Best Cheap Projector in 2023

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Updated June 1, 2023

To help you find the best cheap projector, one that is well suited to a home theater or business environment, we researched out a plethora of models, looking for products that delivered pristine HD visuals onto large canvases, erring on the side of projectors with high resolutions and just the right lumen capacity, with long-lasting bulbs. We were also looking for products that were easy to set up and easy to navigate, so easy that anyone could get it out of the box and set it up to watch their favorite movies or business presentations in minutes. We are looking for the best home theater projectors that you can get for your money that give you an immersive experience, and that can properly display a variety of scenarios like dark scenes or sports events. With our guide, you’ll have the most high-tech home entertainment, at a price point that doesn’t break the bank. However, if you want to check out more projectors, go to our best projectors guide.

Of the seven best cheap projectors on this list, the Epson VS250 projector certainly shined! It has the brightest projection, with an equal 3,200 lumens of both color brightness and white brightness output, helping to create a stellar, and easy-to-see, picture. This top business projector is simply perfect for business presentations, boasting 800 x 600 SVGA resolution, HDMI compatibility, and an easy-to-use zoom function. Keep reading to learn more about the Epson VS250 and the other projectors on this list. You’ll be ordering the best home theater projector before you know it.

Top 7 Cheap Projectors Compared

 #1  Epson VS250 Projector

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Epson VS250 boasts 3,200 lumens of equal color and white brightness, which helps it produce accurate, vivid color, even in well-lit rooms, with an 800 x 600 SVGA resolution, which we found to be adequate for all of the tasks we threw at it. This is the best projector to use in a business setting.

  • 3200 lumens; can be seen even in well-lit rooms
  • Set-up is easy, as is making adjustments
  • Fan is very quiet, as low as 28 dB
  • Not 1080p, or even 720p
  • Struggles with displaying smaller font-sizes
  • Not compatible with smartphones

Unlike the Epson EF 100, the Epson VS250 Projector is simply a stunning budget projector that is just as ideal for streaming visuals in a business presentation as it is at home watching stunning images and movies on Netflix. The 800 x 600 SVGA resolution may not be true HD that you’d find on an HD projector, but the 3,200 lumens of equal color (color light output) and white brightness (white light output) allows the projected visuals to be seen in any room, no matter how brightly lit it is, a feature that helps offset the slightly lower-than-average pixel count. The included fan is also extremely quiet, with a power-saving mode that spits out just 28 dB of noise, eliminating the need for a projector hush box. This is ideal as a top-notched quiet projector.

We had this thing out of the box and set up in minutes, hooked up to a laptop via HDMI cable and projecting onto a wall. This Epson is PC and Mac compatible, and with the iProjection App and some Wi-Fi, you can project wirelessly from your iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile device. That’s a great feature if you don’t have Apple or Android TV. Though it is easy to use, however, there are some limitations when it comes to functionality. As stated above, this product does not produce HD visuals, though you’d be hard-pressed to notice, though it does struggle with making small font sizes readable, something we noticed at 14pt and below. Despite the images not being HD, the picture quality of this projector is still extremely high. This is proof that you can get a lot in the best projector under $1000.

 #2  BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector is a high-quality projector that offers a great viewing experience for those who want to enjoy a big screen from a short distance and in a bright room.

  • Three-year limited warranty for projector itself
  • Convenient for small spaces
  • Great image projection quality
  • No 4K resolution
  • The pricier option on this list

The BenQ HT2150ST has a resolution of 1920×1080, a brightness of 2200 ANSI lumens, a contrast ratio of 15000:1, a 1.3x zoom and can project a 100″ image from just over 2 feet away. It also features built-in speakers and support for various connectivity options such as HDMI, USB and more. Its short throw ratio is great for compact living spaces, and its high brightness and contrast ratio enhances your viewing experience in a room that experiences ambient light. The built-in speakers can also be convenient for those without external sound systems.

One potential downside is that this projector does not have 4k resolution, and it is limited to 1080p resolution. The projector also has a higher price point compared to other listed models, though there are much more expensive models on the market. Additionally, as it’s a DLP projector it might have the “rainbow effect” which some people might be sensitive to.

 #3  TOPVISION Mini Projector

Award: Best Connection Options

WHY WE LIKE IT: The TOPVISION Mini Projector is absolutely rife with connection options, with the ability to stream content via any HDMI-enabled device, USB stick, and SD card, allowing smartphones and laptops to be plugged in via USB, which avoids the need for any special hookups. The extended feature set (keystone adjustments and more), and lengthy 2-year warranty makes this the best projector for folks looking for a product that will adjust to their preferred viewing habits.

  • Two-year warranty
  • Works with USB sticks
  • Company says bulbs will last 30 years
  • Can be finicky while making adjustments
  • Some blur on edges of screen
  • Best for dark rooms

The TOPVISION Mini Projector is a great entry-level product that is compatible with just about anything you can throw at it, including SD cards, USB sticks, and streaming devices, with smartphones and laptops able to be connected via USB cable in addition to HDMI. The projector features a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a 16:10 aspect ratio with a maximum screen size of 176” and a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The company throws in a two-year warranty and boasts that the LED bulbs are good for over 50,000 hours. Don’t forget about the best projector screen in 2023 for your projector.

This projector is best, however, for dimly lit rooms, especially at night. We found the visuals to be slightly difficult to appreciate during the day, as sunlight poured in. We also noticed some blur around the edges of the screen, though the center was particularly crisp. This may not be ideal if you need the whole screen to be sharp and clear, like if you’re an artist and need something like a digital projector for artists specifically.

 #4  Auking Mini Projector

AwardBest Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: The AuKing Mini Projector offers some impressive features, including the ability to play content from a variety of sources at a maximum screen size of 170”, with 1080p support and a keystone correction feature, all at a very low price point. This is a great entry-level projector for consumers looking to get started with the hobby at a price that won’t break the bank.

  • Great price, considering the features
  • Fan is extremely quiet
  • Extremely lightweight for portability
  • Not true 1080p, though it can play full HD content
  • Works best in dimly lit rooms
  • Manual is poorly written and confusing

The Auking Mini Projector is a nifty little unit that offers similar features to the competition at a much lower price point. It boasts a maximum display size of 170”, which is on the higher end, with decent built-in speakers and a proprietary cooling technology that keeps the internal fan quiet as can be. This great mini projector is compatible with USB drives, gaming consoles, HDMI-enabled devices, smartphones, and tablets, and it is light, coming in under three pounds, making it a great outdoor projector to take camping or to help host movie nights outside.

The project can play 1080p content, but the native resolution is actually 800 x 480 pixels, though the downgrade is barely noticeable. Similar to other lower-priced products on this list, this projector is absolutely perfect for nighttime viewing or viewing in a dimly lit room, but does not excel in brightly lit rooms, like other top projectors that work for daylight viewing do. To ensure that you get the best possible brightness by installing a projector close to the screen, go for the best ceiling-mounted projector.

 #5  ELEPHAS Mini Projector

Award: Best Speakers

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ELEPHAS Mini Projector comes with a pair of HiFi stereo speakers built-in which, to our ears, sound absolutely great and much better than the built-in speakers found with equatable products. It’s nice to come across a product in this price range where the integrated speakers can hold their own audio output and don’t call for investing more of your money into external speakers. This is a great product for people who want good sound out-of-the-box, without the necessity to plug into a home stereo system jack, though that is an option.

  • Built-in speakers sound fantastic
  • Three-year warranty
  • 4000 lumens of brightness makes for bright, vivid picture
  • Not HD, but supports 1080
  • Fan is not as quiet as we’d like
  • Primarily for dimly lit rooms

The ELEPHAS Mini Projector is a solidly built unit with some above-average stereo speakers, along with the option to add an external speaker via a 3.5mm output. It has a maximum display size of 180” and comes with the ability to send the projection in four different directions, maximizing your living or outdoor space. The company also throws in a three-year warranty and boasts that the LED bulbs are rated to last for 50,000 uses, which is tied for the longest bulb length on this list

Though the portable projector is not HD, maxing out at a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, we found the picture to be excellent, especially at night or in a dimly lit room. This product has the loudest fan on this list, however, though the noise was offset by the brilliance of the stereo speakers. Be sure to consider a short throw projector if your space is limited, and if you like mobile entertainment during your trips, then you might also want to check out the best iPhone projector.

 #6  OKCOO Video Projector

Award: Brightest Screen

WHY WE LIKE IT: The OKCOO Video Projector boasts a maximum screen size of 200”, by far the biggest on this list, and has 6500 lumens, making for a sharp and ultra-bright image that is perfect for both home and office use. This is the projector to buy if you are in need of a seriously bright display that can be viewed in just about any setting.

  • Ultra-large display maxes out at 200”
  • Three-year warranty
  • 6500 lumens helps produce bright and clear visuals
  • Requires HDMI adapter to connect to phones or tablets
  • Fan is slightly loud
  • Adjustments are limited

The OKCOO Video Projector’s main selling points are the ultra-large display, which maxes out at 200”, and the fact that the projector emits 6500 lumens; these features work together to produce some truly breathtaking visuals as you watch movies or play video games. On that note, the device boasts a large number of inputs, including HDMI, MicroSD, and USB, making it fully compatible with a large number of gadgets, gaming systems, and streaming devices, turning this home projector into a real entertainment hub. It also works with smartphones and tablets, but requires the purchase of an HDMI adapter.

The built-in speakers actually sound pretty good, though connecting to your home stereo is probably the better option as we thought the fan was slightly loud, though it wasn’t a huge disruption during my cinema experience while watching my favorite movie scene. We also found the adjustment capabilities to be somewhat limited, though it does have a keystone correction feature. It has many of the features that we also look for in the best mini projector.

 #7  VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector

We’re sorry, this product is temporarily out of stock

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector can display content up to 170” and easily connects to USB, VGA, or HDMI devices ( smartphones, gaming consoles, laptops, or streaming devices), all the while projecting at 1080p for a promising 40,000 hours of bulb life, all at an extremely reasonable price point. This is the perfect projector for homes or offices for play and work.

  • Compatible with VGA, HDMI, and USB
  • Projects from just 4.9ft (throw distance)
  • Projects up to 170”
  • Not recommended for business use
  • iPhone connection requires Lightning to HDMI adapter
  • Built-in speaker not great

The VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector displays visuals in glorious HD, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a maximum screen size of 170 inches, which is a nice boost versus projectors that have a 100-inch image limit on a 100-inch screen. The home projector is fully compatible with all major gaming systems and streaming devices, via HDMI, and smartphones (iPhone and Android), as long as you have an HDMI adapter that works with your device. The company also claims that the included bulbs will last through 40,000 hours of use (40,000 hours of LED lamp life), which means it will be years before you’ll be looking for a replacement product. This is a great feature, but if you’d prefer to avoid bulbs completely, you’ll probably want to look into a leading laser projector instead.

The projector is bright and well-contrasted and we had no trouble seeing the visuals in a well-lit room in the middle of the day, though the picture was much better at night. The built-in speaker sounded a bit tinny, though there are plenty of output options to run it through your home audio setup. Additionally, this product is intended for home use and is not recommended to be used with PowerPoint or other business applications. If you use it with anything else, there’s a chance you can wear it down faster, and then you’ll need to know how to repair the projector.

Alternatively, you could get the best 4K projector, like the Optoma HD, and pay a lot, but this one has enough features that you won’t have to. If this is not the best overhead projector for your home, read on to find a projector that works for you.

How We Decided

There are many overhead projectors out there, with a ton of features and, also, limitations. Our primary concern as we ran through research was to see how the display looked and whether or not it was watchable in both daylight and nighttime hours. Many of the above projectors are not 1080p, on paper, but if they offered a lower resolution, we made sure that it would be hardly noticeable to the eyes, favoring products with suitable brightness and contrast to make up the difference. If you’re trying to upgrade your home cinema, one of these projectors will definitely do the trick.

We also wanted to make sure that these projectors could work with a variety of input sources, with most of the above products offering connectivity via HDMI and USB and some offering SD card support and the ability to stream content wirelessly from a phone or tablet. We were also looking for quiet projectors whose fans would not interrupt family movie nights or business presentations. On that note, the above list offers a nice mix of projectors suitable for home or office use, with many options able to do both equally well.

Finally, we favored projectors that would last a long time, with bulbs that were rated for extended use, in some cases for decades, and products that offer lengthy warranties, in the two or three-year range.

Overhead Projector Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Brightness
    You’ll want to remember several key points when shopping for a great budget projector. Moreover, knowing exactly what you want in such a device will help you narrow down the best budget projector to buy in 2023.
    • Simply put, the brighter the room due to a strong light source, the bigger the need for a projector with a high lumen count, like the best projector for bright rooms. But you can also find a high-lumen count on some of the leading affordable projectors.
    • However, the best inexpensive projectors work better in dark rooms. Speaking of which, when using a value projector in dark rooms, 1000 to 1200 lumens should be sufficient, although classrooms and conference rooms often need 2500 lumens or more. So, if you’re looking for a high-lumens projector, check out our BenQ MW535A review.
    • In addition, in order to project large images clearly, you’ll want a product with a higher brightness rating. The brightness level of your projector will affect your image quality, so it’s important to know what you need before buying.
    • That said, most cheap mini projectors will have high brightness ratings, even if they seem too good for their price.
    • With brightness, it’s also important to consider the lamp life on the device. Solid image size and brighter image will contribute to a good cinematic experience or watching experience if you’re a sports lover and need the best projector for watching sports.
    • Inexpensive projectors will cost less, but high-end projectors can have higher-quality features on them that make the viewing experience good for years to come.
    • In short, carefully review several budget mini projectors before you buy anything, such as ensuring you find a great budget 1080p projector or a budget portable projector. If you need the projector for a certain purpose like a golf sim, make sure you’re considering something like the best golf simulator projector while still keeping your budget in mind. Ultimately make sure your purchase will satisfy your needs and budget. Or, you may not like your purchase.
  2. Contrast Ratio
    In its simplest form, contrast ratio is the ratio of light reflected from an all-white image and an all-black image.
    • A budget home projector with a 3000:1 contrast ratio means that the white image is 3000 times brighter than the black image.
    • A higher contrast ratio indicates a greater ability for the projector to show subtle color details and help tolerate ambient light while projecting watchable images.
    • A budget movie projector should have a contrast ratio of 1000:1, at a minimum, which is a threshold every product on the above list meets or exceeds. The higher the ratio, the better the picture quality. Speaking of that, if you want a projector with a ratio of 22000:1, then read our ViewSonic PA503S review.
    • Accurate color display with good image quality and defined contrast will give your movie experience more crisp images. Detailed images that lack any image distortion will make movie-watching more seamless.
    • Speaking of color accuracy, you’ll want to first learn what is a projector color wheel before making adjustments.
    • Cheaper projectors are obviously more budget-friendly than expensive options, but expensive projectors are pricey for a reason. Many of them have good display quality with color accuracy and black-level definition.
  3. Input/Output Options
    Modern projectors offer a variety of input and output connections, with every above product offering HDMI and VGA ports, at the very least. Some products boast SD card slots, USB ports, and the ability to stream content wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet. Other options include a port for tablets, DVD players, laptops, Chromecast, TV boxes, and gaming consoles. On the output end, it’s always nice to have the ability to connect the projector to external speakers.
  4. Portability
    Make sure to check the weight of the projector and whether or not it can easily attach to a tripod device, both factors ensuring that it can easily be moved about for outdoor movie nights and the like. Also, a smaller projector, like a 2:3, might be easier to transport than a larger 16:19. A compact projector can fit in more places than a bigger model thanks to its compact size. At the very least, look for products that allow for easy projector adjustment, with some of the above units allowing for adjustments on the fly using packed-in remote controls. If you want a wireless type of projector that operates via WiFi connections versus traditional projectors that are more stationary, be sure to check if the rechargeable battery suits your needs (like if the hours of battery life are enough). If you are looking to use the projector outside, you may want to invest in a projection screen so you can get a good-looking image on a flat surface.

Cheap Projector FAQs

Are overhead projectors environmentally friendly?

Most projector manufacturer has an environmental policy in place that covers the types of materials used in manufacturing. Originally a European standard, many projectors sold in the United States comply with RoHS (also known as Lead-Free) and WEEE (which sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods.) LED-based projectors, which naturally use less power, are attractively green choices.

Do I need to use a projector in a dark room?

While many of the above products excel in sunlit rooms during daylight hours, they always, without fail, perform better in darkness. Yes there are affordable projectors and more expensive projectors out on the market, but they all do better in darker rooms. That is because any front projection system looks best when there is no light in the room coming from a light source; this includes stray light from the screen that reflects off the walls or ceiling. There is a reason movie theaters are dark, after all.

What is throw distance?

Throw distance is the distance from the tip of the projector’s lens to the screen. This distance determines where the projector will sit in your home or office relative to the projection screen and, and along with screen width, is used to ascertain a throw ratio. Simply put, a throw ratio is the width of the image divided by the throw distance. The most common ratio among projectors being 2.0, meaning that for each foot of image width, the projector needs to be two feet away.
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