You don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get yourself a reliable projector. Whilst it might seem like a product you need to spend a good amount on, the quality of cheaper models have increase quite a lot over the past few years. In fact, nowadays you can get yourself a high quality projectors under 500.
Selecting a projector as a better substitute for a costly, big-screen TV model of a renowned brand is a recent trend among the movie and game lovers. It’s really an awesome experience of watching a movie or playing your favorite game with an enhanced size of image up to 300-inches without hampering your limited budget.
We have analyzed the most popular brands with latest and classic models to get you the best projectors under 500 dollars. The careful selection of the best projectors with remarkable features to ensure super quality performance will definitely help you to select yours by narrowing down unwanted distractions.
Just take an intense look at the top 10 best projectors under 500 in 2021 along with a highly cooperative guideline and go for yours best.
Why the $500 limit for projectors?
$0-500 is the range where the quality goes from unheard-of brands to entry-level projectors of well-known ones like Epson. So you can pick up the maverick products from the genuinely good new brands. On the other hand, the definition of affordable changes according to the spending capacity.
The $500-mark is safe assumption to cap this range. It’s an added advantage that this range conveniently packs a few business projectors that can double as your entertainment system. If you are willing to spend near the top end of this range, you will find a number of clear projectors with ample brightness that more than satisfy your home needs. They can turn your movie-watching to a real event.
Why you should trust us
John wrote the original version of this guide, as well as all previous updates through 2019. He has reviewed projectors for nearly a decade, and is an ISF Level II-certified calibrator. He has the test equipment to provide all the measurements necessary to objectively evaluate a projector’s performance, as well as a light-controlled environment for the testing.
I took over the testing process for this guide in 2020. I had reviewed projectors and home theater equipment for over a decade. I’m an ISF Level II-certified calibrator and has a full complement of objective testing gear to measure and evaluate the performance of these projectors.
10 Best Projectors Under 500 2021:
Your expectation to grab one of best cheap budget projectors is definitely to be matched with the ViewSonic XGA Projector, ideal for use in education and small business environments. The big screen projector features amazingly intuitive, user-friendly design supporting high lumens and admirable resolutions that guarantee to reproduce the finest and detailed picture quality regardless of the amount of ambient lighting present. The exclusive Super Color™ technology offers a wider range of displayable color for projected images with true-to-life color accuracy.
Having an advanced audio-visual features, flexible connectivity options, the ViewSonic PA503X projector delivers a level of expertise that is tough to beat. This DLP projector delivers smooth images without delay and its vertical keystone correction helps eliminate crooked and distorted images for a perfectly proportioned picture every time. The energy-saving Super Eco Mode is an especial addition of the PA503X, asthe feature reduces power consumption and extends the lamp life by up to 15, 000 hours.
- Ideal for education & small business
- Amazing color Accuracy
- Advanced Audio-visual input
- Quick power off
- Flexible connectivity
- Weak 2W internal speakers
- Isn’t the lightest projector to carry anywhere
The Optoma HD143X is undoubtedly one of the best projectors out there that’s less than $500. It’s a great all-rounder, and it’s the perfect addition for any home.
One of the main reasons that I recommend this projector is that it has an audio speaker built into it. But that’s not the only thing that matters here. Not only does it have an audio speaker built in, but it’s actually of a really good quality.
The typical projector that has audio built-in is generally very tinny and poor quality. So, it’s great to find a projector with a high quality sound, and it’ll save you having to purchase an extra speaker too.
Another one of the key reasons why this projector is a great choice is because it minimizes any lag between the projector screen and the projector itself. This means that if you want to play games with it, then you’ll be able to without having to worry about any delay. It has a specific gaming mode just for this, but it’s also perfect for movie night too.
- Good image quality for a 1080p projector
- Very low input lag
- The perfect entry level projector
- Some fan noise
- Limited settings to change
3. BenQ HT2050A
The BenQ HT2050A creates an image that’s more realistic and lifelike than that of other projectors at the same price. It offers accurate colors, and it produces a bright picture with great motion detail and a great contrast ratio that’s about double that of similarly priced competitors. Overall, the image is as good as (if not better than) what you can get from many projectors costing hundreds more.
To put that in context, a movie theater screen should be around 15 foot-lamberts in brightness, and the HT2050A’s 1,665 lumens is enough for 24 foot-lamberts on the 150-inch version of our favorite projector screen. For a completely dark room, 14 to 16 foot-lamberts is considered the ideal brightness level, and the BenQ HT2050A goes well past that. Most projectors didn’t come close to this light output a few years ago.
The HT2050A’s contrast ratio is a very nice 1,574:1. This is exceptional considering the fact that most other projectors that fall into this price category come in around 800:1. The difference in black level is very noticeable when you set this model side by side with the competition. Almost all of these projectors are bright enough for any reasonably sized screen, so the contrast-ratio difference is usually from the improved black level.
- Blu-ray, video and HD broadcasting
- Environmentally conscious power savings
- Remote control including Quick Install button
- Triple adjustment feet
- Replaceable lamp
- No smart TV functionality
When it comes to buying a high-quality projector at a good price you must choose the latest ViewSonic PJD5555W. This projector not only provides you with the best visuals but also the high quality improved audio system makes it the perfect choice for watching movies and videos. This makes it the most perfect choice for watching movies at home with your family.
The new ViewSonic projector provides its customers with a number of different high-quality models. All of these models provide you a resolution of 1280×800. The projector provides you with the best quality extended zoom and connectivity sources. The price of this model is quite reasonable.
When you check the backside of this amazing projector you will find two inputs. The HDMI input and the composite input. The model also comes with mini USB ports so that you can easily plug it into the laptop USB port to watch a downloaded movie. The lamp life of this projector ranges from 5000-8000 hours. What makes this projector even more special is the fact that it falls perfectly on the budget of a normal person.
With this projector, you will also be able to adjust the resolution depending on if you are watching a movie or a video. At the lowest settings, it provides a lamp power of 1000 lumens which makes it the perfect choice for every customer.
- Minimum fan noise
- High performance
- Provides HDMI input
- Provides a good resolution of 1280×800
- Doesn’t come inside a compact case
Trust me when I say this is the best HD projector under 500. It is bright, delivers as promised and can read files directly from USB. I am smitten! Let me tell you one thing, this is the got-it-all kind of projector.
Yeah. It applies to this projector quite aptly. The front of the projector has the bulb, quite obviously. And on the right end of the front side is a very beautiful design for a fan outlet. The top portion has all the controls and switches. The indication lights are soothing blue which offset the white body quite beautifully. The controls include power, menus, enter, volume, and even settings.
The rear end of the projector is where all the action is packed. There are an array of ports and jacks on the left side and a speaker on the right side. The bottom portion has legs and holes for attaching the projector to the ceiling upside down.
Epson Home Cinema 1060 stands out in many ways. It has an excellently affordable price but apart from that, it is the only projector for built-in Wi-Fi and USB reading for ease of use. It is the brightest one I have seen by far and also the loudest at the 2W mono speaker. The only drawback that is big enough to put me off is that it does not support 3D.
- Best brightness uniformity at 79%
- Reads files directly from USB memory keys
- HDMI with MHL support
- 1.2x zoom feature
- Does not support 3D
- No audio output for the external audio system
6. WiMiUS P20
As one of the cheapest unit on our list, the WiMiUS P20 Projector is also one of the brightest displaying 6,200 lumens.
Compatible with a range of media device thanks to its 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, 1 AV and VGA port. You can easily run an Amazon Fire TV, Blu-ray/DVD player and xbox. There is also an audio output, useful for connecting headphones or speakers.
This WiMiUS projector can display image sizes up to 300 inches in full 1080p HD and is also 4k ready. With a brightness of 6,200 lumens and contrast ratio of 7000:1, the built-in technology provides an exciting, immersive movie-watching experience.
For the price, the built-in stereo 3-watt speakers are a fantastic feature and have an even frequency response with a punchy low-end. If you already have external speakers, the mini-jack audio output allows seamless connection.
Getting set-up is simple thanks to the electronic keystone correction and zoom function. While the new Dynamic Enhancement feature makes videos smoother when during game play.
- Brightness of 6,200 lumens
- 70,000 hours LED Lamp
- Can display images up to 300 inches
- Limited connectivity
- No remote batteries included
For satisfying the projector needs in the business meeting rooms, this best brightening projector from the ViewSonic is the perfect bet. But the features and technology that is used in its manufacturing make it the best companion for experiencing the home theater as well.
The 3000 lumens of the projector produces the brightest and sharper images on the screen, where the 3000 lumens feature makes it capable to deal with almost every second display screen without any restriction. Although it is noticed that to experience the best performance of this unit, you must have an ambient lighting room.
For gaining accurate and balanced color output, you will be required to set it in the darkroom mode. Otherwise, on the standard mode, you will have nothing other than under-saturated colors on the screen. In spite of the 1080p projection capability, you would also be able to use it on other input signals frequencies. Because its conversion ability from non-native to native signal is remarkable.
The best part of this projector is the shortest projection time period of 10 milliseconds. You will never feel any delay while enjoying the screening with your family members. Even this non-delayed projection ability makes it a perfect fit for the gamers as well.
On the Eco mode, the lamp could last till 3000 hours and 2500 hours if used at full power, which is pretty shocking. Because there are none of the brands that are offering this much-limited duration, and it’s the shortest one among all of its peers. Apart from that, the cost of replacement is also something that could make you think twice before buying it.
- Full HD resolution
- Reduced power consumption
- Better brightness
- Accurate color output
- Lamp’s life is shorter than its peers
8. Optoma ML750
Here’s another projector from the same Brand Optoma, which is eager to serve the business community and home theater enthusiasts as well. The DLP technology is used in this unit, which is reputable for producing smoother images with a higher level of accuracy. The main philosophy behind the usage of DLP technology is to serve users with quality output and better contrast ability at the most affordable price.
Optoma ML750 is available in the market with 800 lumens, which translates it into the best companion for those who love to experience the screening in the darker room. If you are the one, who has the love for the lightening room screening, then you should never look back at it. Otherwise, the frustration would only be your fortune.
As far as the quality is concerned, the WXGA resolution, contrast ratio, lumens and DLP projection ability to join hands together to serve you with the top in class image quality on the screen. After getting convinced with the quality, you might be thinking about the suitability of this projector with your room space. Thanks to its shorter distance throwing capability, regardless of the room space you can opt for this model without any hesitation because it could produce the bigger images even from the distance of 1 meter.
The lighter weight and compact design enhance the portability feature of this model. And being portable, the connectivity of the projector is also at its best. To communicate the data, you will have every sort of port in it ranges from the SD card slot to the USB port.
- Quality image production
- Featured pack
- Shorter throwing distance
- Mirror scaling could be better
This mini projector from Anker Nebula is another great movie projector under 500 dollars with high-end specifications. It is an incredibly portable and budget-friendly projector you can use for outdoor entertainment. It comes with a compact design and lightweight make it easy to carry around as it to install. The Capsule Max mini is featured with a built-in 8W speaker that gives you immersive audio for heightened cinematic immersion.
For connectivity, this projector comes with HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-fi connectivity so you can project all your media on the big screen. Also, it has 200 ANSI lumens color brightness for accurate and vivid colors, especially in low-light environments. With autofocus and keystoning technology, the projector delivers an ultra-sharp image from almost any angle in under a second. The lamp life of the Capsule Max mini projector is up to 30,000 hours.
- Outstanding sound quality
- Small and lightweight
- Battery lasts nearly four hours
- Runs Android TV natively
- Picture quality isn’t as bright
Being limited to a budget of $500 or less doesn’t mean you have to choose a projector of subpar quality. The ZCGIOBN US7-900DAB-1 is in the same price range, and you can definitely rely on it for some top-tier functionality and quality features.
You might like the dual Wi-Fi capability that allows you to project images from your various devices, e.g. phone, laptop, computer. Once projected, it is highly unlikely that you would have any complaints about image quality either. Remember it features full HD resolution and the contrast ratio allows for top-notch clarity. Bluetooth functionality also doesn’t seem left out of this projector’s design. As such, you can pair other Bluetooth devices such as headphones and speakers.
As if Wi-Fi + Bluetooth connectivity isn’t enough, you can link various devices to the projector via HDMI, USB, VGA, AV and audio ports. Notably, there is almost zero buffering when you’re using the wireless connections to mirror on the projected screen. This is essential if you are to enjoy seamless use of the device. Another thing we liked and we suspect you might as well is the inbuilt media player.
You can thus connect a USB or an external hard drive and get to playing movies, music videos, or anything else that you might want to view on the projector.
- High brightness and strong colour accuracy
- Eco mode helps to extend lifespan
- Good connectivity
- Very heavy and not good for portability
- Doesn’t work well with Chromecast
Which are the key features of high quality projectors under 500?
We looked at tons of products before zeroing in on these 10 best projectors under 500. After trudging through a bunch of corporate speak, we selected these based on:
- Brightness: We tested them to check the brightness level of the projectors. The cheaper projectors of newer manufacturers rarely meet the claims on their specs.
- Resolution: To really see the details of any video, the projector should offer a good resolution. We picked the best projectors with resolution 480p or up.
- Contrast: Use a sketchy projector and you will only follow half of the Game of Thrones. Contrast Ratio is what allows you to see shadow detail and deep black levels. Without a good contrast ratio you will never understand the significance of many scenes shot inside dark rooms or caves.
- Use: It’s important that the projectors are easy to operate. Or else you will have to fumble with the mount every time and end up watching the Forrest Gump cursing physical exertion.
- Connectivity: For the best projectors under 500 to be compatible with all video players, they should have all popular options of connectivity. USB, VGA and HDMI can cover most of these sources.
So what makes a good deal on projectors under 500?
Look we’re not going to tell you how you should spend your money. That’s not our style. But, what we will say, is that the best projectors are almost always Full HD and come with built-in speakers. If you get both those features and aren’t looking to break the bank, don’t spend more than $650 or £500. You can do better for less.
That being said, we’ve found a few great deals this month that we wanted to bring to your attention – hopefully ending your long hunt for the perfect addition to your home theater setup.
These are the best projectors under $500 in 2021 based on their reviews, performance, and specifications. If you have any queries or suggestions about this review guide, let us know in the comments below.