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The 5 Best Cheap Projectors - Spring 2024 Reviews

Best Cheap Projectors

You won't have many good options if you're looking for budget-friendly projectors. The TV market has many great budget options that are good enough for most consumers, but the cheapest units tend to be small, portable models, which are typically extremely dim. Still, some cheap and budget-friendly projectors can deliver a decent viewing experience, and many of them have great smart features, eliminating the need to spend more on an external streaming device. You can find many models excelling in a different facet: movies, gaming, or portability.

We've bought and tested more than 35 models, and below, you'll find the lowest-priced projectors to buy. If you're shopping at a price point, look at our best projectors under $500 and under $1,000. For portable projectors, consider the best portable projectors instead. You can also vote on which ones you want us to purchase and test.

  1. Best Cheap Projector

    The best cheap projector is the Epson Home Cinema 1080, which delivers surprisingly good performance for the price. It projects a sharp 1080p image and is very bright, so it can easily handle moderately lit rooms. It also looks bright and relatively punchy in dark rooms due to its okay contrast. Its color gamut is alright; good enough to project pleasant colors, but nothing that will blow your socks off. You also can't improve the unit's color accuracy with calibration, but that's fine, as it's already great out-of-the-box. It doesn't support HDR, but HDR support on projectors tends to be sub-par anyway, so it isn't a great loss, especially at this price point.

    While it isn't truly a portable projector due to its size and lack of an integrated battery, it's only 5.9 pounds, so it's easy to carry around if needed. It has automatic vertical keystone correction, which further facilitates its portability, and its optical zoom lets you adjust the projected image's size without further moving the unit. The projector has two HDMI 2.0 ports and a USB-B port, allowing you to control the projector through a computer. Unfortunately, the unit doesn't come with a smart OS. Still, it does have Wi-Fi 5 and Miracast for screen mirroring, so all it is missing for full streaming functionality is an external streaming dongle, which you can power through the unit's USB-A port. Overall, it's the best budget projector available.

    See our review

  2. Best Value Cheap Projector

    If you're looking for the absolute best value, look at the Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-W01. While it doesn't have any HDR support, it projects an extremely bright 1280 x 800 resolution image that is perfect for bright offices, but the projector's also no slouch for watching movies; its bright image makes content pop, and this model looks great when watching content in a moderately lit room. Unfortunately, the contrast is inadequate; blacks are raised and look gray. This means it'll look its best when a few lights are on. Its out-of-the-box color accuracy is decent, which is certainly good enough for most people, but color purists can greatly improve it through the projector's 2-point white balance calibration.

    Like the Epson Home Cinema 1080, this model isn't made for portability, but it's pretty light at 5.4 pounds, so you can carry it around if you need to. Unfortunately, unlike the Home Cinema 1080, it lacks any auto keystone correction and autofocusing, so you must manually adjust the image if you wish to fix any geometry issues. It also lacks any smart OS and doesn't even have Wi-Fi, so an external streaming dongle is necessary. It does have a USB-B port to let you control the projector with a PC, and you can project a few file formats through the unit's USB-A port, but overall, it's rather barebones when it comes to ports, especially as it has only one HDMI port.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap Streaming Projector

    If you'd prefer a smaller unit with more smart features, consider the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12, the best budget projector for people needing a small model. What it lacks in brightness, it makes up for in sheer versatility. Its cubic shape is small and compact, weighing only 4.7 pounds. While it doesn't have an integrated battery, meaning you still need to plug it into an outlet, it has full auto keystone correction and autofocus, making it easy to set up or move around. It also has built-in Android TV with full Chromecast integration, so you don't need to worry about getting an external streaming dongle. Like the Epson Home Cinema 1080, this model projects a sharp 1080p image.

    The projector supports HDR10/HLG, but it's too dim to take advantage of. Indeed, it's significantly dimmer than the Home Cinema 1080, but it does have better contrast, so make sure to turn off the lights when using this model. It's even more accurate than the already accurate Home Cinema, especially after slightly adjusting the color temperature. It has two HDMI ports, one of which doubles as an ARC port. You can connect a computer to the unit through its mini USB port, and the projector comes with full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. It's not as good as the slightly bigger Epson, but it's more compact and versatile.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Portable Projector

    If you're looking for a model you can easily carry without plugging it into an outlet, the best cheap portable projector we've tested is the XGIMI Halo+. It's a very small unit and weighs only 3.7 pounds, so you can easily throw it into a backpack. Plus, it has an integrated battery promising up to 2.5 hours of uninterrupted playback, long enough to watch most movies. It has many image correction features: full auto keystone, autofocus, intelligent screen alignment, and obstacle avoidance. This is truly a projector you can take on the go, as it automatically sets itself up correctly no matter where you install it. To round up the package, it comes with the Android TV smart interface, with Chromecast and AirScreen support, and has Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities.

    Like most portable models, it's slightly dim but significantly brighter than most competitors. It'll project a pleasant image as long as all the lights are off or the moonlight isn't too strong. Fortunately, it does have great contrast, emphasizing its dark room capabilities. It also has a very wide color gamut and HDR support, but it's not bright enough to take advantage of them. Its color accuracy is quite poor, and while you can improve it somewhat through calibration, this isn't really a product for color purists, but then again, color accuracy doesn't matter too much when projecting a movie on the side of a barn or van. It has one HDMI port, which also doubles as an eARC port, and a USB port through which you can play video files directly to the projector.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Gaming Projector

    If your primary use is gaming, then the ViewSonic PX701-4K is the best cheap gaming projector we've tested. This model has two HDMI ports capable of gaming at 4k @ 60Hz or 1080p @ 240Hz, all with low input lag. While it's not a true 4k projector, as it uses pixel shifting to achieve a higher resolution image, it does project an image that's sharper than the others on this list. It is decently bright, certainly bright enough to look very vibrant in a dark room, and its contrast is great even though it doesn't have very inky blacks. Unfortunately, this unit has one big flaw regarding image quality: its color accuracy is very poor out-of-the-box, and you can barely improve it through calibration. This model does offer a ton of performance for the price, but it's not for color purists, as many of its colors look off.

    Like many other projectors, it's not exactly portable, but it's also light at 6.2 pounds, so you can move it easily if needed. It even has automatic vertical keystone correction, so it can fix any geometry errors automatically on the vertical axis. While it supports HDR10/HLG, its color gamut and output brightness aren't good enough to project a pleasant HDR experience. It also lacks any smart OS or wireless features, so connecting an external streaming dongle is necessary if you want any streaming features. Thankfully, the unit has a USB service port that you can also use to power a USB device, so you can connect a dongle to the unit and have it powered by its USB port.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • XGIMI Elfin: The XGIMI Elfin is a very small and light projector, even smaller than the XGIMI Halo+. It doesn't have an integrated battery, and its image quality isn't quite as good as the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12, but it's significantly cheaper than the Halo+ and Mini EF12. Unfortunately, it's not as widely available, but it's worth a purchase if you find one. See our review
  • Epson EX3280: The Epson EX3280 is a good productivity projector. It's very bright and has excellent color accuracy, but it projects a 1024 x 768 image, which is a 4:3 aspect ratio. That's a great aspect ratio for work, but it's not optimal for watching movies, making the Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-W01 more versatile overall. See our review
  • XGIMI MoGo 2: The XGIMI MoGo 2 is a bargain at its price point, but unfortunately, its image quality is underwhelming due to its low peak brightness and 720p resolution. Plus, unlike the XGIMI Halo+, it has no integrated battery. Still, it is much cheaper than the Halo+, so if you need a basic portable unit that you can easily throw in a bag, the MoGo 2 could fit the bill. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best budget-friendly projectors for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper projector wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no models that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's the list of all our projector reviews, with a price limit of $900. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no projector is perfect, many are good enough for most uses; however, avoid the worst models to ensure adequate quality.