Last updated: 05/23/2020

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Thanks to video streaming services like Netflix, creating a cinematic experience in your home is easier than ever before. With so much content, it is possible to watch a different movie or TV series every single day. The only downside with watching movies at home can be the size and quality of the screen. However, thanks to portable projectors, you can now watch all your favorite content on a large screen without moving from the sofa at home.

What makes portable projectors different from standard projectors, is, of course, their portability. If you need a projector that you can move around or take with you to other places, then a portable projector is the product for you. To find out more about these fantastic products and what the best portable projectors are on the market at the moment, keep reading our guide.

Key Facts

  • Size and weight are two key aspects when choosing a portable projector. Being able to move it easily and take it with you wherever you need to go will depend on this. What’s more, the smaller the projector is, the easier it will be to place it in smaller rooms and store it when not in use.
  • Depending on how you want to use your projector will determine what connectivity options you need. It is very important to make sure that the model you choose has the ability to connect the devices you want. Many projectors utilize either HMDI ports, USB connections or Bluetooth to connect external devices.
  • The image quality of the projector is an aspect that must be assessed well. Remember that a portable projector will not provide the same resolution as a TV or monitor, but the quality level is still very important. Many projectors on the market display in Full HD quality, with some more advanced models offering 4K.

Our Selection: The Best Portable Projectors on the U.S. Market

Portable projectors are versatile products that have many possible uses. When it comes to movies, TV series, playing video games or sharing a presentation, there isn’t really a better product. To help you find a great portable projector that will meet whatever need you have, we’ve created a list of the 4 best products that are currently available on the market. We have selected these products based on their value for money, their features, and customer feedback. Take a close look at this list as we are very confident that your next portable projector is on this list.

Best Portable Projector Under $100

The VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector is the best portable projector on the market for those on a budget. This projector provides an image size of 32” to 170” with the projection distance between 4.9ft to 16.4ft. This projector is ideal for watching movies, TV series, and sporting events with friends.

Best Portable Projector Between $100 and $250

The Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector is the ultimate mid-range projector for those who want quality but don’t want to spend a fortune. The compact and lightweight design that is only 5.7 x 3.2 x 0.9 inches in size and weighs only 0.6 lbs, which means that you can easily take it wherever you go. This mini projector is compatible with: iPhones, iPads, Android devices, laptops, PCs, MacBook, XBOX, PS3/PS4, and more.

Best Portable Projector Above $250

The Nebula Capsule, by Anker, is by far the best portable projector on the market. This tiny projector is battery powered and lasts up to 4 hours on a single charge so that you can easily enjoy a complete movie. The inbuilt 360° speakers pump out sound in every direction so that there is no need to connect an external speaker. With the Nebula Capsule, you can seamlessly display content from Netflix, Youtube, and more for endless entertainment.

Highest Rated Portable Projector

The YABER Y60 Portable Projector is a mini-projector that is able to project giant images over 200” anywhere you take it. The Y60 LED projector has built-in 3W dual stereo speakers with an SRS sound system that provides a great sound experience without external speakers. With a 36-month warranty, you can be guaranteed that you are purchasing a well-made product that will last you for a long time.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Portable Projectors

A portable projector is perfect for enjoying your favorite movies and TV series on a big screen wherever you may be. However, before making a purchase, it is important to learn a little bit about these products in order to select the model that best suits you. In the following section, we will answer the most frequently asked questions among consumers when it comes to portable projectors. Pay close attention to the following section as we will likely answer all the questions you have.

Many projectors provide Full HD quality. 
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What distance should a portable projector be from the screen?

The required distance from the projector to the screen or wall will vary from model to model. However, most portable projectors have the ability to project a distance of between 3 and 16 feet. Be aware that the further the projector is placed from the wall or screen, the larger the image will be.

There are however some projectors that allow you to change the size of the image without having to move the device. This feature is not common in portable projectors, especially the cheaper models, but it is an option in some. If you think this is something that may be useful to you, make sure you find a model with this feature. When you are reading the product description of each portable projector, the majority of devices specify the image size they produce according to the distance at which they are located.

Portable projector manufacturers recommend using these products in rooms that are as dark as possible.
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Does the room have to be completely dark to use a portable projector?

Most portable projector manufacturers recommend using their projectors in environments as dark as possible. External light, such as sunlight, can significantly reduce the image quality and the overall viewing experience. If the room in which you are going to use your projector is completely dark, a projector with a luminous intensity of about 1500 lumens will be sufficient.

However, if the room is not completely dark, the projector will need to be more powerful in order for the image to be seen on the screen or wall. In workplace or school environments, where ambient light may be needed during projections to take notes, a projector with at least 3000 lumens will be required. This is the same for a portable projector that is going to be used for outdoor projections, as it will likely be affected by light pollution.

Do I need speakers to use a portable projector?

Almost all portable projectors have built-in speakers. This is perfect as it means that you don’t need to transport your projector and speakers as well. However, the sound quality of the built-in speakers varies significantly from model to model. Generally speaking, the audio quality on the built-in speakers will not be as good as the audio that can be produced by an external sound system.

We highly recommend carefully reviewing the quality of the speakers included with each portable projector. If the quality is not good enough for what you need, you may consider purchasing another model. Alternatively, may consider purchasing an external sound system or a smart speaker, such as an Amazon Echo, that you connect to your projector to experience the best quality sound while watching movies.

Asif KapadiaBritish Filmmaker

“You can’t stop people watching on mobiles, but I hope the old fashioned idea of sitting in a dark room with a big screen with a group of strangers lives on forever.”

How do I power a portable projector?

Portable projectors are almost always powered via a cable connected to an electrical outlet in the wall. This is an aspect that is important to remember when taking your portable projector with you to various locations, as power may not be easily accessible. There are some more advanced models that incorporate a battery in their design that can be utilized when power is not available. This is a great feature, as it gives the projector greater mobility and even means you can use it at home if there is a power outage!

What devices can I connect to a portable projector?

Once again, the answer to this question varies from model to model. The best projectors on the market are usually very versatile and have the ability to connect to almost any device. Generally, most portable projectors can connect with computers, televisions, gaming consoles, DVD players, mobiles, tablets, USB sticks or SD cards. Think about which devices you will need to connect to your portable projector and choose accordingly.

What content can a portable projector reproduce?

A portable projector will be able to project content that exists on the devices that are able to be connected to the projector. As an example, if you are able to connect a computer or DVD player, then you will be able to play any DVD or video that exists on your computer. You don’t have to worry about the format as a projector simply displays the image that is on your computer or being read on the DVD player.

A problem may arise when playing video files from a USB stick or SD card. In this case, the file format must be compatible with your portable projector. Most projectors will not have any issues with common video files such as MP4, AVI or MOV. To be safe, we recommend checking the compatible file formats that the projector supports.

There are some projectors that allow you to change the size of the image without moving the device.
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What is the image quality of a portable projector?

The majority of portable projectors offer Full HD image quality. However, this is not the case with all models, particularly the cheaper brands. When it comes to assessing the usefulness of a portable projector, we highly recommend that you review the image quality that the projector is able to produce.

Also, keep in mind that a portable projector will generally not provide the same image quality as a traditional projector. As is to be expected, what you gain in mobility and size, you often lose in resolution and image quality. When compared with modern smart TVs, portable projectors are far inferior, however, that is not to say that they are not amazing products. Portable projectors definitely have a place in the market and can be very valuable products.

Portable projectors are usually powered via a cable that is connected to an electrical outlet.
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If you are debating whether to purchase a portable projector or a smart TV, the difference in price is the biggest factor to consider to produce an image of the same size. To purchase an 85-inch TV, you’ll need to spend in excess of $3,000. However, for the same size image, you can use a portable projector that costs less than $150. Of course, the image quality will be slightly different, but it depends on how much you are will to pay for image quality.

Buyer’s Guide

A portable projector is ideal for taking with you everywhere you go to enjoy a movie or TV series on the go. These devices are also perfect for watching a game, like the Superbowl, on a big screen with your friends. However, there are certain aspects that are essential to assess in order to find the right product. In the following section, we will cover the most important criteria that you should review in order to purchase the best portable projector.

Size and Weight

A good portable projector should be lightweight and easy to carry. When it comes to size, anything under 12 inches will be small enough and easy to take with you. If it is any bigger than 12 inches it will likely become a pain to transport and you won’t end up taking it with you often.

With respect to weight, most portable projector models weigh between 4 and 8 pounds. Ideally, they should be lighter, around 3 pounds. There are some ultralight models on the market that weigh a mere 1 pound.

Some projectors have USB ports while others have Bluetooth technology.
(Picture source: Sergii Sverdielov: 87018705/ 123rf.com)

Image Quality

The image quality of the projector will greatly influence the viewing experience. Many portable projectors on the market offer Full HD quality, meanwhile some are only HD. You should always remember that portable projectors cannot compete with modern monitors and televisions when it comes to image quality.

Hans ZimmerMusic Composer

“You have to realize I like doing big movies that appear on a big screen. So the visuals and the audio have to be of a certain quality before I start to get excited about the thing.”

Connectivity

This feature will determine the types of devices that you can connect to your portable projector. Many portable projectors have inputs for computers, gaming consoles, DVD players, mobiles, and tablets. The most common types of ports are HDMI, AV, VGA, and USB. Bluetooth is another interesting option for connecting to a portable projector, as it means your device doesn’t need to be physically joined to the projector. Think about how you will use your portable projector and choose the model that has the connectivity options that suit you.

Use

If you are going to spend a reasonable amount of money on a portable projector, it is important to keep in mind how you will use it in order to buy the right product. These devices are ideal for watching movies or series, playing video games or enjoying important sporting events. In the following table we explain which portable projector is suited to each situation:

If I want… I must buy…
The highest image quality A projector with Full HD
A good contrast A projector that has a contrast ratio of at least 2000:1
An easy to carry projector A small, lightweight projector
A projector that doesn’t rely on a power outlet A projector with a built-in battery

Sound

Practically all portable projectors have a built-in sound system. However, the quality of these systems is often not the best. More often than not it is better to connect the projector to external speakers when watching a video that has sound. A small, portable speaker is usually enough to significantly improve the sound quality of a portable projector.

Summary

Watching an engaging movie or series is a great way to pass time with family or friends. One of the best ways to watch a movie is at the cinema on the big screen. However, the cinema can become rather expensive if you go often enough. Thanks to services like Netflix, and devices such as portable projectors, it is very easy to turn your own lounge room into a cinema.

Thanks to these small devices you are not limited to just one room in your house. These devices are designed to be taken anywhere which is why they are lightweight and easy to transport. All you have to do is find the model that meets your needs in terms of image quality, sound, and price to be a happy little camper.

If you found this guide useful, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or share it on your social networks!

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Why you can trust me?

Jaiden Sattlemeyr Cameraman & Tech Nerd
After a lot of work and studying, Jaiden has achieved his dream of building his own home cinema. Through his profession as a cameraman, he knows his way around technology very well. Meanwhile he regularly gives advice to his friends and family and writes about his technical hobby.