Best budget projectors: our top picks and buying guide

Looking for the best projector with a budget of £200, £300 or less? Under £500? Read my reviews below and find out more about prices! + Don’t buy a projector without reading my guide below!

When the home cinema experience first became possible for the home market, projectors were prohibitively expensive for many people. Today, there is a range of projectors available at prices to suit all budgets. As with all appliances, the prospective buyer should do their own research to find the model most suited to their needs and the space they have available. However, whilst projectors retailing for under £200 can give great results it would be unreasonable to expect them to perform to the standard of more expensive units. 

Medium price range

Those prepared to pay something in between the £200 to £500 bracket for a projector should also do their research. Projectors are like most other things, you get what you pay for. So in this price range, it is not unreasonable to expect a good 3D experience and wireless connectivity to a range of devices. It should be easy to connect devices such as Xbox’s, iPhones, PS4, etc. Buyers should expect flawless performance in terms of brightness, colour, sound reproduction, build quality, ease of adjustment particularly when approaching the top of the price range. The following reviews should help inform choice.

Our selection of the best projectors available in the UK market in 2020!

1. APEMAN Portable Mini Projector 4500 Lumens

2. ELEPHAS Projector, 5000 Lumens HD Video Projector

3. GooDe e HD Video Projector 6800 Lux

4. WiMiUS P20 Projector 1080P

5. ELEPHAS Mini Portable Projector

1 - APEMAN Portable Mini Projector 4500 Lumens

APEMAN Portable Mini Projector 4500 Lumens
Best For Home Theaters in a Dark Environment

Type: LCD | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Brightness: 4500 Lumens | Contrast Ratio: 2000:1 | Max Projection Size: 180” | Video Inputs: HDMI, VGA, USB, Micro SD, RCA | Built-in Speakers: Yes | Dimensions: 19.7 x 16.6 x 6 cm

In our opinion, the APEMAN portable mini projector is the best budget projector on the market. When comparing features, you wouldn’t think this projector is one of the most budget-friendly options because it rivals theatre models that are much more expensive.

Right off the bat, the brightness is rated at 4500 lumens, making it brighter than 80% of mini-projectors. The maximum resolution is 1080P and it can easily handle resolutions below that. The good news is it has a maximum projection size of 180” making it perfect for home theatres or even outdoor viewings.

Now on to the technical details. Usually, budget mini projectors don’t have many connection options, but this model supports HDMI, VGA, USB, Micro SD, and even RCA. In short, it supports practically every device. Overall, highly recommended for the price. It’s a steal.

 

2 - ELEPHAS Projector, 5000 Lumens HD Video Projector

ELEPHAS Projector, 5000 Lumens HD Video Projector
Suitable For: Outdoors

Type: TFT LCD | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Brightness: 5000 Lumens | Contrast Ratio: 3000:1 | Max Projection Size: 200” | Video Inputs: HDMIx2, VGA, AV, Micro SD | Built-in Speakers: Yes | Dimensions: 31 x 23 x 12 cm

While the Elephas Compact Projector isn’t the most budget-friendly choice, it does provide plenty of additional features and specs. For starters, it’s quite bright, rated at 5,000 Lumens. It also has a large maximum projection size, up to 200 cm, and the 3000:1 contrast ratio is great too.

The projector’s native resolution is 1280×800 but it can support up to 1080P. In the box, you’ll find an HDMI and AV cable, along with remote control, lens cap, and a manual. One cool thing about this projector is the lamp life is rated at 50,000 hours, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Overall, it’s a great mid-range projector, suitable for outdoors. The brightness level is the best feature of this projector. Most customers report bright and vivid colours. Since it’s quite bright, I recommend this projector for outdoors.

 

3 - GooDee HD Video Projector 6800 Lux

GooDee HD Video Projector 6800 Lux
Best for: Gaming

Type: LCD | Resolution: 1920×1080 Full HD| Brightness: 6800 Lumens | Contrast Ratio: 7000:1 | Max Projection Size: 300” | Video Inputs: HDMIx2, 2xUSB, VGA, AV, | Built-in Speakers: Yes | Dimensions: 31 x 25 x 10.8 cm

The GooDee HD video projector is another model that packs a punch. To start with, it’s got a brightness rating of 6800 Lux, making it the brightest projector on our list. While it’s not the cheapest option, the extra brightness is well worth it.

On top of that, it supports up to 1080 Full HD and it has a 7000:1 contrast ratio, very respectable. The maximum projection size is 300” although the images are clearer with a smaller projection size.

The best feature of this projector is the brightness. The brightness makes it suitable for almost any purpose, home cinemas, outdoors, business, and even playing video games. Personally, I feel like this projector would work best for gaming because the brightness creates vivid and clear images.

Overall, the GooDee HD video projector is a great choice.

 

4 - WiMiUS P20 Projector 1080P

WiMiUS P20 Projector 1080P
Best For Bluray Movies or Long Viewing Sessions

Type: LCD | Resolution: 1920×1080 Full HD| Brightness: 6500 Lumens | Contrast Ratio: 7000:1 | Max Projection Size: 300” | Video Inputs: HDMIx2, 2xUSB, VGA, AV| Built-in Hi-Fi Speakers: Yes |

The WiMiUS P20 is another jaw-dropping mid-range projector. The brightness is great, rated at 6500 lumens, it has a native 1080P resolution, and a 7000:1 contrast ratio, everything that you need for a sharp and crisp image.

One notable feature of this projector is it comes with an electronic keystone and zoom correction function. You can easily make adjustments to the image without physically moving the projector via remote control or the buttons on the top of the device. Additionally, the LED lamp is rated at 70,000 hours with a 3-year warranty. You won’t be replacing this projector any time soon.

Since this projector has a unique dual-fan cooling and ventilation system, it would be suitable for long viewing sessions, such as in a bar or restaurant for customers. People who have bought this model say it’s best for Bluray movies too.

 

5 - ELEPHAS Mini Portable Projector

ELEPHAS Mini Portable Projector
Best Features: Lightweight, Tiny, and Wi-fi.

Type: DLP | Resolution: 1080 Full HD| Brightness: 3500 Lumens | Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 | Video Inputs: HDMIx1, USBx1, 3.5mm | Built-in Speakers: Yes | Wi-Fi | Dimensions: 10x10x3 cm | Max projection size: 100”

Since the Elephas Mini Portable Projector is very small and lightweight (282 grams) you might not expect much from it but for such a tiny device, it does a great job.

This pocket-sized projector has a native resolution of 480P and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. While the specs aren’t the best, there are some other features that make it worth a look.

For instance, it’s got built-in Wi-fi with screen-mirroring functions. What this means is you can connect and mirror the screen of your phone to the projector over the Wi-fi. No need for HDMI to USB C adapters. It also has two built-in apps, YouTube and Koala.

Another great feature of this mini projector is it supports 3D movies. So you just need to grab a pair of 3D glasses and you create your own 3D home cinema experience.

Projectors and Their Different Uses

Before purchasing a projector, it is important to understand there are multiple things that you might be considering to do with it. Therefore, we thought that it would be important to separate the most common uses of projectors to give an idea of what is needed for each. If you do not see the projector use that you are planning, you can leave a message or send us an email to get further assistance.

Portable Projectors

If you have a need to be able to move your projector from place to place when deciding upon projectors, then the most efficient one would be a portable projector. Generally, these projects are small and can be carried in a single hand and even put into a backpack for portability. They are also lightweight, which makes them ideal for anyone travelling, that has to constantly put together equipment from place to place.

Compared to home models, these projectors are the smallest, on the market, and they are recommended for presentations for small groups of people or when the room is going to small.

Home Theatre Projectors

A home theatre projector project some of the largest images. Some of them can project images that are 36 times larger than a TV with a 50″ screen. The main use of this type of projector is to create your own home theatre, and they provide excellent details in dark colours. They have good colour saturation, and they provide a quality level of imagery that makes games and movies more exciting.

These projectors work best when you are able to control the lights both inside and outside of the room because it helps to simulate an authentic cinema environment. However, some of these projectors allow you to control the brightness of the image, which can help if you have little or no control of the lighting screens. This combined with the investment of a reflective screen, the overall quality of your experience will be improved, regardless of the environment.

Some home theatre models come with HDMI ports that allow for easy connection, and they are designed for good picture quality when used on larger screens. Another key feature of these projectors is that their coolers are silent, which helps reduce the background noise, allowing you to fully enjoy your games and movies, without the extra noise.

Business Projectors

For anyone that has a commercial or corporate focus for getting a projector, this type will provide you will the most benefits. Most of these models have even more brightness options than the Home Theatre projector, and they are designed specifically for data displace and multimedia projects, like spreadsheets and such. When most of the light in a room comes from windows or other sources outside of a room, these projectors excel, which makes them the best option for classrooms and large meeting rooms.

Although these projectors are meant to work with static images, like slides or graphics, it is still possible to view videos and general entertainment, on them. These models always have at least 1 HDMI port, which allows you to plug it directly into a device, like a notebook, to transmit the images off of.

They are not as small as the portable projector, but they are still small in size in comparison to the home theatre projector. Usually, they also come with some sort of Bluetooth or wireless technology, which makes configuring it simple and quick.

Types of Display or Projection

It is important to note that there are different types of displays that a projector can have, and just like everyone, each type has its own disadvantages and advantages. In order to make the best decision, it is important to analyse them all to see which display type will best suit your needs.

Since this isn’t a technical article, we’re going to spare you the operation explanation for each type of display, but if you would like that sort of information, we and direct you in the right direction of where to find such to read. However, we plan on focusing distinctly on the advantages and characteristics of each display type.

DLP: These types of projectors rely on DLP technology, which use small micro-mirrors to help create and focus an image by rotating a small wheel. They provide good image quality, and the images that they project are crisp and have an excellent response time. They are always excellent with high colour contrast and “whiter whites and blackest blacks”.

LCos: These types of projector displays use a silicone liquid crystal, which is an upgrade to LCD displays. However, they are only found in high-end quality products. This type of display combines technology from LCD and DLP projectors, which means it has the good aspects of both displays like smooth transitions during games and videos, excellent colour saturation, and good brightness.

LCD: This type of display doesn’t have any moving parts, and you don’t have to worry about adjusting it, because it does it automatically. Due to price, LCD display projectors use liquid crystal displays, but it does require filter maintenance constantly to ensure that it works properly. Plus, this type of display is more energy-efficient, has more brightness, quieter, and provide more detailed images, compared to DLP projectors.

The first thing that you should be aware of is that projector brightness is measured in lumens, and the greater lumens, the brighter a projector will be with different distances. Generally, manufacturers place two-lumen values across different distances to help show the difference in projectors and to help visualise which one will best suit your needs.

However, there are other specs that you need to consider when figuring out the brightness that a projector is capable of. The brightness of the colour, basically how bright yellow, blue, and red colours will be projected, and the white glow, which is basically the number of white light that is emitted through the device and the brightness of that colour.

In practice, this means what?

When in need of a projector for business situations, you want to have more lumens overall, which will help to provide a clearer picture even in well-lit large rooms.

Home theatre projectors, on the other hand, are better when they have a higher brightness than white. This allows the colours on the image to be more detailed and richer. However, in order for this to be a viable option, you have to be able to control the illumination in the environment.

Brightness should definitely be compared before you make your final decision because it will be a critical fact in finding the right projector model that fits your needs.

Contrast

What is contrast? It is how images are measured by measuring the difference between the lighter and darker areas found in any given image.

Simplifying the Concept of Contrast

Manufacturers use ratios when quantifying contrast for projectors. For example, you might find 500:1 or 1000:1. What does this mean? If a projector has a ratio of 1000:1, this means that the white colour of the projector is a 1,000 times lighter than the black colour. If a contract has a higher contrast ration, it means that the range of colours and details that the projector can project are greater.

With home theatre projectors, it is important to consider contrast, because they usually require the most level of detail for the image being displayed. However, if you are using the projector for a business, then contrast is not generally important because they are often used in rooms that are full of light, which naturally “mutes” the contrast.

No matter what model you choose, it is recommended to get a projector that has a contrast of at least 500:1, because any lower, and the images being displayed are not accurate or satisfactory.

Resolution

Projector resolution is a lot like smart TVs. Basically, a projector’s resolution is based on the number of pixels that is able to be displayed. The more pixels or greater the resolution, the sharper the image will be and the greater the detail. If you plan on using your projectors to watch movies, the resolution is an important part to consider, because it will allow you to get the optimal quality needed. Once again, the resolution is not greatly important for a business model.

There are different ranges of the resolution, starting at 800×600 to 4k resolution. However, HD resolution (1280×720) or Full HD (1920×1080) are recommended, because they will provide the best results for a reasonable investment in equipment and projectors.

Connections: Entrances and Doors

Although this is one of the last topics in the article, it does not mean that it is any less important than those covered before it. It is important to understand the connectivity options that are available on projectors.

Before purchasing any projector, it is important to know and analyse the types of ports and connections that are available with each model to ensure that it is compatible with other devices you might use. Each model varies in the types of ports that they provide, but the most general ports that come with models are DVI, VGA, HDMI, and USB.

A few of the other inputs that you might look for on your projector are mini-USB connections that allow you directly connect to your smartphone, audio and video ports, and ethernet ports. Some models that are newer on the market might even have a USB-C port.

The most important part is to make sure that the ports on the projector you are purchasing matches the inputs that the other devices you will be using with the projector are compatible.

Other than the basics, there are extra features that might make a huge difference in the projector you should purchase, and here are some that are most beneficial.

3D Technology: This feature is generally found in home theatre projectors because it will allow you to play media that is 3D compatible. Sometimes the technology is embedded, but it is possible to get a 3D emitter, which is usually sold separately.

Wireless Projection: This technology will allow you to the connector to the same Wi-Fi network that you use for your device with your projector, which will allow you to stream media and videos directly from your device to the projector. For this technology to work, it generally requires the use of specific applications on either a notebook or a smartphone.

Zoom: This isn’t exactly an extra feature, because most projectors already come with this function, with exception to portable projectors. However, it is a good feature to make note of. This allows you to zoom the image in and out to make it easier and more clearly seen without having to physically move the device.

The first step that we did was define and research the main criteria that make a projector better than others. To narrow down the search, we started by looking at some of the most recommended projectors that had done well in international and national reviews. After this, we filtered our results down to a total of 13 projectors, which had the necessary capabilities and were decently priced in the UK market. Once this was done, we narrowed down the rest of the criteria to define what it takes to be the best projector, on the UK market.

When reading this article, you might ask yourself why we do not have any of the 4K projectors on our list as being the best projectors, and there is a simple answer to this question. The answer is the price. The price of a 4K projector is considerably too high at the moment to be considered a good investment. There are very few that support 4K resolution and the ones that are available are absurdly expensive. Therefore, they are not worth being on the list due to their overwhelming price.

Sources:

https://www.projectorcentral.com/projector-contrast-ratio.htm

https://www.cnet.com/topics/tvs/best-tvs/projectors/

https://www.projectorpeople.com/resources/buyersguide.asp

Leave a Comment