You’re thinking about having a regular movie night in your backyard. Maybe you work from home and need to create presentations that can land you a big deal. Or maybe you just love to play video games and you’re ready to take your screen to the next level. With the best outdoor projectors, your dreams can become reality.
An outdoor projector gives you flexibility. When combined with a large screen, you can provide HD-quality video or higher for movies, games, or your next PowerPoint presentation.
What Are the Best Outdoor Projectors?
Outdoor projectors come in varying levels of quality and output. Some are designed for a permanent installation. Others are highly portable and can even go with you to work. Think about what you’d need a projector for and then compare those needs to the features of these top-rated models.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Max Projection Size||Price|
|Ohderii LED Outdoor Projector|| 4.8 ||180 Inches|| $$
|Wimius Video Outdoor Projector|| 4.2 ||150 Inches|| $$$
|Excelvan 2600 Portable Mini Outdoor Projector|| 4.1 ||200 Inches|| $$
|Crenova LED Video Projector|| 4.0 ||130 Inches|| $$
|Ohderii LED Multimedia Home Theater Projector|| 4.8 ||280 Inches|| $$$
|Meyoung Portable Projector|| 4.7 ||130 Inches|| $
|DBPower T20 LCD Mini Projector|| 4.3 ||130 Inches|| $$
|Croyale Video Projector|| 4.7 ||200 Inches|| $$$
|Epson VS240 LCD Projector|| 4.5 ||350 Inches|| $$$$
|CiBest Video Projector|| 4.3 ||280 Inches|| $$$
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Max Projection Size||Price|
How to Find the Best Outdoor Projector for Me
Choosing the best outdoor projector means finding one that has the features and video quality that meets your need. Most projectors will handle virtually any type of media that you wish to display, but they are designed for one general purpose. That means a projector that works well for movies and live TV isn’t going to handle a PowerPoint presentation with a lot of finesse.
And that means the projectors you love to use at work aren’t going to be the right choice to purchase for home use.
There are three basic types of projectors that can be used for outdoor purposes right now.
- Home Theater Projectors. These projectors can produce images that are 30 times larger than a standard 50-inch outdoor television without reducing the quality of the image. These projectors emphasize contrast and image quality, which gives you a strong viewing experience in an outdoor environment. They work best, however, when there is little ambient light, so night viewing is your best option.
- Business Projectors. This type of projector is designed to display a static image instead of a moving image, though HDMI ports are available on most models today. Remember those old slide projectors that would rotate images in a circular container to display on a screen or wall? This is a modern version of that. It’s good for spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, but will cause moving images to seem blurry.
- Pico Projectors. This is a pocket-sized projector that can help you share images or movies with a small group of people. They work well for small rooms and can often be paired with a smartphone. HDMI is possible with a Pico projector as well. If you have limited space and a tight budget, this could be your best option.
If you want a formal outdoor experience for movies, shows, and video games, then a home theater projector is your best option. For those who are looking for something that is portable and affordable, a Pico projector could be useful. A business projector, however, needs to stay in the office – even if you work at home.
Image Display Options with the Best Outdoor Projectors
Once you’ve settled on the type of projector you want for your outdoor needs, it’s time to think about how the unit will display images. There are two primary types of displays that are utilized right now: digital light processing (DLP) and liquid crystal display (LCD).
The advantages of using a DLP projector include a film-like quality in the display, even from Blu-Ray and HDTV inputs. It offers smooth motion for fast-moving scenes or live-action sports. The black coloring is more authentic than other types and premium models can display 300+ inches with HD-quality.
There are advantages to using an LCD projector as well. It offers a brighter output, which is perfect for many outdoor environments when complete darkness may not be available. It provides a sharper image without ghosting. These projectors tend to be better in terms of energy efficiency and run quieter, which is good for a small, enclosed environment.
A new type of projector display, called liquid crystal on silicone (LCoS), is available on outdoor projectors at the top end of the pricing spectrum. For those that can afford this technology, LCoS projectors provide the advantages of both DLP and LCD projectors. You receive the smoothest video, stunning color saturation, and a bright display that feels natural at any time of day.
What Light Source is Available in the Best Outdoor Projectors?
For an image to display on a screen or wall from a projector, there must be a light source that streams from the unit. Modern projectors typically offer three different light sources from which you can choose.
- Home Theater Projectors. This is the standard outdoor projector light source. Bulbs in an LED projector can last 20,000 hours or more, with some models reaching 100,000 hours. It provides better color control, offers a smaller size, quieter operation, and doesn’t require cooling space.
- Business Projectors. The benefit of choosing a laser light source projector is that you don’t need to replace any bulbs. You’ll receive a brighter output and better contrast with a wider color range to enjoy.
- Pico Projectors. The standard lamp in a projector will last 5,000 hours or less, though some models can extend that time with an economy mode. You receive a bright output, but none of the advantages the other light source options provide. In return, you can save hundreds of dollars on your projector with this option.
How can you know if projectors with a similar light source offer a better output than others that are priced similarly? Look through the best outdoor projector reviews to see if a lumens rating has been assigned to the unit or if the reviewer has tested the lumens output.
Lumens are a measurement of brightness for light. A higher lumens number represents better brightness for the display. Outdoor projectors will separate these measurements into one for the white light produced and the other for the color light output that is available. Most color brightness ratings measure red, blue, and yellow only, though emerging technologies may measure green also.
The actual lumens rating must be examined carefully. The brightness of the light can be very different at 50 feet than it is at 5 feet. See what the recommended viewing distance is for the outdoor projector you prefer and where the lumens rating was obtained. That will help you know if the projector can meet your overall needs.
Finding Contrast with the Best Outdoor Projectors
The contrast ratio of an outdoor projector is the difference that can be seen from the brightest and darkest areas of the picture. A higher contrast ratio lets the viewer see defined shadow details, deeper black colors, and this makes it possible to discern dimension and depth within the picture.
Darkened rooms make it possible to discern the contrast ratio of the outdoor projector very easily. A low contrast ratio will make an image seem dull, almost monotonous, even if there is a high level of coloration difference within the image.
The resolution of the projector is a necessary feature to examine when designing an outdoor entertainment area. More pixels within a display create images that are detailed, crisp, and smooth. For those wanting to establish an outdoor home theater, the highest resolution possible that you can fit on the screen will be worth the investment.
On entry-level outdoor projectors, you may find the resolution is just 480p. That’s not even high-definition. At minimum, a 720p outdoor projector should be considered. For a good all-around experience that won’t break the bank, a 1080p resolution is the best investment. With 1080p, you can view Blu-Ray movies at full resolution and display live HDTV.
If you want the best that an outdoor projector can provide, however, consider investing into 4K or 8K Ultra HD for an image that looks and feels realistic.
As a final step in this process, you’ll want to look at the aspect ratio formats that are available on your preferred outdoor projectors. The standard ratio is 4:3 and this creates a square image with black bars on the screen. It’s a good option for DVDs, older TV shows, and classic movies.
Widescreen is 16:9 and is needed for HDTV formats.
For an immersive outdoor theater experience, the Cinemascope ratio of 2.35-2.4:1 is the best option. Your projector will need to have an anamorphic lens, but will be able to properly scale the movie to the screen so you receive the best possible experience.
What Are the Prices of the Best Outdoor Projectors?
Most outdoor projectors fit into a pricing range of $300-$600 and this will serve most personal needs. That makes it comparable to the average flat screen TV right now. It’s also a fraction of the cost that an outdoor TV would cost. If you don’t have a screen for your projector, expect to double the price of your investment.
Additional features and higher resolutions or ratios will expand the cost of the outdoor projector. Some models, including an inflatable screen, can be priced above $10,000.
Reviews: 10 Outstanding Outdoor Projectors
This affordable outdoor projector gives you about 30% added brightness compared to a standard LED projector thanks to is 1800 ANSI luminous efficiency. It has the capability of keeping up with high-speed pictures, including live sports, and it supports HD video gaming from most console manufacturers. Its max screen size is 180 inches, though the best quality comes at a size of around 120 inches. If you have an HDMI adapter for your smartphone, you can display music, videos, and photographs too. At this price, it’s an investment that makes a lot of sense.
With a 3200 lumens LED light source, you’ll receive up to 20,000 hours of use with this projector before it will need maintenance on its projector. It supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios, allows a 1080p input, and has a 2000:1 contrast ratio. Max size is 150 inches, though a good display is usually less than 100 inches for most pictures. It’s small enough to sit on a desk, lightweight enough to hang from a ceiling, and is backed by 1-year limited warranty. If you need office and recreational needs met with one device, this is it.
We’ve got mixed feelings about this handy little projector. Its brightness is a little lower than comparable models, but it offers a better max screen size for your larger parties. You can easily change out the aspect ratio with this projector, but the HDMI interface isn’t the easiest to access when mounted from the ceiling. It has MHL cable adapter capabilities, but doesn’t come with the cable. If you don’t mind working with this projector, it provides an excellent home cinema experience. If you want plug-and-play capabilities and low maintenance, however, it may not make the grade for some.
This video projector is an excellent value purchase. It doesn’t work well with a data presentation, though a heavily animated PowerPoint does look decent on this projector. It works better with a direct HDMI connection and will serve gamers well. Consider getting an HDMI dongle so you can have the MHL functionality supported. The max screen size is a little underpowered at 130 inches, but you won’t have the same noise issues with this projector that others tend to have. Run it all day and it will stay cool so you can conquer your gaming league.
If your goal is to create an outdoor theater in your backyard, then give this projector a closer look. It offers built-in speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and native 720p native resolution. Dual-aspect ratio support is included with a throw ratio of 1.38:1. The best screen size is less than 100 inches with the 2200:1 contrast ratio, but the signal reception is excellent with this projector. It won’t provide 1080p support, but as an entry-level projector for home movies and streaming, it’s a contender in this category.
This portable projector is the perfect addition to your family movie night. It connects to any HDMI-enabled device and can display pictures, videos, or music from mobile devices. It supports HD gaming as well. The max screen size is 130 inches, though the best screen size is around 75 inches. It is compatible with mobile HDDs, an SD card, or a USB flash drive to play content as well. The native resolution is the one downfall of this projector, with it being a native 480p. It’s a good starter projector, but if you want to take your home cinema experience seriously, you’ll want to make an upgrade sooner rather than later for an HD experience.
Although you could use this projector outdoors, the 1500 lumens it projects works best at night or indoors. It offers VGA supports so you can play videos from older recorders and cameras, which is a unique feature that some may love in this category. It even supports VGA content for home movies recorded a generation ago. The cooling system does a good job of dispersing the heat this projector generates. We found the best viewing experience comes at the 130-inch mark.
With Hi-Fi audio, a large projector experience, and 3200 lumens to brighten any night, this is the ideal outdoor projector for almost any property. It offers a 3000:1 contrast ratio, native resolution of 800p, and dual aspect ratio support. It will support 1080p content as well. There’s a 60-day return period for any reason and a 7-month return window if there is a defective item on the projector. The display goes up to 200 inches and still looks good at that size. Our only issue is a lack of compatibility with Dolby Surround Sound – the projector offers zero sound if Dolby is present.
This SVGA projector provides a surprising 3000 lumens in a small, portable package. The foundation of this projector is its 3-chip technology, offer better brightness and color vividness than most other projectors in this category. It is good for projecting a basic presentation or computer graphics with a native 600p resolution. A zoom function allows you to enlarge any portion of the screen on-demand. Media players are supported, as is HDMI content, and requires just one cable to do it. If you need versatility with your outdoor projector, then give this one a closer look.
With a high resolution, good brightness levels, and a big screen experience, there’s a lot to love about this little projector. At 3200 lumens, it’s one of the brightest outdoor projectors available at its price point. The LED lamp has up to 20 years of life in it when using the projector under regular conditions. A screen size of up to 280 inches is possible, with a good stereo audio experience with SRS sound technologies available. Multiple inputs and easy installation round out the user experience. It’s a good value purchase for anyone who wants to enjoy what a projector can provide.
The best outdoor projectors will help you to maximize your space and your fun. From family movies to neighborhood parties to video gaming tournaments, these projectors will make sure you can do it all.