The best budget projectors are an amazing way to elevate your viewing experience without dumping tons of money into a new TV. Some of these models definitely stretch the definition of cheap but offer a sizeable collection of features that make them a worthwhile investment like autofocus or built-in speakers.
There was a time when the only use of a projector was to view photographs from your latest vacations. But projectors have come a long way from that and now you get projectors that can do so much more.
Be it playing games or conducting research activities using enlarged images, projectors help in a lot of different ways. The question however arises- which is the best projector to go for? There are all kinds of projectors available in all kinds of price ranges nowadays. Here are some of the best budget projectors that you can opt for.
Features to consider in budget projectors
Making the right decision is often based on comparing a few projectors. But there are many features that can actually be included in a device and have a look at the most important ones can be all that’s needed.
- Image resolution: For most home users, a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a resolution of 1920X1080p offers a pleasant experience. It is suitable for movies and gaming, turning the home projector into a real entertainment device.
- Lamp life: The lamp of the projector can be the first part to break in time. But it is recommended to choose an LED lamp which offers up to 50.000 hours of proven lamp life.
- Cooling technology: Cooling the projector is crucial to keep it working in proper parameters. But the coolers inside the projector are also loud at times. Noise levels can be important for some users, especially when the projector is used every day.
5 Best Budget Projectors in 2021:
1. VANKYO V600
When it comes to the value for money, nothing comes in mind other than VANKYO performance V600 Projector. Because this projector is equipped with almost every feature that could be found in premium projectors.
Whereas, the price is enough accessible that almost every individual can easily experience the High-end features, without breaking a bank.
It might have loosened some points from the design perspective, but have the quality to amaze you as far as the performance is concerned.
1080p is the resolution, which reflects the Full HD visuals on the screen for the better viewing experience. Either it is a family-movie time, or a business presentation, the visuals that the projector will throw on the screen, will be detailed and crystal clear.
While the best part is that you will not be required to adjust any setting to have better quality visuals on the screen.
Moreover, to enhance the versatility of the projector, manufacturers have also equipped it with 2 HDMI ports, where one is for the audio and the other one is to connect the laptop, smartphone or any other gadget with the projector.
- Brightest visuals
- Render quality images on every screen type
- It does not score well in design and appearance
The ViewSonic M1 Plus is absolutely tiny – a projector you can genuinely fit in your pocket. And yet, despite its compact dimensions and low weight, it still does a good job of beaming movies, games and TV shows onto your walls at screen sizes up to 100in.
Resolution is limited to 854 x 480 and brightness is a lowish 150 lumens so you need a dark room to enjoy the projected image but colour performance isn’t bad at all. Its built-in speaker does a decent job of providing emergency audio that isn’t too thin and tinny plus, if you want to boost audio output, you can hook up a Bluetooth speaker.
There’s an integrated battery with up to 1hr 30mins battery life so you can run it without connecting it the mains if you like. And there’s also a stack of features built-in aside from this with HDMI input, USB-A for local video file playback and Wi-Fi connectivity. Apps can be installed, too, via the Aptoide marketplace with many major streaming platforms supported, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
All told, the M1 Mini Plus is a cracking little projector: it’s limited on resolution and brightness but image quality is good and it’s stacked with features.
- Incredible price to screen size ratio
- Easier on the eyes
- Complex set up
- Requires semi- or total-darkness
If you’re looking for a reliable and effective projector, the Vankyo Leisure 3 is one of the best overall choices. It’s designed for home entertainment and it stands out thanks to 1080P resolution support and rich, dynamic color, powered by Vankyo’s MStar Advanced Color Engine. It also uses LED lamps, which are 60% brighter than traditional lamps and offer about 40,000 hours of use. It’s the perfect choice for watching the latest blockbusters, viewing home movies, or for smartphone use and video games, if you purchase an additional HDMI cable.
We like that the Leisure 3 is incredibly small and compact, at under eight inches in length and 2.1 pounds. It comes with a carrying case and tripod, making it easy to travel to a friend’s movie night or take on vacation.
Despite its small size, it packs a huge punch, projecting clearly and brightly even on large screens. Speakers are included as well, but you’ll get better results connecting via external speakers, as the quality is slightly lacking. Despite the speakers, you really can’t go wrong with the Leisure 3—it’s our top choice for personal use, thanks to its portability, amazing picture quality, and versatility.
- Super compact and portable
- Impressive presentation quality, even in large spaces
- Fan noise suppression
- Built-in speakers aren’t the best quality
- Limited ability to adjust the angle
As one of the most reliable compact projectors, Tainidi now offers improved mechanics and optics which make it even more suitable for home use. With an improved cooling system, it manages to push hot air out more efficiently, towards the side. But its cooling system is not only improved in the way it handles airflow as it is also less noisy with the latest Tainidi release.
The projector comes with durable optics. Its lamp is made to resist up to 50.000 hours of use. Even protecting the lens from dust and scratches is a priority for the manufacturer. A lens-protection slide cover has been added to the front of the projector.
This extra protection could also make the projector suitable for use outside of the home. It can easily be taken to work where it would suit presentation in small rooms. It can also be used by students in smaller classrooms for excellent presentations.
- Supports HD images
- Made with improved noise levels
- Designed with a slide lens cover
- Suitable for light commercial use
- Navigation menus can be simplified
5. AAXA M6
For business presentations, pico projectors are renowned for their spectacular utility. And the AAXA M6 is the best pico projector on the market. With full native 1080p resolution, it’s a great business projector that’s suitable for home theatre use as well. There’s a built-in battery for portable use and long-lasting 30,000 lamp life. 1200 lumens mean you can project well even with a fair bit of ambient light. Connectivity is absolutely mind-blowing with an HDMI input, VGA, composite A/V ports, and even a microSD card slot. At 2.5 pounds, portability remains superb.
While the AAXA M6 boasts 1600 lumens, battery usage cuts that lumen rating in half to 800. The small form factor comes with a bit of a downside in that the fans kick in while it’s plugged in to keep the unit cool and it’s therefore somewhat noisy. Disappointingly, there’s no auto-focus.
If you’re ok with 720p HD, the AAXA P300 is a great pick. For an even smaller 1080p pico projector, AAXA’s P7 is a palm-sized option. And there’s even a 4K pico projector, albeit with a steep price tag.
- Full 1080p native resolution
- Great connectivity (HDMI, VGA, A/V composite, microSD card)
- 1600 lumens
- Battery built-in
- Only 800 lumens on battery
- Loud cooling fans while plugged in
How we tested the budget projectors?
We measured each projector using CalMAN software and $10,000 worth of test equipment, including a Klein K-10A and an i1Pro2 photospectrometer running patterns from a Murideo Six-G test pattern generator. We tested for light output, contrast ratio, color and color temperature accuracy, and more.
Additionally, since numbers don’t reveal the whole picture, we did qualitative comparison testing by placing projectors next to each other and sending them the same signal using an HDMI splitter. Viewing the same image side by side with identical screen sizes makes it easy to see differences in black level, contrast, and color.
What other features should I look out for?
The core features are covered above but there are other features to take note that are worth having:
- Auto-keystone and autofocus: Saves time in setting up the image because you don’t have to fiddle around with menu settings and focus wheels.
- Remote control: Most come with one of these but some do not and it’s a real pain if you don’t have one.
- Built-in speakers and audio output: Many models have built in speakers but most aren’t up to much so it’s worth making sure there’s either a 3.5mm audio output or Bluetooth facility so you can hook up an external speaker.
- Bluetooth: This isn’t used to transfer video – the technology doesn’t have enough bandwidth – but some products use it so the budget projectors can double as a Bluetooth speaker.
These are the ultimate cheap projectors that you will find appropriate for your budget. The projectors have smaller compact sizes, which allow for portability for use anywhere needed. Besides this, they also have built-in batteries and with the improved screen resolutions, they provide wider crystal clear views; hence the ideal picks to consider.