The general rule with technology is that,after a popular new gadget comes out,it will eventually evolve and get smaller. The first cell phones were bigger than bricks, and now most models are pocket-size. Even laptops used to be enormous monstrosities, but nowadays they’re thin, light, and able to fit in any bag.
Theystarted out as large, noisy affairs thatwere so expensive most consumers couldn’t afford one.Time has passed, and projectors are now more affordable and smaller than ever, giving us a brand-new product category: the mini projector.
Mini projectors are exactly what they sound like: tiny projectors that can connect to any source and create a giant image on a wall or projection screen. They are idealto take along when you travel or if you just don’t have a lot of space. Luckily, they don’t compromise much in terms of features when compared to full-size models.
If you need a small projector, but you don’t have a lot of space, consider a short-throw projector instead. These are designed to sit a few inches from the screen or wall and are ideal for use anywhere you need to project a large image in a small space.
Before you start comparing specifications or looking at different models, start by answering these questions. They’ll point you in the right direction and help you find the right mini projector more quickly.
How big of an image do you need to project?
Projector images are measured diagonally, so start by using a tape measure on the surface where you’ll be projecting to define your ideal image size. Mini projectors can produce images that measure from 60 to 170 inches, so you have a lot of options.
Do you need a mini projector for work or home?
If you plan to use your mini projector at home, the image resolution should be a high priority so your movies and TV shows look as good as they can (we recommend getting a mini projector with a minimum native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p). If you’ll just be using your mini projector for work or imagery like presentations and screen sharing, you don’t need one with a high native resolution, so you can probably get by with a more affordable model.
Will you be traveling with your mini projector?
Mini projectors offer several versatile applications that you just can’t get from a standard projector, including the following:
Business presentations can be set up “on the fly” by linking your mini projector to your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or document camera. You can easily showcase websites, apps, photo galleries, and more to a group of coworkers.(Video) TOP 5: Best Mini Projectors 2022
You can easily bring your mini projector to classrooms, auditoriums, or other functions where you might be presenting to a group.
You can take this portable unit to a friend’s house for movie night or to the park for a group gaming session after sundown.
- Any area with a blank wall could potentially serve as a movie screen when you own a mini projector.
Mini projector features
Some mini projectors look and feel like toys, while others offer high-end features to compete with their full-size equivalents. Here are the ones to prioritize.
Native 1080p resolution
Mini projector product pages can be deceptive: most claim support for 1080p resolution, but only certain models can truly display every pixel. Look for models that state a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. That means they project an image with that many pixels by default. When a mini projector says it supports 1080p but lists a lower native resolution (like 1280 x 720, or 720p), it means it can accept a 1080p source but will downgrade it to its native resolution of 720p when projecting.
USB drive compatibility
Some mini projectors have USB ports, so you can connect a thumb drive with your favorite video and photo content for display. Whether it’s movies and shows you’ve downloaded or just your personal photo collection, it’s nice to be able to plug in a USB drive and have your content all ready to go.
Lumens are how projectors measure brightness. Lumen counts on mini projectors range from 100 to 1,000. If you’re going to be using your mini projector on a regular basis, we recommend getting one with at least 500 lumens so it’s adequately bright.
Mini projector prices
Budget and entry-level models cost anywhere from $30 to $100. If you just need a mini projector for occasional use or for an event like a party, you’ll find a lot to like in this price range. These projectors have moderate lumen counts and typically a native resolution of 1280 x 720. If you’re not terribly picky, this is the price range to consider.
You'll find the best balance between function and costbetween $200 and $300. Mini projectors in this price range are the real deal – they look, feel, and act like full-size projectors; they’re just smaller. If you’re looking for a mini projector that will last you several years and produce a gorgeous image, you’ll need to spend this much.
Premium models start at $500 and go up from there. Models in this price bracket usually have high lumen counts (so they’re incredibly bright), high native resolutions (so they can natively display any video source), and, in some cases, they include an onboard operating system such as Android so you can stream content directly.
Buy a projection screen or consider using projector paint. Don’t forget that you’re going to need a projection surface! If you’re building a home theater or outfitting a conference room, pick up a projection screen. If you need a cheaper solution, consider projection paint, which is specially formulated to be reflective so you can project directly onto a blank wall.
Consider a mini projector with a built-in rechargeable battery. If you’ll be taking your mini projector with you to lots of places that may not have a power outlet, consider getting one with a built-in rechargeable battery. Some mini projectors call themselves “portable” because they’re small and include a case, but many of these models still require a power outlet, which limits their mobility. If you need a truly portable mini projector, get one that has a built-in battery. These projectors let you screen your favorite content no matter where you are.
- Consider pairing your mini projector with a Bluetooth speaker. Mini projectors often include speakers, but they don’t sound all that great, so we recommend connecting yours to a good Bluetooth speaker.
Projectors are designed to be used in dark rooms so the light they shine is as visible as possible. If the room has multiple windows, consider getting blackout curtains to keep the light out.
Q. A lot of mini projectors have device compatibility lists, but I don’t see the devices I own on any of those lists. Will I still be able to use a mini projector?
A. Yes. Mini projectors use HDMI ports to connect to AV components like cable set-top boxes, game consoles, and streaming boxes. HDMI ports are generic, so your mini projector will be able to handle any source that comes in via HDMI. In the instances where you find product pages that list support for specific HDMI devices, they’re simply providing extra reassurance to consumers about compatibility.
Q. Why do product listings for mini projectors include a number of hours?
A. Most mini projector product listing include an hour count to indicate how long a typical projector bulb will last before needing to be replaced. Projector bulbs can be quite expensive, so picking the right one can make a big difference in terms of your long-term cost of ownership.
Q. What’s the easiest way to show my phone’s screen as a projector image?
A. It depends on the projector, but usually the simplest way to connect your phone to a projector is to find an HDMI adapter. One of these connects to your phone on one end (via USB-C for Android phones and via a Lightning cable for iPhones) and creates a port so you can connect a standard HDMI cable. That’s typically the most reliable method, but if you want to share your screen wirelessly, look for a mini projector that runs Android. With an Android-enabled mini projector, you can use any one of the screen-sharing apps from the Google Play store.
The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is the best all-around home projector we've reviewed. Take an excellent contrast ratio, paired with impressive brightness and accurate color, all with better detail than what's possible with a 1080p native resolution projector, and you've got all the pieces for a fantastic image.How do I choose a good mini projector? ›
- Size and weight.
- Battery life.
- Sound quality.
- Setup features.
- Apps and interface.
- You might like.
Suggested Lumen Counts for Smaller Settings
To start, for smaller settings such as a meeting room or classroom, 3000-3999 ANSI lumens is ideal. This setting easily projects an 80”+ screen size, at a value price point. It's best only to use projectors with these lumen levels when ambient light is minimal.
Q: Are mini projectors worth buying? Mini projectors are worth buying if you put a premium on size and portability. They're small, lightweight, and often include features like battery power, built-in Android TV, and speakers. However, they sacrifice picture quality and brightness to achieve those other ends.Which is the No 1 projector brand in the world? ›
BenQ DLP projectors even deliver unmatched world-class performance than anyone else. With over 30 years of display market expertise, BenQ is the world's No.How much should I pay for a good projector? ›
While $700 to $1,000 is technically considered “budget” in the world of home theater projectors, we know it's still a lot of money, and there are many cheaper projectors out there (we cover some of them in our portable projector guide).How many lumens do I need for a good projector? ›
Projector brightness is measured in lumens. For home theater projectors where ambient light is kept to a minimum, you'll need a minimum of 1500 lumens. For classrooms, conference rooms or rooms with windows, a projector with a minimum of 2500 lumens is best.Is 2000 lumens too bright? ›
A 2000 lumen light beam is too bright to provide comfortable brightness over short distances. For reading, ophthalmologists recommend about 300 to 500 lux, which corresponds to a luminous flux of about 100 to 200 lumens, depending on the distance and beam angle of the flashlight.How much area will 3000 lumens light up? ›
To determine the needed lumens, you will need to multiply your room square footage by your room foot-candle requirement. For example, a 100 square foot living room, which needs 10-20 foot-candles, will need 1,000-2,000 lumens. A 100 square foot dining room, which needs 30-40 foot-candles, will need 3,000-4,000 lumens.What is the most important thing when buying a projector? ›
Always ensure that your projector has all the inputs that you need. The most common inputs in a projector are HDMI, VGA and DVI. When shopping for a projector, it is very important for one to make sure that it has all the input connections you need.
Projectors are built to last a long time, however, the major indicator of lifespan is going to be the bulb type. Halide bulbs will last around 3,000 hours. The most efficient LED bulbs will last up to 60,000 hours. Things like projector care and environment will play a factor in lifespan as well.How long can a mini projector stay on? ›
Most projectors have a lamp life between 1,500 to 2,000 hours, and newer models can run up to 5,000 before the bulb needs replacing. Either way, projectors are durable machines, you just have to use a bit of common sense to run them, ie, don't leave it turned on for a month straight.Is GREY or white better for projector? ›
Projector and Screen manufacturers recommend white material in rooms that are very dark with projectors that have great contrast ratios. Light grey screen materials work in rooms that have little light or are dark with projectors that have low contrast ratios.What should I look for when buying a home projector? ›
- Color Technology. The majority of home theater projectors on the market will be Digital Light Processing projectors (DLP). ...
- Resolution. ...
- Contrast : Why FOFO is Misleading. ...
- Light Output & Brightness. ...
- Input Source – Connectivity.
Ultimately, black projector screens come in first with image quality as a whole, but they have their drawbacks, such as limited viewing angles. White is the standard for a reason: It offers decent image quality in a variety of settings.What is better than a projector? ›
A TV is going to create a much brighter image than any projector, one that holds up better in bright rooms.Which projectors last the longest? ›
Laser projectors come with a much longer lifespan and unlike their lamp counterparts you will not need to regularly change the lamp. A lifespan of 20,000 hours is common for laser projectors, whereas the lamp life on a lamp projector can be as low as 2,500 hours; more on the costs of lamp replacement later.What projectors are made in the USA? ›
InFocus has been a well-known US projector manufacturer for many years. InFocus concentrates their expertise on DLP projectors for business and education applications, including short-throw and interactive models.
- Best 4K projector: Sony VPL-XW5000ES.
- Best affordable 4K projector: BenQ W2700.
- Best budget projector: Yaber V7 Pro.
- Best budget 4K projector for home cinema: BenQ W1800.
- Best mobile home cinema projector: Xgimi Halo+
- Best gaming projector: Acer Predator GD711.
- Display Resolution. Display Resolution is a very important aspect. ...
- Contrast Ratio. Contrast ratio and brightness go hand in hand. ...
- Color Reproduction. Color reproduction is one more important factor to be considered. ...
- Inputs. ...
Without proper maintenance, LCD projectors are more prone to breaking down. Additionally, their bulb will need replacement multiple times over the projector's lifespan, while LEDs will last as long as the projector itself. Top choice: LED.Which is better LED or laser projector? ›
LED projectors often cost less and perform longer than laser ones. More importantly, they are more efficient since they consume less energy. On the other hand, laser projectors produce more transparent and vivid images.Is a projector better than a smart TV? ›
If we look exclusively at price-to-performance, TVs come out on top. If price isn't an issue, and you can invest a large sum into a light-controlled projector room, you can get a much larger image with outstanding image quality. So for this one, we'll call it a draw.How many years should a projector last? ›
Older projector lamps generally lasted between 1,000 – 2,000 hours. Fortunately, more recent projector lamps last between 2,000 – 4,000 hours depending on the various settings used in an environment.How many years does a projector last? ›
Projectors are built to last a long time, however, the major indicator of lifespan is going to be the bulb type. Halide bulbs will last around 3,000 hours. The most efficient LED bulbs will last up to 60,000 hours. Things like projector care and environment will play a factor in lifespan as well.