Projectors and night lights aren’t just a cute addition to nursery decor – they’re designed to ease your baby into a restful slumber with lights and sounds that promote relaxation. There’s a lot to take in when it comes to the facts and figures, because there’s many projectors and night lights on the market and they vary widely by style and features. We’ve taken a look at 10 soothing projectors and night lights that are ideal for babies as well as the key features to keep your eye on in order to help you find the perfect projector for your little one.

Our Top Picks

Editor's Choice Projector

Best Overall

SleepyMe Smart Sleep Soother

Upgrade Choice Projector

Upgrade Choice

Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother

Best Budget Buy Projector

Best Budget Buy

Summer Infant Lamb Soother

How to Pick the Best Projector or Night Light

1. Power Source

The primary feature of projectors and nightlights is that they display lights, which require electricity in the form of either batteries or an AC adapter. Parents who don’t want to deal with replacing batteries might stray away from devices that use them, while those who don’t want to deal with cords and outlets might prefer battery operated soothers. Knowing if you need batteries, what kind and if they’re included makes life easier no matter what the purchase. 

2. Timer Options

Ideally, a projector or soother will turn off eventually to allow baby to sleep soundly. A dark, quiet room is the recommended sleeping environment for babies and toddlers, so you want it to be able to time out. Some devices have extremely specific, high range timers that let you personalize the experience to your baby’s unique sleep habits. Others have only a few timer options, and some have only one. Your baby’s sleep patterns may vary a lot during certain points of their first year, making a versatile timer function extra useful.

3. Volume Control

A projector that’s too loud for your baby is basically just a decoration, because it’s never going to put them to sleep. Fortunately, most come with volume control options, though some have more than others. Options range from a simple mute, low, high setting to the same full range volume control we’re used to seeing on most electronics. What’s fine for some babies can be entirely too loud for others, so it’s helpful to have at least a small range of volume control options. 

4. Crib Safety

While there are some soothers that are specifically designed to be attached to the crib rail and interactive for baby, crib use is contraindicated for many others. Some of the devices are soft and could easily be mistaken for a stuffed animal, but they should never be placed in the crib. This can be a little confusing, so it’s important to know if projectors and soothers are safe to use in the crib. 

5. Sound Options

Some devices have a narrow variety of music and sounds, while others have a large library. Some offer only music, while others also have heartbeat sounds, white noise sounds and nature sounds. Interestingly, there are even projectors that allow you to use your own tunes or sounds through the use of your cell phone or an SD card. Beyond all those options, there are also night lights and projectors that are completely silent. These are ideal if soothing light helps your baby sleep but sound is too stimulating.

6. Projections

Projectors can create a strong aesthetic effect in a room, so it’s important to choose one you like. There’s a wide range of displays – stars, animals, and ocean bubbles to name a few – and some have a lot of color variety. Some others only have one display and color option. If variety matters to you, you’ll want to be aware of what your device can do. Likewise if you’re striving for a particular match with your nursery’s theme or colors.

The Winners

#1

The dimmer controls on the SleepyMe Smart Sleep Soother set it apart from other similar devices, as the 4 settings make it easy to find the perfect light level for baby’s comfort. The unit takes up very little space, and the sturdy rubber feet prevents it from accidentally falling off a surface. It’s powerful for a small device, and plays classical music including Bach and Mozart as well as lullabies, nature sounds, white noise and comforting heartbeat sounds.

Power source: 4 AA batteries, not included
Volume control: 4 volume levels
Timers: 30 min
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: 10 melodies, nature sounds, heartbeat sounds, white noise
Projections: Starry sky in blue, green, orange and multicolored

#2

Soothing baby to sleep is an art with the dimming feature on the Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother. It has a 30 minute total timer period, with the lights and sounds lowering every 10 minutes to ease baby to sleep gently. It fits conveniently onto most crib rails, and similarly to the Fischer-Price soother, a large button allows baby to activate the device and self soothe. The ocean sounds are unique to this device, which doesn’t actually project throughout the room – that can be ideal if your baby is light sensitive, or if your nursery and bedroom are shared.

Power source: 4 C batteries, not included
Volume control: 3 volume settings including mute
Timers: 30 min
Safe in crib: Yes
Sound options: Classical music, ocean sounds
Projections: No projection

#3

Sweet and simple, Laura offers three versatile timer options and a starry sky projection in a variety of colors without breaking the bank. The Summer Infant Projector features a powerful light display that fills the room well in addition to five songs and nature sounds. While there is relatively little audio content to this projector, the attractive display and reasonable price make it a worthwhile pick.

Power source: 3 AAA batteries, not included
Volume control: 3 volume levels
Timers: 15 min, 30 min, 45 min
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: 5 songs, nature sounds
Projections: Starry sky in blue, green, amber and multicolored

#4

This Bubzi Co Owl Sleep Aid has a starry sky projection as well as music, heartbeat, nature and white noise sounds. It features bird songs, which is unique, fun and fitting. The device shouldn’t be placed in the crib, but can be hung from the side or from a stroller with a convenient adjustable strap. It’s portable and hand washes easily, and the music and lights time out after 30 minutes.

Power source: AAA batteries, included
Volume control: 5 volume settings
Timers: 30 min
Safe in crib: Yes, on rail
Sound options: 10 lullabies, heartbeat, bird songs

#5

Not slow to light up the room, this turtle night light with soft plush head, arms and legs is cute in any nursery and projects eight different real constellations which are fantastic for learning as kids get older. Cloud B Twilight Turtle displays in blue, green and yellow, and the display times out after 45 minutes. This device has no sound, which can be ideal if your baby prefers quiet when falling asleep.

Power source: 3 AAA batteries, included
Volume control: No sound
Timers: 45 min
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: No sound
Projections: Starry sky and 8 constellations in blue, green and yellow

#6

Packed with features, the Sleep Soother most notably hooks up to your cell phone, allowing you to provide your own soundtrack to the northern lights and nebular light displays the device produces. No matter what you choose, the custom experience of picking your own tracks doesn’t get old – you’re not limited like you are with other devices. 8 light projection modes in red, green, blue and multi-color are made even cooler by a 45 degree tilt that allows maximum panoramic room coverage. The device has an hour timer which makes it perfect to use in the nursery, though it could easily get use elsewhere in the house.

Power source: AC power
Volume control: Full volume control range
Timers: 1 hour
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: You bring the music – the device connects to your cell phone or mp3 player
Projections: Galaxy and aurora projections, aurora borealis, nebular light, RGB with 8 light projection modes

#7

Perfect for self soothing, the Calming Seas Soother features a large, easy to push button that allows baby to turn on the device and calm themselves back into slumber without waking mom or dad. The green and blue bubble projection is unique and fits with the sea theme, as a light up sea show inside the device lets baby watch fish and a seahorse swim around. The soother is crib safe, and fits easily onto most crib rails.

Power source: 4 C batteries, not included
Volume control: No
Timers: 60 min
Safe in crib: Yes
Sound options: Music, white noise, nature
Projections: Full room ocean bubble projection, green and blue

#8

Boasting a truly exceptional timer length, this Remote Control Star Projector can be timed for anywhere from 5 to 999 minutes. It features a star projection with 9 different light effects, and has 10 music tracks which are pre-loaded onto a removable, editable SD card. This means you can add your own tunes, personalizing the experience even further. The remote control makes operating the device convenient, perfect when you don’t want to enter a nursery and risk waking a sleeping baby.

Power source: AC power
Volume control: Full volume control
Timers: 5 – 999 min
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: Built-in SD card reader comes with card featuring 10 songs that can be replaced with your own tracks
Projections: Starry sky projection with 9 different light effects

#9

Tech lovers rejoice – you’ve found your projector. Fisher-Price SmartConnect is app controlled, which means you use your cell phone to remotely control settings. The customization options revolve heavily around baby’s sleep needs and tendencies at their current age of birth, which can be helpful and educational. It also features three different projections(amber animals, amber night light, starlight in several color options), where most devices only have one theme.

Power source: AC power
Volume control: Full volume control
Timers: Highly customizable timer, continual use also available
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: Music, nature sounds, white noise
Projections: Soft amber night light, starlight(multiple color variations), soft amber animals

#10

Definitely more a lamp than a projector, this NASA accurate 3D moon print illuminates in 16 different colors with 5 light display modes in order to create a unique presentation in any room. The Mind-Glowing 3D Moon Lamp, which sits on an included wooden stand, does not have any further projections or audio. It is powered by a lithium battery which is charged via USB. This is an unusual and beautiful piece that will continue to be appreciated by kids as they grow.

Power source: Lithium polymer battery included, charges via USB
Volume control: No sound
Timers: No timer
Safe in crib: No
Sound options: No sound
Projections: No projections, but 16 colors, 5 light display modes and dimmer feature

FAQs: All you need to know

Q How do I know which soother is right for my family? 

A Every baby is different, as are every parent’s preferences. If you’re looking for something distinctly baby-centric, the Fischer-Price Calming Seas or the Baby Einstein Sea Dreams are great choices. If you want something that they’ll continue to use as they grow, the 3D Moon Lamp or the SOAIY Sleep Soother have features that can be enjoyed at any age. If you’re looking for high tech features, the Fischer-Price SmartConnect has app control customizable to baby’s stage of growth, but if you want something super simple, Laura the Lamb or the Cloud B Twilight Turtle are awesome picks. Every projector we’ve mentioned here has something to offer your baby, but what’s right for you depends on your needs. 

Q Do projectors have any scientifically proven benefits for babies?

A While lights simply seem to soothe and entertain babies, there’s evidence on the books that white noise can help to settle difficult babies to sleep. There’s also plenty of proof that listening to soothing music right before bed and as sleep begins is good for the human brain at any age, triggering the release of serotonin, slowing breathing and quieting the nervous system.

Q Are these projectors really just for babies? Because I kind of want one…

A You’re far from alone! Many adults enjoy the use of light and sound projection devices for relaxation. Some people feel that these devices provide some relief from anxiety and depression, and others simply enjoy the soothing aesthetic the device can provide. There are several devices mentioned here, like the 3D Moon Lamp, SOAIY Sleep Soother and Aron Bros Remote Control Star Projector that are great for adults. The latter two let you bring your own music, which is especially cool. 

Quick Decision

SleepyMe Smart Sleep Soother – Best Overall
Super cute and stable design, great projections and audio that’s scientifically proven to help babies sleep made this our Editor’s Choice.

Baby Einstein Sea Dreams SootherUpgrade Choice
It’s a great and safe addition to cribs with a cool gradual dimming light and sound feature and an easy to access button baby can use to self soothe, netting it our Upgrade Choice award.

Summer Infant Projection and Melodies Soother – Best Budget
BuySimple and sweet, this lamb is easy to use, has a versatile timer feature and a robust display, which earned it our Best Budget Buy award.

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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