Best Home Theater Projectors under $500

Review of the Top Projectors under $500

Preview
ViewSonic 3800 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector for Home and Office with HDMI Vertical Keystone (PA503W) , White
Epson VS250 SVGA 3,200 Lumens Color Brightness (Color Light Output) 3,200 Lumens White Brightness (White Light Output) HDMI 3LCD Projector
Nebula Capsule, by Anker, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector, Red, 100 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, 360 Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Outdoor ProjectorWatch Anywhere
ViewSonic 1080p Projector, 3500 Lumens, Supercolor, Vertical Lens Shift, Dual HDMI, Enjoy Sports and Netflix Streaming with Dongle (PX701HD)
ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP Projector (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Title
ViewSonic PA503W
Epson VS250 SVGA
Anker Nebula Capsule Mini
ViewSonic PX701HD
ViewSonic PJD5134
Power consumption
260W
296W
5W
300W
250W
Native resolution
1280 x 800
800 x 600
854 x 480
1920 x 1080
800 x 600
Resolution
XGA+ Wide
SVGA
Full HD
Full HD
SVGA
Contrast ratio
22000:1
15000:1
400:1
12000:1
15000:1
Native aspect ratio
16:10
4:3
16:9
16:9
4:3
Brightness
3800 lumens
3200 lumens
100 lumens
3500 lumens
3000 lumens
Projection system
DLP
3LCD chips
DLP
DC3/ DMD/ DLP
MMA/ DLP
Color reproduction
1.07 billion
1.07 billion
-
1.07 billion
1.07 billion
Keystone correction
Vertical: ± 40°
Vertical: ± 30°
Vertical, Horizontal: ±40°
Vertical: ± 40°
Vertical: ± 40°
Throw Ratio
1.55 to 1.7:1
1.45 to 1.96
1.3:1
1.5 to 1.65:1
1.86 to 2.04:1
Projection size
30 – 300 inches
30 – 350 inches
20 – 100 inches
30 – 300 inches
24 – 300 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
4.9 pounds
5.3 pounds
0.08 pounds
5.7 pounds
4.6 pounds
Dimensions
4.3 x 11.6 x 8.6 inches
11.9 x 3.2 x 9.2 inches
68 x 68 x 120 inches
12.2 x 4.4 x 8.7 inches
8.7 x 10.5 x 3.3 inches
Prime Benefits
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-
Preview
ViewSonic 3800 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector for Home and Office with HDMI Vertical Keystone (PA503W) , White
Title
ViewSonic PA503W
Power consumption
260W
Native resolution
1280 x 800
Resolution
XGA+ Wide
Contrast ratio
22000:1
Native aspect ratio
16:10
Brightness
3800 lumens
Projection system
DLP
Color reproduction
1.07 billion
Keystone correction
Vertical: ± 40°
Throw Ratio
1.55 to 1.7:1
Projection size
30 – 300 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
4.9 pounds
Dimensions
4.3 x 11.6 x 8.6 inches
Prime Benefits
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Preview
Epson VS250 SVGA 3,200 Lumens Color Brightness (Color Light Output) 3,200 Lumens White Brightness (White Light Output) HDMI 3LCD Projector
Title
Epson VS250 SVGA
Power consumption
296W
Native resolution
800 x 600
Resolution
SVGA
Contrast ratio
15000:1
Native aspect ratio
4:3
Brightness
3200 lumens
Projection system
3LCD chips
Color reproduction
1.07 billion
Keystone correction
Vertical: ± 30°
Throw Ratio
1.45 to 1.96
Projection size
30 – 350 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
5.3 pounds
Dimensions
11.9 x 3.2 x 9.2 inches
Prime Benefits
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Preview
Nebula Capsule, by Anker, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector, Red, 100 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, 360 Speaker, Movie Projector, 100 Inch Picture, 4-Hour Video Playtime, Outdoor ProjectorWatch Anywhere
Title
Anker Nebula Capsule Mini
Power consumption
5W
Native resolution
854 x 480
Resolution
Full HD
Contrast ratio
400:1
Native aspect ratio
16:9
Brightness
100 lumens
Projection system
DLP
Color reproduction
-
Keystone correction
Vertical, Horizontal: ±40°
Throw Ratio
1.3:1
Projection size
20 – 100 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
0.08 pounds
Dimensions
68 x 68 x 120 inches
Prime Benefits
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ViewSonic 1080p Projector, 3500 Lumens, Supercolor, Vertical Lens Shift, Dual HDMI, Enjoy Sports and Netflix Streaming with Dongle (PX701HD)
Title
ViewSonic PX701HD
Power consumption
300W
Native resolution
1920 x 1080
Resolution
Full HD
Contrast ratio
12000:1
Native aspect ratio
16:9
Brightness
3500 lumens
Projection system
DC3/ DMD/ DLP
Color reproduction
1.07 billion
Keystone correction
Vertical: ± 40°
Throw Ratio
1.5 to 1.65:1
Projection size
30 – 300 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
5.7 pounds
Dimensions
12.2 x 4.4 x 8.7 inches
Prime Benefits
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Preview
ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP Projector (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Title
ViewSonic PJD5134
Power consumption
250W
Native resolution
800 x 600
Resolution
SVGA
Contrast ratio
15000:1
Native aspect ratio
4:3
Brightness
3000 lumens
Projection system
MMA/ DLP
Color reproduction
1.07 billion
Keystone correction
Vertical: ± 40°
Throw Ratio
1.86 to 2.04:1
Projection size
24 – 300 inches
HDMI
USB
Weight
4.6 pounds
Dimensions
8.7 x 10.5 x 3.3 inches
Prime Benefits
-
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When selecting the best projectors under $500 for home or office, look through this review to find affordable, reliable, and multi-functional products from popular manufacturers. Any of the items can become a good replacement for your TV providing a good-quality picture to all people in the room regardless of where they sit.

I've tested the eight devices for you to describe their characteristics, areas of application, pros, and cons. Keep reading to choose one of the best home projectors under 500 dollars for enjoying the movies, playing music, sharing the slideshows, and even playing games.

Best Projectors under $500 Review

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ViewSonic PA503W — Best 1080p projector under $500

ViewSonic PA503W

Why can this model become your best 1080p projector under 500 dollars? At least for the quality of the picture it produces. The brightness of 3,800 lumens ensures a vivid picture even in daylight. The high contrast and branded Super Color tech are responsible for the consistent and precise color reproduction.

It was a nice surprise to see the screen color calibration options for adjusting the projector’s color settings to personal needs. You can change the sharpness, saturation, or color balance to customize the viewing experience of movies or presentations.

This is also one of the best TV projectors under 500 dollars because of its versatility. This model performs equally well for multiple purposes: home entertainment, business conferences, presentations, pitches, and even small classrooms. Depending on the activity type and room size, it’s possible to regulate the device's brightness or choose the standard mode. A vertical keystone correction serves to adjust the image's top and bottom when placing the projector.

The device powers off automatically when I switch off the source. Besides, it also features the sleep mode that requires setting the timer manually. Apart from the Eco mode, the device implies the SuperEco one, reducing your energy use by 70%, extending the lamps’ lifespan to about 15,000 hours.

Choosing the best movie projector under 500 dollars, I also appreciate the ability to hook up another device. This model does an excellent job, allowing broadcasting videos from any source (media players, computers, TVs,) through an HDMI, dual VGA, micro USB, and composite inputs. The unit has audio in and out as well for being connected to an acoustic system.

Pros

  • The device projects 3D videos.
  • You can easily set it up and carry it around that makes the projector a perfect option for giving presentations.

Cons

  • The overall sound quality is below average. Hence, I’d recommend using an external speaker.
  • The lens can leave not crucial but still noticeable blurred shadows on the projected image.

Epson VS250 SVGA — Best LCD projector under $500

Epson VS250 SVGA

The device can become the best LCD projector under 500 dollars due to its small size and the ability to keep the brightness on the same level in any light. At the same time, 800 x 600p resolution is perfect only for PowerPoint presentations. Even here, it’s necessary to consider using large texts and graphics. Otherwise, the graininess will be visible, and the text will not be legible. Still, the unit is a nice solution for everyday business use.

Another reason to put this model among the top projectors under $500 is the sound quality. It's clear by default, producing no audible distortion. The slide position adjustment is a piece of cake thanks to the horizontal keystone correction. Besides, the vertical one is also included and can be controlled both manually and automatically. The digital 1 – 1.35 zoom range allows for a screen’s optimal size when it’s challenging to keep the proper distance from the screen. Using zoom doesn't compromise the image quality.

This product is made with VGA, HDMI, composite, and 2 USB ports, featuring the Wi-Fi connection as well. So, it provides cable-free connections with different sources, including mobile devices.

Pros

  • The fan doesn't emit much noise during the operation.
  • The device is ceiling mountable and has 3 feet for placing it on the table and regulating the height.
  • The remote control is in the package (with batteries included).

Cons

  • The manufacturer doesn't provide a case or a bag together with the device.
  • There's no headphone jack, so it’s necessary to buy the HDMI audio converter separately to hook up the unit to the sound system.

Anker Nebula Capsule Mini

Anker Nebula Capsule Mini

This model can be the best projector for under 500 dollars because of its bold design. A tiny red cylinder is only 4.72 inches high and 2.67 inches across. This 360-degree speaker reproduces an immersive sound in a small room. Although its quality leaves something to be desired, you can always connect the unit to a wireless Bluetooth speaker.

The portable Android-based item can work on a battery to let you enjoy the outdoor activities for hours.

The device’s native 854 x 480 pixels are great for slideshows. Of course, it’s not the best parameter for watching movies, but this problem isn't noticeable when sitting 2 or 3 feet away from the screen.

What is another reason to consider this item as the best home projector under 500 dollars? First, it offers many wireless connectivity options for sending images and videos to the projector: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and screen mirroring. Second, the HDMI input allows streaming content from the TV, computer, or player, while USB serves to hook up a mobile device.

A remote with a mouse button that allows using the cursor during a presentation is a nice touch.

Pros

  • I could call this item the best video projector under 500 dollars because battery life is long just as stated (I've been watching movies for 4 hours without a break).
  • The unit doesn't make much noise. It’s not annoying, even while using the projector at a minimum sound level.

Cons

  • The device sometimes disconnects from Wi-Fi for no reason
  • The unit’s 500 lumens are enough to enjoy movies in dimmer rooms only.

ViewSonic PX701HD — Best gaming projector under $500

ViewSonic PX701HD

I believe that the PX701HD may become the best gaming projector under 500 dollars for homes and offices due to its excellent colors without shades and moderate contrast. Besides, the item’s 3,500 lumens ensure an enjoyable viewing experience in both dark and well-lit rooms. Moreover, the unit can project 3D content to a two-dimensional surface from any laptop, tablet, or player. Don't forget that this item works only with DLP glasses.

The full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) makes this unit perfect for home theaters and provides a seamless gaming experience. A low lag time of 16.4ms also makes the unit a fit for gamers.

The internal 10-watt speaker reproduces an impressive sound in small and medium-sized rooms. Of course, it lacks bass, but you can fix it by using an acoustic system.

This 1080p projector under 500 dollars is manageable via a remote. The vertical keystone control allows calibrating the screen by 40 degrees. The Movie, Brightest, Sports, Standard, and Gaming modes improve the picture depending on the displayed content. For example, the Gaming setup makes dark areas brighter, while the Movie mode enhances color accuracy.

Pros

  • It has a foot for height adjustment at the bottom.
  • 2 HDMI ports allow hooking up several video sources at a time

Cons

  • The USB port is for service only.
  • You should spend time on calibration since the quality of the image is below average by default.

ViewSonic PJD5134

ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA DLP

The PJD5134 renders SVGA (800x600) native resolution at a 4:3 aspect ratio and sufficient nominal brightness of 2800 lumens. It has a pretty big set of connections: 2 VGA inputs (which can work with component video), 1 VGA output, audio input, and output connectors, S-Video, RCA connector for composite video, and a mini-USB type B port for the mouse remote control. All of them work seamlessly. The overall quality of the projected text is satisfactory, although the smallest size of white text on black is somewhat blurred but readable. It has a quick turn-off function and vertical keystone correction that allow you to efficiently and easily manage the projector.

Pros

  • The picture (about 55 inches diagonally) is visible enough in conditions with enough ambient light.
  • The Non-filter and energy-saving ECO modes provide long service life and low operating costs.
  • Being a lightweight device (4.6 pounds), it is equally convenient to use for mounting on a table or under the ceiling.

Cons

  • The red color is somewhat muffled and the yellow looks mustard.
  • Some images have an unpleasant rainbow effect. It appears as small red-green-blue flashes, usually in bright areas against the dark background.

Optoma HD146X

Optoma HD146X

Those wondering where to find the best home theater projector under 500 dollars, can take a closer look at the Optoma HD146X. This model projects HD and 3D content (but not the HDR and 4K formats), ensuring a nice viewing experience with decent brightness, and a high but still natural contrast. Both colors and sharpness are flawless, making it possible to enjoy the movies on up to 301-inch screens.

Besides, I wouldn’t recommend enabling the Picture mode since the colors lose their accuracy that requires the largest possible amount of the output light to fix the issue.

This Optoma can be the best projector under 500 dollars, as it provides multiple color settings & adjustment options. I was particularly fascinated with its Dynamic Black feature that changes the light intensity depending on a particular scene. The Wall Color option keeps the same levels of color accuracy when projecting to the walls of different colors. The Brilliant Color adjustment increases overall contrast but makes the colors less natural.

The in-built speaker has only 3 watts of power, so it's better to add an external sound system for improving the sound. The device has a 4,000-hour lamp life with the opportunity to extend it up to ten thousand hours in the Eco mode. Not bad for an entry-level projector, I should say.

Pros

  • The USB connection allows streaming content from various USB-capable devices, like Amazon Fire or Roku Stick.
  • The Enhanced Gaming mode reduces the lag up to 16.4ms, making this unit suitable for gaming.

Cons

  • The fan produces too much noise when activating the Dynamic Black option.
  • I've noticed a slight rainbow effect while the projector's operation.

Anker Nebula Capsule Max — Best HD projector under $500

Anker Nebula Capsule Max

Those dreaming about watching big-screen movies should get this best HD projector under 500 dollars with a resolution of 1280 x 720. The item's dimensions are compact: it's just 5.9 inches high and 31.5 inches across. So, you can carry it around effortlessly and place it on any table or tripod. The 8-watt speaker is surprisingly powerful for such a portable device, and its design allows delivering 360-degree sound.

The Android-powered unit features many out-of-the-box apps to stream content from different services. This unit is considered to be one of the best projectors for home theater under 500 dollars since it works as a multi-functional entertaining center rather than a simple projector thanks to its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability.

The device is equipped with a 3.5mm audio out, the HDMI, and USB ports located on the back. The control buttons are on top. Remote control and a Nebula mobile app help the users manage the item. The autofocus and keystone enhance the image position automatically.

Pros

  • The onboard screen mirroring allows projecting images from other devices (tablets, smartphones, laptops).
  • It can serve as a charger for mobile devices.

Cons

  • The battery holds charge only for 1.5 hours instead of the 4 hours claimed by the manufacturer (the last is possible only in a reduced brightness mode).
  • The autofocus works half the time.

Anker Nebula Apollo

Anker Nebula Apollo

Let me present one of the best home theater projectors under 500 dollars for portable use (it measures only 5.2 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches) and many applications. While testing the Apollo, I've made sure it's an excellent all-in-one device for playing videos, holding presentations, listening to music, and streaming content from the USB drives and plenty of Android apps.

I would recommend this model as the best projector under 500 dollars because it has several control methods (manual buttons, remote, and mobile app) and a built-in 360-degree speaker. The latter allows for producing a surround sound regardless of the item’s placement. Meanwhile, I've noticed that the device works only for dark rooms. Its 200 ANSI lumens make the picture's colors fade in a well-lighted place

Pros

  • The Nebula Connect app has been developed for both Android and iOS operating systems.
  • A unit is equipped with a battery, so you can use it outdoors.

Cons

  • The device cannot work as a Bluetooth speaker and project content simultaneously.
  • The touchpad is too sensitive, making it hard to control the device.

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