There are some bucket-list items everyone should experience. Skydiving. Zorbing. Running with the bulls.
Here’s one you can accomplish for less than $200. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched the Star Wars trilogy (the original one, obvs) on the side of your house. Outside, on a huge screen projected by a box no bigger than the one you poured your cereal out of this morning. Invite the neighborhood. Y’all are crossing this one off the list!
Less than $200 for a projector used to be insane, impossible, never-gonna-happen. Now we see projectors well under that price that deliver excellent pictures and are easy to set up and connect. Talk about bang for your buck. A projector can create screens upward of 200 inches, not to mention they’re highly portable and customizable.
Granted, what we gain in size we sacrifice a little in brightness and resolution. Most projectors should be used with minimal ambient lighting. Lower resolution isn’t usually noticeable because nobody sits 2 feet away from a projector screen (right?). All in all, we think projectors can be an excellent choice in gaming, movies, and other entertainment. Take a peek at some of our favorite projectors, all under $200.
This projector is perfect for a large screen without a large payout (up to 176 inches!). The projected image is plenty bright at 1500 lumens, and the newly upgraded fan is surprisingly quiet. For less than $100 we don’t expect HD picture or cinema-level sound, but this projector certainly delivers a nice, colorful screen in dark rooms and has a built-in speaker. What’s more, it includes USB, HDMI, and VGA ports (and cables), as well as a USB charging port and an SD card slot. And a remote control! For a “basic” projector, this little guy sure packs a punch.
The Crenova XPE470 has no business being such a good projector at this kind of low cost. Speaking of which, we suggest locking it in before the price tag goes up. This mini projector barely tips the scales at 3 pounds and is about the size of a Kindle. The LED bulb saves energy and lasts up to 30,000 hours—that’s over 3,000 LotR marathons, if you were wondering. An easily programmable remote and a variety of ports—HDMI, VGA, USB, SD card—make for easy setup. At 1200 lumens, the screen is bright enough for dark spaces like basements and campouts. We think the size and price make this the perfect projector to tag along with you on adventures, without the stress or burden of a larger, more expensive model.
The Ogima BL20 boasts 2600 lumens of brightness and a 5” LCD panel that projects a clear, stable image. While we’re not sure it really reaches a full 2600 lumens, this top-rated projector does give a great picture and is much easier on the eyes than traditional television screens, especially in darker spaces. And while the highest res image sits between 70 and 100 inches, move the projector back a bit and enjoy up to 200 inches of screen size with only a negligible dip in image quality. This projector is impressive in the vivid colors and balanced images it projects, and it really shines with animated movies and shows. It’s super easy to set up and includes connection ports for USB, HDMI, VGA, and SD cards—plus a handy remote. Like other projectors in this price range, it does include a built-in speaker but we suggest adding an external sound source.
Here’s something we bet you didn’t know you needed. A projector that you can literally throw in your pocket, pop out, and project a 60-inch image anywhere you are. Excuse us while we whip out our credit cards…. But seriously. Camping, sleepovers, library study sessions, business presentations, Netflix and chill nights, movies in the backyard—feel free to use your imagination with this super compact projector. It includes a rechargeable two-hour battery, Digital Light Processing, HDMI and micro USB ports, an onboard speaker and a headphone jack, and even a convenient tripod stand and carrying case. Fair warning: at only 4 ½ oz., it’s so lightweight you might forget it’s even there.
Justice! Equality! Finally, the at-home big-screen experience is available to princes and paupers alike! #firstworldproblems. Cheaper than that pair of Nikes you’ve had your eye on, this 1200-lumens projector displays clear, rich images and boats a LED lamp life of 30,000 hours. While the picture quality might not change your life, it’s accurate and bright and perfect for personal use and home theaters. The built-in speaker is even decent, which we don’t normally see with budget projectors. Your bank account says thank you!
While we’re still looking at budget projectors, the RAGU RG-01 is the most expensive on our list and, naturally, you get what you pay for. We’re looking at a higher native resolution of 1280 x 768 (supports 1080p), a brighter display of 2800 lumens, 1.67 million displayable colors, a convenient lens cap, and an upgraded speaker. It can also be front- or rear-projected, or even ceiling mounted. Our fav thing about this projector is that it functions great with ambient lighting. Of course, like any projector, the best picture is achieved in total darkness, but this at least gives you the option of watching the game without shutting all the blinds like a hermit.