7 Best Projectors Under $500 in 2020 – For Home Theater & Gaming

Projectors have multiple uses such as for doing presentations and watching movies. In the past, they were only available to movie studios and big companies. Today, they come in many shapes and sizes and are available to the average consumer as well in budget prices. Hence, we will discuss some of the best budget projectors for you.

List of the Best Projectors Under $500 In 2020 Review

The difference between all projectors in the market is in their specifications. The list of the top 7 best projectors is compiled based on their resolution, lumens (brightness of the projector), performance, additional features they have and their value for money. In the budget range, value for money is more important and we will be focusing on that primarily as we go through the list.

1. AuKing Portable Mini Projector – Best for Compatibility

Want a multipurpose mini projector you can use for both presentations and watching movies? AuKing’s Mini Projector is a versatile option.

AuKing-Multimedia-Home-Theater-Movie-Projector review

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This projector comes with a powerful light that has 35% more lumen than other options in this price range. That is not its only selling point as it has only a little fan noise and does not make too much noise in the room. However, the colors need a little work.

It contains all the basic connective technologies such as HDMI, VGA and TF card, which give you many ways to utilize this projector. It also supports 1080p, which does not reduce in quality up until 70 inches of display size, which is a major upside in this price range.

Pros
  • Powerful lumen light
  • Long light life
  • Low noise
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio

Verdict: This is a great projector for those who need an all-purpose, bright projector with an affordable price tag.

2. DBPower Mini LED Projector – Best for Gaming & Home Cinema

DBPower’s Mini Projector is a small powerhouse with some key features that make it different from the crowd.

DBPOWER-2800Lux-Portable-Video-Projector review

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This Mini Projector for gaming, with a resolution of 1080p, creates a powerful light which especially livens up the cinema-watching experience at home. It also supports direct smartphone connection with a USB port, which removes the need for using an HDMI port, a feature which is unique to this projector. Hence, if you buy it, you will not have to buy a Wi-Fi dongle separately to connect your smartphone to it.

Even after watching a movie, the projector does not heat up too much thanks to its cooling system. The image quality is fair at lower sizes but starts to diminish if you go too high. If you do not mind a medium-sized display, it is great.

Pros
  • Direct connection with smartphone
  • Powerful light
Cons
  • Image quality not clean

Verdict: This projector is ideal for a home cinema because of its support for smartphone use and quality in low light.

3. ViviMage C680 Native 1080p Led Projector

ViviMage C680 is specially designed for the home cinema but can be used at the office too because of its balanced features.

VIVIMAGE-1080p-Full-HD-Home-Theater review

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This projector’s image quality and brightness are exceptional at this price range. Furthermore, the eye strain because of the dark surroundings in a home cinema setup is very little, so you can enjoy the movie-watching experience. It also keeps the image crisp and clear. It is noticeable that the black color can be blacker while watching some movies, but if the contrast ratio is not a problem, it can be a good choice for a home cinema.

Since it is designed for all-purpose use, it supports connections with many multimedia devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones and media players.

Pros
  • Good image quality
  • Easy on the eyes
  • Bright
Cons
  • It is common for the device to heat up after long use

Verdict: This movie projector is a great option for those looking to watch movies if the color correctness is not a problem.

4. Optoma HD243X 1080p Projector – Best for Home Theater

Optoma 1080p Projector is designed for entertainment uses such as watching games, movies and shows.

Optoma-HD243X-Super-Bright-3300-Lumens review

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The top feature to look at here is the projection size which can range from 35 to 305 inches, making it ideal for playing games and watching movies. Since it is made for playing video games as well, you will find connection options for game consoles and PCs. For smartphones and tablets, you will need a Wi-Fi dongle.

The recommended environment is a dark setting. The manufacturer specifically states it is not for business presentations. Hence, it is clearly not an all-purpose device.

Pros
  • Big projection at good quality
  • Connection option with consoles
Cons
  • Not suitable for business or other uses

Verdict: If you are sure you will not need to make any presentations and just want to fulfill your entertainment needs, the Optoma is for you.

5. DR. J Professional hI-04 Mini Projector

This handy mini projector from DR.J is another option to consider for an entertainment device.

DR-J-Professional-Projector-100Inch-screen- review

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This mini projector features an even bigger spread of display size, topping at 120 inches while viewing from 3.5 meters away. The video quality is excellent with minimum eye strain.

The contrast ratio of colors is comparatively more accurate than other entertainment-oriented projectors in the market, which means you will see richer dark colors in projections.

The projection works great in both indoor and outdoor environments. Since it is made for home cinemas where the setting is dark, it does not need to be very bright, which is why it contains only 1800 lumens. The device is also handy and smaller than other projectors at only 4 inches.

Pros
  • Optimized for both indoor and outdoor use
  • Large display size
Cons
  • Noisy

Verdict: If you want a projector that is compact and affordable with a large display size for watching entertainment content, DR.J might just be for you.

6. Vankyo Leisure 3 Portable Mini Projector

Another multimedia projector for entertainment use, Vankyo’s Leisure 3 Projector comes with a mix of its own features.

VANKYO-LEISURE-3-Mini-Projector-TV-Stick review

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Vankyo’s Mini Projector really pushes the boundaries with a whopping 170” of display size that supports 1080p, giving you a great bang for your buck in the budget range. At such a huge size, the gaming and movie experience is amazing. Furthermore, it is very easy on the eyes, so you won’t have to strain too much in the dark. However, the contrast ratio can be better, which you might notice on loading screens of games.

It supports connection with PCs, tablets, smartphones, PS4s and Amazon Fire TV sticks. The device is also very lightweight and quiet, so you won’t have to worry about the projector ruining your experience.

Pros
  • Great gaming support
  • Brighter than other entertainment projectors
  • Comes with a carry bag
Cons
  • Bad contrast ratio

Verdict: For those looking to play games and movies on a huge screen, the Vankyo’s Leisure 3 is a must-try.

7. QKK Mini Home Video Projector

QKK is another home theater projector which lives up to the standards set in the market.

QKK-2020-with-Tripod-LED-Projector review

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This mini projector from QKK has a powerful projection light, even for dark settings. At the same time, it does not strain the eyes. The bright projection is especially helpful in the outdoors since you cannot control light there. The device supports 1080p resolution, but it slightly reduces image quality at higher distances. The contrast ratio is also decent, and colors appear more accurate and balanced.

The device contains two USB ports for multiple USB connections at a time, which is a feature unique to this projector.

Pros
  • Bright projection
  • Two USB connection ports
  • High color correctness
  • Comes with a tripod mount
Cons
  • Viewing at the recommended distance dulls the image

Verdict: This mini video projector is great for home use if you are looking for a quality screen with some additional benefits thrown in the package.

How to Choose a Best Projector?

Factors to Consider

Before deciding to buy a projector, make sure to have the answers to these questions:

  • Do you want it for the office or a home cinema?
  • How much resolution do you want?
  • What additional features do you need?
  • What is your budget?

Who Needs a Projector?

A projector comes in handy for people who want to make a cinema-like setup at home for watching movies. Similarly, people at the office need to make presentations and can use projectors in meetings. Projectors are also widely used in lecture halls at universities and colleges to give lectures and presentations.

Why Would You Need a Projector?

Although the exact advantages depend on the specific projector, it generally has the following benefits:

  • No need to buy an expensive TV
  • Conserve space
  • Can scale the projection size up and down
  • Good projectors exceed a standard TV’s video quality

Conclusion

Most of the market is crowded by home cinema and all-purpose projectors, but these products top these categories. An all-purpose projector will make more sense to you if you have both business and entertainment uses, but if you just want to go for entertainment, you can get a much better option specifically for gaming or watching movies.

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