The 10 Best Cheap Projectors of 2019

Turn your home into a top-notch movie theater with these projectors

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Optoma HD142X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D at Amazon

"Reviewers have been happy with this model and raved about its general picture quality."

Best Mini: APEMAN Mini DLP Projector at Amazon

"For right around $200, this option from APEMAN gives you an amazing picture."

Best Budget: Vankyo Leisure 3 Portable Projector at Amazon

"The ideal option for those seeking entertainment and affordability."

Runner-Up, Best Budget: iDGLAX IDG787W at Amazon

"They’ve somehow managed to work in 2,000 lumens of brightness."

Runner-Up, Best Mini: Anker Nebula Mars II at Amazon

"Has a built-in leather handle, four-hour video battery life, and 7 x 4.8 x 5.4-inch dimensions."

Best Plug-and-Play: Anker Nebula Capsule II at Amazon

"What fits pretty easily in your hand ... packs a powerful punch in picture and sound."

Best New Release: Acer C202i Mini Projector at Amazon

"It may be small in price and stature, but the Acer C202i Mini Projector is a mobile powerhouse."

Best 4K: Viewsonic PX747 4K Projector at Amazon

"With true Ultra HD quality and 3840 x 2160 resolution, the Viewsonic delivers a near cinema-like experience."

Best for Presentations: LG PH150G LED Projector at Amazon

"A nice middle ground between a home movie setup and a portable presentation device."

Best for Streaming Content: Nebula Capsule Smart Mini at Amazon

"Roughly the size of a Coke can, its diminutive size belies the power of Nebula's hardware."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Optoma HD142X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D DLP

Optoma HD142X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D DLP
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Great projection quality

  • Screen size ranges from 66 to 107 inches

  • Easy to set up

What We Don't Like
  • Requires external audio to replicate theater experience

Considering the fact that high-end projectors can cost thousands of dollars, the Optoma HD142X strikes the right balance between quality and affordability. It has 1080p HD resolution, a large screen-size range, and a brightness of 3,000 lumens. It features two HDMI ports (one with MHL), one USB port, one 3D sync port, and an audio output—our tester recommended hooking up an external audio system if you really want high-quality sound.

“While testing, we were watching a Marvel movie, which was fast-paced and visually complex," our tester reported. "The projector performed above average." He was able to project from the end of his driveway onto his garage and achieved a 130-inch projection that he described as “a very crisp display.”

For more reviews and recommendations, take a look at our guide to the best projector screens.

Best Mini: APEMAN Mini DLP Projector

What We Like
  • Great sound quality

  • Easy to focus picture

  • Includes mini tripod

What We Don't Like
  • Setup can be tricky

Nothing sets a camping trip or a backyard party apart like a handheld, battery-powered, mini projector, and for right around $200, this option from APEMAN gives you an amazing picture. DLP technology offers more striking colors and a crisper picture than LCD projectors. Our tester raved, “It was like being in a movie theater in my own bed."

At less than an inch thick and just over a pound, this little device can be slipped into your backpack with ease. It’s powered by a 3,400 mAh battery, which the manufacturer clocks at about 120 minutes of projection time. Plus, there's a low-noise cooling fan and all the necessary inputs from HDMI to USB. Our tester did suggest getting a longer HDMI cable because the included one is short.

Check out our other reviews of the best mini projectors available on the market today.

Best Budget: Vankyo Leisure 3 Portable Projector

What We Like
  • Very compact and portable

  • Carrying case fits everything you need

  • Good cooling design with quiet fan

What We Don't Like
  • Vertical angle adjustment is manual and not very high

  • No feet adjustment to level the projector

  • Not very bright

The Vankyo Leisure 3 Projector is a great option for those looking for an affordable option to watch TV and movies at home. You can adjust image size to between 32 and 176 inches, and it can function as far away as 16 feet or as close as 4.9 feet. Powered by an MStar Advanced Color Engine, the projector has a contrast ratio of 2,000:1 and the ability to support up to 1920 x 1080 resolution.

While our tester called the construction "toy-like," he added, "As long as you know what you are buying, it can be a lot of fun to use." The device can be connected to smartphones and gaming consoles like the PS3, PS4, X-Box One, or Wii. There's also a remote control, HDMI cable, VGA cable, and an AV cable. Our reviewer warned the built-in speakers are low-quality, however. He advised, "Just plan to use it in a very dark room, and don’t expect the most nuanced adjustment capabilities."

Runner-Up, Best Budget: iDGLAX IDG787W

What We Like
  • Good brightness

  • Very low price

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Resolution could be higher

  • Fan is slightly noise

  • Built-in speaker isn't very loud

With most budget projectors, you’ll sacrifice some resolution (which is the case here) but, unlike many other inexpensive projectors, the iDGLAX doesn't sacrifice on brightness with 2,000 lumens. Reviewers say it's perfect for movie nights at home or in the backyard. The aspect ratio gives you the option between 16:9 or 4:3, and there are 15 degrees of keystone correction for a bit of added flexibility on mount locations.

It only has a resolution of 800 x 480, so even though it's compatible with 1080p files, you aren’t going to get the full pixel count. It's not recommended for classrooms or presentations, but customers are thrilled with its longevity and performance for entertainment purposes. Some note that the fan is noisy but say it's not really noticeable once the movie gets going.

Runner-Up, Best Mini: Anker Nebula Mars II

What We Like
  • Extremely portable

  • Good brightness

  • Autofocus feature works well

What We Don't Like
  • Audio lag when using Bluetooth speaker

  • Can't stream Netflix in HD

The Nebula Mars II packs plenty of features and projection quality into a compact, lightweight frame. Reviewers love its built-in leather handle, four-hour video battery life, and 300 ANSI lumens of brightness—perfect for dark or low-lit rooms and outdoors at night. The screen size ranges between 30 and 150 inches, and one-second autofocus and keystone correction ensure the image is sharp. It also delivers surprisingly strong sound through two 10-watt speakers, but reviewers complain that there is an audio lag if you want to hook up an external speaker via Bluetooth.

With a Wi-Fi connection and its own Android 7.1 operating system, you can easily stream TV and movies through apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube—just note you can't stream these in 720p. You can also connect to streaming video sticks, gaming systems, and other sources through the USB 3 and HDMI ports. A remote is included or you can use the Nebula Connect app over Bluetooth.

Best Plug-and-Play: Anker Nebula Capsule II

What We Like
  • Built-in Android TV

  • Good volume

  • Unique, compact design

What We Don't Like
  • Brightness is lacking

  • Expensive compared to competition

For something that fits easily in your hand—due in part to the cylindrical capsule shape—the Anker's Capsule II packs a powerful punch in picture and sound. It also improves on the first generation in a number of ways that (almost) justify its higher price tag. For starters, it has upped the resolution to now fall in the high-def category, at 1280x720. At 200 lumens, reviewers do note that it isn’t the brightest projector and needs to be used in complete darkness.

There’s an 8-watt speaker built-in for a decently full audio response, plus a battery that allows for about 2.5 hours of playback. However, its major selling point is that Android TV is built-in, plus the opportunity to expand to over 3,600 apps by way of the integrated Chromecast function. Reviewers complain that Netflix can't be downloaded directly—although a workaround is sideloading it.

Best New Release: Acer C202i Mini Projector

What We Like
  • Extremely lightweight

  • Great battery life

  • Convenient and reliable wireless connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Built-in speaker is subpar

The Acer C202i Mini Projector is a mobile, user-friendly powerhouse. Weighing less than a pound and measuring 5.9 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches, reviewers say the chassis is perfect for throwing inside a bag to take to a business meeting or other gathering. Its wireless capabilities mean you don’t have to lug around an HDMI cable if you don't want to, and you can also play media over Wi-Fi by connecting to iOS or Android devices or with a USB storage device, like a flash drive or an external SSD.

Its 9,000mAh battery provides up to five hours of battery life and can also charge your phone or tablet. Longevity is a running theme in the C202i: the LED light, wielding a brightness of 300 lumens, can last up to 30,000 hours. Meanwhile, its resolution is 854 x 480 pixels but can be increased up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, and the contrast ratio is 5,000:1. While the visuals it presents are stunning, its one small speaker shouldn’t be relied upon for audio-heavy presentations. 

Best 4K: Viewsonic PX747 4K Projector

What We Like
  • Very bright

  • High-quality images

  • Solid audio from built-in speakers

What We Don't Like
  • No Bluetooth capababilities

  • Slight halo effect around frame

With true Ultra HD quality and 3840 x 2160 resolution, the Viewsonic delivers a near cinema-like experience. More than 8.3 million pixels at 4K quality means colors are bright and vibrant with rich contrast. With 3,500 lumens, the projector has a significantly increased contrast ratio for brighter images whether you're watching indoors or out.

Audio is sufficient thanks to built-in 10W speaker, although some reviewers still wish for the ability to hook up an external speaker via Bluetooth. There are dual HDMI inputs and each input can connect to a variety of devices including Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, computers, digital cameras, and more. The projector can last for up to 15,000 hours of playback. While there are higher-quality 4K projectors on the market, most customers agree that this one is the best bang for your buck.

See more reviews of our favorite 4K and 1080P projectors available for purchase.

Best for Presentations: LG PH150G LED Projector

LG PH150G LED Projector with Built-in Battery 130 lumens
Courtesy of
What We Like
  • Portable

  • High-quality images

  • 30,000 hours of bulb life

What We Don't Like
  • Can't screen share with Apple products via Bluetooth

  • Not super bright

This projector from LG gives you a nice middle ground between a massive home movie setup and a portable presentation device. The 130-lumen brightness isn’t going to offer you the brilliance needed for daytime movies, but the LED projection gives you full HD resolution of 1280 x 720 and an aspect ratio of 100,000:1, which is pretty crisp, provided you have a dark enough room.

The LED illumination system means it will last longer than most traditional projector bulbs, and LG ensures portability with the option to operate the unit plugged in or pulling power from the internal battery, which will give you 2.5 hours of projector use. Customers say it's perfect for taking to a business presentation. Reviewers love the proprietary LG screen sharing capability (although it won't work wirelessly with Apple) and the ability to connect to an external Bluetooth speaker.

Best for Streaming Content: Nebula Capsule Smart Mini

What We Like
  • Large display

  • Great sound

  • Extremely compact

What We Don't Like
  • Physical remote isn't the best

  • Doesn't use Google Play Store

The Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector is perfectly suited for any home with Wi-Fi connectivity. Roughly the size of a Coke can and running off Android software, the projector enables the easy streaming or mirroring of content from any compatible smartphone. While it doesn't include the Google Play Store, you can still download and stream content from Netflix, YouTube, and more from its Aptoide marketplace. A downloadable app enables control of video playback with options for stop, start, and pause as well as volume controls.

The 360-degree speaker pumps out sound in every direction and is loud enough to fill medium- to large-sized rooms with ease. The Nebula can also display an image up to 100 inches. Displaying content with 854 x 480 resolution, the projector doesn’t push out Full HD, but most reviewers say it's more than adequate at this price point. And with four hours of battery life, there’s plenty of power to get through an entire movie.


How much does a projector cost? 

Projectors can cost anywhere from about $50 to well over $5,000. Based on this wide range, anything around $500 and under is typically considered a cheap projector—and if you’re in the market for a 4K projector, that price goes up even more.

How many lumens do I need in a projector?

A lumen is a general term that describes light output, but in the case of projectors, it’s the unit of measurement used to describe the brightness. The more lumens, the brighter the projector will be and the more likely you’ll be able to use it in settings that aren’t completely dark. If you’re looking to project in a completely dark room, as few as 1,000 lumens might be fine, but for spaces with more ambient light, you’ll want to look for something closer to 2,000 lumens.

What is the throw ratio on a projector? 

The throw distance is how much space you need between the projector and the screen (or wall) to display a certain size image. Standard or long-throw projectors require a minimum of 6 feet between the projector and screen to project images of 80 inches or more. Short-throw projectors, on the other hand, can project a 100-inch image at a distance of only 4 or 5 feet. Check your specific projector’s manual for a chart that lists the distance required to display (or throw) an image onto a specific sized screen. This will help with the entire projector setup process.

The Ultimate Projector Buying Guide

The humble TV is getting better every year, but there are still plenty of advantages to choosing a projector over a TV for your home theater needs. For starters, you might want a larger screen for those truly immersive experiences, or you might want something that you can easily move or take outside.

Simply deciding to buy a projector over a TV, however, is only step one. There are a ton of projectors to choose from, and they all offer slightly different features. For starters, you’ll want to think about the general type of projector you’re interested in. There are a few types (DLP, LCoS, LCD, and more), and the type can have a significant effect on the quality and price.

Then, you’ll want to consider the scope of various features available on projectors. For example, you’ll need to make sure the projector has the inputs you need or wireless support if you're looking to cut the cord. Things such as maximum screen size and pixel density are also important considerations, and they’ll directly affect your viewing experience, too.

Because of all these factors, projectors range in price from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. If the price is a major concern, don't worry. When it comes to cheap projectors, there are plenty of options that will provide a quality viewing experience—which is why we put together this guide. So keep reading to get the full scoop on what to look for when shopping for a projector.

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Product Types

The first thing to consider is the type of projector that’s best for you. There are three main types, and they all display an image slightly differently. For many, this won’t matter—things like price and inputs might be more important. But it's good to know your options before you start your search.

DLP Projectors

DLP, or Digital Light Processing projectors, basically project an image through a series of tiny mirrors that tilt either towards or away from the light source to create light or dark pixels on the screen. There are two main types of DLP projectors: single-chip DLP or three-chip DLP, though most people will probably go for single-chip DLP projectors considering their price.

Single-chip DLP projectors are the most common type of projector and offer the sharpest image you can find on consumer projectors. Single-chip DLP projectors use a color wheel that quickly rotates between primary colors to produce an image. The trade-off of this is that you’ll sometimes see a rainbow effect where an image is broken up into red, green, and blue images, which can be annoying while you’re watching a movie.

Three-chip DLP projectors don’t have this color-wheel issue because they have a dedicated DLP chip for each color. The downside of that is that it’s much harder to properly align each panel, resulting in more complex designs and ultimately much more expensive projectors. For that reason, three-chip DLP projectors are usually only found in high-end situations such as movie theaters, though if you can shell out the cash for a three-chip DLP projector, you might find that it’s worth the money.

In general, DLP projectors offer sharp images with little lag. They’re not, however, the best at projecting deep blacks—you’ll sometimes see somewhat muddy blacks from DLP projectors, something that’s fixed in other types of projectors.

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

LCoS Projectors

Liquid Crystal on Silicon projectors offer a completely different take on projection. These projectors essentially shine light through a panel to create an image. Light in an LCoS projector is reflected off of three individual panels, and the light from those panels is then combined to produce the image.

Because of the way LCoS projectors reflect light, they produce the deepest blacks with the highest contrast ratio. The trade-off, however, is that the image isn’t as bright as other projectors, making them best in dark environments and with screens up to 130 inches. Any larger and the projector will struggle to produce enough light to create an immersive image. LCoS projectors also tend to have more issues with motion blur than other projectors, though that’s generally only noticeable in fast-motion scenes.

LCD Projectors

LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display projectors, are kind of a middle-ground between DLP and LCoS projectors in terms of advantages and disadvantages. They’re not quite as bright as DLP projectors, but they’re brighter than LCoS projectors. They’re better at producing fast motion than LCoS projectors but not as good as DLP projectors. And, they produce deeper blacks than DLP projectors, but the contrast ratio isn’t as high as LCoS projectors. LCD projectors are also more affordable than LCoS projectors.

Light Sources

While brightness refers to the amount of light being produced, that light can be produced by a number of different sources. A bulb, called a lamp, is the most common light source in consumer projectors, but there are a few other options out there, and they’re likely to become increasingly common as time goes on.

  Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Lamp Projectors

As mentioned, the lamp is the most common light source for projectors, and there are a few reasons for that. For starters, the lamp is the most affordable option on the list. Projector lamps have been manufactured for some time now and are replaceable, so if and when the lamp eventually fails, it can be replaced. Generally, projector bulbs last between 3,000 and 4,000 hours, although the rated time should be listed on a projector's spec-sheet. Lamps are relatively bright, but not the brightest option. So if brightness is a concern you may want to look into laser projectors instead.

Laser Projectors

Laser projectors are far brighter than lamp projectors. Plus, they don’t require bulb replacements, so despite their higher initial cost, if you plan on using your projector a lot they could ultimately save you money. Laser projectors also offer generally better contrast than lamp projectors, meaning that blacks are a little deeper and darker, and whites are a little brighter—ultimately making for a more realistic image. Finally, laser projectors are more energy-efficient than lamp projectors. The trade-off? Cost. Laser projectors are much more expensive than lamp ones, so the advantages may not be worth it unless you really have the cash to spare.

LED Projectors

Last but not least is the LED projector, which offers a few advantages over lamp projectors. For starters, the bulbs used in LED projectors have a much longer lifespan, often coming in at up to 20,000 hours of use.

Apart from having a longer lifespan, LED projectors also offer better colors and are quieter than lamp projectors because of the fact that they’re much more energy-efficient and thus don’t require a fan for cooling. For these reasons, LED light sources are often found in miniature pico projectors. The main trade-off of LED projectors is that they have a limited brightness.

Other Features and Considerations

In the end, the type of projector you choose may not matter as much as some of the other features on offer. If you're looking for a cheap projector, you may not have much of a choice in the type of projector you choose. You likely will, however, be able to choose a projector based on things like the number of inputs it has or how bright the projector is. Here’s a rundown of those features and what they mean for you.

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 


When it comes to projectors and brightness, the brighter a projector is, the better it will be at projecting in environments with more ambient light or from longer distances. If you plan on projecting close to the screen or wall and in dark environments, then brightness may not matter as much, but for those who want an even moderately versatile projector, brightness will be important.

Brightness in a projector is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the projector is. So what does that mean? Well, for a home projector that will be used in dark environments, you might be able to get away with as little as 1,000 lumens. Brighter projectors, however, will be much more suited to environments with some ambient light. With a larger room or one with more ambient light, you’ll want something closer to the 2,000-lumen range, while really large or bright rooms might need even more than that. For basic use, we recommend something close to the 1,500-lumen range.

Contrast Ratio

The contrast ratio is essentially a measurement of the brightness between black and white. The higher the contrast ratio, the deeper the darks and the brighter the whites. That’s good when it comes to TVs and projectors; it means that there’s more detail in a picture, creating a more immersive viewing experience.

The contrast ratio is especially important for home projectors. In darkened rooms, the contrast will be more noticeable than it would be in rooms with a lot of light, which often mutes contrast.

It’s important to note that contrast ratio isn’t the be-all and end-all of image quality. A projector with a 5,000:1 contrast ratio isn’t necessarily twice as good as one with a 2,500:1 contrast ratio. After all, the contrast ratio only accounts for extremes—it doesn’t say much about the colors and grays in between the brightest whites and blackest blacks.

There are also different types of contrast ratio to consider. There’s regular old “contrast ratio,” and there’s “ANSI Contrast,” which refers to a special way of measuring contrast in which contrast is determined through a black and white checkerboard pattern. ANSI Contrast is a better indicator of the actual contrast ratio you’ll see while viewing movies, so while projectors with a regular contrast ratio measurement might have a higher value, that doesn’t mean they’re better.

So what’s a good contrast ratio? We recommend a contrast ratio of at least 1,000:1, though many projectors will boast a higher figure. That higher figure normally comes with a higher price.


Just like TVs, smartphones, and computer monitors, projectors also display images in pixels—and more pixels is pretty much always better. These days many projectors have an HD resolution, which equates to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, although you’ll see many with a lower resolution, and a bunch with 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) resolutions. In an era of common 4K content, a projector with a 4K resolution is ideal—but often comes with a hefty price. Because of that, we recommend finding one with the highest resolution possible in your price range.

  Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Lens Zoom

Projectors thankfully aren’t made to sit a set distance from the screen you’re projecting onto. Instead, they can zoom in and out a little to accommodate a range of distances. The lens zoom essentially allows you to adjust the size of the image (within reason), meaning that a great projector can be useful for smaller TV-sized projections, or much larger projections when needed. The bigger the lens zoom, the bigger you can make an image.

Keystone Correction and Lens Shift

Wondering what's the difference between keystone correction and lens shift? For starters, it's rare that you’ll be able to place a projector perpendicular to the projection surface, which is where keystone comes in. Keystone correction basically allows you to manually distort an image so that it appears square on a surface despite being projected on an angle. Images can be shifted up, down, and sideways—so even if you’re projecting on a slight angle, you should still be able to achieve a good image.

Lens shift addresses the same issue, but it does so a little better. It basically adjusts the angle of the lens instead of digitally altering the image, as keystone correction does. The advantage to this is that lens shift retains the full resolution of the image, resulting in a better image than keystone correction. Unfortunately, lens shift is really only found on high-end projectors—so you may just have to deal with keystone correction with your budget projector.

Inputs and Outputs

Regardless of the type of projector you get, you’ll need a way to connect your computer, phone, speakers, and other devices to it—and that’s where inputs and outputs come in. There are a few types of inputs and outputs commonly used on projectors. Here’s a quick rundown of them.

HDMI ports are the most common input for projectors and TVs these days, which are a super high-quality standard that combines both video and multi-channel audio into one. HDMI ports can also be found on computers, and there are plenty of adapters for connecting a phone to an HDMI port, making it easy to connect your devices for playback.

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 

DVI is another popular, though slightly less common, port that exists in a few different versions. There’s the digital DVI-D port, the analog DVI-A, and the hybrid DVI-I port that transfers both digital and analog signals. DVI is used on many computers, though not often on laptops.

Composite is a little less common these days, but can still be found on many projectors. Composite splits up a signal into one video connector, which is yellow, and two audio connectors for left and right channels.

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 

VGA is another common analog connector that has become slightly less popular in recent years. VGA connectors are a little large and unwieldy, but if you’re using a computer that has a VGA connection, another VGA connection on the projector can come in handy.

3.5mm is a connector that’s only used for audio—so if you have a set of speakers or a sound system that you want to use with your projector, a 3.5mm connector could come in handy.

Wi-Fi is very popular when it comes to streaming content to projectors rather than having to use physical cables. Wi-Fi connections are usually used in conjunction with an app, or sometimes smart projectors simply stream content from the internet.

Smart Projectors

Smart projectors do exactly what you think they would do: connect to the internet and stream content directly. Many of them run Android, essentially allowing you to download apps for services such as Netflix and Hulu, and apps to connect to other devices.

There are a few advantages to this. First of all, it means you don’t have to deal with cables, which can be annoying and expensive. Second, it means you don’t have to carry around a computer or other device to use with your projector—simply connect it to a wireless network, and you’re good to go. The main disadvantage is that a smart projector might be more expensive, or it might put wireless connectivity over image quality. Make sure you check on image quality before you buy.

Of course, even if you opt for a smart projector, we still recommend making sure the projector has at least one HDMI port, just for those situations in which the Wi-Fi is down or too slow to work properly.

  Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman


Projectors come in a range of sizes. Smaller projectors are easy to carry and fit nicely inside a small bag, but the trade-off is that they often sacrifice quality and brightness for their size. That may be a trade-off that you’re willing to make, but even if you are, it’s still worth being aware of the fact that you might be limited in the situations that you can use your projector.

On the other end of the spectrum are super large projectors, which might have all the latest and greatest projecting tech, but probably need to be permanently mounted considering their size. These projectors sacrifice portability—so if you're looking to take one to meetings or on outdoor adventures, you'll probably want to check weight and dimensions.

Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between tiny or gigantic projectors. There are plenty that fall in the middle of the spectrum and offer decent quality and some portability.

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 


These days, just like you can enjoy 3D content in the movies, you can also get it in your home theater. There are a number of projectors that support 3D content, though as you might expect they’re quite a bit more expensive than their non-3D counterparts. Some projectors can even convert 2D content to 3D, so if you’re truly into watching 3D content, it might be worth buying one of those. Otherwise, you’ll be limited to specific 3D content.

Like watching 3D content at the cinema, 3D content on a projector does require you to use special glasses—so that’s something you’ll have to keep in mind if you’re interested in buying a projector with support for 3D content.


As you can see, there's a huge selection and many factors to consider when buying a projector. While you may not care all that much about the technology under the hood, you’ll still want to make sure that the projector you buy is bright enough and has the right ports for your usage. Resolution and contrast ratio can also be important, as they specifically relate to image quality.

For most users, we recommend a DLP projector with at least one HDMI input and a brightness of at least 1,500 lumens. That should make for a projector that’s relatively versatile and can be used in a range of different situations. Of course, you’ll want something that’s brighter and a little more high-tech if you’re truly building a pricey home theater. But for the average person who simply wants to watch movies every now and then, these specs should be more than fine.

As with anything, a cheap projector might not always meet your needs. If you can afford to spend a little extra cash, it’s always worth buying a projector that’s slightly better than what you think you’ll need. After all, there’s nothing worse than squinting your way through a movie because your projector isn’t bright enough to beat out that annoying ambient light.