Star projectors have become super popular in the last couple of years. These fun little light projectors, many of which are very affordable and some with app or smart home support, make the perfect gifts for pretty much everyone, no matter their age.
These light projectors, also called galaxy or nebula projectors, basically project light-based images, usually of stars, galaxies, and nebulas, as the name suggests. They're similar to planetarium projectors, except smaller and cheaper.
While they seem at first glance to be novelty items, they've got a lot of uses. They're great as night or storytime lights for kids, for parties, to set the mood for yoga or meditation, to offer a more immersive experience when you're gaming or watching a movie, and to add a touch of atmosphere to your holiday decorations. You can even use them for art installations, events, and film screenings.
I love using my smart galaxy projector alongside my smart light panels and smart string lights in my living room, and I've gotten a lot of compliments from friends. And I use my setup every day.
If you're out of Christmas gift ideas and pressed for time, my picks below make for great last-minute gifts for your loved ones and friends.
Night sky projectors for folks who love smart home devices
Perfect for most people
The best overall
This galaxy projector is great for most people not just because of its unassuming design but also due to its affordable price. That design gives it some versatility as well, offering angle adjustments. While it doesn't have speakers built-in, it does come with a mic so that its displays can sync with whatever audio you're playing. It's got app support for customizations, but for hands-free control, it works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
The premium choice
The best premium pick
This fabulous smart galaxy projector displays moving nebula and star projections and has adjustable speed and brightness. Even better, it has app support, giving you access to 16.7 Million nebula colors so you can customize it based on your current mood. Also thanks to the app, you can set timers and schedules. Best of all, it works perfectly with Alexa and Google Assistant so you control it with voice commands.
The budget pick
If you're on a budget
For a rather cheap light projector, this one is surprisingly robust in features. Featuring Northern lights projections, it offers 48 light scenes in all, four levels of brightness, four speeds, and three timer settings. What's more, it comes with a built-in 4.5W Bluetooth speaker as well as eight relaxing sounds so it moonlights as a white noise machine. Wait, there's more: you'll also appreciate that you can control it, hands-free, via Alexa.
Night sky projectors for music lovers
Great for gamers too
Best for gaming and music
This intricately designed galaxy projector may look a little kitschy with its dinosaur egg design, but turn it on and it looks like an absolute stunner, enveloping practically the whole room with galaxy light effects. It's also cool in that it comes with music sync for your parties and can be connected to your gaming devices for an immersive gaming experience. Of course, its built-in Bluetooth speakers will come in handy as well.
For young music lovers
Best for budding audiophiles
If you want something very affordable, this one from Encalife is now under $20 with this $10 holiday season discount. It's not as feature-rich as the other options on this list, but it does have 21 lighting modes and a built-in Bluetooth speaker for that full relaxation mode. It also has a remote control and an auto sleep mode. It's a great gift idea if you've got a long list of giftees and need something cool yet cheap.
The most customizable
This galaxy projector is one of the very few projectors that display a spiral galaxy - although it does come with 15 other light effects. The best thing about it though is that it comes with so many customizations. It has 4 light speeds, 4 brightness settings, a 360-degree adjustable projection angle, and a music groove mode so it syncs to the audio you're playing. Of course, its built-in Bluetooth speaker is a nice extra as well.
Night sky projectors for kids and teens
For young space fans
For kids who love astronomy
Astronomy-loving kids will get a kick out of this space-themed projector. Not only does this cool-looking night projector come with 8 gorgeous effects, 7 of which are in the form of nebulas, but it's also in the shape of a spaceman, which means that it's going to be a fun addition to your kids' bedroom. With it, they can show off to their friends just how cool their room is. It also has adjustable angles, brightness, and runtime.
For stylish teens
Perfect for teens
If you want something with swappable projections, then this adorable-looking star projector is the one to get. Pococo has sets of slides available for purchase, which means that you can change what it projects anytime. It comes with a 5K Ultra HD disc lens, three timer settings, and a built-in battery as well as the diamond star disc or slide. Even better, it looks so adorable with its pink and blue finish.
For kids who love adventure
For grand adventures at storytime
It's surprising how cheap this night sky projector is from Votozi considering what it can do. Not only does it have 6 lighting effects you can choose from, but it has 5 different display themes as well, including happy birthday, magical planet, starry star, constellation, and undersea world. It's just the perfect companion during story time - so your kid can have grand adventures without leaving the bedroom.
More Holiday sales
- Amazon: 70% off Kindle, TVs, tablets & clothing
- Apple: AirPods, Apple Watch & iPads from $79
- Adidas: 40% off running shoes & clothing
- Beauty: 51% off makeup, skincare & hair tools
- Best Buy: $800 off TVs, laptops & headphones
- Cheap TVs: big-screen 4K TVs from $269.99
- Christmas: 40% off decor, pajamas & trees
- Dell: Inspiron and XPS laptops from $260
- DreamCloud: 40% off all mattresses
- Family pajamas: Christmas PJs from $12.99
- Gaming: console bundles from $289.99
- Lenovo: 76% off laptops, desktops & printers
- Lowe's: up to $800 off major appliances
- Nectar: mattress deals starting at $359
- Nordstrom: 40% off Nike, Levi's & UGGs
- Patagonia: pullovers starting at $64.99
- Samsung: $2,000 of TVs, phones and appliances
- Shopbop: 25% off sitewide with code Holiday
- Target: 40% off Christmas decor, TVs & toys
- Toys: Disney, Barbie & Lego from $14.99
- Walmart: cheap TVs, air fryers, PS5 & toys
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Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.