How Many Lumens are in an Outdoor Projector?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated December 8, 2022

Knowing how many lumens are in an outdoor projector allows you to choose the correct projector for your needs. It’s also good to know which works better before making a choice: outdoor TV vs a projector. Image quality matters, but you’ll struggle to obtain a brighter image when there’s ambient light. After all, when you’re outside, it’s impossible to control every light source.


  • Watching movies at night requires far fewer lumens of projection brightness than trying to project onto an outdoor movie screen during the day.
  • An outdoor projector requires no fewer than 2,500-3,000 lumens to work correctly under the harsh natural light from the sun.
  • You’ll have to deal with ambient light even at night, which usually comes from light sources such as street lights, other homes, and more.

When it comes to the best projectors, ambient lighting will always pose a threat to high-quality viewing. Having high lumens on a projector will help.

Understanding Light Level in Outdoor Projectors

Ambient light will mess up the image on even the best projector screen. Having a high-lumen projector can help you overcome poor outdoor projection conditions. You can do a few other things to help your high-quality projector perform correctly.

Insider Tip

Theater projectors are fantastic for having a backyard movie night, and using a giant screen makes you feel like you’re at the drive-in theaters.

Keeping your projector image visible is crucial. Learning how to clean a projector screen can help you keep things crystal clear.

Explaining Lumens of Brightness

Multiple factors contribute to a projector’s lumen rating, from portable projectors to LED projectors. A low-cost projector will have a lower lumen rating than a robust model that features thousands of lumens. Comparing lux vs lumens projector can help you understand the numbers we discuss in this article. But, if you need more information regarding lux, then read our guide covering how many lux is good for a projector.

Why Projector Lumens are Important

When it comes to having a clear image, lumens win for the most important criteria. A powerful built-in speaker is great, but high sound quality won’t make a projector bright enough to contend with ambient light sources.

Having high lumens means having a brighter projector. You may not need anything as big as a 5,500-lumen projector, but you’ll need at least a 2,500-lumens projector.

Brightness Requirements for an Outdoor Projector

The level of brightness required varies. Ambient lighting can only be overcome by a powerful daytime projector, which generally has 2,500-3,000 lumens. You have a range of projectors that are capable of this. However, models like portable projectors will fall significantly short.


Do the screen sizes I use for my projection screen matter?

That depends on what you’re doing. Larger screens are better for outdoor movie nights, while smaller screens are better for recreating a movie theater in your home.

What type of projector is best for outdoor movies?

The type of projection you choose is totally up to you. What matters more is the type of outdoor screens you use and the overall brightness level. Daytime viewing is nearly impossible without a powerful projector.

Do you need a dark room for a projector?

You don’t need a dark room, but it helps with producing a bright image. Reducing ambient light will keep your projector image visible. Take note of every light bulb for a higher-quality image, and turn as many off as possible.

Can you see a projector during daylight hours?

While daylight-visible projection isn’t perfect, this type of projection does exist. You’ll need an incredibly bright projector. Even then, daylight-visible projection won’t be possible unless you have optimal outdoor projection conditions.

STAT: Lumens are related to lux in that one lux is one lumen per square meter. (source)

Beth Huston Profile image