Some of the smallest projectors can also be the mightiest – here are our picks for the best units available
Projectors and home cinemas are a match made in heaven. Big, clear pictures that can be seen from any angle? What’s not to like? Unfortunately, most projectors aren’t exactly cheap. But thankfully that isn’t the case for this range of small portable projectors.
What’s a projector?
A traditional projector is the large box-like bit that you usually see in school classrooms, or near the television in your grandparents’ living room. These projectors are generally only used for larger screens and present their image over an old-fashioned analog video connection.
These days, however, we live in a digital world where more devices can connect wirelessly to each other than ever before. As such, it makes sense that modern home cinema projectors would ditch wires for wireless connectivity so they can be placed wherever there’s space – not just on top of a desk or a shelf!
Check out our buying guide & top-pick reviews for advice on choosing a portable, mini, small, handheld, and cheap projector.
What should I look for in a portable projector?
When shopping for a portable projector, you’ll want to focus on a few key things: Image quality. This comes down to the brightness of the picture and how vivid it will look. The bigger the image, the more clear and sharp it can be, so something like an 80-inch display could look even better than a 50-inch TV with a good projector. That said. Light is only one part of the equation when it comes to image quality -the other part being resolution, which is measured as device pixels per inch (dpi). The higher your dpi is on your projector, the crisper and clearer your images will be. An example would be if you had an 800 x 600 dpi resolution screen versus a 1024 x 1280 dpi resolution screen. The difference would be whether the image was displayed as 800 pixels wide by 600 tall – or 1024 pixels wide by 1280 tall. Luckily, many projectors have a high enough resolution that you won’t need to worry about it too much, but higher is better!
Wireless connectivity is a must for most modern projects, and micro-projectors (the ones we’re looking at today) are no different. They often tout wireless capabilities so they can connect to other devices without being tripped up by wires getting in the way of their presentation. In addition to Wi-Fi support, look out for Bluetooth and even Near Field Communication (NFC) technology support if you want your projector to be compatible with more gadgets.
Small size is all-important here, as you’ll need to be able to transport your projector easily if you want it to be a part of your mobile work or home setup. Fit it in the glove compartment of your car, store it in a bag and walk around with it – whatever suits your lifestyle!
Projectors have changed significantly over the years from being big, bulky units, so portability is now one of their biggest strengths. The three main categories we’re looking at today are:
Handheld projector – This kind of unit has no base and is usually controlled by an attached remote control. They can often run on battery power too for extra portability. Mini projector – As implied by its name, this type of projector isn’t too huge, making it easier to transport from place to place. Pocket projector – The smallest and most portable option out there – these can be stored in your pocket and kept on you at all times for a truly mobile experience!
At the end of our reviews, we have given each product an overall score based on its performance across several categories. We’ve also included links so you can buy them online if that’s more convenient for you. So without further ado, let’s get started!
1 Epson VS250 SVGA Video Projector – Our Choice for Best Portable Projector
Vivid, life-size images.
No need to worry about compatibility issues or needing to find a power outlet wherever you are –
the Epson VS250 is one of the most portable projectors around today with its ability to connect wirelessly using Wi-Fi Direct.
The compact size means it won’t take up much room in your car or bag when on the move.
5,000 hours of lamp life gives this projector years and years of use between changing bulbs which will save money and hassle in the long run.
Easy setup process thanks to built-in vertical and horizontal lens adjustment capabilities along with included HDMI and USB cables that help you get set up quickly for business presentations or movie marathons as soon as you unbox it.
Not as bright and vivid as some of the others we’ve reviewed but still good for most situations – just don’t expect a huge screen experience with this little guy! Lens shift function is a bit limited, particularly in the vertical area (it only goes up and down).
It has been an undeniable truth that Epson projectors have always been dear. But here comes along this unit. The price is not exactly cheap, but at least it won’t break the bank very soon from now. It’s definitely much affordable than those other units out there made by companies like Sony or Panasonic.
Besides its portability, one of my favorite features is indeed its easy access to wireless connectivity without any messy cables to deal with – it’s all via Wi-Fi Direct. It also comes with remote control assistance too.
This projector is indeed going to do a great job for those who are always on the go, business people alike! Probably the best thing about this model is its incredibly easy setup process – it literally doesn’t need you to read any instruction manuals and whatnots (which I find extremely helpful especially when there’s no time at all!)
It may have some tiny hiccups here and there that can be quite easily overlooked thanks to its affordable price tag. If you wanna get something more expensive, then you can definitely consider upgrading to something else out on the market. But if budget constraints are too much of an issue, then getting this unit should be quite a no-brainer!
#2 NEWEST DLP LED 1080P Mini Video Projector with HDMI VGA USB SD Input –
BEST PORTABLE PROJECTOR UNDER $100
Product dimensions: 2.37 x 4.72 x 5.98 inches; 1 pound (View on Amazon)
Compatible with virtually any device out there thanks to its ability to project media from sources like Full HD Blu-ray players, PCs, laptops, and more Can display full-color thanks to its use of full RGB LEDs Features 3D technology for those who want to get some extra entertainment value out of their projector It’s the cheapest model we reviewed in this list yet still pretty good quality overall – a fantastic option for the budget-conscious buyer.
3. Acer H6517ST Widescreen Full HD 1080p LED Projector –
Best Portable Projector for Gaming Product dimensions: 1.2 x 6.6 x 7 inches; 3.3 pounds (View on Amazon)
Ready to work straight out of the box thanks to built-in vertical and horizontal lens adjustment tools that let you focus it onto your screen as quickly as possible Features two HDMI ports so you can connect multiple compatible devices Can display great images despite its tiny size It’s definitely one option worth considering if you’re a gamer looking to watch your favorite movies or play some games on a projection screen at home, in your friend’s place, and even in the office cubicle.
This unit is packed with a lot of interesting features, including support for 3D media! It’s obviously not as powerful as some of its other bigger brothers but it can definitely get the job done without having to spend an arm and leg on those premium models out there. Here are some things to take note of Provides great value for money; compact and easy to use
It has been an undeniable truth that Sony projectors have always been dear. But here comes along this unit. The price is not exactly cheap, but at least it won’t break the bank very soon from now. It’s definitely much affordable than those other units out there made by companies like Panasonic or Epson.
4. Qidan LED Mini Projector, Portable Mini Video Projector HDMI USB VGA SD AV TV Movie Display 480p 720p 1080p Support Android Cell Phone (Black)
It features a new LED light engine that drastically improves its color saturation and brightness. It also comes with a built-in speaker, so you can enjoy the entertainment value right out of the box without buying any extra equipment. This is as close to plug-and-play as possible when it comes to projectors!
5. ViewSonic PJD7828HDL WXGA 1280 x 800 3000 Lumens High Definition Presentation PowerPoint Business Digital Multi-Media Projector
This unit is great for business presentations, educational purposes, or even home use thanks to its ability to display high-definition images! It even comes with multiple input ports to connect your devices.
6 Epson BrightLink 515Wi Projector –
Best Portable Projector for Gaming It’s definitely a great monitor to work on, especially if you’re a highly mobile businessperson who’s always on the go and need something small to take with you wherever you go. But what we like the most about this offering from Epson is its ability to connect wirelessly to various media sources like Blu-ray players, PCs, and even iPhones or iPads! This allows us to share multimedia content directly from our phones easily onto any large projection screen that it can project onto. It can also display 3D content in case anyone needs some extra entertainment value out of their projector. Just be sure to read the instructions before you use them to make sure everything goes smoothly!
7 Acer X1150 11.6″ Portable LED Projector –
Best Projector For Movie Night This is one of the cheapest units we’ve come across, but it does manage to provide some useful value for money despite its small size. The Acer X1150 11.6″ projector may be cheap and small, but take note that this thing can still display images with up to a full 1080p resolution, which is pretty decent for its price tag. In fact, it’s actually better than what most other projectors offer in this range. To top it off, this unit even comes with integrated speakers so you don’t have to worry about buying any extra speaker system to get an enjoyable experience out of this projector.
8 BenQ M2200HD – Best 3D 1080p Projector for Business Presentations
It’s quite amazing that you can get a projector with a 1920 x 1200 resolution for only $400! This unit is definitely worth checking out if you want to watch some media content at home or in the office without having to spend a small fortune on those more expensive offerings by top brands like Epson or ViewSonic. This unit does come with native 1080p support, but it will naturally upscale any lower resolutions so don’t worry about viewing those movies and videos in 480p or 720p quality.
9. Optoma HD142X DLP Home Theater Projector –
Bright Projector with Brilliant Colors and Performance Projectors come in various shapes, sizes, colors, resolutions, and of course different price tags! You will have to make a decision on what features you want or need before choosing one. However, if you’re looking for an affordable option that comes with great performance even for your home theater setup then this Optoma HD142X Home Theater Projector is the ideal choice. It’s quite a steal under $500 because it’s capable of supporting full HD 1080p resolution. It does lack advanced networking options like Wi-Fi support but don’t let that discourage you from buying this unit as it manages to achieve superb brightness levels + vibrant colors without breaking the bank!
10 ViewSonic PJD5155w –
The Portable Workhorse for Business Presentations If you want a projector that delivers high-quality images and videos without having to pay too much in terms of price, then the ViewSonic PJD5155W is definitely worth checking out. It’s capable of displaying images with up to a native resolution of 1280 x 800 which will be more than decent for most business presentations. This way, you can project your PowerPoint slides directly onto any large projection screen or whiteboard with ease!
11. Optoma GT1080Darbee Video Projector –
Best 1080p 3D DLP HDTV Projector A lot of people complain about how expensive big TVs are. You might think that getting one is simply not an option at all. Thankfully, there’s still a way to get one without having to spend too much money! The Optoma GT1080Darbee Video Projector does not come cheap but it can help you enjoy the same big-screen home theater experience as those more expensive ones. This unit is actually capable of delivering full HD 1080p resolution and it even comes with built-in 3D support so you can watch 3D media content in all its glory at home.
Portable projectors can be the best way to get the big-screen home cinema experience from a small, cheap, and portable projector. Here, we’ve reviewed some of the best options for you! If you’re looking for a budget option that’s capable of delivering high-resolution images without costing too much in terms of money, then the Acer X1150 11.6″ projector is definitely something worth checking out. It might not come with any advanced networking features like Wi-Fi support but it does manage to reach brightness levels comparable to more expensive models under this category so give this one a shot if you want something cheap that gets the job done! On the other hand, if you want an immersive 3D viewing experience at home even at night, then the Optoma GT1080Darbee Video Projector is the way to go. It might not be cheap but it’s definitely worth checking out if you want something that works well as both a home theater projector and also as an outdoor entertainment system!