Best Projector Under 500: HD & 4K Home Theater Comparison

Nowadays a TV doesn’t give you the viewing experience that you can get on a projector while watching a movie or playing your favorite game. The market offers you a plethora of choices for getting the finest viewing experience. Surprisingly, you won’t have to liquidate your bank account to find the finest one in the market, as you can easily get a potent model under 500 dollar range. So to help you out, I have made a highly curated list of best projector under 500 dollars that includes some potential models to quench your entertainment need.

So, let’s look at them;

Our Top Pick & Budget Pick

JITTERY ABOUT NOT FINDING THE RIGHT ONE? GET OUR TOP PICK

Optoma ML750 WXGA:

Optoma ML750 WXGA

Well, choosing Optoma ML750 as our top pick for best projector under 500 list was a tough decision for the team, but there were no better alternatives. It is an incredible piece of device that is designed to offer the best viewing experience possible without hampering your budget.

SHORT ON BUDGET? TAKE A PEEK AT OUR BUDGET PICK

ViewSonic PA503X Projector:

ViewSonic PA503X Projector

The ViewSonic PA503X grabs the budget pick position in our list and it one of the most exceptional values for money picks you will get in the market. Factors like high lumens, tremendous color depth, huge warranty coverage, low response time, 3D capability, etc have helped it deserve this position.
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Along with the top and budget pick, we also like to provide you with a detailed review of all the top projector under 500 which is handpicked by our experts. Apart from the analysis, we also came forward with a buying guide and reasons for buying projectors under 500. Now, let’s dive in,

Best Projector Under 500 – Comparison

PictureProduct NameBrightnessLamp LifePrice
 Optoma ML750 WXGA Optoma ML750 WXGA700 lumens20,000 hoursCheck Latest Price
ViewSonic PA503X ProjectorViewSonic PA503X Projector3600 lumens15,000 hoursCheck Latest Price
Epson EX3260 ProjectorEpson EX3260 Projector3300 lumens10,000 hoursCheck Latest Price
Epson VS355 projectorEpson VS355 projector3300 lumens10,000 hoursCheck Latest Price
BenQ MH530FHD ProjectorBenQ MH530FHD Projector3300 lumens10,000 hoursCheck Latest Price

Best Projector Under 500 Dollars For 2021

1. Optoma ML750 WXGA: Easy to Carry

Optoma ML750 WXGA Easy to Carry

Main Features:

  • 1280 X 800 native resolution.
  • 700 ANSI lumens.
  • 17ms response time.
  • Lamp lifespan of 20000hours.
  • 10Hz 3D compatibility.

Features Overview:

Optoma ML750 is a popular portable 3D projector that comes with a premium set of features to cradle all your entertainment requirement wherever you go.

Lumens:

700 ANSI lumens serves as the brightness of Optoma ML750, and it maintains a steady brightness even in a semi-lit room.

Resolution:

This DLP based projector comes with a 1280 X 800 native resolution which ensures you are always treated with HD visual quality.

3D:

Whether do you have love 3D movies or gaming, it will quench all your thirst for 3D visuals as it gets 3D ready HDMI inputs.

Contrast Ratio:

Razor-sharp clarity along with incredible color reproduction is a trademark of this model, and it is facilitated by 10000:1 contrast ratio and 16.7m displayable color.

Response Time:

With its 17ms low latency and fast response, it easily pairs with any gaming device to provides an ultra-smooth gaming visuals, especially in fast-paced scenes.

Image Size:

Despite its small structure, you can easily expand the image size from 17inch to 100inch with 1.5:1 throw ratio depending upon the crowd for movie or gaming session.

Portability:

It is a super compact palm-sized projector that weighs 0.8lbs so you can comfortably carry it anywhere you want with its carrying case.

Things we liked

  • Sharp and vivid image quality.
  • Ultra-smooth visuals.
  • Features all the essential ports.
  • Huge lamp life.
  • Extremely easy to carry.

Things we didn’t like

  • Below average sound quality.

Verdict:

If you are looking for a potent portable projector with gaming capability, then Optoma ML750 is the best bait you have got.

2. ViewSonic PA503X Projector: Superb HDMI Projector

ViewSonic PA503X Projector Superb HDMI Projector

Main Features:

  • 1024 X 768 native resolution with 1080p support.
  • 16ms input latency.
  • 3600 ANSI lumens.
  • 15000hour of lamp life.
  • 3D Blu-Ray HDMI input.
  • Three years warranty with one-year lamp coverage.

Features Overview:

With numerous positive reviews from users, ViewSonic PA503X is a high-performance budget projector that has made its way into many homes in the USA.

Lumens:

To deliver an optimum amount of brightness in the visuals in any light condition, it is geared with a whopping 3600 ANSI lumens.

Resolution:

It will make you seat for hours while you are watching a movie or any other video and all the credit goes to 1024 X 768 native resolution along with DLP technology. Moreover, it also gets 16ms input latency which fast frame rate with zero motion blur.

Contrast Ratio:

However it’s 22000:1 contrast, as well as SuperColor Technology, makes the main difference in the image quality as they deliver an immense amount of clarity and color accuracy.

Image Size:

You will never feel a shortage of image size while hosting a movie session as this device offer 30-300inch image size range with 1.96:1 throw ratio.

Lamp Life:

Despite being an averagely priced device, it doesn’t shy away from offering lamp longevity of 15000hour resonating to 5years of usage.

Ports:

You will have a decent set of connectivity facilities at your disposal as it houses HDMI (1.4a), RS232, VGA, Composite video, USB Type B and audio 3.5mm.

Things we liked

  • Stunning color and brightness performance.
  • Zero ghosting and screen stuttering issue.
  • Compatible with many devices.
  • Huge warranty coverage.

Things we didn’t like

  • It is quite heavy.

Verdict:

Want a projector that will perform well for both entertainment and gaming? You should watch out for ViewSonic PA503X.

3. Epson EX3260 Projector: Great Picture Quality

Epson EX3260 Projector Great Picture Quality

Main Features:

  • 3LCD projection technology.
  • 800 X 600 native resolution.
  • 3300 lumens.
  • Projection size range: 30-350inches.
  • USB plug ‘n play.
  • Auto keystone correction.

Features Overview:

Epson EX3260 is a meticulously designed budget projector that is designed to offer a fluidic visual output for both entertainment and presentation purpose.

Lumens:

Whether you have a completely dark or half dark room, you won’t face any faded view as its 3300 ANSI lumens immense amount vividness.

Resolution:

By utilizing the 800 X 600 native resolution along with a 3LCD projection system, it brings out an exquisite image quality which is also applicable for data images.

Contrast Ratio:

It will straight away impress you with its clarity level, and black depth and all the credit goes to its 15000:1 contrast ratio. It’s 1.07billion color reproduction also deserve praise for delivering richness and color depth.

Image Size:

Despite having a low price, it offers you an enormous screen size range lying between 30inch and 350inch which you will hardly find in many top-end projectors. Along with image size, it also excels in throw distance by offering 1.48:1 throw ratio.

Ports:

The availability of HDMI, D-Sub, S-video, composite video, USB Type A & B, WLAN, and audio 3.5mm ensures you will never face a shortage of port facilities.

Lamp:

It offers an impressive lamp life of 10000hours which ultimately enhances the viewing time while barring the need for a replacement for many years.

Things we liked

  • Fine picture quality with balanced brightness.
  • Razor sharp clarity and enormous color richness.
  • Huge projection size options.
  • It gets all the essential port facilities.

Things we didn’t like

  • The absence of a micro SD port.

Verdict:

Epson EX3260 is an extremely powerful home theater cum business projector that offers a sheer performance at an affordable range.

4. Epson VS355 projector: High Quality LCD Projector

Epson VS355 projector High Quality LCD Projector

Main Features:

  • 1280 X 800 native resolution.
  • 3300 lumens.
  • 15000:1 contrast ratio.
  • Manual easy slide correction.
  • 10000hours lamp lifespan.

Features Overview:

Another potential addition in this list of best projector under 500 is Epson VS355, and it rightly deserves its entry due to the prolific visual quality it offers.

Lumens:

Epson always takes the brightness level in visuals seriously, and that is why they have geared this model with 3300 lumens which offer an excellent vividness.

Resolution:

Whether you are watching a movie or giving a presentation, it will always treat you with widescreen HD quality visuals, and it is due to the 1280 X 800 native resolution.

Contrast Ratio:

However, the blend of 15000:1 contrast ratio and 1.07 billion color reproduction take all the highlight with its pinpoint clarity as well as high color accuracy.

Image Size:

You can comfortably use it anywhere you want without worrying about area size, and it has been possible due to its 33-320inches screen size range along with short 1.38:1 throw ratio.

Lamp:

It gets a brawny 210-watt UHE lamp for the light source that ensures that it will stay by your side for minimum three years and its 10000hour lifespan serves as the proof.

Ports:

The rear section of this projector carries many port facilities, and it includes HDMI, USB, audio 3.5mm, S-Video, D-Sub, and composite video.

Things we liked

  • An incredible blend of quality and price.
  • Images with beautiful clarity and high vividness.
  • Entirely easy to set up and use.
  • Efficient options for image adjustment.
  • It is quite easy to carry.

Things we didn’t like

  • The fan noise is loud.

Verdict:

Interested in buying a multipurpose projector which will deliver exceptional quality with a variety of features? Check out Epson VS355.

5. BenQ MH530FHD Projector: Right One For Home Theater

BenQ MH530FHD Projector Right One For Home Theater

  • Main Features:
  • 1920 X 1080 native resolution.
  • 3300 ANSI lumens.
  • 10000hour of lamp lifespan.
  • 2-watt inbuilt speaker.

Features Overview:

BenQ MH530FHD is one of a kind home theater projector whose main motto is to offer you a theater like movie experience without hitting you with a hefty price amount.

Lumens:

It offers an ultra bright 3300 ANSI lumens so that your eye is treated with a movie theater alike brightness level at your home comfort.

Resolution:

The crisp picture quality it yields with the help of 1920 x 1080 native resolution and DLP projection will merely leave you in awe.

Contrast Ratio:

The potent 15000:1 contrast ratio enables the projector to offer pinpoint clarity and smooth finish in the visual scenes. Not only that its 30bits display color and 7G optical lens also makes a considerable impact by enhancing the overall quality.

Image Size:

Starting from minimal 30inches, you can comfortably expand the image size of this device all the way up to 300inches. However, it won’t bite much space during setup as it gets a 1.37-1.64:1 throw ratio range.

Connectivity:

BenQ has filled this model with numerous connectivity options, and it includes the likes of HDMI(1.4a), D-Sub, composite video, USB Type B, RS232, and audio 3.5mm.

Image Adjustment:

You will always have 1.2x zoom, 40-degree keystone correction and manual focus at your service which will assist you to rectify any image error.

Things we liked

  • Incredibly sharp and clear image.
  • Maintain vividness in a well-lit room.
  • A superb 3D performance with nil crosstalk.
  • A wide clear picture image range.
  • Brawny body design.
  • The fan noise is quite low.

Things we didn’t like

  • Poor inbuilt speaker.

Verdict:

In short, BenQ MH530FHD is a package that will serve your everyday entertainment requirement at a great price.

6. Acer H5382BD: Get Best 3D Experience

Acer H5382BD Get Best 3D Experience

Main Features:

  • 1280 X 720 native resolution.
  • 3300 lumens.
  • DLP projection system.
  • 40-degree keystone adjustment.
  • 3-watt mono speaker.

Features Overview:

Acer H5382BD is a simple yet modern home theater projector that has some great reviews under its belt, and it is mostly due to its visuals performance.

Lumens:

The ambient light intensity in your room won’t be your concern during the movie session as its 3300 ANSI lumens with LumiSense+ delivers a balanced brightness level.

Resolution:

This projector is all about offering you a dramatic movie experience and to ensure that it utilizes 1280 X 720 native resolution along with DLP projection system.

Contrast Ratio:

It will simply leave you flabbergasted with its richness, dynamicity, and lifelike quality and all the praise goes to its 20000:1 contrast ratio, DynamicBlack, and ColorBoost 3D technology.

3D:

Not only 2D, you can also enjoy your movie in a 3D environment in high definition with no rainbow effect as it gets HD 3D compatibility.

Image Size:

The projection size it offers is simply unbelievable because you can navigate from 26inch to maximum 300inch without any issue. The throw ratio it provides is also fantastic because you can achieve 100inch from 3.4m.

Lamp:

This model won’t disappoint you in terms of longevity as its 195-watt bulb comes with a 10000hour of lifespan indicating three years of non-stop usage.

Connectivity:

Acer has loaded with a series of connection of options like HDMI (MHL), USB Type A, composite video, VGA, and audio 3.5mm. It even offers compatibility with the wireless connection, but you have to buy the wirelessHD kit separately.

Things we liked

  • Smooth and rich HD resolution.
  • Good color depth with immense clarity.
  • An extensive projection size range.
  • 3D compatibility without any issue.

Things we didn’t like

  • It gets only one audio port.

Verdict:

Acer H5382BD serve as a complete package that would fulfill all your home entertainment need without compromising on anything.

7. BenQ WXGA: Perfect Business Projector

BenQ WXGA Perfect Business Projector

Main Features:

  • 1280 X 800 native resolution.
  • 3300 ANSI lumens.
  • 15000:1 contrast ratio.
  • Lamp longevity of 10000hours.
  • Five aspect ratio option.

Features Overview:

BenQ MW526AE is a quite a well-known projector that is more into business and education presentation purpose than home entertainment.

Lumens:

During the presentation, lumens plays a significant role in deciding the data image quality, so BenQ has given 3300 ANSI lumens to maintain top-notch quality even in the semi-lit room.

Resolution:

The visual output it offers for both data images and movies is entirely praiseworthy, and the combination of 1280 X 800 native resolution along with DLP technology is responsible for it.

Contrast Ratio:

It’s 15000:1 contrast ratio along with30bit color depth brings out an outstanding clarity and color accuracy in every image which ultimately alleviates the overall quality.

Image Size:

Like other mode budget models, it also packs a wide projection size range lying between 30inch and 300inch with just 1.55-1.86:1 throw ratio range.

Image Correction:

There are chances that you will require image adjustment during setup, and that is why it has included 1.2x zoom, 40-degree keystone correction, projection offset, and manual focus.

Port:

You can connect almost any type of devices to this projector as it carries HDMI (1.4a), RS232, D-Sub, S-video, composite video, audio 3.5mm.

Audio:

However, it doesn’t shine in the audio port due to its 2-watt inbuilt speaker which delivers a decent sound quality but fails in the volume part.

Things we liked

  • Modest price structure.
  • High clarity and vivid data image quality.
  • 3D HD compatibility without artifacts issue.
  • It is quite easy to set up.
  • Compact body design and lightweight.

Things we didn’t like

  • Short bulb life.
  • The throw distance range is not that good.

Verdict:

If excellent data image quality, portability and wide image size range is your main priority, then you can consider BenQ MW526AE which has modest pricing.

Now, let’s look at some general facts that will help in making a better decision while purchasing a projector under 500,

Buying Guide of Projectors Under $500

List of all the essential considerations;

  • Projection Type: While you are considering a projector under 500, it is better to opt for DLP or 3LCD projection as they offer better quality than TFT LCD. DLP has some issue regarding black depth, and rainbow effect LCD faces motion blur or 3D artifacts. So you should choose depending upon your need.
  • Lumens: It would be a wise decision to choose lumens between 3000-4000 range as it offers best the brightness level. However, depending upon the budget, you can also select around 1500 lumens but never go below 1000 lumens or 100 ANSI lumens.
  • Resolution: As we all know, better the resolution, the better the image quality and 480p serve as the minimum bar. Getting 720p or 1080p native resolution serves as the likely choice, but it entirely depends upon your budget.
  • Contrast Ratio: Always make sure, when you are getting a projector it should have a wide contrast range. The ideal contrast ratio range is around 10000:1 and experts suggest that you shouldn’t go below 5000:1 as it won’t offer excellent clarity.
  • Image Size: Well, the image size range entirely depends upon your room as well as usage purpose. If you are looking to use your projector both indoor and outdoor, then opt for something a wide projection size. Otherwise, you can get a projector that has a decent projection range.
  • Throw Ratio: Different projector has a different throw ratio, and you should choose throw ratio considering the size of your room. If you have a large room, then throw ratio won’t matter to you much. But if you have a small room, then always go for low or short throw ratio as it will be able to achieve a large screen size from a short distance.
  • Lamp Life: It is ideal to go for a lamp with great lifespan as it lamp replacement is a costly affair. Make sure you are light has a lifespan around 10000hour which will help it run for minimum 3years.

Why Should You Buy Projector Under 500?

Well, the answer is not that simple as the range under 500 dollar offers a plethora of choices ranging from cheap brands to well-known brands like Epson, BenQ, Acer, etc. Many consider it as a safe range as you will lot of projector pertaining to your requirement without making a hole in your pocket. Models within 500 range offer excellent visual quality and various features which are sufficient enough to provide mesmerizing movie session or smooth presentation. Although you won’t get any fancy features, but the models below $500 are entirely value for money.

FAQ on 500 Dollar Projector

Q: Are 500 projectors good for home theater?

ANSWER: Projectors under 500 dollar are absolutely right for home theater as most of them come with all the right hardware and feature to offer good entertainment.

Q: Can I get HD projector under 500?

ANSWER: Yes, you can get a projector with HD native resolution under 500, but the number of choices is not that high.

Q: How do I make my projector clearer?

ANSWER: To make the projected image clearer, you need to use the focus ring or any other similar adjustment tool to focus the visual on the screen properly.

Q: What are ANSI lumens in projectors?

ANSWER: ANSI lumens in a projector is a standard unit which determines the measurement of light or brightness level.

Q: How many lumens is a 50-watt halogen bulb?

ANSWER: According to the standard measurement, 50-watt halogen bulb emits lumens between 500-700 range.

Q: How are Projector lumens calculated?

ANSWER: First, you need to start your projector and project white light on the screen. Then take several lux reading using a light meter. After that, you have to multiply the reading with a square foot of the screen and 0.09290304.