When you’re in bed, you might find it necessary to roll over, sit up, or crane your neck to view the time displayed on your alarm clock. Maybe the clock is on your partner’s side of the bed, and it’s impossible to see it from your side. If these small annoyances bother you, there’s good news. A wide variety of projection alarm clocks are available to project the time in a clearly visible image right on your bedroom wall or ceiling, making it easy to check the clock at any time of the night.
While projection alarm clocks are practical, they’re not for everyone. We spoke with Dr. Michelle Drapkin, a behavior scientist, board-certified clinical psychologist, and author with a background in cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). She cautions that projection alarm clocks aren’t ideal for people with true insomnia, and particularly if they’re trying protocols like CBT-I. She says, “Insomnia is frustrating and, well, exhausting. So peeping your eyes open and seeing a 3:00 a.m. could put someone into a panic and get them wide awake. So, making time checking less accessible is helpful for them. Here, a projection alarm clock would be a problem.”
Insomniacs aside, projection alarm clocks are a suitable choice for most sleepers. If you want to give them a try, most models also have the option to turn the projection off. Additionally, the best projection alarm clocks offer features such as dual alarms, indoor-outdoor temperature readings, and USB ports for phone charging, making them an excellent nightstand companion.
- BEST OVERALL: Magnasonic Projection Alarm Clock Radio
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Number-one Projection Digital Alarm Clock
- BEST DUAL ALARM: Smartro SC31B Digital Projection Alarm Clock
- BEST WITH OUTDOOR TEMP: Smartro SC91 Projection Alarm Clock
- BEST FOR PHONE CHARGING: La Crosse Technology C75709 2.0 Alarm Clock
- BEST FOR TRAVELING: Mesqool AM/FM Digital Dimmable Projection Alarm Clock
- BEST ALARM FEATURES: Sony ICF-C1PJ Radio Alarm Clock With Projector
- BEST WITH WEATHER DATA: Dr. Prepare Projection Alarm Clock 005
- BEST WITH SOUND MACHINE: Homedics Soundspa Recharged Alarm Clock
How We Chose the Best Projection Alarm Clocks
There’s one major reason to switch from a regular alarm clock to a projection model, and that’s convenience. As Dr. Drapkin says, “The biggest benefit is that you don’t have to search for the clock to find out what time it is. The searching—or the turning on of your phone—is way more disruptive to your sleep than just cracking your eyes open a peep and seeing what time it is.”
With different bedroom sizes and layouts, that means an adjustable projection angle is one of the most important features to look for—if you can’t choose where the clock projects the time, it defeats the purpose. It’s even better if the projector focus is adjustable as well to make sure the image is clear. All of the models on our list have adjustable projectors, and we selected a few with adjustable focus as well.
Good projection alarm clocks also come with additional tools, which can include dual alarms, built-in speakers and radios, indoor and outdoor temperature and weather monitors, and charging ports. With so many affordable feature-filled choices on the market, it’s easy to find a clock that does more than just project the time. We chose clocks that take advantage of these features to suit different types of users, including options for traveling, wireless phone charging, and combined clock and sound machine models.
Our Top Picks
With an abundance of convenient features and attractive designs, there is a wide array of projection alarm clocks to choose from. Peruse these top picks to discover options that provide weather/temperature information, dual alarms, music amplification, multiple alarm tones, and easy-to-read displays. The following list of high-quality products from reputable manufacturers will help you find the best projection alarm clock to suit your needs and preferences.
You and your partner can set individual preprogrammable daily alarms with this projection alarm clock from Magnasonic. Awaken to your choice of either a buzzer or your favorite music, and even disable the alarm on weekends for when it’s time to sleep in. The built-in 3.5-millimeter auxiliary input lets you play music or podcasts from an iPhone, iPad, Android device, MP3 player, or the built-in AM/FM radio.
The time, indoor temperature, and day/month/year are always in view on the 3.6-inch blue liquid crystal display (LCD) display. Use the dimmer options (high, low, and off) to suit your personal sensitivity to nighttime light. A 180-degree swivel projector shows the time or temperature on your ceiling or wall, with adjustable focus to make sure it’s clear.
Additionally, this projection alarm clock automatically adjusts to daylight saving time and features a built-in lithium battery to guarantee automatic and correct time/date adjustment after a power outage. At a diminutive 4.76 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches by deep and 1.23 pounds, this projection alarm clock packs an abundance of handy features but doesn’t consume much space on your bedside table.
- Dimensions: 4.76 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches by deep
- Radio: AM/FM
- Charging port: No
- Compact footprint makes this alarm clock suitable for small or crowded nightstands
- Features dual alarms, with the option to automatically disable the alarms on weekends
- Has a built-in AM/FM radio with a 20-station memory and option to wake up to a favorite radio station
- Does not have a USB or phone charging port
Get the Magnasonic projection alarm clock at Amazon or Magnasonic.
Simple but still so practical, the Number-one projection digital alarm clock is an affordable choice that doesn’t skimp on features. This small alarm clock features a reflective 7.5-inch light-emitting diode (LED) screen. Cycle through four dimmable settings, including the option to turn the screen off. When the screen is off, you can use the front of the clock as a mirror.
The screen displays the time, indoor temperature, and indoor humidity, so you can keep tabs on your bedroom environment. An FM radio is built-in for your listening pleasure, and you can take advantage of the sleep timer to switch it off automatically. For larger households, a dual alarm feature makes it possible to set two separate alarms, and a USB charging port and back-up battery add to this clock’s convenience.
An adjustable projector swivels 180 degrees to make it possible to see the time on a ceiling or wall. However, the projector doesn’t have adjustable focus. This clock is best suited for smaller rooms. The brand cites the best projection distance as 9.8 feet (but up to 16.4 feet is fine, too).
- Dimensions: 3.6 inches tall by 7.3 inches wide by 1.9 inches deep
- Radio: FM
- Charging port: Yes
- Feature filled for a budget-friendly price: includes dual alarms and a USB charging port
- Large and reflective display can double as a mirror when the screen is off
- Mirror display design gives this alarm clock a sleek and modern appearance
- Projector focus is not adjustable; around a 9.8-foot projection distance is recommended for the clearest time image
Get the Number-one projection alarm clock at Amazon.
The soft red color of the projected display from this alarm clock does not disturb most sleepers. Meanwhile, it is clearly readable when projected from a distance of 3.3 to 9.8 feet onto your wall or ceiling. This clock doesn’t only project the time but also cycles between indoor and outdoor temperature so you can keep tabs on your area.
The dual-alarm feature allows you to set separate alarms for yourself and your partner. Hit any button except the top button and the alarm turns off, remaining set for the next day. As an added convenience, use the 5-minute snooze feature for a bit of extra shut-eye. A battery backup saves your settings in case of a power outage.
This projection alarm clock from Smartro offers a USB charging port for your phone as well as a 3-inch backlit LCD screen with four brightness modes. In addition to the time, you’ll view the outdoor temperature, conveyed via an included wireless sensor.
- Dimensions: 5.3 inches wide by 3.1 inches tall
- Radio: None
- Charging port: Yes
- Dual-alarm setting with convenient snooze option and backup battery to maintain settings, even after a power outage
- Displays outdoor temperature (and includes a wireless sensor for an accurate reading)
- Projection displays time as well as outdoor and indoor temperature (alternating)
- Does not have an AM or FM radio built-in
Get the Smartro SC31B projection alarm clock at Amazon or Smartro.
A professional-grade sensor provides accurate measurements of indoor/outdoor temperatures and humidity for display on this projection alarm clock. Additionally, the device shows the time in 12- or 24-hour format as well as the date, weekday, weather patterns, mold risk, and mold alerts. This abundance of helpful information is displayed on a 4.5-inch LCD screen.
Use the adjustable projection feature to project the time and temperature onto your wall or ceiling. The temperature display will automatically toggle between outdoor and indoor readings. Smartro includes one sensor, but you can connect up to three wireless remote sensors on three channels to measure temperature and humidity in different areas around your home.
A dimmer mechanism adjusts the backlit LCD display, offering light, medium, low, and out settings. Plug in the AC power adaptor for regular use, but the built-in battery will ensure that weather data is not lost when you unplug or lose power to this projection alarm clock. Like others on this list, this clock offers dual alarms for even more convenience.
- Dimensions: 6.6 inches wide by 3.9 inches tall
- Radio: None
- Charging port: No
- Displays detailed environment information, including temperature, forecast, humidity, and mold alerts
- Large 4.5-inch display screen makes these details easy to read
- 1 sensor is included but up to 2 more can be connected (not included)
- Lacks a built-in radio; no AM or FM radio available
Get the Smartro SC91 projection alarm clock at Amazon or Smartro.
If you leave your phone charging on your nightstand every night, then the La Crosse Technology C75709 2.0 alarm clock is a higher-tech option for you that combines a charging dock and a projection alarm clock. This bedside device can charge a range of mobile devices while also displaying the time, date, indoor temperature, and humidity on its brightness-adjustable screen. An Auto Dim feature can automatically dim the screen at your preset time. Add a wireless sensor (not included) to display outdoor temperature and humidity.
Of course, this clock also shows the time as a projection with the adjustable projection arm. In terms of charging features, the alarm clock has a 10-watt wireless charger for your compatible smartphone as well as a USB-A port and a USB-C port for other devices.
- Dimensions: 8.39 inches wide by 3.75 inches deep by 4.76 inches tall
- Radio: No
- Charging port: Yes
- Includes a built-in wireless charging dock, USB-A port, and USB-C port
- Auto Dim feature automatically dims the display at a preselected time
- Very user-friendly with adjustable phone charging dock and easy-access buttons along top of clock
- Lacks radio or any audio input settings, which means no option to play music or set a personalized alarm sound
Get the La Crosse Technology projection alarm clock at Amazon or The Home Depot.
Those looking for a lightweight and portable projection alarm clock for traveling will want to take a look at this option from Mesqool. Made with a 360-degree adjustable projector and 180-degree flip of projection at 4.8 to 9.8 feet, this alarm clock comes with both AM and FM radio, a 1.8-inch ultralarge LED display that comes in three different colors, and a high-speed USB charging. Plus, this model is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players, and the brightness of the projected numbers can be adjusted.
This Mesqool option also comes with dual alarms that are customizable, meaning users can wake to either a buzzer or a radio. The LED display can be dimmed to five different levels if desired, and the alarm volume can be adjusted. The backup batteries also provide convenience if the user hasn’t had time to charge the unit after a day of travel, and the time displayed can be set to 12-hour, 24-hour, or daylight saving time. Finally, this unit is 7.87 inches wide by 1.18 inches deep by 3.15 inches tall, making it compact enough to fit in a backpack or in luggage.
- Dimensions: 7.87 inches wide by 1.18 inches deep by 3.15 inches tall
- Radio: AM/FM
- Charging port: Yes
- Comes with a 350-degree swivel projection and 180-degree flip of projection; projects to up to 9.8 feet
- Comes with AM and FM radio and is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players
- Customizable dual alarms integrated; volume, type of alarm, and display can be adjusted
- Backup batteries and compact size are ideal for fitting into a backpack or in luggage
- Some users have reported that the projection brightness is too bright
Get the Musqool projection alarm clock at Amazon.
If you prefer to fall asleep and wake up gently, the Sony ICF-C1PJ radio alarm clock is a soothing choice. It has a gradual-wake alarm, raising the volume slowly so it won’t jar you awake with a sudden buzz, as well as an extendible snooze for days where you want more time in bed. This clock also has the option to fall asleep or wake up to five nature sound options or the radio.
Of course, this clock has a projection feature with adjustable angle and focus. Like other top projection alarm clocks, it has a built-in AM/FM radio (with 10 presets), dual alarms, and a USB charging port. A battery backup ensures that this clock won’t miss a minute, even if the power goes out.
- Dimensions: Not specified
- Radio: AM/FM
- Charging port: Yes
- Robust alarm settings: dual alarms with gradual wake and extendible snooze
- Users can choose from several alarm sounds: buzzer, radio, or 5 nature sound options
- Neat cube shape and mirror finish suits modern bedroom designs
- Some reviewers note that the sound quality is quite tinny
Get the Sony projection alarm clock at Amazon, Best Buy, or Sony.
Get all the weather information you need tableside with this projection alarm clock from Dr. Prepare. This weather station clock has a large LCD screen that shows the time, date, indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, mold risk, atmospheric pressure, and weather forecast. This clock uses wireless remote sensors to gather outdoor information; one is included, but you can add up to two more (sold separately).
While the on-screen display is robust, this alarm clock has a simple projection to match others on the market. It projects the time and temperature, with both an adjustable projection angle and focus. Choose from two projection options (permanent-on mode and 15-seconds-then-shutoff mode) and four screen brightness levels. This alarm clock also has dual alarms and a snooze feature, so it’s conducive to better sleep.
- Dimensions: 6.73 inches wide by 3.62 inches deep by 4.13 inches tall
- Radio: No
- Charging port: No
- Displays detailed weather information on a large and dimmable backlit screen
- Robust weather information, including indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, mold risk, atmospheric pressure, and weather forecast
- Visual weather forecast display makes it easy to tell the forecast at a glance
- Lacks a built-in AM/FM radio or USB charging port
Get the Dr. Prepare projection alarm clock at Amazon or Dr. Prepare.
The Homedics Soundspa Recharged alarm clock combines several devices in one, squeezing the features of a high-quality projection alarm clock and a sound machine into one small package. It has a dimmable LCD screen that displays the time and indoor temperature, a built-in FM radio, dual-alarm feature, USB charging port (with a smartphone holder), and, of course, an adjustable-angle time projector.
Doubling as a sound machine, this alarm clock has an auto-off timer (that ranges from 15 to 60 minutes), plus users can choose from eight nature sounds or the radio to fall asleep. For a less jarring wakeup, they can also choose from these sounds or a classic buzzer for the morning alarm. The eight noise options include fan, campfire, rainforest, ocean, rain, white noise, thunderstorm, and brook sounds—plenty of options to choose from to lull anyone to sleep.
- Dimensions: 7.3 inches wide by 2.39 inches deep by 6.25 inches tall
- Radio: FM
- Charging port: Yes
- 8 sound machine options to choose from: fan, campfire, rainforest, ocean, rain, white noise, thunderstorm, and bubbling brook
- Users can fall asleep to the sound machine or radio (with the auto-off timer) or wake up to these gentle alarm sounds
- Smartphone holder and USB charging port on the back of the clock provide a nighttime dock for phones
- Projection brightness and focus are not adjustable; some reviewers found it too bright or blurry
Get the Homedics projection alarm clock at Amazon, Best Buy, or Homedics.
What to Consider when Choosing a Projection Alarm Clock
If you’re trying to keep smartphones out of the bedroom, then you’ll need to invest in a good alarm clock. With ample choices available, you can select a projection alarm clock that offers the features you desire. Consider whether you want to plug your projection alarm clock into an AC outlet, use a rechargeable battery, or insert alkaline batteries. Additionally, you can choose the color and design of the time display on your clock face as well as the angle of projection for the enlarged image. Select from LED or LCD displays in optional colors, and don’t forget to choose an alarm ringtone that you’ll want to hear as you awaken. Read on to learn about the features to consider as you shop for the best projection alarm clock for your nightstand.
The genius behind the projection alarm clock is that you can read the time on the clock face, or you can simply look up at your wall or ceiling to see the time projected in a clearly visible image. Every projection alarm clock includes a built-in projector that can be rotated up to 180 degrees to project the image onto the most viewable spot on your wall or ceiling.
Most projection alarm clocks show a digital display of the time. As you set up your new clock, you can choose a 12-hour or 24-hour (military time) readout. The projector operates along the same principles as a movie projector. Projection alarm clocks use both LCD and LED technology.
Display and Backlight
The function of a projection alarm clock requires a backlight, either an incandescent bulb or LED. Many models available on the market today use LED backlighting. Users can read the time and other information displayed on the clock screen, or they can view the enlarged image projected onto the wall or ceiling.
In most cases, the numbers are shown in red or blue colors that can be viewed at night without causing a strong awakening response in most sleepers. Additionally, projection alarm clocks feature adjustable brightness settings. Select from among dim, medium, bright, and off settings to suit your needs regarding light sensitivity.
Bright settings project images that can be viewed even in daylight. A dim setting allows users to view the time projected in a dark room. On the other hand, if buyers want total darkness while they sleep, they can adjust the projector to the off setting.
The outer casings of most projection alarm clocks are made from durable plastic, including acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) material. ABS plastic is structurally strong and impact-resistant. Additionally, ABS demonstrates desirable properties for electrical insulation.
Many projection alarm clocks include LCD screens, similar to those used in computers, TVs, and tablets. Additionally, the backlighting that facilitates projection of the image is provided by LED bulbs in most projection alarm clocks. As an energy-saving feature, LEDs produce light with less electrical power than incandescent bulbs.
Projection alarm clocks offer a wide variety of audible tones to awaken you from slumber. Options include nature sounds, a buzzer, AM/FM radio stations, or amplified music played from a connected smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player.
Imagine awakening to the gentle sounds of nature, as some projection alarm clocks offer multiple options that include ocean waves, birdsong, or rain. Alternatively, users can select other sounds like a musical chord, white noise, or a buzzer. Many projection alarm clocks allow you to awaken to your favorite AM or FM radio show, with memories to accommodate up to 20 preset stations.
Some projection alarm clocks offer the additional convenience of dual alarms. This means that users can set two alarms for different times so two people can awaken separately.
Most projection alarm clocks feature a tabletop design, allowing users to keep them close at hand on bedside tables. They are small, consuming a limited footprint on a surface that typically holds additional necessary items.
Many projection alarm clocks feature curved LCD screens that offer easy-on-the-eyes viewing. The advantage of a curved screen is that it employs all three dimensions (length, width, and height) to reduce distortion and make reading more comfortable for our eyes.
Although most projection alarm clocks measure only a few inches in length, height, and depth, they vary in their shapes. Some are shaped like small cubes, while others offer a thin and sleek design. Those with curved screens are generally rectangular and measure only about an inch in thickness.
Most projection alarm clocks plug into alternating current (AC) electrical outlets, but this is not the only available power option. Some models feature rechargeable batteries that can be charged via a USB cable, while others operate on lithium or alkaline batteries. Those that require alkaline batteries typically run on AAA or AA batteries.
Many projection alarm clocks use a combination of battery and AC power. Batteries provide backup power that maintains accurate time and temperature readings in the absence of AC power. This is a convenient feature if the clock is accidentally unplugged or if a power outage occurs.
By now, you’ve probably narrowed your selection to one or two favorite projection alarm clocks, and perhaps you’re ready to make an informed choice. Still, you may have some questions before you get started. Read on for answers to questions people frequently ask regarding projection alarm clocks.
Q. How do you set a projection alarm clock?
Follow the instructions included with your projection alarm clock. Be sure to set your time zone for automatic adjustments such as daylight saving time or data recovery from a power outage.
Q. Are there projection alarm clocks with nature sounds?
Yes. With some projection alarm clocks, you can awaken to your choice of nature sounds like birdsong, rain, ocean waves, or a babbling brook.
Q. Will a projection alarm clock be too bright and keep me awake?
Many projection alarm clocks feature adjustable brightness settings. You can adjust these settings to best suit your sensitivity to light.
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