Best Projector under £500 – The Complete Guide for 2021

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 projector for less than £500. But, you do need to know what to look for in a projector to make sure that you get the right model for you.

There are different kinds of projector, including smaller mini projectors, and they all have different levels of brightness and resolution. Here are some of the best projectors you can purchase with a mid range budget.

Best Projector under £500

ProductImageLumensGet More Info
Optoma HD143XOptoma HD143X HDMI 3000 ANSI Lumens Projector - Black3000Check Price at Amazon
Epson EB-X41Epson EB-X41 3LCD, 3600 Lumens, 300 Inch Display, XGA Projector - White3600Check Price at Amazon
Anker Nebula Capsule MaxAnker NEBULA Capsule Max, Pint-Sized Wi-Fi Mini Projector, 200 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, Native 720p HD, 8W Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Home Entertainment200Check Price at Amazon
ViewSonic PX701HDViewSonic PX701HD Full HD Home Cinema and Business Projector (3500 Lumens, 1080p, DLP, Dual HDMI, 3X Fast Input, SuperColor Technology, 10W Speakers) - White3500Check Price at Amazon
Vamvo L6200Projector, Vamvo Outdoor Projector 350 ASIN Lumens Native 1080P Full HD, Video Projector 300' Image Display Dolby Supported, Phone Projector Compatible with HDMI/ USB/ AV/ Micro SD/ VGA6000Check Price at Amazon
LG CineBeam PF50KSLG CineBeam PF50KS Projector (Full HD 1920 x 1080, Battery, 600 lumen, LED, Portable, HDMI, USB-C, USB), White600Check Price at Amazon
Anker Nebula CapsuleNEBULA Anker Capsule, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector, Black, 100 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, 360° Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Neat Projector, Home Entertainment100Check Price at Amazon

Epson EB-X41

Epson EB-X41 3LCD, 3600 Lumens, 300 Inch Display, XGA Projector - White

Weight: 2.8kg | Stated Lumens: 3600 | Display Type: LCD | Lamp Life: 9,500 hours | Contrast Ratio: 15000:1 | Resolution: 768p | Connectivity: HDMI, USB | Warranty: 2 year

One of the best options out there is the Epson EB-X41, which comes with a strong 2 year warranty and a ton of good features. It weighs a little under 3 kilos, making it far from the best option if you need something easy to carry. But, it does make up for this in overall video quality.

The EB-X41 is one of the brightest projectors you can find within this sort of price range. So, if you’re looking to project films in the early evening before it’s really dark, then this is a much better choice.

You’re going to want at least a dimmed room for pretty much any projector, but this model holds up well in the daylight. Most projectors tend to struggle when there’s any form of ambient light shining on your projector screen. But, the EB-X41 can cope with a fair amount of daylight.

How can it produce enough brightness that it can still work in a fairly well lit room? Well, it’s actually an LCD design, which is a little bit different to the other types of projectors listed.

An LCD projector can also help to produce some very vibrant colours, but they’re typically more expensive than DLP projectors, which just shows how good of a deal this one is.

The 3LD tech that this projector uses also makes it a very good choice if you’re looking to project a bigger screen. The increase brightness makes it suitable for 120+ inch screens, more so than the other projectors that I’ve listed here. It also means you won’t experience the rainbow effect on your screen either.

This is another strong contender for the best projector of this price. It’s a reasonable price when you consider its power, and it’s perfect if you want something for both films and presentations too.

Pros

High brightness and strong colour accuracy.
Eco mode helps to extend lifespan.
Good connectivity.

Cons

Very heavy and not good for portability.
Doesn’t work well with Chromecast.

Overall Verdict: The increase ANSI lumens in this projector make it perfect for showing pictures from the big screen.


Anker Nebula Capsule Max

Anker NEBULA Capsule Max, Pint-Sized Wi-Fi Mini Projector, 200 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, Native 720p HD, 8W Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Home Entertainment

Weight: 0.7kg | Stated Lumens: 200 | Display Type: DLP | Lamp Life: 20,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 400:1 | Resolution: 720p | Connectivity: HDMI, USB, Wifi, Bluetooth | Warranty: 1 year

Not everyone wants a projector that weighs several kilograms and is difficult to carry around with you. If you’re looking for something portable, then one of the best options for this is the Anker Nebula Capsule, with the Max being one of the top models under £500.

As you can see, this model has a drastically different design to the other models that are on this list. Thankfully due to the DLP technology that this device used, it’s capable of fitting a lot of power into a relatively small package.

It weighs significantly less than a kilo, and its design makes it fit easily into any backpack. In terms of portability, it’s definitely one of the best options on the market.

Although it’s very compact, it still manages to not only produce a great picture, but also a good quality sound too. This is important, as it means that you don’t need to carry a speaker around with you as well as the projector itself.

Obviously, it’s not quite going to match a full audio system setup. But the 8 watt speaker is more than enough to produce some awesome sounds, and give you a full experience.

But the best thing about this projector, and what sets it apart from many others out there, is its connectivity. You can connect and play movies on this device via both USB or with a HDMI cable. But, you can also connect to it with a Bluetooth device too, and via wifi with a Chromecast connection too.

Bear in mind that this projector isn’t one of the brightest, so it’s best used in the late evening or preferably when it’s completely dark. But if you’re looking for a projector that you can carry around with your anywhere, then this is undoubtedly one of the best projectors you can find.

Pros

Nice portable projector with good connectivity options.
Solid audio.
Upgraded version of the original.

Cons

Pretty dim and not suitable for day time.
Not the best operating system and navigation.

Overall Verdict: With a low brightness level, this projector is ideally suited to late night movie watching.


Optoma HD143X

Optoma HD143X HDMI 3000 ANSI Lumens Projector - Black

Weight: 3kg | Stated Lumens: 3000 | Display Type: DLP | Lamp Life: 12,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 23000:1 | Resolution: 1080p | Connectivity: 2x HDMI, MHL, USB | Warranty: 1 year

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.

This projector is also a good choice for those looking for a projector with a lot of connection options. It has 2 separate HDMI ports that you can use, as well as a USB connection and an MHL connection port too, which allows you to play things from your smartphone very easily.

The downsides of this model? Well, it weighs around 3kg, so whilst it isn’t that heavy, it’s not the best in terms of portability. But if this isn’t an issue for you, then I’d recommend this as one of the best projectors under £500 on the market.

Pros

Good image quality for a 1080p projector.
Very low input lag.
The perfect entry level projector.

Cons

Some fan noise.
Limited settings to change.

Overall Verdict: This home theatre projector provides the best viewing experience of the bunch. However, its price can fluctuate, making it a little more expensive than the other budget projectors listed.


ViewSonic PX701HD

ViewSonic PX701HD Full HD Home Cinema and Business Projector (3500 Lumens, 1080p, DLP, Dual HDMI, 3X Fast Input, SuperColor Technology, 10W Speakers) - White

Weight: 2.6kg | Stated Lumens: 3500 | Display Type: DLP | Lamp Life: 20,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 12000:1 | Resolution: 1080p | Connectivity: 2x HDMI, MHL, USB | Warranty: 1 year

Another competent contender is the ViewSonic PX701HD. It’s a solid projector which has a good level of brightness, and could be the perfect addition to your home.

Due to its brightness, this model can still produce some perfect colours in the daytime as well as the night time. So if you’re looking for a projector to use all day and all night, this is going to be a good fit. Although it’s a DLP, it still produces some of the best colours you’ll get from any projectors.

This projector also has 7 different colour modes that are built into the device. So, you can browse through and see which one of them you want to use. It has a separate mode for gaming (which needs a fast response rate and latency), sports and a different mode for movies too.

As well as these different modes, it also has an eco mode you can use too. With this, you could get more than 20,000 hours of use out of the lamp it uses. Plus, this can help you to minimze your maintenance costs with the device too.

In addition to this, I’ve got to mentioned that the sound quality of this model is pretty good too. So, this is another projector which provides pretty great value for money, and could go head to head with much more expensive projectors out there.

Pros

Solid picture quality.
Two HDMI inputs are handy.
Zero latency, which is good for gamers.

Cons

The remote it comes with is very cheap.
Focus wheel isn’t too easy to turn.

Overall Verdict: This projector has a high resolution, and can be used for movies as easily as it can for TV shows.


Vamvo L6200

Projector, Vamvo Outdoor Projector 350 ASIN Lumens Native 1080P Full HD, Video Projector 300' Image Display Dolby Supported, Phone Projector Compatible with HDMI/ USB/ AV/ Micro SD/ VGA

Weight: 2.6kg | Stated Lumens: 6000 | Display Type: LCD | Lamp Life: 12,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 7000:1 | Resolution: 1080p | Connectivity: 2xHDMI, VGA, USB, AV, SD | Warranty: 2 year

Finding a bright projector to use during the daytimes is never easy. It’s even more difficult if you’re trying to find one on a tight budget! But, I think I’ve found a decent model in this Vamvo L6200.

This projector is great for using during both the day and the night too, as it’s bright enough that it’s able to be seen pretty clearly in daylight. It uses LCD technology as well, and it works well for those looking for a 120+ inch screen instead of just a typical short throw projector.

So whilst it’s going to give the best image at 100 or so inches, you can easily use it at 20 or 300 inches too. Most cheap projectors aren’t usually capable of this, so it’s nice to have the variation of size with the L6200.

It can produce a high quality 1080p image, and even though the lamps are bright, they tend to have a long lifespan too. Whilst you don’t need to use an extra speaker, you easily could use it in tandem with them in-built speaker the L6200 has, which gives a decent enough sound.

You can connect to this projector in a variety of different ways, with dual HDMI ports and dual USB ports. This model doesn’t have any battery built in, which is one of the reasons why it’s so cheap. So, you’ll need to plug it in to use it properly.

It’s another very good projector, and an ideal choice for those looking for something relatively cheap when you consider its quality.

Pros

Sound for built in speakers is good.
Very good price.
High lumens of brightness.

Cons

Keystone correction only 15 degrees.
Noisy fan.

Overall Verdict: This is a budget projector, so it’s not quite on par with the rest of those featured in this list.


LG CineBeam PF50KS

LG CineBeam PF50KS Projector (Full HD 1920 x 1080, Battery, 600 lumen, LED, Portable, HDMI, USB-C, USB), White

Weight: 1kg | Stated Lumens: 600 | Display Type: LED | Lamp Life: 30,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 100000:1 | Resolution: 1080p | Connectivity: 2x HDMI, MHL, USB | Warranty: 1 year

If you’re looking for a lightweight projector that has a very high contrast ratio, then the Cinebeam PF50KS is definitely worth checking out. It can give you some excellent sharp pictures, and it’s less than £500 too.

Typically, lightweight projectors aren’t too bright. And whilst this isn’t the brightest out there, it’s certainly brighter than the Anker Nebula Capsules, and will hold up better than they do in levels of semi-brightness. And whilst it’s compact, you can easily fit it into a mount too.

Most people are simply looking for a projector than can give a great picture at 6 feet distance. This model can undoubtedly do that, with 1080p resolution and vibrant colours.

Another good element of this projector is that it runs on a web operating system, which makes it very easy to download apps like Netflix and watch a film through that. The WebOS is one of the simplest to use, so you don’t need to worry about dealing with anything complex.

This model will only work from a 6 foot distance, and can only really work on a screen up to 100 inches. It has between 2 and 3 hours of battery life too, which should be enough to get a full film watched. But for most peoples home cinemas, this is going to be the perfect size. So if quality of picture is essential for you, then this model is worth considering.

Pros

Bluetooth and HDMI input possible.
Minimal fan noise.
Good battery life.

Cons

User interface isn’t great.
Not that easy to change picture size.

Overall Verdict: A full HD 1080p projector is the best option at this price, and the LG Cinebeam is a good choice.


Anker Nebula Capsule

NEBULA Anker Capsule, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector, Black, 100 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, 360° Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Neat Projector, Home Entertainment

Weight: 470g | Stated Lumens: 100 | Display Type: DLP | Lamp Life: 20,000 hours | Contrast Ratio: 400:1 | Resolution: 1080p | Connectivity: HDMI, Phone, USB | Warranty: 1 year

Whilst this Nebula Capsule isn’t as good as the Max version that I’ve already featured, it does have one distinct feature that might make it a better choice.

This projector weighs less than 500g, and it can easily fit into a drinks holder or snugly away in your backpack. It’s also smaller than the Max too, which only increases its portability – it’s a similar size to a can of coke.

It has a variety of different connection options, but another reason why I’d advise this projector is it’s integration with a ton of different apps. It runs on Android, so you can easily set it up with Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, amongst a ton of other options too.

You can control the projector very easily with the Anker app, which is another bonus to this model. The projector can work well at any distance, but it’s best used to create a screen less than 100 inches in size, with the sweet sport being between 60-80 inches.

Bear in mind that like the Max, this isn’t going to be a device you can use in the daytime. It’s really designed to be used in almost complete darkness, and you’ll want to eliminate all light sources for a true cinema experience.

So, whilst some people won’t need the portability of this projector, if you’re looking for something you can easily carry with you, then this model is perfect.

Pros

Solid budget entry level Full HD cinema projector.
Good for different throw ratio distances.
Perfect for evening movie nights.

Cons

Doesn’t work well with Android Play.
Controller sensor is on the back for some reason.

Overall Verdict: This projector is easy to set up and it could be a good home theatre projector. It really stands out for its size, as it’s one of the lightest projectors available.


Common Questions about Projectors

What is the best budget projector?

I’m more than happy to recommend any of the options that are listed here, but if I had to pick one, it would be the Optoma HD143X. It projects an amazing picture, and it has the best audio of the bunch too. If you can find a good deal for this projector, then it’s a great entry level option.

How much should I spend on a projector?

If you’re looking to get a serious projector for your home, then you don’t want to spend any less than £200-300 on a projector at the bare minimum. Any projector you buy on Amazon for £50 might be good for a bit of fun, but it’s not going to be good enough for a good experience watching films properly. So, in my opinion, £500 is around the sweet spot for getting a good quality projector.

Is 3000 lumens good enough for a projector?

You can still produce a good image with a projector that has much lower luminosity than this, but you’ll need it to be quite dark. Around 3000 lumens is where you can start using your projector in brighter rooms and still get a good image. Also, remember that the brightness and contrast ratio make a difference here.

Is a projector good for gaming?

Yes, you can definitely find some good projectors out there for gaming. In most cases, you’re going to want to opt for a DLP projector for gaming, as this is the type of projector that gives the lowest latency. Making sure you get a projector with a good native resolution is crucial for this too, as if your picture isn’t high enough in quality, then it’s not going to be enjoyable.

Do projectors use a lot of electricity?

In general, a projector actually won’t use that much electricity in comparison to other forms of entertainment, like watching a TV. But, this all really depends on the specific projector, as some can use a lot of electric. Many projectors are battery powered, and they get through that battery pretty quickly.

What should I look for in a projector?

When you’re looking for a home cinema projector, you want to make sure that you get the right model for your needs. For example, if you have a large Blu ray collection, then you’ll want to get a projector that works well with that technology.

So if you’re looking to purchase a new projector, then there are some things that you’re definitely going to want to look out for. This includes;

Lumens – Probably the most important thing to check in your projector is its lumens of brightness. You probably want at least 3000 lumens if you want a projector that can be seen at day and night.
Use – Of course, another important factor is what you’re actually going to use the projector for. Is it a home theater, or are you looking for something you can use in the daytime too? This should be a major factor in your decision.
Contrast Ratio – The difference between the blacks and white in your projector is important, and will have an effect on the definition on your projector.
Built in speaker – You’re also going to want to consider your audio options with a projector. Do you need built in speakers, or are you happy to connect your own?
Cost – Of course, when you’re looking for a projector you’re always going to want to take cost into account too. If you stick to these rules, then you can find the best projector under £500.
Connectivity – Considering how you’re going to connect to your projector is definitely something you’ll want to think about. In the modern day, a HDMI port is probably the best way to do this, as it transfers both video and audio from your external device.
Resolution – When you’re looking to set up a cheap entertainment centre, a 4k projector is likely out of the question. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the resolution of your projector, with 1080p being a good standard to look for at this price.

Conclusion

All in all, there are many other projectors out there for you to consider. They can range from as cheap as a few hundred quid (for anything half decent, that is!) all the way up into the thousands.

But for those just looking for a casual projector to watch films with, then this list proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune. As long as you shop around and buy the right model, then there’s no reason why you can set up your own home cinema on a budget.

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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