Projectors are great ways of displaying content to a lot of people, whether it’s a slideshow or a movie, without carrying around an enormous television. But many people think that projectors are too expensive to buy for personal or small business use.
You don’t have to spend over a thousand dollars to get a projector that displays crisp, clear images. In this list, we’ve selected the best cheap projectors that offer great functionality and durability without breaking the bank.
1. Best Cheap Projector: ViewSonic PA503W
The ViewSonic PA503W is a great projector for nearly every scenario. For a competitive price, you get great reliability and solid display quality that makes it a great pick, no matter what you want to use it for.
Most projectors from recognizable brands in this price range are set at a 800×600 resolution, so the ViewSonic’s 1280×800 WXGA resolution is a welcome upgrade. While it’s not HD, the screen should be pixel-dense enough that you can make out smaller details such as numbers on a spreadsheet or labels on a chart. It can project up to 120 inches if placed far enough from the surface.
That also means you can do some video viewing without compromising much on the image quality. Many reviewers comment that this unit looks pretty good for watching movies, especially if you can find a clear surface such as a projector screen or a white wall. There’s also a built-in speaker that connects via a 3.5mm auxiliary jack. It isn’t the highest quality output, but it’s fine if you need to play some audio in a pinch.
The ViewSonic has a lamp life of up to 15,000 hours with its SuperEco mode. If you’re in the appropriate environment, this allows you to dim the brightness of your projection to save on power consumption and increase your unit’s lamp life.
2. Best Projector for Offices and Schools: InFocus IN116XV
If you need a projector for your office or school, you can’t go wrong with the InFocus IN116XV. Like the ViewSonic model, it has a WXGA resolution and a good contrast ratio that makes for a sharp image, especially for business presentations and documents. However, where this projector really excels is its brightness.
With its 3800 lumens lamp, it’s brighter than most projectors in this price range. This means that it’s excellent for use during the daytime, as you can still see the image even if you’re in a particularly well-lit area. It’s especially useful if your school or office gets a lot of sunlight. It has a dynamic mode that automatically changes the brightness based on your environment too.
Its fan is also fairly silent, which is important if going to be discussing important topics or giving a lecture while it’s running. It has a customizable sleep timer in case you only need to keep the image on for a certain amount of time.
The InFocus IN116XV has preset modes that automatically pick image settings depending on your surface. There are presets for whiteboards, beige walls, blackboards, and other surfaces. You can also customize settings like the tone and contrast yourself.
3. Best Projector for Smartphones: LG PH150G
The LG PH150G is a small, but very powerful device. It has a host of features that make it the ideal projector for those on mobile devices. At a very affordable price, you get a projector that has a 30,000-hour lamp life, a battery that lasts up to 2.5 hours, and a 720p display that can project to a screen up to 100 inches.
This unit has wireless screen sharing via Miracast so that you can project the contents of your Android or Windows device without any wires. While this tends to lag, it’s fine for presentations or blowing up a static picture. It also has a Bluetooth audio output, so you can connect it to any Bluetooth speaker.
In addition to full wireless connectivity, it also has an HDMI port. This is much smoother than the wireless screen share mode, so this is recommended if you want to use your PH150G to watch movies. The physical port works seamlessly with a Fire Stick, Chromecast, or other HDMI plug-in sticks. It also has a USB port so you can directly project your videos, images, and documents.
The only downside is that the screen doesn’t get very bright. If you’re watching a movie, you should probably dim all the lights.
4. Best Projector Under $200: VANKYO Leisure 510
If you’re looking for a functional projector under $200, the VANKYO Leisure 510 is the best option. It is one of the only projectors in this price range that has a 1280×768 native resolution, which already puts it way ahead of the competition. Also, it has a host of features that make it great for both personal and business use.
First is the wide selection of ports. The Leisure 510 supports VGA, AV, USB, microSD, and has two HDMI ports, all in a fairly compact package. It also claims to have a lamp life of over 50,000 hours, although no one has yet been able to test it for that long yet.
Its built-in speakers are reasonably loud and should be good enough to watch a movie with, especially if you’re in a quiet environment. It also comes packaged with a handy carrying case and an HDMI cable.
5. Best Projector for Watching Media: Nebula Capsule
The Nebula Capsule is built specifically for consuming content, and it does an excellent job at that. It has its own Android-based operating system that allows you to install and use apps. This means that it’s compatible with Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services. It also has a built-in speaker that allows you to use it as an all-around streaming device.
The Capsule has an internal 5200mAh battery which gives you a battery life of up to four hours when you stream videos. You can also charge it while it’s in use. It’s possible to use the Capsule as a standalone Bluetooth speaker too, and it’ll last up to 40 hours in that mode. To add to its portability, it has a fairly low profile and weighs just over a pound.
It also has a variety of input options. In addition to displaying content from its own operating system, you also project via USB OTG, HDMI, and wireless screen sharing from your Windows or Android devices. If you want to learn more about this handy little projector, you can read our Nebula Capsule review.
6. Best Projector Under $100: APEMAN Mini LC350
While there are a number of projectors under a hundred dollars, they are usually low-performance models. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the APEMAN Mini LC350 is a very cheap projector that should suffice.
It has a 480p resolution and supports screens of up to 180 inches. It gets fairly bright at 3500 lumens. This should make it usable for presenting slideshows or image viewing.
The Mini LC350 supports a variety of connectivity and input options such as VGA, HDMI, AV, microSD, and USB. As an added bonus, it comes with an HDMI cable and an AV cable included in the box.
The Best Cheap Projectors for You
The ones we’ve listed above are just some of the best cheap projectors available. However, if you want to build a complete home theater set-up, you need more than just a projector.
If your chosen unit doesn’t come with a speaker built-in, you may want to consider investing in one of the best cheap Bluetooth speakers too.
Image Credit: ArturVerkhovetskiy/Depositphotos