Picking out a projector is easy with our top 10 guide. Here’s some factors to consider when buying a projector: brightness (measured by a unit called lumens), resolution (how much detail is on the screen), and color. Another aspect of projectors is the “throw distance.” While most of these projectors will project huge screens from a fair distance (100″ from 9′ or so), there are also projectors on this list known as “short throw” projectors. These projectors can project a 100″ screen from as few as three or four feet.
Here’s the top 10 best HDMI projectors from lowest to highest price. Also, be sure to note the “Editor’s Choice” option, this item is determined by assessing which projector offers the most value for the lowest price.
1. Visual Great GP80
Lumens 1800 | Resolution 800×480 @ 60hz | Contrast Ratio 10,000:1 |
For those who just need a basic projector, the GP80 gets the job done at an affordable price. It has a great lamp life of up to 30,000 hours, an easy-to-use interface, and even keystone correction. That said, this projector is affordable for a reason. At 1800 lumens, one will need to turn the lights off to enjoy the picture as any interfering sunlight will make its image output invisible. Also, a resolution of 800 x 480 is fine for TV and movies, but for anything with text, it is noticeably pixelated. This is a great projector for the kids or for casual use. It’s not a home theater projector, but it is a great deal for certain use cases.
Price: $99.98 (34 percent off MSRP)
- Great as a basic outdoor TV or for the kids
- Decent for video games without complicated UIs
- Dirt cheap
- Easy-to-use interface
- Resolution isn’t large enough to be used for documents
- Speaker has very poor quality
2. ViewSonic PJD5155
Lumens 800 x 600 | Resolution 3300 | Contrast Ratio 20,000:1 |
For those who are fine with a low-res projector, but need the extra brightness and picture quality, this ViewSonic is a great solution. Boasting a hearty warranty, superb contrast, and 3300 lumens, it’s very bright. Plus, it boasts a variety of inputs to make set-up easy and flexible. It’s loved by many for its sharp image and great color. At this price, the only real shortcoming is the detail which may bother some. However, for many, once you’re several feet away, the pixelation isn’t noticeable or bothersome. However, for documents or presenting work, it does require using large, clear fonts and other accommodations.
- Three year limited warranty on parts and labor
- Solidly bright printer with decent resolution; great for TV and video games
- Easy to set-up
- On board speakers are better than others
- Sharp and vibrant colors
- A bit on the bulky side (12.44″ x 8.98″ x 4.08″)
- Can overheat sometimes
3. BenQ DLP Video Projector
Lumens 1024 x 768 | Resolution 3300 | Contrast Ratio 13,000:1 |
For a slight bump in price on the Viewsonic, this BenQ projector offers more resolution and a bit more brightness. While the color is slightly weaker (due to its lower contrast ratio), for most, pixels tend to be stand out more than color information. Another great perk about this projector is that it’s 3D-ready and has an eco mode, which is less bright, but will make the bulb last longer. Overall, this is a great projector if you need solid brightness, decent image quality, and more than just basic resolution.
- Great for videos and office applications (must use large fonts)
- Works for casual gaming
- Colors are decent
- Built-in speakers are terrible
- Some may find resolution insufficient for movies (at 100″)
- Cheaper Viewsonic has less resolution but better picture
4. Epson Home Cinema 1040
Lumens 1920 x 1200 | Resolution 3000 | Contrast Ratio 15,000:1 |
If you’re looking for a true home cinema experience, this Epson projector delivers. Boasting slightly above full HD resolution at 1920 x 1200, great brightness, and a solid contrast ratio, this projector outputs excellent images. It also has three LCDs preventing the “rainbow effect” that bothers some users. Another perk here, replacing the lamp is fairly affordable at around $90.
Price: $499.99 (38 percent off MSRP)
- Two year limited warranty
- Good lamp life length (10,000 on Eco, 5,000 on normal)
- Solid build quality
- Lamp replacement price is on the low side
- Three LCDs mean no rainbow effect (can be distracting)
- Projector does not do audio out (one must hook speakers into original source)
- Long throw distance
- Resolution is weird
5. JVC DLP Projector
Lumens 5000 | Resolution 1280 x 800 | Contrast Ratio 4000:1 |
This JVC projector blows the competition out of the water with its massive lumens count of 5000. Needless to say, brightness is usually the most noticeable aspect of a projector and this is where this model really shines (pun intended). It’s great for presentations (using large fonts) and has acceptable detail for most applications. If you’re in the market for a projector that may not have the best detail, but will work in any situation (including a sunlit room) this is a great way to go.
- Pretty quiet
- Extremely bright
- Great for use in a room with a lot sunlight
- Easy to install and use
- Resolution is decent
- Only for people who prioritize brightness; one can spend around this price and get 1080P
- Runs hot and emits a fair amount of heat
6. Epson Home Cinema 2040 (Editor’s Choice)
Lumens 2200 | Resolution 1920 x 1080 (FHD) | Contrast Ratio 35,000:1 |
While one can get similar specs for a lower price, the fact is that for most people, a projector is about having a cinema-like experience at home. This projector really does offer that experience. While it isn’t the brightest model around, it does offer 1080P resolution, great response time (key for video games), and most important: highly accurate color. This is the kind of color that will work well for movies with bright color palettes and dark, moody dramas or horrors. This projector is the editor’s choice because it’s affordable, yet delivers fully on the most common application of a projector. While it won’t work in a well-lit office for displaying documents, its FHD resolution mean that if one turns the lights off, it’ll do great. It’s a minor trade-off for cinema quality looks, and for most, it should be worth it.
Price: $644.88 (19 percent off MSRP)
- Superb color quality
- Resolution is high enough for any use
- 25ms response time is solid for games
- Vibrant and crisp images
- 2200 lumens isn’t that bright
- Some color shifting can happen up close or at large angles
7. Optoma Short Throw Projector
Lumens 1920 x 1080 | Resolution 3000 | Contrast Ratio 28,000:1 |
If you’re having space-concerns, this Optoma has an insanely short throw. It can project a 100″ image from less than four feet away. On top of that, it has excellent response time of only 16ms meaning it’s perfectly viable for fast-paced gaming (like first person shooters). This is great for people with small or oddly shaped rooms who want a big, clear picture. It supports 3-D and has great contrast. The lamp is good for around 8,000 hours, which isn’t the best, but it’s on the high side. If you need to project a large image with a short distance, this is a choice with pretty much no compromises; 3000 lumens does mean the lights will need to be off, in most cases.
- 16ms response time is ideal for gaming
- Superb contrast
- 100″ image from a mere 4′ away
- Great for people with small rooms who want a big picture
- Only two modes: bright and eco
8. BenQ 3D Home Theater Projector (Short Throw)
Lumens 2000 | Resolution 1920 x 1080| Contrast Ratio 15,000:1 |
If you need a short throw projector, but are also adamant about cinema-quality image, this BenQ projector is a great choice. Boasting a very short throw distance (100″ from 8.4′) and Rec 709 (accurate color) support, the one thing the only real flaw in this projector is that it’s not all that bright at 2000 lumens. Still, for those who want a cinema experience at home, but don’t have a long space to aim their projector, this is as good as it gets. Plus, the lamp lasts a decent 7,000 hours and it works with 3-D.
- Hollywood quality color palette
- Quietest fan in its class
- Perfect, accurate color
- One year parts and labor warranty
- Short throw means one can get a 100″ image from just 8.4′
- Brightness can be wonky
- Volume setting can reset without warning
9. Optoma X600 DLP Projector
Lumens 1024 x 768 | Resolution 6000 | Contrast Ratio 10,000:1 |
If brightness is your thing, this is about as bright as it gets. While the resolution of this projector takes a step down, it’s still decent for most applications. Plus, it offers an absurd 6000 lumens. That means it’s visible in virtually all situations, including in a sunlit room. That said, this really is a special case projector. It’s only recommended for those who need the absolute max in brightness. While it is decent otherwise, there’s no reason to pay this much unless you need it for its lumens.
- 3D compatible
- One of the brightest projectors one can buy
- Fan is on the quiet side
- Brightness is through the roof
- Remote could be better (confusing)
- No horizontal keystone control
- No hi-def sound output
10. Optoma 4K Projector
Lumens 3840 x 2160 | Resolution 3000 | Contrast Ratio 1,000,000:1 |
For those who truly want the ultimate projector, this machine kills movie theaters. Boasting 4K resolution, hyper accurate color, and unreal sharpness and detail, there’s simply no reason to pay for a movie ticket with this at your home. That said, it’s a huge device so be prepared to install some mounting to make it all work. Still, if you do, you’ll be left with a home theater that’s indistinguishable from that of an AMC. Maybe you can find a reason to leave the house if there’s something playing at IMAX, but beyond that, this projector is an absolute monster. Plus, it’s 60hz so it’ll work fine for gaming as well.
- Uses HDMI 2.0 for max data transmission (key for 4K)
- Rec 2020 (Hollywood wide color gamut)
- Unreal sharpness and detail
- Comparable to a movie theater
- HDMI 2 allows 4K at 60FPS
- Suprisingly quiet
- Casing could be better
- Large size
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