Best Projector 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Projectors have become much more mainstream in both the home and workplace in the last few years. Directed at a large screen, they offer a full-size experience that TV screens just can’t match – perfect for movie nights, gaming, and giving business presentations and slideshows.

Choosing the right projector for you comes down to what you plan on using it for. If you want a premium home cinema experience, you will want a different model to one that you would use to give clear, professional presentations involving lots of spreadsheets or graphs – they simply have different qualities.

Therefore, most projectors are geared towards one or the other, and it’s important to choose one that has been optimised for the right activity.

Here is our guide to buying the best projectors for your needs, including our two favourite home cinema projectors, business projectors and one handy portable-projector.

The Projectors – Our Top Picks

Best Portable Projector: Philips PicoPix PPX3414
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Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Portable-Projector
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  • Brightness: 140 lumens
  • Resolution: 854 x 480
  • Screen size range: 12-120″
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Connectivity: Mini HDMI x 1, USB x 1, SD memory card reader
Bet 3D Home Cinema
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Acer V7850 4K Ultra Home Cinema Projector
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  • Type: Movie Home Projector
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • USB: USB Type A x 1
  • Start-up Time: Instant
  • Screen Size Range: 26”- 301”
Best Presentation Projector: Epson EB-X27 LCD
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Epson EB-X27 LCD
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  • Brightness: 2700 lumens
  • Resolution: XGA (1024 x 768)
  • Aspect ratio: 4:3
  • Contrast ratio: 10,000 : 1
  • Connectivity: HDMI input

Best Portable Projectors

NEBULA Capsule Cinema Smart Projector

You can project anything you want on the go, share your videos with this pocket projector that also doubles up as a speaker.

Have you seen those 360-degree speakers, well yes they are quite the innovative gadget aren’t they? This is exactly one of those, only it comes with a projector. It is both a speaker and projector. You can take the cinemas with you, this compact device can sync to your mobile phone via Bluetooth, AirPlay and Wi-Fi.

It enables you to share photos, movies, general videos and more. You can take this on your travels and enhance a gathering with both your music and videos in one.

It has built-in Wi-Fi and can easily stream videos from Netflix, YouTube and Aptoide TV. It has a long life battery of up to 30 hours.

It is easy to set-up and can also be mounted onto a tripod for stability.

We like

  • It is also a 360-degree speaker
  • It can stream from Netflix and YouTube
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Fits in your pocket

We disike

  • The picture is only 854 x 480 but that is expected for this type of device

Final Verdict

This really is a one of a kind, it is a speaker/projector that can fit in your project and help you share your pictures, music and videos with everybody. Wherever you are, you can sit and enjoy a film or video with speakers for everyone. This is a great price and is an innovative projector that is accessible for all.

+ Specifications

  • Type: Mini
  • Resolution: 854 x 480
  • USB: Micro USB x 1
  • Screen Size Range: 40”- 100”
  • Start-up Time: Instant

+ Downloads

NEBULA Capsule Cinema Smart Projector

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LG PH450UG Smart HD Ready Mini Projector

The ideal projector for home and work, with it providing HD picture in what is a compact projector.

This adjustable projector comes with numerous features despite it being small in size, it is perfect to take around on work meeting and presentations but its HD compatibilities ensure that we can also enjoy watching movies.

It is probably one of the easiest projectors to set up and installation is tidy – you can move the lightweight product around and set it up via wireless settings. It boasts a triple wireless feature with it being able to connect by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi meaning there is no need for a power wire, video wire or speaker wire

It really is the greatest all-rounder, it’s consistent in performance, as it doesn’t lack in any aspect. We were impressed with how you can wire the mirroring function that allows you to stream from your phone or tablet.

The compact product can easily fit into your room or office with the dimensions being 80.5cm x 132cm x 200cm.

We like

  • How small this projector is
  • It comes HD ready
  • Effortless installation
  • It is wireless

We disike

  • It hasn’t got the best screen size range

Final Verdict

You are paying for the fact that this projector is an all-rounder, it’s sleek, fits into any space and can be transported with ease. It has wireless setting even for the power and maintains a good quality for movies with it being HD 720p.

+ Specifications

  • Type: HD Ready/ Short Throw
  • Resolution: HD 720p
  • USB: 2.0 x 1
  • Screen Size Range: 40”- 80”
  • Start-up Time: Instant

+ Downloads

LG PH450UG Smart HD Ready Mini Projector User Manual

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Asus Zen Beam E1 Mini Projector

This is the most cost efficient mini projector on the market with it being simple to set up and also easy to travel.

Asus have offered an alternative to the expensive products and gave those with a budget the chance to capitalise on all the benefits that projectors bring us. We wouldn’t recommend this as your movie projector although it is possible to play films and events. This is ideal as a cheap option for a good quality presentation projector that you can take everywhere with you.

It is small and light, and easy to fit in a case on the move. Despite being small in hardware, it provides the opportunity to watch all of your favourite content on a big screen. The screen size ranges up to 16-120”. You can easily send video of 1080p and it will then automatically adjust and scale it to its native WVGA.

It has a five-hour battery life, you can also add a tripod for use of a sturdy base and also have the chance to connect your smartphone to this device. If you don’t want to pay extravagant costs on a projector then get your hands on this, it’s huge value for money!

We like

  • It’s mini, and easy to transport
  • Can connect with smartphones
  • Plays 1080p
  • The low price!

We disike

  • It isn’t the best picture available on the market

Final Verdict

Although the picture is not state of the art for movies, it’s more than sufficient for presentations and is capable of streaming 1080p. Perfect for the price and is small, making it easy to take around in a carry case.

+ Specifications

  • Type: Portable Projector
  • Resolution: 854 x 480
  • USB: USB Type-A x 1
  • Screen Size Range: 16
  • Start-up Time: 6 seconds

+ Downloads

Asus Zen Beam E1 Mini Projector User Manual

Download

Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Portable-Projector

The ultimate on-the-go portable projectors

If portability and convenience are the top features on your list when searching for your system, then consider this super handy little Philips PicoPix PPX3414 Portable-Projector. This model is light enough to carry wherever you need to take it and is ideal for displaying photos and videos where a smaller screen just won’t do.

It’s worth saying at this point that with a small projector like this, you are not going to get the same level of image quality as you do with the bigger Epson and Optima brands. It is designed for portability first, and stunning visuals second – but the LED technology does allow you to experience pretty fair quality visuals with just enough detail. However, this model is not recommended for big boardroom meetings – for that you will want one of the more robust options listed above to get the best image quality and battery life.

Manufacturer’s guarantee: 1 year

We like

  • Compact and small
  • Incredible A+ energy efficiency
  • The most portable by far
  • Internal battery for up to 2 hours run time
  • Excellent image quality

We disike

  • Fan quite loud but for the size, this is expected

Final Verdict

This would be best for small gatherings where you simply want more oomph for your visuals – wherever you need to go. You can display content via USB, memory card or HDMI cable, so overall it is a very flexible, pop-it-in-your-pocket option for the frequent traveller.

+ Specifications

  • Brightness: 140 lumens
  • Resolution: 854 x 480
  • Screen size range: 12-120″
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Connectivity: Mini HDMI x 1, USB x 1, SD memory card reader

+ Downloads

Philips PicoPix PPX3414 user manual

Download

Best 3d Home Cinema Projectors

Acer V7850 4K Ultra Home Cinema Projector

The ultimate movie projector sure to catapult your viewing experience to the next level provides an easy set-up and works as part of a home movie system.

Sometimes if you want the best, you have to be willing to pay the money. It’s well worth it though, and will bring the cinema to you. The Acer projector has Ultra 4K viewing and Ultra HD, it’s perfect if you are looking to set it up in a dark room. The brightness level is 2200 lumens but this is not its speciality and it doesn’t need to be – it has been made for you to create a home cinema.

From the moment you press the on button, your product will instantly turn on. It comes complete with the projector, a power cord, remote control, battery for the controls, a quick start guide, user guide CD and a carrying case.

 

We like

  • Provides the ultimate movie experience
  • Brings the cinema to you
  • 2200 Lumens

We disike

  • It is expensive but worth it for a projector of this stature.

Final Verdict

A movie projector with amazing picture and an easy-setup, it turns on instantly and has a manufacturer guarantee of 2 years. Makes for the perfect movie projector!

+ Specifications

  • Type: Movie Home Projector
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • USB: USB Type A x 1
  • Start-up Time: Instant
  • Screen Size Range: 26”- 301”

+ Downloads

Acer V7850 4K Ultra Home Cinema Projector User Manual

Download

Optoma HD151X 3D Home Cinema

A lighter, cheaper home cinema projector.

If the Epson feels a little on the pricey side for you, then for slightly less you can get this perfectly good Optoma HD151X 3D Home Cinema. Small, light and portable, the Optoma offers sharp Full HD projection ideal for use in the home, with bright images, built-in sound and 3D functionality.

The 30W speakers built into this model give it a slightly more powerful sound than the Epson, but again, it is usually worth investing in separate speakers for the very best sound quality. This model lets you watch all of your favourite sports, HD TV shows and Blu-ray disks at whatever screen size works for the room – between 30-300”. It also has a specialist gaming mode, which increases the response time and contrast while you undertake virtual missions!

Manufacturer’s guarantee: 1 year

We like

  • Produces fantastic 3D when used with 3D glasses
  • Great picture
  • Fantastic value for money

We disike

  • No lens cover supplied – be careful not to scratch it
  • It’s quite large

Final Verdict

At 1.5 kg lighter in weight than its Epson cousin, this option is much more portable and therefore likely to be a better option if you plan on moving it around, rather than keeping it set up in one place. However, it is not light enough to qualify as a true ‘portable’ projector – more on those later. 3D glasses do not come supplied with this model, so if you plan on enjoying its 3D functionality you should consider investing in some pairs of 3D glasses for you and your family.

+ Specifications

  • Brightness: 2800 lumens
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Contrast ratio: 28,000:1
  • Connectivity: HDMI & USB & VGA

+ Downloads

OPTOMA HD151X 3D user manual

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Epson EH-TW6100 3D Home Cinema Projector

A projector for the full home cinema experience

If you’re looking for the best quality home cinema experience, you could do a lot worse than this sleek  EPSON EH-TW6100 3D Home Cinema from Currys. Whether you want it to enhance your gaming experience or to watch sports, films and TV shows, the Epson offers Full HD picture quality and the option to view in 3D as well as 2D, using the 3D glasses included as part of your purchase. To switch from 2D to 3D, you simply press a button. This also has fair sound quality from its two 10W speakers, but for the full booming cinema experience, you might want to consider investing in speakers separately.

The picture quality and colour that you get from this model are very sharp and bright – just what you want from a cinema model. The internal fan keeps the machine cool while playing, but it’s one of the quieter models available. In fact, you barely notice it. We also like how easy this projector is to set up, as they can sometimes be a little fiddly. It’s simple to align the projectors image to the screen by using its in-built horizontal and vertical keystone correction.

Another neat feature of this model is its split-screen function, which means you are able to view content from two different sources at the same time, should you need to.

We like

  • Perfect for all types of viewing including gaming
  • Viewable in full daylight

We disike

  • Fan can sometime be noisy

Final Verdict

We think this is the best projector for the money and ideal for those who are looking for a high-impact viewing experience at home. Bonus – it’s cheaper than getting a huge TV.

+ Specifications

  • Brightness: 2300 lumens
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Contrast Ratio: 40000:1
  • Connectivity: HDMI & USB
  • Manufacturer’s Guarantee: 2 Years (Main Unit) 3 Years (Lamp)

+ Downloads

Epson EH-TW6600 user manual

Download

Best Presentation Projectors

Epson EB-S41 Office Projector

This powerful projector can utilised for both business and pleasure with its 3300 lumens ensuring a perfect picture.

Visual aids have been stimulating professional minds for decades and that’s why projectors can be so integral, this office projector is a great all-rounder with its capability of hosting both movies, pictures and presentations. A bug bear of many- is having to stand and set-up a projector in-front of a number of new people, thankfully this product takes just six seconds to start and can be hooked up to a television, computer or laptop.

It comes with a carry case and can be easily transported from presentation to presentation, with that said; it can double up as your home movie system. It has been made to last with 15 years worth of playback and that’s if you watch a whole film every single day.

This SVGA projector can be embraced from big screens; it has a bright screen and can adjust to natural or bright lights accordingly. It can be connected via HDMI or VGA.

We like

  • Can be used for both work and home
  • Easy to transport
  • 3300 lumens
  • Great price

We disike

  • The resolution is only 800 x 600

Final Verdict

Brilliant for the price, only we’d rather stick to office use for this projector, it adjusts great to natural light and is very bright. The resolution on the other hand means that it probably should stay for work and maybe the odd movie.

+ Specifications

  • Type: Office Projector/Long Throw
  • Resolution: 800 x 600
  • USB: 2 x 2.0
  • Screen Size Range: 30”- 350”
  • Start-up Time: 6 Seconds

+ Downloads

Epson EB-S41 Office Projector User Manual

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Epson EB-X27 LCD

A projector for glossy, professional presentations

If you’re looking for a great projector that can be used to deliver stunning presentations in your business or classroom, then this Epson EB-X27 LCD is a high quality, cost-effective option. One of the key selling points of this business model is that it’s relatively small and light, so it can easily be moved and set up in different rooms, wherever it’s needed. It comes with a carry bag included, so it’s easy to transport safely and keep stored away when it’s not needed. It’s the ideal size to use in large spaces such as meeting rooms and classrooms, allowing everyone to get a good view of what’s on display.

Using this projector’s horizontal and vertical keystone correction and optical zoom, you can position the image exactly where you want it on your screen. In terms of picture quality, what you get is bright images and colours, perfect for displaying your presentation to best effect.

Warranty: 36 months

We like

  • Very portable
  • Flexible placement
  • Superb quality
  • Perfect for transporting around

We disike

  • Good for presenting to audiences, bad for home movies or gaming

Final Verdict

This is a solid purchase for a business that’s looking for a high quality presentation and slideshow projector.

+ Specifications

  • Brightness: 2700 lumens
  • Resolution: XGA (1024 x 768)
  • Aspect ratio: 4:3
  • Contrast ratio: 10,000 : 1
  • Connectivity: HDMI input

+ Downloads

Epson EB-X27 user manual

Download

Optoma ML750e DLP

A lightweight, wireless business projector perfect for presentations.

If you thought the Epson business projector was lightweight, this Optoma ML750e DLP is tiny by comparison. Weighing just 380g compared to the Epson’s 2.6 kg, if it’s going to be moved around a lot then this is probably the best option. This projector is ultra-compact, has plenty of video modes for optimal viewing and can be connected wirelessly. It is also 3D ready – though you will need to supply your colleagues with 3D glasses to get the full experience. In a business scenario, 3D functionality may not be an essential feature for you.

Manufacturer’s Warranty: 2 years

We like

  • Viewable in daylight
  • 3D Ready
  • Fantastic image

We disike

  • Fan can sometimes be noticeably loud

Final Verdict

With 1.5 GB of memory, a built-in speaker and Office Viewer and Media Player installed, this is not a bad piece of kit for giving presentations at the office. It could have more connectivity options – it only has MHL – but what you lose in certain desirable features you gain in flexibility due to its small size.

+ Specifications

  • Brightness: 700 lumens
  • Resolution: WXGA – WXGA (1280 x 800)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Contrast ratio: 15000:1
  • Connectivity: Easy connectivity – MHL

+ Downloads

Optoma ML750e user manual

Download

Projectors Buying Guide

Brightness

Projector brightness refers to how bright the overall image created by your projector will be, and is measured in lumens. This is where you should consider the location it will primarily be used in. The brighter the room, the higher you want the lumens count to be, in order to ensure the best image clarity.

Resolution

The resolution of your projector determines how many pixels there are in the projected image. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution and the sharper the image. Pixels are measured both horizontally and vertically, for example, an HD model would be 1920 x 1080 pixels – that’s 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 vertically (the horizontal number comes first).

Choose your screen resolution based on what you’re mostly going to project. If it’s mostly for watching films or playing games, then you’re best off with Full HD. However, if you’re more likely to be displaying presentations and using it in a business context, you should opt for 800 x 600 instead. There are also variations in between, so do some research beforehand.

Aspect ratio

The aspect ratio is what determines the shape of the picture it will play. This is important when it comes to selecting a model for the right context. A widescreen TV that plays movies will usually have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, so if you’re getting a home cinema model, aim for this. However, if you’re using it for business, then bear in mind that most PC monitors are actually 4:3. For optimal viewing, try to find a projector that has the correct aspect ratio for the content you want to display.

Contrast ratio

Unlike aspect ratio, contrast ratio refers instead to dark and light. An image with high contrast is one where the bright areas are very bright, and the dark areas very dark. The higher the contrast ratio, the better it will be at projecting dark and light images, which is ideal for movies and gaming.

Connectivity

When selecting your projector, give some thought to how you will transfer files across and connect to other devices. Some projectors have many connectivity options, where others are limited. HDMI ports, USB ports and SD card readers are all useful features that can save you hassle when trying to play or display your files.

Portability

Portability is a nice feature in projectors, but it’s not essential if you’re mostly going to be keeping your projector in one place. For carrying around, a projector that is compact and lightweight is going to save you a lot of hassle. However, the tradeoff is that usually the image quality suffers slightly as a result. If you’re going to be taking your projector to various different locations on a regular basis, a portable option is advised.

Hopefully this article has been helpful in providing you with some projector-buying tips. Which one will you go for and why?