Televisions are cool, but there’s just something special about projectors. Maybe it’s the fact that we call it “the silver screen” not the “black reflective display,” but there’s just a mystique and cool around using a projector. Or maybe there’s not, maybe you just want something that’s bigger than 70″ (where most TVs top out). Fortunately, in this day and age, one does not need to spend a ton of cash to get a really nice, bright, and high resolution projector.
Some factors to consider are brightness, resolution, and contrast. Brightness is expressed as lumens. For night time use (or in a dark room), 1000 lumens is suitable. IF you want to use your projector in a lit room, 3000 will do, but we’ve also included a 5000 lumen projector, to really stand out in a room that’s lit by lots of sunlight for example. In terms of resolution, it’s really up to you. Even a lowly 800×480 looks decent when blown up, but that’s not to say you can read small text. Don’t think you absolutely need 1080P or 4K, however. For movie purposes, if you’re 10 or 15 feet away, every projector on this list looks great.
All that in mind, here’s the 10 best projectors to buy in 2017.
1. DBPower RD-810
Resolution 800×480 | Lumens 1200 | Contrast Ratio 1000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD CARD |
This is one affordable projector with solid quality. The DBPower RD-810 offers great clarity, decent color, and solid resolution. It’s great for kids or outdoor (only at night) projections where one doesn’t need a ton of detail. For $79.99, it’s the perfect for young children, casual events, or as a decorative display. The only negative to this projector is its loud fan, but it’s really not that bothersome with the volume at a moderate level (though you will need external speakers).
Price: $79.99 (38 percent off MSRP)
- Praised as good quality for the price
- Visible in a dark room
- Pixellation isn’t noticeable at short distances and small display sizes (<40 inches)
- Can use SD cards and has variety of ports
- Includes remote
- Fan gets noisy
- Not bright enough for use in anything but a dark room
- Speaker isn’t loud at all; external speakers necessary
2. GooDee Movie Projector
Resolution 1280×800 | Lumens 3200 | Contrast Ratio 3000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD CARD |
With more resolution and more brightness than the above item, this GooDee Movie Projector is a solid in-between from a name brand projector and the DBPower. It offers great brightness as well and is usable in well-lit rooms, depending on the brightness. Users love it for its cheap price and solid functionality. As most projectors, its fan is on the loud side and it does emit a lot of heat. Some users also found the edges to be a bit soft. Beyond this, it’s great for casual watching, outdoor events, and even some indoor use.
Price: $185.99 (50 percent off MSRP)
- Decent lumen intensity and small size
- Can be used for presentations in not too bright rooms
- Lightweight with solid picture quality
- Includes remote
- Great value with multiple purposes
- Edges can be a bit blurry
- Output audio directly from projector is noisy
- Fan is loud and emits hot air; good ventilation required
3. Optoma S341
Resolution 800×600 | Lumens 3500 | Contrast Ratio 22,000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA, Component |
While its resolution isn’t huge, this projector has great contrast and brightness. It’s usable in the daylight and to huge projection sizes (one user got 300″). It includes a carrying case and is a great value for people who want a name brand projector at a solid price. Users love it for its low price and great features.
- Great compromise for people who need slightly brighter projectors (almost 20% brighter than 3000)
- Usable in the daylight
- Includes carrying case
- One user projected to 300″ and picture was decent
- Speakers are terrible
- Didn’t work with Microsoft surface
4. Epson 3LCD Projector
Resolution 800×600 | Lumens 3000 | Contrast Ratio 15,000:1 | Ports HDMI, Composite, DVI |
Boasting solid resolution, great contrast, and great brightness, this Epson 3LCD projector is great for presentations (though you’ll have to use large fonts), movies, and gaming. Users love it for its variety of connection options, decent quality speaker, and Epson reliability. As with most projectors, however, it does emit some heat and have a somewhat noisy fan. Beyond this, however, it’s a great bargain. It’s a bit less bright than the Optoma, but it is an easier experience for setting up.
- Usable for presentations with large fonts
- Color is great; contrast is much better than cheaper projectors
- Speaker on projector is acceptable
- Keystone is quick
- Menu controls are easy and intuitive
- Praised as great projector and better than opting for cheaper models
- Emits heat, loud fan
- One user had an issue with a high-pitched buzzing sound
5. ViewSonic WXGA
Resolution 1280 x 800 | Lumens 3300 | Contrast Ratio 20,000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA |
The 5th projector on our list ups the resolution ante, boosting up to 1280 x 800. While this may not seem that much larger than 800 x 600, that’s about twice as many pixels. This projector also has excellent contrast and is described as spectacular on a 70″ screen. It’s even better for presentations and it boasts a simple setup with easy menu navigation. Small-ish fonts are readable at this screen size so it’s certainly more presentation friendly.
Price: $429.99 (34 percent off MSRP)
- Sound praised as loud
- Called “spectacular” with a 70 inch display
- Great value with high quality, sharp images
- Solid for presentations
- Menus are easy to use
- One user wanted adjustable legs
- Zoom does not allow much flexibility
6. JVC DLP Projector
Resolution 1280×800 | Lumens 5000 | Contrast Ratio 4000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA, Component |
If brightness is your priority, this JVC DLP projector blows its competition out of the water. With 5000 lumens, OK contrast, and that same 1280×800 resolution, this is the perfect projector for rooms exposed to daylight where brightness is an absolute must. It’s praised for its great build quality and excellent picture. It may not be the best in terms of contrast or color, but wow, you can see it any time of day.
Price: $489.99 (51 percent off MSRP)
- Crystal clear even in a bright room, even daylit
- Excellent color and clarity
- Great build quality
- Includes many input ports
- On the heavy side
- Projector gets hot
7. Epson EX9200 Pro (Editor’s Choice)
Resolution 1920×1200 | Lumens 3200 | Contrast Ratio 15,000:1 | Ports HDMI |
For those of you who just have to have 1080P, this projector meets and exceeds expectations. It also has great contrast and a notably flexible zoom, so one has some leeway when adjusting the distance of the projector. Its picture is describe as gorgeous. Like many projectors, unfortunately, it does have a loud fan. Unlike some projectors, it can stream from your smartphone directly. It’s the editor’s choice, because this is a superb projector for movie night, playing games, or using your PC. OF course, at 3200 lumens, it won’t necessarily be great in daylight or bright rooms, but as an all around choice, this is the way to go.
Price: $699.99 (13 percent off MSRP)
- Supports Chromecast and streaming from smartphones out of the box
- Excellent all purpose projector
- Adjustable zoom range allows for some flexibility in setup
- Color, contrast, and picture quality praised as gorgeous
- Wireless connectivity is ineffective; count on using wires
- Fan considered loud by some
8. Optoma Short Throw Gaming Projector (With 3D sync)
Resolution 1920×1080 | Lumens 3000 | Contrast Ratio 28,000:1 | Ports HDMI |
If space is not on your side, a short throw projector may be your ally. This Optoma Gaming Projector offers up to a 100″ screen from a mere four feet away. Boasting a quiet cooling fan, excellent picture quality, and 1080P quality, it’s the perfect projector for videos, gaming, and computer use. As most projectors, it can get hot quickly and needs good ventilation, but for those who need to play games, 16ms of latency is tough to beat. This is a very responsive projector allowing for the playing of first person shooters and other extremely fast paced games.
- .49 throw ratio for short distance projections
- One user was able to get 100″ screen from 4 feet away
- Cooling fan is on the quiet side
- Not as fast as a gaming monitor but 16ms of latency is great for a projector
- Praised as better than 4K monitor for huge displays
- One user had an issue with flickering after several hours of use
- Projector gets hot quickly
9. LG Ultra Show Projector
Resolution 1920×1080 | Lumens 1000 | Contrast Ratio 150,000:1 | Ports Wireless & HDMI |
This projector is capable of insanely short throws, we’re talking 15″ for a 100″ picture. It does this using a mirror. The trade-off for this magic is relatively dim lumens (1000 is fine for night or in a dark room, but not much else). One user said he uses it on his ceiling to fall asleep watching movies. This is clearly a projector for someone with a special situation to deal with, but it is a solution to your problem if this is the parameters you must project within. 1000 lumens may seem dismal, but it really is fine in a dark room, especially with this level of clarity and resolution. Plus, the contrast ratio is outstanding, so the colors will all be very well-defined.
Price: $1246.99 (11 percent off MSRP)
- Excellent as a ceiling projector
- Fan is on the quiet side
- Great picture quality
- Can be set up from extremely short distances; 15″ for a massive 100″ picture
- Top corners of the image are a bit round
- Not very bright
- Can be hard to focus
10. Optoma 4K Projector
Resolution 3840×2160 | Lumens 3000 | Contrast Ratio 1,000,000:1 | Ports HDMI, VGA |
4K projection is here and yes, it is bigger than you may expect (19.6″ x 13″ x 6″). Check out the backside picture below for an idea of scale; this is a big girl. Still, all things considered, this projector is quieter than many 1080P models, and outputs 4K at 60FPS. It’s usable for gaming, movies, and presentations. With this many pixels, you’ll want to use it for everything. Users say it projects cinema quality picture and is overall, a great deal, far superior to having a huge TV for movie nights. It’s not cheap, but for having a movie theater projection in one’s house, it’s really not that expensive either.
- Can output 4K at 60FPS for gaming
- Praised as cinema quality
- Dynamic black mode helps greatly enhance contrast
- Shockingly quiet
- Plenty of menu settings
- Great for games, movies, and any computer usage
- Build quality could be better
- No keystone adjustment
- Fiber optic out does not work with 4K; 4K AV receive required for 5.1 sound
Still looking for the right projector? Browse more top-rated projectors on Amazon.