Best star projectors 2024: From night lights to home planetariums

The best star projectors have a variety of uses, from bringing vivid images of the cosmos into your home to lighting up your parties, or initiating your kids to space. In this guide, we've rounded up the best models on the market at a range of price points, from night lights to full-blown hyper realistic home planetariums. 

You can use star projectors to learn about the stars in the night sky, as many are based on the nebulas you might see if you look to the skies with one of the best telescopes. Others also have built-in speakers which make them a great choice if you're looking to unwind and take a minute to appreciate some stunning sights. You can also be sure that you'll kids love them — star projectors can be a fantastic aid for sleeping while also serving as a useful education tool. Don't assume they're only for little ones, though, as adults can also get plenty of joy out of them. 

We've put together a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to pick out of the best star projectors — from budget-friendly options to high-end party-starters. You'll find a summary of each product, alongside a link to the full review and some quick pros and cons so you can find the perfect star-projecting device for you.

The quick list

Best star projectors we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.

Best overall

Best overall: The most realistic star projector that projects bright, detailed images of the real night sky

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.3 x 6.3 x 5.9-inches (160 x 160 x 150mm)
Weight: 1.36 lbs (616.9g)
Max. size of projection: 8.9 ft (270cm)
Accuracy: True to time and date
Power: USB cable and wall power pack
Special features: 60,000 stars, shooting star mode, extra disks available

Reasons to buy

+
As realistic as it gets
+
Optional upgrade disks
+
Geared towards adults

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
No lens covers
-
Cheaper rivals on the market
Buy it if

✅ You want to explore the skies: There are plenty of discs available for this projector, all of which are scientifically accurate; most of them are NASA-based imagery.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: This is the most expensive option on this list, so if you're on a budget, there are more suitable options that perform almost just as well.

❌ You just want a pretty light: For anyone who just wants a nice mood-setting light, this will likely be overkill.

The bottom line

🔎 Sega Toys Homestar Flux Great for recreating a realistic-looking night sky inside. It's on the pricier end of the market but the option to upgrade your disc collection is attractive. The night sky representation is about as realistic as it gets. ★★★★½

After extensive testing, we can guarantee you can't find a better star projector than the Sega Toys Homestar Flux. 

It displays stunning and scientifically-accurate views of the night sky thanks to advanced glass lenses. The views and colorful and bright enough to come out beautifully even in brighter spaces. The Sega Toys Homestar Flux truly is like having your own personal planetarium, enabling you to see up to 60,000 stars at once.

It's far more expensive than many of the best out there, but you'll find few projectors out there that offer the same user experience. It's worth noting that it's also tough to find, so grab it while it's in stock at one of our trusted retail partners. 

What sets the Sega Homestar Flux apart is that it can be expanded with different discs. Two are included with your purchase: one showing the Northern Hemisphere, and the other the Northern Hemisphere Constellations, with constellations labeled to help your sky watching.

There are 30 additional discs available for around $18 each when you visit Astrial, Sega Toys' official online store. We were particularly impressed by the simulations of the aurora borealis and the aurora australis are exceptional views. 

There is a disc that displays the planets of the solar system as well, but the ones that show galaxies, nebulas and other NASA-based imagery are the ones that really stand out. The North America nebula as taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the weird seven-star system called Jabbah (officially called Nu Scorpii and IC 4592) as imaged by NASA's WISE mission. You can also buy disks that simulate fireworks, 'night jellyfish' and a hot-air balloon festival. 

Like many other star projectors, there is a 'shooting star' function, although in our Sega Homestar Flux review, we found it a bit predictable because the star always fell in the same spot. More variation would have made the display feel more real. However, it does have an automatic shut-off option after 15, 30 or 60 minutes, which is handy if you're using it to fall asleep and don't want to get up to switch it off!

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sega Toys Homestar Flux
AttributesNotes
DesignPremium finish and build quality.
PerformanceExcellent brightness, sharp imagery.
FunctionalityVariety of stargazing discs, no novelty lights or lasers.

Best for space-themed parties

Best for space-themed parties: 16.7 million colors to choose from, adjustable brightness settings, compatible with Android and iOS

Specifications

Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.1 x 6.3-inches (150 x 130 x 160mm)
Weight: 1.9 lbs (862g)
Max. size of projection: Unstated
Accuracy: Non-scientific
Power: USB cable and wall power pack
Special features: 16.7 million nebula colors, music rhythm mode, in-built speaker

Reasons to buy

+
Android and iOS compatible
+
Millions of color patterns to choose from
+
Adjustable brightness and movement
+
Great quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper alternatives are available
-
No voice control
-
Unbranded packaging and device
Buy it if

✅ You want to pair it with music: We were impressed with the musical rhythm mode, where the lights flash and dance along to the beat of the music. 

Don't buy it if:

You want scientific accuracy: It's not a scientifically accurate projection, although that said, it's the most realistic-looking one we've tested.

The bottom line

🔎 Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector It's highly customizable, the patterns are realistic and the music rhythm mode is impressive. This is one of our favorites. ★★★★½

While it's not a scientifically accurate star projector, the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector is packed full of great features. 

You can customize it extensively, from making the stars more or less visible, to turning on a full moon and changing the colors of the Aurora Borealis to match your mood. There are 16.7 million colors to choose from (in theory at least), and you can adjust the LED light and green lasers to your preferred brightness. We also love that you can control the projector with the remote control it comes with, or through the accompanying app on your smartphone.

Not bad, right? We've actually barely scratched the surface of all the fun features of this star projector, but our Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector review goes in a lot more depth. For example, we talk through the projector's musical rhythm mode, remarking how much fun it is to listen to music and adjust the lighting display to match the 'feel' of the music. 

If the lighting isn't enough to please you, this star projector comes with a high-quality Bluetooth speaker that impressed us with excellent sound clarity and detail. The adjustable sound settings are a bonus, allowing you to personalize the sound to your preference and switch between different music genres depending on your mood.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector
AttributesNotes
DesignMatte black finish.
PerformanceRealistic looking aurora.
FunctionalityApp or remote (supplied) controlled.

Best for voice control

Best for voice control: 16.7 million nebula colors, plus in-built voice control with Alexa and Google

Specifications

Dimensions: 11.8 x 5.9 x 11.8-inches (300 x 150 x 300mm)
Weight: 1.9 lbs (862g)
Max. size of projection: Unstated
Accuracy: Non-scientific
Power: USB cable
Special features: 16.7 million nebula colors, voice control, smart app integration

Reasons to buy

+
Voice and app control
+
On/off timer
+
Star and nebula speeds can be controlled separately

Reasons to avoid

-
Not scientifically accurate
-
Not quite 'plug and play'
Buy it if

✅ You want voice activated: You can control this projector using your smart home devices (Alexa & Google etc), meaning you don't have to fiddle with buttons to set the mood.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want it to be scientifically accurate: It doesn't show any constellations or any type of scientific night sky projections — you'll need to pay more for that.

The bottom line

🔎 Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Star Projector: Although it is called a Galaxy Star Projector, like most others, this is more of a mood-setting light, showing colors and patterns that reflect galaxies and nebulas with lasers that you could associate with a starry sky. ★★★★

In our Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector review, we noticed how simple it is to use and set up. We also loved the projector's modern design; unlike most other projectors, it can blend in among your furniture and look great in most rooms. It also comes in attractive packaging, making it a great gift idea.

One standout feature of this projector is its voice control options, allowing you to change colors, adjust brightness and control the rotation speed using just your voice. It works seamlessly with Alexa or Google Assistant, but if you prefer, you can use the smartphone app, available for both iOS and Android.

The Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector offers an impressive 16.7 million colors, which sounds fantastic in theory, but in reality, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to make out all those colors with the naked eye. Don't let that discourage you from purchasing it though, as it still delivers an amazing light show experience. 

The only thing to note about the Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector is that the nebulas and stars aren't scientifically accurate. However, if you're looking for a beautiful light display, you'll be delighted with it. We enjoyed the experience so much that we didn't feel disappointed. We especially liked the ability to adjust both brightness and projection speed, making it perfect for creating a serene environment to relax in or an energetic party scene.

The Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector is USB rechargeable. It can also be adjusted to four angles, and it's flexible enough to project onto both the walls or ceilings.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Star Projector
AttributesNotes
DesignCompact design and shape, premium feel.
PerformanceBright & vivid colors, responsive controls.
FunctionalityHighly customizable.

Best budget star projector

Best budget star projector: An excellent gift for a space fan of any age

Specifications

Dimensions: 4.7 x 4.4 x 8.9-inches (120 x 113 x 228mm)
Weight: 1.4 lbs (640g)
Max. size of projection: Unstated
Accuracy: Non-scientific
Power: USB-A to DC port
Special features: Novelty design

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent build quality
+
Impressive lighting for a cheap model
+
Lovely gift for a space lover

Reasons to avoid

-
Boring packaging
-
Powered by USB-A to DC
-
Projection surface not as large as others
Buy it if

✅ You're buying for your child: It features more of a novelty astronaut design that's primarily aimed at children, though in our experience, adults love it too!

Don't buy it if:

❌ The price is too high: This is another star projector where the price fluctuates wildly — we've seen it priced anywhere from $10 to $100, we'd be happy paying anything less than $35 for it.

The bottom line

🔎 Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector: A well-made novelty star projector that every kid, or space fan, will love to have in their bedroom. It isn't quite on par with other star projectors performance-wise, but it does everything we'd expect of it, given its reasonable price. ★★★★

While it's tempting to dismiss low-cost objects that go viral on TikTok, our review of the Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector proved us wrong. We were pleasantly surprised by how well made it was, and it ticked all the boxes a fun, novelty star projector should. 

This star projector is not scientifically accurate, and should be treated as a fun light display first and foremost. That said, it's one of the best of its kind, and it would make the perfect gift for younger space enthusiasts. 

As this originally became popular after it went viral on TikTok, you'll have to be weary of retailers hopping on the trend and selling clones of this object. This means you can find replicas for as little as $10 online, and that some products may vary in quality as some competitors make it more cheaply. 

Don't be put off by the underwhelming packaging. In operation, the Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector is surprisingly great. As we mentioned in our review, the lighting module seems to be the same — if just a tiny bit less impressive — as other star projectors we have reviewed, including the BlissLights Sky Lite 2.0 and the Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Star Projector. It isn't based on science, unfortunately, but as long as you're happy to simply enjoy a pretty visual representation of the night sky, you'll get a lot of joy out of this. It helps that it's very quiet in use, too.

The only downside we found is that it's powered by a USB-A to DC cable, which feels a bit outdated; we would prefer USB-C. Other than that, it's a fantastic gift for any space enthusiast, no matter the occasion.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector
AttributesNotes
DesignNovelty design more suited to children, but surprisingly good quality.
PerformanceBright lights and lasers, pretty patterns.
FunctionalityCustomizable settings, sleep timer.

Best affordable known brand star projector