Laser vs. LED Projector

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Updated March 18, 2023

In the past, consumers relied on projectors with a projector lamp as their light source. However, projectors with other forms of lighting were released that used either laser vs. LED projector lights. In addition, some projectors combine the two technologies to create a hybrid model. Users have noticed differences in the price, lumens brightness, life span, and size of the best projectors of both types. Moreover, you can compare brands such as Vankyo vs Yaber projectors to see the model differences. 


  • Laser projectors include laser light that passes through a physical color wheel to provide higher image brightness on a projector screen or other surface.
  • LED lights featured in projectors exist in each of the primary colors, and these projectors offer greater color accuracy and affordability.
  • For most consumers, an LED projector provides them with longer usage in a compact device. A major factor for your choice is what your needs are and the space you’ll be using the projector, like would you need a projector for a large classroom or the best projector for outdoor movies?

LED vs. Laser Projection

One of the major benefits of laser and LED projection lighting is that neither technology contains mercury, unlike lamp projectors with short-lived lightbulbs. You can learn more in our resource article that discusses laser projectors vs lamp projectors. Additionally, all projectors use RGB lighting. However, there is a wide range of differences in almost all of the other aspects of the projectors. Many of these differences indicate a preference for LED lighting, but lasers should be used for certain presentations. For information regarding LED and DLP projectors, check out this article about DLP vs. LED projectors. Regardless of which type of projector you choose, if you value sound quality, you should consider connecting Bluetooth speakers to a projector instead of using the projector speakers.

Insider Tip

Laser projectors offer higher brightness, reducing the effect of ambient light.

How Do LED Projectors Work?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are found in many technologies as a backlight for screens or other images. Many of today’s TVs use LED backlighting on liquid crystal displays, so it’s no surprise that the projector industry has embraced them. LED projectors use separate lights instead of color filters for the primary colors of red, green, and blue to create images. As you hunt around for the best RCA projectors, you’ll see this listed in the product specifications. This aspect allows them to produce the color without using a color wheel, which is positioned in front of the light source and spun to adjust colors.

Although, if you notice issues with an LED projector and you start asking yourself why does my projector keep turning off, chances are it needs maintenance.

How Do Laser Projectors Work?

Laser projector technology has quickly become more popular, and it utilizes a long-lasting semiconductor laser to create images. The top-rated laser projectors feature a color wheel in addition to the light source itself. Because the color wheel adjusts the colors, there are sometimes issues where the color doesn’t appear right on these projectors, referred to as the rainbow effect. However, laser light projectors should be considered if you are looking for exceptionally bright light. Sony recommends using laser projectors for business and educational applications, like the best office projector. When shopping around, be sure to think about throw distance as well and what suits your space, with either long or short throw projectors.

Comparisons of LED to Laser projectors

  • Projectors with laser light are often brighter than their LED counterparts. On average, a laser has a brightness of 3,500 or more American National Standards Institute (ANSI) lumens. On the other hand, LED projectors have a maximum of 2,000 ANSI lumens. As a result, ambient light affects laser projectors less. This comes in handy if you’re using your projector in a bright room and have a quality model like the best short throw projector for a golf simulator so you can play simulated golf without distraction.
  • LED devices cost less than laser-based machines, making them more affordable for personal use. If you are on a budget but need a projector, LED projectors may be the right choice for the time being. Projection lamps are cheaper but less energy efficient on many levels.
  • Regarding the lifespan of the lighting options, LED lasts, on average, 10,000 hours longer than lasers, with roughly 30,000 hours of use. This estimation of laser life assumes that some sort of Eco mode is applied, which results in less power consumption and the light possibly turning itself off if it’s not in use.
  • Portable laser projectors are susceptible to the rainbow effect, causing reduced color accuracy and image quality. LED projectors avoid this effect by using specific lamps with each primary color, removing the need for a color wheel and ensuring precise color.
  • Laser projectors may be larger than LED ones as well. The difference in size can affect the projector’s portability, making it more likely to be set up and used in one location only. You should check out the comparison of projector vs mini projector if the size is important to you.

Also, keep in mind that the less powerful the light beam, the worse your resolution will be. Plus, you’ll need to always be in a dark room to use your projector if they have a weak light bulb. 


LED projectors do not have the same brightness, but they offer more advantages, including color impact, life span, and more.


Which is the brighter and more colorful projector?

Laser projectors are brighter, but they do not offer the precision color that LED does. So when you buy a new projector, you may want to consider which is more important for your viewing.

Can I replace a projector lamp with an LED?

Some projector lamps can be replaced with an LED bulb, but you should get a bulb with the same lumens output as the original lamp. Also, keep in mind that heat can shorten the LED lifespan.

Should I choose a laser or LED projector?

If you are looking for an affordable option that offers precise color and image accuracy, you should consider an LED projector. However, laser projectors are ideal for spaces with bright ambient light, offices, and schools.

STAT: However, LED projectors go one step further with the ability to offer color saturation up to 125% of the norm. (source)

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