Projectors can turn any regular living room into a home mini-theater. Gone are the days when home movie theaters can only be found in celebrity mansions. You can easily achieve high-quality picture quality with a projector. It is the most versatile way to upgrade from a small display to a larger than life movie experience.
With the current innovation in lens technology, it is now possible to create your own dream multimedia set-up at home without breaking the bank. Projectors under $200 might not have the most features than the expensive models, and it will still provide you with a premium experience whether you want a complete theater experience or an awesome room set-up.
Top Picks for Busy People
- Best Projector Under $200 All-Round #1 Pick – Wsky Video Projector
- Click to See Price – Best Projector Under $200 for Small Size and Portability – APEMAN Mini Video Projector
- Click to See Price – Best Projector Under $200 for Home and Office – ELEPHAS 3500 HD Video Projector
How to Choose the Best Projector?
Having the right expectations when purchasing a projector under $200, will save you from disappointments later on. There will be limitations in features with these types of projectors, but it will not stop you from having the best movie experience.
One of the things that you may notice is the size of the projectors. Most projectors at this price point are portable or near-portable in size. However, this does not mean a disappointing performance. Before we take a look into the best projectors you can buy under $200, consider the following features for your next purchase.
It is also smart to plan things out and decide how you will use the projector. Some may want a permanent home theater which allows you to have bulkier projectors with more features. You may also have occasional backyard barbeque parties or outdoor movie viewing, which means you will need a moderately portable projector that you can take to different locations. Or you can take your projector with you with various tiny and ultra-portable options. This will even allow you to take your entertainment system in camping or other remote areas as some can be powered by portable power banks.
Knowing what goes into projectors will allow you to decide which ones are perfect for your set-up.
DLP vs LCD vs LED Projectors
Digital Liquid Projection (DLP) and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) are two main types of image display for projectors. Both types have their various advantages and disadvantages. However, newer models use Light-Emitting Diodes (LED). It is mostly found in ultra-portable and home projectors. High-end models are also beginning to consider LED displays.
DLP is one of the first technologies used in projectors. It offers smooth motion and high color contrast. Moreover, the color black looks better in DLP than other displays. It also requires less maintenance as it is filter-free and sealed chip design. This means dust cannot settle on the chip which typically causes image spots. Additionally, it is immune to color decay which makes it perfect for long-term use. However, DLP projectors are often not compatible with zoom lenses and lens shift functions which means it is best for smaller rooms.
LCD projectors are generally more affordable than their DLP counterparts. They are more reliable as well. Moreover, LCD projectors can support larger set-ups as they are compatible with zoom lenses and lens shift. However, they do require maintenance as dust particles can interfere with image quality. Also, pixel burns are quite common with this type.
LED projectors are known to have longer lifespans than LCD and DLP. They can reach between 10,000 to 20,000 hours compared to the usual 1,000 to 5,000 hours. Therefore, most LED light sources last as long as the projector itself without ever needing replacement which can be expensive. Also, it is much more energy-efficient than most traditional light sources.
Brightness and Contrast
While it is logical to choose a projector with higher brightness, it is not always a wise choice when it comes to opting for your home theater. Lumens is the measure of brightness which you can compare from model to model. Take note of separate values between white light and color. Higher white color brightness may end up with a dark or dull image. These types of projectors are often used in business settings as they are usually set-up under bright lights. Opt for a balance as you will likely use it in a dark environment.
The contrast will define the lightest and darkest parts of a movie. Higher contrast is better: a projector with a higher contrast ratio shows better details even during shadowy or dark scenes. You will also achieve more depth with better contrast.
Projector Resolution and Screen Size
To put it simply, the higher the resolution the projector has, the better the picture quality will be. When comparing between projector models, you may want to consider your usage, whether it is for gaming or basic multimedia set-up. Many projectors have a fixed resolution system. It means it can only produce a specific amount of resolution regardless of the input resolution. You may need to consider a projector with a variety of fixed resolution options.
Screen size obviously does not refer to the screen size of the projector itself. It refers to the maximum and minimum size screen that the projector can be used to produce the best viewing experience. You will have to measure the size of the surface of your home theater set-up to ensure that you are purchasing the right projector. You do not want to shell out extra bucks for features that you will not be able to enjoy.
Projector Throw Distance
Throw distance is the ability of the projector to “throw” a clear image at a certain distance. It can range from several feet to over thirty feet depending on the size and the model of the projector. Just like screen size, you should measure the distance where you want to install the projector and the screen surface. For indoor home theater set-ups, you will probably need just a few feet of throwing distance which all projectors can do well. However, do take note of it when you want to have an outdoor theater set-up as you will need a greater throw distance.
Most people who shop for projectors often forget to consider compatibility. Whether you want to connect your projector with a computer, Mac, Xbox, PS4, or even a smartphone, you need to consider the compatibility of the connections that you need to use. Connections and cables come in various types, shapes, and sizes such as HDMI, VGA, DVI, USB and RCA for older devices.
Modern projectors can even detect TV boxes and multimedia USB sticks such as Amazon Fire TV stick, Roku TV, and other mobile streaming devices. Other projectors can even detect multimedia files from storage devices such as USB flash drives right out of the box. That means you do not even have to connect a computer to enjoy your content.
When purchasing your project, ensure that you have the proper cables and connectivity interface available. In most projector packages, you have standard HDMI cables. However, you have to make sure that your devices are compatible with your new projector. You do not want to go home, excited to test out your new projector, only to find out that you cannot connect your device with it.
Projector Bulb Lifetime
Projector warranties do not often include bulbs. Being an essential part of the projector, it is also one of the most difficult to replace. It is highly likely that you will need a professional to replace projector bulbs. That is why it is crucial to consider a longer bulb lifetime. You may need to spend a few more bucks, but it will save you a hassle of paying more when you need to replace your projector’s bulb. Consider at least 10,000 hours. But, of course, the longer, the better.
Extra Features in The Best Projectors Under $200
Extra features are typically secondary to the ones mentioned above. But, if you have a few extra dollars to spare, look into the cooling system of the projector. Having a dedicated cooling system will allow you to use your projector for longer continuous hours. Moreover, it will prevent overheating and burning out the bulb. It will also keep the noise of the fan to the minimum especially if you are watching a movie or playing games.
With the features mentioned in mind, here are our recommendations for the best projector under $200.
Best All-Round Projectors Under $200
All-around projectors are typically compact without being tiny in size. This allows the device to be moved around without risking its parts, which makes it perfect for home theater set-ups with occasional transfer to a backyard or any outdoor use. This type of projector should be more than 2000 lumens with some models reaching more than 3500 lumens. Having such brightness ensures that you can still view images and videos even with moderate to dim lighting. Moreover, a built-in cooling system is essential, especially for extended outdoor use. Check out our picks for the top five best all-rounder projectors under $200.
Wsky Video Projector
The Wsky Video is a very well-rounded projector that is perfect for home theaters with minimal ambient lighting. This projector is easy to set up and is compatible with a variety of media devices thanks to the vast array of connectivity ports it provides, including dual HDMI, VGA, USB, and RCA. It also has an outstanding bulb life that can last up to 40,000 hours of playback.
Although the Wsky Video has a compact and portable form-factor, it isn’t ideal for outdoor daylight use since it has a maximum brightness of only 2,800 lumens. Nevertheless, it makes up for this shortcoming by offering a huge screen range that is ideal for any dark environment. It is also highly ergonomic, with support for a ±15° vertical keystone adjustment to help you get the perfect picture every single time.
VANKYO Leisure 410 LED Projector
VANKYO Leisure 410 LED Projector is a full HD projector which you can take from your indoor home theater to your backyard cinema. It is bright for a compact projector at 2500 LUX enhanced with MStar Advanced Color Engine which produces accurate and rich colors. It is equipped with a 2000:1 color contrast ratio adds impressive depth to the image quality. It provides a display size of 32 inches to 176 inches with a projection distance of 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet. Also, it supports 800×480 resolution natively, which you can extend to its 1080p support.
The projector allows connection to any sources of media through is HDMI, AV, VGA, USB, and Micro SD ports. There is an integrated speaker which offers excellent audio support without having to connect external speakers. Moreover, its cooling system is equipped with head dispersion technology, which helps with noise suppression of up to 70%. It has an extended lamp life of up to 40,000 hours.
Artlii HD Projector
Artlii HD Projector is an LCD-type projector which supports 1080p videos. With 3800 lumens, it is one of the best all-rounder projectors that you can use practically anywhere that you can set-up. It produces a sharp and colorful image which maintains clarity in moderate room light. Moreover, the screen can be as large as 200 inches without losing image quality. This makes the projector perfect for any set-ups from home cinema to party and festival celebrations.
With Artlii HD Projector, you do not have to bring a separate sound system. It is equipped with two HiFi Stereo that delivers crisp, powerful, and accurate sounds. The audio technology is enhanced with noise reducing system as well. You can connect any device with its HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, and even Micro SD ports. This makes the projector perfect for TV boxes, computers, and smartphones.
PHONECT 2400 LUX Video Projector Review
PHONECT 2400 LUX Video Projector is an upgrade from its predecessor with 40% brightness at 2400 lumens. This LED projector supports 1920×1080 video resolution in 2000:1 contrast ratio. It can be extended from 32 inches of viewing size to 180 inches. Also, you can set the projector between 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet from your viewing surface. It uses LED passive reflected light technology that will make it last for ten years, with eight hours of use every day.
Connect any device such as computers, PS4, Wii, Xbox, smartphones, and more with its HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, and SD Card ports. You do not have to worry about overheating as well. The projector is equipped with a double fan cooling system, which makes it a breeze when used outdoors. It can be mounted on the ceiling, installed on a tripod, or even just on the table which makes it versatile for any home theater configuration.
TAINIDI Video Projector Review
TAINIDI Video Projector sports a 5.8-inch TFT LCP display technology supported with Advanced Color by MStar. It supports 1920×1080 resolution with 3600 lumens making it bright for any home cinema or backyard entertainment set-up. It is equipped with a 2000:1 contrast ratio makes it perfect for any home entertainment system. Moreover, it supports 44 inches to 180 inches viewing size at 4.9 feet to 18.4 feet viewing distance.
You can connect multiple devices to the project such as desktop computers, laptops, TV boxes, DVD players, and even USB flash drives through its two HDMI ports, and two USB ports. Connectivity is supported with AV and VGA ports along with 3.5mm audio jack for any sound systems. The projector is protected from heat with enhanced cooling and fan system supported with heat dispersion system. This makes cooling technology 50% quieter than most projectors.
Best Mini Projectors Under $200
With smartphone screens getting larger and larger every year, full entertainment experience is becoming mobile as well. However, even with larger screen size, smartphones are just not ideal for a personal cinematic experience. Recent innovations in lens technology, it has become possible for projectors to be as compact as any mobile devices.
These projectors are typically aimed for personal use or for small audiences. You will need dark rooms or viewing areas for an optimal cinematic experience. Moreover, these ultra-portable projectors should be sturdy for constant mobility but powerful enough for hours of service time.
APEMAN Mini Video Projector
APEMAN Mini Video Projector is the best highly portable projector if you are looking for one that you can take anywhere. It is one of the smaller projectors in the market right now. It is built with LED technology at 50-100 lumens, 1000:1 contrast, and 854×480 pixels of resolution. While its specifications may be too low compared to the others on the list, it was developed with portability in mind. As such, it is targeted towards smaller audiences such as sleepovers and even camping!
It has a rechargeable battery which can be charged using a USB port. APEMAN Mini Video Projector also has two built-in speakers, which make it perfect for anyone always on-the-go. You can connect devices using its USB and HDMI ports. Due to its low brightness, it is not ideal for bigger viewing set-ups. But, it should perform well in dark environments. It has 45,000 hours of lamp life, which is impressive for its compact size.
Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector
The Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector is another ultra-portable projector that you can take practically anywhere. It is incredibly lightweight at 0.6 lbs. Made with DLP and LED technology at 1800 lumens, up to 1080 pixels in resolution, and a throw distance of 5 feet. This tiny device is definitely a class of its own. It is perfect for movies, gaming, binge-watching, and even presentations.
It can be connected to source devices using HDMI or USB connections. Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector also has built-in rechargeable batteries which can provide more than two hours of entertainment. Its screen size of 30 to 130 inches makes it ideal for a small to medium audience size. The projector fits right at the palm of your hand with its 5.8 x 3.0 x 0.9 inches of frame and just 0.6 lbs weight.
VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector
VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector is a powerful portable projector which is powered by MStar Advanced Color Engine along with LED technology. It supports 1920×1080 resolution at 2400 LUX, which makes it bright while maintaining the image and video quality. It is equipped 2000:1 contrast ratio also ensures a decent color quality, which makes it ideal for an indoor entertainment system. It has a projection size of 33 inches to 170 inches even with its compact size.
You can expect a long lamp life with the VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector as it can last up to 40,000 hours with proper maintenance. It can support TV sticks, DVD players, and gaming systems such as PS4 and Xbox through its HDMI port. It is also supported by VGA jack and AV input for older entertainment systems. It also fits a dual stereo speaker for a complete entertainment experience. To prevent unnecessary noise, it uses Uno fan for noise suppression.
DR. J Professional HI-04 Projector Review
DR. J Professional HI-04 is a powerful projector in a compact size. It employs five layers of LCD lens display resulting in a clear 800×480 native resolution with support for 1080p images and videos. It is equipped with a 2000:1 contrast ratio resulting in incredible color reproduction. The project can be set-up between 4.9 feet to 16.4 feet viewing distance with 32 inches to 176 inches viewing size. It can last you for quite a while with 40,000 hours of lamp life.
The mini projector aims to be an all-in-one entertainment center with its AV in/out, USB, TF cards connection, HDMI Port, and VGA Port which can accommodate gaming systems, TV boxes, laptops, and desktop computers. It also has a built-in speaker stereo sound system. But, if you want to connect a Bluetooth speaker system through a Bluetooth transmitter (sold separately) which you can connect directly to the projector. Its dual fan cooling technology ensures a sound-free system making it perfect for any entertainment set-ups.
GooDee Mini Projector Review
GooDee Mini Projector is a personal, ultra-portable, pico projector powered by LED technology. It is perfect for anyone who wants to take their projector anywhere as it weighs a little over half a pound (0.59 lbs). Its dimension of 5.3×3.9×2.36 inches fits perfectly in your palm. Even with its tiny size, it has a project size of 24 inches to 60 inches, which makes it suitable for a person to an entire family.
The projector comes with a portable charger with 5v/2a. It is even small enough to be powered by a portable power bank. This means you can take the projector when camping away from power sources. It has a lamp life of 30,000 hours, which is enough to last more than ten years with around 8 hours of usage a day. The built-in speakers also deliver clear and crisp sound quality. You can connect various media sources through its HDMI, USB, Micro SD card, and AV ports.
Best Home and Office Projectors Under $200
Home and office projectors are usually bulky, and rightfully so. This type of projector is usually more than 3000 lumens, which is ideal for relatively bright settings without sacrificing viewing experience. Also, most, if not all, projectors for this purpose are equipped with speakers. It is also common to find multiple connectivities to allow various multimedia sources. Moreover, new variants of LED and LCD technologies resulted in longer lamp life with some lasting up to 50,000 hours.
ViewSonic PA503S Projector
ViewSonic PA503S is a powerful projector with versatile features. At 3600 lumens, it is an outstanding projector for both indoor and outdoor theater set-ups. It comes in various resolutions depending on the variant. The SVGA model has 800×600 pixels, while the XGA variant sports a 1024×768 pixels. Its WSXGA model has an outstanding 1680×1050 pixels which can deliver up to 1080p picture quality. It also boasts 15,000 hours of lamp life through its SuperEco mode which lessens the power consumption of the projector.
ViewSonic PA503S has a throw distance of up to 15 feet which makes it perfect for a mini home cinema or even small business conference room. You can plug the projector using HDMI and VGA ports. However, there are no built-in speakers, but you can connect your own audio output device through its composite audio ports.
May 22, 2019 Update: Price for the Viewsonic Projector is over $200 now. Price has increased since the time of the original review.
ELEPHAS 3500 HD Video Projector
ELEPHAS 3500 HD Video Projector is a rarity at this price point as it can be used not only for home theater set-ups but also for presentations with a relatively large audience. Made with LCD technology, it has 3500 lumens, 3000:1 contrast ratio, and 1280×800 resolution. However, it’s biggest advantages are its throw distance at 4.9 to 18 feet and screen size of 44 to 200 inches.
It is easy to hook up to any type of device with its VGA, HDMI, RCA, and USB ports. Moreover, its powerful cooling system ensures longer continuous usage without overheating or lamp burn out. ELEPHAS 3500 HD Video Projector is perfect for conference rooms and classrooms which are fairly bright.
Vamvo 3600L Home Theater Projector Review
Vamvo 3600L Home Theater Projector is a versatile projector for both home and office set-ups. It is powered by an LED light source and LCD lens with an impressive 3600 LUX of brightness, which makes it perfect for indoor and outdoor entertainment centers. You can also use it in a moderately bright conference room. It provides 1280×768 native resolution (up to 1920×1080 supported) paired with a 3000:1 contrast ratio which produces rich images and wider viewing capability. The projector has a view size of 44 inches to 200 inches and a viewing distance of 4.9 feet to 18 feet with the optimal viewing experience at 10 feet, which achieves an image size of 100 inches.
It has a long-lasting lamp life of 30,000 hours, which takes advantage of the LED technology. Vamvo 3600L is also equipped with two HDMI ports, two USB ports, VGA connection, AV ports, and even an SD card slot. Moreover, you have built-in double 3W speakers with SRS sound technology. Its dual cooling fan is designed to reduce 90% of the noise.
VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Projector Review
VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Projector is a powerful projector at an affordable price. It utilizes a TFT display technology and upgraded LED light source which significantly reduces light attenuation while providing more than 80% brightness than typical projectors. It is equipped with 3800 LUX which is quite bright for any home entertainment or office set-up. The projector combines 3000:1 contrast ratio with a 1920×1080 resolution support to produce a color-rich and detailed image and video quality.
It is also perfect for large screen surfaces as it supports 44 inches to 200 inches of projection size with a distance of 4.9 feet to 18 feet achieving its optimal viewing quality at 10 feet distance and 98 inches of viewing size. VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Projector is also equipped with a multitude of connectivity options such as two HDMI ports, two USB ports, VGA, AV, and USB ports including an SD card slot. It is also equipped with two 3W stereo speakers. The projector has one of the longest lamp life in this list at 50,000 hours. Moreover, its dual cooling fans prevent overheating even with prolonged use.
POYANK WXGA Projector Review
POYANK WXGA is a bright projector at 3800 lumens which is perfect for home theater and office set-ups. It has a native resolution of 1280×720 which achieves high-quality image details which can be extended to 1920×1080 resolution. The square pixel processing technology reduces the image edge jaggedness of this full HD projector. Moreover, it is upgraded to 8-bit Gamma Correction with 82% NTSC, which improves image quality. This also resolves the common image quality issues in presentations. It can project at a distance of 5.08 feet to 14.1 feet with 50 inches to 200 inches display image.
The projector boasts 60,000 hours of lamp life, which makes it perfect for any permanent home theater installation. Its high-quality audio is powered by HiFi speakers with surround stereo sound and enhanced bass effect. It supports various multimedia formats such as MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, MOV, MKV, DIVX, and more. It prevents overheating with dual fan cooling system with reduced noise of at least 20%.
WiMiUS P18 Projector Review
WiMiUS P18 is an impressive projector that packs so much power in less than $200. Its 4000 lumens is enough to withstand relatively bright rooms such as open area living areas or conference rooms in offices. It supports 1280×800 resolution natively with support for 1920×1080 resolution. Contrast ratio is up to 4000:1 combine with 16.7 color, which produces rich and detailed image quality. It can be used in medium to large rooms with its projection size of 50 inches to 200 inches and throw distance of 4.9 feet to 18 feet. You can achieve cinematic viewing experience with the projector’s support of 4:3 and 16:9 scale ratio.
It sports dual stereo speakers which are loud enough for indoor use. Moreover, you can expect years of lamp life with 50,000 hours without ever replacing any parts of the projector. It also connects to TV boxes, computers, and gaming systems such as PS4, Xbox, or Nintendo systems with two HDMI ports, two USB ports, AV interface, VGA ports, and YPbPr. It natively supports various multimedia formats such as AVI, RMVB, MOV, MKV, MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, and more. The projector is also protected by an improved cooling system, which is two times more powerful than most projectors.
Final Thoughts On Selecting the Best Projector
Choosing the best projector should start by evaluating your potential home entertainment set-up. Unlike the large and expensive projectors in the past, modern projectors are now more efficient and affordable. New technologies also allow more features to be packed in smaller form factors.
Traditional projector use such as in larger home entertainment centers or office conference rooms, requires bright and powerful projectors. While most are relatively larger, this allows better lenses and light sources in the devices. Moreover, these projectors are typically permanently installed as parts are much more sensitive than its mobile counterparts.
All-rounder projectors are ideal for those with home cinema set-up but will occasionally use their projectors outdoors such as backyard movie theaters or even parties. Most are compact without being too tiny, which allows bright projections under dim to moderate lighting conditions. Many are equipped with built-in speakers with the option for external audio systems.
Lastly, tiny, ultra-portable projectors are becoming more and more popular, especially for those who are always on-the-go but still want the cinematic experience of watching a movie in a theater. These projectors are typically small enough for constant travel, and some are just slightly larger than the usual smartphone. These devices are typically not as bright as their bigger cousins, but can still achieve impressive viewability under dark conditions.