Home Electronics

10 Great Projectors under $100 – Enjoy Good Image Quality Without Breaking the Bank

When it comes to watching movies, turning on a weekend football game, or playing video games, not much beats a huge, high-quality display. Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank on expensive and heavy LED televisions – projectors can be used to create a theater-style display in your home at a fraction of the cost. Projector technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, so much so that many are capable of matching the screen size and resolution of top-of-the-line televisions. And best of all, many high-quality projectors are available for less than $100.

Here, we bring you 10 best projectors for under $100 we could find. Our recommendations are based on pouring through hundreds of projector reviews and comparing features head-to-head, and the result is a list of projectors that stand out for their combination of technology and price point.

Top 10 Projectors under $100 in 2018

This guide also offers a little something for everyone – there are projector picks for those on an even tighter budget, those looking for the most cost-efficient, feature-packed projector, and those who just want an all-around performer at an attractive price. The table below summarizes our picks, and we’ve included detailed product descriptions for all 10 projectors. Plus, check out our Buying Guide to find out what features we recommend looking for in a projector.

Name and Features Image Rating Price
1. VisualGreat GP80 (Editor’s Choice)
LCD projector with the highest dynamic contrast ratio, video quality, large maximum screen size
VisualGreat
2. Blusmart LED-9400 (Runner-up)
LED projector with the highest lumen output and color rendering, reduced noise, miniature design
Blusmart
3. DBPOWER T20 (Best for Longevity)
TFT LCD projector with a decent image quality, no overheating, reduced noise, 50,000-hour lamp life
DBPOWER-T20
4. DR.J Projector
LCD projector with a diffusive reflection technology, good cooling system, 40,000-hour lamp life
DrJ
5. DBPOWER GP15 (The Shortest Screen Throw)
LED projector suitable for smaller rooms, excellent video quality and good cooling system
DBPOWER-GP15
6. FUNAVO RD-815 (The Largest Optimum Screen Size)
TFT LCD projector with large optimum and maximum screen sizes, good for portability
Funavo
7. GooDee Home Cinema Theater (Best for Portability)
LCD projector with a portable design and 2W speaker with built-in subwoofer
GooDee
8. RAGU Z400
TFT LCD projector, extremely small and lightweight, with a decent maximum screen size
Ragu
9. ELEPHAS YG400 Projector
TFT LCD projector with a decent image quality for the price, highly portable and lightweight
Elephas
10. DBPOWER RD-810 (Budget Pick)
Extremely affordable TFT LCD projector with a high contrast ratio and large precision size
DBPOWER-RD810
Features
  • Display technology: LCD
  • Brightness: 1,800 lumens
  • Contrast: 2,200:1/static, 10,000:1/dynamic
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 4-18ft
  • Screen size: 28-180 inches
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 9.7 out of 10

VisualGreat

The GP80 from VisualGreat packs the video quality of a far more expensive projector into a portable and affordable package. First, the projector boasts an impressive 2,200:1 contrast ratio, a technical specification hard to find among projectors at this price point. In addition, the projector allows setting the dynamic contrast for users looking for even richer colors during video playback. Second, the brightness rating of 1,800 lumens is above average for projectors that we reviewed. That extra brightness makes the image easier to see in lighted rooms, such as when watching movies during the daytime.

Additional, small features set this projector apart from its competition. One is the availability of a remote control that can be purchased separately. Another is the dual USB slots, which allow you to keep two devices plugged in and switch between them without having to change cords every time. Lastly, the built-in speaker is loud enough to hear in a medium-sized room, reducing the need to invest in an external speaker.

One area where this projector falls slightly short of its competitors is in the projected screen size. While the projected screen can be up to 180” in size – among the largest maximum screen sizes for projectors in our review – the optimum screen size for this projector is a much smaller 70” compared to around 100” in many other projectors. While most users are unlikely to notice the difference, this could be a slight disappointment for picky ones.

PROS:
  • Top of the line video quality
  • Large maximum screen size
  • Dual USB ports

CONS:
  • 70” optimum screen size

Features
  • Display technology: LED
  • Brightness: 2,000 lumens
  • Contrast: 2,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 4-16.5ft
  • Screen size: 30-150 inches
  • Reduced noise
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

Blusmart

This projector from Blusmart is great for those looking for maximum color depth in their videos. The high contrast ratio produces deeper blacks and more vibrant colors, bringing out the best in color recording technology in modern videos. In addition, many reviewers found that this projector was among the sharpest miniature, easily portable projectors on the market even though it costs less than many of its competitors.

Another great feature of this projector is its brightness – even in a miniaturized package, this projector delivers more lumens than any other projector on our list. This means that the picture is clear even in less than completely dark rooms – and in completely dark rooms, the video quality excels.

The downside to this projector comes in the cooling system, likely a result of its portable design. Although the fan system was designed specifically for this projector, the projector still gets quite hot after just two hours of use – roughly standard movie length – and can overheat after three. That means no back-to-back movie features without giving the projector time to cool down.

PROS:
  • Miniature design is portable and easy to store away
  • High lumen output
  • Great color rendering

CONS:
  • Overheats after 2-3 hours of use

Features
  • Display technology: TFT LCD
  • Brightness: 1,800 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 5-16.5m
  • Screen size: 32-176 inches
  • Noise suppression
  • 50,000 hours of lamp life
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 9.0 out of 10

Another miniature project similar to the one by Blusmart, this projector falls slightly short in image quality but fixes many of the cooling issues its competitor faces. First, this projector has half the contrast ratio and 200 less lumens. The result, as reviewers report, is a decent but not amazing image clarity for video playback that suffers as the room lights get brighter. However, the projector does support 1080p video and produces a 100-inch projection at around 8 feet from the screen – so it has all the specs you need to watch a movie in the living room with the lights down low.

Where this projector exceeds expectations is in the cooling system and lamp life. Almost no users reported experiencing the projector overheat, even after hours of use watching several movies in a row. In addition, the fan is quiet enough that the built-in speaker is sufficient for small groups of viewers – although you will likely still want an external speaker for larger rooms. Perhaps best of all, this projector boasts a 50,000-hour lamp life, which means that even the most avid movie fans are unlikely to ever have to replace the lamp.

PROS:
  • Does not overheat
  • Fan is extremely quiet
  • 50,000-hour lamp life

CONS:
  • Mid-range contrast ratio produces average image quality

Features
  • Display technology: LCD
  • Brightness: 1,800 lumens
  • Contrast: 2,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080pixels
  • Throw distance: 5-16.5ft
  • Screen size: 32-176 inches
  • 40,000-hour lamp life
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

DrJ

Although the DR.J projector doesn’t use the newer TFT LCD technology found in many other projectors on this list, it makes up for it in the quality and design of the projector lens. The high-quality lens produces a crisp image, which when combined with the solid brightness rating and high contrast ratio makes for a vibrant and theater-like image quality even in moderately lit rooms. However, one minor downside to this projector is the focus adjustment. Many users found that the focus adjustment was sometimes difficult to tune in perfectly, making it hard to get that crisp image that the projector is capable of every time.

Another nice and unique feature of this projector is that the lens is designed to take advantage of diffuse reflection technology – a special lens design that reduces how much light bounces directly back from the screen into your eye and in turn reduces eye fatigue.

In addition, the cooling system is well-designed for a projector of this size and brightness. The unit includes two fans, which are quiet enough to not impede the audio experience and prevents the unit from overheating after hours of use. Plus, the 40,000-hour lamp life is attractive, since most users will never have to replace the lamp.

While the projector claims a three-year warranty, beware that several customers did have problems with the projector they were sent. In some cases, customers complained that the projector was far less than the advertised 1,800 lumens and produced a dim image even in dark rooms. This appears to be a manufacturing quality control issue, covered under the warranty, but can create a hassle for buyers who need a projector quickly.

PROS:
  • Crisp, vibrant, bright image
  • Diffusive reflection technology
  • Good cooling system and long lamp life

CONS:
  • Difficult to use focus adjustment
  • Manufacturing issues, although covered under the warranty

Features
  • Display technology: LED
  • Brightness: 1,800 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 3-10ft
  • Screen size: 32-120 inches
  • Reduced fan noise
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

One of the best design aspects of the DBPOWER projector is its short throw distance – the space needed between the projector and the screen. Whereas many of the other budget projectors on our list need 8 feet or more to produce an optimal mix of clarity and screen size, this projector works best at 6.5 feet from the screen. While that may not sound like much, those 1.5 feet can make a huge difference in which rooms you’re able to use the projector in versus which rooms are just slightly too small. The only drawback is that the maximum screen size of this projector is 120 inches, slightly smaller than some of its competitors.

In terms of video playback, this projector stacks up well against the competition. It features an 1,800-lumen brightness rating and 1,000:1 contrast ratio, resulting in vibrant video screenings even in rooms that are less than fully dark. Plus, it is capable of playing back 1080p videos at full resolution. The built-in speakers are able to overpower the low fan noise, although as with many of the projectors on this list it is recommended to invest in an external speaker system.

PROS:
  • Works in smaller rooms
  • Excellent video quality
  • Quiet and efficient cooling system

CONS:
  • Smaller maximum screen size than competitors

Features
  • Display technology: TFT LCD
  • Brightness: 1,500 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,500:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 5-16.5ft
  • Screen size: 32-170 inches
  • Innovative fan for low noise
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 8.0 out of 10

Funavo

This projector from FUNAVO is an all-around performer at a budget price. Video playback is extremely vibrant and clear thanks to the 1,500:1 contrast ratio, higher than many projectors in this price range. Plus, while the optimum distance for the projector is about 8 feet from the screen, that distance produces a 120” projection – significantly larger than many competing projectors at the same distance. When needed, the projector supports screen sizes up to 170”, which is a much larger maximum screen size than most competing projectors.

The primary downside to video playback from this projector is the lack of brightness. This is one of the lower-rated projectors for brightness in our round-up, and as a result, it is virtually unusable during daytime hours without blackout curtains.

With that caveat in mind, however, this projector is also a great choice for those looking for a small and portable projector that can last for back-to-back movie showings. The projector itself is very compact and comes with a built-in speaker that is loud enough to use for watching movies with friends. The cooling system also holds up well to hours of continuous use thanks to an innovative fan design specialized for the compact body.

PROS:
  • Large optimum and maximum screen sizes
  • High contrast ratio
  • Portable

CONS:
  • Low brightness rating makes daytime use nearly impossible

Features
  • Display technology: LCD
  • Brightness: 1,800 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 5-13ft
  • Screen size: 50-130 inches
  • 30,000-hour lamp life
  • 18-month warranty

OVERALL RATING: 8.0 out of 10

The GooDee projector is one of the smallest projectors on the market, making it ultra-portable for anyone looking to bring to a friend’s house for movie night, on a family vacation, or even a camping trip. The unique design – elongated rather than rectangular – also makes it more suitable to carry in a backpack than many other mini projectors.

The picture quality is very good and comparable to many of the other projectors in our top 10. The brightness and contrast ratio are roughly average for this price point and produce a sharp and vibrant picture even when projecting at 1080p resolution. While projecting a 100-inch screen requires closer to 10 feet of space than the 8 feet required of comparable projectors, this should not be an issue for most people with sizable viewing rooms.

To compensate, the projector features a better audio system than many of its competitors. The 2W speaker has a built-in subwoofer, which produces much richer bass than the soft speakers on other small projectors.

Where this projector falls slightly short is in its cooling system. Although the projector is designed to dissipate heat, it can still get quite warm after a single movie and it is limited to roughly two movies before overheating becomes a serious concern. However, with proper care, the lamp will last 30,000 hours – more than most people will ever use.

PROS:
  • Extremely portable design
  • 2W speaker with built-in subwoofer
  • Competitive image quality

CONS:
  • Can overheat after 3-4 hours
  • 10-foot distance required for 100-inch projection size

Features
  • Display technology: TFT LCD
  • Brightness: 1,600 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 5-13ft
  • Screen size: 50-130 inches
  • 30,000 hours of lamp life
  • 1-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

Ragu

If portability is your primary concern when choosing a projector, the RAGU projector has you covered. This projector is roughly the same size as an Ipad Mini – just larger than the palm of your hand – and weighs only 2 pounds. That means it’s easy to stick this projector in a backpack for trips or take it out to the backyard or a friend’s house for movie nights.

Of course, that lighter package does come with some drawbacks. The first is that this projector is somewhat less bright than most of the other projectors we recommend. That reduces the image quality when using it with the lights on in a nearby room, or for backyard viewings at sunset. Second, the image quality on this projector tends to be soft around the edges – that is, areas around the edge of the projection screen may appear slightly out of focus. However, users report that under dark conditions, the picture is sharp in the center and the colors are as vibrant as for any other projector on our list.

One other consideration for this projector relative to others is that the lamp life is somewhat lower. While most people will never use the projector for 30,000 hours, heavy movie watchers could find themselves replacing this projector after a few years of use. In addition, note that the warranty on this projector is only one year – although few customers report having issues that would require using the warranty.

PROS:
  • Extremely small and lightweight for portability
  • Screen size is not reduced despite small projector size

CONS:
  • Soft around edge of projection
  • Less bright than some competitors

Features
  • Display technology: TFT LCD
  • Brightness: 1,200 lumens
  • Contrast: 1,000:1
  • Max. supported resolution: 1080p
  • Throw distance: 5-13ft
  • Screen size: 50-130 inches
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

This projector from ELEPHAS is another great choice for portability. The projector itself is just larger than the palm of your hand and the unit weighs less than 2 pounds. Another nice feature is that it comes with a remote control.

While the video quality of this projector is nothing to scoff at, it does lack the technical specifications that we’ve seen in other projectors at this price point. In particular, the brightness is rather low – rated at only 1,200 lumens output. That means that the projector will only produce a fully clear picture in blacked-out rooms.

Like other miniature projectors designed for portability, this one also has some difficulty with cooling. The fan is quiet during use, but the projector can also be used for 3-4 hours at a time before overheating becomes a concern.

PROS:
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Decent video quality for the price

CONS:
  • Lower brightness rating compared with rivals
  • Can only be used for 3-4 hours before overheating

Features
  • Display technology: TFT LCD
  • Brightness: 1200 lumens
  • Contrast: 2,000:1
  • supported resolution: 1080pixels
  • Throw distance: 5-16.5ft
  • Screen size: 20-150 inches
  • 3-year warranty

OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

This projector from DBPOWER is one of the most cost-efficient projectors on the market. The high contrast ratio, 130” projection at an 8-foot distance from the screen, and 1080p compatibility are all stand-out features for a projector price that will leave you wondering how it could be so inexpensive.

Of course, the projector does have some drawbacks that allow the low cost. First, the brightness rating is 1,200 lumens. This means that the picture from this projector, however crisp and clean, will be difficult to see in moderately dark rooms.

The cooling system on this projector makes it more suitable for TV shows and single movies than continuous use, which is due to the following issues. Some users reported that the fan is rather loud. In addition, the projector heats up quickly – prompting some people to use laptop cooling pads under the projector to prevent it overheating during a single movie screening.

PROS:
  • Low cost
  • High contrast ratio
  • Large projection size

CONS:
  • Low brightness rating
  • Tends to overheat quickly
  • Fan is louder than other competitors

Buying Guide

Now that we’ve shared our 10 favorite projectors under $100, it’s important to think about what factors really matter to you in a new projector. Here, we’ll share some more information about the main features that we look at in determining whether a projector makes the cut or not.

 

Imaging technology

There are three main technologies used for projecting images – digital light processing (DLP), liquid-crystal display (LCD), and light-emitting diode (LED). DLP projectors typically offer the best quality but come at a significant price premium, so you won’t find any for under $100. LCD and LED projectors are far less expensive and are relatively comparable. Most projectors in our round-up use LCD technology, and in particular the newer TFT LCD technology, since this produces brighter screens and richer colors than LEDs. However, LCD projectors also generate more heat, which can cause issues with overheating during continuous use.

Brightness

Projector_BrightnessAnother important technical specification that affects video playback is brightness. Brightness affects, as you might guess, how bright the projected image is – which determines how easy it will be to see in a well-lit room. Less bright projectors, in the 1,000–1,200-lumen range, can produce images that are difficult to see clearly in lit rooms. However, some people find that brighter projectors, around 2,000 lumens, actually require turning on some lights to avoid eye strain from the brightness of the image.

Contrast ratio

Projector_Cantrast_RatioThe contrast ratio is one of the best single numbers for capturing how clear and vivid a projected video will look. In a nutshell, the contrast ratio is the difference in light between the brightest and darkest pixels – so a higher contrast ratio means brighter whites and darker blacks. The result is that the colors in between are also more vivid with a higher contrast ratio. In projectors under $100, contrast ratios greater than 1,000:1 are above the competition.

Screen throw

Screen throw defines how far the projector needs to be from the screen or wall to produce an image of a certain size. Most projectors have a range of recommended screen throw distances, with an optimum range somewhere in the middle. When choosing a projector, think about what room you’re likely to use it in and measure the distance from where you’ll keep the projector to the wall – this should give you a guide for what optimum screen throw you will need. For small rooms, look for projectors with short screen throws so that the projected image is not smaller than you expect based on the maximum screen size.

Portability

Projector_backyardAlthough portability can be a second consideration for some people, it plays an important role in projector design. Many miniature projectors are designed to be just larger than the size of your palm and weight less than 2 pounds, making them easy to toss in a backpack and take to a friend’s house or even on vacation. However, these tiny projectors also typically suffer from overheating issues because of their compact design. Keep this trade-off between portability and limited continuous use in mind when thinking about how you are most likely to use your new projector.

Conclusion

Projector technology has come a long way in the past few years, making it a visually comparable but far more affordable option than buying a new Smart TV. And while expensive projectors are out there, we feel that you can get terrific video quality from a number of projectors that sell for under $100. Our round-up and buying guide give you everything you need to know to make an informed decision about which of the many inexpensive projectors on the market is right for your needs.

9.7 Total Score
VisualGreat GP80 Projector - Editor's Choice

Our favorite product in the round-up was easily the GP80 Projector from VisualGreat. This projector boasted astoundingly good video quality for the low price point, thanks to its high 2,200:1 contrast ratio and the ability to turn on dynamic contrast. The brightness rating of 1,800 lumens was also above average for projectors at this price point, making it easier to use during daylight conditions. In addition, the huge maximum screen size of 180” is perfect for large and outdoor movie screenings or video game parties. We also loved the additional small features like an add-on remote control, dual USB ports, and a quality built-in speaker, all of which make this projector something you’ll want to use over your existing TV.

Image Quality
10
Throw
9.5
Portability
10
PROS
  • Top of the line video quality
  • Large maximum screen size
  • Dual USB ports
CONS
  • Only 70” optimum screen size
Add your review  |  Read reviews and comments
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Your total score

Pin It on Pinterest

Login/Register access is temporary disabled