The 7 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. To help, 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.

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. 

The best standard projector to buy on a budget is the OCDAY 2800. The device measures just 13.2 x 4.6 x 10.3 inches and weighs 4.6 pounds, but it does a lot in a relatively small and portable package. The OCDAY 2800 projects at 1280x768 resolution (720p HD) with a brightness of 2800 lumens (which is bright enough for most rooms). It has a lot of flexibility, as it can project on screens between 50 and 200 inches and project three ways (front, rear and ceiling). The OCDAY 2800 also has built-in speakers (we wouldn’t rely on them exclusively for sound) and inputs for HDMI, USB, AV, VGA and YPbPr.La. Just be sure to keep in mind that because of the pricing, the OCDAY 2800 isn’t going to blow you away, but it will likely do enough to keep you happy.

While 3D is not the hot feature that it once was, there are still a lot of fans that enjoy 3D content and own 3D movies. Not all projectors can handle 3D content, but the Optoma HD142X does it swimmingly and it’s a great 2D projector, too. The HD142X has 1080p HD resolution, a screen-size range of 66 inches to 107 inches and a brightness of 3000 lumens, so it will work in a wide variety of rooms and settings. As for connections, it has two HDMI ports (one with MHL), one USB port, one 3D sync port, as well as an audio output, so you can connect a decent pair of speakers or a sound system. Amazon reviewers have been quite happy with this model and have raved about its general picture quality, rich color reproduction, minimal fan noise and good 3D projection on movies like Avatar, Thor and Godzilla.

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.

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.

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.

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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