Best Projectors Under 500 Comparison
The table contains the 7 top entries currently present on the market, however, in order for you to be able to choose the best projector under 500 that suits your needs perfectly, a more in-depth analysis is required. Here are on-point reviews for each of these products, along with their pros & cons.
1 place :
1 place :
This can easily be considered the best projector under 500 nowadays, mostly due to its throw range, between 3.9 and 43 feet. This DLP format projector is also extremely bright, reaching 3600 lumens, and has autonomy of up to 15,000 hours. It is compatible with a great deal of devices and operating systems, offering numerous connectivity types.
- 3,600 lumens
- 15,000 hrs. bulb life
- Wide throw range
- DLP format
- Multiple connectivity options
2 place :
2 place :
This is one of the latest releases on the market, utilizing LED technology and thus having a great brightness capacity of 3,500 lumens. Its lifespan however is what makes it one of the top projectors under 500, reaching up to 30,000 hours!
- 3,500 lumens
- 13,000 hrs. bulb life
- Large max screen
- Built-in speaker
- Multiple connectivity options
3 place :
3 place :
The VS250 model from Epson has been a long time presence in the top projectors list. The 3LCD display ensures high-quality, crystal clear images, while the 3,200 lumens brightness completes the perfect picture. It has the easiest setup and a wide variety of popular resolutions, such as the all-time classic 800x600.
- 3,200 lumens
- High contrast ratio
- Very easy setup
- Multiple resolutions
4 place :
4 place :
The MW526AE model offers a shorter throw range of 6.5 feet however this does fit perfectly smaller office settings. What makes it one of the best projectors under 500 is its very large screen size, which can go up to 300 inches. It also has one of the easiest setups out there.
5 place :
5 place :
Perfect for both home and office, this LCD projector is quite compact and can practically fit anywhere. This makes it ideal for both home and office settings. Its highest resolution is 1080P, while its autonomy up to 30,000 hrs.
6 place :
6 place :
This high-quality DLP projector has to be the perfect choice for sports fans. It is ideal for 3D and HD as well as fast speed moving media, particularly online video games. It is the best projector under 500 that suits office and home needs equally. Its maximum brightness is of only 2,000 lumens, but this does make it perfect for smaller darker spaces.
What to Consider in the Best Projector Under 500
This current presentation does not only take you straight to your target but also aims to teach you the basic characteristics you should look out for in a great projector and what does each one stand for. Thus, when looking for the best projector under 500, you should already have an in-depth understanding of the following terminology and criteria.
The Number of Lumens of Each Projector
This is a very important indicator of performance but not in a conventional way contrary to the expectations of many potential buyers. The mode of operation for these devices is simple: a high power lamp emits a luminous beam within which the digital image is projected. When this beam encounters an obstacle surface, shapes, colors, and contrasts become visible. Brightness refers to the density and intensity of the projected light beam, indicating in the first instance how strong the colors and contrast can be seen. When looking for the best projector under 500, you should know that manufacturers offer as an indicator of this parameter some measurement units called ANSI lumens.
These were established by the American National Standards Institute and strictly quantify the light emitted by a data projector. It is important not to leave unnecessarily impressed with high values because it matters more to adapt them according to the nature of the space in which you will perform the projections. In a dark room, ready to accommodate a Home Cinema system, a 2000-2500 ANSI luminescent video projector is powerful enough to project clear images up to a distance of about 6m, more than enough, even and for an extended-room apartment.
Taking into account the possibility of completely darkening the room space, for a smaller room, a model with 1500 ANSI lumens is enough. If out of the projectors under 500 you choose one over 3500 ANSI lumens and place it in a confined space, you may have problems with color perception, your eyes being tired very easily in these circumstances. The equation changes when you want to project outdoors at night or in an amphitheater where space is lit all the time. You need values over 4500 ANSI lumens so that the device meets the requirements.
The larger the projection dimensions, the more the light will disperse on the surface, the image becoming more sterile and more difficult to perceive, especially if it is not total darkness. However, keep in mind that in buying a device with such values you will need to invest some more funds.
It is basically the difference between the lightest and the darkest projected color, both considered in the section. There are two contrast options: static and native-dynamic. Both are expressed in a report, indicating that figures may be higher in the case of diminishing contrast. The not good part about this option is that it can affect the final quality of the image, being sometimes considered too violent visually. That’s why many technicians recommend static contrast. The best projectors under 500 have a standard contrast ratio between 2000:1 and 15000:1. If you are designing in a very well-insulated room, consider lower values. You have to consider not only the darkness but also the colors of the objects or walls because all shades are perceived by the human eye as a reflection of the bright radiation.
The Image Aspect Ratio
As for the aspect ratio, it is defined as the ratio between the two sides of the image. In other words, when the aspect ratio of the data source differs from that of the projector, the image will be played with two black bars, where the ratio does not synchronize, leaving unused projection space and the image appears dimmer. You surely met this issue on older TVs or monitors, observing the two black spaces on the side (or up/down).
This indicator is rendered by a report, and the most popular values at this time are 4: 3, 16: 9, and 21: 9. Most manufacturers specify this parameter in the product descriptions provided, especially those behind the models present in best projectors under 500 list.
Throw ratio refers to the ratio of the distance from the projector lens to the projection surface and its dimensions, especially the width. More simply, it is a figure that suggests how far and in what position the device can be placed in a room. If your project directly onto a wall, you can personally adjust the distance, but if you have a limited size screen, it is vital to keep this parameter in mind. Do not forget that as you increase the distance between the two elements, the projected image increases but it becomes even more unclear. The advantageous part is that many products have this value in the description, making it considerably easier to make the calculations you need to make.
The Trapeze Correction
This is a very important setting, out of clear ergonomic reasons. The projected image has the correct dimensions and proportions only as long as the position of the projector exactly perforates the center of the projection surface. In any other situation, the angle changes and the image obtained by oblique design will have uneven sides and wrong proportions. Here comes the possibility to adjust and correct any errors, regardless of the position of the device in the room. The best projectors under 500 allow vertical (height-dependent) correction but not horizontal. The procedure is done manually, largely with products with automatic correction function. We must mention that the picture quality suffers from a very large correction.
Lens Shift Function
The lens shift function is an adjacent option with a similar visual correction role. In this case, the adjustment is made directly from the lens, which means no impact on image quality. The function is preferred by many users and the movement is the same: horizontal or vertical, automatic or manual. Of course, for such a feature, it is necessary to spend some more money.
This reflects the quality of the projected image. Most video projectors on the market are made with native resolution but scheduled to support multiple types of resolution in the data source. This should be one of the main criteria when picking the best projector under 500. So the indicator reflects the number of pixels that can be displayed vertically and horizontally. The higher the resolution values, the clearer and better the image will be.
There are several categories: XGA (1024px768p), WXGA (1280px720p), Full HD (1920px1080p), HD Ready (1024p × 720p), etc. With movie or game projection on the console, you can enjoy HD Ready resolution. For projections from widescreen data sources, an XGA resolution is required.
Video Projector Lamp
The lamp has to be defined as the most important “consumable” part of the device. It is essential to know that the life of such an item is limited to a certain number of hours. After exhausting it, you will invest a fairly large amount of money in replacing this component. Conventional models on the market are mercury vapor lamps, sometimes called UHP.
Their lifespan is on the average rate between 2000 and 4000 hours of use. However, some opinions about the best projectors under 500 say that if the device is equipped with an eco-function, then the life of the lamp will double. Once this period is exhausted, the brightness decreases drastically, to less than half that of the initial one, following the imminent failure.
This is a very important aspect that depends not only on the size and weight of the product chosen but also on the signal transmission mode. From this point of view, the most appreciated will be a wireless video projector. It features a factory-made LAN connection that, once enabled, allows data to be played from other related sources without the need for a transmission cable. However, it’s good to pay some attention to the acquisition costs and other technical features when you decide to buy something in this category. For a conventional portable video projector, you only need a small weight, adequate size, and a versatile interface that includes HDMI, USB, VGA or even Audio In., and this is the case for each entry in the list of the best projectors under 500.
Tips and Conclusions
Out of all the products reviewed so far, the most unilateral and advantageous one has to be the ViewSonic PA503S model. After you figure out what extra features you are looking for in the best projector under 500, this model will come in the closest to fitting them all. With all these tips, you can now look for an inexpensive and good video projector that perfectly matches your personal needs with the confidence that you have chosen a quality device. Most of the deals can be found on the internet, so we recommend that you order this product online. Prices may be more advantageous than in stores, quality and warranty remain the same, and if you are not convinced of the quality of the model, you can return it or replace it.
Whatever specs or functions you are looking for when buying the best projector under 500, it is extremely important for every single one of them to match your needs perfectly. Think thoroughly and make a smart purchase!