When it comes to hosting a memorable movie night under the stars, choosing the best projector for outdoor movies can make all the difference. But with so many projector models on the market, it can be very difficult knowing where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect projector for your outdoor setup based on various factors.
We’ll cover all the features you need to consider, from brightness to resolution, and highlight the key factors that make a projector better suited for outdoor use. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision and enjoy cinema-quality entertainment in the great outdoors… or at least in your own cozy backyard.
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What are the outdoor considerations?
Hello darkness… my old friend
One of the main considerations when choosing any projector is its brightness capability. While it may not be as critical as it is for daytime use, brightness still plays a crucial role in ensuring a clear and vivid picture during your outdoor movie nights. The level of brightness needed will depend on various factors, such as the ambient light in your outdoor space and the time of day you plan to use the projector. If you’re planning on watching movies when it’s mostly dark though, you won’t need a ridiculously bright projector with a 4,000+ lumen rating.
Backyard or Porch?
When setting up a projector on your porch, the distance between the projector and the projected area will be a crucial factor to consider. Unlike a backyard, where you have more freedom to move the projector around, porches typically have limited space. Therefore, porch viewing requires you to start making measurements. You’ll need to check the distance between where you want to place your projector and where the projector screen will be. You might need to consider a “short throw” projector over a normal throw model. If you aren’t familiar with short throws, they basically just project a bigger image at a closer distance.
Choosing between an inflatable projection screen or a stand-alone variety is an important consideration. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re planning on placing your projector on your backyard porch, a stand-alone screen may be the better choice as it can easily be set up and taken down. However, if you want the flexibility to move your setup to different locations, an inflatable screen may be more suitable. It’s also important to note that windy conditions can be a challenge for inflatable screens, so you may need to secure it with additional weights. Another option is to create your own screen MacGyver-style using a white sheet and other materials if you’re feeling creative. Ultimately, choosing the right type of screen for your outdoor movie nights will depend on your personal preferences and the specific environment in which you plan to use it.
Do you care about running a long power cable from your house to the backyard? If that isn’t a concern you can likely ignore this section. However, with a built-in battery, you’ll have the freedom to place your projector anywhere without being tethered to a power source. Depending on your settings, battery life can typically last up to 90 minutes or more, and some models even allow you to plug in a high-powered battery pack to extend your movie-watching time even further. And let’s not forget the convenience of being able to start playing movies right away without having to wait for power cables to be set up. If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to enjoy outdoor movies, a battery-powered projector is definitely worth considering.
What are the weather factors to consider?
Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can be harmful to the projector’s internal components and can cause it to malfunction. You should be aware that altitude can also affect the operating guidelines for projectors. As a general base, the recommended temperature range can be between 41°F to 95°F for altitudes of 0 to 4,918 feet. However, altitudes of 4,921 feet to 9,843 feet, the recommended temperature range becomes more narrow and the projector should only be used when the temperature is between 41°F to 77°F.
It’s important to note that as altitude increases, air pressure decreases and this can affect the performance of the projector. Manufacturers often state not to use the projector at altitudes above 9,843 feet. So, if you plan to use a projector in a high altitude area, make sure to check the recommended operating guidelines and temperature range provided by the manufacturer to ensure that the projector works optimally.
Additionally, rain can damage the projector and potentially cause a safety hazard if the electrical components are exposed to moisture. It’s worth noting that many projector brands recommend not using their projectors in high humidity environments where the humidity level is above either 80% or 90% (non-condensing). To avoid any potential issues, it’s best to set up the projector on a dry day and make sure that it is not exposed to moisture. The information for the operating guidelines of each individual projector can usually be found within the model’s manual.
The BenQ GS50 is an excellent portable projector that is perfect for outdoor use. With an impressive 500 ANSI brightness, it delivers clear and vibrant picture quality. Having the brightness paired with a Full HD native resolution of 1920×1080, makes this model a great choice for movies, sports, and gaming. With a firmware update, the input lag drops down to only 22.7ms when running at 1080p and 60Hz, ensuring a smooth gaming experience if that’s important to you.
In terms of connectivity, the GS50 has multiple options including HDMI and USB inputs, allowing for easy and seamless connection to your devices. The projector also has an IPX2 rating, which means it can withstand light splashes of water and short drops, making it a reliable choice for outdoor use. Moreover, the projector has two built-in 5-watt speakers with a 10-watt subwoofer that deliver exceptional audio quality, making it a great option for small outdoor gatherings. The built-in battery feature allows for up to 2.5 hours of movie-watching time without needing to be plugged in, providing you with more flexibility.
Overall, the entire projector is user-friendly and straightforward to set up, making it an ideal choice for those who want a hassle-free outdoor movie experience. With its impressive features and capabilities, the BenQ GS50 is a great investment for anyone looking to take their outdoor entertainment to the next level. This is honestly one of our top picks if you’re mainly looking for something simple and easy to use, yet rugged and durable, while still offering great performance.
The XGIMI Halo+ boasts a few exceptional features, making it stand out among other similar projectors in the market. For example, there’s no need to worry about manual adjustments as it comes with an auto-focus and auto keystone function. These features ensure that the image is always clear and perfectly aligned, regardless of where you set up the projector. This model can display an incredible 900 ANSI brightness and a native resolution of 1080p. This means that you can expect sharp and saturated colors, as well as stunning detail, in every scene.
There’s a 59.454Wh built-in battery that can last up to 2.5 hours. This makes it perfect for outdoor movie nights or streaming sessions. The dual onboard 5-watt speakers deliver an immersive audio experience, and the projector is capable of handling Dolby Audio, DTS-HD/Studio, and Bluetooth 5.0.
Android TV 10.0 is installed, which means you can enjoy your favorite streaming services without the need for additional devices. It also has HDMI, USB, and audio out ports. If you’re interested in gaming, the projector comes with a dedicated game mode that reduces input lag down to 26.5ms.
Overall, the XGIMI Halo+ is an exceptional portable projector that delivers great performance and versatility. Whether you’re a movie buff, gamer, or simply looking for a high-quality projector, this model is definitely worth considering due to the specifications and features. If you want something brighter than the BenQ GS50, this could be an alternative as the best outdoor projector for you.
Anker Nebula Mars 2 Pro
The Anker Nebula Mars II Pro is a versatile portable projector that can deliver 500 ANSI lumens with a lamp life of up to 30,000 hours. With its native resolution of 1280×720, you can enjoy clear and crisp images, although it does fall a bit short of a native 1080p model. However, with its autofocus feature, the projector can quickly sharpen and adjust the image for an enjoyable viewing experience.
This battery-powered projector can last up to 3 hours away from a power source, providing you with plenty of time to enjoy your favorite content without worrying about cables and cords. Just be aware that the brightness drops to 200 ANSI lumens when on battery so you may want to consider a power cord if it’s not dark enough outside. The dual 10-watt speakers deliver excellent sound quality, making it great for outdoor situations. Additionally, the projector fan noise is less than 32dB, ensuring that you won’t be distracted by any loud noises.
Powered by Android OS and equipped with WiFi, the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro offers several different streaming services and other apps to enjoy. With its sleek handle, it’s easy to carry this projector with you wherever you go, making it an excellent choice if you plan on moving the projector around. The Anker Nebula Mars II Pro delivers high-quality images and sound, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to upgrade their viewing experience.
Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser
The Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser comes in two varieties, 1080p and 4K, providing flexibility to choose according to your viewing needs. Unlike other projectors that use LED or traditional light bulbs, this model uses lasers to produce 1,840 ANSI lumens for a bright image that works well in various lighting conditions. While it may not be suitable for pure daytime viewing, it delivers excellent picture quality that is wonderful for nighttime screenings.
The projector requires a power cable as it is not battery-powered. However, the auto image features allow for easy setup, automatically adjusting the alignment and focus to deliver a perfect picture every time within seconds.
The built-in dual 10-watt full-range speakers (20-watts total) provide loud audio that is perfect for wider spaces, while the option to connect external speakers can enhance your cinema experience even further. You can easily do this either via the 3.5mm audio out port or pair Bluetooth speakers to the projector.
The Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser comes equipped with Android OS 10.0, providing access to various apps. While the projector’s weight may be a concern, weighing almost 10 1/2 pounds, its image quality and ease of use may make it an excellent choice if you’re simply looking for the best projector for outdoor movies. The advanced laser technology and auto image setup make the Cosmos a powerful and flexible option, allowing you to immerse yourself in your favorite movies and TV shows.
The BenQ TH671ST short throw model allows you to display a massive 120″ image at only 6.6 feet away, making it perfect for anyone who wants a big screen experience with limited space. Plus, its native 1080p resolution and 3000 lumens brightness ensure that your content will look sharp and bright even when the ambient light is a bit higher.
Gamers will be pleased to know that the BenQ TH671ST also features low input lag, providing fast response times and reducing the delay between input and output. Additionally, the LampSaveMode helps to extend the lamp life of the projector up to 15,000 hours, which is quite impressive. This is a traditional replaceable bulb projector, so having a long lamp life is super beneficial here.
Other notable features include a vertical keystone correction to fix any image distortion, 3D compatibility for immersive viewing experiences, and a variety of inputs to connect all of your devices. With its combination of excellent image quality, low input lag, and compact size, the BenQ TH671ST might just be the best projector for outdoors if you’re looking for a high-quality projector to be used in a limited space.
The ViewSonic PX701-4K is an impressive 4K UHD projector that boasts a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, delivering stunningly clear images. With 3,200 lumens of brightness and a high contrast ratio of up to 12,000:1, this projector is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use in various lighting conditions. It features a long-lasting lamp that can provide up to 15,000 hours of use in Eco Mode, making it an excellent investment for movie enthusiasts and professionals alike.
One of the most notable features of the ViewSonic PX701-4K is its advanced color technology that produces an extensive color gamut and accurate color reproduction. The projector utilizes HDR content support, ensuring that colors are more vibrant and the images are more realistic. The projector includes modern connectivity options including 2x HDMI, USB, and audio out, allowing users to easily connect their newest devices and enjoy their favorite content.
The ViewSonic PX701-4K is also designed with flexibility in mind. It has a zoom lens and keystone correction, which allows users to adjust the image size and shape to suit their preferences. The projector has a super low input lag of only 4.2ms at its fastest, making it a great choice for gamers who demand quick response times.
This model has a compact and portable design, making it easy to transport and set up wherever you go. Overall, the ViewSonic PX701-4K is an excellent projector for those who want a 4K model that could work well indoors and outdoors. As a traditional 4K projector it’s one of the top choices in terms of overall value in my opinion.
The ViewSonic PX701HDH is an affordable and powerful projector that can display sharp and vibrant images with its Full HD 1080p resolution and 3,500 ANSI lumens brightness rating. This projector is suitable for various environments, from dimly lit rooms to outdoor settings, and can project a 120″ image from about 12 feet away, making it perfect for outdoor movie nights in your backyard. Additionally, the projector features a SuperEco mode that extends the lamp life up to 20,000 hours. This means you can enjoy countless movie nights without worrying about replacing the bulb anytime soon.
This model also offers a range of convenient features, including a few connectivity options such as dual HDMI ports and USB. These give the projector high compatibility with a variety of media players, gaming consoles, and mobile devices. Its built-in 10-watt speaker delivers clear and powerful audio, though users can connect external speakers or soundbars for an even more immersive audio experience. The projector also has a sleek design making it easy to transport and set up. Plus if you hate fan noise you’ll be happy to know in normal operation it’s only 31dB, and in Eco mode it drops all the way down to 27dB, which is very quiet compared to some other models.
Overall, the ViewSonic PX701HDH is a versatile and reliable option for those looking for a native 1080p HD projector that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Its impressive long lamp life and high brightness make it a great choice for outdoor viewing, and its high-quality image and multiple connectivity options make it perfect for enjoying all kinds of content. It’s even capable of displaying 3D movies if you’re into watching those. This might be the best projector for outdoors based on the affordability and usability factors.
What Is The Best Projector For Outdoor Movies Then?
If you’re looking for something rugged and more durable, I’d recommend the BenQ GS50 as your projector. It’s battery-powered for maximum portability and you can extend playtime even further with a PD-enabled power bank. It also provides a native 1080p picture and has some decent speakers thanks to the dual 5-watt midrange tweeters and 10-watt subwoofer combo. The only downside is that the brightness is only 500 ANSI lumens. That means you’ll need to be using this projector when it’s dark outside. But if you plan on doing that anyway, this may be a great choice for you. If you don’t need a projector that durable, consider the XGIMI Halo+ as an alternative.
For anyone with limited space, such as on a porch, the BenQ TH671ST is a “short throw” projector and could be a good option for you. This model is capable of displaying a 120” screen at a distance of only around 6.6 feet. A standard projector in comparison may require around 10 feet or so for a comparable screen size. The TH671ST also pumps out a very bright 3,000 ANSI lumens which would allow you to use the projector under more lighting circumstances.
If your space isn’t limited and you’re fine with a native 1080p model I’d suggest the ViewSonic PX701HDH as it provides high brightness, long lamp life capabilities, and offers versatile connectivity. Plus it’s typically quite affordable so that’s always a plus. If you really want a 4K picture you could choose either the Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K (More portable) or the ViewSonic PX701-4K (Brighter).
One of the biggest advantages of owning an outdoor projector is the ability to enjoy a cinematic experience in the comfort of your own backyard. Imagine spending warm summer nights with friends and family under the stars, watching your favorite movies come to life on a large outdoor screen.
Hopefully you can now more easily select the perfect model to suit your individual preferences and budget. Why not treat yourself and your loved ones to the ultimate movie night under the stars? When finally finding the best projector for outdoor movies, your backyard will become your very own open-air theater, and the possibilities for fun and entertainment are endless.