Are you in the market for a home theater projector? Some units cost thousands of dollars, but you can also find budget projectors that are much cheaper. That includes the best projector under 500. We’ll be reviewing some of the top products on the market
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Best Projector Under 500 Comparison Chart
Straight to the winner? So for the top projectors in the under-$300 price range on the market we would pick the: EX3260 3LCD Projector by Epson.
Here are the Best Projector Under 500 Product Reviews
1. VS355 3LCD Projector by Epson
The Epson VS355 has 800p x 600p resolution with 3,300 lumens with balance of color/white brightness. The lamp lasts up to 10,000 hrs. to reduce total costs.
This Epson projector works with the newest phones/laptops and media players. The HDMI cable supports digital video/audio.
The projector is easy to set up and operate with convenient control and image adjustments.
The VS355 is bundled with a USB cable for PC/Mac and carrying case.
- Good option for travelers
- Good customer service/exchange process
- Wi-Fi enabled for wireless connectivity
- Produces sharp/bright image
- Projectors can be used for outdoor theater
- No warranty if not bought from a third-party seller
- Might have issues with a refurbished product
- Might top working within months
2. ML750 LED Projector by Optoma
The ML750 is a LED Projector from Optoma. It includes a built-in Office Viewer for presentations and produces bright/clear images. You can use an HDMI cable to present from a mobile device.
The unit is powered by DLP tech by Texas Instruments. This helps to provide high-quality colors, brightness, and contrast.
You can use the projector to watch movies/TV shows, make presentations, and play video games. MHL connectivity allows you to connect to a smartphone/tablet to access photos, videos, and music.
You can make laptop-free presentations with a microSD card slot, built-in memory, and a USB connection.
The lamp-free LED light source includes 700 lumens, 1W audio speaker, and a media player. It’s also bundled with a carrying bag.
The ML750 has a lightweight/compact design, so it’s very portable. The carrying case makes it easy to store and transport the projector when you need to.
The projector is also gaming-friendly. You can connect it to mobile devices, PCs/Macs, and gaming consoles. Features include large images, bright colors, and fast response times.
- Very light/compact projector
- Good projector for making presentations
- Good for projecting music videos during parties
- Can be stored in a backpack
- Projects on 100-in. screen
- Issues with the tech support team
- HDMI input might stop working
- Product summary/description are different
3. VS355 3LCD Projector by Epson
The VS355 produces 1280p x 800p resolution, which is the 2x SVGA resolution for HD presentations/video. It also has 3,300 lumens for bright/clear color in dim rooms. There’s also a 15,000:1 contrast ratio.
The VS355 is powered by DLP tech and optical lens systems for clarity, easy readability, and bright/clear colors for applications like business presentations.
The projector supports HDMI for digital audio/video and connects to smartphones, desktops/laptops, and media players. You can use HDMI inputs for multi-platform connectivity.
The setup is fast and easy using image adjustments/convenient control. It also features intuitive operation, easy maintenance, and eco-friendly low cost. The HDMI/VGA inputs host presenters and phones/tablets/laptops without adapters/IT support.
- Works effectively in dim/darkroom
- Light, small, and portable
- Offers features found on high-end projectors
- Good picture quality
- Excellent value for the price range
- Doesn’t have keystone adjustments
- Lamp isn’t 10,000 hrs.
4. EX3260 3LCD Projector by Epson
The EX3260 is a 3LCD Projector from Epson. It has a 800p x 600p SVA resolution and 3300 lumens for graphics/presentations for bright/precise brightness for colors/white. It supports presentations, videos, and images in well-lit and dim areas with little ambient light.
This Epson projector supports HDMI connectivity so you can use one cable for digital video/audio. You can also use the projector for various portable media players and desktops/laptops. The USB cable allows you to project content from PCs/Macs instantly.
The lamp can last up to 10,000 hours. This provides convenience since you can save time and effort while reducing the total cost of projector ownership.
The projector’s setup is fast and easy so you can start using the unit easily. It features convenient control and image adjustments to make the process easier. The unit can also be powered down quickly so you can pack up the projector and go.
A carrying case is bundled with the EX3260. This makes the unit more portable and provides easy transport and storage.
- Projector can be used for outdoor theater
- Good for presentations/traveling
- Has many features for the price point
- Images are very sharp/bright
- Presentations for business/school
- Customer service isn’t excellent
- Problems with ceiling mount
- Noisy when the fan is cooling down
5. H5382BD Home Theater Projector by Acer
The H5382BD features 1280p x 70p resolution and 3300 lumens. It offers high-quality colors, brightness, and contrast. There’s also a 16:9 aspect ratio that supports widescreen movies via HDTV and Blu-ray Disc.
The Acer projector includes an ambient light sensor so the unit can pick up ambient conditions. The image’s color saturation and brightness levels are optimized dynamically via Acer LumiSense+ tech.
It also features content-aware tech. This allows each frame to be optimized as the unit projects images on the wall or screen.
Acer’s 3D tech via eColor Boost improves color compensation. This produces true colors for 2D/3D content.
There’s also ColorSafe II and prevents the occurrence of color decay due to long-term projector use. This results in the colors remaining natural even after the projector’s long-term use.
Power management tech helps conserve the planet’s resources and provides the user with energy savings and thus lower utility bills.
The H5382BD offers easy installation, so the projector’s setup is fast and convenient.
This projector offers HDMI/MHL connectivity for digital video/audio input. You can display video/audio from smartphones/tablets and PCs/Macs using the HDMI/MHL port.
The H5382BD also offers a Wireless HD kit sold separately. This allows you to stream HD content without wires and prevents dealing with a bird’s nest of cables.
- Ceiling mounting available
- Good color in dim environments
- Can be used to replace the main TV
- HDMI/MHL port can stream from PC
- Good entry-level projector
- Doesn’t have high durability
- Claimed bulb lifetime isn’t accurate
- Audio isn’t very good
6. PH550 Minibeam Projector by LG
The LG PH550is Projector features Bluetooth sound, built-in battery, and screen share. It produces HD (1280p x 720p) images and a maximum 550 lumens.
The projector also features a wireless connection via Android and Windows platforms. You can access content wirelessly through a smartphone, tablet, and USB drive.
The projector can stream sound wirelessly to a sound system that’s Bluetooth compatible like headphones, home audio speakers, or portable speakers. This combines big screen and audio.
The PH550 also contains a built-in battery that has a battery life of 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, the lamp has a 30,000 hr. life. If you want a 2-hour movie daily, the lamp won’t have to be replaced until 40 years.
- Good image
- Excellent for movie night
- Works well with minimum keystone correction
- Easy connectivity
- Unit is very portable
- Doesn’t connect to iPhones via Bluetooth
- Good for dim environments
- Length of cable
- Sound isn’t excellent
7. EX7240 3LCD Projector by Epson
The Epson EX7240 is a certified refurbished model that offers 1280p x 800p resolution. The resolution is 2x higher than SVGA for HD presentations.
There’s wireless connectivity and 3200 lumens. It includes a 90-day warranty and has been tested/inspected by an Amazon supplier.
The Epson projector produces 3200 lumens and is a good unit for well-lit rooms.
The unit includes a USB Plug n Play. You can also connect wirelessly to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop without connecting the devices to the projector. This allows you to use the mobile device anywhere in the room. The setup is fast and easy through convenient control and image adjustments.
You can share images and videos from a phone/tablet/streaming device. EX7240 supports Roku, Chromecast, and other MHL-enabled devices.
The Epson projector eliminates the need to use laptops for presentations. You can display photos and videos from devices like smartphones and tablets. The projector can even charge your device so you won’t have to spend downtime during presentations.
The lamp can last a maximum of 10,000 hours. This reduces the total cost of ownership and reduces the time and effort required to maintain the Epson projector.
- Lower price due to refurbished unit
- Bundled with carrying bag7
- Original accessories/cables included
- Refurbished but almost new
- Good for basic AV applications
- No HDMI cable
- Wireless function streams slow
- Carry bag isn’t heavy-duty
8. MW526AE Business Projector by BenQ
The MW526AE has 1280p x 800p resolution and 3300 lumens, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, and 16:10 aspect ratio. It offers bright color for presentations in lit and dim meeting rooms.
I/O connectivity includes 2 HDMI and 2 VGA inputs for multi-platform connectivity. This makes it easy to connect the projector to devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It makes the process easier since you won’t have to deal with complex adapters.
The BenQ projector has a fast and easy setup, intuitive operation, and easy maintenance for better functionality. It also features DLP tech and optical lens systems that are all-glass.
This provides smooth color transitions, clarity, and crisp readability. As a result business/school presentations will provide benefits in terms of collaboration, discussion, and effectiveness.
The MW526AE projector has a low noise level at 29 dBA in economic mode. This helps to prevent being disturbed when operating the projector.
The projector is also eco-friendly with a low total cost of ownership.
The triple adjustment feet make the BenQ projector more portable since it’s easier to move around when necessary.
- Includes features found on $1000+ projectors
- Effective business projector
- Can be used for indoor/outdoor applications
- Can be used for video and video games
- Good project for the price range
- Keystone adjustment missing
- Speaker doesn’t sound good
- Shipping issues
9. PRO7827HD Home Theater Projector by ViewSonic
The PRO7827HD is a home theater projector with a movie theater-like experience. The projector produces images in 1920x x 1080p full HD and 2200 lumens. It can project images on the screen as large as 300-in.
The projector produces cinematic colors with 709 color accuracy to produce natural colors. This provides 100% color accuracy for color that’s typically only found in movie theaters. Rec. 709 is an HDTV standard and reproduces the original content’s colors.
The PRO7827HD also includes ISF-certified tools for color calibration. The Day and Night modes provide optimized color in bright/dark environments. You can also get on-site tuning by ISF-certified technicians for customized image calibration.
The projector includes flexible connectivity. It supports PC/Mac, iOS/Android mobile devices, media players, and gaming consoles. You also have various input options like USB and HDMI. You can also stream content wirelessly from devices to the projector.
This ViewSonic unit also features 2 built-in 10-watt speakers, so audio complements the home theater’s audio.
The projector is easy to set up and includes 4-corner adjustment, 1.3x optical zoom, vertical lens shift, and vertical/horizontal keystone. All of these features make the setup of the PRO7827HD fast and easy.
The unit’s design hides cable wires and exposed ports. The lamp door is easy-access, so it’s easy to maintain and replace the lamp. Since it has a high lifespan, you won’t have to replace the unit frequently.
You’ll also receive various mounting options. The projector has a standard lens so the projector can be placed anywhere for big/bright images. Various features make adjustments to end crooked/distorted images. This is even possible when the projector is positioned at an angle that’s not direct to the screen.
The PRO7827HD includes:
- HD Projector
- Power Cable
- VGA Cable
- Remote Control
- Cable Management Cover
The projector is protected by a 3-year limited parts/labor warranty. There’s also a 1-year lamp warranty. The warranties both include access to the company’s customer service team that’s US-based.
- Good value for the price range
- Clear image in bright environments
- Fairly quiet operation
- Feature to adjust corners/keystone
- Clear/detailed images
- Sometimes isn’t a new projector
- Most settings disabled for HDMI
- Doesn’t support 4K
10. PA503X HDMI Projector by ViewSonic
The ViewSonic PA503X is an HDMI Projector that can be used for business and educational applications.
The unit has a 1024p x 768x resolution, 3,600 lumens, and projects on screens as large as 120-inches. It includes easy setup/control. You can plug/play images, videos, and presentations.
ViewSonic’s in-house SuperColor tech includes a 6-segment color wheel and lamp control. This offers a wide range of colors and eye-catching images.
This unit includes many connectivity options including Pc/Mac, smartphone/tablet, and media players. Input options include VGA and HDMI.
The lamp life is a maximum of 15,000 hrs. in SuperEco Mode. This helps you save time, effort, and money vs. other projectors’ lamps.
The box includes:
- XGA Projector
- Power Cable
- VGA Cable
- Remote Control
The PA503X projector includes a 3-year limited warranty that covers parts/labor. There’s also a 1-year lamp warranty, and both warranties include access to the company’s customer service team.
- Good value for the price
- Can be used for indoor/outdoor viewing
- Menu is relatively intuitive
- Excellent customer service
- Big/clear image
- Freezes often
- Minimal instructions
- Might stop working after months
Key Features of Projectors Under $500
If you’re in the market for the best projector under 500, it can be tough to select the best unit for your needs. The key is to consider the most critical factors. Here are some of them:
If you’re reading reviews at Amazon, make sure to read the Verified Purchase reviews since these are from people who have actually bought the projector. These reviews tend to be more objective, so there’s less of a chance it’s sponsored content (fake reviews).
You should also consider reading several reviews from different sources. This will give you an idea about customers’ general consensus about a particular unit. Sometimes a bad review is from a disgruntled customer or involved some a complex situation that most people haven’t had to deal with.
This usually includes items like a power cord, HDMI cord, remote control, and carrying case. You shouldn’t expect lots of extras when you’re buying a projector in the under-$500 category, but it’s a plus when items are bundled that you’d need to have any way to operate the projector.
We’re discussing projectors in the under-$500 category, so this is already an industry niche. Several factors can affect the price including brand, quality features, support, version, etc.
The $500 is already quite low for a full-size projector so you should expect to pay a price tag around that figure if you don’t want to make big sacrifices in terms of quality and service. The only exception would be mini/pocket projectors but that’s a different niche, and the lower price is justified due to the compact size and fewer perks.
You can save money by taking some other steps. Shop around to find the best price for a certain model. Look for online sales/discounts at e-commerce sites. Enjoy discounted or free shipping through services like Amazon Prime. These are all some effective ways you can save on your total investment.
You can sometimes find comprehensive warranties for home projectors, but in most cases, it’s a limited warranty. The duration is usually 1-3 years although it’s higher in some cases. Sometimes there’s also a warranty just for the lamp, and it’s usually shorter than the general warranty.
If the warranty is limited make sure to find out what it covers. Typically this includes parts/labor and only in certain situations like defects due to materials/manufacturing.
Home projectors can be used for a wide range of applications. This includes basics like images and videos, and presentations. You can also find units that support content like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and media players.
You can also find certain units that are specifically designed for business and educational presentations.
This is a common feature with projectors. Make sure to consider whether or not a speaker is included with the projector. You should also consider the speaker’s wattage so you’ll know approximately how loud the speaker(s) can get.
In some cases, you might want to add a standalone speaker for better audio. That’s OK, but a built-in speaker can boost a unit’s portability and convenience, so it’s a feature to consider.
This can include different options like VGA, HDMI, and USB. Make sure to research this issue since your devices might be incompatible with a particular projector based on the input options.
Besides the input types, you should also consider the types. For example, many projectors have 2 HDMI inputs instead of one so you’ll have more versatility when operating the projector. This can be a plus in terms of multimedia options.
Projector manufacturers often claim their bulbs can last 6,000, 10,000, or even 15,000 hours. There are a few caveats to consider.
The highest figure is usually when the machine is operated in some sort of energy-saving eco-mode that extends the lifespan of the unit. The problem is you probably won’t operate the projector in that mode all the time.
There are other factors that affect how long the bulb lasts. What’s most important is while the lamps are usually long-lasting there’s a good chance they won’t last as long as advertised and especially if you don’t use the eco mode each and every time you operate the projector.
Make sure to research the range of screen sizes for a particular projector. This figure can range significantly and is based on how close or far the projector is from the wall/screen. It’s a major issue based on where you’ll be using the projector since you’ll be limited by the screen/wall size available.
This might seem like a small issue, but It’s critical for various reasons. If a projector is tough to set up, it can require lots of time and effort you might be unwilling to spend before you start using the projector. If you’re in a hurry due to tardiness, you’ll also want easy setup so you can start movie night or a business presentation.
The biggest feature to look for is plug & play. This easy setup doesn’t require IT support or adapters so you can get the ball rolling quickly.
This figure is one of the biggest selling points for home theater projectors. On one hand, you’ll want the lux figure to be high enough to produce a bright display and especially in dim ambient conditions.
However, keep in mind other factors will affect the projector’s brightness. In fact, sometimes a particular model with the same lumens as another projector will actually have a brighter projection.
That said, the lumens is a good start. If a projector doesn’t have a powerful enough lamp, then it will certainly affect the overall brightness.
Top Uses of Projectors Under $500
Why should you consider a home projector in the under-$500 price range? Here are some of the applications:
Movies/TV Shows/Home Videos
These are some of the most common applications for projectors. In fact, many families today are actually replacing their main TV with a home projector. You can connect the projector to your DVD/Blu-ray player, HDTV, or mobile device to access these videos.
You could even make your projector be the life of the party. For example, you could use it to loop a theme like a big fish across the wall/screen during the fun event.
Another option is a light show through a laser app that keeps the party going. When combined with some hot jams the unit can create an audio/visual extravaganza that keeps everyone on the dance floor.
Old-school projectors were used, and you can use today’s projectors to showcase your digital images. This could include group selfies with your friends or family, pictures of your latest vacation to the beach or mountains, or even everyday images of your kids or pets.
Sometimes video streaming through devices like smartphones and tablets is available. Video streaming is one of the hottest trends in video so it’s a feature you might want your next home projector to have.
Full HD and 3D have become industry standards for video. If these are priorities, then make sure a particular unit supports 1080p resolution and 3D content. Keep in mind that not all projectors that advertise these perks offer crystal-clear images.
Whether it’s for work or school a projector is a practical tool for presentations. In fact, many of today’s projectors have hardware/features that eliminate the need to use a laptop for your presentations.
Some projectors are designed specifically for presentations. So if this is the main application you’ll be using the unit for you should consider these models over others for home theaters.
If you’re a music lover, then look for projectors that are compatible with media players. This gives you the ability to use the projector to share your favorite playlists and music videos. You might want to add a standalone speaker to improve the audio quality.
Many projectors are compatible with various gaming consoles like PS4, Xbox One, and Wii. This allows you to play your favorite games on a big screen. It takes your games to the next level since you won’t be playing them on a small screen.
Conclusion – Best Projector Under $500 Crown goes to…
We’ve just reviewed some of the top projectors in the under-$500 price range. After careful consideration, we’re ready to announce our pick for the best unit. This is based on various factors like quality, functionality, features, value, and service. Our pick is: PA503X HDMI Projector by ViewSonic
Let’s start with the manufacturer. ViewSonic is a multi-national company specializing in visual display tech. It was founded 30+ years ago in 1987 and is headquartered in California, US, and New Taipei City, Taiwan. Today the company earns about $1 billion in yearly sales. A major benefit of ViewSonic vs. other companies is it’s a well-established company in the industry.
Next, there’s the nitty-gritty of the PA503X. It includes 1024p x 768p resolution, 3,600 lumens, and projection up to 120-inches. These figures are noteworthy for projectors in this price range. There’s also in-house SuperColor tech for a wider color spectrum in different lighting environments.
The PA503X offers flexibility for the user. Connectivity options include VGA HDMI (2) and audio in/out. The projector can be connected to various devices like PC/Mac, smartphone/tablet, and media players. You can also use the projector to display images, videos, presentations, etc.
Other bells & whistles help put this ViewSonic projector ahead of the competition in this price range. The lamp shines for up to 15,000 hrs. when the projector is in SuperEco Mode. The unit is bundled with power/VGA cable and Remote Control so you’ll have everything you’ll need to get started. The projector is also covered by a 3-year limited parts/labor warranty to protect your investment.
The bottom line is the ViewSonic PA503X is our pick for the best projector under 500. It’s loaded with features and functionalities that are often more common in high-end projectors costing over $1000. It’s more for less!