Finding the best budget projector with good quality isn’t easy. But don’t worry, we have compiled a list for your convenience. Here you will find the projectors that will fulfill your needs without breaking your bank. That said, the good display devices have gained a keen importance in every field of life. Whether it is a business presentation, watching a movie, playing games on bigger screens or watch a Blu-ray movie on the back of your home, the projectors can take your experience to the next level. Now the downside of the high-quality device is that not everyone can afford them due to their high price tag. That is the time where cheap projectors come in. Though they don’t perform like the expensive units do so, they provide a decent value for the money.
One thing which is very necessary to mention is that you should keep your expectation level low regarding the cheap projectors. You would be disappointed if you expect a very high fidelity video quality from a cheaper display device. Rather, you should expect the quality with respect to the money you are paying for that device. However, if you go with any of the devices we had listed here you won’t be unsatisfied with the value they will provide.
Top 7 Best Budget Projector to Buy 2018
There are different factors which you should consider in a good projector. However, we have listed some important aspects in the buyer’s guide, but, to give a bird’s eye over them here are some important points – the screen size (most importantly width), distance between the projector and the screen (the throw distance), the ideal ambient light ratio in the room for good results. Moreover, you should also determine the ease of installation of that particular model, the lamp life, and native aspect ratio. For the beginners, it would be a plus point if they read the buyer’s guide before considering any model. By doing so, they would be able to recognize a better unit for them. Let’s move on to the list of best budget projectors which you can buy for 2018.
1. Epson VS240
If you have a low budget and want a good projector for your work or home then Epson VS240 is a good choice for you. It is inexpensive and portable enough to carry with you. It is one of the best entry levels projectors and you will be okay with it if your requirement level isn’t so high. Let’s talk about its features in detail.
The display device is neither very slim nor very fat. It weighs around 5.3 lbs with the dimensions – 11.7 x 9.2 x 3.2 inches. The model is portable enough to throw in the bag and take with you. You are getting an E-Zoom button on the remote, you can enlarge any part of the image with this option. When it comes to installation, which doesn’t take much time. With the convenient controls, you get a good control over the device. The resolution of this instrument is 800 by 600 which is good for basic needs. You are not getting much resolution with this unit, nevertheless, it is good to go for such a low price. It has a brightness of 3000 lumens and contrast ratio of 15000:1 which is good for a beginner.
When it comes to installation, which doesn’t take much time. With the convenient controls, you get a good control over the device. The resolution of this instrument is 800 by 600 which is good for basic needs. You are not getting much resolution with this unit, nevertheless, it is good to go, for such a low price. It has a brightness of 3000 lumens and contrast ratio of 15000:1 which is good for a beginner.
Compatibility is an important aspect and you will be pleased to know that regardless of low price it has good compatibility range. This unit is compatible with the latest laptops and with the Macbook. That said, it has an array of other ports which include – HDMI port, VGA port, a USB Type B port. You aren’t going to miss any necessary port with this cheap projector.
Regarding the image performance, it is good at producing a decent quality. During our testing, we managed to get a good quality image with the addition of ambient light. The colors and brightness are good enough and text is readable from a distance. However, the image and video quality isn’t that extraordinary one which you can get with an expensive unit. If we compare its performance with the Epson EX3240, then, this model lags behind. The Epson EX3240 has brighter results with the 3200 lumens.
The image quality is suitable for shorter clips such as a business presentation. Overall the performance is reasonably true but sometimes the colors become dull (for microseconds). For a good audio, it would be better if you attach external speakers with the device. In a nutshell, the Epson VS240 gives good results at a low price. You will be okay with it if you need it for a basic/occasional data projection.
2. Optoma HD142X Budget Projector
Optoma is no doubt one of the best manufacturers of projectors. It has a very good image quality with full HD resolution and throws colors with accuracy. If you want to buy a good without breaking your bank then Optoma HD142X can be a great choice. Pretty nice value at the least expensive price level.
It comes with a native resolution of 1080p and with 3000 lumens. This is a lightweight device which is easy to take with you while travelling. The color wheel gives color accuracy which most of the models doesn’t give at all in this price range. You can get a 66 inches display (measured diagonally) from a distance of 8 feet. With this model, you can get clear content and audible sound without any degradation. However, you can install additional speakers for more sound.
When talking about the ports, there isn’t any shortage of them on this unit. The contrast ratio of 23000:1 reproduces content with the great quality. The refresh rate of 144 Hz provides a smooth video. The input lag is also very less which is counted as a good factor. The instrument will rarely run into a problem if you don’t use it more than 2 hours per day. However, the lamp life is good enough but using it with care will add more days to its life. With the MHL connectivity, you can watch the images or videos stored on your smartphone on a bigger screen.
With this model, you are getting an excellent color accuracy which you will rarely get at this price. It will provide the best quality for the money you pay. Besides basic usage, you can also use it for your home theater and gaming. It is ideal to perform in a home cinema and will convert your room into a real home cinema. This is the best budget projector for home theater and gaming. If you want a device with multiple capabilities then Optoma HD142X is the best option to go for. Awesome graphics for a low price tag.
3. ViewSonic PJD5153
The ViewSonic company has produced an array of best projectors. The company is aimed to provide quality display devices to the people. The ViewSonic PJD5153 is the best budget projector by the company.
You are getting a very stylish and sturdy design at a very competitive price tag. With its curved edges and lightweight, it stands out among its siblings with this price tag. You can get a screen size of 82 inches (measured diagonally) placing it at a distance of 12 feet from the screen. It provides durability and quality display in a decent manner. With this model you don’t need to worry about the connectivity options, the flexible connectivity options make it extremely suitable for use in home, business and in educational organizations.
The lamp life is also long enough. With the optical focus and zoom option, you can see the image enlarged. Moreover, this unit includes USB 2.0 type B, RCA video IN, S-video In and Mini USB inputs. The product dimensions are 12.4 by 8.98 by 4.08 inches. It comes with a good range of compatibilities such as – Mac, Windows, DVD players and Blu-ray players. Moreover, it is also compatible with the AppleTV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon FireTV.
On the performance side, you aren’t going to be disappointed. However, as said earlier, don’t raise your expectations so high. What you are getting is pretty nice if compared to the money you pay. With the 3300 lumens, the projector produces bright images. The image quality is also dependent on the ambient light. You would be pleased to know that it produces bright images even in the high ambient light. The high contrast ratio ensures the clearance of the graphics, means the display produced isn’t hard to eyes.
With a 6-segment color wheel design, it projects the images with the high-quality colors and without sacrificing the grace of image quality. You can give it a place in your room and it won’t dissatisfy you regarding the quality. With the epitome of great quality, it is waiting for you, give it a chance!
4. BenQ MS524AE
This is the model which should be considered by small businesses and schools due to its low price and excellent quality. In addition to reproducing a large image, it also keeps the clarity of the image to a decent level; means it projects without degrading the quality of the display. Decent value at a low price tag.
When talking about its design, it has a sturdy design and slightly curved corners. The device is lightweight but it is not extremely portable. The BenQ has been producing the successful devices and you can go with this brand with a faith. Most of the projectors from BenQ performs religiously.
This instrument has a native resolution of 800 by 600. The display technology used is DLP. It gives good results for commercial use with the aspect ratio of 4:3 and with the brightness of 3200 lumens. The product dimensions are 16.4 by 14 by 5.9 inches.
With a very low cost, you can enjoy the bigger display. With that said, it comes with an array of connectivity ports. It uses less energy as compared to its siblings. The SmartEco Technology in BenQ MS524AE saves the energy during normal and heavy-duty projection. Due to the SmartEco Technology it only takes 0.5W power in standby mode, moreover, the lamp life is pretty awesome.
To enable multiple presenters to connect to a single projector at a time there are Dual HDMI input options. The HDMI inputs are preferred over VGA inputs nowadays. It helps to convey knowledge in a decent manner. What to expect more at this price level in which you would rarely get a good projection device. Good features in a budget-friendly manner.
As far as the performance is concerned, it is good at reproducing the short video clips. The video quality is average because of the less resolution of this model. On the other side, the Rainbow articrafts are more clear in video rather than that in data images. The people who are more sensitive to the Rainbow articrafts may be disturbed by them.
Overall the performance is much better if we look at its price. It gives excellent results for basic data projection. However, if you want even more specs and outstanding features then you can look at other options. The thing which makes it prominent is its low price and excellent features. Moreover, you will not have to break your bank to own the BenQ MS524AE. Therefore, giving it a chance would not be useless.
5. RIF6 CUBE Pico Projector
The small projectors have taken an important place in the market due to their extreme portability. They are mostly purchased for basic needs and their small size make them extremely portable. The term “Pico” as mentioned earlier is used for the pocket. Today we have RIF6 on our list, let’s see its features in detail.
The unit is lightweight which weighs around 1.8 pounds. The product dimensions are 8 by 8 by 2.5 inches. It comes with a native resolution of 854 by 480 inches. The DLP projector is super smart. Regardless of its small size, it hosts built-in speakers, an internal battery and SD card reader to read the data. All these features enable it to throw it in your bag and take it with you wherever you go. Unlike the giant models, it provides the projection solution and portability at a competitive price.
It can be a good companion for your smartphone. You can project the content of your phone on a bigger screen. The LED light source provides good results at a cheap price. The lamp life is pretty awesome and the lamp needs low maintenance. On the connectivity side, there isn’t any shortage. You are getting an instrument which supports MHL and HDMI connectivity and Micro SD support.
With the MHL connectivity option, you can connect it to the smartphone. But, the quality remains doubtful when connected with any phone. The unit is portable but the downside is that it doesn’t have wireless connectivity option. Though it provides good value, the wireless connectivity option could make it much better.
I am not going to brag about its performance. The performance isn’t outstanding but not that bad which would upset you. You will find it extremely useful and handy. Well, it is not for the commercial usage in offices and schools. If you need a one for commercial purposes then you should look for BenQ HT2150ST or Optoma HD142X.
You should consider this device if you are looking for extreme portable and flexible solution to project your data on a bigger screen. It won’t upset you in the quality office.
6. iCODIS Mini Projector
The next Mini projector on our list is the iCODIS G1. You would love it if you like outdoor activities and have fun with your friends. What it has brought to the users, let’s see.
It has a very sleek and sturdy design. It is a DLP/LCD display supported device with a native resolution of 854 by 480 (supports 1920 x 1080 playback). With the 2000 lumens brightness, it provides good results. Though the lumens are less than some other devices the visual effects are better than other mini projectors that are without the DLP supported display.
The product’s dimensions are 15 by 8 by 2 (L, W, H) and it is very smart to keep in your pocket. It is very light in weight and has a has a very compact design which makes it extremely portable. When it comes to the connectivity, it has acquired an HDMI port, the built-in wireless display capability which supports – Miracast and Airplay. Moreover, it supports a TF card and USB for displaying the data stored in them.
Battery life is very important as it carries an internal battery. You are getting a nice battery life which is more than an hour. You should consider this for its portability not for its display results because we can’t term its display results as outstanding. The display results are not more than average.
As the product is very handy so it’s worth buying because of its portability and smart design. We would feel it safe to declare its display features as an average. The reason is very simple, as stated earlier it is made for the folks who like to watch the images when they are out of their home. And watching the images/videos has been made easy with this extremely portable device. Therefore, if you like outdoor activities then it can be a great choice for you.
7. DBPOWER T20
Are you finding the best projector under 100, then, the DBPOWER T20 is the thing which is waiting for you. This is the best possible budget projector on the market. The LCD mini display instrument has a good compatibility range over other ordinary LED projectors.
This is the best option for you if you don’t want to spend much money on buying a good one for you. It has a native resolution of 800 by 480 pixels. With the 1500 lumens brightness, it provides a brighter display as compared to other LED/LCD projectors available at this price tag.
Heat is a by-product of heavy processing. To eradicate the over-heating issue, there is a cooling system which keeps it cool and the fan noise has been reduced with the noise suppression technology. You can connect it to the smartphone (the MHL connectivity is supported), but, unpleasantly you will have to buy the HDMI dongle separately for wireless connectivity.
The instrument gives excellent results. You can get an image size of 32 inches when placed at a distance of 1.5 meters from the screen. You can increase the image size by increasing the distance from the projection screen. However, the pixels may break when the distance exceeds the normal limit. It is better to keep the device at a distance of 1.5 m to get the better results. The images produced are not hard to eyes. I think the LED source technology plays a role in keeping the media produced as user-friendly – means not hard to eyes. If you go for it, you won’t regret your decision.
For the people who already own the projector, it is easy to buy another one. Because they are familiar with the basic features of a good projector. But for the beginners, it is very hard to find a good one for themselves. We have compiled a buying guide to give the starters a comfort station and if you are beginner you will surely find it useful. So, if you are a beginner then keep reading the guide.
Which Type of Projector Should I Buy?
1. Home Theater Projectors
In home theater projector, the image quality is very important and it is given importance over all else features. They have low brightness around 1700 lumens and their zoom feature is awesome if compared with any other type having built-in lenses. Moreover, most often they run on low-voltage. As the projector produces heat during heavy operation, to counter the heat produced they possess a cooling system that disperses the heat produced.
Relatively they are heavy and hard to install with the upside down on the ceiling. Mostly they are Full HD and few are 4k. Most manufacturers place the multimedia projectors into the category of Home Theater projectors so, be careful about them and thoroughly read the specs before buying.
2. Multimedia Projectors
The sale of multimedia projectors is on a constant increase. They are multi-dimensional and they are widely used. They are being used for PPT presentations, in business meetings, for educational purposes and more. They weight around 3 pounds and more – vary from model to model. The range of their brightness is mostly from 2500 to 4500 lumens. You should be careful when choosing, you should make sure that the screen size is compatible with the throw ration of the device.
They have several input options. The most widely used digital input is HDMI nowadays. This type of display devices follow the computer resolutions. The resolutions include SVGA (800 by 600), WXGA (1280 by 800), XGA (1024 by 768), and WUXGA (1920 by 1200).
3. Pocket Projectors
This type of projectors are extremely small. They are mostly liked due to their portability. Due to their small sizes, they have resemblance with the smartphones. They are the best substitute to the small TV and you can have fun when you are outside of your home. Watch a movie or images of your loved ones. Having the built-in speakers is a good feature but they don’t make a remarkable difference.
When talking about the brightness, the pico projectors’ range from 100 to 1500 ANSI lumens. On the other hand, multimedia projectors start from 2500 lumens. The manufacturers sometimes brag about the lumens and originally the projectors don’t possess that. Therefore, be careful about the brightness when buying a one for you. Unpleasantly, they don’t have the optical zoom feature and you will have to adjust the placement to achieve the desired image size.
4. Short Throw Projectors
The projector is said to be short throw if its throw ratio is less than 1:1. Most common throw ratio is of 0.5:1 and the ultra short throw ratio is 0.3:1. They are mostly placed very close to the projection screen. The distance between the screen and itself is mostly between 18 inches and 2 feet. In some cases, you will have to place it at a very large distance from the screen and most often in the least ambient light to achieve a very large image size. You will be unpleasant with the results when it is placed at a very large distance from the screen. They are made for the smaller screen. If you have limited space and require brighter projector then you should look for the model with a fixed installation.
DLP Vs LCD Projector, Which One Is Better?
Nowadays, there are 3 imaging systems that are mostly used namely – LCD, DLP and the 3LCD reflective, you may not be familiar with the last type. There isn’t a clear difference between the LCD and DLP type devices. Nevertheless, the DLP type projectors have a better contrast and LCD has no rainbow effect. A single chip DLP uses a spinning color wheel and small mirrors, on the other hand, there are no moving parts in LCD. If you want to use the projector in a remote setting, the place where it can’t be replaced easily then go with the LCD. Apart from that, the comparison of LCD and DLP don’t need to be the deciding factor when buying a one.
What is Throw Ratio?
It represents the association between the distance between the screen and projector and the width of the screen. The format is as “throw distance: screen width”. For example – if the throw ratio is 1:1 then the lens will produce an image of 5 feet wide from the distance of 5 feet.
The special short throw projectors will have a throw ratio of 0.5:1 or less than that. On the other hand, the home theater and multimedia projectors have the throw ratio of 0.3:1 or more than that and with the 3:1 ratio they produce very high-quality media. If the lenses can be replaced in the model you own then you can change the throw ratio. You can increase or decrease the throw ratio with the add-on lenses. However, you may disturb the quality which the projector may be capable to give out, so, it is highly recommended not to change the lenses if you don’t have enough knowledge about how to do that with the mastery.
How Much Brightness is Enough?
It is very important to get the right brightness and it is a very important factor to consider. Regardless of the brightness the ambient light also plays an important role. To get enough light out of the projector is a questioning element. To get a one which is too bright is impossible. There are some other factors that determine the quality of the image.
To get better results the projectors are mainly used in the total darkness. The more ambient light makes the image poor and unclear. You won’t get the great image quality but a viewable image in the ambient light. To know how much brightness you need there are certain factors which need to be determined.
These factors include – the content to be presented, the image width needed, throw distance, and how much ambient light is there in the room. So, you need to calculate these factors. Mostly the brightness is measured in lumens. For the users’ convenience, some manufacturers provide the calculator that does the work for you. You can use the projection calculator to calculate the brightness needed.
Here are some numbers (they may differ according to the situation)
→ Living Room (Lights can be turned off completely): 1500 – 2000 lumens
→ Movie theater: more or equal to 20,000 lumens
→ Hall, Church, Event with high ambient light: 4500 lumens
→ Classroom (where lights can be dimmed): 3000 lumens
What Resolution Should I Consider?
Resolution is an important factor to consider. The most models nowadays have a resolution of 1024 x 768 (XGA). Some of the entry level units are still 800 x 600 (SVGA). I would recommend you to not go below XGA i.e. 1024 by 768 resolution. Some of the computer programs need XGA to run, however, you can deceive the computer system by changing the requirements to XGA. By doing so, the image will look blurry and will give an annoying effect.
Again the calculator can come in and help you at this stage. You will give the screen size and viewing distance as an input to the calculator and the calculator will give you the resolution. But wait, the resolution which you can calculate through the calculator wouldn’t be based on realistic situations. If you are going to buy it for a production company then 4K is going to be okay. Otherwise, for ordinary usage, the XGA would satisfy you, correct me if I am wrong.
Are Built-in Speakers Sufficient?
No, the built-in speakers aren’t enough to produce great sound. The device with the 10W speakers may be good to satisfy you. Most often the built-in sound is constrained 1 or 3 Watt speakers. I would honestly recommend you to buy a separate sound system (sound bar or surround sound system for home cinema) for awesome results. If you want a portable solution then the small wireless speakers can work great for you.
Folks, I hope that you will feel it safe to pick the best budget projector from this list. There are many projectors on the market but finding the one with excellent features and the small price tag isn’t easy. Okay, let me give you my honest opinion. Narrowing the list again, which projector you should pick from this list? If portability is not one of your main concerns, then, you can pick from these two – the Optoma HD142X and Epson VS240.
What makes them worth buying? Firstly, they both have 3000 lumens brightness. Secondly, they are inexpensive. Moreover, they have a good bulb life. They have a good compatibility scope. The downside is that their built-in speakers aren’t good enough to impress you and you may have to install an external speaker for good sound quality. In short, they are the best choice if you want to buy a good projector while remaining in the budget. You won’t regret your decision if you go with any of them.
With that said, if you want an extremely portable device to project the media, then, you should look no beyond than the RIF6 CUBE Projector. This is the ultra-portable model to go for. Due to its extremely small size, it would always be ready to go with you outside. Moreover, you are getting a tripod with it which makes its installation easy. It supports the TF card and USB and has a built-in battery. Making the long story short, if you are looking to buy a model with ultra-portability and cheap price then the RIF6 cube is the model waiting for you. Grab it and give it a chance to please you, correct me if I am wrong!
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