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 extensive research. Next, we got the projectors set up in our research environment and started playing video games and watching our favorite movies to get a handle on which ones performed better than others. We then gathered key data points ranging from throw distance to display resolution and 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 you don’t have to limit your choices to the ones on this list, if you’re looking to go above budget, then check out our best projectors list to see your other options.
And after 40 hours of researching, 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 ||Item Weight: 2.49 Kg|
Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 31.8 x 10.7 cm
Wattage: 10 Watts
Batteries Included: No
Batteries Required: No
|The perfect fit for small budget||VANKYO Leisure 3 Mini Projector ||Item Weight: 953 g|
Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 15 x 7.9 cm
Wattage: 50 Watts
Batteries Included: No
Batteries Required: No
|Best contrast ratio||Epson Home Cinema 2150 ||Item Weight: 3.49 Kg|
Product Dimensions: 31 x 28.4 x 12.2 cm
Wattage: 10 Watts
Batteries Included: No
Batteries Required: No
|2D keystone color correction||Epson Home Cinema 2150 ||Item Weight: 8 pounds|
Product Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 5 inches
Wattage: 240 Watts
Batteries Included: Yes
Batteries Required: Yes
|Great choice for brightness||BenQ HT2050A Projector ||Item Weight: 3.6 Kg|
Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 38 x 27.7 cm
Wattage: 353 Watts
Batteries Included: No
Batteries Required: No
Read Next: The best projectors you can buy today.
#1 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 don’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, which means it could also be a great projector for artists in your home. Though it doesn’t have fancy features like a large LCD screen, remote control, app for a mobile phone or other mobile devices, smart TV capabilities, or touch screen functionality, the appealing price point, and cutting-edge video and sound quality make for one great video projector. If you need a dependable 1080p projector, this one is highly rated by users. Moreover, you can find other options in our list of the best ViewSonic projectors.
#2 BenQ HT2150ST Projector
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. If you’re planning to use a projector for movies in your backyard after the sun goes down, this could be a great option alongside the best outdoor projector.
#3 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.
Related: A great projector is made even better with the best projector screen for an unmatched viewing experience.
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 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 Optoma HD146X Projector
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Need brightness on a tight budget? Get the Optoma HD146X
The Optoma HD146X is a stellar option with high-performance features at an extra-affordable price. Offering a combination of both the cheapest sticker price ($599.00 at the time of this review) as well as one of the highest contrast ratios (25,000:1) on this list, we love the HD146X 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.
Just like the Acer VL7860 projector, this Optoma 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 3600 ANSI Lumens and will connect to all of your gadgets, like your set-top box and some smart home devices.
So this is a good choice for those looking for gaming projectors. It also has a built-in speaker, which is great for entertainment purposes plus presentations if you’re looking for the best office projector. Not all video projectors for a home movie theater have a built-in sound system to top off the video quality with some crisp dynamic range sound quality, so that helps this projector stand out from the rest. It boasts a warm color temperature that looks great.
There’s no lens shift here, however. As far as connectivity, this model has an HDMI port, audio out, and USB-A power. We also love that the fan noise is not very loud. A low fan noise helps contribute to a better and less altered sound quality. Great price, brightness, contrast, and performance are all here. On a side note, the best mini projector can go with you anywhere.
#5 Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
We’re sorry, this product is temporarily out of stock
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: This kind of performance is unheard of on such a small device and at such a small price.
This incredibly cheap projector offers a surprisingly high level of performance for its size and price tag. This Vankyo mini projector is highly rated by users online thanks to great features like a 170-inch display size, long-lasting bulb life, 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. You’ll want to check out our Dr. J Professional HI-04 1080p review for another mini option. But, 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.
Key Factors to a Top Projector
Three Key Factors: Any projector worth the purchase price 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.
Depending on the bulb you choose, this can be anywhere between 5,000 – 10,000 hours, but the longer it lasts without losing brightness, the less money you’ll have to spend on replacements. Therefore, to best narrow down your choices for the best short throw projector under $1000, it’s important to look at certain features.
Before spending a lot of money on a projector, take a look at the lamp life, and the color wheel that makes up your projector. Going alongside the color wheel, it’s essential to set the proper optical elements like color space and color depth on the video projector so that the image processing produces a well-colored image quality with a bright image, vivid color, and non-distracting video quality.
Be aware of the type of technology too. Consider a top laser projector if you want a projector that uses laser technology. Laser projectors will typically offer a brighter image with bright colors and a crisp image for a better cinematic experience.
Truly, you’ll want to look for the best projectors under 1000 that have longevity in their bulbs. Not all home theater projectors under 1000 are built the same. So, as you browse the leading projectors of 2023 under 1000, keep these factors in mind.
Lumen ratings tell you what kind of brightness you should expect from the projector, and in any case, a higher rating will always result in a better picture. A higher lumen rating (typically found on great projectors for under 1000) can also help you combat ambient lighting in your viewing space, which may negatively affect the image quality of the projection. And if your room has a lot of ambient light, you should definitely check out the top-rated projectors for bright rooms. Unfortunately, even if it’s HD-level, you won’t find a higher lumen with the Anker Nebula Mars II. A high-lumen projector is also an excellent choice for outdoor movie nights, and it can be a more compact projector to make it easier to position. However, you may need external speakers so that everyone gets good audio quality.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Enough Space: Obviously, the biggest mistake you’re going to want to avoid is buying a traditional 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.
Also, see if the projector you’re interested in can alter the aspect ratio of the projection window size so that you’ll have some versatility in framing your projection in case you’ll use it in multiple different rooms.
Additionally, if you’re going to use the projector in a large room and may need to change a setting throughout the course of a projection, perhaps look into projectors with remote control or mobile device app control functionality. You also want to consider the screen size when purchasing your projector. The best 4K projector under $1000 typically offers 1080p resolution, HDR support, and medium-sized screens.
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 close the projector can be to the screen or wall 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. Leading short-throw projectors are great for small areas, as are ultra-short-throw projectors. Most mini projectors are short-throw.
- Be sure to double-check the connectivity of the projector. If it uses Wi-Fi connectivity, that can simplify adjusting the position of the projector since you won’t have to worry about cords. Wireless options are likely not budget projectors, but you pay for the convenience of a cordless experience.
- 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. This is especially important if you’re into streaming movies and shows, and low resolution isn’t your ideal pick and you’re after detailed images.
- Many cheaper projectors will only support 720p resolution, so check the specifications before making any purchases. If you don’t look into this, you may be dealing with input lag when watching high-quality content. Plus you’ll potentially be missing out on beautiful images and accurate image coloring.
- Alternatively, if you need to “interact” with your projected image, like if you’re gaming or playing simulated sports, you should consider a higher quality model, with a game mode, like the best 4k projector for a golf simulator.
- A 4K projector under 1000 is a great way to get the most out of your movies and TV shows. With four times the resolution of 1080p, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning detail and clarity, whether you’re watching your favorite film or enjoying sports games. And with a wide range of features, there’s a 4K projector under $1000 for everyone. We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for the best 4K projector under 1000. From budget-friendly options to top-of-the-line models, our site offers reviews of the best 4K projectors under 1000.
- 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 use LED diodes to transmit three separate images in the RGB color spectrum to combine and make the full image with accurate colors. There are similarities and differences between an LCD projector, Digital Light Processing projector, etc., so be aware when researching and making your purchases. You might also want to consider a high-quality projector that has at least 15,000 lumens.
- LCoS stands for “liquid crystal on silicon” and 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 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, a bright picture, and a good refresh rate will also make your gaming experience look great. You should also consider whether you want a smart projector or not so that you can have access to streaming services or a 3D projector so you can watch 3D movies for a more immersive viewing experience.
- Because 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. Portable projectors can avoid the concern of getting the mounting bracket positioning correct since they can be easily moved.
- 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 plenty of people go shopping for their first and 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 that a cinema projector can handle better.
- If opting for a specific type of projector is challenging, consider projectors that feature different pre-set modes that you can use for different purposes, like cinema mode, eco mode, dynamic picture mode, etc. Those additional modes can make a printer an excellent option if you want to use the projector to give an office presentation during the day and have a cinematic viewing experience at night.
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.