Looking for star projector Christmas gifts? There are many models we recommend ahead of the holiday season that make perfect presents for adults, teens and young children.
Some star projectors are more toys or night lights than science instruments, suitable for children with an interest in space to help soothe them at bedtime. But other star projectors are great tools for adults, acting either as a relaxation tool with in-built Bluetooth to synchronize with music, podcasts or audiobooks, or a powerful scientific device that can turn your living room into a home planetarium.
Our star projectors gift guide is split into three sections: Star projectors for kids, teens and adults/science geeks to suit everyone who loves space at all ages. We've included a range of price points in each category so hopefully you'll find something to suit most budgets here.
In the kids section, you'll find item suggestions most suited to children and people who have perhaps never owned a star projector before who would benefit from ambient lighting. In the teens section, you'll find star projectors suited for users with some experience and perhaps have some knowledge and interest in space. Finally, our selection of star projectors for adults and science geeks will offer the most realistic planetarium experience for those who want more than just a pretty display and have scientific accuracy for geographic region and/or time and date.
Star projectors for kids
Encalife Ambience Galaxy and Star Projector: $19.97 on Amazon
The Encalife Ambience Galaxy and Star Projector is not only a great beginner star projector, it's also a bargain at less than $20. It doesn't offer realistic views of the night sky, but it does offer enchanting star patterns across your ceiling, making it a great tool for relaxation - or even partying.
It comes with a remote control and while it doesn't have as many settings as other, more expensive star projectors, there are multiple light and color modes. There's also a built-in Bluetooth speaker, which we praised in our Encalife Ambience review — it's surprisingly good quality.
Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector: $27.99 at Amazon
One of our favorite beginner star projectors is this adorable Astronaut Starry Sky projector. In our review of the Astronaut Starry Sky projector, we praised its surprisingly good build quality, and found its light output to be impressive. It's inexpensive, and its novelty shape will appeal to children – but we can attest adults love it too.
Shaped like an astronaut, its visor doubles as the lens, projecting an image of the night sky onto the ceiling. There are multiple settings and colors to choose from, and it comes with a handy remote to allow you to control it in bed or from the couch.
4M Create a Night Sky Projection Kit:
was $10.95, now $7.99 at Amazon
A great kit you get to build and also enjoy as a star projector. Ideal for STEAM learning with kids and all the family. In our Create a Night Sky review, we praised the science/craft mash-up that this product provides, and at this price point, it's an absolute bargain — even if it doesn't offer the most clear or most accurate projections.
Star projectors for teens
Encalife Aurora Borealis Northern Lights star projector :
was $109.97, now $87.97 at Amazon
This is one of the most feature-rich star projectors on the market. Rather than being scientifically accurate, it's great for users who want to create a lively, fun atmosphere or for get-togethers. We've previously named it the best star projector for space-themed parties, in fact.
In our Encalife Aurora Borealis projector review we praised its realistic-looking auroras, which are simply beautiful to look at. It can also project an image of the moon along with numerous starscapes, which is a nice touch.
Brainstorm Toys Deep Space Home Planetarium:$32.33 at Home Depot
Yes, this intermediate-level star projector is indeed one that's aimed at children. But this home planetarium is much more than just a pretty light show: it's a powerful educational tool that's designed to introduce children to the wonder of space.
It comes with multiple image disks, all with color images taken by NASA and the Hubble telescope. In our Brainstorm Toys Home Planetarium review we praised its price point and called it a great STEM toy.
National Geographic Astro Planetarium star projector: $103.99 at TradeInn
Despite looking very much like a toy, the National Geographic Astro Planetarium is a powerful space education tool that can provide beautiful, clear images of a realistic night sky. We love that you can program in a specific date and time to see an accurate depiction of the sky at that moment — and like some of the more advanced star projectors on this list, images can be customized with changeable disks.
In our Astro Planetarium review we noted its button inputs are intuitive and found its projection to be bright and very sharp. It's battery-powered, though, unless you buy the optional AC adapter — so we recommend picking up three extra AAs before gifting this one.
Star projectors for adults / science geeks
Orzorz Home Planetarium star projector:
was $89.99, now $79.99 on Amazon
The Orzorz Home Planetarium is the cheapest advanced star projector that offers scientifically accurate views of the night sky. It boasts bright and clear visuals that are projected onto your walls and ceiling, allowing mesmerizing views from the comfort of your own home.
Like the other projectors in this advanced section of our star projector gift guide, the Orzorz Home Planetarium can be loaded with different disks, all providing views of different areas of the solar system. There's a Black Hole, for example, and a view of Jupiter. But at $10 each, it can end up being pretty pricey to build up a good selection.
Pococo Galaxy star projector:
was $149.99, now $109.99 at Amazon
Despite not being marketed as a home planetarium, the Pococo Galaxy is more than a basic star projector thanks to its scientific accuracy. Like the Sega Toys Homestar Flux, which you'll find further down this list, it comes with multiple disks, all displaying different imagery.
Our Pococo Galaxy review praised the image quality provided by the star projector: it's bright and high resolution, offering some of the best views of the sky without looking through a telescope.
Sega Toys Homestar Flux star projector:
was $259, now $239 at Amazon
This rarely-discounted star projectors is one of the best on the market, and comes highly recommended for advanced users and those with a very keen interest in the night sky.
This certainly isn't a toy: different discs can be inserted into the machine, all offering realistic views of the night sky. So realistic, in fact, they're based on NASA imagery. However, these discs are sold separately, like the City Lights of North America, or the Helix Nebula. And at $22.99 each, this already-expensive star projector becomes even more costly. But it's by far the best on the market, offering unrivaled quality and great educational potential.
Star projectors holiday gift guide frequently asked questions
What are the benefits of star projectors?
Star projectors have multiple benefits, although these will vary on what type of star projector you buy. Even the most basic, inexpensive model can be a great relaxation tool, as their projections of stars and nebulas can be incredibly soothing to both adults and children. They're frequently used at night-time to help users unwind and destress.
More expensive, advanced star projectors offer realistic interpretations of the night sky and therefore can be used as an educational tool for those wanting to get a good look at space without leaving the comfort of their home.
What is the best star projector?
The best star projector you can buy is the Sega Toys Homestar Flux. It's amongst the most expensive star projectors on the market, but you get what you pay for: far from a toy, this star projector provides accurate NASA-based imagery of the night sky, and can be upgraded with various discs, all offering different views from across the solar system.
Are star projectors safe to use?
Yes, star projectors are perfectly safe to use. They simply project an image onto a wall or ceiling, which can be enjoyed for long periods of time. However, caution should be taken when it comes to looking directly at the lens - it should be avoided as it can strain or damage the eyes.
What is the difference between a star projector and a home planetarium?
You'll find the terms 'star projector' and 'home planetarium' can be used interchangeably. However, a planetarium is likely to be more scientifically accurate than a product simply labeled 'star projector', which often displays fictional approximations of the night sky. But always check the description of the product you're interested in to know exactly what you're buying.
Is it safe to leave a star projector on overnight?
In most cases, yes, it's fine to leave a star projector on while you drift off to sleep. Many users find it to be a very helpful tool if they have trouble sleeping. Lots of star projectors will have sleep timers on, so you can set it to automatically turn off after, say, 30 minutes or one hour. Be sure to check the manual before leaving your star projector running for extended periods, though, as some units may become hot with prolonged use.
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Kim is a Yorkshire-based freelance writer who focuses on Lego and video game-related content. She's the co-creator of GameSpew.com and ThatBrickSite.com, where you'll find most of her work. If she's not building with plastic bricks, playing a video game, or writing about doing either of those things, you should probably check she's still breathing. You can find her on Twitter at @ichangedmyname.
- Jase Parnell-BrookesChannel Editor