Projection clock radios project the current time on to a wall or ceiling, as well as waking you up with an alarm and allowing you to listen to the radio, like non-projection models do. This makes it possible to read the time from a greater distance and, unlike some LCD and analog clock radio models, lets the time be viewed when lights are turned off. In addition to using them in bedrooms, they can also be used in place of a large clock in any room where the lights are frequently turned off. Here are some features to look for when purchasing a projection clock radio…
TIME DISPLAY: Projection alarm clocks usually also have a regular lighted digital display built-in, and the projection feature can be switched on and off on just about every model. The projection unit can be usually be rotated to point at different parts of the room or ceiling, although the degree of rotation varies from one model to the next. A few models have a fixed-position projector which only points straight up at the ceiling.
TIME COLOR: Most projection clock radios project the time in red, but a few are available which project in other colors. For example, the Homedics SS-4000 projects in blue, and a few project the time and temperature in different colors. Keep in mind that the projection color is different than the built-in digital display’s color on some units.
TEMPERATURE: Some models, like the RCA RP5440, also display the current indoor and outdoor temperatures, using a wire with a probe on the end (or a wireless remote unit) to detect the outdoor temperature. There are also other models which only show the indoor temperature. The temperature is only displayed on the screen and not in the projection, on some models, while others (like the Coby CRA-149) project both. Some also provide the humidity percentage or other weather data.
SOUNDS: A few projection clock radio models, mostly made by the Homedics brand name, have a feature which plays built-in sounds, such as the sound of rainfall, an ocean, or a waterfall.
RADIO: The radio tuning mechanism may be analog or digital. Models with analog tuning include the Electro Brand 4637 and Coby CRA78, while the RCA RP5440 and a few others have digital tuning. Units with analog tuning appear to be much more common. Keep in mind that it is more likely a projection alarm clock will not have a built-in radio than a typical alarm clock, so don’t assume that it has a radio without making sure it does.
CD PLAYER: A few models of projection clock radios have a built-in CD player, although not many brands make these. Two examples are the jWin JL-CD809 and Homedics SS-6000.
AUTO SET: Some projection and other clock radio models have a feature which automatically sets the current time, either using atomic clock data received over radio waves or pre-programmed timing. This is convenient, but has little advantage over a regular battery back-up feature.
BATTERY BACKUP: As with any clock radio, a battery back-up feature prevents the current time and alarm time from being lost if there is a power interruption. Most models use a “9V” battery for this, a few use two “AA” (costs about half as much as one “9V”, but “AA” batteries seem to corrode more often than “9V”).
Other features you may want to look for include dual alarm time settings, audio input, or a headphone jack. Projection clock radio units are available at stores like Sears and Target, as well as online shopping websites and internet auctions. Brand names which have produced them include Jensen, Windsor, Naxa, and others.