Update 2017: The best projector (under $500) for most people is the iRulu BL20. (Review soon to be added to this guide.)
With recent technological evolutions, the use of projectors has increased drastically over the last decade. The very idea of a projector is to ‘project’, or in simpler words, ‘display’ information, be it a presentation, images, videos, graphics and what not. Extensive technical advancement has now introduced many different versions and models of projectors, and with every progressing day, newer, more refined and sleek designs are pouring into the market. So now choosing a projector which best fits your needs has not only become difficult, it has almost become impossible with a gazillion of options to choose from!
This article aims at narrowing your choices down to the most optimum ones, the ones which are guaranteed to satisfy your needs. In addition, this article not only helps you choose a projector from a million choices, it takes into account the money factor as well and so we’ve narrowed down our suggestions to the ones under $500 to help make your decision much simpler!
Quick Picks: The Best Projectors Under $500
|Best Projectors Under $500||Overall Ratings||Relative Price|
|1. RIF6 Cube 2-inch Mobile Projector||A||$$$$$$|
|2. iClever IC-P01||B||$$|
|3. Mileagea LED Projector||A||$$|
|4. Crenova XPE460||A+||$$|
|5. Taotaole Multimedia WXGA||A||$$$$|
Factors to take into consideration before purchasing
Ever since the technological boom in the recent years, projectors have come to be more affordable than ever, but even as of yet, there are many considerations to be taken into account to make sure that you pick out just the right projector to suit your needs. Below are discussed some of the several factors that are likely to affect your purchase decision, ranging from personal usage to technical specifications.
Entertainment or business?
If you are looking a projector to display stationary images, PowerPoint presentations or statistical data, then search for projectors in the business category. For full motion videos, video games or movies, however, it is more appropriate to for projectors under the home category.
Indoor or outdoor?
An all-purpose outdoor projector works equally well indoors as well with the exception of a few subtle differences. An outdoor projector increased brightness, high resolution, and contrast in comparison to medium-to-low brightness and resolution for indoor projectors to boost image quality. As for indoor projectors, the noise that it makes while operating amplifies indoors and thus, a projector which caters to all these specifications is the one that you should choose.
It is always advisable that you consider the customer reviews of the projector and analyze its cost of repair and installation before making any real installation of your projector.
Portability and cost?
If in search of a move-around projector, then keep the size of the projector as small as possible for easy transportation. On the other hand, for a one-time fixed installation, projector size needs not to be considered.
It is always considered a best practice for any buyer to formulate a price range which he/she must adhere to, thus making their purchase much more economical in addition to intelligence. As of the year 2016, some modest projectors can be found for as little as $300 but for a projector with decent quality and features, the price range is $400 – $600. Bear in mind that you need to reserve some money for the audio and screen installation setup as well!
Come to talk about the technical specifications of a projector and your list won’t seem to end. However, since this article is crafted keeping in mind the needs of a layman more than a professional, it is best that you ask your seller to point those projectors out for you whose resolution, brightness, zoom range, contrast ratio, the right technology/model and connectivity etc. fits your needs just appropriately.
Best Projectors Under $500 Reviews
RIF6 Cube 2-inch Mobile Projector
- 20k hour LED light
- 120 – inch display
- Portable & rechargeable
- Includes HDMI cables and tripod
Compact and portable, the Cube can be connected anywhere and anytime with phones, tablets, laptops and gaming consoles to give you an uninterrupted stream of unparalleled entertainment. However paradoxical the size of the Cube maybe with its functionality, equipped with the most user-friendly interface, the Cube provides you with an open door to limitless fun and a whole new perspective about the media world!
Customer reviews reveal that many users found RIF-6 cube as an excellent mobile projector. For the ones who are on the road a lot, it has become a permanent travel gear for them. For not-so-tech-savvy users, it’s convenient and practical interface makes its use much more feasible. Using it while it’s charging enables the user to operate it even past the standardized 90-minute battery life. Many found its aluminum exterior a welcome change from the former plastic-bodied projectors. The downside of the Cube is that you cannot zoom in or out the displayed image but this factor is ruled out by the compact size of the projector which makes it easy to move the projector and adjust the image.
With so much fun packed in something so little, purchasing it is a must!
iClever IC-P01 Multimedia Mini LED HD Portable Projector
- Package contents include Mini LED Projector, AV signal cable, Power Cable, User manual & warranty card
- Lamp life: 20k hours
- Operation mode: manual remote control
- Resolution: 800 x 480 & Image size: 20 – 80 inches
- Power consumption: 38 W & Net weight: 1 kg
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 3.15 inch
Compact and portable, iClever displays high-quality images and is easy to use and connect. It works best for outdoor purposes and entertainment. Its small size, portability and light weight makes iClever an excellent product.
Mileagea LED Projector Mini Portable Multimedia 1080P
- Based on Wi-Fi direct technology
- Built-in speakers
Easy to use and move around, Mileagea LED projectors to provide clear image display equipped with portability and user-friendly interface with a slight downside that relatively dark rooms are required to ensure sharp and contrasting pictorial display.
With so much in so little, this is a must buy for anyone trying to keep their finances in check!
Crenova XPE460 LED Video Projector 1080P 1200 Lumens Office Projector
- Enhanced LED light technology
- Portable in size and exquisite design
- High-quality glass lens to ensure image’s clarity
- Lamp life: 30k hours
- Free HDMI cable
Stylishly designed and brilliantly invented, Crenova projectors come in portable sizes which can easily be handled single-handedly. To ensure high image quality, glass lens has been used instead of a conventional plastic lens. With the LED’s lamp’s lifetime of up to 30,000 hours and 70% energy saving techniques applied, it is sure to satisfy every user’s needs effectively. Crenova XPE460 LED Video Projector can be used both indoors and outdoors for both professional and entertainment purposes.
CiBest® Portable LED Pico Projector
- Upgraded LED technology
This projector requires dimly lit rooms to fully function. It works best for outdoor purposes, for parties, home entertainment, video games and movies. This economical projector is better suited to spacious rooms where the fan noise can be covered.
Customer’s feedback reflects overall satisfaction with this purchase because of its compact size and it’s compatibility with different input mediums.
Taotaole Multimedia WXGA 720p HD LCD LED Video Projectors
Light weight and sleekly designed, Taotaole projectors are guaranteed to project high definition images and with all those up-to-date controls and features, this species of projectors constitutes as simply one of the best of its kind.
ViewSonic PJD5555W WXGA DLP Projector
- Lamp life: 10k hours
A technology designed to deliver rich, vibrantly colored images; ViewSonic projectors feature a user-friendly and intuitive design. Equipped with SonicExpert Technology and smart design, these ranges of projectors include integrated speakers that have the audience spellbound with the immersive sound system and expertly hides unwanted and unsightly cables. Combined with 3D Blu-ray Ready HDMI Input, balanced color, and resolutions, and an industry-leading warranty, this projector has all that you could ever wish to see in a projector.
Frequently Asked Questions
Be it for business or educational purposes, it is always worth knowing what specifications and features should it support for it to be just the right choice.
How bright should my projector be?
The brightness of a projector is measured in lumens. Home theater projectors should be about 1000 lumens with all-purpose indoor projectors should measure about 1500 lumens. However, general-purpose outdoor projectors should range from 2500 lumens upwards to 3000 lumens.
How much do I need to know about image quality?
The three most important factors that affect image quality are native material, source material, and contrast ratio. As of now, Wide XGA (1280 x 800) and HD (1920 x 1080) are some of the resolutions most commonly found in home theater projectors. As for the native resolution of your projector, to obtain best results, it should complement the source material of the make and model. Contrast ratio refers to the gray areas in image projections. Ranging from 2000:1 to 10,000:1, any ratio which fits best to your needs is the one you should select.
What do I need to know about lamp life?
Typical lamp usually last between 2000-4000 hours. A lamp with longer life dictates to less maintenance cost.
Should I install my projector or set it on a tabletop?
Whether you mount the projector on the ceiling or place it on a table top, this part of your purchase decision should be made from early on because installing and then readjusting sometimes reduces the projector’s efficiency and decreases their lifetime quality. Also, this factor weighs heavily on what specific model of the projector you are going to buy.
With the current rate with which new and updated models of projectors are pouring into the market, it’s no news that you’d rather stick your head in the mud than to put your finger on the specific make and model of the projector for your purchase. This article is designed keeping in mind the needs of a dilettante who has no previous experience in technological buying or selling. I hope this article constitutes as a complete guide to assist you in your projector purchase process and may you have a fun-filled and thrilling experience with your brand new projector!
Any feedback or queries would be highly appreciated!
- Quick Picks: The Best Projectors Under $500
- Factors to take into consideration before purchasing
- Best Projectors Under $500 Reviews
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How bright should my projector be?
- How much do I need to know about image quality?
- What do I need to know about lamp life?
- Should I install my projector or set it on a tabletop?