Best Budget Projector in 2020 (REVIEW GUIDE)

Best Budget Projector

Projectors are an awesome way to upgrade or supplement your home entertainment system. First and foremost, they take your movie experience from small box to big screen. So, get the popcorn ready because you’re in for an experience! You’re already curious about the benefits of a projector and there might be a few reasons why you’re interested in making the switch.

Some common causes for people to start exploring home projectors are:

  • There are no well placed studs to wall-mount a TV
  • You want a huge screen, but don’t want to invest in a large TV
  • You want the look of not having a big black box in your living room
  • Maybe you want the screen in an unconventional place
  • There’s no space on the wall for a TV or entertainment cabinet

You can see that there are plenty of reasons where a projector might outclass a traditional television. Before we go further in exploring the best cheap projectors, let’s hash out some frequent consumer questions.

What is a home projector?

A projector is a small box that you can mount on your wall or ceiling to cast a display onto a white surface. This projection can take up some serious space, so some people choose to also purchase a ceiling mounted roll down screen to keep from having to take down any wall decorations.

Projectors offer maximum screen sizes, where televisions really fall short. You might not have the budget to get that 70” TV screen, but in comparison, it’ll cost pennies to find a projector that can cast a 200 inch display. That’s right, 200 inches! You might as well start your own drive in movie operation.

Tips for getting the most out of your projector:

You’ve read this guide and now have a thorough understanding of what projectors are capable of and the great group of budget options that are out there. Now it comes down to what you do with your new projector.

You want to purchase a projector to amplify your home cinema atmosphere! Make sure that you pay attention to the details to take advantage of the benefits that projectors have to offer.

  • Ensure you keep ambient light low and opt for a dark room for the brightest picture
  • Use the content from your owner’s manual to really dial in the lens to get the crispest display
  • Stay within the ideal bounds of screen size and projector distance
  • Keep your cords organized!
  • When in doubt – contact brand support!

Other tasks that projectors make light work of:

Don’t let your imagination stop at home theater projectors. There is so much more you can do with a projector compared to a traditional TV or even a laptop screen.

  • Take it outdoors for a DIY drive in theatre
  • Pack it to class to teach lecture presentations with visual aids
  • Get in the game, like really in the game, and amplify your video gaming experience with massive screen sizes
  • Get an in person feel by projecting online classes
  • Help decorate cookies. But how?! Project a display onto your table, line your cookie up under the picture, and get to tracing!

What are the best budget projectors?

Now what you’ve really been waiting for! Let’s get into our treasure hunt for the best affordable projector of the year. We really took the time to dig through all the features, reviews, and information for each of these products so you could find the best projector for cheap. You’re welcome! Now read on and start absorbing these cinematic vibes!

One by one, here’s your roundup for the best low cost projectors!

Last update on 2020-11-23 at 05:00

 

1. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector

 

Features:

  • Display: 32” to 170”
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080p
  • Contrast Ratio: 3000:1
  • Distance: 3.6 feet – 21.7 feet

The details:

This projector comes in at a a great starter price. It can accommodate smart phone connectivity for easy screen sharing to share photos or have a TikTok humor party. The setup is super easy for hooking up your streaming service like AppleTV or Roku and you’ll also be able to connect your video game console to feel like you’re in Call of Duty, instead of just playing it.

The VANKYO LIESURE 3 mini is a compact size and users report that it even works nice in daylight hours! It’s a budget buy, yet rocks over 25,000 reviews at 4.5 stars. Now that’s a movie star.

It includes a 1/4” threaded space gives you the ability to set this projector up on a tripod or mount via ceiling. The high contrast ratio gives you a good example of the image quality this device will give you.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Great specs for the price
  • Decreased fan sound
  • Cooling system for improved performance

Cons

  • Max screen size of 170”
  • Requires a darker room for best picture

 

2. CiBest Video Mini Projector

 

Features:

  • Display: 30” to 200”
  • Resolution: Full HD 1080p
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Distance: 3.9 feet – 8.2 feet

The details:

This mini projector is portable! Go ahead and take it outside for a summer evening. It’s only 8” x 5” and weighs 2.25lbs. Try hauling your TV outside and you’ll see why this is easily the better portable option. Another budget buy, you’ll get a lot of use for a device under one hundred bucks.

The screen is super bright and you’ll love the contrast. The LED lamp on this baby will run for 50,000 hours, which equates to 5 years of continuous use. So, it’s not problem if you want to cast that aquarium livestream from YouTube for the next half decade. It’s soothing, we get it.

The CiBest does a great job at the included speakers. You probably won’t even need to get external sound output for a great projection experience. It will project up to 200” of display size and that some serious real estate. Though, keep in mind that the optimal distance for the best picture is 60-80”.

The max projection distance is only 8 feet, which might limit you for setup abilities.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Long lamp life
  • Large max screen size
  • SD card capable

Cons

  • Battery isn’t the best quality
  • Adjustment foot takes some tinkering to get the screen aligned
  • Max projection distance is only 8 feet

 

3. Jinhoo WiFi Mini Projector 5500 Lux

 

Features:

  • Display: 32” to 176”
  • Resolution: 1280 x 720p
  • Distance: 1.5 to 5 meters

The details:

This Jinhoo mini projector comes with a screen! Projection display material problem solved. You know what else it includes? WiFi! That’s right – you can set up connectivity through the Wi Fi enabled projector for quick action streaming. No cables needed.

The brand claims that it’s display quality and brightness are better than 99% of other mini projectors on the market. We’re inclined to believe it based on the tsunami of stellar reviews it gets. Customer pictures of this display in the dark really look like an actual TV screen.

It will accommodate a 1/4” threaded tripod for quick setup on the go. And remember that included display screen? Take that outside with you too! It’d be a great business choice to take to trade shows or conference rooms that aren’t outfitted with modern tech.

Pros

  • Included projection screen
  • WiFi capable
  • Improved display and brightness

Cons

  • You’ll need an additional speaker for larger rooms
  • Power light stays on when machine is plugged in, even if it’s not running
  • Picture gets a bit blurry when adjusting over 100”

 

4. KODAK Luma 150 Pocket Projector

Features:

  • Display: up to 150”
  • Resolution: 854 x 480 p
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Distance:

The Details:

You read that title right, this projector really fits in your pocket! It’s compact on a whole new level. The whole device measures 3” x 3” so you can even pocket pack it if you’re wearing skinny jeans (you aren’t still wearing skinny jeans, are you?).

It will includes a USB port and micro USB port, so it’s built for smartphone casting. It’s a great projector for ultimate travel ability. Throw it in your backpack and give your next class presentation in style. The resolution is lower than other models, but hello, this device is tiny! And you’ll still get up to 150” of display space.

Though it’s small, it still includes built-in speakers. Sound and picture is all you need for streaming. On the note of streaming, some users had a hard time getting Netflix to work on this device, so if that’s your sole watching platform, be aware.

Pros

  • Pocket-sized!
  • Easy to connect smart phone casting
  • Good resolution for photos/video
  • Great for toting in a backpack or briefcase

Cons

  • Might be some lag time between phone and projection when casting
  • Some blurry display for print and wording is possible
  • Weak brightness for lighter environments

 

5. Optoma HD 146X High Performance Projector for Movies & Gaming

 

Features:

  • Display: 120” & up
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080p
  • Contrast Ratio: 50,000:1
  • Distance: Standard 13-14 feet for a 120” picture.

The Details:

This one’s for the gamers out there! The Optoma projector is a bit higher in price, but delivers with impressive resolution display and brighter projection. Did you peep that contrast ratio? It’s heaps higher than other projectors in this roundup. With this device, you’re going to get far less image blur, amazing picture quality, and greatly improved color depth.

The above qualities make this projector a gold standard choice for the hard core gamers. In fact, this model was specifically engineered for gamers and includes a Game Display Mode. It’s not a single act design though, this projector works well in a multitude of rooms – home theater, living room, gaming room, or bedroom.

Though this project comes at a higher cost, users consistently talk up how it’s a great purchase for the price. For the crisp and bright picture you’ll get through that DLP display technology and 3600 lumen lamp will certainly be worth the cost. It’s got a great reach with a standard throw distance of 13-14 feet for casting a 120” screen. That’s big time, people!

Pros

  • Specialized for gamers with Game Display Mode
  • Excellent contrast ratio
  • Smooth motion graphics and display
  • Impressive color and picture quality

Cons

  • More expensive than other budget projectors
  • Has more specific mounting needs than other designs
  • No Bluetooth connection

 

6. Epson VS250 SVGA 3,200 Lumens Projector

 

Features:

  • Display: 30” to 350”
  • Resolution: native resolution SVGA 800 x 600
  • Contrast Ratio: 15000:1

The Details:

This Epson Home projector is Cine-magic! Massive display size and seamless wireless connectivity give you the best of modern technology at a good price. It’s lightweight and a breeze to set up. It’s compatible across the board – laptop, phone, media players, consoles, you name it.

You’ll even get bright and accurate color in higher ambient lights. So, if you’re wanting a projector you can use in well-lit rooms, this is a great choice. Even while using the eco-mode, you’ll get an impressive picture.

The only downside to this buy is that the device does not have an input for external speakers. It’s only physical connection ability is via HDMI. However, this Epson projector is bright as the sun (not really, don’t go staring into the sun to compare it) and an excellent purchase at this price!

Pros

  • Huge max display
  • Wireless abilities
  • Eco-mode display
  • Great color

Cons

  • No external speakers
  • Only able to input HDMI
  • Projects black bars for 16:9 ratio

 

7. PVO Portable Projector for Kids

Features:

  • Display: 50” to 150” with a recommended size of 100”
  • Resolution: 1080p resolution
  • Contrast Ratio:

The Details:

Here’s our choice for the kiddos out there. It’s the cheapest hd projector on this list, is small and compact, and a great budget choice for a kid’s room. There’s no battery on this model, but it can easily charge from a mobile phone charger or in the car!

This adaptability makes this projector a great option for road trips or backyard camp outs. Why not throw a nighttime birthday party under the stars and stream family photos? Pack this fun projector up and become Queen of the Sleepover!

Ok, this projector isn’t just for kids. Adults love it too. Plenty users state that they enjoy how portable the device is, and they like to take it in between rooms for adaptable use. The picture is clear and it will connect to other devices via HDMI, USB, Micro SD and includes a port for audio output. But all in all, you cannot beat that price.

Pros

  • Great buy for kids
  • Impressive speaker quality for the price
  • Works well in lighter environments
  • Clear pictures

Cons

  • No lens cap
  • No Bluetooth
  • Fan runs hot with long usage

 

The Extras

Unlike TVs, projectors aren’t an all-in-one type deal. You’ll need some supplementing items to complete your home theatre outfit. Make sure you consider this list below to get a good idea of what you’ll be spending on the whole kit.

Screen

If you’re going to get a projector, you’ll need something to project onto, of course! Stick with the theme of “budget” and go with a simple white sheet. If you’ve got the wall space, project straight onto the wall! But if your paint is textured, this could through off the display a bit. Or go fancy and purchase a roll down projection screen for the best looking picture.

Cables

To connect your project to streaming boxes, your laptop, or video game console, you’ll need cables. You’re mostly looking at HDMI or lightning cables, but take the time to check your devices so you get the right thing. Check the input ability for the projector your eyeing to make sure it’ll work with your platforms.

Speakers

For the sound-nerds out there, you might want to invest in a pair of external speakers. A lot of the projectors will do the average user just fine for sound quality. But, if you’re a stickler for pristine audio, keep this addition in the back of your mind. Right between those snobby ears.

 

FAQs

When you start exploring projector options, you’re likely going to be most interested in price and where to find the best projector for the money. We’ve got you covered in the following detailed answers.

How much are budget projectors?

There is a variable price range for home projectors. You can certainly score a quality device for a cheap or you could go top dollar for major performance. Prices can range from around $50 to far above $3,000. Still, that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a nice television.

Most budget projectors will have a lamp display. There’s really no such thing as a cheap laser projector, unless “cheap” means $2000 to you.

For this guide, we decided to focus on the finding the best inexpensive projector lineup. A cheap home projector doesn’t mean that it’s low quality. With a projected display, you are naturally going to be sacrificing the crystal clear definition you can get with TV, but in turn you’ll get more flexibility and a massive display.

Where to buy a budget projector for cheap?

The classic answer: Amazon! They’ll have an amazing selection of projectors across a variable price range. Even better, you can dive deep into the customer reviews to read real-people testimonials about the products.

Sometimes brands only go so far in describing their offerings. When you read further into product reviews, you’ll discover more features and possible shortcomings that are great to be aware of before your purchase.

Look for the following mentions when reading through customer reviews:

  • How loud is the machine?
  • The quality of the broadcast
  • Range of the display
  • Extra features, like streaming, HDMI connections, etc.

Other sources for a low cost projector might be used resale sites, though you might be rolling the dice on quality there. We’d recommend you stick to buying new from Amazon or dealer websites when it comes to getting the best projector for price.

What budget projector should I buy?

The recommendations:

Looking for max screen size? The CiBo Mini is your ticket for the cheapest option, while the Epson and Optoma will give you the biggest screen.

If you want a mindless easy to use device, go for the Jinhoo 5500 Lux.

For a major gaming blow out, grab the Optoma HD 146X High Performance Projector for Movies & Gaming.

Our choice for ultimate portability is the KODAK Luma 150.

Now for the gold trophy: The VANKYO LEISURE 3 MINI! With this projector you’re going to get amazing color through the high contrast ratio, high resolution, large screen ability, and wide range of projection distance. All around, it’s an incredible purchase for the price.

 

End Credits

You’ve got the best budget projectors in front of you, just ready for the picking! Find one that fits in your budget and gets you psyched about watching all the movies. Set the scene with some popcorn and soda to really get in the theatre mood. No tickets needed for this cinematic experience! Just skip the bubblegum under the seats…