A home theater projector used to be an expensive proposition. Anymore, though, you can find some great options at a very affordable price. But what’s the best projector under 1000 dollars? We’ve set out to answer that question, rounding up our favorite options in the price range.
If you’re looking for an overall winner, that’s a hard determination to make. The reason is most projectors at this price point emphasize specific functions over others. Often this means sacrificing a bit on resolution and picture quality to get convenient features like a low input lag or short throw ratio.
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.
What to expect from a projector for under $1000?
Projector prices can be nearly unlimited at the upper end of the spectrum, but what can you expect from a reasonably priced projector that sells for under $1000 – especially compared to a television in the same price range? Certainly, projectors under $1000 do not offer the same crystal-clear picture or the brilliant colors of more expensive projectors. But that doesn’t mean they don’t provide excellent picture quality.
First, the main advantage of a projector over a television is that the screen size of a projector is limited only by the size of the wall you are projecting onto. For under $1000, that is a significant difference, since under that price point you will be forced to choose from televisions that are relatively limited in screen size. You can expect plenty of color and contrast to produce a realistic image on your wall, as well as projector lamps that are designed to last for thousands of hours, in addition to low fan noise.
There are few quality 4K projectors available for under $1000, while there are plenty of small televisions in this price range capable of 4K resolution. That said, most movies and video games are still produced in 1080p, so you will not notice a huge difference due to the limited resolution.
More important is the brightness – lower priced projectors are not as bright as more expensive projectors or televisions. While this might not matter at night, during the day it can make it relatively difficult to see the projector picture clearly, even when the window blinds are closed and the lights turned off. Brightness is one of the major advantages that you pay for in pricier projectors.
Finally, the picture quality, in terms of the contrast and color quality, suffers slightly in projectors under $1000, compared to more expensive projectors. While this is not an issue for most people who are buying a projector for the first time, it can make it difficult to go back to a less expensive projector after using a higher quality unit.
What You Need To Know
When you decide to buy a projector capped under the $1000 budget, you need to keep some factors in mind that will help you to find the best one. Let’s take a look at those factors.
The most important thing about getting a new projector is getting a clear image – you want to be able to see as much detail as possible. This is measured in the number of pixels it can show off. The most basic on this list has a 720-pixel image, which is a bit outdated for our tastes but good enough if you’re on a budget.
This is how well your projector can distinguish between blacks and whites, and will ultimately give you better clarity when watching darker content like that pitch-black episode of Game of Thrones: The Long Night. The bigger the ratio, the better the performance – at 500,000:1 and more, blacks will be inky and colours will pop; at 2,000:1, the image will look a little blurry and colours will bleed into each other.
Projectors need the perfect setting to get the most out of them, and that often means closing the curtains and watching in near-complete darkness. However, some can cope with brighter environments and even work in the garden if you’re throwing a watch party.
Brightness is measured in lumens, with a higher number offering a brighter image – around 2,500 is the sweet spot. Though you only really need to pay attention to this if you plan on keeping the curtains open or taking it outside.
The screen size will depend on how close you put the projector to the wall or screen, so have a think about where you could put one in your setup. A lot of our favourites can be wall mounted or suspended from the ceiling, while others have a “short throw” meaning you can pop it just a few inches away from the wall and still get a big display.
TVs are getting wider, but they can’t compete with the width of some of the more advanced projectors, which can stretch to more than 500 inches if you happen to own the world’s biggest living room wall. Most projectors will be around 100 inches though, and can go as small as 30 inches if you’re tight on space.
Many on this list are smart enough to be able to link up to your wifi to allow you to watch Netflix or Disney+ over the internet, but some will also have plenty of ports to connect games consoles, streaming sticks or a laptop.
The models on our list will all have at least a USB port or HDMI cable so you can add another device to your set-up, though the more expensive options will have more ports for more gear.
You might also find built-in speakers for better audio, smart features like Alexa-compatibility, or headphone jacks for a more personal viewing experience.
Planning an outdoor cinema session for your mates? You’ll need a projector that is small and light enough to carry out into the garden.
The ones on this list range from half a kilo to just over 4kg and come in varying sizes. More portable ones will be roughly the size of a laptop (small enough to put in a rucksack if you need to), while the heavier ones will be about as big as a microwave.
To help you choose, we’ve broken the best projectors on the market down into three categories: the best for a cinema-like experience, sports and for gaming. Just add popcorn.
Our Top Picks:
All these models that we have researched for you are right, but it will depend on your interest and preference. The result of the research will make your choice reasonable and better than blindly choosing just any projector. Let’s have a look at the best projectors under 1000 2021.
Optoma home theater 4k projector is our top pick for the best projector under 1000$. With highly efficient performance and 4K display technology, the projector can cast sharp and bright images on the screen. Also, the resolution of 1080p makes it the best bet for home cinemas.
The 4000ANSI lumens make it even suitable for an ambient room. You won’t need to dim the lights for the best experience. Also, the high color profile and contrast ratio will make the viewing experience best for you. Dynamic Black Technology will provide a detailed image, either it’s bright or dark.
The reason for standing out is the versatile features with tremendous output. With HDMI port and USB connectivity options, it’ll serve best to connect with the device of your choice. The high refresh rates, 3D compatibility, and short-throw distances make it noteworthy. The zoom and keystone correction feature ends up the debate.
The Optoma projector is well-versed for home theater and gaming enthusiasts, but it lacks XBOX users’ features.
This home cinema projector can be regarded as the best Epson projector under 1000$. Being a home cinema HD projector, it can enhance your movie time with detailed images. The option of using android TV, YouTube, Hulu, and other applications makes it noteworthy.
The 2700 ANSI lumens play their part in proper image projection. The final result is pretty satisfying. But you may face issues if there is high ambient light in your room. The method of setting it up is relatively easy. Also, there are multiple connectivity options for ease of use.
The reason for standing out is the best image quality it provides. The 4K enhancement technology with the lens shift option makes it easy to adjust the image without moving the projector. The high brightness, contrast ratio, and color smoothness are also noteworthy, providing the best results.
Hence, the projector is excellent in terms of image quality, brightness, and sharpness. But the slight noise in cinema mode can cause a disturbance.
3. XGIMI Halo: Best portable projector
The XGIMI Halo is a great shout for anyone after a portable projector that doesn’t give up on quality pictures entirely. This stylish, compact, and capable projector is easy to take with you on the go, with built-in 5W speakers and 1080p / Full HD resolution to offer both sight and sound.
You’re getting 800 lumens max brightness while plugged in, though this does drop to 600 lumens when running on battery – fine for dark, outdoor settings, though you’ll undoubtedly fare better with the former setting. Regardless, the battery life is long enough to watch an average-length movie. There’s no native Netflix support, sadly – something that also plagues the XGIMI Horizon Pro – but complaints are few and far between for the Halo.
It’s worth noting that theater enthusiasts may not be satisfied with the brightness and picture of the Halo, especially because of somewhat distracting video noise in dark scenes – but for anyone who needs flexibility and wants the best projector that can fit that need, the XGIMI Halo will prove a worthy choice.
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. 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.
This is another great 3LCD projector you can buy under $1000. The Epson Pro EX9240 has no rainbow effect due to 3LCD technology and offers a significantly higher contrast ratio of 16,000:1 – making it the most contrast-rich projector on this list.
With 4000 lumens of image brightness, this Epson projector delivers more accurate and vivid colors even in bright-lit rooms. The projector features 1080p+ WUXGA resolution which offers 4.5x more resolution than SVGA for high-resolution content.
You can easily set up Epson Pro EX9240 home cinema projector anywhere in the house with easy image adjustments and convenient control. For connectivity, the projector supports HDMI, MHL, and wireless connectivity. The best thing about this projector is its wireless casting technology via Miracast Source. However, Miracast is only available for Android and Windows devices, not for Apple iOS. Overall, the Epson Pro EX9240 is a great projector to use in office space and boardrooms.
6. ViewSonic PX701-4K – Best 4K UHD Projector
ViewSonic PX701 is the best 4k projector under 1000 dollars that gives you an immersive cinema-like experience in a 4k Ulta HD screen. The projector sports a whopping 3,200 lumens of brightness to keep the contrast strong in bright or dark rooms.
With high-brightness and quality sound, this projector provides bright visuals and immersive audio in nearly any environment. Apart from that, the projector comes with up to 20,000 hours of lamp life which reduces power consumption.
Its 1.1x optical zoom feature provides more mounting flexibility means there will be less installation hassle. The projector also comes with a backlit remote control that can be easy to use in dark rooms and for nighttime viewing. For connectivity, the projector supports two HDMI inputs to connect your laptop, digital camera, and many other devices. By combining all these powerful features, makes it an ideal home theater projector under $1000.
7. Epson EF-12
Epson’s 3LCD projection system is squished down here and housed in a very tidy 14 x 18 x 18cm, 2kg box. While not quite as serious for brightness and picture quality as the company’s more traditional home cinema machines, it still has a way with contrast and shading that’s beyond the reach of most portable projectors.
What’s more, its sound system is streets ahead of almost all others on this list. It’s a 2 x 5W set-up that’s been tuned by Yamaha. It’s remarkably expressive with just enough precision to hold its own even in scenes with heavy action.
There’s no iPlayer, Netflix or All 4 apps on the smart platform and we’d like Epson to have fitted an internal battery too but these are relatively minor gripes and nothing that neither a media streamer nor an extension cable can’t solve. Definitely one for your portable projector shortlist.
This is Anker’s best Nebula projector to date and also a very, very good portable in its own right. Feature-wise, it’s got almost everything one could need in an outdoor projector. There’s an excellent smart platform, a three-hour battery life, a good degree of brightness and plenty of source material options.
What tops it off, though, is some really rather impressive picture quality. There are brighter machines out there but, for this price, there’s a great blend of both punch and subtlety to the image. In the right setting, it’s just the ticket.
The onboard speakers are a touch weedy but the quality and spread of sound from them is good.
Do be warned that the app platform is missing a few of the UK catch-up services, iPlayer included, but otherwise, this feels like one of the best projectors out there for taking on your travels. It’s small, convenient and very well appointed.
Here’s another one from Optoma that’s a great choice for gamers: the Optoma GT1080HDR. While it costs a bit more than the Optoma 146X above, it’s still comfortably in the under-$1,000 price range, and it offers some appealing additional features.
The Enhanced Gaming Mode on the Optoma GT1080HDR drops the input lag to 8.4ms—one of the lowest you’ll find at any price range. It pairs this with a 120Hz refresh rate for even smoother, more responsive on-screen action. You can play day or night thanks to the bright lamp. It has a long lamp life, too, so you won’t need to replace or maintain it for years, even if you tend to have marathon sessions.
Another advantage of the Optoma GT1080HDR is its short throw ratio. You only need about 4 feet of distance to get a 120” picture. That makes it a lot more workable in small spaces, and also makes it easier to adjust the image. There’s also a vertical keystone adjustment and other helpful easy-to-use image settings. Check full review of Optoma GT1080HDR.
10. BenQ HT2150ST
If you don’t have the space for a standard projector, or if you want something you can more easily set up and not leave out all the time, you might want a short-throw projector, which needs less space between the lens and the screen. The BenQ HT2150ST can produce a 100-inch image from less than 5 feet away from your wall or screen, which lets it fit into more confined spaces. The lens creates some color fringing that you might notice, and the colors are not as accurate or vivid as those of the BenQ HT2050A, but the HT2150ST still produces a good picture.
The BenQ HT2050A needs to sit 100 to 130 inches from your screen to produce a 100-inch image. By comparison, the HT2150ST can sit two-thirds of the way closer, 36 to 43 inches from the screen. In addition to letting it work in more spaces, this model’s ability to sit that close to the wall or screen means people are less likely to walk in front of the lens and cast a shadow on the screen. Being able to set up a 100-inch display without needing a lot of space allows you to get a giant picture where you typically can’t.
Compared with the HT2050A, the HT2150ST’s main drawback is that the lens isn’t as good in pure image quality. Short-throw lenses are more complex and expensive to make relative to a standard lens, and the compromise creates some color fringing on the screen, which looks like pinkish edges around objects. The effect isn’t easy to see when you’re looking at a 40-inch image, but it is easier to notice once you get to the 100-inch size you’re likely to want with the HT2150ST.
Choosing Between Business And Home Theater
All of the projectors listed here are mainly used for home theatre projectors but a common mistake most of the people make is that they buy those projectors for their business. There is a slight difference between these two. They sometimes also buy it for their personal use. It is not true that business projectors are not good for you, but they will not give you a quality that is required to watch the movies or videos. The prices of the projectors are also getting low and more features are being introduced in it. If you really want to use the projectors for your home to watch the media like Blu-ray then it is best to go for the home theatre projectors. It will give you sharp, crisp and HD images. It will also give you a massive entertainment experience.
Is It worth buying under $1000 dollars projector?
Yes. It is worth buying 1000 dollars projector because it comes with an excellent performance worth the money. The expensive projector has been designed with extra services that make everything about it right. It has a long lifespan as well as a good quality in terms of image, color, and sound. It’s a great projector for home entertainment.
Can under $1000 dollars projector be used for gaming?
Many projectors are under $1000 but have an excellent capability when it comes to gaming. It shows that under $1000 projectors can as well support gaming. Though some of them are good for gaming, not all of them do support. When you look for an under $1000 projector for gaming, then you have to make sure they support gaming with good image display and motion.
Do under $1000 dollars projector have Input lag for gaming?
Yes. They have input lag for gaming, but not all of them support gaming. You should look carefully at the projector on the shelves before you buy it. If you are looking for gaming projectors, then it has to support everything about gaming.