One of the best low cost projectors in 2023

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Up to date Apr 26, 2023 12:29 PM

Low-cost projectors ship a crisp, daring picture with out emptying your pockets. With picture sizes usually topping 100 inches, projectors flip an evening residence with Netflix into immersive, movie-theater experiences—solely with out the strains, sticky flooring, or horrible sight-lines. They match into areas that don’t usually have room for giant TVs and plenty of are moveable sufficient to simply tackle enterprise journeys or holidays. Quite a lot of connectors—together with HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth—make it handy to tug your programming from set-top streaming containers, computer systems, NAS Servers, or your smartphone. One of the best half? Every of those we’ve chosen under prices nicely below $800.

Whereas cheap projectors usually ship an awesome image, it’s best to anticipate to make a number of sacrifices with reference to options and specs. As an illustration, drop any notion of watching full, 4K motion pictures. Many cheap projectors can’t match the brightness of their higher-end cousins, and that limits the dimensions of the projected picture. And in a number of the pocket-size fashions, you may see a drop off in shade high quality and distinction. 

So how do you separate high quality from junk? How do you strike a stability between affordability and high quality? We’ve put collectively an inventory of 5 of the perfect low cost projectors that can assist you improve your leisure system whereas leaving cash left over for the popcorn and soda. 

How we selected the perfect low cost projectors

When contemplating the perfect low cost projectors to incorporate in our suggestions, we relied on our personal expertise and in addition consulted with professionals within the TV and AV worlds to search out out which of them they like. We learn commerce journals and web sites and seemed by way of person impressions to see what typical real-world experiences have been like. We narrowed our collection of projectors all the way down to 10, focusing initially on picture high quality versus value. Every part needed to fall below $800 to represent “low cost,” which, admittedly, is a relative time period on the planet of residence theater projectors. We checked out vital specs together with brightness, shade, and distinction, and in addition what sort of know-how was used to generate the picture. Dimension and weight performed a task, notably in models meant to be moveable.

One of the best low cost projectors: Critiques & Suggestions

Regardless of their low value an inexpensive projector ought to nonetheless present a wonderful film or TV watching expertise. You could not get each bell and whistle, however the core expertise ought to be just like utilizing a projector that prices fairly a bit extra.

Greatest general: BenQ HT2050A

Why it made the lower: This HD projector competes in opposition to far more costly models because of excessive distinction and natural-looking colours, putting the proper stability between value and efficiency.


  • Product Dimensions (WxDxH): 15 x 11 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 8 kilos
  • Picture Supply: Single-DLP
  • Lumens: 2,200


  • Wonderful picture high quality
  • Lens shift
  • 3D Appropriate


  • No help for HDR video
  • Can’t play 4K motion pictures

The BenQ HT2050A performs above its weight class by delivering a stunning image that’s as much as 300 inches diagonally. It additionally has lens-shift, a characteristic hardly ever discovered on DLP projectors that means that you can regulate the picture up or down with out shifting the projector itself. As well as, there’s a handy 1.3x zoom.

The 15,000:1 distinction ratio and pure colours create a robust, cinema-like 1080p picture, and also you solely must set the projector again 8 ft for a 100-inch display screen. The superb shade accuracy is achieved through the use of an RGBRGB (red-green-blue-red-green-blue) shade wheel that doesn’t wash out a picture and isn’t generally discovered on price range projectors. The corporate claims the bulb outputs 2,200 lumens, however some assessments chart it at 1,600. Both means, it’s nonetheless shiny sufficient to ship a daring image with out the necessity for blackout curtains. 

The HT2050A has inputs for HDMI and USB that may drive a streaming stick with out exterior energy. It additionally sports activities analog audio and video inputs for anybody utilizing older stereo gear or—for many who nonetheless have them—VHS gamers.

You received’t have the ability to get a 4K picture out of the HT2050A, and a few reviewers have reported seeing the rainbow impact inherent to single-DLP projectors, however that is nonetheless among the finest projectors you should buy at this value level.

Greatest outside theater projector: Epson Dwelling Cinema 1080


Why it made the lower: This shiny projector delivers a picture even in areas crammed with ambient gentle, making it the perfect low cost projector for outside use regardless of how a lot gentle air pollution is in your neighborhood. 


  • Product Dimensions (WxDxH): 15 x 15 x 7.9 inches
  • Weight: 8.2 kilos
  • Picture Supply: LCD
  • Lumens: 3,400


  • Brilliant sufficient for outside use
  • Constructed-in Android TV module
  • 10-watt speaker


  • Not the most affordable “low cost” projector
  • Blacks may very well be richer and deeper
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Everybody loves outside film night time, and Epson’s Dwelling Cinema 2250 is shiny sufficient to ship even when you possibly can’t keep away from ambient gentle from a road, your property, or a shiny, full moon. 

In Pure image mode, this projector produces a reported 1,600 lumens, with sharp distinction and pure colours. It’s sufficient to observe motion pictures with out having to show off all of the lights. Set to Dynamic Image mode, the 2250 pumps out almost 2,400 lumens—shiny sufficient to observe applications in the course of the day. Nonetheless, there’s a small inexperienced shift within the shade so this isn’t a beneficial setting in the event you care loads a few film’s cinematography. But it surely’s nice for catching a baseball sport within the afternoon with associates.

The Epson 2250 has a lens-shift perform to precisely place the picture in your wall and a pleasant 1.6x zoom to assist discover the proper measurement display screen. As a result of it generates its picture utilizing an LCD chip, it doesn’t undergo from the rainbow impact discovered on single-DLP projectors.

Greatest mini projector: Nebula Capsule Max


Why it made the lower: The Anker Nebula Capsule Max’s small measurement and massive sound make it our favourite mini, battery-powered projector. 


  • Product Dimensions (WxDxH): 3.2 x 3.2 x 5.9 inches
  • Weight: 8 kilos
  • Picture Supply: Single-DLP
  • Lumens: 200


  • Small and moveable
  • Sturdy 8W speaker
  • Smartphone distant app


  • Solely 720p
  • No USB charging
  • Quick battery life

Mini projectors, by necessity, commerce some performance and high quality for his or her go-anywhere measurement, and none of them are good leisure machines. Nonetheless, the Anker Nebula Capsule Max—at only a bit bigger than a soda can—does an excellent job of delivering a pleasant image and powerful audio, whereas nonetheless protecting the value tag low.

Whereas the 200-lumen DLP-chip projector doesn’t sound very shiny, in a darkish room it nonetheless produces a 100-inch picture with respectable shade and distinction. Nonetheless, in the event you sit near the display screen, the bigger pixels of its 720p picture may stand out. The projector’s actual candy spot is round 60-80 inches—which continues to be a pleasant measurement for motion pictures. Colour is respectable, if somewhat on the cool facet. The 8-watt mono speaker sounds loud and clear and does an excellent job with each dialogue and sound results. The projector additionally works as a standalone Bluetooth speaker.

Nebula claims a 4-hour battery life, however it requires switching to a battery-reserve mode that dims the bulb. In commonplace mode, anticipate to plug within the unit or else your battery may die in about an hour-and-a-half. It’d be good if it may very well be charged by way of USB from a transportable battery pack however so long as you will have an outlet close by—like in a lodge, convention room, or RV—you’ll be high-quality. 

The Capsule Max has an HDMI enter for connecting to a streaming field or different media participant, and a USB-A enter for a streaming stick. You’ll be able to obtain apps to the gadget by way of a curated model of the Android app retailer. One notable exception is Netflix, which might solely be accessed after first loading the Nebula Join app onto your cellphone (Android or iPhone). There’s additionally Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. 

Greatest gaming projector: BenQ TH671ST


Why it made the lower: With its brief, 16.4ms enter lag-time, it is a projector that responds to players’ instructions rapidly whereas additionally producing a picture that’s adequate for motion pictures and TV. 


  • Product Dimensions (WxDxH): 15 x 11 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 8 kilos
  • Picture Supply: Single-DLP
  • Lumens: 2,200


  • 16.4ms enter lag time
  • Quick-throw lens for small rooms
  • As much as 2600 lumens
  • 3D appropriate


  • On the greater finish of “low cost”

Enter delay occasions can flip even the perfect players into shedding players, which is why the TH671ST’s zippy, 16.4ms lag (in sport mode) ought to enchantment to anybody who likes to rock a controller. What’s extra, this single-DLP, HD projector produces a shiny picture (as much as 2,600 lumens) with pure colours and excessive distinction. So, not solely do video video games look nice however so do your favourite motion pictures. 

The TH671ST helps 3D content material utilizing DLP Hyperlink glasses and whereas it’s not a stand-out in comparison with projectors optimized for 3D, it’s a pleasant bonus characteristic if that’s one thing you get pleasure from. There are additionally twin HDMI inputs so you possibly can have two units—whether or not they’re sport techniques, media gamers, or streaming containers—plugged in directly. This makes switching between video games and films easy. 

In case your sport or media set-up doesn’t embody an audio system or soundbar, the 5W onboard speaker does a pleasant job of filling up a room. Sound results and music from video games pack a pleasant punch. Mix this with the projector’s short-throw design, which might mission a big picture from as shut as four-and-a-half-feet away from a wall, and also you’ve received a compact set-up that’s good for not simply residing rooms, but additionally dorm rooms, bedrooms, or every other place the place house is at a premium. 

Greatest price range: Kodak Luma 150


Why it made the lower: This ultra-portable HD projector can slip right into a bag or massive pocket, offering a simple approach to watch movies, share photographs, or give displays out of your cellphone. 

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  • Product Dimensions (WxDxH): 3.1 x 3.1 x 0.87 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Picture Supply: Single-DLP
  • Lumens: 60


  • Small and lightweight
  • Full-size HDMI enter
  • microSD card slot


  • Not very shiny
  • Not full HD

With its subcompact measurement and value, Kodak’s Luma 150 is an effective way to share content material out of your iPhone—or any smartphone, for that matter. Ship video over a full-size HDMI cable (utilizing an adapter for Apple’s lightning port), or use the built-in Airplay casting to attach units. The projector additionally accepts MicroSD playing cards. 

At first blush, the 60-lumen DLP projector doesn’t appear very shiny and, at 854 x 480 decision, it hardly appears able to ship blockbusters. And that’s honest—these aren’t unbelievable specs in the event you’re wanting to make use of this as your major leisure room TV. However, after all, you’d by no means do this. The Luma 150 as a substitute makes a handy, very cheap device for sharing photographs at get-togethers, watching motion pictures within the backseat of the automobile, or delivering displays at a convention on a display screen that’s considerably greater than the one in your cellphone.

The battery can final about two hours, and the unit may also be plugged in. It has a small speaker, however you’re higher off utilizing headphones or a small, moveable speaker if watching movies with different individuals. 

Issues to think about earlier than shopping for among the finest low cost projectors


Projector brightness is measured in lumens, which describe how a lot gentle the unit creates. The extra gentle, the larger and brighter the image. It additionally determines how darkish your room must be to get the perfect efficiency out of the projector. Excessive-end projectors might need a brightness of two,000 lumens or extra; price range machines may ship anyplace from lower than 100 to 2,200 lumens. That stated, except a number of the mini projectors, even price range picks among the many greatest low cost projectors can ship a beautiful picture that’s greater than 100 inches from nook to nook. It’s price noting that there’s no commonplace throughout manufacturing for a way lumens are measured, so usually a producer’s quantity received’t match impartial testing. Nonetheless, the numbers do serve to assist examine the relative brightness between fashions. 

Mild supply

Projectors splash motion pictures on a wall by focusing a light-weight supply onto a chip that creates a picture. Mild sources are available three varieties: Lasers, LEDs, and Extremely Excessive Strain (UHP) lamps. UHPs are mainly high-end gentle bulbs. They generate plenty of gentle however, over time, can burn out—and replacements are dearer than the bulb hanging in your hallway. LEDs and lasers are extra environment friendly than UHPs, however the price of together with them in a unit goes up with out an enormous change in efficiency. You’re unlikely to search out them in budget-oriented projectors. Don’t fear, although—UHPs can final years earlier than you’ll want a brand new one.


As talked about above, projectors use imaging chips to create an image, and there are three sorts of them: DLP, LCD, and LCoS. DLP chips discover a residence in models in any respect totally different value factors and ship common distinction and good shade. LCD chips will be discovered on price range to mid-range projectors and infrequently have higher shade than DLP projectors, however distinction ratios typically undergo. Lastly, LCoS chips are utilized in mid-range to high-end projectors; they have a tendency to ship the perfect image high quality general however, not surprisingly, value extra and don’t present up in price range models. 

One last item to learn about chips: Single-DLP projectors, which make up a majority of budget-priced models, typically undergo from “the rainbow impact.” That is when shiny objects on the display screen go away very fast, multicolored pixel trails behind them. With 1000’s upon 1000’s of single-DLP projectors bought, it’s apparent that most individuals don’t even discover them—or just aren’t bothered. However when you have a possibility to check out a single-DLP projector at a retailer, contemplate doing so so as to gauge how you are feeling in regards to the rainbow impact. 

Distinction ratio

A part of what makes a projected picture look good is its distinction ratio, or the distinction between the black and white output. That is often expressed as a quantity representing black adopted by a quantity representing white, with every separated by a colon. So, as an example, one thing like 15,000:1. 

The better the distinction between black and white, the extra shade variation the projector can show. A picture from a projector with an 18,000:1 distinction ratio will, typically, look higher than one with a 3,500:1 distinction ratio, with bolder, extra true-to-life colours and richer blacks. 

Keep in mind, although, distinction isn’t the one think about figuring out image high quality, so at all times have a look at the quantity within the context of all of the unit’s specs.  

What’s your viewpoint?

Earlier than selecting among the finest low cost projectors, take into consideration the place you’ll use it. Is that this your major TV? Is it getting into a child’s playroom? Will you are taking it on trip with you? Or use it outdoors? If it’s going into your property, how massive is the room that’ll home it—are you able to set it far sufficient again from a wall to get the display screen measurement you need, or will you have to deal with a projector designed for short-throws? These are all questions you have to ask and reply earlier than making a purchase order or else you could possibly simply find yourself with a projector that doesn’t ship the efficiency specs you want. 

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Q: What’s the lowest value of a projector?

The bottom value of a projector is tough to pin down and relies upon loads on what you wish to get out of it. Some projectors can value lower than $200, however their specs don’t at all times present the viewing expertise you may want. Alternatively, budget-priced projectors with wonderful footage often fall between $400 and $750. 

Q: How a lot is a pocket projector?

Pocket projectors usually value lower than $250, although some higher models with brighter bulbs and better resolutions can value nearly twice that.

Q: Are mini projectors price it?

Mini projectors are price it in the event you spend plenty of time touring and wish to watch motion pictures. They’re additionally helpful in the event you give plenty of displays or conduct classes. They’re simple to pack and a few of them ship high-quality video. Nonetheless, they’re by no means as shiny as full-size projectors and you may’t get as massive a picture out of them with out shedding some image high quality. In the event you plan on organising a projector as a part of your property leisure system, a mini projector shouldn’t be your first alternative.

Q: Are you able to watch Netflix on a mini projector?

You’ll be able to watch Netflix on a mini projector if it’s plugged right into a streaming field, laptop, or good gadget with a Netflix app. Nonetheless, it won’t be potential to solid content material from Netflix—or lots of the different streaming companies—resulting from DRM and copyright restrictions.

Q: Is 5,000 lumens good for a projector?

Providing 5,000 lumens is superb for a projector and, relying on how darkish the house is and the projector’s distance from the display screen, can mission a really sturdy picture even in a big auditorium. By the use of comparability, most price range residence projectors have 1,100- to 2,000-lumen bulbs.

Q: What ought to I search for in a transportable mini projector?

When buying a transportable projector, at all times look to see that it’s shiny sufficient in your makes use of. You’ll additionally wish to make sure that it’s no less than 1920 x 1080 (HD) decision and has a large sufficient number of inputs—reminiscent of HDMI, USB, and possibly even SD card slots—to accommodate no matter means you intend on connecting your streaming field or film participant. Dimension and weight are additionally vital in moveable projectors since, you already know, you need them to be moveable! Be certain that they’ll be one thing you’re snug carrying round. Lastly, I like moveable projectors which have built-in audio system with sufficient quantity that the sound fills a room. Eight watts is nice, 10 is best. This manner I don’t have to fret about plugging the projector into any type of audio system after I set it up—one much less factor to hold!

Closing ideas on the perfect low cost projectors

“Low-cost” is at all times relative and, on the planet of projectors, that often means close to $800 for an gratifying residence theater expertise. With that in thoughts, you actually can’t go fallacious with the BenQ HT2050A if you need among the finest low cost projectors. The HD projector falls nicely under that value ceiling and nonetheless delivers an image as much as 300 inches. Because of superior shade processing, that enormous image appears to be like unbelievable. And in the event you’re a gamer, and even in the event you simply desire a short-throw machine for smaller rooms, BenQ wins once more with the TH671ST—although the HT2050A nonetheless has the higher image.

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In style Science began writing about know-how greater than 150 years in the past. There was no such factor as “gadget writing” once we revealed our first concern in 1872, but when there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for on a regular basis readers means we’d have been throughout it. Right here within the current, PopSci is totally dedicated to serving to readers navigate the more and more intimidating array of units in the marketplace proper now.

Our writers and editors have mixed many years of expertise masking and reviewing shopper electronics. We every have our personal obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video video games to cameras and past—however once we’re reviewing units outdoors of our fast wheelhouses, we do our greatest to hunt out reliable voices and opinions to assist information individuals to the perfect suggestions. We all know we don’t know all the pieces, however we’re excited to dwell by way of the evaluation paralysis that web buying can spur so readers don’t need to.