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Investing in a projector is usually the first step when one sets out to make any significant update to their home theater. But with so many options available online — from pocket-sized projectors to 4k projectors to outdoor projectors — it can be hard find the right piece of equipment without breaking the bank.
Some of the most important features to look out for are high brightness, detailed images and lens shifting — all advanced tech that can be hard to come by without a heft price tag. Below, we rounded up the best budget projectors on the market that do it all, ranging in price from $150 to $750 — but none more than $1,000.
Kodak Luma 150 Ultra Mini Pocket Pico Projector
There are a lot of things that Kodak has done right with its ultra-portable Luma 150 projector. It’s affordable, it’s stylish and it can connect to multiple sources. For $220, you aren’t going to get the same quality as an Epson or BenQ but if you are looking for an affordable way to enhance a casual movie night, the Luma gets the job done.
The pocket projector is less than an inch tall and 39 inches wide, meaning you can bring the adorable pico equipment with you anywhere you go. The small size certainly limits the device’s brightness and image clarity, but reviewers have noted that it boasts decent quality compared to other projectors at similar price points. Plus, the fact that you can connect microSD memory cards, USB thumb drives, wireless devices and HDMI cables to such a small device is simply impressive.
Epson Home Cinema 2250
Epson remains the world’s leading projector manufacturer since developing the technology in the late ’80s. The Seiko-owned brand has long been known for their image-processing equipment, but they’ve also become a go-to place for home theater equipment in the fast few years, with a robust lineup of projectors at different price points. With built-in streaming and an abundance of light, their 2250 model is considered the best option for outfitting an indoor home theater. The 1080-pixel resolution projector is only a marginal upgrade from the 2150 (also a great choice for a slightly lower cost), but features more intense brightness with impressive contrast ratio, both of which generally help make images look better at bigger sizes — the primary aim of any projector.
While some might not consider $1,000 a “budget” price tag, it actually is a competitive price compared to similar projectors on the market — especially considering its lens shift feature which allows you to easily adjust the height of the image, a luxury that’s extremely hard to come by for less than $1,000.
Phillips NeoPix Easy+ Projector
Phillips unveiled their first line of compact, budget projectors in late 2020, fast becoming a great way to get in on the home theater and projector game without breaking the bank. The Easy+ retails for as low as $150, making it the most affordable projector on this list. The main reason for the markdown is that it lacks 4k resolution, which can certainly be a dealbreaker for some. But if you already have a 4k TV and are turning towards a projector for the change in vibe and not necessarily a quality upgrade, then the Easy+ is for you.
BenQ HT2050A Home Theater Projector ($50 Off)
Like Epson, BenQ makes some of the best projectors on the market. And their new home theater projector, currently on sale for $750, is a great price for the advanced tech that comes packed in this 1080-pixel model. The updated version features significantly better picture quality than earlier iterations, thanks to noticeably darker blacks, high contrasts and impressive 3D image processing. But the 2050A’s headlining feature is its brightness, boasting a rating of 2200 ANSI lumens. Aside from projecting clearer images, high brightness also means it can be used just as well in ambient lighting as a completely dark room — which is great for those setting up their home theater in a room with natural light.
Plus, highly customizable options for red and green hue adjustments means you can color-match reference images precisely without losing brightness.
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