Best star projectors 2024: From night lights to home planetariums

The best star projectors composited together in front of a starry backdrop
The best star projectors can bring the night sky into your home, add ambience to your parties, or initiate your kids to space. (Image credit: Amazon)

Owning one of the best star projectors is a great way of being able to observe the wonder of the night sky, right from the comfort (and warmth) of your own home. But not all star projectors are made the same. Some are designed to be as scientifically accurate as possible; others simply allow you to enjoy the ambience of the stars.

Of course, the price of a star projector will vary greatly depending on what you want it for. There are a number of accurate planetariums featured on our list, which generally carry much higher price tags than ambient lights. There are also some star projectors designed to be educational tools for children: You'll find examples of all three on our list. 

Many star projectors are based on the nebulas you might see if you look to the skies with one of the best telescopes, so you can use them to learn about the night sky. 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.

Remember Amazon Prime Day is approaching on 16 and 17 July, so you may be able to score a great deal on one of the best star projectors. As usual, Space.com will be covering the event and highlighting all the best deals on star projectors and more. Last year, the great voice-controlled BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve star projector was on sale for under $30 during Amazon Prime Day!

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

Sega is known for much more than Sonic the Hedgehog, you know. You might be surprised to know it's also the manufacturer of the best star projector you can currently buy: The Sega Homestar Flux. With the ability to observe over 60,000 stars at once, it truly does bring the night sky indoors.

We've tested the Homestar Flux extensively, and we're confident in saying that there are no better star projectors or home planetariums currently on the market. It offers scientifically accurate views of the sky, has beautiful, bright projections and, thanks to a disc system, allows you to change which parts of the night sky you're viewing. It ships with Northern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere Constellations (which includes labeled constellations), but many more are available to purchase separately.

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!

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

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. 

This star projector is very customizable: you can choose to display a full moon, change the colors of the Aurora Borealis, or make the stars more or less visible, for example. You won't be limited by the catalog of colors, as there are 16.7 million to choose from (in theory at least, as we're not able to see that many). The LED lights and green lasers can also be adjusted 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.

It also comes with a built-in Bluetooth speaker (which is genuinely good quality) and, if you want to create some party ambience, you can set the projections to "rhythm mode", having the lighting display sync with the music. It's a very neat feature.

In our Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector review, we called this "one of our favorites" of all the star projectors we've reviewed, which is high praise indeed. It's just a shame that the packaging of the projector is unbranded, and we found the so-called official website to feel ingenuine — it didn't give us much trust in what we were buying, but thankfully the final product delivers.

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 note how simple it is to use and set up. We also love 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.

But this projector's standout feature is no doubt the voice control option, which allows you to do everything from adjusting the brightness, controlling the rotation speed or changing the colors using your voice. You can use the companion app on your smartphone which is available for iOS and Android, or your Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant to voice control your projector.

The Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector boasts 16.7 million colors, which sounds impressive but since we can't actually see that many colors with the naked eye, it's a bit of a wasted claim. Regardless, we're pleased to say the colours you can see are beautiful, with the projector offering up a fantastic light show experience.

You should note that the Atmosphere projector doesn't offer scientifically accurate representations of the stars. This isn't an educational tool, then, but if you're simply looking for ambient light shows, you won't be disappointed with what's on offer here. Extra features, such as being able to adjust the brightness and projection speed, allow you to tailor the experience to your personal needs, too.

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. 

As you can probably assume from its price point, the Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector isn't scientifically accurate. It should be regarded as a fun light show in a novelty package. But while it might not provide an introduction to real-world nebulas and star systems, it does produce a fantastic display of light and colour, one that we think makes a great gift for any age.

It's worth noting, though, that many replicas of the Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector are available. And since this is a non-branded product, it can be hard to ensure you're buying the proper thing. You should be cautious of sellers advertising the project for as little as $10 as you might end up disappointed with a low-quality product.

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.

If we're being picky, we didn't love the fact that it's powered by a USB-A to DC cable instead of a USB-C, which would have been a lot more convenient nowadays. 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

Best premium star projector: From twinkling stars to in-built sounds, it's feature rich but expensive

Specifications

Dimensions: 160mm x 165 mm x 162mm
Weight: 500g
Max size of projection: 2700mm circle
Accuracy: Scientifically accurate
Power: Mains-powered
Special features: Twinkling stars, in-built sounds, sleep timer

Reasons to buy

+
Compatible with discs from previous models
+
Twinkling stars are a good addition

Reasons to avoid

-
Mains-powered
-
Small projection area
-
Not as aesthetically pleasing as its predecessor
Buy it if

✅ You want all the bells and whistles: The Homestar Matataki has got new features that the Homestar Flux didn't have, from twinkling stars to inbuilt sounds.

✅ You already have discs from a Homestar Original or Flux: The Matataki is compatible with discs from previous models, which will save you money. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a simple ambient light: This star projector is scientifically accurate and feature-rich, and it comes with the corresponding price tag.

You want the projection to fill the room: The projection circle is relatively small compared with some models that flood the whole room with color.

The bottom line

🔎 The Sega Toys Homestar Matataki is a more 'high-tech' version of its predecessor, introducing the magical twinkling star effect and adding sounds to its light displays. It's a great premium option if your budget extends to it. ★★★★½

If you want a star projector that can sing and dance, the Sega Toys Homestar Matataki is the one for you. This is the newest projector from Sega Toys, expanding on its excellent Homestar Flux (which you'll find at the top of this list). Rather than replace the Flux, however, the Matataki sits alongside it, adding a range of new features.

Perhaps the most striking new feature is the addition of a 'twinkle plate' which gives the illusion of twinkling stars and adds a lot of depth to the visual experience. The star projector also comes with inbuilt sounds which is a nice added bonus but by no means a necessity considering the amount of free sleep sounds you can source from streaming platforms.

During the testing for our Homestar Matataki review, we appreciated how silently it runs and the brightness of the displays, although we noted the Homestar Flux offers higher-contrast images and sharper stars. In terms of price and availability, however, the Matataki clearly takes the win against its predecessor. We did appreciate that the discs for the Flux and the Homestar Original are compatible with the Matataki, potentially reducing your investment if you already own one of these models.

While we love all the extra functionality and the beautiful imagery, we do wish Sega Toys had made the projector powered by USB-C or A rather than mains-powered. This might not seem like a big problem, but it does greatly limit where you can position the projector.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sega Toys Homestar Matataki
AttributesNotes
DesignIntuitive interface and similar design to other projectors.
PerformanceBright images and twinkling stars.
FunctionalityIn-built sounds and premium features.

Best for pastel shades

Best for pastel shades: The newest star projector from BlissLights features color blend technology, voice and app control

Specifications

Dimensions: 4.7 x 4.7 x 5.3-inches (120 x 120 x 135mm)
Weight: 1.52 lbs (690g)
Max. size of projection: Laser 30 x 30 ft (9.1 x 9.1m), Cloud 15 x15 ft (4.5 x 4.5m)
Accuracy: Non-scientific
Power: USB-C power cable
Special features: BlissLights smartphone app and voice control

Reasons to buy

+
360-degree projection versatility
+
4 LED bulbs including white
+
Voice and Wi-Fi App control

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires a specific cable
-
App is needed to unlock all functionality
-
Protruding lens could get scratched
Buy it if

✅ You want a lot of customization: Although the laser  'stars' can only appear as blue or green (depending on which model you get), the clouds offer a lot of color customization through the app.

✅ You want it to be compatible with your smart device: It can work with both a Google and Alexa home device, so you can turn it on and off, and give other commands with your voice.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want it to be scientifically accurate: This projector is better for atmosphere and projecting pretty colors rather than providing any kind of scientific accuracy.

The bottom line

🔎 BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve The nebulas are bright and endearing, complimented perfectly by the hue of the blue/green lasers. This is a great option for anyone shopping for a mood-enhancing star projector (rather than a scientific one). ★★★½

This star projector's smart features are what really stood out in our BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve review. You can use this so-called 'galaxy light' in conjunction with several smart home systems, from Google Assistant to Alexa, which enables you to change its colours or turn it on or off with your voice. 

The BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve has a near 360-degree angling thanks to its spherical design. Few other star projectors offer so much coverage, and the 1.5m cable its comes with means you should be able to position it in the most optimal location in any room.

Perhaps one of the best things about the BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve is how silently it operates, allowing you to focus on the stars and truly enjoy the relaxing experience. It also makes use of a patented color-blending technology. Instead of using solid color blocks, its four LED lamps are capable of providing a broader range of colour options. It results in softer, blended colors with an almost pastel-like palette. It's beautiful, and creates a wonderfully calm atmosphere.

You can choose between three models — blue, green or no lasers — and we think it's a great pick for lighting up parties, adding ambience to your movie night or gaming tool, or as a a relaxing ambient light to help you fall asleep. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
BlissLights Sky Lite Evolve
AttributesNotes
DesignSmall and discrete, spherical design.
PerformanceBright stars and nebulas.
FunctionalityHighly customizable.

Best value rechargeable star projector