The 8 Best Cheap Projectors to Buy in 2017

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

When you want to create a movie theater-like atmosphere in your home, even the biggest TVs won't make the cut, so it's best to spring for a projector. But there’s a wide catalogue of projectors with different attributes ranging from screen resolution outputs, projection display sizes and cost, so it can be hard to know which one to buy. Below we’ve put together the top eight projectors under $600, so whether you're looking for the highest resolution picture or something more affordable and user-friendly, there’s a projector for everyone.

1
Best Overall: Epson VS240 SVGA 3LCD Projector 3000 Lumens Color Brightness

Epson VS240 SVGA 3LCD Projector 3000 Lumens Color Brightness
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The No. 1 video projector on Amazon to date is the Epson VS240 3LCD. Its fair price, strong lumen count, accurate color display, long lamp life and connectivity make it the best overall pick on our list.

The Epson VS240 3LCD Projector provides a color and white brightness of 3,000 lumens, making it suitable for a lasting accurate and vivid color display in better lit environments. Despite its 800 x 600 resolution, the projector is compatible with HDMI for both digital video and audio. Unlike many other projectors on the market, Epson provides one of the longest lasting lamp lives of any projector, maxing out at 10,000 hours.

Though you’ll find more compact projectors, it measures 14.5 x 13.8 x 6.2 inches and weights 8.1 pounds, making it small enough for decent ease in transportation. The projector also includes a one touch instant off button as well a sleep mode so you can pause your presentation without turning it off.

Many Amazon users praise the projector for its brightness and easy setup; it’s a good entry-level projector for ease of use and for presenting business applications as well as watching movies and videos at home. More critical Amazon reviewers have mentioned that its 800 x 600 SVGA resolution seems a little dated and should be upgraded to a better display. 

2
Best Brightness & Warranty: ViewSonic PJD5153 SVGA DLP Projector

ViewSonic PJD5153 SVGA DLP Projector
Courtesy of Amazon.com

With a lumen brightness of 3,200 ANSI, the ViewSonic PJD5153 SVGA provides one of the most robust image displays out of all the projectors on the list. This feature, along with its three-year limited warranty on parts and labor with one year on lamp insurance and an express exchange in the first year, makes it one of the most valuable projectors on the list in both insurance and display capability.

The ViewSonic PJD5153 SVGA DLP is equipped with SuperColor technology and comes with a 15,000:1 contrast review. Both of these features mean that the projector’s image makes for clear viewing when used in brighter settings – the higher the lumen count, the more likely you’ll be able to display a picture from your projector in rooms with more lightning. In addition, the projector also has five view settings depending on your scenario, whether it’s a more cinematic scope or a business presentation.

Unlike some other projectors on the market, this one comes with its own enlarged speaker chamber and powerful amplifier. Most Amazon reviewers are satisfied with this special edition for the projector. Unfortunately, in terms of resolution, the projector provides one of the lowest on the list, giving an output of only 800 x 600 (native). One Amazon user was upset with the lack of an HDMI hook up – an essential for high-resolution displays.

3
Best WiFi Connectivity: ERISAN GM60A WiFi Projector

ERISAN GM60A WiFi Projector
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The ERISAN GM60A WiFi projector measures only 5.6 x 4.3 x 1.6 inches and weighs 2.7 pounds. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, making it a projector perfect for portability.

One of the most unique features of the ERISAN GM60A is that it comes with built in WiFi. Like a Smart TV, you’re able to stream media from your iPhone, iPad, Android and other wireless devices directly to the device. Due to this ability and it having 800 lumens, this LCD projector is best used in darker settings for viewing your movies, TV shows and playing video games. The projector has a 800 x 480 native resolution with a 1000:1 contrast and aspect ration of 4:3/16:9

Unfortunately, due to its limited resolution some Amazon users have said the clarity of the picture could be a tiny bit better. Despite this, other users were pleased with the strong connectivity that the projector has for streaming media from their mobile devices and its reasonable cost and portability.

It comes with a one-year warranty for limited parts and labor as well as a 90-day replacement on lamp.

4
Best Budget: LDdirect US Full Color Max 130" Portable Screen

LDdirect US Full Color Max 130
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The No. 1 best seller on Amazon to date for slide projectors is the JunPro. Due to its affordable cost efficient price, portable design and big screen movie viewing, it makes it one of the best first time buying options for anyone wishing to explore the world of LCD projectors and what they have to offer.

The JunPro weighs 2.8 pounds and measures 10.8 x 7.6 x 4.5 inches. It’s small enough to be carried around in your backpack so you can travel to a friend’s house and set it up. It features a brightness of 1,000 lumens, so it’s best used in darker settings. The 800 x 480p native resolution makes it on the lower end of visual displays, but on the upside, it has USB/SD/VGA/HDMI/AV inputs and a130-inch projection display.

It's also a cinch to stream content from your smart devices: The JunPro connects to your Android phone using an MHL to HDMI cable, to your iPhone with lighting to HDMI cable, and to your PC/Laptop with a HDMI VGA cable.

Many Amazon users were impressed with its incredible price, multiple input types, HD capability and low power consumption. More critical reviewers said that the light output could be better.

5
Best for 3D Capability: Optoma HD141X 1080p 3D DLP

Optoma HD141X 1080p 3D DLP
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Those looking for a higher screen resolution and 3D capable projector should go with the Optoma HD141X. It’s a high-end projector that rivals modern 1080p TVs and maxes out its screen size display to 8 feet by 12 feet.

The Optoma HD141X delivers a 1080p resolution and comes equipped with a 3,000 ANSI lumens bright image with a 23,000:1 contrast video. The higher lumens level makes it more capable than then JunPro in displaying visuals in brighter rooms. It features dynamic black capabilities for richer and crisper display visuals of text, as well as BrilliantColor technology for six-color processing.

The projector includes two HDMI ports (with one for 1.4a 3D support), an MHL v1.2 output, a 3.5mm audio out, VESA 3D sync port, 12V trigger and a USB input. These ports allow for a wide array of device connectivity, from Chromecast and Apple TV to your 3D Blu-Ray DVD players and video game consoles.

Many Amazon users love the projector's powerful display capabilities, while other reviewers mentioned that the remote can sometimes have connectivity issues. And if it does, you'll be happy to know that the project comes with a one-year limited parts and labor warranty along with a 90-day insurance for its lamp.

6
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Optoma HD28DS

Optoma HD28DS
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Powerful, sleek and immersive are just a few words that describe the HD28DS projector. At just 5.7 pounds, it’s small enough to carry and, at 8.8 x 12.4 x 4.5-inches, it fits on just about any table or desk. The 1080p resolution is paired with a brightness of 3,000 lumens, a contrast ratio of 30,000:1 and it has support for 3D video sources like Blu-ray players and cable boxes.

The biggest selling point of the HD28DS is the DarbeeVision Visual Presence video-processing system. This processing engine uses a neuro-biologic algorithm that enhances depth, clarity and realism of digital images and video content. The projector itself is powerful enough to project an image roughly 214 x 290 inches (diagonal) at the 1080p 16:9 aspect ratio in theater-dark lighting. In more moderate lighting conditions, it’s bright enough for a 142- to 158-inch image. Of course, all this is dependent on room size, so there are plenty of adjustments to be made during setup to find the ideal viewing angle.

Color balance offers suitable levels of neutral grays and black to white. Image quality for 3D viewing is roughly the same as 2D. The 10W speakers offer a good amount of clarity for such a small device, but the recommendation is always having a separate set of more powerful speakers. And while the HD28DS requires some heavy optimization testing during setup, once you find the right settings it offers some of the most detailed images in a projector under $1,000.

7
Runner-Up, Best WiFi Connectivity: Epson EX7240 Pro Wireless WXGA 3LCD

Epson EX7240 Pro Wireless WXGA 3LCD
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Epson’s EX7240 Pro Wireless WXGA 3LCD Projector is an easy choice for our pick as the runner-up, best wireless projector. Perfect for a small to midsize room, the 3,200 lumens can project a 215 to 292-inch image at the Epson’s native 16:10 ratio in theater-dark lighting. Switch to more average ambient lighting and you’ll find 140-inch images are excellent. At just 5.5 pounds, the EX7240 is average sized measuring 3.2 x 11.7 x 9.2 inches. Additionally, there’s MHL support, so you can stream from a Chromecast or Roku. Wireless setup is a snap with an on-screen QR code scanned by your phone, and HDMI connectivity provides easy sync with digital and video equipment. The EX7240 works to maximize your viewing time with a lamp that lasts up to 10,000 hours. The color quality is excellent, but caution against full-length movies. The lack of full-HD makes the EX7240 more suited to video clips, pictures and TV. The included two-watt speakers sound far better than anticipated, but the lack of audio output means you’re relying on a separate receiver or speaker system. If portability and suitable brightness alongside wireless connectivity are your main focus, the EX7240 is a fantastic solution.

8
Best Mini: iCodis G1

iCodis G1
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Not only is the iCodis G1 mobile pico projector small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, it offers 1080p viewing at 30fps in a package that’s just 8.5 ounces. With 30,000 hours of LED life, and a projection display size up to 120 inches (thanks to the 100 ANSI lumen bulb), the G1 more than meets the “definition” of a mini projector. Powered by Android 4.4, the G1 has a rechargeable battery that can run for up to 110 minutes.

Setup is a simple. Just connect to your WiFi network and then select your preferred option for playback. The G1 is also capable of connection to a standard tripod (and comes with a mini tripod) for easy mounting and stable viewing. The microSD slot allows for easy movie selection or you just can choose to stream over Miracast or Airplay or connect via the included HDMI cable. Fortunately, the G1 is more than just a movie projector as it handily doubles as a Powerpoint presentation tool for meetings.

The onboard speakers won’t knock your socks off, but the bigger the speakers you can connect, the better your overall experience will be. The vast array of connectivity options alongside the battery backup make the iCodis G1 an easy to recommend projector that fits in your pocket.

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