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What are the features that make the best projector for the classroom? In the long run, these are the best projectors for teachers because of their versatile connectivity, high brightness, and user-friendliness. While using a classroom projector, a teacher can easily use visual aids in their lessons.
Classroom projectors also tend to be portable and versatile, allowing teachers to use them in any environment, even in different classrooms. Some of the best mini projectors and leading Epson projectors work well for classroom environments. Plus, some of these projectors are interactive for even greater immersion into a lesson.
Keep reading to learn more about the best projectors for the classroom and the features you should consider when researching a model to purchase.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re a professor or upper-level educator, this projector is perfect. It has a sleek appearance with a low projection ratio. You’ll appreciate the stunning projections made possible by the bright lamp on board.
Educators will greatly benefit from the bright projections, with a 4,000-lumen lamp that can bear the brunt of 15,000 hours. It has over fifteen thousand hours of life to offer. It’s also highly portable. On the flip side, it probably isn’t suitable for early childhood educators due to its corporate appearance. Children generally need better visual stimulation for their growing brains.
The built-in sound system carries volume across a lecture hall. This model can connect using a range of interfaces, including USB, HDMI, and VGA. The short-throw lens allows you to use it even in small rooms. A 50,000:1 contrast ratio provides vivid color accuracy due which is made better by the incorporation of a serge color profile. If you pair it with a color-accurate PC or Mac, you can enjoy the full extent of richly colored imagery. For any issues with color, our resource article on how to fix color on a projector can help.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This projector features consistent lumens over a long lifespan. You won’t have to worry about breaking the classroom budget with replacement parts for a while. It also comes with high-quality sound on board for an easier set-up.
This projector is great for those who often play educational TV programs. It connects to multiple entertainment systems to grant a larger library of material and has an included screen. The 15,000-hour lamp has 4,000-lumens packed in to provide dazzling projections. As a short-throw option, you’re able to use it as close as 4.5ft away from the screen. Its original intention was to be used for a home theater. As a result, it isn’t recommended for PowerPoints and similar presentations, which is a quality most educators want.
This is a small option with a lightweight body. It’s easily movable between classrooms. There is also a built-in system for audio that allows the entire class to hear whatever you have playing. A dual-fan system provides better audio performance and reduces background noise. If you don’t like the audio it comes with, there is also a 3.5mm audio output to plug in your own speaker. It claims to have an average of 80% higher brightness than other models due to the usage of upgraded LED technology.
Award: BEST FOR OUTSIDE USAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you often host class outside, this is a great model. It’s meant to be bright even on sunny days due to the 7,500 lumens it features. You’ll enjoy an array of features making it a powerful addition to your educational repertoire.
You won’t need complicated dongles when you choose this option. Multiple hardware interfaces are able to connect with this projector. Whether you’re using a universal serial bus or high-definition multimedia interface connection, you’ll be golden. There are also 7,000 lumens packed into the powerful lamp. On the downside, this model doesn’t quite match up to the others when it comes to providing high-definition pictures.
It is excellent quality, just lower than other models on our list. This model is versatile for classrooms and can be used for everything from presentations to educational films. It offers a far brighter picture due to the 2000:1 contrast ratio. Diffuse reflection technology helps scatter any ambient light. It has built-in speakers for a better sound experience without the extra setup. If the speakers don’t provide the sound qualit you seek, simply plug in your own set using the 3.5mm audio output.
Award: BEST FOR HIGH DEFINITION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This projector brings a far superior high-definition experience to the table. This is the best option for making any educational movie come to life. The projections are simply incredible since it supports high-definition video.
There is a lot to be said about the picture quality of this projector. You’ll be able to watch any educational show or movie come to life in real-time. Its original intention was to be used in households for family movie nights. Because of this, it really does project the best images. However, this power is concentrated. If you are trying to project over a distance in a dark room, you might be disappointed.
The usage of an X/Y zoom function allows complete control over placement without changing the projection distance. You’ll also be able to use HDMI, USB, AV, and VGA connections. Finally, it is compatible with giant projector screens. This is great news for a lecture hall where screens must be both long and wide to give all students a full view.
Award: BEST FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact projector is perfect for tiny tots and their teachers. On the outside, it has a fun aesthetic that engages growing minds. On the inside, there is a lot of technology that translates to sought-after features for teachers.
This highly moveable option offers a range of features for early childhood educators. It’s okay to use in moderate ambient lighting as long as you try to diffuse it. You can control it remotely, so you can shut it off at the drop of a hat when necessary. The small stature does come at a disadvantage. You can’t project further than around 150-inches. For little classrooms with young children, this shouldn’t be a huge issue.
The power supply comes from a mini power bank so you don’t have to worry about wires getting tangled in little hands. You can throw it on the same micro charger most smartphones use, as long as it supports 5V. It supports 1080P full HD with a natural resolution of 800 x 480. It’s able to be popped into a bag or backpack so you can take it with you outside, on field trips, and wherever else you find your class going. With features like this, it could possibly be one of the best outdoor projectors.
Award: BEST FOR CONNECTIVITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Use this projector anywhere and connect any way you’d like. It supports a physical cable but accepts wireless-enabled devices, as well. The biggest benefit to educators is that it plays discs.
Need to connect with a specific interface? This projector almost certainly supports it. In fact, it’ll even connect wirelessly to your device. There are other perks, such as enhanced brightness and better color details. However, beware that it does have a more technical set-up than other options. This is an expected trade-off because of the advanced technology that it features. Even so, most schools offer tech support that can help you through the worst of it.
The enhanced brightness comes from a native 720P resolution, as well as an 8000:1 contrast ratio. Picture reproduction tends to be quite a bit richer than in lower-quality models, especially when you take into account the overall picture quality. Most schools have flash drives in abundance, which is a preferred option for this projector model. You’ll be able to seamlessly transfer presentations or other video data between your computer and projector.
Like any video projector, a classroom projector is a machine that connects to a device like a computer, smartphone, tablet, or flash drive to display images or video from that device onto a projection screen. The images are reproduced using a light source and enlarged onto the screen so they can be viewed easily from many feet away.
Depending on the quality of the projector and the projection screen being used, reproduced images can be seen even in large, auditorium-style lecture halls.
Projectors are helpful in situations where a large group of people needs to view images on a screen. Since a computer screen, or even a television screen, can be too small for a large group to see, projectors are often used in settings like conference rooms, board meetings, and classrooms. You can learn more with our resource guide on projectors vs TV.
When it comes to core functionality, both classroom projectors and traditional projects are on the same page in nearly every way. They both connect to a source through any number of connectivity options and project video signals from that source onto a projector screen or other flat surface. Regardless of their specific type, most projectors also feature the same general components, including light sources, color wheels, lenses, and mirrors.
The main differences between the two categories come into play when considering the specific features and functionalities that make a certain projector better for classroom use. These include:
The exact functionality of a classroom projector depends on which type you’ve purchased. There are two main types of projectors commonly available today, which can be used in various applications. Let’s take a look at the two options and how they differ.
LCD projectors use polarized mirrors and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology to display the projected image. A bright, white light shines through three LCD panels to block and separate the light into red, green, and blue colors, and then combines them again to deliver a crisp and colorful image.
The benefits of an LCD projector include color accuracy, colors that are more natural in appearance, and being more economical when it comes to buying the device upfront.
Projectors with Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology use microscopic mirrors that pivot to reflect light. A color wheel filters the light and changes the resulting black and white image into a vivid color one.
DLP projectors offer better image quality in that they tend to produce sharper images with better contrast. These projectors also tend to be lighter, more compact, and easily portable compared to LCD projectors. However, they also tend to be more expensive.
You may be in the market for a new projector if your old device is worn out, or maybe you’re looking to increase the functionality of your classroom. Whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran of the classroom, a projector can amplify your teaching ability, especially when it comes to showing your students videos or diagrams. These video projectors are user-friendly and incredibly handy for enhancing your lessons on a day-to-day basis.
While the machinery and moving parts in projectors open the door to possible defects and maintenance requirements, the most common problem with projectors is when the lamp goes out. A dead bulb is typically the first thing to go wrong when a projector ages.
On average, the lamp life in a lamp-based projector is around 2,000 hours of use, but some higher-quality LED and laser projectors boast a lifespan of anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 hours. This means that if you use your projector in your classroom for two hours per day, your projector will last anywhere from 6-10 years before needing to be replaced.
You can keep general maintenance on projectors at a minimum if the machine is well-kept and stored appropriately. Be sure your projector is kept in a clean, dust-free environment as often as possible.
Before purchasing a new projector for your classroom, you’ll want to consider the key features and functionalities you’ll need to choose a projector. For starters, consider the way you plan on using your projector while you teach. This can help you determine what kind of user-facing controls are best for your teaching style. Next, consider how much ambient light is in your classroom so you can decide how many lumens you’ll want. Finally, think about connectivity and how you’ll connect to mobile devices and computers.
There are a variety of different types of classroom projectors to consider, each with its own pros and cons. Consider your classroom and how the following projectors types may or may not work:
The type of connections your projector should feature ultimately depends on the devices you use to project your source video. In general, it’s best to purchase a projector with HDMI, USB, and VGA ports. However, you may also want to consider a wireless option like a Bluetooth projector, which can display images from a smart device.
The level of brightness you need on your classroom projector is based on how much ambient light your classroom typically experiences. A projector’s brightness is measured in lumens. In general, we recommend purchasing a projector with at least 2500 lumens for a classroom with a lot of ambient light. However, if you can minimize the amount of light coming in, then you’ll usually be fine with as low as 1500 lumens.
Many projectors require complex installation processes in order to function properly. However, you’re likely limited in installation choices for your classroom. This is why we recommend purchasing an option that doesn’t require any kind of installation and can easily be used on a tabletop or desktop. Typically, short-throw and ultra-short throw projectors are the best for this scenario.
While many teachers only need a projector for visual aides, there are also plenty of teachers that need audio capabilities. If this is true for you, you’ll want to consider a projector that provides built-in speakers or the ability to connect to an external speaker through Bluetooth or a headphone jack. Be aware that if you purchase an option with built-in speakers, you likely won’t get the best sound quality.