The 6 Best Projection Clocks

Updated May 25, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Do you ever find yourself looking up and wondering what time it is? OK, maybe you don't, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be helpful to have a chronometer on the ceiling. As well as looking cool, these projection clocks may just ensure you don't show up late for work or miss an important appointment, as you'll find the time staring you right in the face as you lie in bed. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best projection clock on Amazon.

6. La Crosse Technology 616-146A

La Crosse Technology 616-146A features a multicolored display and automatic time setting via radio frequency according to the US atomic clock. It also reads the ambient temperature of the room it's in, and can include that information in its projected image as well.
  • displays the phases of the moon
  • rear usb port is often faulty
  • some units turn off at random
Brand La Crosse Technology
Model 616-146A
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Oregon Scientific RM313

The Oregon Scientific RM313 uses radio signals to set itself according to the atomic clock and boasts a crescendo alarm function. It's a bit funny looking, but its wide-legged stance gives it some character, and it's available in a variety of colors.
  • image can be flipped 180 degrees
  • also displays ambient temperature
  • sync function is a bit glitchy
Brand Oregon Scientific
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Electrohome EAAC601

With its compact design and bright and clear pointillist-style display, the Electrohome EAAC601 is a wonderful bedside companion. It features a 3.5mm auxiliary input so you can listen to your choice of music if there's nothing good on its built-in radio.
  • up to two customizable alarms
  • comes preset with the accurate time
  • easy to toggle projection on and off
Brand Electrohome
Model EAAC601
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Ambient Weather WS-8400

The Ambient Weather WS-8400 has a large, easy to read display with a backlight that changes color depending on the temperature outside. If you prefer to choose one of its 13 hues yourself, it's easy to manually override. It also displays the barometric pressure.
  • includes a remote thermometer
  • measures ambient temperature as well
  • ac powered with batteries for backup
Brand Ambient Weather
Model WS-8400
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Vekey Wake Up

Ideal as a children's nightlight, the inexpensive Vekey Wake Up has a small built-in display and a domed top that gently glows in your choice of seven colors. A simple tap throws an image of the time surrounded by the moon and stars onto a nearby wall or ceiling.
  • snooze function for the alarm
  • color-changing mode
  • compact size is good for travel
Brand Vekey
Model pending
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Mesqool MS-CR01

The Mesqool MS-CR01 features a built-in AM/FM radio, which you can choose to wake up to if you prefer it to a buzzer. It also has three brightness settings and a USB port, so you can keep your phone or tablet charged on your desk or bedside table.
  • rotating projector arm
  • easily accessible top panel controls
  • bright and uncluttered led display
Brand Mesqool
Model FBA_MQL-AC-01
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

How Are Projection Clocks Best Used?

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 3 ft. 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 5 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.

Secondly, 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.

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?

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Last updated on May 25, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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