Avid gamers, video enthusiasts, and anyone who is into professional or business presentations should look for more than a standard projection machine.
However, that's not a call to spend all your life savings on a projector. The best projectors under 500$ are pretty perfect for such tasks.
They are cheaper alternatives to exorbitantly-priced big-screen TV models of famous brands. But is $500 a small amount of money? It isn't, and that's why you need to be vigilant when shopping for a projection device within this price tag. Again, we will include models that cost much less than that price tag.
While the projector market features an incredible range of stunning products, identifying the right model can be a strenuous undertaking. But you don't need to worry because we have you covered.
We will present to you up to 10 amazing models to choose from. These models stand out when it comes to overall picture quality, portability, and reliability. But beyond the basics, some of the models come with additional incentives such as faultless connectivity systems, inbuilt speakers, and wireless capabilities.
|Name||Brightness Level||Lamp Life||Size Of Screen||Price|
|VANKYOLEISURE 3 Mini||3600 Lumens.||40,000 Hours.||32 to 170 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|QKK QK02Projector||4500 Lumens.||50,000 Hours.||40 to 170 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|DR. JProfessionalHI-04 Mini||2200 Lumens.||40,000 Hours.||32 to 176 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|TOPVISIONT21 Projector||3600 Lumens.||40,000 Hours.||32 to 176 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|HOMPOWT20 Projector||3600 Lumens.||50,000 Hours.||50 to 176 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|BOMAKERProjector||5000 Lumens.||50,000 Hours.||35 to 300 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|TOPVISION4500L Projector||4500 Lumens.||60,000 Hours.||72 to 240 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|POYANK4500LuxProjector||4500 Lumens.||50,000 Hours.||32 to 176 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|GooDeeProjector||400 Lumens.||30,000 Hours.||20 to 60 Inches.||CheckPrice|
|FANGOR4500 Lux||4500 Lumens.||55,000 Hours.||Up To 200 Inches.||CheckPrice|
Many people look at the brand when shopping for various products. and when it comes to projection machines, VANKYO is one of the most reputable brands in the industry. It takes pride in a variety of functional projectors that stand tall when it comes to reliability and performance.
And one of the company's most popular products is the VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector. Despite retailing at much under $150, this is a product that will completely transform your home theater from an ordinary entertainment room to a spectacular big-screen video watching and gaming center.
As the name suggests, it is a mini project that is pretty compact, lightweight, and portable. It weighs a paltry 2.1 pounds and features miniature dimensions of 7.90 by 5.90 by 3.10 inches. Thus, you can easily move with it from place to place without any notable issues.
The fact that LEISURE 3 also comes with a carrying bag further enhances portability. The device fits perfectly into the carrying bag for safe and protected movement from place to place. Besides, it will still fit in your suitcase or backpack with the handy carrying case.
Finally, the projection tool features a 3-step adjustment process. Firstly, you can position the gadget correctly and directly opposite your projection surface. But since that's not sufficient to get a regular display, you can use the ±15-degree keystone correction and the ring to get a perfectly rectangular display.
If you are into camps and road trips, the QKK QK02 Mini Projector LCD Projector is a product that you can trust to meet your portability needs. It is very compact and portable, hence a great projection toolfor people who are always on the move. However, you will also find it attractively ideal for use in the home theater.
The fact that the package includes a 100-inch portable screen makes the projection machine more multifunctional. You won't have to worry about the availability of a projection surface as the manufacturer gifts you with a high-quality screen that you can quickly set up anywhere.
Still, it is important to note that this is an LCD type of projector that is perfectly affordable. It delivers bright images like every other LCD-type projection tool. Besides, you won't experience any issues of color rendering or irritating rainbow effects.
It is also worth noting that the LCD projector features a combination of a 5-layer LCD and a LED light source to guarantee incredible displays. But the most significant merit of projection tools that use LED light sources lies in their safety for the eye. You can watch them for hours without any effects.
Finally, this is one of the brightest projectors that you will find on this list. Therefore, it is a device that you will find perfect for use in a variety of environments and still achieve impeccable projects. Don't shy away from using it indoors, outdoors, or in brightly lighted rooms.
The projection needs for home theaters and business presentations continue to be more demanding every day. Thus, it is only fair to choose a product from a company that acknowledges this fact and keeps improving their devices each day. An incredible exampleof such a company is DR. J Professional.
The company upgrades its products every year, and the DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector is no exception. The implication of this is that the HI-04 projectors that are in the market this year have remarkable improvements and address some of the customer concerns that arose in the previous years.
Notably, the current model has a more advanced native resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. While nearly all projectors now support 1080P HD content, many of them come with inferior native resolutions leading to images that are not too detailed. On the contrary, the HI-04 delivers all the details, thanks to the high native resolution.
Another notable improvement is the contrast ratio of the projector. From the standard 2000:1 that most devices pride themselves into an outstanding 3800:1, this product stands out. But what is the benefit of a high contrast ratio? Simply put, it brings out the blacks and whites of an image to enhance vividness and color fidelity.
Finally, this is one of the few products in the market that come with projector screens. That implies that you can use it anywhere, whether there are flat walls or not.
Being able to watch videos on a large screen is one of the most enjoyable ways to share memorable moments with friends and family. It is a perfect way of bonding, too. But being able to stream content from your phone directly is an unbeatable experience, and not all projectors come with this convenience.
Interestingly, the TOPVISION T21 Projector ensures that you can conveniently stream content from mobile phones, and not smartphones of a select operating system. It allows you to synchronize the screen of your phone with both Android and Apple smartphones and tablets using a USB cable or Wi-Fi.
The connectivity features of this product don't stop there. Instead, it features the right ports and slots to allow compatibility with a variety of other devices. It features USB, HDMI, VGA, micro-SD card, and AV Interfaces.
These features enable effortless connections with game consoles, laptops, TV sticks, DVD players, Chromecasts, and other popular devices. So, there is unbeatable versatility when it comes to compatibility.
A powerful device like the OPVISION T21 Projector needs an equally powerful cooling system to keep it working without overheating. And true to this requirement, the manufacturer incorporates a reliable fan cooling system that not only keeps the device cool for hours but also reduces noise remarkably.
If you are looking for a projection machine that will serve you for several years, we present you with the HOMPOW T20 Smartphone Video Projector. This projector comes with a long lamp life of up to 50,000 hours. Such a feature makes the affordable device durable and low on maintenance.
It is a highly portable device that you can carry anywhere. However, this feature doesn't limit the size of the display that you can expect from the projection machine. It takes pride in a large HD display of between 50 to 176 inches. Honestly, that's pretty fine for a versatile range of spaces or rooms.
Talk about the technical specifications of the machine and the device ranks competitively with most models. It features a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a brightness level of 3600 lumens. These, in addition to the 1080P supported resolution, delivers crisp images.
Is it possible to enjoy videos or big-screen gaming without a fantastic sound system? We don't think so. But fortunately, the HOMPOW T20 comes with a high-quality sound system to provide you with unbeatable sound experience to accompany the visual superiority. You don't have to carry external speakers.
The two primary types of projectors that we have in the market today are categorized into laser projectors and lamp projectors. But for the sake of this article, we will only focus on lamp or bulb options because all the models that we will include in our review and analysis fall under lamp models.
Further, while lamp projectors are classified into LED, DLP, and LCD models, LED models are rare. We will, therefore, look into the differences and similarities between DLP and LCD models.
Firstly, DLP models guarantee sharper, faster, and brighter pictures and are also ideal for 3D screening. However, there could be traces of dark color rendering and rainbow effects.
Interestingly, LCD models also guarantee crisp pictures but not as bright as their LCD counterparts. Their main advantages are that they are comparatively cheaper and do not have any issues with dark color rendering.
The brightness level of your projection tool determines the overall image visibility in a variety of lighting conditions. So, your choice of a projector should be based on your needs. It should also depend on the lighting conditions in which you intend to use the projection tool.
Projectors for dark areas will do perfectly on brightness levels of 1000 lumens. Thus, you may not need to put more money in a brighter mode. But if you intend to use the device in a variety of environmental conditions which also include fairly lighted spaces, 2000-lumen brightness or more is the yardstick.
The projection sizes or screen sizes of projectors come in inches. And while most people assume that the screen size is the width of the image, that is not the case. Instead, the indicated screen size is the diagonal measurement of the projected picture. Interestingly, this feature comes as a range.
When it comes to this consideration, it is ideal to consider the size of your room as well as the size of your audience or number of participants. If the area is large and the audience is equally big, look out for a projection tool that can guarantee large and high-quality images.
Finally, and very briefly, the lamp life of a projector determines the lifespan of your device. A device with a long lamp life will last longer under no or minimal maintenance.
Ideally, the best under 500$ projectors should feature remarkable longevity and low maintenance costs. Any model with a lamp life of fewer than 10,000 hours will subject you to unnecessary maintenance and repair costs.
WiFi Projector Support 5.0 Bluetooth Transmitter, WiMiUS Mini Projector 1080P and 4K - Walmart Link
Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, Black, 720p Image, Video - Walmart Link
LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector with Built-In Battery, Bluetooth Sound Out and Screen - Walmart Link
Miroir M75 Mini Projector, Grey, 1080P Supported, 50 in Picture, Rechargeable Battery, - Walmart Link
DBPOWER Native 1080P WiFi Projector, Upgrade 9500L Full HD Outdoor Movie Projector, - Walmart Link
Epson EX3240 SVGA 3LCD Projector 3200 Lumens Color Brightness - Walmart Link
Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact Projector 1080P Full HD Resolution, Portable Home Theater - Walmart Link
1.VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini - Walmart Link
3.DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini - Walmart Link
WiFi Projector Support 5.0 Bluetooth Transmitter, WiMiUS Mini Projector 1080P and 4K - eBay Link
Nebula by Anker Mars II Pro 500 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector, Black, 720p Image, Video - eBay Link
LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector with Built-In Battery, Bluetooth Sound Out and Screen - eBay Link
Miroir M75 Mini Projector, Grey, 1080P Supported, 50 in Picture, Rechargeable Battery, - eBay Link
DBPOWER Native 1080P WiFi Projector, Upgrade 9500L Full HD Outdoor Movie Projector, - eBay Link
Epson EX3240 SVGA 3LCD Projector 3200 Lumens Color Brightness - eBay Link
Xiaomi Mi Smart Compact Projector 1080P Full HD Resolution, Portable Home Theater - eBay Link
1.VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini - eBay Link
3.DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini - eBay Link
Comrades, it's a wrap. We included a buying guide with the essential features to keep an eye on when shopping for an ideal projector.
While the features highlighted remain exceptionally critical, you need to choose a device that meets your needs since the best projector under 500$ varies from one person to the other. Of course, we all have our unique needs in a projection machine.
But besides the buying guide, we have included up to 10 of the most illustrious models that you can choose from. Our objective was to make your life easy, and we believe that we have achieved that. If you are still uncertain about the right projector to settle on, you can go through the comparison chart above.
About Dror Wettenstein
Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.
When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.