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The 7 Best Projectors Under $500

AI Consumer Report Team
  Aug 14, 2022 8:52 AM

Whether you love watching HD movies in the comfort of your home, a professional in your workplace’s meeting, or a gamer, a standard display isn’t just enough anymore. For amazing entertainment and display experience, a good projector is a way to go.

Now, you might be wondering where to get that considerable sum of money to splurge on these units. But that’s not the case. If you know what to look for in a projector (which we discussed in the buying guide section), you can find some of the best projectors under $500.

Without further ado, let’s consider some of the key factors such as bulb life, throw distance, brightness levels, etc. before making a purchase.


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    Optoma
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    ViewSonic
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    BenQ
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Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API


Top Picks

1. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector

Our top choice is VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector offering a superior watching experience. This model runs on MStar Advanced Color Engine and delivers up to 60% brightness level than most standard projectors on the market – thanks to its 2019 upgraded LED lighting.

This model is a perfect choice for home entertainment since it supports 1920×1080 resolution. Therefore, if you are looking to purchase a projector for office presentations such as PowerPoint, then you should look for some other models.

That’s not all: VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector is an ideal choice for playing videos, photo sharing, TV series, football matches, and others. This device is suitable for your Wii, XBox ONE, PS4, PS3, or smartphone.

On top of that, it comes with a customized bag, which makes it very easy to carry and store with ease. Leisure 3 projectors offer a reasonable watching size ranging between 32 to 170-inch with a throw distance of 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet. However, it’s recommended that you keep the projection distance at 6.5 ft for the best viewing experience.

Pros:

  • Suitable with other gadgets such as PS4, PS3, etc
  • Support 1920×1080
  • Customized bag for easy carry and storage
  • Innovative cooling system

Cons:

  • Not ideal for PowerPoint or other office presentation

2. VANKYO Performance V600 Native 1080P LED Projector

Another spot, another high-value projector from VANKYO. This model comes with a native resolution of 1920×1080 and a 5000:1 contrast ratio, which makes it better than 720P models. When it comes to delivering top-notch image quality, this is one model you want as a professional.

Unlike VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector, this unit is said to be 80% brighter than most standard projectors. With a 6,000 lux of brightness, this model will offer an impeccable display size up to 300 inches and a perfect contrast for excellent business presentations,

In terms of durability, VANKYO Performance V600 Native 1080P LED Projector comes with a super long-lasting lamp. This feature ensures this unit serves you for more than 10-years with just about 2 to 3 hours per session.

Further, this unit has two HDMI ports plus premium audio, allowing you to project your presentations in full HD from streaming devices, smartphones, and laptops. That’s not the best part: VANKYO offers a 3-year free repair and a 180-day free return for a full refund, which protects you from any manufacturer’s defects.

Pros:

  • Reasonable warranty period
  • Impressive brightness level
  • Versatile digital connectivity
  • 5000:1 contrast ratio

Cons:

  • Lacks vertical and horizontal lens
  • Loud heat sink

3. Optoma HD243X 1080p Projector

Next up is Optoma HD243X 1080p projector offering a super 3,300 lumens of brightness and an ideal choice for living room, home theater, or for outdoor movie nights in your backyard.

This projector comes with one of the highest contrast of 24,000:1, and reference display mode to deliver stunning picture quality. These images feature bright, accurate colors that align with the REC. 709 &709b color space.

More impressively, Optoma HD243X 1080p Projector sports the latest display technology using a single 0.47-inch Texas Instruments DMD DLP chip to deliver high-resolution HD displays for better viewing experience.

For gamers, this model can be just what you are looking for with an enhanced game mode, which offers fast 1080p input response times at 16ms. Also, you can easily connect the projector with high-performance PCs and the latest gaming consoles and enjoy low lags.

Optoma HD243X 1080p Projector is easy to install and a long last-lasting lamp to enjoy for more than eight years, with an average of 4 hours per day. Besides, it is portable enough to make it easier to move around.

Pros:

  • Incredible picture quality with vibrant colors
  • High contrast for clearer images
  • Long lamp life
  • Support full 3D 1080p

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well with MiraCast

4. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector

If you are in the market for a versatile projector, then you might just have to stop searching here. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector comes with advanced visual features, which makes it perfect for use in small business and education environments.

This unit will project a fantastic 120 inches image from 15ft in 3,600 lumens. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector are easy to set up and control. All you have to do is plug and play your pictures, videos, and presentations.

Even better, you get a long lamp life of up to 15,000 hours – thanks to its SuperEco mode. That’s not all: this device works well with most media players, smartphones, Macs, and PCs. Plus, there’s a lot of input options, including VGA, HDMI, and many more.

Also, you get a decent 3-year limited warranty on parts and labor coverage, 12-month of lamp coverage, and a 5-star customer support team. For a fraction of the cost, you get a remote control, VGA cable, power cable, and projector.

Pros:

  • Large screen projection
  • Long lamp life
  • 3-year industry-leading warranty
  • Flexible connectivity
  • Bright and vivid images in any environment

Cons:

  • The speaker could be better

5. BenQ TH671ST 1080p Short Throw Projector

For those trying to pin down the right projector to offer unparalleled picture quality, then BenQ TH671ST 1080p Short Throw Projector is the right choice for you. This model comes with the full HD 1080p resolution, high contrast ratio, and incredible color accuracy is an ideal choice for gaming and cinematic experience.

For gamers, this device microsecond DMD and super-fast low input lag response to deliver a smooth gaming experience without any motion blur leaving you on top of your game. More so, the project is designed to leave your friends wowed with a 100-inch high-quality big-screen display and a throw distance from 5 feet away. However, you can get up to 300-inch display with excellent image quality.

Also, it comes with a 3-year limited warranty on parts and labor coverage, and with its US-based customer service team, you can rest easy knowing that you will always have the right help when needed.

Pros:

  • Flexible connectivity
  • Fast response for gamers
  • Big screen display
  • Impressive image quality

Cons:

  • Calibration takes a while for the best quality

6. ViewSonic 1080p Projector

Another model coming from the same brand, ViewSonic offers impressive theater-like images in Full HD in 3,500 on a big screen up to 300 inches. This makes it a good buy for supersized games and movies.

With SuperColor technology, you get a wide color gamut to deliver immersive image reproduction just about anywhere. Further, the SuperEco mode ensures a long lamp life with a bright shine for about 15,000 hours.

Pros:

  • 3-year limited parts and labor coverage
  • Support Macs, PCs, and other media players
  • 15,000 lamp life
  • Reduced input latency

Cons:

  • Poor quality control

7. Epson Home Cinema projector

Last on the list is the Epson Home Cinema projector with a widescreen full HD viewing experience. This model offers a big screen up to 300 inches on a screen or blank wall. This device comes with a 3,100 lumen of brightness, which is right for a wide range of lighting conditions.

Impressively, you get two HDMI ports that allow you to connect to your satellite/cable box, streaming device, Blu ray Disc player, and gaming console. However, for optimal image quality, the Epson Home Cinema projector should be placed 19 feet from the screen.

Pros:

  • Widescreen Full HD 1080p
  • 3,100 Lumens
  • Innovative 3LCD technology eliminating the rainbow effect
  • Versatile connectivity

Cons:

  • Not a very durable option

Buying Guides

For those looking to purchase a good projector without breaking the bank, it’s essential that you keep in mind some key factors to ensure you make the right choice.

Let’s get started!

Projector Type

If you are looking to purchase a good projector, you would need to decide which format, DLP or LCD, you want. Both types come with distinctive advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it’s crucial that you make your choice based on preference.

Screen Size

This factor has nothing to do with the size of the screen on the projector. Obviously, projectors do not come with screens. The screen size being considered here as to do with the minimum and maximum sizes that work well with the unit to offer an optimal viewing experience.

First, determine the surface size you want to project upon and the distance from the screen to the spot where you intend to mount the projector. After that, ensure that the projector is designed for such a task.

Brightness

When it comes to brightness, it’s often mistaken to mean better display. Purchasing a project offering high brightness can leave you with blinding headaches. However, the brightness level should be based on the location of the projector.

If you intend to use this project often in a dark area, then you should lean towards dimmer (1,000 lumens) projectors. But, in a room with a lot of windows and well lit, it’s best to go for brighter projectors (3000 or more lumens) to ensure you get a brighter display.

Contrast

Contrast has to do with the difference between dark and light. Having a model that comes with a wide contrast range will ensure you are able to customize the image to your preference.

Resolution

Simply put, a better resolution will produce fantastic picture quality. If you want to get your clients amazed or enjoy an incredible entertainment experience in the comfort of your home, projectors with higher resolution should be on top of your list.

Most devices come with a fixed resolution, which means regardless of what type of file they are being fed, these units will put out the same resolution amount. Therefore, it’s important to go for projectors with a spectrum of fixed resolution to ensure you find one that meets your needs.

Throw Distance

The throw distance describes the maximum distance between the screen and projector and still get a clear image. Most devices on the market come with a few feet to 15 feet range. However, other more expensive and larger projectors offer a 30 feet throw distance. Therefore, make sure you the throw distance matches your already-measured dimension.


Conclusion

All in all, choosing the right projector without spending beyond your budget can be tricky. However, we’ve reviewed the top 7 best projectors under 500 to make the decision-making process easier.


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