On a warm summer night, or even a chilly autumn evening, there are few activities that are more enjoyable than setting up a family movie night on the porch. Outdoor movie viewings offer the chance for massive projection screens to come into play, and even some natural surfaces will work: the side of a house, school or office building can serve as an excellent stand-in for a movie screen on short notice. However, you will certainly need a capable projection device that will operate in less-than-ideal conditions, is powerful enough to present a decent picture, and is versatile enough to play any type of media you’d like to see. Here are a few outdoor projectors that will help to create nights that your friends, family and colleagues will want to relive over and over again.
Top 10 Best Outdoor Projectors Reviewed
1. 2015 Tronfy Full Color 130″ Entertainment Home Cinema Theater Multimedia Portable
This advanced projection system is ideal for home video or video game usage, and although it will set you back a pretty penny, you’ll be laughing all the way home from the bank. The multi-function input and HDMI/USB/SD card capabilities make it one of the most versatile systems around, capable of handling signals from a laptop, smartphone or other media storage device. At only 50 watts, it has a low power cost, and its small frame and ultra-portable design allow this Tronfy device to be carried to remote camping locations — or simply left in the backyard!CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
2. ERISAN Updated Full Color 130″ Multimedia Mini LED Projector Portable Home Cinema Theater Box
This ERISAN product is equipped to take on any type of home theater set-up that you can dream of! The screen projects up to 130 inches, and its 4:3/16:9 aspect ratio,1200 lumens brightness and 800:1 contrast all ensure that this multimedia projector will never be outclassed in terms of image quality. The projector’s advanced LED system and standard maintenance package provide power, pop and insurance against anything going wrong. With an industry leading warranty and unparalleled customer service to boot, ERISAN has dreamed up a product (and product support system) that seem almost too good to be true.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
3. ViewSonic PJD5155 SVGA DLP Projector
ViewSonic’s powerful PJD5155 projector is next on this list, and its qualifications may be even more impressive than those of the first two. The company’s Super Color technology delivers a rich, impassioned picture, and the 3300 ANSI lumens brightness and 20,000:1 contrast ratio make it the clear front-runner in its class. The projector also has an incredible interface, featuring a keyboard, top lamp door, and an advanced cable management system. Even better, the PJD5155’s sound system is impressive, even without the attachment of external speakers: the enlarged speaker chamber and booming amplifier allow for easy comprehension of the quietest whispers on screen. All in all, a standout machine indeed.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
4. Taotaole Multimedia Mini Portable LCD LED Projection Home Cinema Theater Projector
Taotaole has managed to put together an inexpensive system that functions as well as, if not better than, some of the pricier entries on this list. The projector’s keystone correction system, which resolves unfortunate picture trapezoidal distortion, allows for a maximum projection distance of 12.5 feet and an image wideness maximum of 120 inches. Its advanced LED lamp light has a lifespan of over 20,000 hours, which translates to hundreds if not thousands of backyard movie nights for the family. Music, picture, video and text — what can’t this neat little machine take care of?CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
5. Xinda Multi-media Mini 2000 Lumens Portable Video Projector
This Xinda product has standard projection dimensions and ratios for a standard price, but where it really shines is in its sound system quality rating. Its 2W*2 loud speaker is relatively advanced for its class, which translates to easy comprehension of dialogue and a nice balance between background music and foreground sound. The device supports nearly every file type that exists, and is programmed to learn how to support types that it was not built to understand in the factory. This mini projector can be powered by a charger or even by a power bank, but with a definite brightness difference if the power bank is being used.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
6. Epson Home Cinema 640
Epson has been a respected producer of camera and theater equipment for decades, and this product will do nothing to sully that excellent reputation. The Epson 640 boasts 3200 lumens of color and an identical white/brightness rating. Its contrast ratio is 10,000:1, and although it does not have lens shift capability, its keystone correction system is ultra-modern and well-equipped to handle any framing difficulties. Epson’s USB Plug n’ Play system and its machine’s HDMI connection ports allow any external media to be easily accessed and watched in stunning color.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
7. Taotaole 2600 Lumens Hd LCD LED Video Projector
Taotaole’s second entry on this list sees the company step up its projector game — a lot. Although its mini projector is an excellent machine, there is simply no competing with the big guns. The 2600 has a native resolution of 1280×800 and is compatible with 1080 i/p picture types. Its maximum image size is a massive 200 inches, and its two powerful built-in speakers negate the need for external speakers in your theater setup. Unlike many other outdoor projectors, the 2600 is actually recommended for small indoor meetings as well — purchasing this device could be the panacea for all of your media presentation woes.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
8. LeFun™ 1080p Home Theater Projector
It’s all right in the name of the product, isn’t it? This relatively cheap product supports 1080p and multi-function input, and is an excellent bang for the buck. Featuring a 1500:1 contrast ratio, 1200 lumens brightness and 800×400 LCD picture quality. With the industry’s standard keystone correction, you’ll never be looking at a crooked or out-of-alignment picture again!CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
9. Gypo GM60 Full Color Max 130″ Portable Screen Entertainment Home Cinema
This high-resolution LED projector strikes the perfect balance between cost and functionality. At around the same size as an iPad mini, this Gypo GM60 projector from PowerLead is transportable to any viewing location and can even be stored in luggage for vacation entertainment. Most projectors in this price range feature 800 lumens brightness, but the makers of the Full Color Max have managed to squeeze 1000 lumens into this terrific audio-visual system. Its customer warranty won’t leave you scratching your head and wondering what went wrong — customer service is a priority at PowerLeadCHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
10. Digital Galaxy DG-737 HDMI 1080P Compatible LCD Projector
The list wraps up by taking a look at a solid and competent product from trusted audio visual company Digital Galaxy. The projector supports 1080p picture all the way down to 480i, and has a native resolution of 800*400 which is also compatible with 1024*68. Although this projector, like many on this list, work better at night or in a dark environment, that shouldn’t stop any would-be movie screeners from picking a model up at their earliest convenience. With a 20,000 hour lamp life and TV, Sky, X Box, Playstation and Wii usage capability, the DG-737 is simply an excellent bargain.CHECK DEALS ON AMAZON
Why Buy an Outdoor Projector?
Buying a projector for outdoor use can provide endless hours of entertainment and fun in your own backyard or any suitable outdoor location. Watching your favorite movies, television shows, or sporting events under the stars is a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck as big-screen style projectors become more affordable, easier to use, and more portable than ever. Why lug a heavy or awkward television outside when you can set up the ultimate entertainment experience with a small, lightweight projector that will turn your outdoor venue into an al fresco movie theater? When you consider the value for long term use, it’s an investment worthy of serious consideration.
Outdoor projectors are easy to transport, making them an ideal addition to your road trip or camping packing list. There are tons of affordable and portable screen options, and good projectors can even turn a simple sheet or the side of a building into a giant screen, making it easy to use your projector for outdoor entertainment just about anywhere you might visit.
An outdoor projector makes bringing family and friends together easy, because everyone loves a big screen entertainment experience, especially at home! Just set up your outdoor theater and spread the word that it’s movie night, and you’ll have no trouble gathering the people who are special to you. Add popcorn and your backyard will be the most popular spot in the neighborhood!
Important Things to Consider Before Buying
There are many excellent projectors that are ideal for outdoor use, even though most of them are not specifically marketed as “outdoor projectors.” Doing your research to determine what you want from your projector and where and how you will use it is important.
Think about where you will use the projector most often, and give special consideration to how you will make it work in that outdoor space. Do you have access to power? Does your envisioned space have plenty of room for comfy seating and a nice, large screen? Where will you set up the projector to make sure it is kept dry and away from dirt and other outdoor hazards? Will you want to add some additional speakers for enhanced surround-sound awesomeness? If so, where and how will you set them up?
Spending a little time planning your set up will help you get the best return on your investment, and will also help you choose the projector that is perfect for your needs.
Tips on Choosing the Best Projector
There are a wide variety of projectors in the marketplace, and you’ll want to be sure you understand all the variables that come into play when determining the best projector for you.
– Projection Technology
There are three different types of projection technologies home consumers will usually choose from. The most common is the LCD projector. Typically, these are among the most affordable projectors. They utilize liquid crystal display equipment to produce clear, vibrant images for large screen viewing. A more expensive option is the DLP variety of projectors, which are used in many commercial movie theaters. DLP models function with an advanced color wheel system and millions of tiny mirrors, offering sharper imagery than LCD projectors can, which explains the higher cost. A third technology choice is LCOS. Images projected from these models are the absolute sharpest and clearest available, however they are highly expensive.
Regardless of which projection system you choose, perhaps the most important tip for choosing the best projector is to make sure it will project brightly onto your screen. Brightness for these projectors is rated using a term called “lumens.” Different projectors feature between 1,000 and 10,000 lumens. The larger the lumens number, the more expensive the projector is going to be.
For the best outdoor viewing brightness possible, select a projector with lumens somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000 at a minimum. Obviously, the darker your outdoor viewing area is, the better. If your space has ambient light or you think you might frequently use the projector before it is completely dark, consider a projector with higher lumens.
Just like with photographs, higher projection resolution means sharper, clearer images. Projectors with higher resolution simply offer better viewing. Many affordable LCD projectors come with higher resolution, so you can aim for excellent projection quality without breaking your budget. Be sure to check this number, though, as there are some super cheap models on the market with lower resolution. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Buying a projector with multiple connectivity options gives you the most flexibility of use. Many models combine HDMI, USB, and VGA connections for versatility, but the best projectors will also have wi-fi functionality for easy, wireless connectivity to a variety of output devices. Consider how you will play media when using your projector and be sure to choose a unit that will work well with whatever device you will use the most.
Another important thing to think about is audio quality. Most projectors have built-in speakers, but the sound quality can vary significantly. Some come with external speakers. Regardless, be sure to choose a model with audio in and out capability, which will give you the flexibility to add supplemental speakers if you would like to enhance the sound experience for your viewers.
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