Projectors a decade ago were only seen in schools and at office presentations. Today with advancements in display technology and falling costs, it is now affordable for you to have a projector in your living room.
Whether it’s playing videos on YouTube, replacement for 4k tv, holiday photos or creating your own home cinema experience, you can access the big screen with great projectors for less than $300.
Finding the right projector with a limited budget can be challenging. With so much choice available, plus projectors being an expensive and technically complicated item, making the wrong choice could be lead you to more expense in the future due to the poor quality and durability.
That is why we have reviewed the 7 hottest projectors under 300 dollars and guide you through the pros and cons. And we also provide the buying guide for things you need to look when choosing these typical cheap projectors.
- Our Top Recommendation for the Best Projectors Under $300
- 1. ViewSonic PA503S – Best Option for Movie Watching with External Audio Set Up
- 2. Epson VS250 – Suitable for Home Movies and Business Presentations
- 3. BenQ MS524AE SVGA – Recommended Business Projector Under 300
- 4. InFocus IN112XA – Budget Projector with 3D Ready
- 5. ABOX A6 – Top Choice for Projector with High Lumens
- 6. CiBest – Best Video Projector Less than $300
- 7. Vamvo HD – Cheap Projector with High Native Resolution
- What to Look When Buying a Projector With Budget No More than $300
- The Verdicts
Our Top Recommendation for the Best Projectors Under $300
We have reviewed and tested the seven top projectors that you can get for under 300 dollars. Our projector review starts with a comprehensive comparison table of all the projectors looking at resolution, image brightness, contrast ratio, display technology, and screen projection.
Then we will look in-depth at each of seven projectors providing a pros and cons list and finally our star pick.
So without further ado, here is the best projectors less than $300 in 2019:
|Product Name||Resolution||Image Brightness||Contrast Ratio||Display Technology||Projection Size/ Screen|
|ViewSonic PA503S 3600||SVGA resolution (800 x 600)||3,600 lumens||22,000:1||DLP||120” screen size from 15-feet 8-inches|
|Epson VS250 SVGA 3200||SVGA resolution (800 x 600)||3,200 lumens||15,000:1||LCD||30" - 350" screen size (0.88 - 10.44 m)|
|BenQ MS524AE SVGA||SVGA resolution (800 x 600)||3,300 lumens||15,000:1||DLP||60"screen size (2.37m)|
|InFocus IN112XA Projector||SVGA resolution (800 x 600)||3,800 lumens||26,000:1||DLP||28” – 300” screen size (1-12m)|
|ABOX A6 Projector||Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080||4,000 lumens||4,000:1||LCD||74-200” screen size|
|CiBest Projector Upgraded Native||Full HD (1920 x 1080)||3,600 lumens||4,000:1||LED (Light source) +LCD (Display)||67-200” screen size|
|Vamvo HD Projector||High native resolution :1280*768 RGB||3,500 lumens||2,000:1||LCD||44-200” screen size (1.50-5.6m)|
1. ViewSonic PA503S – Best Option for Movie Watching with External Audio Set Up
ViewSonic is a recognized brand name in projection technology. It is our most highly rated projector on the list. It is producing excellent picture quality and contrast on white walls, with its relatively high contrast ration and DLP technology.
Also, the projector is light (2.2kg) and bright from up to 10m away from the target wall. Importantly the fan is quiet enough not to be distracting as you are watching your favorite film.
The colors hold, even when projecting during the day against a lot of natural light coming from open windows. The zoom feature and intuitive menu allow business users to set up and use it easily for an office presentation. The SVGA resolution is lower than HD, but the picture remains clear, though it does support the 1080p resolution as do all the lumens SVGA projectors.
The 120” is plenty big enough though less than some of it’s competitors in class who go up to 200”. Finally, bulb life comes in at 15,000 hours, an important consideration being the most expensive part of the projector.
2. Epson VS250 – Suitable for Home Movies and Business Presentations
VS250 is another household name in Epson which have a long history with producing decent projectors. The Epson’s central selling point it its relatively high lumens Color Brightness and Color Gamut delivering excellent colour accuracy.
There are other projectors in our line-up which have a higher brightness and contrast ratio. Epson plants itself squarely in the middle of the pack.
Using LCD video projector technology, you still get an impressive contrast ratio of 15,000:1 and 3,200 lumens which delivers a bright and clear image even on a white wall or under natural light.
Worth noting that SVGA 800x 600 resolution is high for movies but impractical for reading a text while say looking on the internet, so if you plan on using the Epson or another projector make sure it has a proper zoom function or HD resolution.
Speaker comes in better than the ViewSonic which mean you don’t need output audio, and the image quality is still good, though possibly not as bright due to the lower number of lumens. A good middle of the road option.
3. BenQ MS524AE SVGA – Recommended Business Projector Under 300
Benq is a relatively new company who have become established over the past ten years for providing cost-effective technology. This little Benq packs a punch like the ViewSonic.
Using DLP technology, 3.300 lumens and 15,000:1 contrast it delivers excellent brightness and contrast, with a low sound output of below 36db. The product emphasis is placed on being used in a business setting rather than for home movies.
The brightness also means it holds up well under natural or artificial lighting without the lights dimmed. Dual inputs allow you to control the laptop with your phone, when it is also connected, say while you are walking around a conference room making a presentation.
The speaker much like the ViewSonic is not great, so you need to rely on audio output, but the zoom and picture quality make up for the lack of sound. So, it is still suitable to be used as a home movie system.
4. InFocus IN112XA – Budget Projector with 3D Ready
InFocus is a relatively new name to the market, but this projector packs a massive punch. Coming in with the best brightness (3,800 lumens) and contrast ratio (26,000:1) it produces an impressively bright and clear picture, which is best in class for this category.
The warranty is shorter than its competitors running over for a year whereas others would run for up to 3 years.
The lamp is tabled to last for 15,000 hours which is enormous compared to others in class which may last 5,000 hours or less. The unique feature for this projector which makes it suitable for a home theatre is that it is 3-D ready.
Glasses are sold separately, but the DLP technology combined with the impressive contrast ratio means that you can get good enough quality picture to make it the only 3-D ready projector in class.
Like the ViewSonic and Benq projectors, InFocus has the poor sound quality, so you need external sound output. A worthy sacrifice for picture quality.
5. ABOX A6 – Top Choice for Projector with High Lumens
Abox is another new name to market. This projector leans towards brightness and Keystone (the ability to elevate the picture) over other features. The keystone goes up to 35 degrees which are usually 15 degrees in other projectors in this class.
Packing a whopping 4,000 lumens of brightness this projector is one of the best HD projectors for light, but at a meager contrast ratio of 4,000:1 and both an LCD and led projector, this projectors picture quality will be significantly lower than our first four projectors.
Though it is using its own, rather than industry standards of contrast promising a 3 x wider color gamut. However, the Abox projector places a clear emphasis on better sound than its competitors. It is packed with 2 x 3W speakers as opposed to 2 x 1-2W speakers in other projectors.
As well a quieter fan so is ideally suited for home movie watching, possibly in a smaller room. Great for a portable LCD video projector.
6. CiBest – Best Video Projector Less than $300
There is a lot of similarity between the CiBest and ABOX. We suspect the same supplier makes them and branded under two different names. Cibest’s key selling point is the bulb life. The best projector with a superior lamp life of 50,000 hours, which means you can get 10+ years of watching out a single bulb.
The contrast ratio of 4,000:1 is like the ABOX meaning that crispness of picture may be comprised, particularly projecting over longer distances.
Using LCD technology and 3,600 lumens, it comes in better than average for brightness. The manufacturer claims it is HD ready, but many reviews seem to dispute the quality. The projector is lighter than most coming in at less than 2kg. But the price is about right, and it does not perform as well as the best in class for brightness and crispness.
The CiBest is pitched directly for the home movie market with mounting brackets for being put on a desk or ceiling.
7. Vamvo HD – Cheap Projector with High Native Resolution
The Vamvo looks bright and sleek but falls short of the other projectors in terms of technical specs.
The contrast ratio is lowest in class at 2000:1, that is less than a tenth of the Infocus. The Vanvo pitches itself as a budget option for those wanting a cheap home movie system. The colors will not be as bright or crisp as you can expect from some of the pricier models
The brightness comes in as higher than average at 3,500 lumens using LCD technology, and the lamp clocks an impressive 30,000+ hour of use which is second best in class.
Also, surprisingly, the sound quality is good, and the cheapest 1080p projector which is HD ready, along with an easy plug and play set up. High for a portable mini projector or gaming projector.
What to Look When Buying a Projector With Budget No More than $300
1. Type of Video Projectors
There are two main types of projectors in today’s market, which are DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display).
DLP projectors contain tiny mirrors which tilt towards or away from the light to create dark and light pixels. They offer sharp images, better than an LCD screen and are also great for fast motion and brightness. They are like what you expect in cinemas so expect them to be more expensive.
LCD projectors are like TV’s, and they shine a light through a few panels to create an image. The mass market technology is more cost effective. They tend not to be as dynamic or bright as DLP, but handle motion and blacks well offering a realistic quality of the projector image’s rendering.
2. Check the Contrast Ratio
The contrast ratio refers to the difference between the blackest black and the whitest white in any given image. They are essentially providing a contrast between different colors. So, a contrast ratio of 500:1, would mean that the brightest white is 500x more vivid than the darkest black.
The higher the ratio, the more affluent and clearer the image will be. The most expensive projectors will have contract ratios of 200,000:1 and up. Not to be confused with an aspect ratio which for most projectors is 4:3 or 16:9.
3. Pixel Density and Display Resolution
There are 2 main types of display resolution for projectors: Wide XGA (1280 x 800) and HD (1920 x 1080). An HD projector will have roughly 2 million pixels which are twice the amount of a full XGA projector.
The higher the number of pixels on the screen and the clearer the image. Something which becomes more critical the more comprehensive the picture is. As most media formats are best viewed in HD, it is advisable to opt for an HD Display resolution.
4. Color Reproduction
Color reproduction is how accurate the projector displays a color, and comes down to brightness, contrast and color saturation. So, if your projector is not very bright, you may need to adjust color saturation to compensate.
Your projector should have a good out of the box solution like THX mode which uses advanced color technology, if not you will need to manually tweak the grayscale balance, or even calibrate individual colors.
Your projector will come with a variety of ports or inputs. Importantly you need to assess how you will connect media to your projector. HDMI connections are standard for High Definition Media from both TV or PC. VGA Cables allow linkups to desktop PC towers.
DVI ports are rarer, for digital to digital connections, and finally USB connectors straight from laptops or possibly even a mobile phone. You don’t need all the inputs, as you can always buy a cheap connection converter from Amazon.
The size and weight of projectors have dramatically decreased over time, and these days an average projector is unlikely to weight more than 3kg, with most coming in at 1.5-2.5kg. Of course, if you are using a projector just at home, then portability isn’t an issue.
But if you plan on using them in the office or at presentations, lighter is better to a point. Most projectors are the size of a large 1000-page book so can easily fit in a rucksack with all the cables.
Projectors have dramatically reduced in price over the past ten years. Previously it would be hard to buy a half decent projector for under $1,000, but now you can buy a very basic projector for under $100.
If you are looking for cinema quality, you will stay pay a hefty price, but you can get excellent home movie/office presentation projectors for under $300
For sheer quality, the Infocus must be our top pick for picture quality, brightness contrast, and functionality. When choosing a projector, it’s important to think about the context you are going to be using it in. Whether as a home movie projector or at work.
All the seven projectors we reviewed have some qualities which make them top picks, and the impressive range of technology on offer for less than $300, means you need not delay in bringing that high-quality cinema to feel to your home or office today.
Though you will have to pay more for premium features of say a wireless projector or auto-focus.