5 Top Cheap Projectors of 2024 Ranked

Evan Shephard Avatar

Reviewed By

Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

10,081

Reviews Analyzed

Updated Jun 15, 2024 3:53 PM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

best cheap projector guide that shows the top best projector model

A whopping 75% of electronic and appliance reviews are untrustworthy. That’s why every reviewer gets a Trust Rating so our True Score System filters out the fake reviews. See how we do it.

When you’re hunting for the best cheap projectors, keep it simple: look for brightness, image quality, and connectivity. Aim for over 1500 SDR lumens for good brightness, decent contrast, multiple connectivity options, and portability for easy setup and movement.

Our unique evaluation covered over 28 projectors, analyzing 10,081 reviews. Only five projectors earned a spot in our buying guide. Using our AI-powered True Score methodology, we certified products as tested and filtered out fake and low-quality reviews. These top-performing projectors performed superbly in testing, offering exceptional value and performance​​​​.

How Did We Rank the Best Cheap Projectors?

We’ve scrutinized more than 200 sources to curate a definitive buying guide for the best cheap projectors. By assessing testing methodologies, customer feedback, and expert reviews, we pinpointed the essential criteria: 2 required test results and 1 desirable feature. Our comprehensive evaluation targets the key aspects that matter most, providing you with the ultimate projector recommendations for a budget-friendly price.

Our commitment to unbiased reviews is powered by our ‘True Score’ system, targeting low quality and fake reviews. When you shop through our links, you’re backing our mission. Dive deeper to see how.

? Test Criteria

  • SDR Brightness: Equal to or greater than 1500 lumens or more to help produce a bright and clear display.
  • Color Gamut: At least 90% of the Rec.709 color gamut, providing rich and vibrant colors.

? “Nice To Haves”

  • Input Lag: An input lag of less than 100 milliseconds, to prevent delays between what’s on screen and your reaction to them in games.

Latest Updates

  • 06/15/2024: Republished the list to include the best cheap projectors based on our True Score system.

Top Cheap Projectors For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung Premiere LSP9T

    • Best For Cheap

    The Samsung Premiere LSP9T offers top-notch quality without compromise, boasting high brightness, stellar color accuracy, and versatile functionality.

    Samsung Premiere LSP9T Review →

    True Score

    91
    92
    6

    Experts

    95
    166

    Customers

    $3,899.99

    Snapshot

    Reasons to Buy

    • High brightness
    • Excellent image quality

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Slightly high input lag
    • Rainbow effect

    Specifications

    ResolutionResolution3840 x 2160 (4k)
    Refresh Rate60 Hz
    Display TechnologyDisplay TechnologyDLP
    Contrast RatioContrast Ratio2,000,000:1
    Digital KeystoneDigital KeystoneYes
    HDRHDRHDR10, HDR10+, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)
    Max DistanceMax Distance9.36"
    Max Screen SizeMax Screen Size130"
    3D Ready3D ReadyYes
    Aspect RatioAspect Ratio16:9
    BrightnessBrightness2800 Lumens
    DepthDepth14.5"
    HeightHeight5"
    Integrated SpeakersIntegrated SpeakersYes
    Light SourceLight SourceLaser
    Light Source LifeLight Source Life20000 hrs
    Min DistanceMin Distance4.44"
    Min Screen SizeMin Screen Size100"
    No
    Noise LevelNoise Level32 dB
    PortablePortableNo
    Smart FunctionalitySmart FunctionalityYes
    Sync TechnologySync Technology
    TV TunerTV TunerYes
    ThrowTypeThrowTypeUltra Short Throw Technology
    Video InputsVideo InputsEthernet, HDMI 2.0, USB
    WeightWeight25 lbs
    WidthWidth21.6"

    All Specs

    Test Results

    SDR Brightness (Lumens)2,716
    HDR Brightness (Lumens)2,782
    Contrast Ratio (x:y)0
    Input Lag (ms)56
    Color Gamut % (Rec. 709)241
    Color Gamut % (DCI P3 uv)161
    SDR Brightness (nits)0
    HDR Brightness (nits)0
    SDR Color Temperature (K)0
    HDR Color Temperature (K)0
    Color Gamut % (Rec. 2020)0
    Color Gamut % (BT.2020)109
    Color Gamut % (BT. 709)0

    All Tests

    All Retailers

    • $3,899.99

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      No
    • $5,497.99
      $6,498
      Save $1

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

    • $5,499.99
      $6,000
      Save $500

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      Yes

    Our Verdict

    The Samsung Premiere LSP9T is an excellent choice for a cost-effective short-throw projector that does not compromise quality. Despite being the most expensive option on our list, it offers unparalleled brightness, with SDR and HDR measurements at an impressive 2716 and 2782 lumens, respectively. This high brightness level is essential for maintaining clear, vivid images in well-lit rooms, making it suitable for everything from home theaters to bright office environments.

    This projector is particularly noteworthy for its value in delivering 4K resolution and stellar color accuracy. It has best-in-class coverage of the Rec.709 color gamut with an amazing 240.50%, ensuring that it reproduces a wide range of colors with remarkable accuracy and vibrancy, ideal for immersive visual experiences. Moreover, its decent input lag of 55.9 ms provides a satisfactory gaming experience. This is particularly notable when comparing it to the Hisense PX2, which has a lower SDR brightness of 2488 lumens, color gamut coverage at 117 % of Rec. 709, and a higher input lag of 69.8 ms, even though they are similarly priced, making this Samsung model a better value.

    The Samsung Premiere LSP9T is a versatile option for home entertainment and professional settings. Its ability to deliver high-quality visuals with excellent color accuracy makes it a reliable choice for various uses, from movie nights and gaming sessions to business presentations and educational sessions. This projector offers an impressive blend of performance and affordability, making it a smart investment if you need versatile functionality.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Epson Home Cinema 3800

    • Best For Epson

    The Epson Home Cinema 3800 combines low input lag for gaming with high brightness and color accuracy, ideal for versatile use at a budget-oriented price.

    Epson Home Cinema 3800 Review →

    True Score

    84
    85
    6

    Experts

    88
    1k

    Customers

    SAVE $81
    $1,699.99
    $1,619.00

    Did you know 82% of projector reviewers are untrustworthy?

    Our research found only 16 of 86 projector reviewers as of June 2024 can be trusted. This is why Gadget Review is committed to calculating the most accurate product scores on the web.

    To do this, we give every projector review site a Trust Rating, which measures how trustworthy the site and their testing claims are. We then leverage AI & a machine learning model to combine and calculate the Trust Rating with data from experts and consumers to deliver the True Score, the web’s most accurate product quality rating.

    10,081

    Projector Reviews Analyzed

    28

    Total Products Analyzed

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Epson Home Cinema 2350

    The Epson Home Cinema 2350 offers low input lag for gaming and solid performance across various applications, making it a versatile, budget-friendly choice.

    Epson Home Cinema 2350 Review →

    True Score

    75
    75
    3

    Experts

    78
    368

    Customers

    $1,269.06

    DON’T SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

    When searching for the best projector under $1000, consider options that offer high brightness and resolution. Pairing it with a great projector screen can enhance image quality, especially for a digital projector for artists who need precise color accuracy. If space is limited, a short-throw projector is ideal for projecting large images from a short distance.

    For a clean setup, a ceiling-mounted projector can save space and provide a neat installation. Mini projectors offer portability and convenience, perfect for on-the-go use. Knowing how to repair the projector can save time and money in the long run. Whether you need a projector for watching sports or a golf simulator projector, reliability is key. Consider the best Optoma projectors for their excellent performance and durability.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Hisense PX2

    • Best For Short Throw

    The Hisense PX2 offers impressive brightness, built-in Google TV, and vibrant colors, making it a versatile and budget-friendly choice for home entertainment.

    Hisense PX2 Review →

    True Score

    74
    75
    5

    Experts

    77
    21

    Customers

    $2,797.97

    Category Snapshot

    Projectors

    • Total Brands/Products Tested

      11 Brands, 28 Products

    • Top 2 Brands

      Epson, BenQ

    • Price Range (Budget-Premium)

      $350-$16,000

    • Average True Score

      81.36

    • Important Test Criteria

      Brightness (cd/m2)
      Contrast Ratio (1000:1)

    • Most Trusted Testers

      projector top trusted testers

    • Typical Warranty

      1 year

    • Covered by Insurance

      Yes – AKKO

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Optoma CinemaX P2

    • Best For Bright Room

    For HDR content on a budget, the Optoma CinemaX P2 impresses with quality and affordability, delivering vivid visuals for immersive home cinema experiences.

    Optoma CinemaX P2 Review →

    True Score

    63
    64
    0

    Experts

    66
    379

    Customers

    SAVE $200
    $1,999.00
    $1,799.00

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Best Cheap Projectors?

By focusing on these criteria (2 required, 1 nice to have), anyone can quickly and easily compare these projectors and how they’ll perform. This helps you make an informed decision and purchase a projector that will meet all of your needs.

CRITERIARANGEREQUIREDDEFINITION
SDR Brightness (lumens)> 1500 lumensYesThe amount of light the projector outputs from the lamp/bulb and projects onto the screen when playing SDR content.
Color Gamut % (Rec. 709)> 90%YesThe % of colors a projector can produce defined by the gamut. Rec. 709 is commonly used by HD TV, and is also known as BT.709.
Input Lag < 100 msNo (Nice to have)The amount of time it takes for inputs to be registered and processed by the projector and shown on screen.

Our Trusted Data Sources

We looked at 86+ projector reviewers and found that 16 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating). The three we have listed below are our most trusted for projector.

  1. Pierre-Olivier Jourdenais – Rtings, LinkedIn
  2. Geoffrey Morrison – CNET, MuckRack
  3. Kam Valentine – Projector Reviews, MuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every projector review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Projector Test Data & Results

Disclaimer:

Projectors are complex and difficult to test and evaluate, requiring extensive testing on the same level as televisions to paint a complete picture of how any given unit performs. Unfortunately, the testing behind projectors isn’t as rigorous, and a lot of the data we’ve compiled from expert reviewers has been incomplete at times. With different brightnesses measured from different sources, different color gamut tested and spotty contrast ratio measurements, we’ve done the best we can to leverage the available data when putting together these lists but have also trusted our True Score to help us make decisions when the data isn’t available.

1. SDR Brightness (lumens) Test Results

Projectors have two ways you can realistically measure brightness: in lumens or in nits. Lumens are more common, but brightness in general matters because projectors have to project light strongly enough that it overcomes ambient light without losing detail or color.

Most of the time, a projector is going to be used in a fairly dark room to help give the unit the best chance of displaying content the way it was intended, but higher lumens output let you watch content in progressively bright spaces – or across longer distances on bigger screens. For standard dynamic range content, we recommend at least 1500 lumens for most home applications, but more isn’t a bad thing, and 3000 lumens or more are ideal.

SDR Brightness (lumens; higher is better; 0 = No Data)

2. Color Gamut % (Rec. 709) Test Results

If you watch a lot of high-definition TV such as HD sports, you’ve experienced the Rec.709 gamut. This gamut is employed mostly by HD television, so covering as much of it as you can is ideal. Fortunately, the Rec.709 gamut is smaller than the DCI-P3 gamut, so if you have good coverage of DCI-P3, it’s very likely you have good coverage of Rec.709. This gamut is also known as BT.709.

Regardless, we recommend you have a Rec.709 coverage of at least 90%, especially if HD TV is what you spend most of your time watching. Not covering enough of the gamut directly contributes to seeing inaccurate colors on things like sports uniforms or otherwise vibrant sets on your favorite TV shows.

Color Gamut Rec. 709 (%; higher is better; 0 = No Data)

3. Input Lag (ms) Test Results

Input lag is primarily an issue when it comes to playing video games on your projector. If you’re trying to enjoy fast-paced shooters or are using projector to play competitive modes, you’ll need a low input lag to “keep the projector out of your way”, so to speak. High input lag causes delays in your inputs and makes it harder to react to action on screen because your own physical reactions start to count for less than the projector’s ability to process what you’re doing.

For this reason, we recommend an input lag of 100 ms or less, but lower is always better, and for really competitive games we’d recommend less than 15 ms. Any more than that and your projector is better suited to playing games casually, though if you don’t play anything fast paced, input lag is less of an issue.

Input Lag (ms; lower is better; 0 = No Data)

Best Cheap Projectors: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Ignoring Resolution: Opting for a projector with low resolution can result in a lack of detail and clarity in the projected image. While budget projectors may offer lower resolutions, aim for at least 720p (HD) resolution for acceptable image quality, and consider 1080p (Full HD). For the best possible image quality, investing in a 4K projector can provide exceptional clarity and detail if your budget allows.

  2. Overlooking Brightness: Low-cost projectors often sacrifice brightness to keep costs down. Inadequate brightness can make it difficult to see the image clearly, especially in well-lit environments. Look for projectors with higher lumens ratings to ensure sufficient brightness for your viewing conditions.

  3. Choosing Poor Contrast Ratio: A low contrast ratio can lead to washed-out images with muted colors and poor black levels. While budget projectors may not match the contrast ratios of higher-end models, prioritize models with higher contrast ratios to enhance image quality. For outdoor settings, choosing a great outdoor projector with a high contrast ratio is crucial to maintaining vibrant colors and deep blacks even in ambient light. Outdoor projectors should also have high lumens to ensure bright and clear images in various lighting conditions.

  4. Neglecting Connectivity Options: Ensure the projector has the necessary connectivity options to accommodate your devices, such as HDMI ports for connecting a laptop, Blu-ray player, gaming console, or streaming devices. Lack of connectivity can limit your ability to enjoy content from various sources.

The Best Cheap Projectors Tests Compared

Product
True Score
SDR Brightness
HDR Brightness
Contrast Ratio
Color Gamut % (DCI P3 uv)
Input Lag (ms)
91
  • 2,716 lumens

  • 2,782 lumens

  • 0

  • 161.4%

  • 55.9 ms

$3,899.99
84
  • 2,176 lumens

  • 0

  • 23,971.05:1

  • 76.85%

  • 28 ms

$1,619.00
$1,700
$81

Epson Home Cinema 2350

  • Best for Under $1000

75
  • 1,582 lumens

  • 0

  • 0

  • 73.2%

  • 26 ms

$1,269.06

Hisense PX2

  • Best for Short Throw

74
  • 2,488 lumens

  • 2,488 lumens

  • 2,488:1

  • 2,488%

  • 69.75 ms

$2,797.97

Optoma CinemaX P2

  • Best for Bright Room

63
  • 2,488 lumens

  • 1,990 lumens

  • 2,488:1

  • 2,488%

  • 69.75 ms

$1,799.00
$1,999
$200

Cheap Projector Questions (FAQ)

Learn More About Projectors



Projectors Reviews