Choosing the adequate outdoor projector for your backyard entertainment can be a tricky task, especially if your knowledge in the matter is limited or non-existent. However, with a little bit of knowledge, it is achievable and all that separates you from the best outdoor projector is in the following lines that will give you proper instructions and tell you which characteristics you should pay your closest attention to.
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Projector
There are numerous factors that decide whether a certain outdoor projector is good or bad. However, only a few of these attributes play a decisive role and those are:
Level of brightness
One of the most important outdoor projector’s characteristics is definitely its brightness, mostly because it is responsible for the clarity of the image itself and therefore, crucial for user experience. For instance, 1000 Lumens is good enough for fully dark rooms, while 2000 Lumens is the least brightness you would need for decent outdoor viewing. However, if you are into great image quality and you are not willing to accept compromises in this department, 3000 Lumens or more is the value you should be looking for.
Although the supported resolution of outdoor projectors isn’t as important as the resolution of their indoor counterparts, fact is that it is still pretty important for image crispness. Therefore, don’t let for the resolution to be your decisive argument for purchase; however, don’t forget about it and make sure that it is the highest possible, depending on your budget.
Diversity of ports usually means better versatility of the projector and therefore, its better usability. In other words, a variety of connectivity options is always a welcome bonus.
Best Outdoor Projectors
Bright HDR Projector on a Budget
The Optoma HD28HDR is an excellent outdoor projector, which is ideal for movie nights in your backyard, and, most importantly, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either. Another cool thing about the HD28HDR is that it works great for gaming, and, on top of that, it supports HDR and 4K UHD video sources, for out-of-this-world color clarity and image detail.
What does it mean for you? Well, this affordable projector can be used for immersive gaming and movie experiences on up to 301 inches screens, and its 120 Hz refresh rate combined with the Enhanced Gaming Mode makes it perfect for competitive PC or console gaming, due to its lightning-fast input response time of just 8.4 milliseconds.
Moreover, the Game Display Mode boosts dark scenes and shadows for improved visibility, and its super bright 3,600 lumens with 50,000:1 contrast ratio lamp makes it perfect for outdoor use. The HDR 10 technology delivers deeper black levels and brighter whites, for a better viewing experience, especially outdoors, and its 6-segment color wheel (RYGCWB) provides colorful and vivid images for home-cinema color calibration.
In terms of standard throw distance, the Optoma HD28HDR can project a 100″ – image from approximately 11 feet away, or a 120” image from approximately 12 feet away. Finally, for 3D movie lovers out there, you’ll get true 3D content from this projector, from basically any 3D source, including 3D broadcasting, 3D BluRay disc players or the latest-gen consoles.
- 4K/HDR 10 compatible
- High dynamic range video
- Bright enough for outdoor use
- HDMI-Link support
- 120 Hz refresh rate support
- Full HD 3D Mode
- Lacks lens shift feature
Anker Nebula Mars II Pro
A Highly Versatile and Portable Outdoor Projector
Anker Nebula Mars II Pro is one of those devices that won’t impress you with its performance, but its great practicality and versatility that almost have no match among the other projectors.
This device certainly isn’t the best projector for outdoor movies or games, because of its not-that-great 500 Lumens lamp and modest 720p resolution. However it is highly portable and independent thanks to its compact build and built-in 12,500mAh rechargeable battery (it allows for around three hours of work) that allow for its use in almost any space, whether it is a beach, backyard or a parking lot. Moreover, this projector supports for projections on screens at up to 150-inches of size (it shows the best results with projections on screens between 80 and 100 inches) and comes equipped with two 10W speakers that provide more than a decent audio experience.
When talking about connectivity, Nebula Mars II Pro comes with an HDMI port, USB3.0 port, audio jack and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection. It is fitted with Android 7.1. and supports for streaming of services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime; nevertheless, it lacks the Google play support, which limits its overall potential a bit.
In other words, Nebula Mars II Pro is a solid product, intended for occasional night projections, even at the most remote locations, and altogether great option for night gatherings and parties.
- Good speakers
- It lacks Google play
- Not the best brightness
The Best Budget Projector
If you’re looking for a dirt-cheap projector that doesn’t skimp on performance, the Optoma HD146X has your name on it. Retailing currently for less than $600, this is a high-performance projector for both movies and gaming, and what’s most important for today’s topic, this affordable DLP single chip design gizmo offers very good picture quality in outdoor environments thanks to its bright 3600 lumens lamp.
That metric is very important in our view, because projectors exist to create light, and this super light bulb delivers impressive images for the price asked. Truth be told, this affordable projector is more noticeable than most in its price range (and above), even if there’s only one input and barely any zoom range.
Yet, if you’re looking for a high-quality no-nonsense projector for outdoor use, the Optoma HD146X is quite good, even if it’s just full HD 1080p and doesn’t offer HDR, nor lens shift. Zoom range is also not impressive, at 1.1, which means there are limits on where you can place the projector, but that’s a consequence of keeping the price low.
However, as we already told you, image quality is second to none, and lamp life is impressive at 15,000 hours. We must also mention the Wall Color feature, which automatically adjusts the colors when you’re projecting on a non-white surface, which is awesome for outdoor use.
- Outstanding image quality
- Backlit remote
- Bright lamp
- 25,000:1 contrast ratio
- Lamp rated@ 15,000 hours
- Easy to set-up
- User friendly
- Just one input
- Limited zoom range
- Fan gets noisy
Aggressively Priced Outdoor Projector
Our next pick is the BenQ TH585, a full HD 1080p home entertainment projector, which is designed to deliver low input lag for gaming aficionados, and comes with a loud 10-watt speaker. Retailing for less than $600 currently, the TH585 is one of the company’s most affordable projectors, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get cheap thrills from it.
As a matter of fact, the TH585 offers a lot of bang for the money asked, being listed as a home entertainment model, i.e. designed with gaming and streaming in mind, but it’s also a solid choice for outdoor use, as it has a super bright lamp that works great for watching movies and TVs in places with ambient light.
While gaming is taking care of by the low input lag and high refresh rate via its game picture mode, the TH585 does great with TV and movies due to its impressive color accuracy and contrast. Regardless of what you’ll be using it for, the TH585 can stand up to ambient light with flying colors, which is essential for an outdoor projector.
Bottom line is that the TH585 is a solid pick for an entry-level home theater projector, focused on watching movies and gaming in places with ambient light, and offers a lot for its price. If you’re serious about going outdoors, keep in mind that the sweet spot for brightness and resolution is anywhere between 100-150”, and can extend up to 200” if you have a clear 6-meter projection distance.
So, if you’re looking for an aggressively priced outdoor projector with enough brightness for delivering good picture quality even on a full Moon, as well as impressive color accuracy and contrast for the money asked, this is the way to go.
- Automagically switches between inputs
- Bright 3500 ANSI lumen
- No issues with ambient light
- Automatically adjusts screen size
- Low latency for gaming
- 3-year warranty
- 15,000 hours lamp life
- Lacks HDR support
Anker Nebula Capsule II
A Highly Practical Pocket-Sized Outdoor Projector
Anker Nebula Capsule II is a device that offers modest performance and basic features, but on the other hand comes with great portability, practicality, and good connectivity.
Its brightness is limited to the modest 200 Lumens, which is good enough for a decent image, but nothing that would impress you, which can also be said about its native 720p resolution and a bit of a high price.
On the other hand, Nebula Capsule II offers great connectivity, with HDMI and USB ports and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection. Furthermore, this projector is equipped with a Chromecast that allows easy streaming from your mobile devices or computers and 8W speaker that isn’t much but certainly adds to the overall projectors value.
Anker Nebula Capsule II has an Android TV 9.0 OS and thanks to it, supports more than 3600 different apps including YouTube, Hulu, Twitch, etc. This projector also supports Netflix, but unfortunately only though the Nebula Manager app and offers projections on screens of up to 100 inches in size. Also, it is supplied with a battery that has a two-and-a-half-hour battery life, which provides it much-needed independence and presents one of the key selling points of the device.
Altogether, Anker Nebula Capsule II is not a perfect device and surely cannot be considered for the best outdoor projector. However, it offers great portability and versatility and overall is ideal for users who are constantly on the move but still want to enjoy the benefits of the projector screening.
- Good portability
- Excellent connectivity
- Limited brightness
- No 3D support
An Outdoor Projector Perfect For Movie Nights In Your Backyard
Here comes another affordable projector, the ViewSonic PX701HD respectively. Retailing for approximately $500 give or take, this is not the most accurate projector in the business in terms of color reproduction, but considering the fact that we’re talking outdoor activity here, this baby passes the smell test with flying colors.
Basically, the PX701HD is aimed at homes and offices, which means ambient light, which further means this is an excellent projector for outdoor use, as it delivers more than enough brightness due to its 3500 Lumens lamp with vertical lens shift.
Moreover, this nimble projector is capable of producing a relatively large image, which again, it’s great for outdoor use, and boasts low lag for gaming aficionados, i.e. this affordable projector makes for a versatile tool for both home and business use.
We must also mention that the ViewSonic PX701HD is relatively small and light, standing at 4.4 by 12.2 by 8.7 inches, and weighing 5.7 pounds, hence is easy to move around. There’s also an on-board 10-watt speaker, which is enough for small rooms, but if you want to watch movies outdoors, you’ll have to hook it up to a decent sound system.
Finally, if you want to get the most out of this projector, keep in mind that the default settings for image quality requires a little bit of tinkering with, but once you figure it out, you’ll end up with a solid, versatile and affordable projector with 3,500 ANSI Lumens of brightness and 1080p Full HD resolution.
- 3D ready
- 20,000 hours lamp life
- Dual HDMI ports
- 5V USB power output
- Good contrast
- Low input lag
- Lacks HDR support
Epson Home Cinema 1080
An Outdoor Projector With Great Value For The Money
Moving along with our top outdoor projectors, here comes the Epson Home Cinema, a full HD 1080p machine with a 3-chip 3LCD and auto keystone adjustment. As expected, the Epson has a bright 3,400 lumens, which makes it suited for outdoor use, as it does great with color reproduction in ambient light.
Moreover, this projector is rated as having best in class color brightness, which is great news for outdoor aficionados, and that’s due to the advanced 3LCD technology, which is capable of displaying 100 percent of the RGB color signal without artifacts, rainbowing or brightness issues.
Connectivity-wise, the projector features 2 HDMI ports, for connecting it to your satellite/cable box, gaming console, BluRay disc player or streaming device; moreover, the Epson Home Cinema comes with a picture skew sensor, which automatically corrects the keystone for a square image after analyzing the picture.
Tech talk aside, this is a great projector for high ambient light use, like outdoor movies, sports, presentations and videos. In this context (high ambient light), this inexpensive projector does a more than decent job considering the price asked, as it offers crisp picture quality, easy setup, and, last but not least, amazing value for money.
- Bright lens
- Good color reproduction
- Decent contrast
- Auto keystone adjustment
- 2 HDMI ports
- Easy setup
- Fan gets loud
The Best Bluetooth Outdoor Projector for the Money
Yaber is not necessarily one’s first choice when it comes to consumer electronics, but the V3 is one cool mini-Bluetooth projector for outdoor use. Actually, we would argue that the YABER V3 is one of the best, if not the best if you take pricing into account, outdoor projector money can buy.
Since we’re talking ambient light and outdoor use, we must begin with the obvious: this incredibly light and compact wireless projector has a 5500-lux lamp, offers full HD 1080p definition and, take a load of this: it costs less than $100 currently.
If that’s not amazing, we don’t know what it is. On top of 5500 lumens of brightness and 5500:1 contrast ratio, the Yaber v3 features keystone correction and can project on a screen size between 45 – 200 inches, which makes it ideal for parties, presentations and the like. Moreover, the lamp is “infinity spawn”, or, to be more precise, is rated at 1,000,000 hours, which means basically lifetime, plus you’ll get a solid 3-year warranty.
Picture quality is actually impressive for such a tiny and affordable device, the keystone distortion and focus adjustment are fairly easy to adjust and work pretty much seamlessly, and the only downside we can think of is fan noise and the low quality of the built-in speakers. But then again: we’re talking about a $100 wireless projector here, so, let’s get real.
For the money asked, the Yaber v3 is an absolute steal, and if you’re looking for a no-nonsense “get the job done” wireless projector, this is it. Cut and dried.
- Amazing value for money
- Very bright lamp
- Impressive pic quality for the price
- Solid features
- None really at this price
A Budget-Friendly Device Designed for a Great Home Entertainment
If your budget is one of your main concerns, but you still want to find a decent device that will offer good outdoor projection experience, ViewSonic PA503W is the gadget you should pay your attention to.
Although its native 800p resolution or poor audio aren’t things to brag about, its overall value for the money certainly is. There is a lamp with 15000 hours of life expectancy and 3600 Lumens of brightness, good connectivity (one HDMI port, three D-Sub connectors, Composite connection, etc.) and on top of that, a pretty convincing three-year warranty.
More importantly, its image is sharp, with pretty accurate colors, but unfortunately, not some great black levels – they seem a bit washed.
Nevertheless, if you prefer the screens that are up to 100 inches in size and just want to occasionally enjoy movies in the commodity of your patio, ViewSonic PA503W is the optimal choice and probably the best outdoor movie projector for such a purpose.
- Competitive price
- Good connectivity
- Decent image quality
- Poor audio quality
- Only WXGA native resolution
The Best Portable Outdoor Projector
If you’re after a sleek and modern looking projector to impress your friends, the improbably named company GooDee has it covered: enter YG620, a portable outdoor movie projector, which boasts impressive specs for the price asked.
First, you’ll benefit from native 1080p full HD resolution, but what’s very cool about the YG620 is that it can fill a screen size between 46inch – 300inch (!), and offers projection ranges from 5.6ft to 30.2ft. This is almost “cinema” specs, rite?
Ok, we are only exaggerating a bit, but the YG620 is really impressive, and on top of being specced to the top, it also comes with a life-time lamp (rated at 100,000 hours), an industry-leading 5-year warranty, 7000:1 contrast ratio, and, most importantly, keystone adjustment that can adjust the image by up to 15 degrees vertically.
Connectivity is also impressive for such an inexpensive device, as you’ll end up with dual HDMI ports, AV, VGA, 2 USBs, Micro SD card and audio out; moreover, the projector comes with SRS sound system support Dolby.
In our view, this is the best portable outdoor movie projector for the money, and it’s the ideal partner for conference presentations, family/home theater systems, outdoors fun, and anything in between.
- Capacitive touch controls
- Bright output@ 6000 Lux
- Multiple input types
- Manual keystone correction
- Easy to use and setup
- 5-year repair policy
- Surprisingly good speakers
- No Bluetooth or WiFi
If you are ready to make your autumn days fun with movies or games outside, we are sure that one of the products from our guide will be your perfect match. Check them out, pick your priorities, and enjoy!