If you want to have fun movie nights with your friends and family but you don’t have a projector you can use to make it the most magical night ever, you came to the right place! Finding a high-quality projector that is easy to use but also affordable can often prove quite challenging.
That is why you’ll find our list of the best projectors under $500 extremely helpful! After you read our article and go through the buying guide we prepared for you, you’ll be able to shop for a perfect and affordable projector like a pro. The best part is that you’ll gather all the info you need in less than five minutes!
Budget-Friendly Projector Powerhouses
1. AuKing Mini Projector
The first one on our list is the AuKing mini projector—an upgraded mini projector that supports 1080p resolution. This #1 best-seller projector has a 32~170 inches projection display size and provides 35% brighter images than some of the others available. If you’re looking for something that will make your home theatre experience perfect, this is an excellent choice.
The projector has built-in speakers that are high-quality and can be connected to external ones if necessary. You can also look forward to an advanced cooling system that this projector boasts which makes it more durable and lasts longer. The last neat feature we’ll mention is the one that allows you to connect the projector to a variety of devices, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, USB drives, and X-Box.
- Great for outdoor movies
- Good picture quality
- Weaker remote signal
2. TMY Projector
Moving on to the TMY projector which is perfect for both home cinema and outdoor movie nights. With the latest 7500 lumens led light source and 3LCD color calibrating technology, this projector can prove as a better choice since it restores more color details than some of the other mini projectors. It also supports 1080p resolution and offers a watching size from 32” to 220”.
The projector has a portable 100-inch projection screen that you can set up anywhere you want and use to watch films, videos, and photos, or play video games. The projection screen is not only portable, but also foldable, anti-wrinkle, and extremely easy to wash.
- Excellent screen size
- Amazing image quality
- Poor audio quality
3. ELEPHAS Mini WiFi Projector
ELEPHAS W13 projector is designed with the newest WiFi connection and is compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows, so there is possibly no projector out there more convenient than this one. If you can’t find a stable WiFi connection anywhere near you, don’t fret! This projector allows you to connect it to your iPhone using the original cable line without breaking a sweat.
ELEPHAS projector supports Full HD 1080p and provides you with the ultimate big-screen visual experience. It’s recommended to keep a 6 to 10 feet distance from the projector in order to protect your eyes and get the most out of the experience.
- Great for business purposes
- Easy to install
- Easy to connect wirelessly
- Weak sound
4. ONOAYO 5G WiFi Projector
The next one on our list is another WiFi projector—ONOAYO 5G WiFi Projector. You can connect this projector to a speaker easily, but not only that—you can also connect it to a mobile device to use it as a speaker. It receives the signal from your devices over 50 feet away and creates excellent sound.
Another amazing thing about this projector is the zooming feature. You can zoom in and reduce the image size up to 50%. Since it’s a 5G WiFi projector, it is likely to work more smoothly and faster than 2.4G ones.
This dust-proof projector has a sealed optical engine that prevents dust from falling on the lens and ruining the clarity of the image.
- Remote control
- Clear picture
- Great features
5. FANGOR 5G WiFi Projector
The FANGOR WiFi projector comes with a variety of super cool and neat features, including screen sync and Bluetooth 5.0 function. You can use the screen sync feature to play movies, videos, and photos from any Miracast-enabled device to the large projector’s screen. The screen’s size is up to 300″. As for the Bluetooth function, you can use it to connect your Bluetooth speaker wirelessly whenever you want.
This projector effectively reduces image distortion and allows you to adjust the screen size by remote control. It also comes fully equipped with HDMI, AV, and SD card port that you can use with your laptop, PC, TV, tablets, DVD player, and smartphone (both iOS and Android).
- Amazing picture quality
- Good packaging
- Easy to use
- Remote control lagging
6. Native WiFi Projector
We’ll conclude our list of the best projectors under $500 with the Native’s WiFi projector. What’s great about this projector is that it has WiFi and airplay & screen mirroring features. It supports both iOS and Android systems, so you can use it to connect any Apple and Android device whenever you choose to! The projector supports 1920x1080p resolution and it’s compatible with 4K.
Native WiFi projectors come equipped with numerous ports, such as HDMI, USB, USB-SM, HDMI, and AV. You can use these ports to easily connect TV boxes, DVD players, tablets, HDMI-enabled devices, smartphones, wired and wireless headsets, and Bluetooth speakers.
- Excellent video quality
- Clear instructions
- Great audio
- Fan noise
Read also: Best Prime Lenses for Video
Now that you know what types of projectors you can find out there, you should also get acquainted with what you should pay attention to when choosing the perfect one for your needs.
Since there is no shortage of different brands and models out there, you can easily fall into a trap and buy one that looks cool but doesn’t provide you with all you’re looking for.
That’s why our buying guide will prove immensely helpful and save you from purchasing something that doesn’t satisfy your needs. Here’s what you should take into consideration when choosing your perfect projector:
DLP projectors can provide high-quality projections and good picture quality. They also have the potential for 3D capability. LCD ones usually provide sharper images and offer better image quality than DLP ones. LCD projectors also tend to be more affordable than DLP ones.
The projector you end up buying should have as many neat features as possible. Some of these features include resolution, brightness, and contrast and throw ratio.
That way, you will always be able to connect your friend’s device in case you forget to bring your own, for example.
Although you don’t necessarily need a screen for your projector and you can use a white wall instead, having one will certainly improve the entire experience. A high-quality projector screen will enhance the quality of the picture and make it brighter and sharper.
You can usually choose from white and gray projector screens. White ones are great if you’re planning on using a projector for business meetings and purposes since it works better than gray ones in well-lit rooms.
However, gray screens make 3D images pop and boost colors. So, before you make your final purchase decision, think about what you will use the projector for and choose your projector and screen accordingly.
The last thing you should take into consideration is the accessories that come with a projector. This is not the most important factor, but it would certainly be beneficial to have a variety of products that will make your viewing experience better. Some of the accessories you should look for are:
- Projector lens cleaner
- Video streaming device
- Tripod stand
- 3D glasses
Is It Better To Buy a 1080p or 4K Projector?
Nowadays, most media content is produced in 4K. That is why getting a 4K projector might prove to be a better option than the 1080p one. However, these two don’t differ much in terms of image quality. The biggest difference between the two is probably the price.
4K projectors can be much more expensive than 1080p ones. If you don’t want to break your bank and waste money, you should buy a 1080p projector and have an amazing experience with it.
Can I Connect My Smartphone to a Projector?
Most projectors allow you to connect them to your smartphone easily. There is more than one way to do this—some projectors will have a port and a cable that you can use to plug your devices in. Others provide you with the option to connect them using a WiFi connection, i.e. wirelessly.
However, if you are set on getting a projector that offers the wireless connection option, you should make sure it is said that this option is available prior to buying it, just to stay on the safe side.
Is a Screen Necessary for My Projector To Work?
The simple answer is no, a screen isn’t necessary for your projector to work. Using a plain white wall or other white backgrounds can also work well enough. With that being said, having a screen for your projector will improve the entire experience drastically.
The image will be clearer, better, and sharper, and the color and details will pop more. 3D images are also a hundred times better looking if you’re using a proper projector screen instead of other backgrounds.
What Is the Best Place To Put My Projector in?
There is a variety of places you can put your projector in, but that doesn’t mean placing it anywhere will get the job done. If you want to have a steady and nice picture, it’s best to mount your projector to the ceiling.
That way, it won’t move and shake the image, and you won’t risk other people disrupting the picture by walking in front of the beamer every once in a while.
Mounting the projector to your ceiling isn’t the only option available. You can also put it on a table, a shelf, or any other surface, but you will have to make sure your projector has an adjustable vertical lens shift to be aligned with the screen properly.
What Projector Brands Are the Best?
If you’re wondering what are the best projector brands out there, you can choose from a ton of different ones. From Epson and JVC to Sony and Fangor, there is no shortage of brands and models to satisfy your needs.
You should note that no matter how popular the brand is and how recommended, paying attention to small details and making sure the projector meets all the requirements we mentioned above is crucial before purchasing it.
Are there any additional accessories I should consider for movie nights with a projector?
Some useful accessories for a projector setup include a projector lens cleaner for maintenance, external speakers for improved audio, a video streaming device for accessing online content, a tripod stand for flexible positioning, a carrying case for portability, 3D glasses for 3D movies, and adapters for connecting various devices.
How can I ensure optimal performance and longevity of my projector?
To maintain optimal performance, clean the projector lens regularly, ensure proper ventilation for cooling, and handle the projector with care. Avoid exposing the projector to extreme temperatures or dusty environments.
Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific maintenance instructions and recommended usage durations.
Can I use a projector outdoors for movie nights?
Yes, many projectors are suitable for outdoor movie nights. Look for projectors with higher brightness (measured in lumens) to combat ambient light. Consider portable screens designed for outdoor use or project onto a white wall or a specially
Choosing the best projector for your needs isn’t always the easiest task. You have to make sure that it has all the features and accessories you want, that it looks nice, and on top of all that—that it’s affordable.
Figuring out what to pay attention to when choosing your projector is also time-consuming and annoying, so we understand why you would want to skip the hassle and simply pick the one that looks best.
However, that is not the solution, and with our nifty buying guide, you don’t have to settle for anything less than what you originally imagined!
Once you read our guide, you will gather all the info you need on purchasing the perfect projector! But that’s not all. You will also get some excellent examples of the best brands and models of projectors from this article, so you won’t have to waste time finding the products on your own. And the best part? It will only take minutes!