I’m very excited to share our picks for the best home projectors under $500. I’ve looked at all the home projectors in this market, done the research, and narrowed it down to four projectors, each of which brings something special to the market.
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced projector under $500, look no further, just choose one of these.
Best Home Projectors Under $500
|Projector||ViewSonic PA503W||Optoma GT760A||Epson Home Projector 640||Crenova XPE460|
|Category||Best Overall Projector||Best 3D Projector||Best LCD Projector||Best Cheap Projector|
|Price||$390 (Check current price)||$469 (Check current price)||$356 (Check current price)||$87 (Check current price)|
|Resolution||1280 x 800||1280 x 720||800 x 600||800 x 480|
|Brightness||3600 Lumens||3200 Lumens||3200 Lumens||1200 Lumens|
|Throw Distance||3 – 36ft||1.3 - 32.8ft||Unknown||Unknown|
|Throw Ratio||1.55~1.70||Unknown||1.45 – 1.96||Unknown|
|Internal Speakers?||Yes, 2W||Yes, 2W||Yes, 2W||Yes|
|Connectors||1 HDMI, 2 VGA IN, 1 VGA OUT, 1 MINI USB||1 HDMI, 2 VGA IN, 2 VGA OUT, 1 USB-B||1 HDMI, 1 USB-A and 1 USB-B||1 HDMI, 1 USB, Wireless Connections|
|Amazon Link||ViewSonic PA503W||Optoma GT760A||Epson Home Projector 640||Crenova XPE460|
Best Overall Projector Under $500: ViewSonic PA503W
Our overall pick for the best projector under $500 is the ViewSonic PA503W. This projector has amazing color quality for the price which ViewSonic attributes to their exclusive SuperColor™ technology, WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution, high-quality built-in speakers, HDMI connectivity, and it’s really quiet (unnoticeable even) when it’s on. It’s really easy to set up so you’re quickly on your way to watching your favorite show. You can also watch 3D blu-ray movies with 3D glasses. Finally, you get 5 unique view modes that provide the best possible viewing experience in any environment regardless of light.
Lastly, ViewSonic is a great projector company. If you buy this projector on Amazon, you get a 3-year warranty so, of course we hope you don’t have any issues, but you should be set for 3 years if you do.
“The brightness is strong enough that I can use it, under our magnolia tree, during the day and the picture is crisp. Don’t even get me started about using it at night. It’s an amazing picture.”
“It has a great balance of quality and price and thus makes it ideal for the occasional use that I have for it.”
“This projector is extremely worth the price… The projector has a large variety of settings and also has 3D!! it doesn’t require a filter. I’ve been using it daily for 4 months now and nothing has gone wrong.”
- Amazing color accuracy
- 3D Blu-ray ready HDMI input
- 5 view settings for a variety of environments and lighting
- SonicExpert technology delivers enhanced sound
- User-friendly design includes tactile keypad, top lamp door, and cable management system that keeps your cords hidden
- Resolution: 1280 x 800 WXGA (See WXGA vs XGA vs SVGA)
- Throw distance: 3 – 36ft (See What is Throw Ratio and Distance)
- Brightness: 3600 Lumens (See How much do Lumens matter)
- Display: DLP (See DLP vs LED vs LCD)
- Internal Speakers: Yes
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 22,000:1
- Connectors: 1 HDMI, 2 VGA IN, 1 VGA OUT , 1 mini USB
Other projectors to consider at a lower price, also under $500
ViewSonic also offers the PA503X and PA503S at lower prices. ThePA503X is about $50 cheaper and the only difference is the XGA 1024 x 768 resolution. ThePA503S is a full $100 less on Amazon right now and the main difference is its SVGA 800 x 600 resolution. These are all great products by ViewSonic in the under $500 price range so if you are comfortable at a lower resolution (See our resolution guide here), then by all means, please spend less!
Best 3D Projector Under $500: Optoma GT760A
Our 3D projector pick under $500 is the Optoma GT760A. This projector is a great product for gamers and sports fans because it’s full 3D-ready, has incredibly fast response time (so no lag), and is great on a big screen at a short distance. With DLP technology, it can display 3D content from almost any 3D display device, including 3D Blu-ray, PS3, Xbox and Sky3D.
This projector also offers short throw projection, meaning you can project an impressive 80” diagonal image from less than 1m away from the screen. This allows you to place the projector closer to the wall which reduces shadows and lets you get fully immersed in your game. So it’s especially ideal for space-constrained areas.
The only downsides we hear are that the built-in speaker could be a little louder and that you do not have the ability to flip the image horizontally.
This is your projector if you care about significantly decreasing lag time, watching 3D movies and games, or being able to place your projector close to the wall. If you don’t care about those things, I would say the ViewSonic above might be the way to go. Check out the reviews though to see what others are saying.
“So far this projector has been excellent. Great picture quality, bright enough to operate with some ambient sun light and great contrast ratio.”
“The quality is spot on. 720 res, which is less than 1080, but I’m not really seeing a major difference anyway. Netflix looks great as well.”
“Everything’s just great, except: (1) the ability to resize the image is extremely limited. You’d actually have to be no more than about 7 feet away to fit the entire image on a 30 foot wide by 15 ft high screen; (2) there is NO way on the projector to flip the image horizontally if projecting from the rear.”
“Great for gaming in a small space. The projector is a short throw so it can get over 100in in our little 3rd room.”
- Full 3D for the best gaming experience
- Short throw projection which is ideal for smaller rooms or space-constrained areas
- Designed for fast, flawless performance with today’s gaming consoles
- HDMI and USB inputs
- Resolution: 1280 x 720 HD (See the Projector Resolution Guide)
- Throw distance: 1.3~32.8ft (See What is Throw Ratio and Distance)
- Brightness: 3400 Lumens (See How much do Lumens matter)
- Display: DLP (See DLP vs LED vs LCD)
- Internal Speakers: Yes
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 20000:1
- Connectors: 1 HDMI, 2 VGA IN, 2 VGA OUT, 1 USB
Best LCD Projector Under $500: Epson Home Cinema 640
Our LCD projector pick under $500 is the Epson Home Cinema 640. LCD projectors are preferred by some people because they do not have a ‘rainbow effect’. Rainbow effect is something that happens with DLP projectors, which some people notice and some people don’t. But if you notice it and don’t want a rainbow effect, then this is a great inexpensive projector option.
This projector’s strength is its great, vibrant colors in a dark or well-lit room. It includes HDMI and USB connectors. It has built-in speakers like all of our picks and projects to 300ft tall. I wouldn’t use the projector if you plan to sit less than 3ft from the screen, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most people. It projects an excellent image both inside and outside. Finally, it also has an Instant Off feature where you can quickly power down the projector, pack up and go; no warm up or cool-down time is needed.
If you want an LCD and don’t want to spend too much, this is the projector for you. However, I would consider one of the two picks above if you aren’t concerned with LCD. Read the reviews and specs below for more info though!
“Great outdoor projector! Bright even at sunset.”
“We love the projector! Great product for the price! Nice clear image that is clear even at greater than 100ft.”
“Good solid projector. Especially for the price. Good for a home theater but not as clear as I’d like for doing corporate events.”
“Wow, What a deal! Over the years I have owned and lost six total projectors to DLP pixel death, so when I went looking to buy a new projector I wanted the best bang for my buck.“
- 3LCD technology ensures no rainbow effect
- Includes all-digital, HDMI audio and video connection, and usb connectors
- 3200 lumens for accurate color and 3200 lumens white brightness for well-lit rooms
- 4 color modes allow you to view video games and movies in all environments
- This project has an instant off feature — quickly power down the projector, pack up and go; no warm up or cool-down time is needed
- Resolution: 800 x 600 (SVGA) (See the Projector Resolution Guide)
- Screen Size Range: 76-inches from 8 feet; 113-inches from 12 feet
- Throw distance: 1.45 – 1.96 (See What is Throw Ratio and Distance)
- Brightness: 3200 Lumens (See How much do Lumens matter)
- Display: 3LCD (See DLP vs LED vs LCD)
- Internal Speakers: Yes
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 10000:1
- Connectors: 1 HDMI, 2 VGA IN, 2 VGA OUT, 1 USB-A and 1 USB-B
Best Cheap Projector: Crenova XPE460
The Crenova XPE460 is a sleek, compact projector that only costs about $87. This is a great little projector if you want to watch home videos inside or outside in the dark, which, let’s be honest, is all that many people want and need. Let me be clear though, you probably don’t want to use this in a corporate setting inside.
It’s top selling points are it’s price, that it’s portable (so especially for bringing outdoors), that it displays content from 1080p devices, it has a very long-lasting lamp, and it runs on an LED light source. The Crenova XPE640 has a lifetime of 20,000 hours which is significantly greater than traditional lamps and all the other projectors on this list.
This model can product up to 130in image, which is much bigger than a TV that would be much more expensive. So if you want to watch movies on a big-screen then this projector is much more economical than anything else. Another important feature is that it can connect via HDMI and wirelessly so you can connect with your ipad or smartphone.
The major downside is the projected image. It only has a resolution of 800 x 480. So keep in mind that even though it can project 1080p movies, the resolution will still be paired down to 800 x 480. The fan can also be quite loud because of all the heat this little projector emits. However, for the price, this might still be worth it for you!
“Fantastic little projector. Easy to set up, great picture clarity. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great inexpensive projector.”
“It works fantastic so far, also it doesn’t have to be completely dark for the picture to be clear and visible. This little machine is fantastic. The only thing we need to get now is some good speakers to hook up to it.”
“Great projector for the money. We bought this to watch movies outside at night. We have used it a couple times and it works great for us. We set it up at sunset and atary watching shortly after. It does work best when the sun has completely set. We use a large canvas painters cloth as a screen and it works great.”
“I got this as a gift and I love it!!!! The only thing that is really annoying is the fan noise. The fan noise is noticeably loud.”
- LED technology with an impressive lifetime of 20,000 hours
- HDMI, USB, and wireless connectivity
- 1200 lumens and great color in the dark
- Up to 130ft tall screen
- Compact, mini projector excellent for portability
- Resolution: 800 x 480 (See the Projector Resolution Guide)
- Brightness: 1200 Lumens (See How much do Lumens matter)
- Display: LED (See DLP vs LED vs LCD)
- Internal Speakers: Yes
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Connectors: 1 HDMI, 1 USB, Wireless