Best Budget Projectors For Home & Work
A Projector is a device that can display an image onto a screen. They are typically used to display presentations and even for movies in home theaters. Home theaters for example are fantastic for taking your movie nights to the next level. But the problem is finding a projector that suits both your budget and needs. There are tons of different projectors, each with their own pros and cons.
The main difference between them is the resolution. Which largely depends on the price of the projector. But sometimes you don’t need the best of the best. What’s the use of a 4K resolution projector if you don’t have the movies to watch with it. Or maybe you instead want it for a work environment for presentations. That’s why we have put together a list of the best budget projectors. We have also included some more expensive models that have higher resolution and are definitely worth the extra investment. We are convinced that we have a projector for everyone.
1. VIVIBRIGHT GP100 – $209
The VIVIBRIGHT GP100 is one of the first actually good budget projectors you can get for under $300. It’s perfect for watching movies, playing games and displaying presentations. While most of the other projectors in this price range still have the old 800 x 400 resolution, the GP100 actually manages native 720p. Which already sets it ahead of it’s competitors.
Unlike many other cheap competitors, the GP100 is not a mini projector. It’s more of a home cinema inspector. You can tell that from the overall size which is 11×8.85×4″. The projector looks really good. It’s made out of glossy black plastic. It does attract fingerprints and dust but it looks really nice. Definitely more expensive than what you would imagine for the price. There are also chrome accents on the case and also a speaker grill on the front. The projector even comes with a VGA and a HDMI cable. And of course also a remote control. Which is pretty simple and has everything you’ll need to operate the projector.
The best part about the VIVIBRIGHT GP100 is the image quality. It has a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The best recommended distance from the wall is around 2.5 to 3.5 meters. That will get you the best image size and quality. It also comes with a 3500 lumen LED light so the image is quite bright. In terms of video quality, it’s better than any other competitor in the price range. The image is super sharp and you’ll need to get really close it to notice some blur. You can also change all the features, such as brightness, focus etc. For under $300, it’s definitely one of the best budget projectors available for watching movies and giving presentations.
2. Epson VS250 – $299
Epson is a Japanese company that’s known for their printers and projectors. Their products are mostly designed for businesses and other work places. And the same can be said about their Epson VS250 projector. This one isn’t designed for watching movies or playing games on. It’s a budget projector designed for displaying presentations in a small to mid size conference room.
Despite the price, the Epson VS250 still comes with a premium looking business design. It has a dimension of 11.9×9.2×3.2″ and weighs 5.3lbs. It’s pretty portable and that’s a plus for schools. The case has been made out of pretty thick plastic. As far as ports go, the projector has a HDMI and VGA port for connecting to a laptop or PC. There is also a USB Type B port, USB Type A port and RCA jacks for audio. Besides the projector, you also get a simple remote controller.
The Epson VS250 has a native resolution of 800 x 600 pixels at a 4:3 aspect ratio. The downside of it is that it’s not good for watching movies. But for giving presentations, it’s fine. It also has a 3200 lumen lamp which is enough for a mid sized room. The best part about the projector is the video quality. It has bright and pretty natural colors. You can change all of that on the projector as well. It also has a small speaker inside which isn’t that great. You can hear it in a small room but that’s about it.
3. ViewSonic PJD5155 – $300
ViewSonic is an electronics company specialized in visual display technology. They are known for their liquid crystal displays and projectors. The PJD5155 is their budget projector for businesses and schools. It’s a good and moderately cheap option that has all the features to display a decent video quality. So if you are on a budget and want a good projector for displaying presentations, then the ViewSonic PJD5155 is one of the best.
The PJD5155 has an all black design. It has a dimension of 12.4×9×4.6″ and weighs 4.6lbs. That makes it easy to move around and adds some flexibility when it comes to projector placement. The projector also comes with a bunch of ports. That includes VGA, HDMI, Audio, RCA, S-Video and a MiniUSB Type B. The projector also comes with a remote control. Which has much more features than any other remote controls I have noticed in this price range. You can change all the settings from it. Overall the design and build quality is excellent, just exactly what you’d expect from ViewSonic.
The ViewSonic PJD5155 has a native SVGA 800 x 600 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. It also has a 3200 lumen lamp, which is a pretty standard brightness for the best budget projectors. As far as image quality goes, it’s decent. Nothing really special about it. I wouldn’t get it for watching movies due to the small resolution. It is fine for displaying presentations at classrooms and conferences. You can easily read even the smallest text and that’s what it’s designed for.
An interesting feature that the PJD5155 has is 3D content. It can project 3D images and videos from both your PCD and Blu-Ray players. What it does require is for you to have active-shutter glasses. While it’s an interesting feature, I still recommend only using the PJD5155 in a work environment due to the resolution.
4. Epson Home Cinema 740HD – $400
Besides just the commercial projectors, Epson has also got plenty of consumer products. One of such is their Home Cinema series. It consists of different price class projectors specially made for bringing the cinema experience straight to your home. That also includes the 740HD, which is in our opinion one of the best budget projectors you can get for a home theater. It has plenty of features, fantastic video quality, great design and of course an affordable price!
The Epson Home Cinema 740HD has a pretty typical Epson design. It has a full white high quality plastic body with the dimensions of 14.3×14.2×6.2″. Definitely not the smallest projectors and it also weighs quite a bit at 9lbs. So it’s definitely not a portable projector and that’s fine for a home theater. It also has plenty of ports: VGA, HDMI, USB-A, USB-B, Audio jacks and a S-Video. So everything you’ll need to connect it to any device you want. Overall the 740HD is one of the best looking projectors.
Epson projectors are always easy to set up and that’s also the case here. It takes easily under 20 minutes to have it configured. The projector has a 720p (1280 x 800) resolution which is perfect for movies. Epson has also included a 3LCD technology that removes the rainbow effect from images. Because of that, all the colors look more natural and vibrant than on other projectors. The image is also sharp and bright with the 3000 lumen lamp. Another plus is that you can connect the projector straight to a Blu Ray or DVD player as well. You can even hook it up to an iPad if you have an adapter. So for a home theater, the Epson 740HD is excellent.
5. Optoma HD142X – $500
The Optoma HD142X is one of the cheapest 1080p projectors available. As you have probably noticed, most of the best budget projectors have a 800 x 400 to 720p resolution. That’s because the technology isn’t there yet to offer 1080p at a lower price. Optoma has however done that and what makes them better than the rest is the video quality. It performs much better than any other similar projector in the price range and that’s why it’s in our eyes the best budget projector for home theaters.
The projector is also far from boring. It has a sleek glossy black design with a dimension of 11.7×9×3.7″ and weighs 5.5lbs. So it’s not the lightest projector but definitely not the heaviest either. You shouldn’t have any problems mounting it onto a frame. The HD142X also comes with two HDMI ports, standard USB slot and a 3.5mm audio output. The HDMI ports also support 3D. The projector also comes with a small remote control. While it’s nothing fancy, it does the work and it’s simple to use. It even has back-lights so you can use it in the dark as well.
As I mentioned before, what makes the Optoma HD142X so good is the video quality. It has a Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution and a brightness level of 3000 Lumens. The video quality is surprisingly good, everything looks clean and sharp all over the image. Even the colors are natural. In terms of video quality, we really didn’t find any issues. It’s pretty much like watching a 1080p movie from the TV, just on a much bigger screen. There is even a Bright mode which allows you to use the projector during the day. And it is also capable of showing 3D movies, however you’ll need to have IR glasses for that.