Jump To: View the Top Rated Projectors Under $1000.
To determine the best projectors under $1000 we first researched the top 50 models online, measuring their features and aggregating customer sentiment and other expert reviews. Based on that research, we then narrowed the list down to the top 10 projectors on the market today. Following that, we ordered each projector for hands-on testing. Next, we got the projectors set up in our testing environment and started playing video games and watching our favorite movies to get a handle on which ones perform better than others. We then gathered key data points ranging from throw distance to display resolution, along with specific things like brightness and contrast ratio. If you follow our guide, you’ll have the best projector for your home in no time.
And after 40 hours of testing, we appointed the Optoma HD143X projector as our #1 pick for under $1000 in 2020 because of its brightness, overall low price tag and high contrast level. Keep reading to learn more about this project and the other 4 we selected as our top picks.
Best Projectors Under $1000
|Brightness on a friendly budget||Optoma HD143X||CHECK PRICE|
|The perfect fit for small budget||VANKYO Leisure 3 Mini Projector||CHECK PRICE|
|Best contrast ratio||Epson Home Cinema 2150||CHECK PRICE|
|2D keystone color correction||Epson Home Cinema 2150||CHECK PRICE|
|Great choice for brightness||BenQ HT2050A Projector||CHECK PRICE|
Read: Best Projector
#1 Pick Optoma HD143X
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Need brightness on a tight budget? Get the Optoma HD143X
The Optoma HD143X is a stellar option with high-performance features at an extra-affordable price. Offering a combination of both the cheapest sticker price ($431.22 at the time of this review) as well as one of the highest contrast ratios (23,000:1) on this list, we love the HD143X as the perfect entry point for anyone who’s considering their first DLP projector, but isn’t prepared to spend an arm and a leg to get their hands on it.
This is not a short throw projector, but it will project an image size of up to a whopping 301 inches, depending on the distance you place your projector from the screen. It has a light output of 3000 ANSI Lumens and will connect to all of your gadgets, like your settop box and some smart home devices. So this is a good choice for those looking for gaming projectors. It also has a builtin speaker. It boasts a warm color temperature that looks great. There’s no lens shift here, however. As far as connectivity, this model has 2 HDMI ports, 3D Sync port, 12v out, audio out and USB power. We also love that the fan noise is not very loud. Great price, great brightness and contrast and great performance are all here. On a side note, the best mini projector can go with you anywhere.
#2 Pick Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This kind performance is unheard of on such a small device and at such a small price.
This is an incredibly cheap projector and offers a surprisingly high level of performance for its size and price tag. This mini projector is highly rated by users online thanks to great features like 170-inch display size, long-lasting bulb life, an MStar Advanced Color Engine and much more. You may not think it when looking at the Vankyo Leisure 3, but it’s a solid performer that can work with a variety of different devices ranging from gaming consoles to TV sticks. If you’re looking for the best cheap projector this is your pick! It’s one of the best in this price range. A great budget pick. If you’re looking to spend a bit more money but not your entire budget, take a look at the Epson Powerlite instead. This will soon be an essential part of your best home entertainment system.
#3 Pick Epson Home Cinema 2150 Projector
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: With contrast ratios like this every color pops off the screen.
The Epson Home Cinema 2150 is one of the newest projectors on this list, and it has the 3LCD projector technology pedigree to back it up. This LCD projector is perfect for movie nights or everyday home entertainment.
With an LCD lamp and an eye-melting 60,000:1 contrast ratio, you won’t find any other projector in this price bracket with deeper, richer blacks or better color representation across the board. You won’t find any rainbow effect here. It boasts 2500 lumens of brightness, brilliant color and has a long throw ratio. You’ll need a large room and due to the low black level, you’ll want to use a grey screen or keep it away from any light source and ambient light. There’s also wireless connectivity here, which is a great cutting-edge feature. The Epson Home Cinema is a superb home projector with great image quality. Whether for movies or video games. It’s not for those looking for a 4k projector with its native resolution of 1080p. If you want another quality Epson pick under $1,000, take a look at the Epson Pro EX9220 180p wireless projector.
#4 Pick BenQ HT2050A Projector
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Short-throw projector with 2D keystone color correction, what more do you need?
BenQ has always been one of the leaders in projection technology. They are known for popular models like the BenQ ht2150st, BenQ ht2050 and the BenQ ht3050 to name a few. You’ll be happy to know that the BenQ HT2050A continues that legacy with flair. As the only short-throw on this list, the BenQ still comes in on the lower end of the price tier. Like the HT1085ST, the HT2050A is a great selection for anyone who wants to be sure they’re going with a reputable brand, and also doesn’t mind a bargain deal.
At $620.00 the HT2050A lands right in the middle of the cost spectrum, and also comes with 709 color accuracy calibration so all your movies and games can pop off the screen and give your entertainment a whole new level of immersion. This 1080p projector has a 2200 lumen brightness level and is one of the most ideal projectors for today’s games. This will give you a full HD experience from the comfort of your home. Also one of the best movie projectors. It has great picture quality for watching movies. If you need a dependable 1080p projector, this one is highly rated by users.
#5 Pick BenQ HT2150ST
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Want brightness? The HT2150ST has got plenty to spare.
When it comes to home theater projectors, brightness is king. If you’re trying to watch a movie during the day or can’t see the enemy you’re trying to get a headshot on in Call of Duty, the 2200 lumens of brightness on BenQ’s HT2150ST is sure to shine through the darkness to provide one of the clearest, sharpest pictures you’ll find on the market. This is what you want in a DLP projector. It may not be a 4k projector, but it is a solid performer, especially as a gaming projector. Your video games are going to look fantastic. It will be a big hit on movie nights as well. This projector also has brilliant color no matter how you use it. Even as a business projector. That’s why it is top rated.
Key Factors to a Top Projector
Three Key Factors: Any projector worth the purchase prices is going to have three key features: longevity, HD resolution, and a high lumen rating. “Bulb hours” as they’re called, are important because the bulb on any given projector has a limited lifespan. This can be anywhere between 5,000 – 10,000 hours depending on the bulb you choose, but the longer it lasts without losing brightness, the less money you’ll have to spend on replacements. Before spending a lot of money on a projector, take a look at the lamp life, and the color wheel that make up your projector.
Speaking of brightness, lumen ratings tell you what kind of brightness you should expect out of the projector, and in any case, a higher rating will always result in a better picture.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Enough Space: Obviously, the biggest mistake you’re going to want to avoid is buying a projector that doesn’t have a proper amount of room to accommodate its throw distance. Without enough space left between the projector and the screen, the eventual size of the picture can be much smaller than what most people expect. If you’re not sure how big the picture on your projector will be based on where you plan to mount it, you can use this handy calculator that will allow you to enter the dimensions of the space you plan on installing the projector in, and recommending a model that has the best lens and throw distance for you. You also want to consider the screen size when purchasing your projector.
Features to Look For
- Right out of the gate, this is one of the most important features that people miss when shopping for their first projector. The throw distance refers to how far or close the projector can be to the screen or wall that you’re projecting on to get a certain size picture.
- For example: a standard HD projector without a “short-throw” lens will need about 6 feet of distance at least to display a picture larger than 80″ wide, although how these numbers match up will inevitably depend on the model of projector you go with. Make sure to use a calculator. Short throw projectors are great for small areas, as are ultra short throw projectors. Most mini projectors are short throw.
- Although all of the projectors in this list have the ability to display their pictures in full 1080p, it’s always important to pay attention to exactly what level of HD your projector is capable of handling before taking the plunge.
- Many cheaper projectors will only support 720p, so be sure to check the specifications prior to making any purchases. If you don’t look into this first, you may be dealing with input lag when trying to watch high quality content.
- The four different bulb types to look for on your projector are LED, LCD, DLP, and LCoS.
- DLP is the oldest of the three, using mirrors and light to physically reflect the picture through the lens and onto the screen. The next is LED projectors and LCD, which uses LED diodes to transmit three separate images in the RGB color spectrum to combine and make the full image. You might also want to consider a projector that has at least 15,000 lumens.
- LCoS stands for “liquid crystal on silicon” is sort of a hybrid of all three systems, combing both mirrors and RGB-separated display elements to create the final picture. Each type of display technology has its own benefits and drawbacks in areas like brightness or contrast ratio, and no one is completely better than the others in all areas of what makes a projector right for your particular needs.
- Anyone planning to game on their projector will also need to look for the projectors that have lower response times. Even though an LED TV is still preferred overall if you depend on a sub-10 millisecond range of response, certain newer projectors have begun to break down the barrier, and will only continue to do so as the technology improves. A model with good color accuracy will also make your game look great.
- Because of the distance necessary to get a projector to display on the wall is often equal to the width of some people’s entire living room, where you plan to mount your projector can be just as important as the resolution.
- VESA-compatible projectors will open you up to the largest number of possible mounting arms, which can be placed anywhere from a wall to the ceiling, out of the way of your couch but still close enough to adjust if you want to change any settings or refocus the lens.
Business vs. Home Theater
- All the projectors on this list are made for home theater applications, but there are plenty of people who go shopping for their first who forget to check if it’s made for business or personal use. Always use a buying guide like this.
- Business projectors aren’t “bad”, necessarily, they’re just not meant to keep up with the framerates possible in most Blu-Ray movies and HD TV shows.
As prices continue to drop, projectors are becoming a hit with consumers who want the biggest possible picture they can get. While they may not be the best for watching during the day or if you want the absolute most crisp HD picture possible, for anyone who values a massive movie experience over everything else, a home theater projector takes the cake.
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