What are Projector Lumens? | Lumens Explained

If you’re looking to get a good projector, then the likelihood is that you’ve come across a few. And with projectors, it can be really difficult to know which is best, because there’s not much to be able to tell the different between them.

One identifying factor that we can use for a projector is the amount of lumens that it has. You might also see this as LUX, or ANSI lumens. But what exactly are lumens, and how do they affect the performance of your projector? Well, let’s have a quick look.

What are Projector Lumens?

The Lumens just refers to the brightness of the projector. If a projector has only 100 lumens, then it’s going to be more suited to dark conditions and likely used as a cinema projector. However if you opt for a much brighter 5000 lumen projector, then this will be much brighter, and can be used for office presentations too.

Of course, all of this depends on the size you’re wanting to project onto the wall. If you want to project onto a 120 inch screen, then you’re likely going to need a bigger projector. However if you’re happy with a smaller 60-80 inch projection, then a portable projector might be the better choice.

How many lumens do I need?

The amount of lumens that you need really depends on what you’re going to be doing with your projector. I tend to think of it like this; if you’re going to be watching movies and playing video games with your projector, then you might only need 100 lumens.

However if you’re wanting to use your projector in brighter conditions, say in a small classroom or an office setting, then you’re going to want more than 1000 lumens for this. This is because we want to portray a bright enough image that it can be seen by everyone – this isn’t going to be possible with a 100 lumen projector.

And in some cases, you might need even more than this. If you’re in a large meeting room, or a lecture hall, then you’ll commonly see projectors with more than 10,000 lumens used in this scenario. This is just a necessity, as we need this amount of brightness to be able to create a crisp and vibrant image that can be seen from 30 metres away.

Projector Display Types

Another thing that you should take into account is the display type of the projector that you’re opting for. Many people opt for the cheapest LCD projector. This can offer more brightness at a lower cost, as well as being quiet.

There are also DLP projectors, which work in a different way to LCD projectors. These tend to give a better quality image, but they’re dimmer than LCD projectors. If you want a DLP projector that is as bright as other display types, then you’re going to need to pay more, as the technology is more expensive.

ANSI Lumens & Amazon

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the lumens a projector states it has isn’t always correct.

The lumens a projector has is often measure by ANSI, or the American National Standards Institute. So if you see that a projector has 200 ANSI lumens, then you can be sure that it’s judged by this standard.

However, you’ll often see projectors that don’t mention anything about “ANSI lumens”, and there’s no regulation that says they have to. So, this can mean that the brightness of it actually isn’t measured in the lumens that we mainly use, and could be nowhere near as bright as you might think.

So, it’s just worth bearing in mind that even if a projector says it has 3000 lumens, lumens are measured differently by different sellers. Of course, saying the projector has 3000 lumens is a great selling point, but many of the cheaper projectors aren’t actually this bright.


In conclusion, I’d take any of the stated lumens that you see on a projector with a pinch of salt. This is especially true if you’re looking to get a projector off of Amazon or another cheap marketplace, because all sellers will just stick a big figure on their projector which actually isn’t representative of the amount of lumens that the projector has.

So, keep your eyes peeled for ANSI lumens, as typically this is more reliable, and sellers can get in more trouble for stating ANSI that just lumens themselves, so they’re less likely to use it.

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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