Best star projectors 2023: From night lights to home planetariums

The best star projectors can either be used as home planetariums, projecting realistic night skies and galaxies indoors, or they can serve as soft, glowing night lights for adults or children.

Depending on the model you choose, star projectors can recreate the night sky accurately from the comfort of your own home, surrounding you with stars and constellations and many even double as galaxy projectors. Whether you’re hosting a space-themed party, learning about the cosmos or simply looking for a way to help you fall asleep, star projectors can do it all.

Star projectors vary in shapes, features and sizes, catering to different needs. Some models, like those designed as night lights for children, focus on creating a soothing atmosphere rather than realistic star patterns. Meanwhile, there are highly accurate star projectors that aim to provide a scientific representation of the night sky, offering an experience that will feel like being inside a planetarium.

Moving from Black Friday into Cyber Monday some deals will be ending on the night of 27 November, but you can check out the best Cyber Monday star projector deals in our Cyber Monday deals hub.

Pococo Home Planetarium Star Projector

Pococo Galaxy Star Projector: was $149.99 now $79.99 from Amazon

Save 47% on this stunning home planetarium galaxy star projector this Black Friday/Cyber Monday. It's a superb, affordable way to transform your space into a home planetarium without breaking the bank. 

Note: This is a lightning deal that is already 79% claimed — so once it's gone, it's gone.

The quick list

Best star projectors we recommend in 2023

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 which is 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

The Sega Toys Homestar Flux stands out as a compact and stylish star projector, known for its power and sleek design. While it comes with a higher price tag, it delivers a lot in return. 

Using advanced glass lenses, this projector creates realistic night skies that appear bright, even in rooms that aren't completely dark. It goes beyond a basic star projector, resembling a home planetarium with high accuracy. With adjustable focus, you can enjoy an impressive display of 60,000 stars, surpassing the capabilities of many other projectors.

This globe-shaped star projector stands out from the rest with the sheer number of distinct stars it projects, and it also has some very tempting science-based upgrade options. It comes with two discs, the Northern Hemisphere, which shows a starry sky with 60,000 stars, and the Northern Hemisphere Constellations which contains constellation labels to help with learning. There are a further 17 Sega-branded discs available to purchase separately for around $18 a piece, and also compatible with Homestar Original disks. 

Like many other star projectors, there's a 'shooting star' function, although, in our Sega Homestar Flux review, we explained how we'd like this to be at random intervals, or in a different place each time so it isn't as predictable. It has an automatic switch-off after 15, 30 or 60 minutes function. 

There are 30 additional discs available when you visit Astrial, Sega Toys' official online store. Simulations of the aurora borealis and the aurora australis are perhaps the highlights. There is a disc that displays the planets of the solar system as well, but it is the ones that show galaxies, nebulas and other NASA-based imagery that really stand out. For example, 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. 

Editor's note 21 Nov: It looks like this star projector is unavailable for the time being in the US, but you can still purchase it in the UK and overseas.

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

Once again, we're not sure what we love most about this feature-rich Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector. You can easily choose between a whopping 16.7 million Aurora colors by using the buttons on the device, the remote control that comes with it or your smartphone.

This Northern Lights projector is compatible with all Android and IOS smartphones. You can customize the visibility of the stars, full moon activation and the 'Aurora Borealis' colors to suit your mood. The LED light and green lasers are adjustable from barely visible to highly vivid.

During our Aurora Borealis Northern Lights Star Projector review, we were impressed with the musical rhythm mode. It does a good job or adjusting the lighting display to match the 'feel' of the music, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the microphone to alter the power of the light display, making it perfect for using at parties.

Bluetooth speakers tend to be quite poor quality, but we thought the speaker was surprisingly high quality and had excellent sound clarity and detail. The adjustable sound settings are a plus, enabling you to customize the sound to your liking and to switch to a different genre of music.

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. ★★★★

We don't know what we love most about the Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector from Encalife: The exquisite 16.7 million nebula colors to choose from or the ability to control this projector with our voice with Alexa and Google. 

During our Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector review, we were impressed by its sleek design that's sure to delight many. It's modern and compact, allowing the user to place it anywhere in the house without ruining the aesthetic and sticking out like a sore thumb. The unit can be adjusted to four different angles, making it flexible enough to project onto the wall or ceiling. 

The Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector is incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to use voice control to change colors, adjust brightness and control the speed of the projections. You can also control it using the Smart App on your smartphone (available for Android and iOS). On the app, you'll see a color wheel with a broad spectrum of tones, ranging from cool blue to warm fiery red. However, in our testing, we found that while it's certainly impressive to offer 16.7 million different colors, it's unlikely you'll actually be able to distinguish them all with the naked eye.

The only downside with the Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector is that the nebulas and stars aren't scientifically accurate. Still, we enjoyed the experience so much that we didn't feel short-changed. We were especially happy with the option to adjust both the brightness and the projection speed, which makes it great for setting a calm environment to relax in, or an energetic party scene.

The Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Projector comes with a USB power cable and attractive packaging, which would be lovely to receive as a gift.

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. ★★★★

When we managed to get our hands on this little guy for our Astronaut Starry Sky Star Projector Review, we didn't have high expectations for this seemingly novelty item with a price that we've seen vary significantly between online and in-store retailers. 

Many retailers are selling it, resulting in price competition among them, and it's recently gone viral on TikTok so if you shop around you'll be able to find yourself a bargain. However, we would consider anything below $35 to be a great deal and we think it's one of the best cheap star projectors on this list.

This is the only item in this guide that could be considered 'novelty shaped', and that's because they're often not very good quality — but this one is an exception. While the packing could use some improvements, the projector's design and build quality are excellent. It has a great look that we think would fit well in the home of any space fan. 

The operation of the motor is very smooth and quiet, so it would be fine as a night light to drift off to sleep. 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. They are by no means scientific, but they can be customized using the supplied remote control to any speed and color configuration you like.

The only thing we didn't like was that it is powered by USB-A to DC cable, which seems a little outdated (we'd prefer USB-C), but aside from that, it would make an excellent gift for any space lover for any 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 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

The Evolve is BlissLights' latest 'galaxy light,' and it's equipped with the handy feature of being voice-controlled through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You can effortlessly change the ambiance of any room without getting up from your seat. Additionally, you can connect the device to your Wi-Fi network using the BlissLights app.

The spherical design means you have near 360-degree angling, and it comes with a 1.5 m cable, giving maximum positioning flexibility. This gives it a slight edge over the Encalife Atmosphere Smart Galaxy Smart Projector, which has similar specs but can only be used in four fixed positions.

An upgrade from the BlissLights Sky Lite 2.0 mentioned above is the inclusion of patented color blending technology. Instead of using harsh color blocks to fill a projection space up to 15ft x 15ft, the four LED lamps allow for more color possibilities, and the colors 'blend' so they look softer and give off a more pastel and relaxing yet immersive environment. It covers up to 30ft x 30ft, and your space can be transformed into a beautiful ethereal sensory experience with laser 'stars' that you can gaze at for hours.

As we confirmed in our BlissLights Evolve review, the operation is near silent like the Sky Lite 2.0. The Bliss Lights Sky Lite Evolve would be perfect in a gaming room, during a party, at a movie night or as a relaxation tool to unwind or drift off to sleep with. There are three models in the range — choose from blue, green, or no lasers.

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

Best value rechargeable star projector: It has a projection that rivals the Sega Toys Homestar Flux

Specifications

Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.7 x 4.7-inches (157 x 120 x 120mm)
Weight: 1.7 lbs (771g)
Max. size of projection: 39 x 39 ft (12 x 12m)
Accuracy: Non-scientific
Power: USB-C
Special features: Rechargeable battery

Reasons to buy

+
Rechargeable battery
+
Two-year warranty
+
Made from recyclable materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Very light — a bit unstable
-
Some questionable marketing wording
Buy it if

✅ You want realistic imagery: The projections from this projector are incredibly bright, sharp and high resolution, almost indistinguishable from the 'big players'. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You just want something cheap to set the mood: This certainly isn't the most expensive model on this list, but if all you're looking for is a projector with nice lights to create a relaxing atmosphere, there are cheaper options that will do the job.

The bottom line

🔎 Pococo Galaxy Star Projector It does what it is supposed to — it projects high-quality imagery onto any surface to immerse you in the wonders of what the universe has to offer, maintaining a static picture or slowly rotating image. ★★★★

The Pococo Galaxy Star Projector is a worthy addition to this guide, and it is a good rival to the National Geographic Astro Planetarium and the much more expensive Sega Homestar Flux. During our full Pococo Galaxy star projector review, we found it a good value star projector with decent build and projection quality.

There are additional discs you can purchase alongside the two that come with it (six discs for around $50). We think it strikes a great balance between appealing to children and adults, and there's a stylish color gradient paint job or a matte white finish to choose from. To adjust the clarity of the projection, you just need to use the focus wheel — which is great if you move it between different surfaces.

Controlling it is simple, using three buttons — power, rotation and sleep timer — and it is powered by a battery which you can charge with a USB-C cable. You're not tied to a power source like with the Homestar Flux, and you don't have to keep changing the batteries as you do with the National Geographic model—again — another happy medium.

The downside of the Pococo design is that you only have 30 degrees of movement to shine the lights, although as you'll typically be shining this at the ceiling, this isn't a deal breaker.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pococo Galaxy star projector
AttributesNotes
DesignSimple, attractive design.
PerformanceBright, high-resolution projections.
FunctionalitySimple operation, no apps needed, rechargeable.