If you are looking for the best projector under 500, look no further! I have compiled a list of 11 top-rated projectors that will cater to your various entertainment purposes.
These projectors will do everything from reducing your eye strain to offering you larger images and easier viewing.
While some projectors are specially engineered for leveling up your gaming experience with the crisp and bigger display, some of them are ideal for a Sunday movie night in your house.
Now in case you are a bit foreign to how projectors work and reluctant about investing your hard-earned money, you can check the pocket-friendly option I have for you today.
So, without any further stalling, let’s get into the review.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1 Top Picks: Best Projectors Under $500 for an Amazing Viewing Experience in 2023
- 1.1 ViewSonic WXGA High – Best For Bright Projection
- 1.2 Optoma HD146X – An Exceptional Projector for Movies & Gaming with High Performance
- 1.3 XGIMI MoGo Pro – Best For Portable Projector
- 1.4 ViewSonic PX701HD – Best For gaming projector for small apartments
- 1.5 Anker Nebula Solar – 3Hr Battery Life for Indoor/Outdoor
- 1.6 InFocus IN116xv – Best with long-lasting lamp Projector
- 1.7 Epson VS250 SVGA HDMI – Best for vivid color
- 1.8 Optoma HD143X – Best for Indoor and Outdoor Movies
- 1.9 BenQ WXGA – Best for Brilliant Image Quality
- 1.10 Vivitek D555 – Best for SVGA DLP Portable Projector
- 1.11 InFocus IN114 – Best for Bright Projector
- 1.12 The Ultimate Buyer’s Checklist: 10 Key Points for Choosing the Best Projector Under $500 in 2023
- 1.13 Frequently Asked Questions
- 1.14 Final Words
Top Picks: Best Projectors Under $500 for an Amazing Viewing Experience in 2023
I have tried to delve deep into each product and its features to better explain them to you. So even if you are not a tech-savvy person, there’s no need to feel intimidated.
To resolve any remaining confusion, you will have a finely curated buying guide awaiting. Let’s get started.
ViewSonic WXGA High – Best For Bright Projection
Suppose you have a small business, and the revenue is tight. But what if you badly need a projector for the meetings, but you can’t afford one due to lack of money?
Worry no more. ViewSonic presents one of the best projectors under 500 that ideally fits your small business environment.
Whether exhibiting your business plans on a bigger screen or watching a slide for educational purposes, this high brightness projector is the best of both worlds.
Despite the low price, this projector features an enormous screen projection that reflects images from 120 inches to 15-feet-8 inches in 3600 lumens. Besides this, 3600 lumens projector generates sparkling visuals in any environment even if other light sources are circulating.
Moreover, the color accuracy is out of the world, providing stunning images. Thanks to the exclusive Supercolor technology for the 6-segment color spectrum and dynamic lamp adjustment capacity for ensuring a myriad of different colors and splendid images.
In addition, the brightness intensity is adjustable, so you can dilute the projection brightness according to your preference.
When you dim the brightness, the overall lamp life prolongs by 70%. The lamp beams brightly for up to 150000 hours and due to the reduced input latency, there will be no blurring, stuttering, or distortion, only frame-by-frame action!
Just unbox, plug and play. This HDMI-enabled device is easy to assemble and compatible with most media players, including mac and mobile devices for streaming your videos, presentation, and images.
Optoma HD146X – An Exceptional Projector for Movies & Gaming with High Performance
When you have a projector that delivers blurry and inconsistent images, it not only endangers your vision but also spoils your mood to watch anything at all.
That’s why you need a projector that runs smoothly and offers fast-processing images. And trust me when I say this, the Optoma high-performance projector is the one that will guarantee you such attributes.
The unparalleled combination of faster processing speed and top-notch visuals ensures that you have an almost surreal gaming experience.
This is the best projector for gaming under 500 for your weekend game nights. Call your friends home and surprise them with high-definition graphics and a native 1080p resolution.
It will transform your gaming experience once and for all. Besides you get the RYGCWB color wheel for enhanced color calibration.
It stays true to the live colors of the games you play, so you feel like you are living the game not just playing it. In addition, the latest technology from Texas Instruments facilitates extraordinary image alignment incorporating high luminosity for unmatched picture quality.
Despite having the lights on or slightly dim, you can still savor the cinematic experience with the 3600 lumens of brightness. Another reason why it stands out in the crowd is the fast-lighting response time when you are playing a game with both dark and bright visuals.
Thanks to the dynamic black technology that adjusts the lamp output for a high-contrast image. Just like the expensive gaming projectors, the bright scenes will emerge crisp and clear while the dark scenes maintain a light-shade detail with deep blacks.
A single remote controls all the adjustments and connections of the projector by the HDMI and the projector’s HDMI-link interface. Thereby, you have a hassle-free and advanced experience for fast-paced and competitive console PC gaming.
XGIMI MoGo Pro – Best For Portable Projector
One of the most common problems you face with projectors is improper audio-video synchronization. As a consequence, despite having a big screen and startling images, you still can’t make out the audio and what the character on the screen is trying to convey.
To get past this problem, XGIMI features a pro portable projector that distributes crystal clear images and audio output simultaneously without lagging. Not just it, it’s the best projector 2022 under 500 in terms of portability. Let me tell you how.
This projector weighs only 1.87 pounds with a compact and storage-convenient design. You can easily carry it from one place to another, unlike the bulky ones. The lightweight feature also streamlines the overall operation and makes it one of the best projectors for outdoor movie nights.
The 300 ANSI brightness and 1080p resolution work harmoniously to provide crispy and vivid frames. Not just it, you have the DLP display technology for immaculate color expression so that you can savor every trivial to a significant glimpse of the content.
Now about the sound quality, it has two built-in 3W Harman Kardon speakers for premium audio output that doesn’t get periled by the machine’s noise.
It remains quiet by curbing out the noise and helps you get an environment-friendly audio experience.
As you are about to install this projector outside, you may feel a little perplexed about how to adjust the sharpness. Don’t worry! The audio-focus feature will automatically dictate the right amount of sharpness needed for distinct visuals.
ViewSonic PX701HD – Best For gaming projector for small apartments
Are you on the lookout for the best home theater projector under $500? Well, I have news for you! ViewSonic presents one of the most ideal projectors for home entertainment and office environments.
The outstanding, full HD image quality is the pick of the litter amongst many top-rated projectors in the market. It features 3500 ANSI lumens to render vivid and clear pictures even if you keep the lights on or dim.
This means you will have an enhanced cinematic experience without going to the cinema. Besides, it has a Super Eco feature that preserves energy and minimizes power consumption.
As consequence, you receive a prolonged lamp life of 200000 hours so that you don’t have to spend more dough on bulb replacement. Another reason why I absolutely love this projector for home entertainment is the 4K resolution.
To tell you the truth, a typical 4k projector will cost you a fortune but with this projector, you can enjoy the high resolution for under 500 dollars.
Be it for watching movies, sports, or playing games, this projector ensures the best experience. Honestly, I was struck with awe when I found out that it’s the first projector engineered for 4k standard that guarantees all the necessary attributes required for replicating a theater-like vibe.
Apart from the HD picture quality and high resolution,it also adds accents to the colorful images with its exclusive 2.8xX SuperColor technology.
Adding vibrant colors and vivid hues to the overall picture makes sure you have a dream-like home theatre experience.
Anker Nebula Solar – 3Hr Battery Life for Indoor/Outdoor
You can’t go wrong with the Anker Nebula solar portable projector, which is also the best android projector under 500.
First, it has a compact yet stylish design that will complement any living area and the outdoors.
It fits easily on your shelf, and since it doesn’t take much space, it can be carried inside your tote bag or travel bag. Hence, you can do it all if you are thinking of camping or having a romantic movie date in the wilderness.
Besides, it features a battery that lasts three continuous hours without interruption. And it comes in handy when you are not close to a plug socket.
However, it has a USB-C power port that you can plug into your power bank when the battery runs out.
Now, the most exciting part of this projector is the Bluetooth speaker functionality. It’s almost like having two devices in one package.
You can listen to your favorite pop artists through this Bluetooth function from your devices or streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. About the picture quality,I won’t give you false hopes. It’s pretty good if you look at the price range; then again, the brightness front can disappoint you a little.
With 4000 lumens of brightness, you are advised to use this projector in dimmer environments. So, if you want to keep the lights on or have it on during the daytime, then it won’tdeliver the type of cinematic experience you were rooting for.
I suggest you watch nighttime Disney movies on this projector rather than some gritty, grayscale crime documentaries.
On the brighter side, with the Dolby Digital Plus and 3W speaker, the audio experience will remain chiseled on your mind. you can literally grasp every minute detail, such as the whispers, explosions, everything.
InFocus IN116xv – Best with long-lasting lamp Projector
If you want a projector that has long-lasting lamp life with vivid viewing on any surface without paying a king’s ransom, then the InFocus IN116xv projector might be the one for you.
It offers 150000 hours of view time with the long-lasting lamp that ensures smooth, crisp, and crystal-clear visuals in any given situation.
Whether using it for PPT slide shows or business presentations, it will deliver a satisfactory result. Unlike most projectors that only specialize in brighter details, this one outshines in both bright and darker black images.
Thanks to the 3800-lumen lamp and 2600:1 contrast ratio, that works combinedly to deliver overall sharp graphics. To improve the viewing experience, it features the perfect screen with a 28″-300″ viewing size with a projector distance of 2m-12m correspondingly.
Therefore, be it for home theatre entertainment or business presentation,you can fully capitalize on it. Only within a few minutes you can set it up, and it connects to your mobile phone or iPad for fast and easy operation.
Epson VS250 SVGA HDMI – Best for vivid color
Well, Epson is one of the top leading brands in the realm of projector technology. And their VS250 projector can be the most appropriate representation of why Epson is a leading brand.
This projector requires no additional tool or hardware to be installed and takes only a few minutes.
On top of that, you can connect it in many uncomplicated ways. Then comes the famous 3LCD display incorporated with 3200 lumens that deliver startling images with vibrant color details. For crystal clear images, this can be the cream of the crop.
Besides, it can also operate at a wide range of resolutions, although I will advise you to use it at 800×600.
It may not be the best for some games and movies, but this is a standard resolution parameter for the most part.
Now, for enhanced clarity and detail on the darker parts of the image, you will need an ideal contrast ratio.And luckily enough, this projector has a 15000:1 contrast ratio that will give you exactly that.
Come rain or shine, you can use it for any environment as it has its trick up its sleeve.
Optoma HD143X – Best for Indoor and Outdoor Movies
The Optoma HD143X has features that will make you take it home the first time you lay your eyes on it. For starters, you have the dynamic contrast ratio of 2300:1 that accentuates the darker blacks of the image.
With the 1920x1080p of HD resolution and 32 milliseconds of short input lag, you can cherish every moment of your home theatre experience and savor an action-packed game time with your friends.
Here the picture quality is out of the world, whether you are playing something in 3D or 2D.
The crystal-clear and vivid images don’t seem to waver regardless of the lighting conditions. You will have 120000 hours of lamp life with 3000 lumens of brightness for both indoor and outdoor entertainment purposes.
Now, in terms of sound quality, it features a 10-watt mono speaker, which you can’t call the best of all;however, it works pretty well. If the speaker doesn’t seem loud enough to you, you can look for other sound system alternatives.
This home theatre projector ensures an effortless installation process so that you can utilize your time using it rather than tweaking it for hours.
The manual focus and zoom, including the IR remote control, simplifies the whole process.Yet since it’s manual and the keystone correction is a tricky one to adjust — make sure you don’t distort the picture quality.
BenQ WXGA – Best for Brilliant Image Quality
If you want a projector that is compatible with almost any environment, then you should try the BenQ WXGA business projector.
You will know right off the bat why it stands out in the crowd. First, it has a very compact and laid-back design that surprisingly blends in any environment, whether it’s your office, game room, or home theatre setting.
In any layout, it fits perfectly fine. Then comes the holy grail feature which is the three display modes such as standard, dynamic, and text mode.
By enabling the standard mode, you can use it to arrange presentations, PPT files, and meetings, while the dynamic mode will be suitable for the cinematic experience as it offers sharper and brighter images.
On the other hand, you have the text mode that is just about right for document reading or dabbling on various websites. It offers 4000 ANSI high brightness lumens combined with 20000:1 high contrast picture quality for a breathtaking display presentation.
Besides, it comes with dual HDMI connectivity that allows you to access multiple devices in additions to faster data transmission, such as TVs, projectors, game consoles, etc.
Also, you have an ergonomic retractable foot and auto vertical keystone for faster image alignment and easy assembly.
And, if these aren’t enough, then you must be interested in the energy-saving feature. The SmartEco mode preserves up to 70% of lamp power. This product is indeed too good to be true.
Vivitek D555 – Best for SVGA DLP Portable Projector
Here you have the Vivitek D555 portable projector that features a native resolution of1024x768, and it’s 3D capable. With the 3000 lumens of brightness and long-lasting lamp life, you receive an extremely bright and crystal-clear visual.
For any presentation, small business meetings, or indoor home theatre entertainment this can be a perfect fit. Since it comes with the DLP technology, you have higher contrast and less apparent pixels resulting in a vibrant and detailed image.
On top of that, you have the brilliant color technology by Texas instrument that just reinforces the coloring aspect so that the visibility of the hues becomes more pronounced while the darker blacks remain detailed.
Also, let’s not forget that it offers a 15000:1 contrast for you to notice the subtle shade of colors and the projected images on the screen, such as the texts, videos, graphs, pictures, etc.
Moreover, for 3D viewing, you can plug it directly into a 3D Blu-ray player. Installing it feels like a breeze as you have advanced HDMI connectivity.
InFocus IN114 – Best for Bright Projector
Lastly, you have the InFocus portable DLP projector. It is something that you can call “looks can be deceiving”.
You may take it as a rather weak projector with inadequate features but in reality, it’s packed with a lot of power and outstanding image quality. It’s also one of the most affordable projectors you will find on this list.
Let’s get into more graphic detail.
First off, it’s a 2700 lumen projector with a 3000:1 eye-popping contrast that ensures vivid images and deeper blacks when projecting darker contents. In addition, if you want to explore a 3D experience, you can do it as it’s 3D-ready.
Just make sure you have PC-based 3D content. Since it weighs only 4.8 pounds you can easily carry it from one place to another and with the 6000 hours of estimated lamp life, you can wager on it for long-lasting performance.
For indoor and outdoor cinematic experiences, you can rely on it as long as you use it in low-light situations.
Worth mentioning, this projector features multiple computer inputs for superior flexibility regardless of the environment, as it’s easy and quick to set up, so you will never be late.
The Ultimate Buyer’s Checklist: 10 Key Points for Choosing the Best Projector Under $500 in 2023
See, when you are looking for the best projector under 500, there are some crucial factors you will need to consider. Now, you may not have the energy to scrutinize every nook and cranny of the key factors.
Don’t worry! I did it on your behalf.
Below I have curated an in-depth buying guide where you will unravel every little to significant detail that comes in handy while determining the ideal projector for your various needs.
Projector Type: (DLP, LCD)
So, first thing first you should decide the type of projector you need. Based on display property, projectors are divided into two common types: DLP and LCD. Now to put more emphasis on it let me give you some information about each type.
This stands for Digital Light Processing, and it is a creation of Texas Instruments. DLP is generally utilized for both back and front projections and it uses micro-mirrors to cast visuals from a monitor to a relatively bigger screen.
Mostly you will see these types of projections in digital cinema projection, rear projection TVs, and standalone projection units.
DLP projectors are best when you prefer lighter images along with other attributes such as portability and reliability.
Also, there are other perks of having a DLP projector, such as smoother video output, less apparent pixels, cinematic experience on HDTV, darker blacks, higher contrast, etc.
About the drawbacks, DLP projectors radiate some sort of rainbow effect, generate audible whine, get yellowed in maximum power, and produce more lumens than LCD.
Now, LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, and it defines two states of matter. One is liquid, and another is solid. A liquid crystal display basically utilizes liquid crustal to cast an image or object on a surface.
And it’s typically used for computers, laptops, TVs, video games, and mobile phones.
It has its perks too. For example, LCD projectors outshine in offering richer color dynamics, require less power to operate, produce less heat, have literally no rainbow effect, don’t make any whining sound, and ensure sharper images.
Just like the DLP projectors, it has its drawbacks, too, such as pixels visibility, extravagantly large lumens in some aspects, inadequate pixels, blacks being grayer than darker, etc.
So now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of both types, I hope it will get easier for you to decide.
“The more the merrier”, apparently this old saying doesn’t work here. When you are looking for the ideal brightness setting, having more brightness won’t help. Sometimes it does the opposite.
If nothing, it gives you eye strain and headache. So you are supposed to find something that is not too bright for your setting or too low. For instance, if you want to set up your projector in a low-light condition, then you will need a dimmer projector.
In this case, a projector with 1000 lumens will do. On the other hand, if you want to use the projector in daylight or in a place where you have windows and doors that allow the light to seep through, you should go for a brighter setting. Here a projector with 3000+ lumens will work.
Image & Sound Quality
You must inspect the image and sound quality of the projector. Depending on what you will be doing with your projector, the image and sound quality requirements will vary.
For instance, if you want to use the projector for watching movies, then you will need bright and vivid images that are also crips and crystal clear.
And in terms of watching movies, the sound quality you will need is something between loud and quiet.
Now some projector speakers are way too soft, and in this aspect, you can connect an external set of speakers. Make sure your projector supports outside connectivity.
Then comes the gaming part. For this, you will need sharp images that have darker black details as well as bright ones and high contrast ratio.
For better sound quality, you should pick the ones that come with in-built speakers. If that doesn’t suffice, you can use a headphone amplifier.
Here, contrast is basically the difference between light and dark on a screen. And how do you calculate the contrast ratio?
If you compare the brightest white and darkest black in terms of luminosity, then you will get an accurate contrast ratio for the image. If you have a projector that is advertised as “high-contrast” then it’s supposed to deliver whiter whites and blacker blacks.
Now you may have brighter lumens or higher lumens, but if the contrast ratio is somewhat low, then the image will appear washed out.
Also, say that you are using a projector in a darkened room. In this case, you will need at least a 1500:1 contrast ratio. But remember that’s the least requirement. For best experience having 2000:1 or higher is recommended.
I will make this one short and clear. If you want a gaming projector, then you should get a projector with at least 2000 lumens with a 5000:1 contrast ratio and 1080p resolution.
On the other side, for home theatre, you need a minimum of 2000 lumens of brightness with a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 1080p or 4k resolution.
Here 1080p resolution refers to FHD or Full HD, whereas 4K stands for ultra-HD or Ultra High definition. And remember that when it comes to resolution, the better the resolution, the richer the image quality.
It translates to the distance between your projector and the screen for casting a clear image. Some projectors have a throw distance that starts from a few feet and ends at 15 feet, while there are few projectors with larger throw distances.
You should determine the throw distance according to your distance requirement and the type of environment you intend to install the projector.
The bulb life means how long your projector will hold up. And it’s one of the most important features that you shouldn’t overlook. Usually, the projectors with longer bulb life are pricier.
But even if it takes paying a high price, you should go for longer bulb life ones as they last long, and you don’t have to invest in a new one within a year. At least 10000 hours of lamp life is critical, regardless.
Projectors that offer multiple connectivities always trump other options available in the market. Their versatility makes them stand out amongst all. Connectivity options such as Bluetooth, wireless connectivity, HDMI cable connectivity, etc., should reside in your projector.
Also, it would be great if your projector was compatible with the VGA cable or the yellow RCA connectors.
Long story short, before you buy the projector, make sure you know what you will be doing with it other than just projecting images or videos, what are things you want to connect to your projector, and whether it’s able to handle it or not.
When you are binge-watching a tv series or a 3-hour long movie, your projector may start building heat. And it can end up in overheating, which eventually impedes the projector’s performance.
For instance, it can shut down abruptly, or the bulb can physically explode. To avoid such happenings having a cooling system is necessary. Make sure you have this feature in your product.
Easy to Use
Lastly and most importantly the projector shouldn’t be a bother for you. It should be easy to install and use in all senses.
Also, adjusting, controlling the volume, zooming or out, switching between the picture modes, etc., should be effortless to handle. The best ones come with a remote and take only a few minutes to be installed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get a good projector for under $500?
Yes, without a shred of doubt, you can get a good projector in this budget. To be brutally honest, if you are looking for one of the best projectors in the market with a myriad of features,then it will cost you over 1000$.
But do you need a projector that meets your standards perfectly, or do you need a projector that is packed with all the exciting features just to flaunt or brag about it?
Now, there are plenty of high-performance projectors that are available for less than 500 dollars, and they offer a wide range of features such as immersive picture quality, multiple connectivity options, portability, easy adjustments, controls, etc.
Long story short, it’s possible for you to find a good projector under 500 for various reasons be it for an office environment, home theatre, or gaming.
Which brand is best for a projector?
Epson, Optoma, and ViewSonic are the best brands for a projector. They are the most famous and universally liked ones; however, there are some underrated brands too.
Now, if I delve deeper into those aforementioned brands then I must say that Epson is the most famous one since the pioneering of the world’s first compact and lightweight digital printer and the world’s first quartz watch.
They produce imaging-related equipment globally, and they have a series of different projectors available right now.
Can a projector be used in daylight?
Based on popular opinions, it’s going to be hard to find a projector that can be used in daylight because most of them lack portability.
Being bright and portable enough to overcome the daylight or bright environment may not be your projector’s strongest suit. To conclude, people think that projectors arent capable enough of withstanding the outdoor and daylight needs.
Now, contrary to popular beliefs, if you manage to have a projector with 3000+ lumens minimum, then it will work in daylight.
Remember that this is the least bit you should have for daylight viewing. Also, my two cents on this will be to create a shade, fix the screen, or place the projector in a shaded location. It will help.
Can you watch Netflix on a projector?
Yes, you can. Most of the projectors have a built-in Netflix app. In case you don’t have it as a default setting, you can use a separate media such as Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, etc., to be connected to the projector and to watch Netflix.
What are the most crucial things when buying a projector?
Three things are the most important and shouldn’t be compromised such as native resolution, contrast ratio, and your source material.
Which is the best projector for home use?
For home use, the Epson VS250 SVGA and the Optoma HD146X will be best. These also cost under 500. However, if you don’t have any specific budget, then you can look for other options such as the Epson Home Cinema 2150, the VAVA Laser TV, BNQ TH671ST, etc.
Which sound accessory would you use with Optoma HD146X when projecting outside?
This came from a user from his experience that a Firestick with 2 echo studios and an Echo sub works perfectly with Optoma HD146X when projecting outside. And most probably the audio output will be great and portable.
Can ViewSonic (PA503X) be used for PowerPoint?
Yes. In fact, it’s one of the best ones in this field. For business and education purposes ViewSonic (PA503X) projector works wonders. As far as your concern, PowerPoint, PPT files, document viewing, and other slides can be projected via this projector without any hassle.
It has all the ideal features required for education and business environment. This has 150000 hours of lamp life, five pre-set color modes, and an easy-setup facility.
Can I use Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector audio connected through USB?
Yes, you can have the audio connected through USB, or to be precise, you can enjoy any music, video, and movies that are kept on a USB drive in your Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector.
Can I plug in a Roku or fire stick in HDMI, and it works with Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector?
Yes, you can plug in a Roku or Firestick in HDMI, and it will work just fine with your Anker Nebula Solar portable Projector, undoubtedly.
How do you check the Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector battery %?
To check the battery percentage, you have to look for the home menu and search the top right-hand corner. There you will find a feature called battery properties under the settings.
It should tell you the remaining juice(battery life) of your projector. If it still doesn’t show you the percentage, then you can unplug the projector for a moment to have it visible.
What is the max projection screen size on InFocus IN116xv?
The max projection screen size on InFocus IN116xv is 300” viewing 12m projector distance.
That was it. I believe I have covered almost everything that was needed to clear all your confusion. And hopefully, you will now find out the best projector under 500. Like, if you are in for a penny, then you might be as well in for a pound, right? So, I guess a little effort and evaluation go a long way to get the finest fit for you.