Overhead projectors were a staple in classrooms and offices when the models we see today did not exist. The ones we have today are a mixture of the old and new technology to give you the finest of both worlds.
Being more affordable is one of the reasons why you still see them at some schools or offices.
The larger and older models come with a light source, a fan to cool the system, and a focusing lens. On the top, you have a mirror that helps to project the slide you placed.
Slides here are also printed or handwritten on transparent sheets so the light can pass through and give you a projection.
The other one is the newer kind, where you can connect the projector to any other multimedia device using a wireless connection or a USB and have the projection ready.
This kind is mostly used for entertainment purposes, where the older models are for presentations.
To know about what the best overhead projectors are today, check out the condensed list of models below.
Comparison Chart For Top 9 Overhead Projectors
best Overhead Projectors Reviews
1. Apollo Overhead Projector Horizon 2
The Apollo Overhead Projector Horizon 2 is designed for use in classrooms. It comes with a closed head. So you know there will be no dust accumulation, nor scratches or marks when you are moving it.
Speaking of moving, this includes two grip handles. Often these larger projectors are hard to move when needed, but this small addition makes a huge difference, moving is so much more convenient. Because let us face it, you do not want to keep your projector in the middle of the class when it is not in use.
Moreover, the space you get is 10 x 10 inches, which gives you ample space to lay down a decent-sized slide, or even write manually on a transparent sheet.
- This is a closed head projector that protects it from dust
- The high-efficiency cooling system keeps this running for longer
- Two carry grip handles make this easier to carry
- A Kensington Security Slot is included for theft protection
- Compatible with transparent sheets for presentations
2. DHAWS Overhead Projector
The DHAWS Overhead Projector is one commonly used to create a home cinema in living rooms. What we really love about this is all the different placements it supports.
You can mount it on the ceiling, or use it on a stand, and use it for both front and rear-facing screens likewise. This makes the projector very flexible. Everyone has a different space they want to use, and this versatility ensures that anyone can use it, no matter where they have to place the device.
Another factor that makes this suitable for a home cinema is its projection size. The maximum size you can get is 200 inches, and this really gives you that life-like projection you seek from movies.
You get 50,000 hours on this projector. Hence, you can use this for a good few years before you see the light fading. Although you will eventually need to change the light source at one point in time, this helps to delay it.
- The high contrast ratio of 3000:1 provide intense colors
- 3800 Lumen count give you increased brightness
- Gives you a very large screen size of up to 200 inches
- Can be placed in numerous ways according to user preference
- Multiple inputs are included to connect to multiple devices
3. Jinhoo Mini Overhead Projector
The Jinhoo Mini Overhead Projector is suitable for places with a lot of ambient light. If you plan on using this outdoors, in auditoriums, or for events, then you will enjoy the brightness it provides.
For such spaces, you need a high lumen count, so the ambient light can be overcome, and you still see a bright screen. 4200 lumens are enough for that purpose, which is what you get here.
If you find you are having trouble with matching the projection to the screen, use the keystone correction to adjust it. This helps you match the projection to your screen in the ratio you want, and helps align the lines for a smooth border.
You can also use this in a front, rear, and ceiling mode depending on where you keep it. Rear modes are useful for outdoors, while front mode is for indoors. Hence you get a versatile device that can be used in multiple ways.
Besides all these, this is also a frequently chosen model for travelers. Being compact and lightweight makes this easy to carry, and the various setup options let you use this outdoors without hassle.
- The 4200-lumen count make this bright enough for outdoor use
- High lamp life of 55,000 hours ensures longevity of projector
- With universal compatibility, this can be used with multiple devices
- Stereo speakers are built-in to provide an audio experience
- Can be used in a front, rear or ceiling mode
4. Apollo Model 16000 Overhead Projector
The Apollo Model 16000 is another choice for schools and universities where you can use this for your presentations.
This one comes with a 2000 lumen count. A brightness like this will help to clarify your slides on-screen and showcase them clearly. The luminosity is also enough to be used in a lighted space, which is what classrooms mostly are.
It is also designed compactly, so you have it in class and yet not be bothered by a bulky device amongst you. Even though it is lightweight, it comes with a compartment where you can keep extra power cords near the projector, and other small Knick-Knacks you need to use with it.
The projection head is singlet, which is enough for classroom activities. It lets you see data like charts and graphs as well as texts in a clear manner. And that is all you need from this device. The singlet head also makes this easy to clean and maintain.
- Includes 2000 lumens to give you a bright projection
- Comes in a compact shape and lightweight design for easy storage
- Storage compartments are built-in to store wires
- Arm folds down when not in use for safety
- Comes with a Singlet projection head that’s easy to clean
5. Optoma EH412 Professional Projector
The Optoma EH412 is another fine choice for you if you want a projector for professional work. We say this because this one comes with a high lumen count of 4500. This is more than what you need at home, but can actually be used in auditoriums, or for other events where you project to large groups of people.
It comes with 4K HDR Input which lets you have bright colors on screen. So colors look more vibrant, while blacks and whites look deeper and brighter than before. The high contrast ratio of 50,000:1 also helps here to further enhance these colors and give you a nice depth to your projections.
Vertical keystone correction is included up to +/- 40 degrees. This is useful because if you mount the projector to the ceiling, you cannot physically move it every time you need to change the alignment. This correcting feature helps you achieve that.
You also get a 10-watt speaker built-in. with this, you can easily use the projector to stream videos or watch movies. The maximum space this will cover is a medium-sized conference room or classroom.
If you intend on using the projector in a larger space where you need more audio, you can connect it to an external sound system.
- 4500-lumen count ensures high brightness in lighted spaces too
- The 50,000:1 contrast ratio give you intense color depths
- A 10-watt speaker is built-in to provide audios
- 15,000-hour lamp life can be achieved with minimal maintenance
- Multiple connectivity options are provided
Overhead Projectors Buying Guide
The resolution of a projector refers to the number of pixels it has. These pixels come together to create the image on the screen. Hence, the more pixels you have, the smoother the projection.
When you see resolutions in two numbers such as 1280 x 720, this tells you that you have 1280 pixels horizontally, and 720 vertically.
For a home theatre, you should opt for a resolution of a minimum of 720p. This will give you the details you seek from movies, sports, or other entertainment. The latest and finest resolution we have now is the 4K. It means you get 4 times the resolution of a 1080p screen. However, they tend to be very expensive, and hence are not used on a small scale.
Offices do not need the splurge since there are less details and colors to be projected. Schools tend to project both videos and data, and for these mixed projections opt for a mixed resolution. We recommend the 1280×800 which would do the job well.
If you look at all the top overhead projectors, you will see that they all have a top-notch lens. For this kind of projector specifically, lens quality plays a big part in the projection.
You have three basic kinds- the singlet, doublet, and triplet. Triplet lens have a superior projection quality than the previous two, and hence costs a little higher as well.
If you use this for offices where the slides include detailed spreadsheets, intricate graphics, or colored sheets, then going for the triplet is your best option.
On the other hand, if the slides are monochrome and texts are printed in large clear fonts, a singlet would suffice.
The brightness of a projector is determined by its lumen count. The higher this count is, the higher the brightness will be, and vice versa. This brightness need varies from place to place and changes with work needs.
For example, if you plan on using the projector for presentations in a small meeting room, you can easily work with 2500 lumens if you can dim the lights. And if the lights need to be on, which is the case for most offices and schools, you need a higher count of around 3000 lumens.
A home theatre system on the other hand does not need the higher brightness since you can easily turn off all the lights. This saves you money because you can settle for lumen counts below 2500 which tend to be cheaper.
This applies to the overhead projectors that have a head. This is important to consider if you want longevity in the device. And let us face it, we all want that.
Closed head projectors keep out all the dust, and in case you are moving it, you will not find fingerprints on it either which can be a hassle to remove.
Open head projectors on the other hand are easier to clean and they are more compact, making it easier to move.
If you value portability more, go for this. Otherwise, the closed head will serve you well.
When you are looking for the best overhead projector, you will come across a mixture of older and newer models together. They both serve different purposes and hence are chosen by different professions. But no matter which you choose to go with, there are certain factors to keep in check.
Points like the resolution, brightness, lamp life apply to every projector out there, making it crucial for you to check them before making a purchase. To conclude, your next projector can be found from this list, all you have to do is take a careful look at it.