Top 10 Best Star Projectors 2017

Name  
Science Kidz Star Galaxy Projector
National Geographic Astro Planetarium
Umiwe Ocean Wave Projector Night Light
Solmore LED Ocean Wave Night Light
SlowTon Star Moon Ocean Projector
Who isn’t fascinated by the night sky? Look up on a clear night, and you are looking at a vast unexplored and mysterious expanse that still holds wonder for astronomers and scientists to this day. Space, the final frontier as the movie tag-line goes, is something special, and it tends to captivate children as well as adults. We learn about the planets in our solar system at quite an early age, and about the sun, and the moon, and many of the stars and constellations, but we still only touch the very tip of the vast numbers of celestial bodies that one can see in the night sky.

If you are lucky enough to live in or close to an area with low or no light pollution – perhaps one of the many designated Dark Sky regions across the country – and have a telescope, there is no limit to what you can see. You may even observe distant galaxies, and it is simply a thing of wonder. It has fascinated scientists for centuries – in fact, the first telescopes designed for observing the heavens were invented as long ago as the early 1600’s, and we still use pretty much the same principle today.

Perhaps interest in the stars and planets was boosted by the space programme of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s – an era of great discovery and achievement as man finally set foot on the moon – and ever since, amateur astronomers – not to mention professionals – have been training their telescopes on the skies, looking for new planets and more. It’s not the telescope we are talking about today, but another great and innovative device that allows us to view the heavens: the star projector, a relatively new arrival on the scene, and one that is fun as well as educational. So, before we have a look at the top ten star projectors, let’s talk a little more about what they are, and why you need one.

The Top 10

1: Science Kidz Star Galaxy Projector

As we have a mix of kids and adult’s projectors in this review, we will tell you which category each falls into. These should not be thought of as toys, however, as they are much more than that. This one falls into the kid’s category, but is still pretty impressive for what it is. It’s a nicely presented, compact projector designed for an overhead representation of the universe, and displays the Northern Hemisphere with as many as 10,000 stars. It has a clear and concise projection and is easy to use.

The lens system is high quality optical material so you get great performance, and it comes with full instructions. It also comes with two discs that you can insert, each with different areas of the sky represented. One feature we like is that it has a 30-minute auto switch off function, so if your child wants to use it as a sleep aid, it makes a great relaxation tool and is very soothing. All in all, it’s a great little projector, and at a little more than £25, would make a great gift for the budding astronomer in the family.

Pros
  • 10,000 stars
  • Auto switch-off
  • Sensible price
  • Two disks
Cons
  • None that we can see – it does what it’s intended for!

2: National Geographic Astro Planetarium

If you are looking for a reassuring name when it comes to anything to do with the natural sciences, National Geographic is hard to beat. This star projector carries that prestigious brand name, so you can be sure that it is a quality item as they do not put their name to anything less. This one is designed to project the stars onto your ceiling, but it does so in almost real-time: in other words, you get to see what is going on in the sky at the very time you are watching the projection!

We have to admit to being pretty impressed with that feature. Furthermore, the device has a motor which allows it to include falling stars, so you get full motion, and it really is a very impressive piece of kit for the amateur astronomer. A massive 1.8×2.2m projection area, and a range of 2metres, means you get a very clear and precise image, and is very easy to use and an excellent item all-round. This one falls into both categories – it’s great for kids and also for adults – and at around £70 you get a very nice item indeed.

Pros
  • National Geographic
  • Full motion motor
  • Real time projection
Cons
  • If you’re put off by the price that’s fair enough, but it’s not expensive for what it is

3: Umiwe Ocean Wave Projector Night Light

You might ask whether this one should be on this list, as we did! To be clear from the outset, it’s not a star projector at all, and is really a fancy night light. However, if you are looking for a star projector as a relaxation aid – and many buyers are – this one may appeal to you, as that is what it is designed for. Basically, it projects a soothing light show on a wall or ceiling, and it is very effective indeed at making you settle back and relax.

You can choose from seven different colour modes – including a multi-colour version that is very effective – and it projects images of ocean waves and more that do the job they are meant to. It also reads audio cards, so you can input the music you want from your MP3 or other device, should you wish. It has an adjustable auto-off timer so you can be sure it will shut down when you fall asleep, and it has several angles that you can project at. It will only cost around £15 so is not expensive, but it’s not a star projector!

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Colourful displays
  • Music capability
Cons
  • Not a star projector

4: Solmore LED Ocean Wave Night Light

We reckon this to be the same as the above, so: You might ask whether this one should be on this list, as we did! To be clear from the outset, it’s not a star projector at all, and is really a fancy night light. However, if you are looking for a star projector as a relaxation aid – and many buyers are – this one may appeal to you, as that is what it is designed for. Basically, it projects a soothing light show on a wall or ceiling, and it is very effective indeed at making you settle back and relax.

You can choose from seven different colour modes – including a multi-colour version that is very effective – and it projects images of ocean waves and more that do the job they are meant to. It also reads audio cards, so you can input the music you want from your MP3 or other device, should you wish. It has an adjustable auto-off timer so you can be sure it will shut down when you fall asleep, and it has several angles that you can project at. It will only cost around £15 so is not expensive, but it’s not a star projector!

Pros
  • 7 x colour variations
  • Good price
  • Very soothing
Cons
  • Not a star projector

5: SlowTon Star Moon Ocean Projector

This one is firmly in the kid’s category, so if that’s not what you are looking for, move on! However, we reckon it’s worth including because it is very cheap, and because it does a decent if not spectacular job. It is designed to be a soothing sleep aid rather than an astronomical display piece, and has three different themes: you can project stars, the moon or ocean waves, and each is very pretty and effective. The stars are not descriptive of the night sky, however, so it’s not a serious device.

You get six adjustable light settings including a series of different colour options, and it provides a very soothing effect that will certainly help kids get to sleep. It also rotates so you have movement at all times, and it comes with brightness adjustment, too. It’s a nice bedroom light, but it’s not for astronomers, so wouldn’t make our shortlist. However, at not much more than £10 it’s very good value if it’s what you want.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Various colour settings
  • Easy to use
  • Brightness adjustment
Cons
  • Not a star projector

6: Star Night Light Projector

Another one for the kid’s category, but this is one that is somewhat more serious than the previous few. It follows the typical trend of projecting our cosmos onto the ceiling and walls, but this one is actually an accurate depiction of the night sky as we know it. As such, it is a sensible choice for a child who may or may not be interested in astronomy, and it comes with some interesting features. It has various settings – it can be set to rotate or not, for example – and is a very neat little device all-round.

You also get several brightness options, colour choices and more, and it operates by batteries so there is no need for mains connection. It is compact and usable, and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, to sum up, it’s a star projector and a nightlight, but it’s not one for the serious astronomer. At around £15, however, it would make a nice gift for a child, and would possibly help them get to sleep.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Many features
  • Compact
  • Great gift idea
Cons
  • Not a serious star projector, one for the kids

7: Pabobo Musical Star Projector

We shall start by saying that this curiously star-shaped star projector is definitely in the kid’s category, as it is intended as a sleep and soothing aid more than an astronomy device, That’s fair enough, as we reckon a good number of the readers of this review will be looking for something to help their children sleep, and a clever little device like this might do the job. It’s wireless, so can be used anywhere, and is surprisingly compact, and the youngsters will find that novelty shape amusing.

What does it do? You should think of this one as a latter-day music box, but with visuals; it projects a starry scene onto the ceiling or wall – not a representation of the night sky in any way, so not astronomical – in pretty colours, and it plays a soothing lullaby while changing colours all the time. You get full volume adjustability, too, so you can choose the setting you want. If you’re looking for an educational projector this is not it, but if you have a child who would find this soothing and help them sleep, at a little more than £23 it may be a good buy, but there are cheaper items that do the same job.

Pros
  • Novelty shape
  • Star show
  • Colours
  • Soothing music
Cons
  • Not a serious star projector, one for the kids

8: Home Planetarium Homestar Pro

Back to the adult’s category, and this home planetarium comes from the famous Sega brand, who made their name making games consoles. It’s a very modern-looking device in the form of a dish on a stand, and it is very impressive in what it can do. Make no mistake this is a serious planetarium for the home, and although it is a compact device, it packs a lot of action into its small size.

For a start, it uses the very latest White LED projection technology for the best possible results, and it really does impress when projected onto the right surface. 60,000 stars are represented, and you can add to the authenticity by selecting the shooting star feature, which gives you some little extras along the way. You can change the angle of production easily as the device sits on a fully adjustable stand, and you have a full timer function so it will switch off if you fall asleep. As a branded product, we expect it to be in the higher price-bracket, but at about £100, it might be a little too expensive for some.

Pros
  • 60,000 stars
  • Up to date technology
  • Clear image
  • Fully adjustable
  • Timer
Cons
  • None if you want a proper planetarium

9: SlowTon UFO Night Light Projector

As we have travelled through this review, it has become quite clear that there are two distinct types of device classed as star projectors: those that offer genuine home planetarium capability, and those that are designed as night lights and sleep aids. This one, in a wacky UFO shaped design, is firmly in the latter, so not for those who want to see the stars on their bedroom ceiling. It is, however, good at what it does, so we must put it on the list.

You get 8 different settings, with various colour and movement options, and a fully adjustable display angle. It also has music capability, and you can plug your MP3 player or other music device into it. The volume if also adjustable, and it has a handy timer. We like the funky design and the panoramic display it gives, and it is a very soothing effect, so if you want a night light this is one of the better ones, and at under £20 it is very sensibly priced.

Pros
  • Great night light
  • Many effects
  • Volume control
  • Great price
Cons
  • Not for astronomers

10: BestFire Novelty 360 Night Light

As you will have gathered, genuine home planetariums are hard to find, hence we close our review of the top ten with another night light. This one is very pretty, very cheap and – if it’s a night light you want – probably a good buy. It projects a night sky of the moon and stars on the ceiling – a loose interpretation of the night sky – and rotates as it does so, giving a soothing and calming effect. You get eight different light and colour modes, too, so it is quite versatile.

This one, like many of the others, can be powered either by battery or by a USB connector, and has a timer to switch off when programmed. It’s very much a kids item, although a neat and compact one that will do what it’s meant to, and at around £10 would make an affordable gift.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Good night light
  • Many settings
Cons
  • Not a true star projector

That’s our list of ten, then, so before we go on to sum things up, a quick reminder of what you need to look for when you are choosing your star projector.

How It Works

A star projector is a clever device that allows you to project certain images of the night sky in your home. They have their origins in the planetarium, a specially built theatre dedicated to displaying the heavens as we see them. Originally a physical display, they now tend to be projected, so the home star projector is a miniature version. In fact, the planetarium itself has its roots in a curious device known as an Orrery; this is a physical representation of the planets around the sun in our solar system engineered to move as they do in relative time. If you can find a museum with an Orrery, it is well worth a look.

You can find planetariums at many museums across the country; we recommend that, if you are ever in the area, you check out the one at Jodrell Bank, the famous observatory on the Cheshire Plain, where you can also find a massive and very spectacular radio telescope that dominates the landscape from a far. For kids who love the stars and planets, it’s a must-see place.

A star projector can give you a small-scale version of the planetarium, and while some of those reviewed are intended for children, there are a number on our list that are very much aimed at adults and are close to professional standard. These are not expensive items for what they are – no matter how many times you use your star projector there will always be something new for you to look at – so here’s our run-down of the top 10 star projectors on the market right now, complete with our advice and summary.

Important Features to Consider

We began this review in the expectation of having a long list of features to consider when choosing the best star projector, but after reviewing ten, we realise that the simple fact is there is really only one that towers over everything else, and it’s this:

Kid’s or Adult’s – put simply, do you want a star projector, a genuine replication of the night sky, as near to a portable home planetarium as you can get? Or, are you looking for something for kid’s bedroom that will show them a soothing light show, and help them get to sleep? If it’s the former, you have a choice of precisely two, and the latter make up the remaining eight.

So, there you have it; all that remains now is to wrap things up!

Let’s Wrap It Up!

We’ll be brief here: if you are looking for a home planetarium system, you have a choice of the National Geographic model, or the Sega one. Both are excellent, but in the end we prefer the National Geographic device at number two, as it does a great job and is very impressive. Note, however, that the first one on this list is unique in that it is the only actual star projector for kids, so may be worth a look.

If you want a night light, you have a choice of many, but we reckon that number nine, the funky UFO-shaped model, could be the one to go for as it is a very impressive device.

We hope we’ve helped you find what you want, so happy stargazing!