The 12 Best Outdoor Projectors

If you want to set up a backyard home theater to make movie nights more enjoyable, go for the best outdoor projectors. They are more portable and easier to set up than a 65-inch TV and offer a much larger display, with many models capable of producing a 100-inch screen from about 10-11 feet.

When shopping for outdoor projectors, the two most important things to look for are the brightness and the native resolution. While a 2000-lumen projector is good enough when it’s completely dark outside, we recommend going for projectors with a brightness rating of at least 3000 lumens. Keep in mind that projectors with extremely high brightness are very expensive, so consider the price as well.

The good news is that there are many good projectors selling for around $400-700 that offer a brightness rating of 3000-4000 lumens. And as for the native resolution, the sweet spot is 1920×1080 or Full HD, with 1280×720 being the minimum you should consider. A higher resolution translates to clearer images (and better picture quality overall) when projecting a larger screen.

Not all projectors that fit those descriptions are good, though, which makes shopping for outdoor projectors a difficult task. In this guide, we have compiled the best products on the market that offer the above-mentioned specs, from Optoma projectors to Epson projectors. Almost all of the products listed here are priced under $1,000, with several options under $500 for those who don’t want to spend too much on a projector.

ViewSonic PA503WViewSonic PA503W

Forget about all those cheap projectors selling for less than $200. If you want a relatively low-cost projector that offers good quality for the price, get the ViewSonic PA503W. It’s a WXGA projector that sells for just under $400, with the SVGA model selling for about $100 less.

While designed for business use, the PA503W also works well for home entertainment, with its 3600 lumens brightness allowing you to enjoy movies even when it’s not yet completely dark outside. It has a 1280×800 native resolution, giving you a sharp picture quality while the screen is stretched out to 100 inches. Connectivity options are good, with the unit featuring an HDMI port and a few legacy ports.

The built-in sound system is disappointing, though. The mono speaker doesn’t sound great, so ignore it and simply use good-sounding external speakers when watching movies and sports. Overall, the PA503W is a good option if you don’t want to spend over $500 on a projector. It’s easy to set up and delivers good picture quality for the price.

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Acer H5382BDAcer H5382BD

The Acer H5382BD is another solid option if you can only spend $400 on a projector. Unlike the ViewSonic product above, this one’s designed specifically for home entertainment, though its native resolution is slightly lower at 1280×720. It’s an easy-to-use projector with good build quality, featuring a couple of HDMI ports, one of which is an HDMI-MHL port, which is useful if your main source of content is a mobile device.

The H5382BD produces good picture quality with a high contrast ratio. It has a standard brightness rating of 3300 lumens, but if you plan to use it mostly for late-night entertainment, it’s best to run in eco mode. In that mode, the brightness goes down to around 2600 lumens, which is good enough in a completely dark setting.

A DLP projector, the H5382BD is capable of producing a 100-inch screen from around 11 feet while still maintaining good picture quality. It has an advertised lamp life of 10,000 hours, but that’s only possible if you run the unit almost exclusively in extreme eco mode. When running mostly in standard mode – which offers the highest brightness – the lamp life clocks in at around 5000 hours.

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ViewSonic PX700HDViewSonic PX700HD

Some use projectors for watching movies. Others use one for gaming. If you like to mix it up and want a projector that works well for both, consider the ViewSonic PX700HD. While it’s much closer to $500 than the previous two products, it offers better specs, boasting a 1920×1080 native resolution and a much lower input lag, which is great for gaming.

The PX700HD is a versatile unit, featuring multiple input options, including two HDMI ports, which allows for two gaming consoles to be connected at the same time. This means if you own both an Xbox One and a PS4, you don’t need to manually swap the cabling when switching from one console input to the other. And with the 16-millisecond input lag, the PX700HD ensures a responsive gaming experience no matter what console is connected.

Concerning overall picture quality, this ViewSonic projector is good. It has a good contrast ratio and good color accuracy. More importantly, it has a brightness rating of 3500 lumens, which means the picture looks good even if there’s still a bit of ambient light. On the other hand, the PX700HD has an awful sound quality, with only a 2-watt speaker inside its chassis, so external speakers are a must for this unit.

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BenQ MH530FHDBenQ MH530FHD

The BenQ MH530FHD is a sleek projector designed for home entertainment. It’s very easy to set up and works well with different input sources, featuring a mix of analog and digital ports. As its model name suggests, the MH530FHD has a 1920×1080 native resolution, translating to sharper images.

A DLP projector, this BenQ offering features a brightness of 3300 lumens. It’s great for watching sports and movies, but not so much for hardcore gaming due to its relatively high input lag. Contrast is good while color accuracy is on point, with good picture quality overall.

The MH530FHD can produce a 100-inch screen from around 10 feet out. If you want a projector that can produce a 100-inch screen from shorter distances, consider the best short throw projectors instead. While it has a few flaws, this BenQ projector is a good product overall, offering a Full HD resolution and a high brightness rating, the latter of which is crucial if you want to use a projector outdoors.

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Optoma HD143XOptoma HD143X

Of the sub-$500 projectors on this list, the Optoma HD143X has the lowest brightness, with a listed rating of 3000 lumens. Still, it’s a good projector for outdoor use, producing a good picture quality with excellent contrast and good color accuracy. It’s got a native resolution of 1920×1080, with a max screen size of 301 inches.

The HD143X is a recommended DLP projector for both watching movies and gaming, with its low input lag making it suitable for the latter. Films with excellent cinematography like Blade Runner 2049, Sicario, and Skyfall and games with gorgeous visuals like Far Cry 5 and Final Fantasy XV will look great with this projector.

In terms of sound quality, the HD143X is a bit better than all the products above, featuring a 10-watt mono speaker, but don’t expect too much on that front. It’s still better to use good-sounding speakers, especially when watching movies with a large group. On a more positive note, this Optoma projector has a good lamp life, with the manufacturer offering reasonably priced lamp replacements.

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BenQ MW612BenQ MW612

The BenQ MW612 is a 4000-lumen DLP projector that offers great value for the money. It’s one of the relatively more affordable projectors that offer a brightness of at least 4000 lumens, selling for less than $600. It’s got a well-built chassis, featuring a good selection of input ports, including an HDMI-MHL port for your smartphones and tablets.

While designed primarily for indoor business use, the MW612 is also a good projector for a home theater setup, both indoors and outdoors. It has good contrast and can produce a 100-inch screen from about 11 feet. If you find its 1280×800 native resolution inadequate, consider the BenQ MH535A instead. But while the MH535A offers a better resolution of 1920×1080, it has a lower peak brightness.

If speaker quality is important to you, the MW612 will disappoint you, with its mono speaker best left ignored in favor of more capable external speakers. This BenQ projector is a good product overall, with good picture quality and good lamp life.

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Epson HC1060Epson HC1060

Epson offers some of the more expensive projectors out on the market, but you get what you pay for, with the Japanese company offering some of the best projectors in the business. If you want a good projector for an outdoor home theater setup but can’t spend more than $600 on one, Epson offers the HC1060.

The HC1060 is a portable and easy-to-use projector designed for home entertainment, featuring a native resolution of 1920×1080 and a brightness rating of 3100 lumens. It has a good throw range ratio, with the capability to produce a 300-inch screen at max. Overall picture quality is good, with a decent contrast ratio and good color accuracy.

Concerning connectivity options, the HC1060 is versatile, offering a mix of both old and modern input ports, including an HDMI-MHL port for mobile compatibility. Other than watching movies and sports, you can also use this projector for regular gaming, but for competitive gaming, it’s not recommended.

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Optoma HD27HDROptoma HD27HDR

The Optoma HD27HDR is an excellent projector for watching movies and gaming, boasting a 3400 lumens brightness, a 1920×1080 native resolution, superb contrast, and a low input lag. And as its model name suggests, the HD27HDR has HDR support. You can get it for around $650, with Optoma also offering a non-HDR variant for a lower price.

Compared to most of the items on this list, the HD27HDR has more limited connection options, only offering two HDMI ports for main input, one of which is an HDMI-MHL. There are no legacy ports on this unit, though a standard audio out is still present. While the unit also comes with a built-in sound system, the sound quality is awful, so don’t forget to get a good pair of external speakers to complete your home theater setup.

If you regularly host outdoor nighttime gaming sessions with your friends, you’ll love this Optoma projector. It’s got a 16-millisecond input lag, which is very good for a projector. It’s great for games such as NBA 2K19 and Rocket League.

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Epson Pro EX9220Epson Pro EX9220

If Full HD is still not enough for you, consider the Epson Pro EX9220, which offers a WUXGA (1920×1200) native resolution. Although Epson markets it for business use, it also works well for home entertainment, with its 3600-lumen brightness making it a good projector for outdoor use.

The EX9220 has a 16:10 aspect ratio and produces clear images even when it’s not yet completely dark outside. While not as good as the Optoma projector above, it has a good contrast ratio, along with good color accuracy. It’s easy to set up out of the box, featuring a user-friendly control scheme and multiple input options.

You can easily connect this Epson projector to different devices, including standalone media players, smartphones, laptops, and home consoles. The advertised wireless connectivity is pretty limited, though, so don’t let that feature be a deciding factor when choosing between this product and another good product in the same price range; the same thing can be said about the mono speaker.

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ViewSonic PX747-4KViewSonic PX747-4K

The ViewSonic PX747-4K is an affordable 4K UHD projector that’s great for both home entertainment and business use, featuring a 3500-lumen brightness. You can get it for just under a grand, which makes it one of the most accessible 4K UHD projectors on the market.

Featuring a 3840×2160 native resolution, the PX747-4K is excellent for watching movies, with its high resolution allowing for very detailed images even when the screen size is at maximum. And like the  Optoma HD27HDR, the PX747-4K also has HDR support. It has good picture quality overall, with good contrast and color accuracy.

This ViewSonic projector offers a good selection of connectivity options, featuring two HDMI ports, a VGA port, and an RS-232 port, among others. It comes with an internal speaker, too, but as with most other projectors, the quality of the mono speaker is not something to brag about. It’s decent enough when in a small, quiet room, but for an outdoor setup, external speakers are much better.

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Optoma EH500Optoma EH500

Of the products in this guide to the best outdoor projectors, the Optoma EH500 offers the highest brightness with a rating of 4700 lumens. With this projector, the picture quality looks good even when it’s not yet completely dark outside. This allows you to start your outdoor movie marathon much earlier than when using a 2000-lumen projector.

Although the EH500 is a DLP projector designed for educational and business use, with its high brightness allowing for clear images when used in a moderately bright room, it also works really well for home entertainment. It’s easy to use, offers network management, and comes with a wide range of connection options –  including a DisplayPort, two HDMI ports, and two VGA ports, among others.

Regarding picture quality, the EH500 is good, though not as good as the HDR-compatible projectors on this list. It has good color accuracy and a decent contrast ratio. All in all, it’s a great projector for outdoor use, featuring good lamp life, a Full HD native resolution, and very high brightness.

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Epson HC1450Epson HC1450

The Epson HC1450 is an outstanding projector, featuring a 1920×1200 native resolution, a 4200 lumens brightness rating, and lots of connection options. It’s housed in a well-built chassis, with all the connection ports easily accessible at the rear. The ports include two HDMI ports, an Ethernet port, and a few legacy ports, among others, with the HC1450 capable of connecting to two sources at the same time for a split-screen output.

With its high brightness, this Epson projector is great not only for nighttime outdoor use but also for daytime indoor use even with ambient light. The overall picture quality is good, with good contrast and color accuracy. It’s great for watching animated movies and movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Of the projectors on this list, the HC1450 offers the best sound quality, featuring a 16-watt speaker. We still recommend external speakers for the best home theater setup, but if that’s not an option for you, the HC1450’s speaker is adequate enough. The HC1450 is a great projector overall, with a good list of features. If you can afford to spend over $1,000 for a projector, this Epson product is one of the best on the market.

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