From teaching to camping, meeting to an outing, projectors are an integral part of our daily life. In education, entertainment, and office meetings, good quality projectors can lead us better and detailed understanding of a science project, thrilling & colorful experience of NBA game, or easier client management. Where business and backing up your favorite teams are at stake, you can't compromise a projector's quality. As we all know, projectors are not regular stuff to buy, so we need proper knowledge and expert guidance before making any purchase decision. So, here we are to solve all the mazes and delve deeper into the best projectors under 500.
Ah! Wait, at the end of this review, don’t be shy to call yourself a projector geek!
Top 10 Best Projectors under $500 in 2020
1. GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Projector:
A couple of weeks back, my basketball teammate, a buddy came to me for a suggestion on best budget 1080p projector, as he was excited to celebrate his team’s winning moments on a widescreen (sadly, his team lost the game!!). Undoubtedly, I told him to go for GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Projector. With excellent brightness, contrast ratio, and broader view, I must say it is one of the best 1080p projectors under 500.
A few years back, it was quite unimaginable to get a premium projector like this one at this price. This model has been released in 2020 and upgraded multi-folds from the GooDee HD Video Projector's previous version.
The current version's contrast ratio is 3000:1, well capable of handling poor-quality input images into better ways. This contrast edges over low light conditions, like when we are camping outside, the streaming quality will remain the same as indoor. Brightness is about 300 ANSI lumen. It supports native video resolution up to 1280*768p. The latest cooling technology has been applied to GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Projector. It supports royal size screen about 230" and has a built-in SRS sound system. This sound system is second best after Dolby Atmos. It has a couple of HDMI & USB ports and VGA & AV single port of each, connecting to any two-way communicable digital devices. You will get five years of manufacturer support while purchasing the product.
Feature & service wise values of this product are very high. With this price range it’s a win-win deal for me.
2. Anker Nebula Capsule, Portable, 100 Inch Picture Projector:
Anker, launched Nebula Capsule in the market in October 2017. Interestingly, at the same time frame, they also launched its Pro version. By means of sales, popularity, and durability, Pro version lost its ground against the base version.
First thing, it’s a portable projector. Nebula Capsule adopts DLP projection technology and Android 7.1 Operating System. The screen resolution is 854x480 (16:9), which is not technically a HD resolution, but it performs better than some so-called "Best Projectors Under 500$". Projection area ranged from 20-100, brightness strength around 100 ANSI Lumen, and adheres with a 360° sound system.
What else do we need from a portable budget projector? You will say, it’s enough to grab this projector right now. But wait, don’t forget, we need one more thing from a portable projector. Yes, Battery backup and charging capacity. It supports four hours playtime in battery mode and very fast (2.5 hours-full Battery) charging capacity. Like other projectors, it supports input through HDMI port, USB port, Bluetooth & Wi-Fi enabled devices, and Screen Mirroring. Last but not least, it offers 30000 hours of lamp life and 12 months service warranty from the manufacturer.
It's a must-buy product for who needs to travel a lot. Also, a good collection for marketing teams or clubs. One of the best portable projectors under 500 and worth every penny of its price.
3. VANKYO Performance V600 Native 1080P LED Projector:
If you are looking for a premium quality projector, VANKYO performance V600 LED Projector is perfect for you. It offers 1920*1080 native resolution, 5000:1 contrast ratio, LCD display, detailed image processing, impeccable video streaming quality, and display size up to 300".
Outstanding lamp quality, transmission doesn't scatter by natural light particles. The lamp has an extended life of about 11000 hours. It has a manual Vertical-Keystone slider capable of precise adjustment of squaring the image. High performance built-in single speaker will blow your mind, and you will not even need an external speaker.
You can even adjust the projection stream by the manual focus and size screen as required. The VANKYO Performance V600 has a couple of HDMI ports, a single separated port of VGA & USB, with one audio jack port for external speakers. Suppose you have already decided to buy this projector, more good news for you. VANKYO offers ninety (90) days free return with a full refund and three years of free repair & customer support.
Great device for the office or business presentation, scientific seminar, and academic purposes
4. EPSON Home Cinema 2150 Wireless 1080p Miracast:
EPSON always has been the market leader of digital devices like cameras and projectors. Home Cinema 2150 projector is EPSON's flagship item. Excellent projector, it has excellent contrast, and the menu bar interface looks very sharp and user-friendly.
It has full HD 1080p resolution, brightness about 2500 lumens, and contrast ratio 6000:1. Eventually, you will get 1080P streaming up to eleven (11) feet or more distances. This projector is assimilated with 3LCD technology, which nullifies the possibilities of rainbow effect. Colour contrast and light output comply with ISO 21118, and it's a benchmark standard for color channel transmission and resolution.
Overall, it's a third-party, verified, and certified product. Amazon backs this product with 90 days refund or replacement guarantee if you are not satisfied.
For movie lovers, it is an automatic choice, and frankly, it even looks better than in the cinema. Also, EPSON Home Cinema 2150 will increase your gaming experiences. It will exceed your expectations, an excellent price for what it offers.
5. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector:
Diversified audio-visual experiences are the prime deliverables of ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA. This projector can project from 15 feet distance by not compromising resolution or picture quality.
It has a native 1280x800 resolution and a contrast of 3600 Lumens. The design of the product is very stylish and has a user-friendly interface. Undoubtedly, with superior lamp quality and longer lamp life, it's the best HD projector under 500. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA projector is incorporated with two major cutting-edge features. First, SuperEco – extended overall lamp life and 70% power saving capacity when running on battery, and second is SuperColor technology. With SuperColor technology, you will get diverse lifelike color experiences. You will get extensive connectivity features, including single HDMI input, a couple of VGA input, composite Video, single VGA output, and superior audio input and output.
Upon purchasing the ViewSonic PA503W, you will get parts and labor coverage for three years, the First year of lamp coverage, and consulting services with ViewSonic customer support team.
Great choice for companies, travel agencies, and schools.
6. BenQ MW535A 1080p Supported WXGA 3600 Lumens:
BenQ MW535A is a smartly designed and technologically advanced projector. This projector has a DLP projection with WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution. It can stream 120 inches image from about 13 feet distance and, most importantly, with rigorous 15000:1 contrast.
With excellent picture quality and eye-soothing appearances, you will not get any eye irritation or dizziness after a long presentation or movie. The device has three changeable stands, Vertical-keystone and 1.2X zoom capacity for easier and smooth installation. It has a couple of HDMI &VGA port and standard audio input-output. It offers 15000 hours of lamp life. BenQ
MW535A has all the required features to be the best projector 1080p projector under 500, but it has some flaws. The built-in speaker sound is low, and it has an inferior cooling system. The cooling fan is noisy, and the cooling system gets hotter if not placed on a higher space.
Great device for regular use as its lamp life is pretty higher than other 1080p projectors under 500. Not advisable if you are planning to use it in outdoor functions.
7. Epson VS250 SVGA 3,200 Lumens:
Before going to the technical analysis of this projector, I would like to share a story with you guys.
My brother is a school teacher residing in California. I am quoting him precisely what he had to say about this projector, "My brother chose this projector because I honestly do not know much about projectors. I teach classes in a school where I have to fight for the few functional projectors, and finally, I decided to buy mine. Just after my first class, I liked it a lot because I had NO problem, despite it was daytime, the image was visible, also an excellent remote-control facility to control the image and audio output". Clearly, he describes projectors a lot better than me.
It has a display resolution of 800 x 600 and 3200 Lumen contrast. Supports inputs from all the latest electronic devices. Finally, the set-up and installation procedure are very user-friendly if you never touched a projector before you can easily install and operate it.
Note: If you want to connect a Chromecast and want the output from external speakers then you will have to purchase one HDMI Audio Splitter Extractor. Otherwise, the sound will come out of the projector.
For teaching purpose, obviously it is the best projector under 500. Easy to use, simple functions and serves the purpose.
8. ViewSonic PX700HD 1080p Projector with 3500 Lumens DLP 3D
Here comes my personal favorite projector. Last month, I bought this to play "Ghost of Tsushima" on my play station. Wow! I can’t believe, ViewSonic PX700HD has reduced input latency in three folds! Awesome!! To clarify, it reduces the time between input command and output execution. It can process three times faster input than regular projectors at about 16ms speed. The experience is incredible. You will get a color blast, supreme gameplay feelings.
Not only that, but you will also get 90% theatre-like experiences while watching a movie or Netflix. It also supports the 3D view. Night or day, light or dark, the performance of ViewSonic PX700HD is always constant. I am enjoying the full HD experience with an original resolution of 1920x1080. Screen size is extendable from 30" to 300". Ah! The brightness, superb quality with 3,500 ANSI Lumens. Throw distance of this projector ranged from 4.2 – 46.9 ft. Overall, it is one of the best projectors under 500$.
With super gaming experiences, I would say it’s a gamming edition projector. ViewSonic PX700HD is the best 1080p projector under 500 for gaming and home theatre.
9. Optoma HD143X 1080p Home Theatre Projector:
Super quality sharp high definition image with excellent contrast, Optoma HD143X 1080p Home Theatre Projector is a dream device for movieholics and gamers. One can have the most exceptional cinematic experiences with extraordinary resolution & brightness and outstanding smooth video quality.
Optoma HD143X offers a contrast ratio of 23000:1. Lamp life of this projector also great with heavy duty service. If you watch movies for 2 hours a day, the lamp will last for ten years! An adjustable zooming facility and excellent throw ratio make it even better for gaming and streaming.
You can zoom the stream about 1.1 times and get a wide throw range of 1.47 - 1.62. With this facility, you can set up the projector at any convenient space. Also, you will get full 3D features with it. Optoma HD143X has a pair of HDMI and USB inputs. These inputs will provide easy connectivity to excellent quality, high definition video rendering devices, and various gaming consoles. The cooler of the projector also very efficient, keeps the internal accessories at sound conditions.
It’s a multipurpose projector. This particular projector can be used in any sector. The design & feature of this projector suits office and business presentations as well. Most importantly, it’s a heavenly projector for movie lovers and gamers. Optoma HD143X is the best budget projector under 500 with maximum features.
10. Optoma HD28HDR Theater 4K Projector for Gaming and Movies
This projector is the technological beast and best 4K projector under 500. The features Optoma HD28HDR offer to its users cannot be found in even 1000$ projectors. You will get 1920×1080 images along with 4K input support. Impressive contract ratio will blow your mind, can you imagine 50000:1 contrast with this price range? Its rally unimaginable. It is the best 4K projector under 500. Incredible HDR technology will enhance white to brighter white and black edges to deeper black. This is called color corrections. It supports 6-ways colour channels to provide viewers unique and detailed streaming experiences. It can process three times faster input than regular projectors at about 16ms speed. Rapid image processing and image enhancement technologies will amuse gamers. Higher lamp life of about 15000 hours will save your money for the upcoming ten years! So, Cheers!!
There is no alternative projector of Optoma HD28HDR Theatre 4K for gamers and movie lovers. This model of Optoma is best choice for budget home theatre and projector.
A perfect projector for you can be varied according to your purpose and demand. Firstly, we need to understand what are the prerequisites of a standard projector. An excellent projector should have an easy user interface to operate.
Resolution and contrast depend on your intended use of the projector. If you plan to buy a projector for school or company (Small businesses), then resolution 800 x 600 is more than OK.
For extraordinary gaming and home theatre experiences, you must buy a 1080p projector. Another vital issue is the contrast ratio. Of course, higher the contrast more, you will get a detailed view of the image. Brightness is a critical factor. Contrast and brightness influence each other to provide the best user experience. Some projector can provide excellent services on daylight or artificial light condition, whereas others fails. Without technical explanation, if you ask for standard brightness and contrast, then I would say, intensity equals or above 3500 is very good. But remember, again, it depends on your purpose. In general, higher contrast will drive white color channels to whiter and black color channels to darker, ultimately will lead to enhance the picture and viewing quality.
The lamp is the heart of a projector. Often, manufacturers don't brag about their lamp quality. All they say about the lamp is, it has “extended life''. Yes, lamp life is an important feature, but lamp quality is most important. Some technological advancement is ongoing on improving the projector lamp, and until then we need to focus on the lamp life, before buying a projector. A simple calculation, if a manufacturer declares a lamp life of 15000 hours, you will get on an average 20% less than that.
Adjusting features are pretty much similar for all kinds of projectors. You will get adjustable bottom legs, zoom in or out facility, auto or manual focus, vertical-keystone, etc. Adjustable legs are used to adjust the throw direction of projection. Typically, you will get a 1.1X zooming facility, which is about par. Sadly, you will not get a horizontal-keystone adjustment feature in the projectors under 500.
Input ports/options are generally HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. A couple of HDMI and USB port will serve most of your regular purposes. Modern projectors usually have built-in Wi-Fi signal receptors.
The built-in sound system of projectors is not much of use. Projector's speaker will serve the everyday purposes of small/regular events but will not satisfy movie lovers or gamers' quests. Whatever, the manufacturers explain about their projectors sound system, it’s just a fluke. If you want to enjoy stereo or home theatre quality sound, you must add your external speaker with the projector.
Friendly Asked Questions:
Answer: It denotes the estimated longevity of the projector’s projection capacity.
Answer: It’s an extra facility some projectors have, but not a compulsory one.
Answer: Well, again it depends on the purpose. Of course, the answer will be different for educational purpose and gaming consoles.
Answer: Relax. It’s easy. First, determine the purpose for what you want to buy the projector. Then, fix a budget. Now, check out “Our Verdict” sections of this review. Ta-Da!! you will surely have your answer.
Finally, I hope this guide will help you select the best budget projector under 500$. One final tip, due to rapid technical advancement, streaming quality upgrades very rapidly, and we need to buy such a projector that will be compatible with upcoming technologies after 4K. All the HD/1080p/4K projectors we have mentioned in this review are well capable of doing so.