes with a pop-out tray so you can switch out the disk for the southern hemisphere, the Andromeda galaxy or the earth and the moon (during the day or at night).

As well as rotation, you can also control the projection angle and focus using the dial on the top of the unit. There’s also a timer function so you can fall asleep without worrying about leaving it on all night, and a shooting star feature to give you something special to look out for.

The projection is a circle with a diameter of 106” and is powered by ultra-bright white LEDs to give the stars a clear and crisp appearance. You may need to position the projector in a central location for the best results since the stars will appear faded and weak when shone at a surface more than 7.5 feet away.

This home planetarium is small and lightweight, weighing just 1.8 pounds and measuring just 6.5×6.3×5.9”. Coupled with a power cord that’s a decent length, this is a very portable little projector that would be at home in just about any room. The one downside we have is that the shooting star always appears in the same place and its path is always the same. We appreciate the difficulty in creating random paths of light, but it would have been nice to see.

If you have the budget for a high-end star projector, you can’t do any better than the Sega Homestar. It creates a gorgeous array of stars which is large and well defined and is sure to look great no matter where you place it.

PROS
  • Crisp, focused projection
  • Customisable display
  • Timer and rotation controls
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Shooting star is predictable
5

BulbHead Star Shower – Best Budget Outdoor Star Projector

Whether you’re looking to light your house up at Christmas but can’t be bothered with checking and setting up lots of bulbs, or just want something to spice up a night-time party, the Star Shower is perfect for you.

The appearance of the actual unit isn’t great. It looks a touch plasticky, like a toy, which might attract children to it. The unit itself is sturdy enough and at night the focus will be on the projection, but ideally, we would have preferred a more muted colour scheme.

This device is mounted outside using a stake and has a light sensor which deactivates the lights during the day, before automatically starting the show when the sun goes down. You can choose whether to display only green stars or a mixture of red and green, and there’s even a button which causes them to move, creating a shimmering effect.

This unit does require a power supply, and if this is interrupted, you will have to manually restart the motion feature, but assuming you’re not interested in this, you can have these lights start up automatically every day – perfect for creating flattering up lights for your home or garden. When first opened, there is a sticker over the light sensor that’s not immediately obvious, so be sure to remove this or the lights will never turn off!

As you’d expect, this projector is weatherproof and will work even in a snowy environment, however, you should make sure that your power cables are also resistant to the elements, just to be on the safe side. We like that this product is energy efficient too, using less electricity than a single string of Christmas lights. This means that it’s great for your home’s appearance, as well as your wallet.

 Whilst this projector can be used indoors with a detachable stand, it’s clear where its main function lies: as a low-cost and effective way to decorate your home for holidays and parties. It’s sure to be a talking point with your guests, which is an advantage in itself but most importantly of all, it looks amazing.

PROS
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Simple to use
  • Inexpensive, yet effective
CONS
  • Casing looks cheap
6

Arotek Outdoor Star Projector - Best Laser Star Projector

A slightly more expensive alternative to the BulbHead Star Shower, the Arotek Outdoor Star Projector caters to a slightly more professional clientele. It offers over 1900 square feet of coverage when used at a distance of 33 feet, and covers the target area with thousands of purple, green and blue stars, adding a mystical quality to your building, garden or patio.

Unlike the Star Shower, this sports a minimalist aesthetic and is designed to be concealed in its surroundings (nestled in amongst shrubbery, for example). The aluminum body is waterproof, heatproof and frost proof too, so you can rest assured knowing that whatever the situation, this projector will rise to the challenge.

The stars can be either stationary, blinking or rotating, depending on your needs, and this model comes with a remote control for easier operation. You can use this to turn the projector on and off, adjust the projection mode, change the speed of the flashing or rotating, and even set a timer, all without leaving your house. The power cable is 15 feet long, which is more than adequate, however, there is no light sensor and as such, all operation must be started manually.

This unit does take a few minutes to warm up before use, so it’s best to take this into account and prime it before you really need it, however, the wait is not overly long, so it’s not really an issue in practice. It uses an input power of 110V, so a standard American outlet will work fine, although if you’re outside of the USA, you’ll need to find a converter in order to use this safely. 

We think that this projector adds a gorgeous fairy-tale aesthetic to its surroundings and as such, would recommend it for use just about anywhere. We’d love to see an outdoor seating area at a bar or café feature one of these, but even if you just want to bring your garden to life at night, you really can’t go wrong with this model.

PROS
  • Large, stunning projection
  • Remote controlled
  • Inconspicuous design
CONS
  • Takes a few minutes to warm up
  • No light sensor

Best Star Projector - Buyer's Guide

Star projectors are pretty simple systems, often deceptively so, and that’s why it’s so important to know what you’re looking for before you spend any money on one. We’ve covered a couple of things to think about in advance of a purchase to ensure that you’re fully satisfied with your choice not only the day after, but far into the future as well.

Projector Type

Are you just looking for something to project dots onto your walls? These are fun to look at and help set the mood but will leave a true astronomical enthusiast dissatisfied. These are often much less expensive than their more true to life competitors and tend to offer novelty features like various colours and modes (flashing, fade out, etc.). These tend to come in two versions: cartoony stars and moons, aimed at young children, and random scatterings of white or yellow light, aimed at adults. There’s often not much of a difference in price, but it is important to consider the build quality (we’ll talk more about this below), especially if you’re buying this for a very young child.

If you’re looking for a more accurate portrayal of the night sky, the bad news is that you should expect to pay a bit more. The good news is that often, these offer you the ability to switch out the disk inside the projector with one that’s tailored to where you are in the world. You can also expect to have features that you just don’t get in a $20 model, like an automatic timer or shooting stars. You can actually confirm that displays are accurate by entering your location into this site and matching the results with what you see.

If you want to use your projector outdoors, you should ensure that you buy a weather resistant model. This should be explicitly outlined in the product description, so make sure you look for this before spending any money. You should also check the operating temperature range and double check that your area fits into that bracket since there’s nothing worse than finding out your purchase isn’t suitable at the last minute.

Build Quality

Take a look at the materials used in the unit. Is it made of plastic? Does it seem sturdy enough? Does it come in several pieces? Often, very inexpensive models aren’t secured very well and will fall apart at the slightest touch, so if you’re considering buying one for a very young child, we’d recommend placing it out of reach, just to be safe.

What if, a year from now, the bulb dies? Can it be easily replaced or do you have to buy a whole new projector? Low-cost projectors won’t often offer the ability to swap out dead bulbs, and so it’s best to spend a little more initially to ensure you’re buying a long lasting model. It’s also worth checking to see if the product offers a warranty of any kind – especially if it’s an expensive model.

What are your power options? Many star projectors rely on AA or AAA batteries, but some have embraced USB power in the last few years and are a whole lot cheaper to run as a result. You might also find that the unit supports a wall charger, although often you’ll find that these aren’t included as standard.

Additional points to consider

How far from the projection surface does the unit need to be positioned? How large is the area of projection and is the light strong enough to cope with common pitfalls like high ceilings or some ambient light? Is there a way to fine tune the focus for best results? These might seem like small details, but they can really make or break your experience.

Conclusion


Each of these star projectors is a great product in its own way, however, one model, in particular, stands out amongst the others. The Sega Homestar offers a level of functionality and a crispness of display that is awe inspiring and caters to the stargazing enthusiast in all of us, whilst providing an accurate view of the sky, wherever you are in the world with minimal fuss.

As ever, our research has been both deep and wide, so you can sleep soundly knowing that these products really are the best around. If you’ve found this article helpful, we’d ask that you think of us the next time you need advice on buying something. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and happy stargazing.