How To Choose The Best Home Planetarium?

A home planetarium brings the night sky indoors. It projects beautiful images of stars and planets onto a ceiling (or a wall), making the room feel like you are actually outside staring at the night sky, but without the cold and bugs.

Home planetariums are mostly designed for kids, but there’s no reason you cannot get one for your living room or bedroom. The starry ceiling is great for soothing you to sleep, especially if you get one of those rotating planetariums.

Whether you are getting it for yourself or your kid, this guide will help you buy the best planetarium. I review the top five home planetariums and give you some tips for choosing the right planetarium.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Home Planetarium

1. Image Quality and Brightness

The first thing to check when considering a certain planetarium is the wattage of the projector. Higher wattage planetariums produce brighter and crispier images.

The best planetariums have a 5-watt projector while cheaper ones use a 3-watt projector. 3-watt planetariums like the Sega Toys Homestar Original still look great but you have to make sure the room is totally dark to get the full effect.

A 5-watt planetarium can tolerate some ambient lighting.

But brightness is not everything; check the overall image quality as well. Customer reviews and images can help here.

Do the stars appear realistic? Is there blurring or does the image retain crispness everywhere?

A high quality image creates a bigger wow effect and makes you feel like you are somewhere in the countryside looking up.

2. Number of Stars

Sega planetariums, the best ones in the market, project up to 60,000 stars. They create a stunning view on your ceiling.

A planetarium with fewer stars won’t have the same look. But if you are buying it for your child, they’ll probably find it amazing. If you are on a budget, a cheaper planetarium with about 10,000 stars is a good choice for a child’s bedroom.

3. Adjustable Angle and Height

Check if the planetarium can be adjusted to different ceiling heights. This allows you to use planetarium on a low or high ceiling.

Also, check if the projection angle is adjustable. This allows you to set the projected image exactly the way you want. You can set it to project directly above the bed or on the wall instead of the ceiling

4. Power Source

Most home planetariums come with an AC cable, so you’ll need to have a nearby power outlet to plug it in.

If you want a planetarium you can use on the go such as when camping, look for one that runs on batteries. Some planetariums like the Sega Toys Homestar Flux come with a USB power cable, so you can plug it into a power bank or solar generator when you are not at home.

5. Discs

Most home planetarium come with at least two discs providing different images of the night sky. But staring at the same images every night can get boring. So, we recommend getting a planetarium whose manufacturer offers additional discs separately.

With additional discs, you can choose which scenes to project on the ceiling from the southern hemisphere to the Andromeda galaxy.

6. Extras

Here are important extras to look for.

  • Rotation – A stationary planetarium looks great, a rotating one looks stunning. In addition to looking great, a rotating starry image is perfect for putting you (or your child) to sleep.
  • Timer – Most home planetariums have a timer that you can set to turn off the projection after some time. This is handy if you want to fall asleep to a starry ceiling.
  • Shooting stars and other effects – Check if the planetarium offers any additional special effects such as shooting stars. A twinkling effect would also be nice but we haven’t seen any home planetarium that has it.

Best Home Planetariums: Top 5 Reviews

You’ll notice that three of our top five picks are from Sega Toys, specifically their Homestar collection. That’s because Sega home planetariums are the best in the market. But we’ve included a couple other options from other brands.

1. Sega Toys Homestar Flux

The Homestar Flux is the latest and most advanced planetarium in the Sega Toys Homestar series. It is also the best home planetarium in the market.

With a 5-watt LED projector and a high definition 60,000-star collection, the Homestar Flux recreates a stunning image of the night sky on the ceiling.

You can enjoy a still image or select the more relaxing rotational effect. The motor is not completely silent. You’ll hear a slight whirring when it rotates. But most people found the noise to be relaxing rather than distracting. Most parents say their kids easily fall asleep to the noise.

There’s a shooting star effect but customers were disappointed. It is not realistic and occurs in the same spot. Luckily, you can turn it off.

Homestar Flux comes with two discs. One shows the night sky in the northern hemisphere. The other shows the same image but with different constellations outlined. The second disk doesn’t look as good but is a handy tool for teaching kids (and yourself as well) about constellations.

Sega Toys sells more than 30 additional discs that are compatible with the Homestar Flux planetarium. These discs provide scenic projections of the southern hemisphere, solar system, comets and other images.

The projector itself has a beautiful satin black finish. It sits on the floor on a stand. You can adjust the angle and focus of projection depending on the height and shape of your ceiling.

On the side of the projector, you’ll find buttons for the auto-off timer (60, 30 and 15 minute options), rotation and shooting star effect.

For power, the Homestar Flux comes with a USB cable that you can attach to a wall adapter or a power bank. This means you can use the Flux planetarium away from home such as in a camping tent or even a hotel room (handy if your child cannot sleep without stars shining on the ceiling).

What we like about it:

  • Excellent image quality – bright and vivid.
  • Planetarium can rotate.
  • Plenty of additional discs available.
  • Versatile USB power cable.

2. Sega Toys Home Planetarium Homestar Classic

The Sega Toys Homestar Classic is similar in terms of features to the popular Homestar Original. The only difference is that it comes in blue rather than the original black.

The Classic has a dimmer 3-watt projector. But once you turn off the light, the projection looks almost as amazing as the Homestar Flux.

The Homestar Classic has the same 60,000 stars in its projection. It also has the shooting star effect that many customers find underwhelming.

Like the Homestar Flux, the Classic planetarium can rotate although the motor noisier. You can also set an auto-off timer for 15, 30 or 60 minutes, or just leave it on all night.

The Homestar Classic comes with the same two Northern Hemisphere discs (with and without constellations) included with the Flux. You can buy additional discs from Sega Toys.

For power, the Homestar Classic uses a UK 3-pin adapter that plugs into a standard socket.

What we like about it:

  • Cheaper than Homestar Flux.
  • Good image quality.
  • The planetarium Can rotate.
  • Additional discs are available.

3. Home Planetarium Homestar Original by Sega Toys

This is the original Homestar home planetarium. The star projection from the original Homestar has less of a wow factor compared to the Homestar Flux, in part because of the less powerful 3-watt projector.

However, some customers find the projection from the original more realistic than that of the Homestar Flux. I think the disagreements come down to location.

If you live in an urban area, light pollution makes the sky brighter and reduces the number of stars you can see. The Homestar original will appear more realistic to you.

However, for someone living in a countryside where there are no glaring streetlights, stars will appear much brighter and there will be more of them. In that case, the Homestar Flux is more representative of your night sky.

It’s up to you which projection you prefer. Stars projected by the Homestar Original appear less bright and are sparsely spaced. In contrast, the projection from Homestar Flux consists of tightly packed bright stars.

Other features are similar across the Homestar series. Like the Classic and Flux, the Homestar Original has a timer, it can rotate and it has a not-so-amazing shooting star effect.

It comes with the same two discs and you can buy additional compatible discs from Sega Toys. For power, it uses a UK 3-pin plug.

What we like about it:

  • Great image quality.
  • It can rotate.
  • Includes timer.
  • Cheaper than Homestar Flux.

4. Omegon Star Theater Pro Planetarium

If you don’t want a Sega Toys planetarium, Omegon Star is a good alternative. It is in the same price range as the Homestar Classic and Original planetariums, though it has fewer stars (10,000).

The 3-watt LED projects a good quality image, but you’ll need to keep the room completely dark to get the best projection. Ambient lighting easily washes out the stars.

The Omegon Star planetarium can rotate, giving the projected sky a more realistic look. You’ll receive two discs with the planetarium. One shows a starry sky while the other projects images of the earth, moon and sun.

If you are using the planetarium to soothe yourself or your kid to sleep, set the included timer to turn the projection off after 30, 60 or 120 minutes.

For power, the Omegon Star planetarium comes with a USB cable that you can plug into a wall adapter or a power bank.

Overall, the Omegon Star Theatre Pro is not as good as Sega Toys. But if you are looking for another brand other than Sega Toys, Omegon Star is the best alternative.

What we like about it:

  • Affordable.
  • Good projection quality.
  • Includes timer and rotational effect.

5. Smithsonian Optics Room Planetarium and Dual Projector Science Kit

Smithsonian Optics Room Planetarium

If you are buying a planetarium purely as a toy for your kid, we recommend this projector from Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian planetarium is way cheaper than any of the other planetarium, so don’t expect the same stunning images as the Homestar projectors. It projects images of star, planets, moons and other objects onto a wall or ceiling.

The planetarium does not rotate nor does it have any special effects like twinkling or shooting stars.

Make sure the projector is close to the wall or ceiling to get a clear projection.

The Smithsonian planetarium runs on four AA batteries, so you can locate it wherever you want without worrying about proximity to a power outlet.

It has an auto-off function that turns the projector off after 15 minutes. You cannot turn off this function, which is frustrating for some parents. They have to keep turning it back on.

But if your child falls asleep fast, the 15-minute timer is a not an issue.

If you are buying the Smithsonian planetarium for yourself or an older kid (over 15 years), it’ll be underwhelming. Get one of the Sega Toys planetariums instead.

But for younger kids, the Smithsonian planetarium is a perfect. It’s a great way to decorate their room at night and helps them fall asleep faster.

What we like about it:

  • Low price.
  • Decent image quality.
  • Runs on batteries – makes for easy portability.

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