8 Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500 – Buying Guide 2022

If you are planning to buy an outdoor projector, you need to keep some things in mind. Otherwise, you will end up with a low-quality projector. This blog will talk about some of the important things to consider when you go to buy an outdoor projector. Buying an outdoor projector can be tricky. Especially if you don’t know what to look for. That’s where this blog comes in. Here, you will find a review of the 8 best outdoor projectors under $500. You can then decide if one of these models is the best fit for your needs. You will also find the factors to consider when buying an outdoor projector so that you can make an informed decision.

Let’s talk popcorn. For a long time, it’s been a staple of any home movie night for many families. And back in the day, there was nothing like snuggling up on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn to watch your favorite movies. Still is! But more and more home movie lovers are moving their Home Theater outside.

Outdoor televisions, while convenient and economical, are typically far less crisp and sharp than those that are designed for in-home use. However, Good Housekeeping’s Tech Experts suggest that there are a few key features one should be on the lookout for when shopping for a new model if your goal is to view high-quality content by adjusting the volume or changing the channel at a moment’s notice without feeling like you’re missing out on an important scene from your favorite show.

Aside from easy movement between rooms (imagine carrying it outside so that you can catch the latest episode of “Scandal” while grilling up some burgers and hot dogs), a home projector will also come with speakers that allow you to blast the audio right alongside the visuals. With brands like Epson leading the way via their many models’ ample lumens, glitzy features, and ease of set-up combined with portability, it’s no surprise as to why they were deemed among Good Housekeeping researchers’ favorites.

1. GooDee Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

If you’re looking for an outdoor projector, it’s always a good idea to get one that will provide the biggest picture without any cropping. A great option is a Goodee model – its screen is whopping 230 inches and comes from as far as 18 feet! This gives you plenty of room to work with when using it around your home or even camping.

The Goodee Projector tries to be as in charge as possible, boasting an incredibly long projection distance of up to 18 feet, giving you a huge 230-inch screen to enjoy your favorite types of content on.

This HD video projector supports 1280 by 768, which is not true 1080p. If that’s your priority, though, you might want to consider the Epson Home Cinema 3700 Projector which supports full HD instead. 2 The real magic of this device comes from its ability to project an image onto a 230-inch screen without losing much image quality. In fact, the GooDee projector’s contrast ratio is much better than average: 3000: 1. However, if you’d like to compare this unit with Vankyo’s offerings in more detail, check out our comparison article on overhead projectors.

No need to really worry about the Goodee LED Projector holding its own anywhere – it’s got super high contrast for great images (4000:1 contrast ratio), plus ultra-bright colors that can be enjoyed in any environment.

It just so happens that the Goodee Projector is also very flexible with viewing angles, as well as adjustability! You can project your image between 4.9 to 18 feet, with the optimal setting being between 8-and 12 feet high. If you’re using the projector in a situation where it’s not directly facing the wall, you can make use of keystone adjustments too – allowing you to easily eradicate distortion of the projected images no matter what angle your projector is set at!

When you want to watch your movies in 1280 x 720 HD quality on a 135-inch screen. You should look for a projector that has bright lamps and long-lasting lamps. You’d be ideal with the Goodee Movie Projector. It’s made mostly of black plastic. The unit has an exterior that’s matte black in color. It’ll be far less susceptible to smudges and fingerprints due to the surface being so smooth. More importantly, its lamp life is rated at 50000 hours. So it’ll take several years before you have to think about replacing its bulb.

Pros
  • Good Build Quality
  • Outdoor Movie Projector
  • Full HD Picture Quality
  • Value For Money
  • HIFI Stereo Speaker
  • Lower Noise
Cons
  • No built-in WiFi

2. NEBULA Anker Solar Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

The Solar Portable is built around a 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) TI DLP chip. This means that the image quality of this projector is better than most other models available on the market today. In order to protect your investment against common issues that plague existing models, such as fading and irregular color quality, Anker has installed an LED light source rated at 30,000 standard hours. The LED lamp is paired with a diamond array imaging chip. Which shortens battery life compared with rectangular chips but avoids scaling artifacts that diamond arrays can add to images.

Android TV-powered projectors usually connect to Wi-Fi, and then you need to sign in to Google. This is how you get to use the HDMI port for video. You can use an image source that’s connected via HDMI or stream the video straight from a smart device connected to the TV by Bluetooth. Once everything is plugged in you’ll turn it on, adjust its size with basic movements of the projector until the picture is clear and focused (you can also do this while it’s on, automatically), and then choose a source of content – like a smart device or PC.

In addition to the HDMI port, there is a USB-C input for getting power from an external source and using the hub to send files. This can be done with ES File Explorer if it isn’t present on your phone. There is a USB-A port for reading files from USB memory.

The audio of the projector scored well on volume but did less well on quality. The dual 3-watt speakers delivered a sizeable volume for a large family room. But the sound distortion was present even at elevated levels. In environments where more moderate volumes are more appropriate, the system’s serviceable quality reveals itself, despite the mildly distracting echo effects prevalent in some lower register tones. As is common with current portable projectors. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker mode that makes it possible to use the projector as a speaker for other devices.

Pros
  • 4K Supported
  • Good Build Quality
  • Screen Mirroring for Phones
  • Built-in Stand
  • Autofocus
  • Value For Money
Cons
  • No Built-in Battery

3. ViewSonic PX701HD Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

In terms of visuals and visual characteristics, this projector is compact but also has a small footprint and it uses RBGC (Red-Blue-Green-Cyan-Yellow) technology to produce visuals that are bright and colorful, thereby being able to overcome ambient light. The cyan and yellow panels improve some of the potential inaccuracies associated with the projection process and enhance color accuracy in key areas such as reds, yellows, and blues.

The PX701HD scores well on both portability and input lag/ Both will be of interest to gamers as 16.4ms is a low amount of delay, even when compared to many TVs that have less than 10ms. Although it doesn’t come with a carrying case, it’s small and light enough (4.4 by 12.2 by 8.7 inches, 5.7 pounds) to easily move from room to room, carry to a friend’s house, or store away when not in use. It also delivers low input lag/ which I measured using a Bodnar meter at 16.4ms at 1080p 60Hz, 3x fast mode.

The onboard speaker, though not super-powerful, delivers crisp highs and mids but it sometimes has distorted low-end. If you want truly immersive sound, we suggest you hook up an external speaker system with a subwoofer or a big-sized woofer.

While the image quality you get out of the box on this projector is decent for most situations, we recommend getting a calibration device along with it just to make sure that everything looks exactly as you want it to. Image quality in the brightest mode was a bit too green for our liking and the unnatural blue shift that occurred made some color details appear less accurate than they are when viewed under normal conditions. While most projectors have a similar bias, with this projector it may be more noticeable than usual, which is why we recommend sticking to more realistic picture modes for everyday use.

Pros
  • Good Build Quality
  • Full HD Picture Quality
  • Easy To Use
  • Big Screen
Cons
  • Bit Expensive

3. Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro Outdoor Projector Under 500$

The Mars II Pro is a more compact entertainment projector when compared to other projectors we’ve looked at recently. This unit is light and portable, with a mat finish on its top and sides the color of steel. A canvas strap allows for easy carrying; its tubular shape is like the basket of a small ship from ancient times.

A good way to think of this device though is a lantern. When the power switch isn’t on, the lens is concealed behind a metal case and will not function. When the switch is turned on, the projector’s DLP-based light engine comes to life and pumps out 500 lumens under ideal conditions using an LED light source with a rated lifetime of 30,000 hours.

This projector has by far the largest maximum size of any projector we’ve recently reviewed, but it can upsize to this size only if your room is almost entirely dark. If you have some ambient lighting in your room, you’re better off sticking with smaller screen size.

When it comes to resolution, the Mars II Pro offers a healthy 720p (1,280 by 720 pixels), which is greater than the Anker Nebula Capsule II’s and Kodak Luma 350’s 480p (854 by 480 pixels), but less than the Acer C250i’s 1080p (1,920 by 1,080 pixels). The Mars II Pro uses autofocus; sometimes it takes up to five or more seconds for it to engage, but when it achieves focus and clarity, you won’t regret this component of its performance.

The Mars II Pro Projector has a built-in rechargeable battery with a massive 12,500mAh capacity, which is good for up to three hours of movie playback, according to Anker. Just like many of its recent peers, the projector doubles as a Bluetooth speaker system. With this power, it delivers more than a 10-watt stereo sound quality with impressive clarity and depth. To enter Bluetooth Speaker mode all you have to do is press and hold the Bluetooth button for about five seconds. After that, you can pair your phone or tablet to the speaker and stream music directly from your device.

Pros
  • Good Build Quality
  • Easy To Use
  • Build-in Speaker
  • Wireless Connectivity
Cons
  • Bit Expensive

4. Optoma H190X Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

The H190X display is a 3D-capable, full HD 1080p projector that can take part in immersive and ultra-realistic 3D entertainment. The 3D projector (under 1000$) has 9 built-in technologies to fully support 3D Blu Ray players and televisions as well as newer generation game consoles. Other notable features include the ability to have a rapid refresh rate of 120Hz and an integrated Color Wheel which allows for more colors for smoother more vivid images, unlike older models. Although this technology does not include glasses. There are third-party products from DLP Link that may be compatible.

Experience large, vibrant 720p HD ready (with 1080p input) images & 30,000:1 contrast ratio. Enjoy an incredible 3,900 lumens of brightness in any room in your home. Leave the lights on or keep it dim for a cinematic experience.

You don’t need a projector to set up in the middle of your backyard anymore. The H190X is bright and portable, allowing you to use it both indoors and outdoors. For instance, you can use it to watch videos of your favorite artists on YouTube™ playing the right now concerts live from anywhere in the world. ​And with advanced technology that uses only 50 watts of power. Its lamp can stay lit for up to 15,000 hours. That means that on average, 4 hours of viewing time every day will give you 10+ years. It gets even better if that’s used at night because this projector allows for superior visibility without creating any heat which means you won’t have to produce noise while watching movies or playing games with your kids in the living room at night.

Pros
  • Full HD Picture Quality
  • Good Build Quality
  • Built-in Speaker
  • 3D-Compatible
  • Value For Money
  • Good For Outdoor
Cons
  • Not Portable

5. RCA RPJ133 Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

The RCA RPJ133 Projector is great for multimedia purposes because it offers so much flexibility and quality. You can use the projector with your Playstation, Xbox, or Wii gaming consoles to create a fun atmosphere while you play games like Football Matches and other online streaming services. The graphics are excellent and sharp, you’ll love sharing photos as well with friends and family who come over. You can even connect your DVD player or Blue-Ray player to this projector if you prefer to stream videos from there.

RCA RPJ133 Home Theater Projector is powered by America’s No.1 Streaming Platform, Roku. The included Roku Streaming Stick provides excellent HD streaming. Because of its modest size, it is easy to use when traveling. The bundled voice remote features buttons for controlling power and volume, as well as searching and doing other things using Roku Voice.

The RCA RPJ133 Projector boasts HD 1280 x 720 resolution and 16:9/4:3/AUTO aspect ratio for a home movie experience that is bright and crisp. BEST for enjoying visually rich content like anything that belongs in a movie theater – NOT for business presentations.

Pros
  • Best Outdoor Projector
  • Value For Money
  • Portable Projector
  • Full HD Picture Quality
Cons
  • Build Quality Not Good

6. Optoma SH360 Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

The SH360 projector is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. You can enjoy an incredible 360-degree picture anywhere, any time of year in a variety of settings – take it to the beach to screen your favorite movie or bring it on the road to hook up with your friends on a mini vacation. With 3,600 lumens of brightness, you get more than enough light. But that doesn’t mean you have to switch off the power. Leave the lights on and still create an atmosphere like you’re watching a movie at a drive-in theater.

The Optoma SH360 produces vivid, beautiful images at 480p resolution with a contrast ratio of 22,000:1 and an amazing color gamut. This model offers 720p support so you can enjoy high-resolution detailed pictures in HD – cinematic color is always preserved in its original quality for accurate reproduction exactly as the director intended.

The Optoma SH360 is a projector that can last up to 15,000 hours of lamp life. That amounts to an average of 4 hours of watch time every day over 10+ years! With 1.1X Zoom and ±40° vertical keystone correction capabilities, this portable device lets the viewer place it in any number of environments. Whether the user’s viewing pleasure calls for watching content made by Amazon, Netflix or YouTube, this dual-lens projector delivers in all areas.

Pros
  • Good Build Quality
  • Integrated Speaker
  • Best Outdoor Projector
  • Good Build Quality
  • Value For Money
Cons
  • Picture Quality Not Good

7. ViewSonic 3800 Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

This contender is, without a doubt, one of the best projectors under $500 you can purchase today. For starters, it’s adaptability. Whether you need your projector close by or upon a screen across the room, this DLP format projector has you covered. It boasts a throw distance range of 3.9 to 43 feet, which makes it great for almost any room or application!

The Optoma 3800 offers plenty of brightness at 3600 lumens. This allows the bulb to be visible from an impressively long distance. The long life of this bulb is also a great selling point, as even though it’s able to produce this much light for so long, it still manages to last you about 15,000 hours before needing replacement. While this may not be the most impressive on the market. It’s still a good amount of time and helps save you money in the short run.

The projector here is a cost-effective projector that supports 3 different connection types. It includes support for VGA, RCA, and HDMI hookups. So users can utilize it with a wide variety of computer and home theater devices like DVD or Blu-ray players, Mac computers, or any other devices they want to use it with.

Pros
  • Best Outdoor Projector
  • Good Build Quality
  • Easy To Setup
  • Value For Money
Cons
  • Not Full HD Picture Quality

8. ZCGIOBN US7 Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

When shopping for a projector, you may feel as though $500 is too little money to use. However, with the ZCGIOBN US7-900DAB-1 popping up on your radar, those previous feelings can be put to rest. This great model is reasonably priced and contains an abundance of top-tier functionality and quality.

If you want to be able to project from both your mobile devices and regular PC, this is a great device for the job. It features dual Wi-Fi capability so you can project images from a phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Basically any device with a strong WiFi signal. Once it’s projected to the right surface. You will have no complaints about image quality either as it has full HD resolution and provides vibrant clarity thanks to its high contrast ratio.

Bluetooth functionality is also a feature of this excellent device. Plus, you can pair other Bluetooth devices such as headphones and speakers. When it comes to connectivity you can choose from Wi-Fi + Bluetooth, HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, and audio ports. What sets this projector apart is the fact that there is almost zero buffering when you’re using wireless connections to mirror on the projected screen. So that content can be enjoyed with confidence.

A good thing about this projector is that it comes with a lot of stuff, more than what one would expect from a normal product. You get multiple things like an SD card reader, a mini USB port as well as an HDMI input slot. In addition, there is also 16GB of internal storage on the device which you can expand further by inserting an SD card into the device if desired. It’s possible to play movies and music videos wirelessly when using this projector because it comes with built-in media player software. This is really convenient especially when you are using your smartphone while watching these videos.

Pros
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Good Build Quality
  • Full HD Picture Quality
  • Best Outdoor Projector
Cons
  • Bit Expensive

Buying Guide – Best Outdoor Projectors Under $500

Looking for a projector can be an easy process, but you need to remember some things before you start. First, you should ask yourself what kind of functionality you’re looking for from the device. Also, a shortlist of your specific needs will help narrow down your search. For example, the type of technology needed for a movie night with friends in your backyard is different from that needed to display images outdoors on a camping trip. When looking for projectors that work outside specifically. There are two main categories which are multimedia and portable (there aren’t any made strictly for the outdoors).

Before you make your purchase, ask yourself: Is the projector going to be a permanent fixture, or do I have to move it from time to time? What is my budget in general? And what specs do I really need for this as far as content goes? The next point to consider is how much space you have available. How much distance is there between the projector and screen? You need a short-throw ratio if you’re projecting onto a screen that’s on the floor – or even a ceiling! A long throw ratio is better for rooms where people may be moving around freely.

A home projector is an essential device when it comes down to having a complete entertainment system especially when you’re setting up your very own movie or gaming station. The market is flooded with a variety of different brands and models, each one touting some pretty interesting and flashy features.

However, the truth is, that not all those features are actually necessary for your needs as a homeowner such as yourself. Now if you’re only planning on using your projector in your garden, then chances are that you’ll want to go with a simple portable model with at least two (preferably more) hours of battery life. The following list should help clear things up regarding common terms used in online listings and what exactly they mean when it comes down to choosing them for outdoor and/ or indoor use:

Lumens & Brightness:

The ambient light in your garden will affect the brightness of your projector. With more light, the projection must be brighter, and how bright a projector is measured in lumens. The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) lumen rating charts brightness for indoor viewing, or for settings with very little ambient light, 2,000 to 3,000 can produce a clear image on most walls. However, if there is a lot of lighting inside your space like from many windows or lights. Then you may need at least 3,000 lumens to get an effective image projection on the wall from your movie projector.

Keep in mind a portable projector’s ANSI lumens, which measure the brightness of a projected image. A projector with only 200 or 500 ANSI lumens, for instance, may require near-darkness to produce an adequate picture. (Keep in mind that larger projectors typically have more lumens as well.) While portable or “mini” projectors do work, they often pale in comparison to much higher-priced models that are less susceptible to ambient light interference. Even though you’re on a budget here and there are hundreds or even thousands of dollars separating lower-priced mini projectors from the ones that you’ll find above 3000 ANSI lumens (which is what we recommend), it is still possible to find decent quality models in between the two ranges if you look carefully.

Some of those brands are known to list a projector’s lumens in the thousands, but when tested, they will fall well short of the claim because it’s not an ANSI rating. That’s not to say they’re junk. But you should always be aware of what you’re buying. Don’t fall for the projectors claiming to have a spectacular lumen rating for under £100 or even £300. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost definitely is.

Resolution:

As much as you might want a brand-new 4K, it’s also important to look at how far away from your wall or couch you will be sitting. The last thing you need is an enormous screen if it’s just going to sit across the room! In terms of resolution. You’ll need to remember that less really is more. You’re not going to want anything below 720p but it makes sense to invest in 1080p if possible when it comes time to purchase. Keep your eyes peeled for throw distance, lumens, and contrast ratios, too.

If you want the highest fidelity picture possible, go for the best resolution possible. Just make sure the projector can handle that resolution too. Many projectors support resolutions greater than their native resolution. Though the picture may look worse on those images than they would appear on a lower-res projector.

Contrast ratio:

The contrast ratio is a measure of the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of your projected image. A higher ratio will ensure you have high-quality images even when using your projector in brighter rooms or outdoors. For example, if your screen had a contrast ratio of 1,000:1 then the brightest point on it would be as bright as the 1,000th dark point. On the other hand. A 100,000:1 ratio gives you pretty much perfect picture quality with deeper blacks and more vivid colors that are better able to combat ambient light from wherever outdoors you may be projecting it onto.

Also make sure that you have a project display the correct aspect ratio, which is the measured width and height of an image. The standard aspect ratio today is 16:9 which is ideal.

Throw Distance:

One term you may not have encountered before when purchasing a luminaire is throw distance, which refers to the space between your luminaire and the surface you’re illuminating. A long-throw model shines further than a short-throw model and will be positioned further away from the surface. Such models are better for larger spaces. We recommend short-throw models for areas with smaller dimensions as they are able to reach closer to the surfaces being illuminated and still adequately light space.

The short-throw models can be set from 0.5 to 10 meters away while others can only be placed over 2 or 3 meters in front of the screen. For outside use, it’s recommended that you consider shorter ranges as these reflect energy better and show off crisp details. Especially if you tend to disagree with your friends about relevant film elements such as which actor starred in the movie last weekend!

Set aside at least 1/5th of your budget for your display. If you purchase a projector without a screen. You will have to pick one out and put it together. A bigger display means better sound quality and a bigger digital picture on the screen. Different models have different input jacks so be sure that you have ones that match the projector you bought.

Conclusion:

We hope you enjoyed our article about outdoor projectors. We know that you can make the most of your outdoor viewing experiences when using a projector like the ones we have recommended in our article! So what are you waiting for? Click the links in the article to learn all about the best outdoor projectors under $500 and get one for your next outdoor movie night, live concert, or sporting event.

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