10 Best Projectors under $500 in 2022 [Updated] – Buying Guide

No matter how much is your budget, finding a dependable projector is always a big deal. A projector is no doubt an economical and brilliant replacement for an expensive television if chosen wisely. You can find projectors under $200 which are basic and projectors under $300 with better features.

Especially, when you have a generous budget of $500, it is inevitable to select a projector efficient enough to meet your needs. Though we have already explored projectors under $400 which come with capable features.

Longer lamp life, higher contrast ratio, good lumens, and greater lamp life are some of features which you can expect from a projector under $500. With plethora of options available, it is confusing to buy an ideal projector that can deliver true value for your money.

Editor’s Pick

With its matchless features and affordable pricing, it stands first on our list.

Excellent choice for well-lit rooms with its commendable brightness

The precision and clarity it delivers for textual presentations makes it an ideal deal

Looking for best LCD projector under $500, here it is!

From your backyard to your terrace, this outdoor projector is efficient by all means

Every time you will take it along, you will be proud on your choice

10 Best projector under $500 (H2)

Time to explore some of the dependable projectors under $500

S.No.Top 10 ProductsBuy Now
1.Optoma HD146X High Performance Projector Buy Now
2.Epson VS350 XGA Projector Buy Now
3.BenQ WXGA Business Projector Buy Now
4.ViewSonic (PA503S) Projector Buy Now
5.Epson VS260 3-Chip ProjectorBuy Now
6.InFocus IN114XA ProjectorBuy Now
7.Epson EX3260 ProjectorBuy Now
8.BenQ TH585 Projector Buy Now
9.Optoma S334e Projector Buy Now
10.ViewSonic M1+ Portable Smart Wi-Fi ProjectorBuy Now

1.Optoma HD146X High Performance – Versatile Budgeted Projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: USB, Lightning, HDMI
  • Mounting Type: Tabletop Mount
  • Brightness: 3600 Lumen
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Noise Level: 26 dB

Its convincing price and its impressive versatility inspired us to list this product on the top of our list of Best projector under $500. It has a six-panel colour wheel with a white panel to enhance brightness. Featuring +/- 40-degree vertical keystone control, you can use maximum zoom settings at 90 inches from a distance of 9 feet and 8 inches.

The incredible contract ratio at 25000:1 makes it one of the desirable home projectors at this price point. The lamp life is promising with 15000 hours of life. Equipped with advanced black technology, this projector ensures higher depth to your images by adjusting lamp output. It has an ability to support its eco-mode with a low 26dB noise level.

Lightning-fast inputs make it best projector for gaming and movies for fast-paced PC gaming.

Pros
  • Excellent Image Quality
  • Brighter modes appropriate for well-lit rooms
  • 3600 ANSI lumens
  • High contrast ratio
  • Vertical Keystone
  • Low maintenance lamp
Cons
  • Only one HDMI port
  • Does not support 4K resolution

2.Epson VS350 XGA

Features

  • Hardware Interface: HDMI
  • Wattage: 295 watts
  • Brightness: 3300 Lumen
  • Display resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Item Weight: 5.5 Pounds
  • Light Source Wattage: 210 Watts
  • Image Contrast Ratio: 15000:1

Another versatile gaming projector stands second on our list for its crisp image. With a bulb life of 10,000 hours, it comes in a portable size of 12X9X3 inches. Built-in speakers suffice your indoor needs with a small crowd. With its 3300 lumen brightness and a dynamic contrast ratio of 15000:1, it is appropriate for lighting rooms. 1024 x 768 native resolution ensure clear text at a considerable distance.

The quick and easy set-up makes your backyard movie watching experiences fun-filled. Intuitive controls and image adjustments make it a good deal at this price point. It comes with IR remote control and VGA cable to ensure added convenience.

Pros
  • Ideal for text-heavy presentations
  • Compatible with latest multimedia devices
  • 6000 hours battery life
  • 3000 lumen is good for a well-lit room
  • Portable and Lightweight
Cons
  • Overheating after 2 hours of use
  • Does not support 3D video

3.BenQ WXGA Business Projector (MW560) – Best High Lumen Projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: VGA
  • Item Weight: 7.7 Pounds
  • Minimum Throw Distance: 1 Foot
  • Product Dimensions: 11.42 x 8.7 x 4.72 inches
  • Item Weight: 7.7 pounds

With a low input lag at 16ms low latency, this projector from BenQ comes with a digital lens shift feature to produce sharper and crisp images. Its dedicated viewing mode comes with multiple options for brightness at 4000 lumens with an incredible contrast ratio of 20000:1 to make it best projector for bright rooms. It works well with different types of contents including heavy-textual presentation even in a bright room.

Role-playing, party games, sports and activities are the four gaming modes available with this projector, making it perfect for gaming enthusiasts. Adjusting through distance is easy with its incredible features like 1.1x zoom, vertical keystone and digital lens shift. It comes with a 10W mono built-in speaker.


Pros
  • Minimal chromatic aberration
  • Dual HDMI for expanded connectivity
  • 70% power saving with SmartEco mode
  • Auto vertical keystone
  • High contrast ratio at 20000:1
Cons
  • Not equipped with Bluetooth for wireless connections


4.ViewSonic 3800 Lumens (PA503S) – Best Office & Classroom Projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: VGA, Serial Interface, HDMI
  • Wattage: 260 watts
  • Brightness: 3800 Lumen
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Item Weight: 7.14 Pounds
  • Light Source Wattage: 190 Watts
  • Minimum Throw Distance: 3.9 Feet

Its ability to stand out as the best projector for business and classroom presentations makes it another versatile projector on our exclusive list of best projectors under $500. With an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a high contrast ratio of 22000:1, this projector comes with an integrated 2.0 mono speaker. With a display up to 120 inches, it has a projection distance varying from 4 feet to 43 feet. This projector can be efficiently used for smallest to largest spaces.

The lamp is capable to last up to 15000 hours when used in economical mode. It comes with an easy plug & plays feature to offer great comfort with technology. Equipped with SuperColor technology, it efficiently produces high-quality, true-to-life images. IT has an auto-sleep timer to turn it off if stays inactive for several minutes to save on your power bills. The lamp comes with a long lifespan of 6000 hours on full brightness. What more you can expect from a projector at this price point?

Pros
  • Excellent lamp life of 15,000 hours
  • Incredible throw distance
  • Intuitive interface
  • SuperColor Technology to replicate hyperpigmentation
  • Eight-button remote control
  • Multiple connection ports
Cons
  • Low image resolution at 800 x 600
  • Does not support 4K image quality

5.Epson VS260 3-Chip – Excellent Outdoor projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: USB, HDMI
  • Brightness: 3300 Lumen
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Item Weight: 7.23 Pounds
  • Minimum Throw Distance: 1.45 Meters
  • Image Contrast Ratio: 15000:1
  • Maximum Throw Distance: 1.96 Meters
  • Maximum Image Size: 120 Inches

This portable projector from Epson offers 3300-lumen brightness to make it appropriate even for a room with ample lighting. It can accept 4K content, quickly connects with streaming devices and allow Zoom conferencing readily with its efficient HDMI port. 100% RGB colour signal maintain excellent brightness for every colour frame.

It has built-in capability to analyse the picture and use a keystone corrector to squaring off the image. For environment lovers, it is a perfect projector with RoHS compliance and is a recyclable product. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty with full technical support for a lifetime.

Pros
  • Automatic keystone corrector
  • True 3-chip LCD technology
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Perfect for large group presentations in a well-lit room
  • Support Dolby Audio
Cons
  • No external jack for speakers


6.InFocus IN114XA Projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: HDMI
  • Wattage: 3 watts
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Item Weight: 2500 Grams
  • Light Source Wattage: 195 Watts
  • Maximum Image Size: 300 Inches

With a lasting duration of 15000 lamp life, the crystal clear content displayed by this projector makes it ideal for an office presentation. Capable to deliver a 3D cinematic experience, it comes with 3800 lumens brightness and a fantastic 26000:1 contrast ratio. With a varying image size from 28 inches to 300 inches, you can place it anywhere 1 to 12 meter for desirable image size.

It is a well-built projector with good menu options and a sleep timer feature. Internal speakers work fine and fan noise is minimal. It comes with a power cord, remote control, VGA cable, and user manual. With its sharp contrast, you can expect an exceptional immersive experience. Being light in weight, it is portable.

Pros
  • The high contrast ratio for the perfect colour representation
  • DLP chip technology
  • Support multiple forms of 3D
Cons
  • Zoom levels are minimal
  • Takes a long time to shut down

7.Epson EX3260 SVGA – Best LCD projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: VGA, Micro USB Type B, Micro USB Type A, HDMI
  • Wattage: 100 watts
  • Brightness: 3300 Lumen
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600
  • Item Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Minimum Image Size: 33 P
  • Maximum Image Size: 300 Inches

It is a simple and versatile projector with an intuitive interface to facilitate its user with ease of usage. With its 300 lumens brightness, this promising projector is capable of delivering expected results in all environments. With its high SVGA resolution (800 x 600), it presents clear and impressive images. It comes with both vertical and horizontal keystone correction.

The contract ratio of 15000:1 presents accurate images with vivid colours in well-lit rooms. IT comes with easy image adjustments, remarkable colour accuracy and high compatibility with the latest multi-media devices. Being highly portable, it is ideal for your official presentations. Besides wide colour Gamut, it supports HDMI.

Pros
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Shut down quickly with no time lag
  • Comes with Plug n play USB cable
  • Compatible with latest multi-media devices
  • Intuitive and compact design
Cons
  • Optical zoon is not provided
  • The 3D feature is lacking

8.BenQ TH585 1080p

Features

  • Hardware Interface: HDMI
  • Brightness: 3500 Lumen
  • Item Weight: 8.4 Pounds
  • Light Source Wattage: 340 Watts
  • Minimum Throw Distance: 1.5 Feet
  • Maximum Throw Distance: 1.65 Feet
  • Display Resolution Maximum: 1920 x 1080

With a commendable contrast ratio of 10000:1, this outstanding projector comes with impressive features as the best projector under $500. Loaded with six colour wheel, it ensures brighter images with 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. Its lightweight and small chassis stand as a winning point for this projector to make it an ideal choice for gamers. By supporting the digital vertical lens shifting, you can easily shift the image by 5% of the original image height from its centred position towards up or down. Pairing it with a reliable motorized projector screen upscale overall viewing experience.

To derive colour accuracy, opt for the cinema mode. In gaming mode, you get the best colour contrast. With its 3500 lumens, it comes with a contrast ratio of 4:3 to make it a good deal for moderately lit rooms. By offering a 3-year warranty, the manufacturer is not only vouching for its supreme make but also enticing the entry-level users to dig in.

Pros
  • Immersive gaming experience
  • Excellent Short throw projection
  • 15000 of lamp life
  • 3 years manufacturer warranty
  • 3500 lumens brightness
Cons
  • Inferior audio output

9.Optoma S334e SVGA

Features

  • Hardware Interface: VGA
  • Wattage: 10 watts
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Item Weight: 6.7 Pounds
  • Minimum Throw Distance: 3.9 Meters
  • Maximum Throw Distance: 46.9 Meters

Equipped with incredible features, this ninja projector from Optoma comes with 1920 x 1080 pixels SVGA resolution. To deliver impeccable and vivid colour images even in a dark room, this projector comes with 3800 lumens. With its HDMI connectivity support, it can be easily connected with the latest media players and laptops.

As it comes with DLP display technology, you can expect 3 times higher colour gamut and brightness over other ordinary projectors. If you are using it for a small or medium room, its 10W built-in speakers are powerful enough for efficient sound dispersion. Overall, it is another budgeted projector on the list for your gaming, movie watching and sports fun. With an average of 4 hours of viewing, it comes with 15000 hours of life-lasting up to 10 years.

Pros
  • Quick & Easy installation
  • 15000 hours of lamp life
  • Lightweight & portable
  • An array of connectivity options
  • DLP technology
  • 10W in-built speaker
Cons
  • Long-throw distance

10.ViewSonic M1+ Portable Smart Wi-Fi Projector – Highly Compact Projector

Features

  • Hardware Interface: USB
  • Mounting Type: Tripod Mount
  • Wattage: 45 watts
  • Brightness: 300 Lumen
  • Controller Type: Remote Control
  • Item Weight: 1.7 Pounds
  • Light Source Wattage: 10 Watts

Equipped with outstanding audio quality, built-in 16 GB storage and an onboard media player, this pocket projector from ViewSonic offer incredible portability. It comes with an internal battery lasting up to 6-hour run time in one go. It can project as small as 24″ and as large as 100″ diagonally.

It comes with a dual Harman Kardon Bluetooth speaker built within and a Bluetooth audio connection. Remote control, Quick Start Guide, Projector case, USB Type C Cable, and power adapter are the inclusions with a projection which makes it a worthy deal at this price point. Overall, it is a palm-sized projector with big-screen entertainment

Pros
  • USB-C cable and carrying case included
  • Easy to use the on-board media player
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • 30000 hours of lamp life
  • Dependable in-built speakers
  • Designed compactly
Cons
  • The focus falls out frequently
  • Not an HD projector

Buyer’s Guide: How to buy the best projector under $500

If you are equipped with the right information on how to buy the best projector under $500, choosing a reliable projector from our suggested list of best projectors under $500 is not a tedious task.

Here are some of the important factors which you need to consider as a buyer to conclude the best projector from the list above:

Application of Projector

How you gonna use your projector largely influence your buying decision. A projector that is not able to project the text is useless for someone looking for one to accommodate their office /classroom presentations. Determine the type of usage to determine the right projector.

Type of Projection

LCD and DLP (Digital Light Processing) are the two types of projections available for the best projectors under $500. While DLP needs less maintenance due to their chips sealed against debris and dust, it potentially ruins the image as well. But LCD projectors call for more maintenance but less expensive.

Contrast Ratio

The difference between the darkest and brightest pixels is defined as the contrast ratio. Higher the contrast ratio, dynamic and vibrant the image is. A ratio above 10000:1 is considered best for the best projectors under $150.

If you are buying a projector for an ultimate cinematic experience, a contrast ratio is important. However, projectors meant for well-lit rooms are hardly impacted by the contrast ratio.

Image Size

The expecting image size governs the location of your projector. A wide projection size is required for outdoor spaces. A decent projection range works well with medium room size. For small room projection, you can bargain on image size, provided you get good returns in terms of other features.

Lamp Life

Lamp life is a great concern to reduce your maintenance cost. There are many projectors under $500 which offer lamp life up to 20,000. To make a justified comparative analysis for the lamp-life of various projectors, always consider the expected lamp-life in eco-mode.

Lumens

Larger the lumens, the better the brightness. If you are going to use your projector in dark environments, you need to keep the lumens moderate to avoid any adversity on your eyes. Although, a well-lit room requires a high lumen count.

For darker EnvironmentsFor dim lighting conditionsFor well lit rooms
Less than 1000 lumens1500 lumen – 2500 lumensGreater than 3000 lumens

Throw ratio

The distance between the projector and the image projection defines the throw ratio. It is significant for the small rooms as a short-throw is important for such projectors to display large screen efficiently from a short distance.

Resolution

Picture quality is in direct relation to the resolution offered by any projector. Depending on the intent of use, you can decide on the required resolution. To enjoy DVDs on the big screen, never go for a resolution less than 1280 x 720 pixel. However, for a Blue Ray player, the minimum required resolution required is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Look for a full HD projector, if you are looking for an ultimate gaming or cinematic experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which interface is better – HDMI or VGA?

Of course, HDMI is better than VGA but it comes with an additional cost as well. HDMI is capable to deliver much clearer images over VGA by transferring more data along with the audio. HDMI cables support HD videos and send both video and audio using the same port.

Is VGA good for 1080p?

Previously, VGA comes with a maximum resolution of 640X480. But nowadays, VGA is capable of higher resolutions of 1080p. However, the hardware outputting VGA signals limits the maximum resolution as the VGA cable does not support it.

What is the best resolution for VGA?

The best resolution with a VGA port is 640 x 480. However, if you want a higher resolution of up to 1920 x 1200 pixels for the single-link format, a DVI connector is required. Analog VGA display is rapidly replaced with DisplayPort and DVI.

Conclusion

From best budget to high end, the market for projectors is vast. However, there are only a few projectors that offer true value for money with the desired features of colour accuracy, ultra-modern connectivity, long lamp life etc. Expecting all the features in just one product is surely an exaggeration. The idea is to list your preferences and choose a product that largely matches your preference criteria.

For the projectors listed above, ViewSonic 3800 Lumens stands perfect for classroom and office presentations due to efficient text projection. If you are looking for a budgeted projector, Optoma HD146X is an undisputed choice.

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