The Best Home Theater Projector Under 500: Helping You Choose The Best

Investing in home theater projects does not have to be extremely expensive. There are many affordable options that offer great features and functionalities. And in this comprehensive review, we have picked out some of the best home theater projector under 500. You will also find a buying guide so that you can make a well-informed decision.

Top Pick

Epson VS250

  • 3200 lumens for equal white brightness and color
  • SVGA resolution of 800 x 600
  • HDMI support
  • Fan Noise ECO mode 28 dB and normal mode 37 dB

Best Home Theater Projector under 500 for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

With so many options in the market, choosing the best projector for your home can be perplexing. We have selected our top picks and tried them for you. But before getting to the comprehensive review, here is a side-by-side comparison of those products:

IMAGENAME & DetailsDETAILS
Epson VS250 SVGA HDMI 3LCD Project
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920x1080p)
  • Connectivity: HDMI x2, USB A Power, Monitor Out
  • Brightness: 3,500 ANSI lm
  • Speaker: 2W
Check The Price
ViewSonic (PX700HD) 3500 Lumens DLP Projector
  • Resolution: SVGA 800 x 600
  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Brightness: 3200 lm
  • Speaker: 2W
Check The Price
BenQ MS524AE SVGA 3300 Lumens DLP Projector
  • Resolution: SVGA, 800×600
  • Connectivity: 2 HDMI
  • Brightness: 3300 lm
  • Speaker:
Check The Price
Optoma HD 146X 3600 Lumens DLP Projector
  • Resolution: 1080p resolution
  • Connectivity: HDMI 1.4, Audio-Out, USB-A (Power)
  • Brightness: 3300 lm
  • Speaker: 2W
Check The Price
Epson Home Cinema 660 HDMI 3LCD Projector
  • Resolution: 800×600 (SVGA)
  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Brightness: 3300 lm
  • Speaker: 2W
Check The Price
Nebula Capsule Wi-Fi Mini Projector
  • Resolution: 1280×720 (16:9, HD)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI
  • Brightness: 200 ANSI lm
  • Speaker: 8W
Check The Price
Crenova XPE680 1080p HD LED Projector
  • Resolution: 1080p HD
  • Connectivity: Wireless HDMI
  • Brightness: 2600 lm
  • Speaker: Built-in
Check The Price
Acer H5 382BD 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
  • Resolution: Native 720p (1280 x 720)
  • Connectivity: HDMI/MHL
  • Brightness: 3300 ANSI lm
  • Speaker: 2W
Check The Price
Irulu GP90 1080 HDMI Home Projector
  • Resolution: WXGA/1280×768
  • Connectivity: HDMI, VGA/PC-RGB, AV/Video, USB A(Ready) and Stereo/Audio Out port
  • Brightness: Undetermined
  • Speaker: 4Ω, 5W with SRS Sound
Check The Price
Epson EX3240 3LCD Projector
  • Resolution: SVGA (800 x 600)
  • Connectivity: HDMI
  • Brightness: 3200 lm
  • Speaker: Built-in
Check The Price

1. Epson VS250 SVGA HDMI 3LCD Projector

Highlighted features

  • 3200 lumens for equal white brightness and color
  • SVGA resolution of 800 x 600
  • HDMI support
  • Fan Noise ECO mode 28 dB and normal mode 37 dB

First on our list is this versatile product by Epson. It’s a good mix of useful features and mid-range pricing.  If your room is a bit on the brighter side, then this is the perfect projector for you. With 3200 lumens, this worked great in our brightest room. Moreover, the projector features Eco Mode that offers extended lamp life of up to 10,000. And, if you keep normal mode, the lamp can last up to 6000 hours. One of the highlights of this projector is that it is recyclable.

Pros

  • It offers multiple input options.
  • The projector is portable, and the tube replacement is also easy.
  • Lumens of 3300 offer proportionate color balances and white brightness.
  • It leverages the EXGA standard that adds to the resolution.

Cons

  • The product lacks an audio out port.
  • It has a smaller speaker.
  • The projects tend to heat up at times.

2. ViewSonic (PX700HD) 3500 Lumens DLP Projector

Highlighted features

  • Full HD 1920x1080p screen up to 300 inches
  • SuperEcho modes for bright lamp light up to 15,000 hours
  • SuperColor technology for ideal image production
  • Connectivity with most media players, PCs, Macs, gaming consoles, mobile devices, etc.
  • Three-year limited parts warranty and labor coverage and one-year lamp coverage.

For our readers who are looking for good quality projectors, this is among the best options. Generally, 720 pixels HD is the maximum potential of lower-priced projectors, but this product provides you with 1080 pixels. Moreover, it features a lamp, delivering 99% of the rated lumens of 3,500. We found the colors to be very good and it provides an excellent black level with contrast higher than what you typically get. So you will get an adequate bright and sharp picture in the daylight. The unit has a single mono speaker, and offers great sound quality.

Pros

  • You get great picture quality.
  • The projectors are easy to mount with clear instructions.
  • The manufacturer offers a three-year limited parts warranty and lover coverage.
  • The remote control makes it easier to control the device.

Cons

  • It is a bit heavy weighted, which impacts its portability
  • It does not have adjustable 3D depth.
  • There is no lens cover to secure the lens.

3. BenQ MS524AE DLP Projector

Highlighted features

  • 3300 ANSI Lumen for high brightness
  • Dual-HDMI inputs for digital connectivity
  • HDTV compatibility of 480i, 576i, 489p, 720p, 576p, and 1080p.
  • Contrast ratio of 15.000:1 for sharp image quality
  • Eco-friendly design

When looking for the best home theater projector under 500, you cannot miss out on BenQ’s projector. 3,300 lumens offer great picture quality with active color to extend the adequate lights-on display. Also, the SVGA 800 x 600 resolution offers an adequate widescreen image for commercial and business projection needs. We also tried it in our office and got great feedback from coworkers. With a contrast ratio of 1500:1, you can rest assured of getting high-quality images.

Pros

  • The device is lightweight and extremely portable.
  • It comes with eco-friendly modes and design.
  • The projector offers excellent brightness and contrast.
  • It is extremely easy to set up.

Cons

  • The external audio system is sub-par.
  • It does not come with keystone adjustments.
  • The projector comes without a proper lens cap.

4. Optoma HD 146X 1.1x Zooming Range DLP Projector

Highlighted features

  • 1080p resolution accompanied by an RYGCWB color wheel
  • The DLP DMD single-chip design for perfect image alignment
  • 3600 lumens for adequate brightness
  • Improved gaming mode allows lightning-fast response.
  • HDMI-CEC for simpler control

Optoma HD 43X is capable of generating REC.709 color output and offers 3600 lumens of brightness level.  The high brightness is combined with 23,000:1 of contrast that takes the image quality a notch higher. This makes the projector great to use when you have a large audience or if you planning to watch outdoors. For example, last summer, we organized a mid-size get-together and we rented out a fairly spacious outdoor venue. We used this projector for presentations during the day, but we also played a movie in the evening for all romantic-comedy lovers and it all went great.

The projector enables a throw ratio of 1.47-1.62 feet by 1.1x optical zoom. Additionally, it comes with 10W speakers with MHL support. And the screen size of this projector can range between 29 inches and 301 inches. So depending on where you are watching, you get the flexibility to adjust the projector and get a better viewing experience. We really also enjoyed the optical zoom because it takes your viewing experience a notch higher.

Pros

  • The 3600 lumens offer great image quality.
  • It comes with 2 HDMI ports for seamless connectivity.
  • The projector has a 1.1x zooming range.
  • The HDR mode is perfect for robust gaming.
  • It has a great lamp life of up to 12,000 hours.

Cons

  • There is no feature to lower the noise.
  • There is no Dolby support.
  • The quality of the speaker could be better.

5. Epson Home Cinema 660 HDMI 3LCD Projector - Easy to set up

Highlighted features

  • 3,300 lumens for proportional color and white brightness
  • Images of up to 300 inches
  • Digital connectivity (satellite box, cable box, gaming console, streaming device, etc.)
  • Eco mode noise at 28 dB and normal mode at 37 dB
  • 3LCD technology for no rainbow effect

This LCD projector comes with multiple connectivity ports, excellent picture quality, long lamp capacity, efficient layout, and easy portability. At the top, the manufacturer has mounted a control panel featuring multiple keys such as home button, power, menu, source search, etc.

At the back, there is a connectivity port for USB Type A, USB Type B, video port, audio port, HDMI port, and computer ports. With 800×600 resolution, the projector offers an aspect ratio of 4:3. This, together with 3 LCD technologies, offers great picture quality. And the lamp offers 10,000 hours in eco mode and 5,000 hours in normal mode.

What we really liked about this model is how great it is for novice projector users. If you never owned a projector before, and you want a versatile model you can use for anything that comes to your mind, this is the model for you. Gaming, home theater, business presentations – it’s great for all of this. We would recommend getting external speakers, though. For this price, you can’t really get everything.

Pros

  • The EXGA standard allows the device to offer a decent resolution.
  • It features a password protection system.
  • You can enjoy a great lamp life.
  • The digital zoom of the product is amazing.

Cons

  • The speaker size is a bit small.
  • The sound system is not good.
  • The quality of the picture is below average.

6. Nebula Capsule Wi-Fi Mini Projector - The smallest projector

Highlighted features

  • Integrated with robust Omni-directional speaker
  • Image size of up to 100 inches
  • Equipped with advanced IntelliBright algorithm for bright image quality
  • Compatibility with Android 7.1 for running steaming and media apps

When it comes to choosing affordable yet reliable accessories, Anker has never disappointed us. Weighing just above a pound, the projector is extremely easy to carry around. It is nicknamed Pocket Cinema and allows you to enjoy movies on the go. Moreover, the Nebula extends 100 ANSI lumens of brightness and offers an image size of up to 100 inches. The unit is integrated with a power source wherein a single charge can last up to 4 hours.

Pros

  • It is a very easy to use and lightweight device.
  • The projector is integrated with Android 7.1 and Wi-Fi
  • You can directly run the project through a smartphone.
  • The Omni-directional speaker offers good sound.

Cons

  • It at times faces software glitches.
  • The resolution in the projector is mediocre.
  • There is no feature to adjust the brightness.

7. Crenova XPE680 1080p HD LED Projector - Best for personal use

Highlighted features

  • Glass lenses with six layers of coating.
  • 2600 lumens of the LED light source
  • The LED lamp offers a life of up to 20,000 hours.
  • Multimedia support function with 2 USB and 2 HDMI ports
  • 360-degree reversible images

The next product on our list is a great balance of quality and price. The projector comes with remote control and a few buttons on the box. Moreover, you will fit two HDMI inputs integrated by two USB ports, a VGA port, and an RCA component port coaxial. It has a brightness rating of 2600, which is an average for a lower-range product.

But you do have many other options in the list with a higher brightness range like  Optoma HD 43X, Epson Home Cinema 660 HDMI 3LCD Projector., BenQ MS524AE SVGA 3300 Lumens DLP Projector, etc. But it would work perfectly for rooms with very little ambient light. Although the native resolution stands at 1280 x720p, the device can support input sources up to 1080p.

Pros

  • It comes with two HDMI ports.
  • The projector is ideal for dark rooms with little ambient lighting.
  • It comes with a built-in speaker that offers good sound.
  • It has majorly remote-controlled operations.

Cons

  • It lacks brightness as opposed to competitors.
  • The loud fan noise can be disturbing.
  • The instruction manual is a bit confusing.

8. Acer H5 382BD 3D DLP Home Theater Projector - Affordable with great image

Highlighted features

  • DLP projection system
  • The native resolution of 1280×720 pixel
  • 3300 ANSI lumens for brightness

This is a moderately designed unit that is lightweight and comes with a case to carry around easily. There is also a manual zoom option that takes the image up to 1.1x. There is a single HDMI port that needs a single connection or video and audio. The interesting thing is that the HDMI port comes with MHL technology support. This way, you can connect your tablets and smartphones directly to the port and play your preferred videos.

As with most of these low-cost products, we recommend investing in external speakers. You can rest assured that you will get a great image in bright or dark rooms, but the sound will not be there. So instead of missing out on the entire experience, get yourself some speakers right away.

Pros

  • The resolution is excellent for the price point.
  • The 3300 lumens provide excellent brightness.
  • There is auto keystone that offers better control.
  • There is an HDMI port for connectivity.

Cons

  • The remote control is too small in size.
  • There is auto-focus using a manual lens.
  • The speaker quality is not adequate.

9. Irulu GP90 1080 HDMI Home Projector

Highlighted features

  • 1280×800 native resolutions
  • LED-LCD optical engine as display technology
  • Projection size of up to 280 inches
  • Integrated with VGA, Dual HDMI, Dual USB, and AV port for connectivity.

If you are looking for a stylish and durable projector, then this one by iRulu is the perfect option for you. This suave-looking projector offers decent performance under a low budget. Don’t expect perfect colors like with some other models we reviewed above. But, if you still want to enjoy a projector and not give too much money for it, look into this model.

The device features two HDMI ports along with two USB ports; there is one RCA and a VGA port. Featuring 1280×800 pixels, you will get good quality video. Since there is no zoom option, you have to fix the projector at a convenient distance.

Pros

  • The 1280×800 resolution offers good image quality.
  • There is the manual vertical keystone for a better experience.
  • There are two HDMI ports for better connectivity.

Cons

  • There is no digital zoom, so you will have to manually adjust the projector
  • The design seems to be a bit weak.
  • The instruction manual is of little to no help.

10. Epson EX3240 3LCD Projector

Highlighted features

  • 3200 lumens for accurate brightness
  • SVGA resolution of 800 x600
  • Adjustable and convenient control
  • HDMI support and compatibility with latest devices

The last product on our list is designed to easily carry around with good features. The product comes with a single HDMI port to connect with a single video/audio line. There are composite, USM, and S-video ports for better inputs. You will find 3LCD projectors to eliminate motion and rainbow artifacts.  Additionally, the lamp lasts for around 10,000 hours of use, so you will get low-cost maintenance.

Pros

  • 3200 lumens offer good color and white balance
  • Integrated speaker for good sound
  • You get a decent resolution for the price

Cons

  • Digital zoom leads to artifacts.
  • If you want to connect an additional speaker, you will also need an AV receiver.
  • The remote control is a bit bulky.
best projector for home theater under 500

The Best Home Theater Projector Under 500: Buying Guide

Having options is not enough to pick the right product, if you want to invest in best projector for home theater under $500, then the following are the things that you should consider:

Types Of the Projector

There are different projector types based on the technology used to design. Following are the primary types of projectors:

DLP

These projectors are available in different variants such as one-ship, three-chip. Generally, projects that are under $1000 comes with a single-chip version whereas the more premium ones come with three-chip variants. If you are buying projectors for your living room, then a single chip one will offer great results.ViewSonic (PX700HD) 3500 Lumens DLP Projector is an excellent example of this type of projector.

LCD

While they are not as bright as DLP projectors, LCD models provide exceptional image quality. The LCD projects are designed to be flexible and light that can be easily carried around. Moreover, they offer sharp and fast motion and ideas for gaming. If you plan to watch a lot of 3D movies, then LCD projectors are the one to consider. Epson VS250 SVGA HDMI 3LCD Projector and Epson EX3240 3LCD Projector are among the best products in this category in the market.

 Brightness

The brightness requirement of the projector depends on the environment you are using it in. ANSI or lumens are the measurements used for brightness. The higher the lumens of a projector, the brighter will be the image. If your room is small then 1500 lumens would be enough to get good image quality. However, for large rooms, you will need to choose higher lumens.

Resolution

Resolution encompasses various dots (pixels) that form the images. The more pixels or dots a projector offers, the higher will be the resolution; thereby providing crisper images. Generally, good-quality projectors give various resolution options for you to choose from.

 Contrast Ratio

This defines the ratio of the reflected light from and white images and black images. It will determine the way images will be displayed on the screen. To get more detailed images, you will need to buy projectors with a higher contrast ratio. Moreover, when the black and white brightness level is balanced, you get a better viewing experience.  With a 15.000:1 contrast ratio BenQ MS524AE SVGA 3300 Lumens DLP Projector offers one of the sharpest image qualities.

Connectivity

 A majority of projectors are compatible with the latest devices. HDMI connectivity allows you to connect the phone with the projector. Moreover, some even offer wireless connectivity, eliminating the hassle with cables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How bright should a home theater projector be?

If you have a dedicated home theater, then you should consider a projector that offers at least 1000 lumens. Moreover, if your room has low ambient light, then you should up the lumens by 1500. Lastly, for rooms with high ambient light, you will need 3000 lumens to get the desired results.

 Q: Is 7000 lumens good for a projector?

 The answer to this question depends on where you are using the home theater. It can offer good brightness but for a standard home theater projector, it can be a little too bright. But if you want to watch something outdoors in the day with a lot of ambient lighting, then 7000 lumens will work.

Q: Is a projector better for the eyes than TV?

Yes, projector screens are better for the eyes than TV. These devices are able to produce larger images, meaning there will be less strain on the eyes. While projectors reflect light, TVs emit it.

Q: Can humans see 8K?

Although human eyes are not rated in terms of pixels, approximately we can see up to 40 megapixels; and 8K is 33 megapixels. However, anything that human eyes see is in equal resolution. So anything over 8K is better than what the eyes see.

Conclusion

After seeing the best projector for home theater under 500 options in the market, it may have become difficult to choose the right one. Considering that everyone has his/her distinctive needs, you need to focus on the features that the product offers. Features like contrast ratio brightness, image quality, audio quality, etc. make up a good home theater projector. You need to prioritize what is more important for you.

Leave a Reply