An inexpensive projector is a great way of adding some style to your bedroom or living room. A projector that is affordable can be used to create large-screen home cinema experiences in small spaces. These projectors can be much cheaper than buying a brand new TV.
It can be difficult to choose a projector. This is because it all depends on where you put it and how you use it. You will also need to understand what to look for in terms of brightness and projector resolution to suit your purpose.
We have tested and researched models to ensure compatibility with various uses and for wireless connectivity. These are the top cheap projectors you should check out.
Best Overall: Vankyo Leisure 3
Vankyo Leisure 3 is an excellent choice for a budget projector. It has all the standard features. The Vankyo Leisure 3 comes with a carry case, HDMI ports, and AV ports. There are no additional connectors to purchase. You can also use the SD and USB ports for media viewing from a card or stick. It is easy to set up and connect to any smart device, laptop, or console.
It is easy to use the remote control and the built-in operating software to navigate through the options and settings. The stand is small so you might need to place it on a desk or table with support to achieve the desired angle. The contrast ratio of 2,000 to 1 provides solid picture quality. However, the brightness level is not as bright as one would expect from a projector with 2,400 lumens.
If you are used to high-quality speakers systems or even a great laptop speaker, the built-in speaker will not impress. The Vankyo Leisure 3 features a 3.5mm connector port that allows you to connect to external speakers. You can also export your audio from your source device directly, such as your streaming stick or computer.
Best for presentations: Epson EX3280XGA Projector
Although the Epson EX3280 may be a bit more costly than other budget projectors it is still a great option for those who need a portable projector to use for business meetings or gatherings.
Documents with a lot of text and fine details will be clearly displayed when projected thanks to the 768p XGA resolution. Most modern business requirements can be met by the support for HDMI, USB, and VGA inputs. Although it is annoying that there is no SD card slot, data can still be transferred to a USB stick, or via cable.
The projector’s three thousand six hundred lumens are a great value for money. It also provides a clear image and does not limit your presentations to dark rooms like other projectors of this price range. It also features a built-in sensor to automatically correct the image for distortion.
Best Short Throw: BenQ HT2150ST Projector
Although the BenQ HT2150ST projector is more expensive than others in the budget category, it’s worth looking at, especially if your goal is to use the projector for video gaming. This model has a very low latency of just 16ms. It also has a very small input lag. This means that there is little delay between when you press the video game controller button and when the action takes place on-screen.
The budget projector boasts a throw ratio of 1:1.69 feet, which means that you can get an additional 2 feet of image for every foot from the screen or wall where the projector is placed. This ratio allows you to project a large image in a small space, such as a bedroom or tent.
The BenQ HT2150ST’s 2,200 ANSI lumens make it possible to present a solid show even in dimly lit rooms. It also supports 1080p resolution, 15,000:1 contrast ratio and solid colors.
The range of ports is where this projector shines. There are two HDMI ports, a USB Mini B port, a USB A port, a USB Mini B port, 3.5mm input/output audio jacks, an RS232 control port, and a PC VGA Port. Very few devices will not be able to connect with the BenQ HT2150ST.
Best for phones: TopVision T21
Top vision T21 projector is affordable and can be used with tablets, smartphones, and laptops. It connects to smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices via HDMI, USB, and VGA. The projector can also mirror the displays of these devices on a wall or display in 1080p resolution.
With 3,600 lumens of light and a 2000:1 contrast ratio, this projector produces a very high-quality projection that is bright and sharp. Although they won’t be able to compete with professional speakers, the built-in speakers provide basic surround sound for movie viewings. This projector is budget-friendly and the sound quality is excellent.
Best Portable: Kodak Luma 150 Pocket Projector
Its disappointing 480p resolution makes it unsuitable for primary home cinema. However, its compact size and stylish design make it an ideal projector for travel, at gatherings or for presenting to clients on-site.
The Luma 150 supports wireless casting from Apple and Android devices. Although the Luma 150’s 60 ANSI lumens and a low contrast ratio of 1,000:1 do limit projections to darker areas, its handy size and support for tripods add additional functionality that many people may find worth the sacrifice. The Luma 150 portable projector is a great choice if you are looking for an affordable option.
Best Outdoor Projector: Anker Nebula Capsule Max
Anker’s Nebula CapsuleMax projector has the standard HDMI and USB ports, but it is best known for its support for Android, which allows it to run native Android apps. The Nebula Capsule Max can stream content from any device. You also don’t have to connect to another device. The projector can be used to run your favorite apps as though it were a tablet or smart television. To control the apps that you run on your projector, however, you will need to use the Nebula Capsule Max app for smartphones.
The Nebula Capsule Max project has another advantage: its small size. This projector, which is the size of a soda container, can be easily packed for travel and stored at home when it’s not in use. However, the Anker isn’t perfect. The battery has a limited life span of four hours so it will need to be charged regularly. The low lumen count may also limit its visibility in bright environments.
Best Budget: Philips NeoPix Easy Projector
Although the Philips NeoPix Easy is an affordable projector, it is not for everyone. It supports HDMI, VG, and USB sources. However, the output resolution is only 480p. This is a far cry from an HD resolution, and even less than what’s possible with a high-end 4K projector. It will be difficult to watch TV in high-quality quality, but it shouldn’t stop casual viewers or children who aren’t skilled at image quality.
The Philips NeoPix Easy does not have an AV port, but it comes with an adaptor that allows you to connect to an AV source.
Media enthusiasts may be concerned about the 40 ANSI lumens. This low ANSI number can decrease the projected brightness in rooms that have not been completely darkened. However, the solid 3,000 to 1 contrast ratio and the 3.5mm audio out allow you to use your own speakers.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini ( view at Walmart) is the best budget projector. It checks all the boxes. The projector has all the ports you need to connect smart devices via cable. It also includes a USB port for transferring data from memory sticks or cards and an SD card slot for viewing saved content. For a cheap projector, you can’t do much better.
What to Look for in Cheap Projectors
Brightness and projectors are related. A brighter projector will project better in darker environments or at greater distances. Brightness may not be as important if you intend to project close to the wall or screen and in dark environments. However, those who need a projector that is versatile will appreciate the brightness.
Projectors measure brightness using lumens. Projectors are brighter if they have more lumens. What does this mean? For a home projector that is used in dark environments, it might be possible to use as low as 1,000 lumens. However, brighter projectors will work better in environments that have some ambient lighting. You will need a projector that is more powerful for a large room with more ambient lighting. However, a brighter room might require a higher lumen range. We recommend something closer to the 1,500-lumen range for basic usage.
The contrast ratio measures the brightness of black and white. The contrast ratio is a measure of the brightness between black and white. This is good news for projectors and TVs. It means there’s more detail in the picture, which creates a more immersive viewing experience.
Home projectors need to have a high contrast ratio. The contrast will be greater in darkened rooms than it is in brighter rooms.
The contrast ratio is not the only factor that determines image quality. A projector with an image quality ratio of 5,000:1 is not necessarily better than one with a contrast ratio of 2,500:1. Contrast ratios only account for extremes. It doesn’t tell much about grays between blackest blacks and brightest whites.
What is a good contrast ratio? While we recommend a contrast ratio of 1,000:1, many projectors will claim a higher number. This higher number usually comes at a higher cost.
Projectors display images in pixels, just like televisions, smartphones, and computer monitors. More pixels are almost always better. Many projectors now have HD resolutions, which is equivalent to 1920×1080 pixels. However, you will see many with lower resolutions and some with 4K resolutions (4096x2160pixels). A projector with 4K resolution is a great choice in an age of 4K content. However, this comes at a high price. We recommend that you choose the best resolution projector for your budget.