Finding the right projector for your home or media center can be challenging. How can you tell which are the best, and which are worth your hard-earned cash? Many projectors also appear to be quite expensive; are these good choices that don’t empty your wallet?
Let us help with those questions and more. We’ll go into detailed reviews of 7 top projectors that are perfect for media-viewing needs, and all of which are beneath $100. Then we’ll explain the features included in these products, noting which ones you should focus on depending on your targeted uses.
These projectors will be fantastic additions to any entertainment suite, and they won’t break your bank in the process. Let’s dive right into it, starting with the reviews.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector is powered by LED lighting that shines up to 40% brighter than some comparative models. It’s designed to project at 1920x1080p resolution; this ensures pictures quality is higher no matter what you’re putting on the board or screen. The contrast ratio for this projector is 2000:1; this is the preferred ratio for home entertainment, so watching movies has never been better. This is not a good resolution for office presentations or power points, however.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector allows for big screen simulation while watching films; its watching size can be adjusted between 32” and 176”. The best distance to view films with this projector is at about 6.5 ft. To assist with the heat that may buildup while the projector is in use, a cooling system using fans is implemented; the fans are quiet so as to preserve the watching experience.
The Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector can also be connected to smartphone-size devices or multimedia machines such as an Xbox or PlayStation 4. A bag is included with your purchase of this projector, which is a perfect extra for transporting this projector to and from friends houses or two and from your mobile home.
Overall, this is a phenomenal projector that’s great for watching Netflix shows or movies from the comfort of your cough. Its quiet fan system help make it specialized for a movie-theater style experience. However, there are other projectors on our list which have larger screens and are around a similar price.
- Great for watching movies or shows
- Cooling system with quiet fans
- Great resolution and ratio for entertainment
- Not good for office presentations or work
This lightweight projector carries enough power and specs to be an excellent product while being small enough for transportation to any viewing location. With a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and a resolution of 1920x1080p, the Dr. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector is perfect for displaying exceptional detail and clarity; these are great features for projectors on which you plan to watch movies or play games. It also offers the highest-clarity 840×480 native resolutions among projectors under $100.
To that end, the Dr. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector is equipped with ports that can work with a variety of extra devices and machines, such as game consoles or entertainment tablets. The lamp has a lifetime of around 40,000 hours, ensuring that you won’t need to replace it anytime in the near future. This projector also includes a 3-year warranty should any problems arise.
This projector is another great, small product that’s ideal for entertainment and recreational purposes. It’s not optimized for work or office presentations, as its LED light and resolution are meant for big, detailed depictions of action on a big screen. However, compared to the previous projector, the Dr. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector’s recommended distance for viewing is less than 5 feet, which is shorter than the Vankyo optimal distance. It also does not have as quiet fans as the previous projector we looked at. Whether or not the extra ports included with this model make the difference is up to you.
- 170” display
- Compatible with HDMI, USB, SD
- HD resolution
- 3-year warranty
- No extra-quiet fans
- Shorter optimal viewing distance than the Vankyo
Another excellent mini projector for our list is the QKK Mini Projector. It comes with a handy tripod for setting up the device anywhere that works best for your living room or movie room space. It’s also another great projector for watching shows or movies or playing games. It supports 170” displays at HD resolution, 1920x1080p. Its contrast ratio is 2000:1. Among projectors, it has a very high LED bulb life, clocking in at 50,000 hours. That’s 10,000 more hours than many competitor projectors under $100 offer.
One great features of the QKK Mini Projector is the assortment of extra ports it comes with, allowing it to connect to many multimedia devices or gaming consoles for a wide selection of entertainment options. In addition, it comes with 2 USB ports whereas most projectors come with only 1 USB port.
Altogether, the QKK Mini Projector is a great choice for those who want a long-lasting projector that they won’t need to replace or modify very often. The extra USB port makes plugging in flash drives or gaming controllers is a great feature, making this possibly the best projector on our list for gaming needs or long-term game-console use.
- Very long lamp life at 50,000 hours
- HD resolution
- 2 USB ports
- Included tripods
- No super quiet fans
The CiBest Video Projector has a number of great features which set it apart from other projectors under $100. For starters, it comes with a built-in speaker which allows you to enjoy your entertainment avenues without having to have extra speakers already set up beforehand. In addition, noise-canceling fans ensure that you won’t be annoying by the cooling functions inherent in the projector.
Its LED lights are very bright, measured at 2500 LUX. This means it is around 80% brighter than the standard LED lights included with many competitor projectors.
The CiBest Video Projector also enjoys an exceptionally-far viewing distance range, from 5 feet to 16.4 feet. To top it off, it offers great HD resolution at 1920x1080p and screen size ranges from 33” to 170”. There are a variety of extra ports which are perfect for attaching gaming consoles or other entertainment, multimedia devices which can then be projected with this product.
The CiBest Video Projector is one of the best on our list when it comes to replicating the movie theater experience. The built-in speaker is very serviceable, although if you have other speakers, we’d recommend using those dedicated devices instead. Still, having the speaker is a nice touch if you plan to take the projector anywhere and don’t want to carry around speakers, too. However, although it’s great for viewing media from far away, its rated for slightly-smaller screens than many similar projectors.
- 2500 LUX lights, very bright
- Built-in speaker
- Long projection distance
- Noise-canceling fans which cool the projector
- Smaller optimal display size
The DracoLight LED Video Projector is another fantastic product that offers the highest lumens rating we’ve reviewed so far: 3300. This means that watching movies or shows will be a more vivid experience than ever before. Colors and details will really pop out of the screen, complemented by HD resolution at 1920x1080p. The LED lights are also uniformly-illuminated, ensuring that the light and color is even all across the screen. The lights are designed to burn brightly for around 50,000 hours in total.
It also comes with HiFi speakers, one on each side, and they project quite well in a normal-sized living room or entertainment center. The DracoLight LED Video Projector, unfortunately, cannot connect to Bluetooth speakers. This projector also has a series of ports to connect this projector to all sorts of multimedia devices. In addition, it has a rare VGA port in the back in case anyone might need it.
The DracoLight LED Video Projector is a fantastic product for movies, especially those with dark color pallets. The fact that it is so bright makes it perfect for watching films in a dark room with all the other lights turned out, and its speakers are more than serviceable for standard movies or for taking out to a mobile home without having to take extra speakers around with you.
- Super bright LED lights, 3300 lumens
- Long light life, 50,000 hours
- Compatible with many ports and cables
- Built-in speakers
- Somewhat pricey
- Only 1-year warranty compared to many projectors’ 3-year warranties
Here we have a projector which emphasizes large screen size and amazing audio quality. The VIVIMAGE C3 Portable Projector comes with a speaker system built-in that includes bass simulation; this is great for replicating the deep sound frequencies commonly-heard in action films. This bass is emitted from a compact alcove near the bottom of the projector’s casing. The projector is rated for screens that are between 40” and 140”. The projected image quality is shown in 1920x1080p resolution with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, keeping colors and details crisp and high-quality.
The viewing distance should be between 4 and 14 feet. The lights of the VIVIMAGE C3 Portable Projector are rated to last for up to 40,000 hours. The projector also adopts LCD, or liquid crystal display, technology to make sure that all of its light is distributed evenly across the wide screen distance. It comes with all the usual ports for attaching various multimedia devices, such as gaming consoles. In addition, it has a TV stick that comes with your purchase. This stick is much like a normal TV remote.
Altogether, the VIVIMAGE C3 Portable Projector is a great projector that’s perfect for viewing media on big screens and enjoying audio. However, it doesn’t have noise-canceling fans so that dilutes the value of the speakers to some degree. The bass simulation is a nice addition, regardless. It’s up to you to decide if the tradeoff is worth it.
- TV stick included
- AV and VGA ports included
- Large watching screen size
- Good projection distance
- Bass speakers
- Somewhat average Lumens rating
When it comes to absolute quality, you can’t beat the APEMAN Video Mini Portable Projector. This offers fantastic image quality at HD resolution, 1920x1080p, and an aspect ratio of 16:9/4:3. The LCD lights, on this projector, clock in with the highest lumens rating on all of the projector’s we’re reviewing: 3500 lumens. This means that any show or movie will be exceptionally bright and vivid. It’s an excellent feature for any projector, but especially one which will be showcasing films or games.
The bulbs of the APEMAN Video Mini Portable Projector are rated for 45,000 hours of life, which isn’t the highest lifespan on our list but also isn’t the lowest. It’s also got speakers built into the chassis; these are complemented by fans which both cool the device, but which also operate quietly to not disturb the viewing experience. The cooling system is very effective and prevents major heating even after many hours of use.
Aside from those great points, the APEMAN Video Mini Portable Projector also has a number of ports for attaching other multimedia devices and supports screen sizes from between 34” and 180”.
This is the most expensive projector we’ve reviewed, but it makes up for its price in terms of sheer quality and feature numbers. If you’re in the market for the best projector you can get your hands on, look no further than the APEMAN Video Mini Portable Projector.
- Rated highest lumens on our list, 3500
- Very large screen sizes supported
- Built-in speakers and fans
- Good bulb lifespan
- Cooling fans that work with speakers
- Somewhat expensive
Before you make a final decision, let’s run through the major buying points that you should be aware of as you read and choose. Knowing what all the specs really mean can help you choose the right projector for your needs, rather than relying on price to gauge overall quality.
Lumens: This is a measurement of how bright the LED or LCD lights are when they beam from the projector’s emitted to the screen of your choice. Higher lumens, or LUX, are always better since it means that color and detail will be better. This is especially important for watching movies or playing games which have dark environments.
LED/LCD Lifespan: This number, usually above 40,000, measures how many hours of use you can expect before the bulbs of your projectors must be replaced. Longer is, of course, always better, and the higher end of bulb lifespan is usually around 50,000 hours of use.
Possible Screen Sizes: Larger screen dimensions indicate that bigger screens can be used with your projector. Smaller screens are usually easier to appropriately light and picture is almost always clearer the smaller the screen is. However, larger screens are arguably more cinematic and are associated with a movie theater experience. Try to have a screen size you’d like in mind as you shop for a projector.
Speakers: Some projectors are built with speakers; depending on the quality of those speakers, this can be either a perk or an extra feature you’ll never really use. You want to look for good speakers or projectors which have quiet cooling systems or just use separate speaker systems for your entertainment suite.
Fans: Most projectors have fans for cooling the device as it’s being used. Some fans are quieter than others; think about how much of a distraction a loud cooling system could be while you’re watching movies or shows. If it’s a big deal for your personal enjoyment, you should focus on projectors which have quiet-running fans.
Resolution: The vast majority of projectors display in HD resolution: 1920x1080p. You should avoid any projectors which have worse resolution than this. All of the projectors on our list can display in HD resolution.
Extras: These are features like tripods, carrying bags, or extra ports. Most projectors come with a standard collection of ports which allow the integration of gaming systems or smartphones, but others might have more niche ports or cables. Use these kinds of product points to pick between two projectors that you’re considering.
Essentially, you want to keep track of these factors while you’re shopping for projectors and focus on the ones which matter the most to you. For instance, if you’re looking for a projector to exclusively play movies, you’ll want a device that has speakers built-in and which has very high luminosity. But if you’re going to mostly play games with a headset, speakers aren’t really an important feature for you, right?
In the end, just make sure that you’re buying the projector that’s right for you.
Projectors are really fun additions to multimedia or entertainment centers. Thankfully, there are many options under $100 so you can enjoy movies or games on a big screen without breaking your budget. Hopefully, our list has helped you find the best projector for your home.