For those looking for an affordable projector with good image quality, here is the ranking of the best affordable outdoor projectors for watching movies, gaming, work, and education.
Best Affordable Outdoor Projector
When choosing an inexpensive projector, pay attention to what input connections are available to suit your needs. The most common connection is HDMI, through which we can connect computers, Bluray players, or other digital sources, then USB for external flash drives and hard drives, or VGA for older computers.
There are also smart ones, with integrated operating systems and apps (just like a smart TV), for which it will be necessary to spend a little more, but which allow them to be used without being connected to a source.
Now let’s move on to the ranking and see which are the best budget projectors to buy this year. We have selected different types to meet different needs, with an explanation of the technical characteristics and updated prices.
Best Affordable Outdoor Projector | Comparison Table 2021
|Optoma H190X Affordable Home & Outdoor Movie Projector | HD Ready 720p + 1080p Support | Bright 3900 Lumens for Lights-on Viewing | 3D-Compatible | Speaker Built in||Optoma||Check Price|
|Projector, GooDee 2021 Upgrade HD Video Projector 6800L Outdoor Movie Projector, 1080P and 230" Support Home Theater Projector, Compatible with Fire TV Stick, PS4, HDMI, VGA, AV and USB, Black (YG600)||GooDee||Check Price|
|Native 1080P WiFi Bluetooth Projector, DBPOWER 8000L Full HD Outdoor Movie Projector Support iOS/Android & Zoom, Home Theater Video Projector Compatible w/Laptop/PC/DVD/TV/PS4 w/Carrying Case Included||DBPOWER||Check Price|
|Optoma SH360 Affordable Home Projector | Indoor or Outdoor Movies, Up to 300" | 480p Ready | Bright 3600 Lumens | Compatible with Fire Stick, Roku & More | Integrated Speaker | Up to 15,000hr Lamp||Optoma||Check Price|
|Video Projector, Top Vision 7500L Portable Mini Projector with 100” Projector Screen, 1080P Supported, Built in HI-FI Speakers, Compatible with Fire Stick, HDMI, VGA, USB, TF, AV, PS4||TOPVISION||Check Price|
|Mini Projector, CiBest Video Projector Outdoor Movie Projector 7500L, LED Portable Home Theater Projector 1080P and 200" Supported, Compatible with PS4, PC via HDMI, VGA, TF, AV and USB…||CiBest||Check Price|
|5G WiFi Bluetooth Projector, Artlii Energon 2 Outdoor Projector Support 4K, 340 ANSI Lumen 250" Display, Keystone&Zoom, Full HD Native 1080P Projector Compatible w/ TV Stick, iOS, Android, PS5||ARTlii||Check Price|
|TMY Projector 7500 Lumens with 100 Inch Projector Screen, 1080P Full HD Supported Video Projector, Mini Movie Projector Compatible with TV Stick HDMI VGA USB TF AV, for Home Cinema & Outdoor Movies.||TMY||Check Price|
|MOOKA WiFi Projector, 7500L HD Outdoor Mini Projector with Carrying Bag, 1080P & 200" Screen Supported, Movie Home Theater for TV Stick, Video Games, HDMI, USB, AUX, AV, PS4, Laptop, iOS & Android||MOOKA||Check Price|
Best Affordable Outdoor Projector | 2021 Reviews
How to choose the Best Affordable Outdoor Projector | Ultimate Guide
The search for a new projector can quickly become overwhelming, but the first big question you should ask yourself is: what do I want the projector to do? This will immediately narrow your search. For example, the type of device needed for a small camping trip will be extremely different from a device required for showing a movie with a large group of people who will all be seated at a distance.
When looking for a projector that can be used outdoors, there will typically be two main types that suit your needs: home multimedia and portable. There aren’t any projectors made for outdoor use only, but many handle both scenarios.
Ask yourself: Will the projector be a fixed item or will it need to be moved. What is my budget? Should it be battery-powered or use a cable? What kind of content do I want to play? And what specifications are needed for that content?
The next point to consider is the space you need to work with, as this will determine what you need in terms of short or long-throw ratio. This is the distance between the projector and the screen, whether it is a blank wall or a sheet of paper.
This first step is about narrowing down your options, as there are so many projectors available from a variety of brands, many well-known, some not so. If you’re only using the projector for your garden, chances are you’ll want a portable model that has the option of at least a couple of hours of battery playback.
Of course, there are other factors at play, many unique to home projectors, so here’s a list of the terms you’ll typically see in a list of online stores, exactly what they mean, and what types of models will be best suited for use outside.
Launch distance and screen size
One term you may not have come across before when buying technology is throw distance, which refers to the space between the projector and the screen. You will often see a projector described as a short-throw or long throw.
A short-throw projector can be placed quite close to the screen and still be able to display a large image – this is preferable if you have a smaller space. Long-throw models work best when placed farther from the screen and will project larger images from a distance, more suitable for larger spaces.
Short-range models can be set from 0.5 meters to the screen, while some long-range models are better positioned over 10 meters away. For outdoor use, it may be best to consider a short-throw so that it sits closer to the screen without interruption, including your friends hanging around in front of the projection.
The greater the distance between the projector and the screen, the larger the image size. Some models have integrated zoom lenses. Each projector is different, with image sizes ranging from 30 inches to over 300 inches, so make sure your projector screen matches the model you choose.
DLP, LCD, and light sources
For this article, there are two main types of the projector to know: DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). DLP projectors offer better contrast, dark tones, and sometimes have 3D capabilities, while LCD models have more vivid color tones, better saturation, and are generally less expensive.
There may be a lamp, LED, or laser inside the projector. A lamp’s life could last around 4,000 hours before needing to be replaced, while an LED and lasers typically last significantly longer, often cited as up to 20,000 hours.
Brightness / Lumen
The more ambient light there is in your garden, the more brightness your projector will need to be able to produce. This brightness is measured in lumens, but more specifically evaluated in ANSI (American National Standards Institute) lumens.
It’s not an exact science – who can tell how bright the moon will be or how many cars will pass in front of your projection – but in general, an ANSI rating of lumens between 2,000 or 3,000 should help produce a clear image in most settings. Areas with higher ambient light may require at least 3,000 lumens to be effective.
Some portable projectors will have significantly fewer numbers, perhaps 200 or 500 ANSI lumens, and will require near darkness to produce a good image. They still work, but you will definitely need to limit ambient lighting as much as possible.
Probably more than most technology, you get what you pay for when you get a projector. Budget projectors from little-known companies are often accused of exaggerating specs, especially when it comes to brightness.
Some of these brands are known to list a projector’s lumens in the thousands, but once tested, they’ll be well below demand because it’s not an ANSI rating. This is not to say that they are junk, but you should always be aware of what you are buying.
Don’t fall for projectors that claim to have a spectacular lumen rating for under $ 100 or even $ 300. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
Contrast ratio and aspect ratio
Yes, more reports. Contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest and lightest bits of a projected image – this will play a huge role in image quality and how well the projector will be able to fight off ambient light. In its most basic form: if the contrast ratio is 3000: 1, the brightest part of the image is 3000 times brighter than the darkest. For using an outdoor projector, the higher the better. Aim for at least 10,000: 1.
You should also make sure that the project is capable of producing the correct aspect ratio, which is the width and height of an image. For HDTV (1080p) this will be 16: 9. This is the standard aspect ratio these days, so don’t neglect to have it.
Like when buying a new TV, the resolution is a priority, but rushing straight to the 4K options with projectors will quickly drain your bank account. You’ll need a minimum resolution of 720p but target native 1080p output if possible. Find the right balance with throw distance, lumens, and contrast ratios.
If you’ve got the budget, go wild – you’re sure to get the best resolution possible. But keep in mind that each projector will have a native resolution, the maximum amount of pixels it can display. While they may support higher resolutions, that doesn’t mean the quality will be better, just that the image is compressed into fewer pixels.
For outdoor use, aim for 1920 x 1080; however, 1280 x 720 may also be acceptable for portable models. Here are the most common projector resolutions:
- 4096 x 2160 (4K)
- 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
- 1280 x 720 (HD pronto)
- 1280 x 800 (WXGA)
- 1024×768 (XGA)
- 800 x 600 (SVGA)
- 800 x 480 (WVGA)
In addition to zoom and focus, many modern projectors will be able to handle a process known as keystone correction. This allows you to digitally change the shape and angle of the image exiting the device without having to move the entire projector. This might come in handy if your image doesn’t quite match the screen or wall, but be warned – it could cause a loss of resolution or quality.
What features of the projector should you consider?
There are a number of key features that should be considered when buying an outdoor projector, many of which could make or break your decision.
Portability: So your favorite sporting event is over (successfully, of course) and your friends are back home, chances are you’ll need to bring the projector back home. That’s why weight, size, and overall portability are a factor. The best projectors for outdoor use will have a balance between power and ease of use.
Connectivity: Different projectors will have different ports, which means you will need to consider what you want to connect to the device. Do you need an HDMI port to connect to your laptop to play movies? Do you want to connect to external speakers, a pair of headphones or an Amazon Fire TV Stick or do you need it to read an SD card? Can it connect to home Wi-Fi? Does it have Bluetooth? Not all models will.
Audio Sources: Many projectors have built-in speakers. But these may not always be up to par for all users, so you may have to consider connecting the projector to an external speaker system – a portable home display like the Amazon Echo Show 5 or Google Nest Hub Max would also work. At this point, another aspect you will need to consider is your neighbor’s tolerance to noise.
Power Source: The last thing you want to do four minutes before the England vs Scotland game starts is to find that your extension cable is not long enough or that the projector’s battery life is close to low. Do you have an outdoor power outlet? Is your wiring protected from the elements?
Screen: It’s a projector, but what are you actually projecting the image into? Yes, a white sheet, wall, or garage door would technically work, but it could affect image quality if the device specs don’t have enough power. You may want to consider purchasing a suitable projector screen which will improve the image quality. Some outdoor screens that come with a stand can be found for under $ 100.
How much should you spend on a projector?
Projectors vary greatly in price, but they don’t have to cost thousands to find a solid model. More and more some of the more affordable projectors will have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, although some laptops are largely around 720p.
We’d argue that aiming for the $ 500 – $ 600 price tag is probably a safer bet as an entry point – one that can get solid specs for outdoor use. However, as with all technology, the question of how much to spend will depend on your personal budget. 4K projectors are great, but they’re also super expensive.
While they may be tempting, always be wary of ultra-low-cost projectors that promise too much, especially on lumens that aren’t ANSI rated. Sure, you’ll save money (you might see these listed for under $ 100), but image quality, noise control, connectivity options, and contrast ratios may be missing. For outdoor use, many of these cheaper projector models simply won’t measure up.
What are the best projector brands?
- View Sonic
Should you buy a projector screen or make your own?
What is a big projector without a big screen? It’s up to you to decide how to get that screen – whether it’s a clean ironed sheet, your garage wall, an adjustable sturdy screen with a built-in stand, or even an inflatable one.
While it can be quite tempting to use a blank sheet or wall, purchasing a suitable projector screen will give you much more control over where you can project your image. The ambient light of the moon, for example, is uncontrollable. But having a screen allows you to move the projector – you can’t move your garage wall.
A proper projector screen will likely have a dark border to frame the image, will be made of better materials that can improve image quality, and will not have creases or marks that could hamper image quality.
Many proper screens will be foldable, so they’re fairly easy to store and many will be priced around $ 100. The more you spend on the projector, the more likely you should invest in a solid projector screen next to it as well.
Which garden floodlight should you buy?
It is clear that there are more aspects to buying a new projector than some people might initially consider. However, based on what we know about the specs needed to work in an outdoor environment, we can still suggest some solid projector options at a variety of different price points.