Best Cheap Projectors: 3 Budget Projector Reviews & Buying Guide 2023

Best Cheap Projector
Written by Edwards

Are you looking to buy a compact, highly portable projector to boost your movie-watching or gaming experience? You are at the right place and the right time. 

You don’t need to buy a TV in 2023. Yes, you heard it right. It is because I am going to share with you something that costs less and gives a bigger image compared to a TV. Moreover, it doesn’t require any particular place in your room. You can carry it wherever you want since it is portable and compact. Lol. I am talking about projectors or the best cheap projectors

After watching movies and spending hundreds of hours on something 21 different projectors, I’ve found the three cheapest projectors yet unbeatable when it comes to the movie theater experience. 

As we know, there are tons of features that need to be considered when shopping for a projector. It includes lumens, display technology (DLP, LCD, LED, LCOS, laser, etc.), resolution (HD or Full HD), throw distance, lenses, screen size, contrast ratio, and many more. Now you might be wondering how a non-technical guy will be able to understand this technicality of a projector.

Since I have wasted my money and time in order to make my final list of these non-expensive projectors, you don’t need to do that. Instead, you can choose the one that suits you from my top three picks below. Furthermore, there is a buying guide at the bottom for you, carrying in-depth technical information about all types of cheap projectors

Here are the three best cheap/budget projectors of 2023

  1. Vankyo Leisure 3 
  2. Dr. J HI-04 mini projector 
  3. Ci-Best 4500L movie projector 

 1. Vankyo Leisure 3  – Best Overall

best cheap projector

This projector is for you if you are looking to find a dependable and efficient projector. It is engineered explicitly for home entertainment, and it offers outstanding performance. Its 1080P resolution produces rich, vibrant colors, guaranteeing you a fantastic watching experience.

Besides, it utilizes LED lamps, which are more efficient than traditional ones since they are 60% brighter and last for approximately 40,000 hours. This projector is compact with a length of fewer than 8 inches, and it weighs 2 lbs. I like that it has a tripod and a carrying case, making it easier to carry around.

Regardless of its compact size, it performs exceptionally, producing brilliant images even on large screens. It also comes with built-in speakers; however, for better sound quality, you will have to connect external speakers. But I feel that you won’t regret buying this versatile and highly portable projector despite the speakers’ issues.

Pros & Cons:

What I like: 

  • Compact and easily moveable
  • It supports Full HD (1920 * 1080) resolution
  • It comes with a carrying case
  • Notable picture quality
  • No fan noise; it is very quiet for the price. 

What I don’t:

  • In-built speakers could be better

2. Dr. J HI-04 mini projector  – Best Budget Projector

best budget projector

The HI-04 is a great mini projector with impressive performance, with a resolution of 840 by 480. While it does not sound great immediately, it supports 1080P resolution after some adjustments. Even though this doesn’t necessarily mean it supports 1080P resolution, this mini projector will modify the input resolution to showcase at 840 by 480 on your screen.

Most of the time, I don’t even remember that it is not showcasing in complete HD because it can display on a screen of up to 170 inches. What I like about it is the display quality. It uses LED light, which translates to a remarkable brightness of approximately 2000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 2000:1, which means I can watch my favorite shows without sacrificing quality. Besides, the HI-04 mini projector is perfect for gaming and all-around entertainment.

It has numerous ports like the USB, VGA, HDMI, and auxiliary inputs.

Pros & Cons:

What I like:

  • Can project to screens of up to 170 inches
  • Remarkable brightness and contrast ratio
  • Has several ports
  • Supports 1080P after adjustments

What I don’t:

  • Sound is not that great

3. Ci-Best 4500L movie projector  – The Cheapest Projector

best cheapest projector

The Ci-Best 4500L is very efficient for its price tag and size. It supports a 1080P resolution, and its 2000:1 contrast ratio projects lifelike pictures and videos, thus giving a fantastic watching experience. There are many things I liked about it, from how it can be connected to many devices like SD cards, laptops, USB, and so on to how it offers a watching screen-size of 30″ to 200″.

My other favorite thing about the Ci-Best 4500L is that it has a compact size, making it more convenient for you to carry it around. Even though it has the most recent cooling system, it doesn’t ultimately reduce fan noise. Therefore, my watching experience was a bit noisy, but other than that; this mini projector is worth buying. Plus, the +/- 150 manual keystone adjustment met all my resolution needs.

Pros & Cons:

What I like:

  • 80% brighter than most projectors with a similar price tag
  • Supports 1080P resolution
  • Compact and easy to carry around
  • Can project to `screens of up to 200 inches
  • Can be connected to multiple gadgets

What I don’t:

  •  Fans can be a bit noisy

Buying guide: How to choose the best cheap projector for your needs?

In this guide, you’ll find some essential buying factors for a projector. Please don’t ignore these factors while purchasing your first cheap projector. 

1. Keystone adjustment 

Vertical shift and keystone correction might affect the projection quality. Keystone adjustment affects resolution and should be utilized as a last resort if you can’t modify the keystoning effect alone.

2. Contrast ratio

This is very important to look at, and the higher the contrast ratio, the better the quality of the images or videos. Usually, some brands manufacture projectors that have higher contrast ratios than others. If the projector has high lumens, then the contrast will be lesser since there is increased white light affecting the projector’s capability to display darker shades; therefore, do not go for one with too much brightness if you don’t need it.

3. Resolution

This is the data amount showcased on the screen at a given time. It is also among the most vital features to research before buying a projector. You might decide to go for a projector with high resolution since it seems like the best choice. However, the image quality you see significantly depends on the gadget’s resolution linked to the projector, whether it’s your laptop or PC, or any other device.

4. Throw ratio

This is the distance between the screen and the projector, divided by the projected picture’s width. Once you know the image width you would like and your projector’s throw ratio, you can figure out the suitable distance to leave between them. Even though this feels like something to leave to the person who installs it for you, you must know that your projector’s throw matters.

FAQs: Most common questions about cheap projectors. 

1. Cheap projectors vs. expensive Projectors?

Most of the time, people see cheap projectors as low-quality products. This applies to most cheap products in the market. However, affordable projectors are not as bad as people think. You get to buy high-quality projectors with an economic price-tag. 

For instance, my top pick is Vankyo Leisure 3, which supports 1080P resolution; it is perfect for gaming and watching my favorite shows due to the high-quality images it projects. Basically, it does everything an expensive projector would do, but the difference is the price.

2. What are the benefits of buying cheap projectors?

There are several advantages to purchasing cheap projectors, and the first one is that they’re cheap. It is not necessary to break the bank or spend your entire month’s salary to buy them. Also, you get almost the same quality as you would get from an expensive one.

From high resolution to decent lumens to the keystone correction feature, cheap projectors make the watching experience just as memorable as the expensive ones do. Well, there you have it, the ultimate buying guide and the three best cheap projectors in the market.

3. Throw Ratio (distance) for a cheap projector should matter? 

Of course, it is. Typically, there are three types of projector throw to choose from; ultra-shortlong, and short throw. The difference between these three types of ratios is the lenses they have. Long-throw projectors display huge images from a significant distance, and therefore there has to be enough space to accommodate this placing.

4. I live in a small apartment; what will be an ideal cheap projector for me in terms of throw distance? 

If you have a small space, a long throw projector may not be appropriate. You will require an ultra-short or short throw one. They can display large pictures from a short distance of not more than 3 feet. If you plan to place it in a small room, a short-throw projector is a way to go.

5. Can I expect an ultra-short-throw projector at an economy price-tag? If possible, then what are the benefits? 

The answer is no; you can’t find it. However, I can talk about its benefits. The most significant benefit of this projector is that it decreases shadow casting possibilities on the image displayed. Besides, the presenter won’t have the projector light hindering his view. 

However, these projectors are more expensive than their long throw counterparts. The ultra-short-throw equivalents are more potent than both long and short-throw projectors, therefore projecting a picture from an extremely short distance between it and the screen.

So it is not possible finding an ultra-short-throw projector at an economy price-tag. 

Conclusion: Which cheap projector will be perfect for me and my needs? 

There is no doubt that the market is full of projectors these days, claiming to be the best from each other. Therefore, I hadn’t included more than three cheap projectors on my list. 

These recommended ones are perfect but different price range. I advise you to buy one that your pocket allows. If you’re still confused, take a look at my other budget-friendly articles. 

Best Projectors under: $100, $200, $300, $400, $500, and $1000

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