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, brightness, life span, and size of the best projectors of both types.


  • 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.

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 a short-lived lightbulb. 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.

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. 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.

How Do Laser Projectors Work?

Laser projector technology has quickly become more popular, and it utilizes a long-lasting semiconductor laser to create images. These 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, if you are looking for exceptionally bright light, laser light projectors should be considered. Sony recommends using laser projectors for business and educational applications.

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.
  • 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. Projection lamps are cheaper but less energy efficient.
  • When it comes to the lifespan of the lighting options, LED lasts on average 10,000 hours longer than lasers do 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.
  • 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 size is important to you.


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)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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