It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until the lights twinkle on every house. However, the hours it takes to string those lights only to find that one of them is out (and maybe taking out the rest of the lights with it) just aren’t worth it. Save some time and effort by using one of the best Christmas light projectors. These devices may seem techy for Christmas decorations, but they provide a festive display that takes a fraction of the time to set up. Christmas light projectors display everything from snowflakes and snowmen to laser light shows with a kaleidoscope of colors.
We extensively tested the following models for ease of setup and operation, included features, and light display quality during the day and night. Discover the results below, along with a shopping guide and tips to determine which features to consider when looking for the best Christmas light projector for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: LEDMall 8-Patterns-in-1 Christmas Lights Projector
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SunBox Live Christmas Holiday Lights Projector
- BEST CHRISTMAS DESIGNS: LEDMall 3-Models-in-1 Christmas Lights Projector
- BEST FOR BIG HOMES: Y Yuegang Christmas Projector Lights
- BEST SNOWFLAKE: Mitata Snowflake Christmas Light Projector
- BEST INDOOR: Spooboola Party Lights Disco DJ Lights Projector
- BEST FOR TREES: Poeland Outdoor Christmas Projector Light
- ALSO CONSIDER: Lunmore Christmas Lights Laser Projector
How We Tested the Best Christmas Light Projectors
To determine which Christmas light projectors to test, we considered more than 60 models based on brand reputation, and the features, quality, and review consensus of the individual projectors. Then we thoroughly tested the final list of products in the real world—both indoors and outdoors (when the projectors were rated for outdoor use) during different ambient light conditions.
We judged each Christmas light projector based on the setup procedure, available features, ease of use, and end results. Factors such as price, included accessories, build quality, and aesthetics also factored into our overall assessment. All of the Christmas light projectors for outdoor use have some level of weather resistance. We tested them all outdoors, but because we could not put them through every weather condition during the testing period, we also considered their IP (ingress protection) ratings.
Our Top Picks
Choosing from the many Christmas light projectors available can be daunting. We sifted through the options to find brands and models that rose above the competition with their performance, options, and durability.
The LEDMall projector creates beautiful light displays in eight patterns with three diode lasers. The images are dancing laser patterns in red, green, and blue rather than discernible images like Santa Claus or a snowman. The laser movement creates the illusion of twinkling lights.
Of all the Christmas laser light projectors, this model earned high marks from us with its durability and flexible installation options for indoor and outdoor use. We tested it both indoors and outdoors, which was a simple matter of screwing and unscrewing the sturdy tabletop base or the ground stake to the stand. However, the projector head has a more limited range of movement for angling it off its stand than some other projectors have. There are also mounting screws to attach the unit’s base to a wall or ceiling.
We appreciated its sturdy metal construction, which along with its high IP67 waterproof rating, seemed ready for any harsh elements of the holiday season. And we just really enjoyed the complex patterns it creates, which include different shapes and spirals, as well as twinkling dots.
This projector also comes with a security lock to deter thieves; a lockable cable runs from the projector to a secure object, such as a fence. The remote control has many options for setting color combinations or single-color displays, motion speed controls, and an auto-off timer with 2-, 4-, 6-, or 8-hour durations. In our usage, the remote always responded quickly and reliably.
Read our full review: LEDMall 8-Patterns-in-1 Christmas Lights Projector
- Coverage: 2,500 square feet
- IP rating: IP67
- Display distance: Flexible
- Remote control with color, speed, and timer controls
- Sturdy, robust build quality to withstand the elements
- Includes necessary hardware to install it indoors or outdoors
- Includes locking security cable to prevent theft
Get the LEDMall 8-Pattern Christmas light projector on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
This SunBox projector may not be the strictly least expensive option on this list, but for its low price, it lights up holidays and occasions the whole year round with 16 interchangeable slides. Each slide projects themed images dedicated to several holidays, including:
- St. Patrick’s Day
- April Fools’ Day
- Valentine’s Day
- Independence Day
- New Year’s
Christmas gets four separate slides, while additional slides provide themed lights for birthday parties and other celebrations. There’s a slide compartment at the top of the projector, and after turning off the power, it was easy for us to change the slides by unscrewing the compartment lid and exchanging slides.
The projector is graded for indoor and outdoor use, and we tested it in both situations. It was a quick process for us to screw the ground stake or tabletop/floor base on or off the stand depending on where we wished to place it. We also intuitively figured out the remote control’s several options for setting a 2- or 4-hour auto-off timer, turning on the flashing mode and making the flashing faster or slower, and setting the motor speed for rotating the slide images faster, slower, or not at all.
Each of the 16 slides has four simple but pleasant, cartoon-style images that rotate around the projection space. The four Christmas slides in particular are full of festive trees and wreaths, snowmen, stockings, and jolly ol’ St. Nick. While this projector provides a great value for versatile holiday lighting options, during our tests its mostly lightweight, plastic construction did not seem as durable as some other projectors in this round-up. It also did not appear bright enough to us to be very effective in daylight, and it did not include AAA batteries for the remote.
- Coverage: 323 square feet
- IP rating: IP65
- Display distance: 10 to 39 feet
- 16 slides made for many holidays and celebrations
- Helpful remote control with speed option and timer
- Pre-installed slide made it easier to set up
- Does not come with AAA batteries for the remote
- Not bright enough to be very effective in outdoor daylight
Get the SunBox Christmas light projector at Amazon, Sears, or Kmart.
The LEDMall 3-Models-In-1 projector takes laser lights up a notch with 18 moving patterns—six of them dedicated to Christmas. The Christmas patterns include candy canes, snowflakes, gingerbread houses, bells, and Santa Claus. There are also six patterns dedicated to Halloween (such as haunted houses, ghosts, and jack-o-lanterns) and six general-use patterns for any type of party or decorative lighting.
All the patterns are in red, green, and blue, but we were able to turn each of those colors on or off from buttons on the remote control. It’s the most full-featured remote of all the projectors we tested. We also really appreciated the remote’s three shortcut buttons for cycling through the Christmas, Halloween, and general laser light patterns. It also let us set the laser pattern motion speed and includes timer buttons for 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-hour auto-off settings.
This model was the biggest, most robust, and most capable projector in this roundup. It’s very similar to the other LEDMall projector that we rated the Best Overall above. It has the same shape, durable build, IP67 waterproofing, and included accessories such as a locking security cable, but it is larger and has more projection patterns. Its Christmas and Halloween patterns impressed us the most and make this projector worth spending a little extra. Their details were sharp and bright when we placed the projector at distances of 10 to 30 feet, but these lasers are powerful enough for users to place them even further away, although at a cost of decreased brightness.
Despite its extra size and weight, its extra-sturdy stake secured it into the ground well when we installed it outside, as did its base for flat surfaces when we installed it inside. A longer-than-average 25-foot electrical cord may eliminate the need for an extension cord. At 25 feet away, this projector can cover a 2,500-square-foot space. Although everything about this projector worked well in our testing, some users have reported that the red laser stopped working in their unit.
- Coverage: 2,500 square feet
- IP rating: IP67
- Display distance: Flexible
- 18 laser patterns: 6 for Christmas, 6 for Halloween, and 6 general
- 4 timer settings: 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours
- Remote control with color, pattern, speed, and timer buttons
- Includes locking security cable with keys
- Some users report that red laser goes out
Get the LEDMall 3-Models-in-1 Christmas lights projector on Amazon or at Walmart.
The Y Yuegang projector may be small in size, but it covers a whopping 3,800-square-foot area when placed at a distance of 33 feet. The projector head rotates 300 degrees, which gave us a lot of freedom during setup to try different angles and find the best angle to get the most out of our available space. We enjoyed its very clear images from its five laser light patterns, including Christmas trees, bells, snowflakes, and Santas. We also liked how the projector altered the timing of its patterns to make their motion less repetitive.
We also could make quick changes from the remote control’s “mode” button to cycle the display from all-red to all-green to red-and-green lights. The remote also controls three motor speed settings, and its timer section has 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-hour buttons, with a “reset” button for turning the timer off.
We tested this projector both indoors and outdoors, and like many of these Christmas light projectors, it was easy to transition from outside to inside by unscrewing its ground stake and screwing on the base to set it on a table or floor.
However, we were disappointed with its short power cord of 16.4 feet, which for us meant we needed an extension cord to place it at the end of its range of 33 feet away from a wall. Also, the adapter/electrical plug is only IP44 rated, protecting it from low-velocity water sprays, but not as weather-resistant as the IP67 projector. That means some setups may need some sort of cover over the adapter.
- Coverage: 3,800 square feet
- IP rating: Projector IP65, adapter IP44
- Display distance: 33 feet
- Large 3,800-square-foot coverage area
- 300-degree rotating head helps get the best angle for projection
- Christmas patterns stay clear at distances up to 33 feet
- Adapter isn’t as weatherproof as the projector
- Short power cord so some setups may need an extension cord
Get the Y Yuegang Christmas light projector at Amazon, Sears, or Kmart.
Regardless of where one lives, Christmastime conjures up images of snow. Even in areas where it’s cold in December, a white Christmas can be hard to come by, but with the Mitata Snowflake Christmas Light Projector, it can always be a snowy yuletide. With its IP65-rated water resistance and heat and frost resistance from -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, this projector is ready for the elements. And it’s reasonably priced.
Wintry vibes emanate from the projector in moving kaleidoscopic patterns of large white and blue snowflakes, as well as smaller white and blue dots. The remote control let us vary the display by turning the flash mode on and off, controlling the flash speed, and controlling the pattern rotation speed. The remote can also set a power-off timer for 2, 4, or 8 hours. All of its functions worked well, and its buttons responded well in our testing. We also appreciated that it included a CR2032 button battery in the box.
A ground stake is included for outdoor installation, which worked very well for us. However, when we tested it indoors, it was quite difficult to balance the projector on its “connection part” when setting it up on a flat surface.
Mitata does not list the projector’s maximum coverage area, but we could tell by comparison that it was not nearly as large as many of the other projectors in this buying guide. To stretch out the display as much as possible, users can place it 65 feet away from the display surface. Users should keep in mind that, as we noticed in testing, the further away the projector is placed from a wall or other surface, the less bright it appears.
Another caveat of using this projector at a lengthy distance: the remote control only works from 30 feet away–which we confirmed in our testing. So for those who live in a cold area, they may have to bundle up to go outside and operate the display when it’s positioned at longer distances.
- Coverage: N/A
- IP rating: IP65
- Display distance: Up to 65 feet
- Good water and temperature resistance
- Timer settings from the remote control
- Flash and speed controls to vary the picture
- For indoor use, the “connection part” stand is not very stable
- Projection coverage is not very large
- Display distance is longer than the remote control’s range
Get the Mitata Christmas light projector on Amazon.
The Party Lights Disco DJ Lights Projector by Spooboola takes the holidays beyond a simple display into dance territory. This laser light show model blankets walls and ceilings with hundreds, if not thousands, of light points in three pattern modes: auto, flash (strobe), and sound. The sound mode responds to fluctuations in music playing or other surrounding sounds, and there are two music settings for the sound mode available from the remote control. One music setting shows no lights at all if there is no sound, and the other goes to auto pattern mode when there’s no sound, then responds to the sound when it’s there.
Regardless of the mode, all the light combinations and patterns add to the holiday fun with plenty of red and green. While this light projector is built in the style of dance club/party lasers, we thought its colors and brilliant patterns make it entirely appropriate for sprucing up indoor holiday decor. We found the lights to be super bright and sharp. And with the remote control, we could quickly set the mode, the color combination (red only, green only, or red and green), and the speed of the light motion effects.
This projector was easy for us to set up and gave us flexible setup options because it has both a small, removable, adjustable tripod stand, as well as a removable bracket good for screwing into a wall, ceiling, etc. for semi-permanent installation. With the bendable tripod legs, we could place the projector on a table or wrap it around a sturdy object to get the best angle. Note that this product is for indoor use only.
One downside of this model was the microphone’s response to music in the sound modes. In testing we had to make the music source either very loud or put it very close to the projector—otherwise its response to sound was poor in our testing.
- Coverage: N/A
- IP rating: Indoor only
- Display distance: N/A
- Red, green, or red/green color modes to add holiday cheer
- 2 music control settings for linking the light display to ambient noise
- Flexible tripod can stand the projector on a surface or hang it from certain objects
- Remote control sets the colors, motor speed, and music response options
- Microphone not very responsive unless the music was very loud or very close
- Short power cord limits placement or requires extension cord
Get the Spooboola Christmas light projector on Amazon.
The Poeland projector light creates a laser light show that—as we discovered in our testing—shows up on trees just as well as it does on flat surfaces. It’s the bright, focused light that makes a difference. Two installation options include a ground stake and a platform that works for indoor use. For users planning to project the lights onto trees, we confirmed that the larger and thicker-than-average ground stake is quite strong for staking into a tree-filled area that may have roots close to the ground’s surface.
The timer offers four auto-off settings: 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours. We appreciated that its included security kit—a locking cable with keys—secures the projector in place to deter thieves, and the remote control let us adjust colors, movement speed, and the built-in timer.
We tried the Poeland projector against some small trees—both deciduous and coniferous—and its bright, focused lights worked well to stay clearly visible against their leaves, needles, and branches. That makes this model attractive for users who may want to use it as an alternative to time-consuming and back-breaking light stringing on their yard’s trees. Other laser light projectors can also show up well on trees, but we particularly liked this one for that purpose. While everything about the Poeland projector worked well in our testing, a few users have had the remote control stop working within the first season.
- Coverage: 2,500 square feet
- IP rating: IP65
- Display distance: 10 to 20 feet
- Focused light that makes colors appear brighter
- Lights show up well on uneven surfaces such as trees
- Includes locking security cable to deter thieves
- Some users have reported a faulty remote
Get the Poeland Christmas light projector on Amazon.
With its max 2,500 square-foot coverage, design, and other features, the Lunmore is very similar to our Best Overall LEDMall model, except for its construction, which uses more plastic than solid metal. However, the Lunmore projector still boasts impressive weather resistance, with IP65 dustproofing and waterproofing, as well as an operating temperature range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for use in a variety of conditions.
After testing this model indoors and outdoors, we determined that, for its build quality and price, it’s a very good middle-ground Christmas light projector. It’s much more solidly constructed than, say, the SunBox or Mitata models, but not built like a tank the way that the LEDMall models are. For that, buyers will pay a price somewhere between those other models, which we think is fair.
This model does not have dedicated Christmas patterns, but red, green, and blue lights are entirely appropriate for the season, and users can choose to turn the individual colors on or off from the remote control to create red and green patterns, all blue patterns, etc.
- Coverage: Up to 2,500 square feet
- IP rating: Projector IP65, adapter IP44
- Display distance: 10 to 20 feet
- Excellent weather resistance ratings to withstand a variety of conditions
- Projector angles 180 degrees from its stand for flexibility in aiming the display
- Solid build and projector performance for its price
- No dedicated Christmas light patterns
Get the Lunmore Christmas light projector at Amazon, Kmart, or Sears.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Christmas Light Projectors
Christmas projector lights, patterns, and display size are only a few of the considerations that factor into a buying decision. Also think about waterproofing, installation, and control. The following features will make a difference in performance, display quality, and whether or not it will make a Christmas display the envy of the neighborhood.
Patterns and Projection Range
Some projectors have a single pattern like starry, twinkling lights or snowflakes, while others have up to 20. Many of those extra patterns go well beyond Christmas to include Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthday projections, and other occasions.
Projection range indicates the farthest distance the projector can be from the target (usually the house) and still create a clear image or light display. Anywhere between 20 and 40 feet is average, though some may have a longer range or only a short, 10- to 12-foot projection range. If the projector is placed beyond this range, the displayed image loses clarity.
Durability and Waterproofing
An outdoor projector must withstand wind, rain, and snow to be useful in many local climates. Check the projector’s IP rating. An IP rating indicates the device’s level of water resistance and/or resistance to particles like dirt and dust. Example IP ratings include IP67 or IP44. The first number indicates the particle-proof level of the projector, with a 0 offering no protection and a 6 being airtight. The second number indicates protection from liquids. It ranges from 0 to 9, with 9 being submersible and 0 being no protection.
If there’s an X in the rating, such as IPX7, it means that the manufacturer did not test the item for particle resistance but did test it for water resistance. Outdoor Christmas projector lights should have a rating of at least IP65 to withstand rainy weather. However, projectors used in more extreme winters may require an IP67 rating.
Most Christmas light projectors that are cleared for outdoor use include a ground stake to secure it in place, which is pretty easy to install. Of course, the electrical cord needs to be plugged in, but installation usually only takes a few minutes. Other designs may have a built-in tripod or a base that can rest on a flat surface or be screwed into a wall or ceiling. Most models have more than one installation option.
Remote and Timer
Tromping out into cold weather to turn on a projector isn’t exactly holiday fun. Models that come with a remote and built-in timer save time and money in the long run. A remote allows for light display adjustments and control from the front porch or even inside the house, depending on the remote control’s range.
Timers make sure the projector only runs when it will be visible, namely when it’s dark. They typically run on an 8-hour-on/16-hour-off or 6-hour-on/18-hour-off cycle. Some models come with several automatic timer settings, which lets users turn the projector on once and forget about it.
Maybe you have a Christmas light projector in mind already, or maybe you don’t. If you have lingering questions, we have answers. Check out some of the most common questions about these festive products.
Q. How many Christmas light projectors do I need?
The number of Christmas light projectors you need depends on the square footage of the display area. Some projectors can cover up to 3,800 square feet, while others cover only 600 square feet. Estimate or measure the square footage of the display area and buy a projector that will cover it. If it’s a particularly large area, you might need more than one projector.
Q. Can I project lights onto a tree?
Lights can be projected onto a tree with varying levels of success, and some models work better than others on trees. Generally, the lights display best on a flat surface, which of course a tree is not. However, moving light displays can make a tree look like it’s lit because the light continually catches the branches.
Q. How do I set up a Christmas light projector?
First, read the manufacturer’s instructions, and then follow them. Depending on the projector’s specs, you may need a tape measure to determine the optimal distance from the display area. From there, it’s a matter of adjusting the projector angle, securing it, and plugging in an extension cord.
Q. At what distance should I install a Christmas light projector?
The appropriate distance varies from model to model. Some models project best between 15 and 20 feet from the display area, while others display best at 30 to 40 feet. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Q. On what surface can the Christmas light project the image?
Christmas light projectors provide the best images on a relatively flat surface, like a house, garage door, or interior wall.
Why Trust Bob Vila
For more than 40 years, Bob Vila has dispensed expert advice for upgrading homes and improving home life. BobVila.com’s editorial expertise continues that tradition. For this buying guide, Markkus Rovito thoroughly tested all the Christmas light projectors first-hand. He has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing electronics, software, and other technology for publications such as “Popular Science,” “Futurism,” and more.