It doesn’t matter how large your TV is – you’re never going to have an image as large as you would if you were using a projector. Projectors make life much easier when you require really large images, even if these images aren’t as sharp or clear as those produced by TVs.
Plus, you can move them around at any time.
However, there’s one problem you’ll face when you head out to buy a new projector.
When you set out, you’ll quickly realize that most projectors on the market are expensive, highly versatile devices with dozens of functions… that you’ll probably never use.
If you want a simple projector for your home or office space, you definitely don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it.
However, it’s never easy to select from among cheaper products – you’ll always end up worrying that what you’re buying is a lower quality item that may cost you more in the long term.
Which is why we’ve decided to help you out!
We’ve compiled a list of the five best affordable projectors just for you! And in case you’re a complete newbie and want to know what you should know when looking for a projector, feel free to go through our buying guide, and we promise that you’ll learn a lot.
Top-Rated Projectors Under $1000 - Comparison Table
Best Cheap Projector Reviews
The BenQ HT2050 DLP is a great high-res projector.
It’s a high-res 3D projector that’s capable of projecting light that’s 2,200 lumens bright. It has a premium color wheel to help you set it up how you want and is calibrated for both night and day viewing.
The BenQ is quiet and operates at a whisper – when you’re watching a movie using it, you can be sure you’ll hear the movie and not the projector.
It’s easy to set up and install and contains many features that may come in handy in certain situations. Things like the 1.3x zoom and Vertical Lens Shift will allow you to ensure you’re watching your content exactly how you like it.
The BenQ is a short throw projector with a throw ratio of between 1.15 and 1.5. Vertical Lens Shift allows you to shift images vertically without any decrease in image quality, a feature that will allow you to position your images exactly how you want them.
It contains SmartEco technology that allows it to operate at full capacity while reducing power consumption. The auto standby mode on the projector reduces long-term energy drainage. This mode also helps the lamp last longer.
It can also stream real-time content up to a hundred feet without any latency, allowing you to use it for gaming.
The projector also delivers incredible sound from its dual MaxxAudio-powered speakers. The speakers work flawlessly to boost bass and treble and provide a signature stereo sound experience.
The lamp on the projector is optimized to last you over seven thousand hours, although its actual lifetime may vary.
Features at a Glance
- 1080p resolution
- Short-throw capabilities
- Impressive sound capabilities
The Epson EX9200 Pro is an incredible projector that will make your life much easier.
It provides incredibly accurate colors using Epson’s 3lcd technology to deliver lifelike images. This also allows the projector to produce images that are thrice as bright as those offered by most standard projectors.
The speaker provides 3200 lumens of color brightness for highly saturated color images and 3200 lumens of white color brightness to allow images to be visible even in well-lit rooms.
The Epson allows wireless connections, allowing you to stream from a mobile device without spatial restrictions. You can project from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop without being restricted to a particular area.
Note that you can also present from your phone or tablet, allowing you to leave your laptop behind even when you know you’re going to be using the projector.
Setup is fast and straightforward. The projector displays a QR code that you scan with your mobile device, and presto! You’re all ready to go.
The projector also allows you to share high-definition videos from your mobile device since it supports streaming devices like the Chromecast and the Roku. It also supports HDMI playback, enabling you to stream audio and video using a single cable.
Epson lamps last really long, so you don’t have to worry about them giving out on you. In fact, your lamp should last you about ten thousand hours, give or take a few hundred.
Features at a Glance
- 3lcd technology allows for better color reproduction
- 3200 lumens of color and white light brightness
- Wireless connection
- HDMI support
- Up to 10,000 hours of lamp lifetime
The Epson Home Cinema 2040 is a home theater projector that is more than a simple projector. It features several extras that allow it to function as an incredibly efficient home theater projector.
Like the other Epson on our list, this one uses 3lcd technology to ensure accurate color reproduction. Epson claims that this technology gives the projector to a 3 times larger color gamut, allowing almost perfect color reproduction.
The Epson 2040 beams light at 2200 lumens of both color and white light brightness. This ensures that projected content remains visible even in lit rooms.
The projector allows you to connect to it via two HDMI ports, a VGA port, or even a USB-A port. The two HDMI ports enable you to connect more than one device at the same time and switch between them as you need to.
You can even stream content from casting services including a Chromecast or Roku.
The projector has built-in speakers, and they’re good. This is all part of Epson’s strategy to give you a wholesome entertainment experience without the least hassle possible.
The Epson 2040 is designed to allow its lamp to last as long as possible. If you run your projector in Eco mode, you’ll get up to 7,500 hours of battery life, although that number drops to 4000 hours when you use Normal mode.
The projector comes with a 2-year warranty, ensuring you don’t have to worry about any major defects occurring within two years of purchase.
Features at a Glance
- 3lcd technology for more accurate color projection
- 2200 lumens white light and color brightness
- Several different input options
- Compatible with casting services
- Up to 7,500 hours of battery life
- 2-year warranty
The ViewSonic PJD5155 is an affordable projector that packs significant bang for your back.
Its 3300 lumens light is bright enough to ensure visibility in lit rooms. ViewSonic also uses advanced color technology to sharpen images and give you the best possible output.
The projector features a powerful amplifier that works with an integrated speaker to create an immersive sound experience.
The lamp on the projector is extremely durable and will last you up to 10,000 hours when used in Eco mode. It may, unfortunately, give out much faster if you only use it on normal mode. The lamp door on the top is easy to remove and provides easy access to the lamp if you need to replace it.
The projector features a hood at its back which you can use to hide cables and eliminate unsightly clutter.
The projector is compatible with both Mac and Windows and is also compatible with several different devices, from DVD players to gaming consoles. It also has casting support and is compatible with the Google Chromecast and other similar implementations.
The projector is compatible with the latest HDMI standards and will allow you to project video and audio content using the same cable.
If you use the energy-efficient Eco mode, you’ll cut power consumption by up to seventy percent and extend battery life to up to 10,000 hours.
ViewSonic gives you a 1-year warranty on the projector and a 3-year limited warranty on parts and labor, which is quite an offer when you consider it. It also shows how much ViewSonic thinks of its product.
Features at a Glance
- 3300 lumens brightness
- Up to 10,000 hours lamp life
- Compatible with casting services
- 1-year warranty and 3-year parts and labor warranty
The last projector on our list, the Optoma GT1080 is that rare breed of projector: the gaming projector. With an affordable price tag and hefty specs, the GT1080 is an incredible projector that will give you great bang for your buck.
And while the GT1080 may not be the latest and greatest Optoma has to offer, it still packs a lot of functionality, and its lower price only adds to its value.
The GT1080 is designed for serious gamers. It delivers super-fast video projection with close to zero latency. Its 2800 lumen light beam will be bright enough for you to view content even in lit rooms.
It’s also a short throw projector, meaning that it can project enormous screen sizes even when placed close to the screen or wall you’re going to project on.
The projector has two HDMI ports, a VESA 3D sync port, and MHL connectivity for those times when you want to bring out your Chromecast. MHL connectivity is a huge plus since it allows you to project directly from your phone or tablet and forgo the wires and tangles that are inherent to most interactions with projectors.
The GT1080 is fully compatible with most conventional 3D sources and projects true 3D content for your viewing pleasure.
The gaming mode on the GT1080 tweaks the projector and reduces latency to even less than 14ms, allowing you to take in whatever is on your display and focus on making your next move in time.
Optoma gives a 90-day warranty on the lamp and a further 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
Features at a Glance
- 2800 lumens light beam
- Several input options
- Compatible with casting and 3D devices
- Gaming mode all but eliminates latency
The list above will be beneficial to those who already have some experience with projectors.
But what if you’re a person who has literally no knowledge about projectors? What if you’ve just realized that a projector is the right piece of equipment for your home, but you have no idea what you should be looking for in one?
That’s why we’ve also put together a buying guide for you! If you know nothing about projectors, a perusal of this section should give you enough information to make an informed decision.
A projector’s brightness is a fundamental feature. The brighter the projected beam of light, the more visible the final image is.
If you’ve ever been in a well-lit room when a projector is in use and realized you couldn’t see anything, that’s because the light beam wasn’t bright enough.
However, there’s also another type of brightness you need to consider. Color brightness is a measure of the final image’s vividness and the higher it is, the better your image will look.
Keep in mind that even the brightest projector’s image will look washed out in bright light, so don’t expect to be able to use your projector outside at midday just because it features a high brightness value.
If you’re buying a business projector, you can choose the brightest projector you find since you’ll likely be using it in dimly-lit rooms. If you’re buying a projector for home entertainment, however, you don’t need as much brightness since you’ll likely be in control of light emission in the room where the projector will be located.
Moreover, very bright projectors tend to display washed out images since they aren’t as good at rendering darker parts of images.
Resolution can be a tricky thing since it relies on both the source content and the projector’s internal capabilities. Higher resolution translates directly into better and sharper images - which are especially important in projectors meant for home entertainment systems.
Since home theater projectors are typically short-throw projectors and viewers sit closer to the projected images, such projectors need to be able to display high-resolution images. The higher an image’s resolution, the closer you can get to it without it appearing pixelated.
Resolution ranges from 480p with the cheapest projectors and ranges all the way to 4k on the other end of the spectrum.
Older projectors had one major issue – noise level. In fact, some older projectors were so noisy that you’d hardly be able to hear audio over their noise!
Today’s projectors, however, are an entirely different breed. And even though their noise levels have been significantly reduced when operating normally, most projectors also come with an inbuilt Eco mode that cuts down power consumption and noise levels.
In this day and age, any projector you buy needs to have an HDMI port. An HDMI port allows you to stream audio and video content using a single wire, substantially reducing the hassle associated with other input methods.
The number of inputs also matters, since you may want more than one device connected to your projector at all times. For example, if you’re going to be connecting your television and gaming console to your projector, you need to get one with at least two HDMI inputs.
If you’re buying a projector for home use and are going to have it hanging somewhere or placed in the middle of a room, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to handle the inevitable bundle of cords that will end up attached to your projector. You may decide to get a wire organizer or something similar, but you probably shouldn’t just leave the cords dangling from your projector.
If you’re going to be using your projector with a casting device such as a ChromeCast or Roku, make sure you get one which supports casting devices.
Business projectors often have other inputs like VGA and USB ports, while some will even have wireless transmission capabilities.
3D Technology and Wireless Transmission
These features, while optional, make your projector that much better.
A projector that supports 3D viewing will be able to interface with 3D viewing devices and project a fully three-dimensional image that will give you the true 3D cinema feel.
Wireless transmission, while not a necessity either, makes your life much easier. If your projector comes with this feature, you can say goodbye to searching for wires and replacing lost ones. It also gives you more mobility and allows you to move around without any restrictions while still projecting.
Wireless transmission is a great feature and really comes in handy in business environments where you may have a number of presenters who need to use the projector.
Should you use a projector screen or just project content onto your wall?
A wall, no matter how consistently painted, will never be as good as a projector screen. However, with some good projector paint, it can come pretty close. If you don’t want to shell out the extra money for a projector screen and are okay with the slight decrease in quality, your wall is the better option.
Note that projector paint can make a huge difference in picture quality and exponentially increase your viewing pleasure. We highly recommend buying a can of this paint if you’re going to projecting onto your wall.
It’s usually affordable, as well, so there’s no chance of you breaking the bank.
Keystone correction is a feature that has become nearly ubiquitous in today’s projectors. What it does, basically, is digitally correct for less than ideal alignment to ensure that the projected image is a perfect square.
This allows you to view images comfortable even when the projector is slightly tilted or misaligned.
Lens shift, unlike the previous feature, is relatively rare in low-end projectors. It allows you to move the lens, which shifts the final image vertically or horizontally.
It’s better than keystone correction for correcting distortion because it doesn’t lower the resolution while doing the correction.
Once the bottleneck for projector durability, lamp life has improved considerably over the last few years. Today’s projectors contain lamps that last up to ten thousand hours. And while that’s may not be the norm, you’ll easily find an affordable projector whose lamp will last you at least half that.
And there you go! Above is enough information to make anyone an expert in projectors in the time it takes to read the entire article.
But before we go, we’d like to advise you to do some more research by yourself. Buying a projector, even if it’s one that costs less than $1000, is not a small investment. You definitely don’t want to end up paying that much for an item that you won’t be satisfied with.
So, do your own research, decide exactly what you want in your projector, and make your choice.