The 10 Best Cheap Projectors of 2020

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

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ViewSonic PX700HD at Amazon

"Delivers a theater-quality experience at a price point that will suit just about any budget."

Best Mini Projector: APEMAN Mini M4 at Amazon

"The perfect choice for home theater that are short on space."

Best Outdoor Projector: Anker Nebula Capsule Max at Amazon

"Designed with outdoor movie nights with friends in mind."

Best for Movies: Vankyo Leisure 3 at Amazon

"This projector uses an LED lamp that is up to 60 percent brighter than traditional lamps."

Best for Presentations: Epson V355 at Amazon

"You can adjust the projected image size from 80 to up to 120 inches so your presentation can be seen easily."

Best for Gaming: Optoma HD143X at Amazon

"Boasts a native 1080p HD resolution and a 23,000:1 contrast ratio for truly sublime image quality."

Best Long Throw: DR-J Professional 3600 at Amazon

"With a maximum throw distance of 16 feet, you can mount or place it just about anywhere."

Best Short Throw: ViewSonic PS501X at Amazon

"Perfect for most living rooms, meeting spaces, and even classrooms."

Best for Phones: TopVision T21 at Amazon

"Play movies and display photos directly from your smartphone or mobile device."

Best with Wi-Fi: Jinhoo M10 at Amazon

"Features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to set up your home theater without running a tangle of wires."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ViewSonic PX700HD

What We Like
  • 3D mode

  • Great warranty

  • Long lamp life

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of projectors freezing images

  • Reports of failing units

  • Reports of bad HDMI ports

If you take movie-watching seriously, you need to check out the ViewSonic PX700HD projector. This ViewSonic model delivers a theater-quality experience at a price point that will suit just about any budget. It has SuperColor technology that gives you superior color saturation and picture contrast in all but the brightest environments. It also has a sports mode for watching your favorite teams without missing a single detail. 

If you want to use it to play games, you can connect this projector to Windows- or Mac-based computers and consoles and enjoy a low latency input with a 16ms delay for virtually lag-free play. The PX700HD also features a 3D mode for a more immersive experience when watching your favorite movies. The lamp is rated for 15,000 hours and is backed by a one year warranty. The projector is backed by a three-year limited parts warranty and US-based customer service.

Best Mini Projector: APEMAN Mini M4

3.1
What We Like
  • Compact and travel friendly

  • Long lamp life

  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like
  • USB port is for power only

  • Does not support Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Poor image in brighter environments

For home theaters that are short on space, the APEMAN Mini M4 projector is the perfect choice. This projector measures just 3.85-inches square and weighs less than half a pound, making it great for tucking away in a corner between screenings or even for travel. The Mini M4 has a built-in lithium-ion battery that supports up to 2.5 hours of watch time on a full charge. The lamp is rated for 45,000 hours and can project an image on a screen up to 100-inches. 

This projector uses DLP technology to deliver rich colors and sharp contrast when watching movies or playing video games; plus, it supports full 1080p HD input for superior detail. The Mini M4 comes packaged with a tripod to make setup and positioning a breeze. The projector has a quiet operation fan to provide clearer stereo sound when streaming movies, music, or playing games. 

Best Outdoor Projector: Anker Nebula Capsule Max

What We Like
  • Download streaming apps directly to the projector

  • Autofocus

  • Wired and wireless play

What We Don't Like
  • Lag when screen mirroring

  • Limited streaming app support

  • Poor app interface

The Anker Nebula Capsule Max mini projector is designed with outdoor movie nights with friends in mind. The sleek, compact design makes it easy to tuck this projector in a backpack or travel bag without fear of damaging it. The built-in battery provides up to four hours of watch time at once and reaches a full charge in as little as 2.5 hours. The lamp is rated for 30,000 hours of use and projects 720p HD pictures for great picture clarity. 

The Capsule Max runs on the Android 8.1 operating system, meaning you can download your favorite streaming apps directly to the projector. You can also connect your computer, game console, or mobile device via HDMI or USB ports or wirelessly via AirPlay, Miracast, and Bluetooth connections. The built-in 8-watt speaker delivers crisp, clear sound without distortion so you don't miss a beat of music or a line of dialogue.

Best for Movies: Vankyo Leisure 3

3.5
What We Like
  • LED lamp

  • Plug-and-play functionality

  • Fan noise suppression

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of failing units

  • Reports of DOA units

  • Short power cord

For hardcore movie buffs, the Vankyo Leisure 3 delivers a superior viewing experience. This projector uses an LED lamp that is up to 60 percent brighter than traditional lamps and is rated for up to 40,000 hours of use. You can adjust the picture size from 32 inches to 170 inches for quality perspective in almost any size home theater.

The Leisure 3 uses Vankyo's proprietary MStar Advanced Color engine for rich colors and saturation in movies, sporting events, and even video games. You can connect your TV, computer, game console, or mobile device via an HDMI or USB Type-C cable. The two built-in speakers deliver clear stereo sound, and the projector's noise suppression capabilities help cut fan noise for even better audio. The Leisure 3 comes packaged with a custom carrying bag so you can take it with you to movie nights with family and friends or even on vacation.

Best for Presentations: Epson V355

What We Like
  • Clear image in bright rooms

  • Easy set up

  • Up to 120-inch image

What We Don't Like
  • Loud fan

  • Runs hot

  • HDMI splitter needed to play audio from projector

If you're looking for a projector to give presentations during business meetings, check out the Epson V355. This projector's lamp provides 3,300 lumens of brightness for both color and white light projection, giving you a clear image, even in brightly lit rooms. The V355 uses WXGA resolution for HD video support, plus it even supports widescreen image and video formats

You can adjust the projected image size from 80 to up to 120 inches so your presentation can be seen easily in all but the largest of meeting rooms or lecture halls. The sleek and lightweight design makes this projector easy to move between rooms or travel with on business trips. You can connect almost any computer, mobile device, or gaming console with either an HDMI cable or the included VGA cable. This projector also comes packaged with a remote for easy setup and use.

Best for Gaming: Optoma HD143X

What We Like
  • Native 1080p HD

  • Full 3D support

  • Low latency

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of bad remotes

  • Reports of DOA units

  • Reports of failing lamps

Whether you're looking to upgrade your game room or you're just tired of crowding around a small TV to play games with your friends, the Optoma HD143X projector may be the right choice for you. This projector is designed with gaming mind: with a low latency input, you can play all your favorite games with virtually no lag. The HD143X boasts a native 1080p HD resolution and a 23,000:1 contrast ratio for truly sublime image quality.

The projector also offers full 3D support for a more immersive media experience. The dual HDMI inputs mean you can connect your favorite consoles and other devices simultaneously. The lamp delivers 3000 lumens of brightness so you can enjoy your games in even the brightest environments, and it is rated for 12,000 hours of use. Set-up for this projector is fast and easy with the manual zoom and focus wheel so you can adjust picture size and quality to suit your space.

Best Long Throw: DR-J Professional 3600

What We Like
  • Multiple input formats

  • Long lamp life

  • Large image size

What We Don't Like
  • No Dolby Digital 5.1 support

  • No Netflix support for iPhone input

  • Reports of DOA units

If you're looking to convert your basement or another large space into a dedicated media room, the Dr. J Professional 3600 projector is up for the job. This projector has an image size that can be adjusted up to 170 inches, and with a maximum throw distance of 16 feet, you can mount or place it just about anywhere. 

Hence its name, the lamp delivers 3,600 lumens of brightness and is rated for 40,000 hours of use so you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows with family and friends for years to come. The five-layer LCD lens can be focused with pinpoint accuracy and is 20 percent brighter than Dr. J's previous model. The built-in stereo speakers give you clear sound for an immersive viewing experience. Otherwise, you can connect your favorite external speakers. The projector supports HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, and microSD.

Best Short Throw: ViewSonic PS501X

What We Like
  • 3D support

  • Whiteboard compatible

  • Large viewing area at short throw distance

What We Don't Like
  • No 4K support

  • Confusing on/off buttons on remote

The ViewSonic PS501X projector is designed with average spaces in mind. Its short-throw lens gives you up to 120 inches of viewable images at a maximum throw distance of 4.8 feet, making it perfect for most living rooms, meeting spaces, and even classrooms. Rated for up to 15,000 hours of use, the lamp provides 3,500 lumens of brightness so you can get clear images even in bright environments.

In addition to full 3D support, the PS501X exhibits ViewSonic's proprietary SuperColor technology, which uses a six-segment color wheel and dynamic lamp controls so you can adjust the color saturation and contrast to your preferences. You can pair this projector with ViewSonic's Interactive Whiteboard module for hands-on classroom learning and more engaging presentations.

Best for Phones: TopVision T21

What We Like
  • iOS and Android support

  • Good warranty

  • Long lamp life

What We Don't Like
  • Connection issues with Samsung Galaxy S9/S10 phones

  • Reports of failing units

  • Will not stream Netflix/Hulu/Amazon video while screen mirroring

The TopVision T21 projector lets you play movies and display photos directly from your smartphone or mobile device, eliminating the need to lug a laptop or game console with you wherever you want to watch movies. The T21 is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and connects to your smartphone with a USB cord so you can stream your favorite movies and shows without the need for an internet connection. 

The LED lamp is rated for 50,000 hours of use and gives you a viewing area up to 176 inches. The built-in Hi-Fi speakers and fan noise suppression system give you clear sound so you can stream media without distractions. The projector has manual distortion and focus wheels so you can adjust the image to suit your space. The T21 is backed by a three-month return/refund policy and a two-year warranty that covers parts and manufacturing defects.

Best with Wi-Fi: Jinhoo M10

What We Like
  •  iOS and Android support

  • Good warranty

  • Long lamp life

What We Don't Like
  • Connection issues with Samsung Galaxy S9/S10 phones

  • Reports of failing units

  • Will not stream Netflix/Hulu/Amazon video while screen mirroring

The Jinhoo M10 projector features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to set up your home theater without running a tangle of wires around the room. The M10 is compatible with Mac and Windows PCs as well as iOS and Android mobile devices, giving you plenty of options for streaming your favorite movies and shows. It comes packaged with a 100-inch projection screen and is capable of projecting an image up to 176 inches for more viewing options. 

The lamp provides 3,500 lumens for clear images in bright environments. The built-in stereo speakers provide crisp audio for a better listening experience. If you would like to connect multiple devices at once, there's still the option of a hardwired connection via HDMI, USB, and VGA with which you can hook up 12 devices at the once. The M10 is backed by a three-year warranty and online and phone customer support.

Our Process

Our writers spent 10 hours researching and testing the most popular cheap projectors on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 10 different projectors overall, screened options from 9 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 12500 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

FAQs

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.