Projectors do wonders at making any room—even minuscule city apartments—feel like an immersive home theater. The best projectors under $200 don’t require a big investment but have the capacity to fill your bedroom with a window to new worlds of content. If you’re ready to expand your laptop binges to the size of your wall, you can now do so for a surprisingly affordable price.
These projectors offer surprisingly capable combinations of tech features that capitalize on crisp definition, Apollonian illumination, dynamic sound, and the connectivity you need for nightly use. Most hook into your laptop using an HDMI cable, while some pair wirelessly through your home Wi-Fi network. For audio, many pair with speakers via aux connections, and sometimes Bluetooth as well. At the $200 price point, few projectors have the capacity to link to a laptop for video over Bluetooth, and many may not hook into your premium sound systems, such as certain Bose home audio devices. Still, today’s budget projectors offer versatility and delivery that would have been unthinkable at the under $200 dollar price point a decade ago.
You shouldn’t expect top-tier performance at this price point, but the best projectors under $200 can still provide a satisfying experience if you choose the right model and do a little prep work.
Best overall: WiFi Bluetooth Projector, DBPOWERBest budget: Vamvo Movie ProjectorBest bright image: Projector, GooDee 2022Best portable: Kodak Ultra Mini Portable ProjectorBestfor home theater: Wsky HD ProjectorBest with DVD player: BIGASUO Upgrade HD Bluetooth ProjectorBest with screen: YABER V2 WiFi 8000LBest for gaming: 4K Projector, WiMiUS P28
How we picked the best projectors under $200
Having spent countless winter nights watching Midsomer Murders with my girlfriend’s cat at the foot of the bed purring and curled up around the projector’s exhaust fan, I know the joys of a simple-to-use home projector. For this best-of list, I evaluated leading projectors from numerous manufacturers, looking for the magic combination of a few factors that add up to make some truly great picks. We narrowed down this list from dozens based on intensive research, editorial reviews, and spec comparisons.
You won’t get a chance to try out these projectors before you take the leap and buy one, but you can get a good idea of what you’re getting by comparing the specs. Here are some essential features to look for when trying to pick the best model for you.
Do you need 4K?
4K is all the rage at the moment and while I type this article on a laptop with a 4K screen, the resolution difference between 1080p and 4K at the laptop scale is subtle. However, a projector is arguably one of the best applications of 4K resolution. Since projectors often cast their image onto quite large surfaces, the more pixels the projector displays, the better it does at visual detail. That said, true 4K resolution is currently prohibitively expensive for an “under $200” list.
The difference between 1080p and a resolution like 720p is quite drastic. With a difference of 1080 lines of pixel dots versus 720 lines of pixel dots, you will notice the difference, especially if you’re projecting large. Generally, there’s a substantive price difference that separates the standard resolution brackets. So unless you are dedicated to getting the most portable projector out there, the choice should generally come down to budget vs resolution. Go for the 1080p model unless image quality really isn’t important to you.
Read the fine print
Yeah, you want to believe that companies are being transparent about their products, but in the budget projector market, there’s a lot of bluster. Often companies will claim their product supports HD in a header, then reveal that it has a native resolution of 720p, accepting HD video and downscaling it. It’s important to fully examine the specs of the projector you’re considering purchasing to ensure that it’s really the right one for you.
Keystone correction refers to the illusion that’s created when your projector casts a square image onto a wall at an angle, creating a trapezoid. The shape created looks like the crowning keystone a mason would use to construct an arch.
Today’s projectors compensate for the keystone effect by including a control that skews the image. This control usually takes the shape of a ring or nob by the focus control. Keystone correction can also be added digitally.
Some projectors are better at keystone correction than others. But all projectors can benefit from supplementing keystone compensation with proper alignment of the projector against the wall. For permanent installation, it’s usually a good idea to get the projector alignment right the first time. Whether your projector will be installed permanently, or be moved around the house (or beyond), it’s worth understanding Keystone controls before you make a final decision.
Screen or wall?
Screens can make a huge difference in the image quality you get from your projector. Painted walls often contain more bumps and crevasses than you would expect. Not only do projector screens deliver a flat uniform surface, but they also often come primed with materials that help your projector do its work. Some projectors ship with a screen in the package. Many others would benefit from one. It’s worth considering whether you want to invest in a projector screen.
Most of the time, projectors with the highest luminance are better than others for most users. Since projectors work by casting light onto a wall, higher luminance equals a brighter, more visible image, that will show up in half-light settings and on surfaces that aren’t primed for contrast. Usually, companies describe luminance in terms of lumens, which is the International System of Units standard for measuring total light emission over a unit of time. Sometimes, projectors advertise their brightness using the term “ANSI lumens” which is a (generally) more accurate metric created by the American National Standards Institute for measuring total light emitted from a projector. While ANSI lumens aren’t directly convertible to lumens without accounting for a few additional factors (such as room temperature and surface color) 400 ANSI lumens roughly translates to a little under 1000 lumens. For the purpose of this article, we prioritized higher luminance in most cases.
Picture quality and definition
We’re in the era of 4K and while a 4K resolution projector is rarely achievable for less than $200 dollars (though we’ve got some great choices starting at $500), HD has become the bottom line in most cases. Many projectors still offer less than 1080p resolutions and some of those are still worth considering, especially if you’re stumping for ultra-portability (or ultra-cheap prices). Still, most of the time 1080p HD is a baseline we look for in a model designed for watching content. It creates a detailed image that does justice to your Criterion Collection binges. Definition isn’t the whole story, though: some projectors warp or blur image edges, skewing the picture. Other factors like contrast and color reproduction can also affect quality. This list prioritizes projectors that achieve image quality that displays the worlds you escape in how the director (or game designer) envisioned them.
At the sub-$200 price point, most projectors use HDMI cables for video connection. A few offer Wi-Fi connections to supplement this. A few even offer Bluetooth connectivity. I factored in a projector’s connection offerings when I evaluated it and highlighted any that stand out from the crowd.
The best projectors under $200: Reviews & Recommendations
Best projector under $200 overall: DBPOWER Wi-Fi Bluetooth Projector
Why it made the cut: With native HD, 9,000 lumens, and Wi-Fi connectivity, this is a versatile and powerful projector, but it’s the customer support that makes it the best overall.
Luminance: 9,000 lumensDefinition: 1080pConnections: Hdmi, WIFI, Bluetooth (sound), TV stick, USB, AV port, 3.5mm audio
Really nice picture with good definition and bright luminanceSolid connectivity optionsAllows viewers to screen cast from their phones
Bluetooth connection is only sound, advertising is misleadingSome high end sound systems won’t connect
This projector hits all the basics with aplomb: It offers 1080p definition without much warping along the edges, delivers 9,000 lumens so that it’s visible in half-light conditions, and features impressive connectivity options. That connectivity allows you to pair your devices to the projector via Wi-Fi to screencast from a phone, or connect a sound system via Bluetooth. However, it will not deliver video via Bluetooth. That’s typical, but the product listings make it slightly confusing.
The projector also delivers a few special features such as a zoom function that allows you to shrink the image to 75% via the remote. Built-in speakers create a modicum of surround sound illusion. However, we think you’ll be best served by connecting to a separate Bluetooth speaker device.
Best budget: Vamvo Movie Projector
Why it made the cut: With Dolby Digital Plus audio processing, 5,000 lumens, a 720p resolution, and just 2 pounds of weight, Vamvo dishes up a budget projector that does a really decent job.
Luminance: 5,000 lumensDefinition: 720pConnections: Hdmi, VGA, SD/TF, AV, USB and RC
Better sound delivery than most at this priceLightweight build makes it a great choice for a portable optionDecently bright
Non HD picture is a bit blurry
For a truly low price for its capabilities, the Vamvo Movie Projector is the value pick of budget projectors. This 720p projector still delivers a decent enough high-contrast picture that’s adequately bright in dark rooms at 5,000 lumens, so that it’s effective in moderately dark to very dark spaces. While it advertises its support for 1080p HD, the 720p resolution will mean that high-end pictures do downgrade and lose detail. If you’re just watching the occasional movie in a dark backyard on a DIY screen or sheet, that may not matter very much.
If you care deeply about sound, the Dolby digital audio processing running through the Vamvo speakers may or may not be something that quite lives up to the Dolby sound image you had in your head. The projector’s speakers certainly fall short of outstanding. Still, for the price point, you can’t knock the performance here. It does a better job than most at this level.
All in all, Vamvo is a true budget projector, and while none of its components outpace the best equipped of the competition, if a low price is your most important metric, then it’s worth real consideration for its decent treatment of all the basics. At about 2 pounds, this Vamvo is portable, reliable, and very cheap.
Best bright image: GooDee 2022 Projector
Why it made the cut: With 1080p native resolution, 9,500 lumens, and two speakers to create a modicum of surround sound, this projector is more than capable of achieving most of what most users want.
Luminance: 9,500 lumensDefinition: 1080pConnections: 2 HDMI, VGA, 2 USB, AV, TF card
Two speakers for true stereo soundExtra bright LED luminanceDecent connections
Build quality is a bit cheapEdges get somewhat fuzzy
At the sub-$200 price point, it can be hard to find a projector with really excellent brightness. The GooDee 2022 distinguishes itself here. Offering 9,500 lumens with a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and a max screen size of 230 inches, this is a budget projector that puts its emphasis on going big. A pretty perfect option for backyard movie nights, this might be the best outdoor projector under $200, hitting a nice sweet spot of big image and lightweight build.
The GooDee does have a little trouble with warping and fuzziness around the image corners. However, that’s nothing rare at this price point. The device also suffers from a somewhat cheap-feeling build. It doesn’t feel super solid and primed for longevity. Still, the brightness and resolution may make up for this for most users.
All in all, GooDee delivers a projector that yields a pretty bright crisp image, with good contrast and resolution. It’s especially suited for backyard movie parties.
Best portable projector under $200: Kodak Ultra Mini Portable Projector
Why it made the cut: With support for 1080p signal and a two-hour battery charge, this super-petite projector fits in a pocket and makes for a perfect companion for campers with kids or travel.
Luminance: 25 ANSI lumenDefinition: 640 x 320 (capable of displaying images meant for 1080p)Connections: HDMI, USB, MicroSD
Ultra portableMakes a great camping projector
Battery often dies in under two hours
Ready to bring your projector camping? The Kodak Ultra Mini projector does some amazing things considering its size. At about 3 inches square and only 150 grams, the Kodak lives up to its title as a true “ultra-mini” projector housed in that tiny body is a decent projector that hooks up to most smartphones and portable devices.
With such a tiny size and low price, the Ultra-Mini will require you to make some sacrifices. While it can receive a 1080p signal, it only outputs at 640 x 320, meaning that the 1080p video entering the projector will be downscaled to a much lower native resolution. It’s quite a drop from HD, so don’t expect crisp beautiful video that does a perfect job with contemporary cinema. Additionally, the brightness isn’t anything to write home about. Still, on a dark tent wall, it’s nothing to sneer at. One other issue with the device is its short battery life. It generally won’t make it past two hours, so don’t expect any marathon binges of Lord Of The Rings here.
If a miniature portable projector is something you’re after and you decide you can afford the bells and whistles, Kodak’s more expensive Luma 350 could be worth exploring. For its budget price coupled with its tiny size, however, the Kodak Ultra Mini is the best mini projector under $200. It’s worth a look, even if it could be a good idea to get your expectations in order before you spring for it.
Best projector for home theater under $200: Wsky HD Projector
Why it made the cut: With a native 1080p HD resolution and a significantly higher than average 5,000:1 contrast, this projector puts its double-dense LED tech to work.
Luminance: 7,500 lumensDefinition: 1080pConnections: HDMI, VGA, audio port, USB, MHL
84 LEDs double the standard LED count in a projector and achieve greater detail, contrast, and less fuzziness on the exterior of the imageValue priced
Sound quality isn’t great
For a sub-$200 cinephiles projector, look no further than the Wsky HD Projector. Using a higher-than-average LED count, this projector puts the work in on image quality. The 5,000:1 contrast is noticeably better than much of the competition, and the 1080p HD coverage looks great, even with new movies. With better-than-average corner coverage achieved via the keystone wheel, Wsky also doesn’t suffer from as much of the edge blurriness that might make subtitles illegible on some projectors.
The Wsky’s sound won’t rack up any bonus points, however. While it advertises Dolby sound, the two speakers simply aren’t powerful enough. However, this sound deficiency can be mitigated by plugging speakers into the audio jack. Sadly, no Bluetooth audio connection is available. However, those who stump for Bluetooth speakers may be able to pair them to the device that’s sourcing video (such as your laptop).
With its impressive video capabilities, the Wsky HD Projector is worth consideration for anyone who wants a projector that yields a great picture.
Best with DVD player: BIGASUO Upgrade HD Bluetooth Projector
Why it made the cut: For folks with a legacy DVD collection who might want to skip all the wires, this projector has a built-in DVD player and does a decent job at all the rest.
Luminance: 5,500 lumensDefinition: 720pConnections: HDMI, VGA, AV, USB, Bluetooth (sound), TF SD card
DVD player built inDecent connectivity including Bluetooth for sound
Resolution and brightness are both somewhat lowSound is nothing to write home about
Itching to tuck into the entire Lassie television series on DVD box set? The BIGASUO Upgrade HD projector with a built-in DVD player might be your best bet. The BIGASUO projector is remarkable for its connections and legacy media opportunities.
The Bluetooth connection for sound is particularly useful in concert with the built-in DVD player. Often with contemporary laptops, Bluetooth sound on a projector is a bit redundant, since most laptops can generally pair to a Bluetooth speaker while casting video through HDMI. However, since this device acts as its own DVD player, the Bluetooth connection can be important for those who are skipping the laptop entirely. This means you’ll be able to natively watch DVDs from the device while simultaneously paired with a Bluetooth speaker for sound.
Outside of its DVD player, this is an unremarkable projector. It downscales HD video to its native 720p definition, which falls short of similarly priced native HD projectors. Its brightness similarly lags the competition somewhat.
If you’re looking for a capable all-in-one DVD player/projector hybrid then the BIGASUO Upgrade HD is a good pick, otherwise, you may want to move on.
Best with screen: YABER V2 WiFi 8000L
Why it made the cut: While it’s only 720p, the Yaber V2 still boasts an impressive 6,000:1 contrast, supplemented by an included SCT screen that improves the image.
Luminance: 7,500 lumensDefinition: 720pConnections: HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, audio, TF card
Includes projection screen which is primed for contrastDecently brightLightweight and portable at just over two pounds
Resolution could be better
Pay for a projector, get the whole shebang? You’ll get just that with the YABER V2 WiFi 8000L, which features a projection screen included in the box. While lots of folks use their projectors on a blank wall, you can demonstrably get a better image with a specially designed projection screen. YABER claims that their included screen boosts image clarity by 25%; however, that claim seems suspiciously hard to quantify to me. All the same, it’s a nice feature that will give you a better picture than the projector would without it.
The rest of the YABER’s specs are average. It features a 720p native resolution and downscales HD video to fit it. Its brightness is better than average, but not outstanding. It uses two speakers for decent sound.
The Wi-Fi connectivity is a nice touch that may sway some buyers. That, coupled with the included screen and the 6,000:1 high definition, make for an all-around decent projector, that’s a perfect addition to some households.
Best projector for gaming under $200: WiMiUS P28 4K Projector
Why it made the cut: This HD projector isn’t actually true 4K, but it does deliver 1080p video at gaming speeds, extra bright 400 ANSI lumens (about 9500 lumens), 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and extra nice keystone correction.
Luminance: 400 ANSI lumensDefinition: 1080pConnections: 2 HDMI, 2 USB, 1 VGA, 1 AV, 1 audio output
Great video quality with very bright and detailed imageRelatively low lag makes it worthy of gamesWith a wider than average keystone correction capability you’ll get a more balanced picture
“4K” claim refers to 4K video input which is standard and downgraded to HDEdges of the picture remain fuzzy
A solid sale, the WiMiUS P28 fits just within the 200 mark for the time being. While the false 4K advertising is certainly a turn-off, the projector is still a good enough deal to highlight on this list.
This projector has a classic HD 1920×1080 resolution, make no mistake. The 4K claim simply refers to the projector’s ability to accept 4K video and downscale it to HD, which is common. Still, this projector throws a nice-looking image: It has the highest contrast ratio of any projector on this list, with about 9,500 lumens (rated at 400 ANSI lumens), and claims a 60hz refresh rate that should appeal to gamers. That said, the image does have some issues, its edges do tend to blur, with the middle properly focusing and the corners getting fuzzy.
In the end, this is a pretty capable extra bright projector. But don’t be fooled by the advertising … this isn’t a magical unicorn 4K projector for under $200.
Q: Which brand is best for projector? At the sub-$200 price point, DBPOWER is the most all-around capable projector. You also get solid support along with your purchase.
Q: What should I look for in a good projector? Great projectors under $200 offer solid brightness, which usually delivers 5,000 lumens and up, HD video, good connectivity, and reliable customer service.
Q: How many lumens do I need for outdoor projector? No projector can keep up with the luminance of the sun. Projectors that deliver the maximum possible lumens do the best outdoors, in the under $200 category look for projectors that deliver 7,000 lumens and up. 9,000-9,500 would be best.
Q: How many lumens is a good projector? Certain mini portable projectors that put their emphasis on small size can justify low brightness and still qualify as good quality. However, generally, 5,000 lumens and up makes a good projector brightness.
Q: What are the best projectors under $100? The Vamvo Movie Projector dishes up lean mean video for under $100. With HD video, 5,000-lumen brightness, and good connectivity, it’s a steal.
Q: What projectors under $200 work well with PS4? The WiMiUS P28 is a powerful gamer-ready projector. Not only does its impressive video do justice to the PS4’s graphics, but it readily keeps up with 60Hz video without lagging. At just under $200 it’s a great choice.
Q: How long does a projector last? While so many components factor into the lifespan of your tech. Companies often advertise the lifespan of the LEDs or other light sources that power their projectors. Some are primed to last for ten years, while others may only deliver about a year.
Final thoughts on the best projectors under $200
The best projectors under $200 offer tuned combinations of value and performance. At the price point, you’ll find HD video, bright high-lumen LEDs, and solid connectivity. You can also find ultra-mini projectors that are capable of projecting from a phone or tablet and easily fit into a shirt pocket. For one of the best value projectors around, the Vamvo Movie Projector delivers good video and brightness at a super-budget price. The Wsky HD Projector with its impressive LED tech, is our favorite for home theater, though you might want to pair it with external speakers. DBPOWER, on the other hand, was the clear choice for the overall best projector under 200 for its HD video, good brightness, connectivity, and a customer service plan and warranty that goes far beyond most on this list. Whatever you pick, enjoy the new dimensions of video and picture quality that your projector will bring to your home media.
Source : Popular Science