The 7 Best Projection Clocks
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night wondering what time it is, try one of these projection clocks, which can display the information on your ceiling or wall, saving you from craning your neck and allowing you to go back to sleep easily if it's too early. Many can also show the temperature and are equipped with alarms, AM/FM radios, and convenient USB charging ports. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 27, 2020:
These projection clocks are great for anyone who appreciates being able to see the time displayed prominently at night without having to crane your neck, put on your glasses, or look at your phone. Most also double as alarm clocks, and various models also come with sensors that can detect the outside temperature and other related conditions, so they can also serve as basic weather stations.
Today the Mpow Digital joins our selection, as a modern-looking curved design that sits atop a low-profile stand. Its array of user-friendly controls on top makes it easy to set the brightness level of the image it throws, the number of minutes you want to be allowed to snooze, and more. Speaking of the alarm, you’ve got several sound options including a beep for those who need loud noise to wake up, as well as soothing waves and cheery birdsong for those who prefer something on the gentle side. It’s equipped with a USB charging port, and you can choose a model that features either blue or white characters. In the event of a power outage, it remembers your settings.
In this update, we kept the Sonic Blast in the top spot, as it has a lot to offer, thanks to its large, clear projected image, five-level dimming, Bluetooth speaker, and “Super Shaker” disk designed to wake up even the heaviest of sleepers. After some deliberation, we moved the Magnasonic EAAC601 down into the number two spot, as this popular choice has a lot to offer. It’s got an intriguing pointillist-style display and is equipped with an auxiliary output, so you can listen to music on your phone or tablet if you prefer that over the built-in AM/FM radio. It can wake up two people who need to rise and shine at different times, thanks to its two alarms. For a reliable model that sets itself according to the atomic clock, look to the La Crosse Technology 616-146A, which also conveniently features a USB charging port. It can also display things like phases of the moon and the ambient temperature of the room you’re in.
June 27, 2019:
The highly customizable Sonic Blast steals the top spot on our list in this update, and it sure has a lot of bells and whistles to offer. First off, it displays the time on your ceiling or wall clearly and in large numbers. It also can be used as an alarm clock, with a gradual wakeup process that features a flashing light followed by a tone that increases in volume (you can choose from three sounds or even record your own), which in turn is followed by its Sonic Boom shaker which, when placed under your pillow, is sure to wake you up from even the deepest of sleep. (This feature is helpful for anyone who is hearing impaired.) It has a built-in Bluetooth speaker that produces high-quality audio, as well as a handy USB charging port. The screen offers a five-level dimmer, and it can double as a nightlight. For those who prefer to fall asleep to white noise, it offers that as well.
Also coming on board is the Ambient Weather WS-8460, which is highly similar in scope to the WS-8400 from the same manufacturer (which leaves the list because of availability issues). This one boasts a backlight that can be set to any of 256 colors. You can also choose to have it automatically select the color based on the temperature outside. Speaking of which, it comes with a wireless sensor that you can place outside your home that will convey the temperature to the clock. The clock plugs in via an AC plug, but also can run on backup batteries, and the sensor runs on a CR2032 battery that’s included.
The Vekey Wake Up also leaves the selection, since it’s not currently available.
Sharper Image Weather Projection Clock Know the time and weather forecast before you even get out of bed with this selection’s LED-generated large, clear picture on your wall or ceiling. Its amber LCD also displays this information, as well as the day/date and indoor/outdoor temperatures. It comes with a wireless sensor to help provide accurate temperature readings from right outside your home. sharperimage.com
How Are Projection Clocks Best Used?
Either way, it takes much less energy to project a clock than to hang a clock, and the effect on your home’s design is the same.
There are many situations which call for the use of a projector clock. In a child’s room, projector clocks are fun, multipurpose learning tools. Projector clocks can be an engaging way to help your child learn how to tell time. If a model with different LED color settings is used, you can also help teach your child colors. The calm lighting of most projection clocks really make them great night lights as well.
Projection clocks can also make for perfect design elements in the home. A clock’s projection can add to the feng shui of a room and help balance the design. Virtual projections also take up less space than physical clocks. A clock with a three feet diameter would take a lot of planning to hang over your mantelpiece. On the other hand, a projection is weightless, unless you count the mass of a photon. Either way, it takes much less energy to project a clock than to hang a clock, and the effect on your home’s design is the same.
Projection clocks are also great for minimalist living. In a small studio apartment, every inch counts. If a clock sticks out five inches from the wall, it can make the room look a lot smaller. Most projection clocks will fit on a shelf or in an unused corner of the room. This saves you some much needed space.
How To Choose A Projection Clock
You will want to factor in a few considerations before purchasing any projection clock. First off, ask yourself if you want an analog or digital projection in your home. An analog clock may be more appealing to the eye. If your projector clock will display over the mantleplace, an analog projection can be a novel design element. Consider a digital clock if the projection will be in a place you must check it often to be sure you are on time. A digital clock is much easier to read. Then take a moment to ask yourself who will be using this clock. Some projection clocks have functions and design elements most suitable for a kid’s room, while others offer a more modern, streamlined look that appeal to an adult’s eye.
Some projection clocks have functions and design elements most suitable for a kid’s room, while others offer a more modern, streamlined look that appeal to an adult’s eye.
Another important function is whether or not the clock has an adjustable focus. Some models do not offer adjustment wheels to adjust the focus and clarity of the clock. With a digital projection, this may not be as much of an issue as with an analog style projector. Consider purchasing a clock with a durable housing if it will be in a place where it can easily be knocked down, such as a nightstand. Accidents happen, and if your projection clock does not have durable housing, it can break.
You will also want to factor in how the projector clock is powered. Most clocks are powered either by batteries or an alternating current (AC) cable connected to an outlet in your home. Which solution works best for you? If your projector clock will need to be in the middle of the room, you should consider a battery powered unit. If having yet another device with batteries in your house makes you cringe, get an AC powered projector clock. Bonus features may also make a difference in your purchase as well. Additional benefits can be enticing, and include calendars, temperature display, and various projection colors.
The Invention Of The Projection Clock
Though projection clocks are enjoying a recent rise in popularity, the first projection clock was actually invented in 1992 by a man named Chih H. Pan. In his eye, the projector clock was just another advancement in the way we tell time. Ancient cultures used sundials to tell the time. Which obviously only work when the sun is out. The sundial gave way to the clepsydra, or water clock. The clepsydra told time by measuring the constant flow of water, and was accurate because of Torricelli’s Law.
Once the hourglass was invented, the water clock soon disappeared. An hourglass is a much more practical device than a water clock. It was not until the 1500s that the hourglass gave way to the mechanical clock. Mechanical clocks have enjoyed a long history of use and are still in use today. Modern day digital clocks have taken over the time-telling market, but still exist alongside mechanical clocks. In the inventor’s eye, the projector clock provided the solution to the problem of all clocks before it – the ability to see the entire clock in the dark. Because of these illuminating effects, it was also designed to be a useful night light.
Many different versions of projector clocks now exist in the world. While the first projector clock may not have had a calendar or 8 different colored projections, if it wasn’t for Chih H. Pan’s wonderful creation, who knows where the world of projector clocks would be today?