We hope you love the products we recommend. SeriouslySmoked.com may earn a commission on qualifying purchases from Amazon Associates or other vendors. Read more here.
A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research, he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
Arguably now more than in generations, families are spending more and more quality time together. The impetus of such isn’t to be celebrated, but the opportunity for closeness—and for some, to get reacquainted with the people most loved in their lives—is a gift.
While many businesses are shut down, we have been spending our days and nights indoors, breathing the same stale air.
How better to capitalize on one opportunity—while counteracting cabin fever—than to break out the outdoor projector and turning an entire wall into a big screen for the whole family. Bringing the beloved theater experience home, while being able to pause for bathroom breaks, and not paying theater prices for snacks either while we’re at it.
High tech, long lasting, super bright, and wildly affordable, this piece of at-home cinema brilliance is a must have way to watch movies, TV shows, sportsball games, and even make presentations to large casual groups.
But how does one decide which model is best for their needs? What do I look for? What problems or pitfalls have others experienced?
Break out the popcorn because we have a crystal clear buyers guide to get you theater bound in your own backyard, by this weekend.
Outdoor Projector - Cinematographic Considerations
Measured in lumens—or candle feet—is defined as the light emitted by a small candle from one foot away.
For example, a typical 75W incandescent bulb emits 1100 lumens. In general, the more ambient light in the viewing area, the higher the necessary lumens to comfortably view. Hence the darkened theater.
Outdoor venues have a lot more extraneous light and sound to contend with. Inside a room or theater, you can almost completely control the amount of light but one has little control over the moon and stars.
So on an outdoor projector, brightness matters.
Metal Halide lamps, or High-intensity discharge (HID) and Ultra-high performance (UHP) lamps, are super bright and meant for industrial use. Their lifespan is comparable to incandescent bulbs.
Also available are LED, which can have a comparable output to HID lamps while using a fraction of the power. With lifespans of up to 25,000 hours or more, and are often inexpensive to replace.
Laser lighting has a comparable output and lifespan to LED, and hybrid projectors will include multiple technologies.
Just know the same like your other appliances that the projector’s internal components are sensitive so during rainy months its good to place it under the protection of a tent or pop up canopy to keep it safe.
The formula is simple:
ratio x width = distance
This is the distance from your projector to the screen and the screen width. Larger screens and set up distance mean you need higher ratios. For example, if your throw ratio is 2.0, which is moderate, and your screen is 5-feet wide, your projector would need to sit at least 10 feet away from the screen.
One changes the variables around and divides to determine the correct ratio, which is available for every brand and model, if you know the amount of space to be used and screen size.
The contrast is the ratio of dark to light in an image. Which matters in determining how crisp the image is.
The higher the quality of the medium, the higher your contrast ratio should be. A contrast of 3000:1 would mean that your whitest or lightest areas are 3000 times brighter than your darkest darks.
Generally, you’ll need higher contrast in an area that are dimly lit but not dark per se. Be aware that any amount of light in the area will degrade contrast no matter how high it is.
Resolution measures the number of pixels in a predetermined area, and is another factor in a clear, sharp image.
Our Best Choice
GooDee 2021 Upgrade HD Video Projector 6800L Outdoor Movie Projector
TOP Reasons to BUY:
GooDee HD Movie Projector
GooDee HD Movie Projector
TOPVISION Video Projector
TOPVISION Video Projector
VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini LED Portable
VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini LED Portable
9 Best Outdoor Projectors (2021 Reviews)
1. Best Overall – GooDee YG600 HD Video Outdoor Movie Projector 2020 Upgrade
- Picture quality.
- Projection size.
- Color control has some limitations.
Right out of the gate, the GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Outdoor Movie Projector, 230″ Home Theater does everything you’d hope for without breaking—or even straining—the bank.
They have upgraded their best selling projector by further improving the already improved brightness. Making it comparably 80% brighter than many other projectors. Add in a 3000: 1 contrast ratio—that provides a more crisp image and wider viewing even in the ambient light of a backyard theater, Garage, or Campsite—and you’ve got one of the best pictures available without a television monitor.
Supporting 1080P Full HD with 1280*768p native resolution. That offers an ultra vivid video quality. They’ve adopted a newest cooling system, improved fan design, and the application of innovative materials to reduce the noise, extend the bulb life, and maximize your viewing experience.
Capable of projecting a giant 230 inch display, the viewing area ranges from 44 inches up to 230 inches with optimal casting distances of 5 foot to 18 foot.
Complete with 2 HDMI/2 USB/VGA/AV ports, this video projector can connect with TV Boxes, Fire Stick TV, Chromecast, PCs, laptops, tablets, external speakers, Xbox, DVD players, PS3s, PS4s, USB sticks, media players, iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and more. Perfect for playing videos, TV series, presentations, outdoor movies, gaming and whatever else your heart desires.
2. Best Indoor/Outdoor Projector – TOPVISION Native 720P Upgraded 4500 Brightness Video Projector
- Light and quiet.
- Not Dolby Digital Sound Compatible.
The tiny titan that is the TOPVISION 1080P Supported Video Projector is a small package that packs a powerful picture.
Using advanced LCD display technology and a highly efficient LED light source, provides a bright and sharp image that will make your movie nights with family and friends delightfully immersive.
The projector provides a viewing size from 32 inches to 200 inches with projection distances between 5 foot to18 foot. With recommended ideal casting from 10 feet at 98 inches.
TheTOPVISION Mini Projector is equipped with a cooling fan system designed to reduce fan noise by half. You should never be bothered by extra noise while watching a movie or playing a video game.
This home theater projector is compatible with the Roku Stick / Chromecast / Laptops / DVDs / PS3s / Xboxs / via the included HDMI input.
If you want to connect your smartphone to the projector, one only needs an HDMI adapter. (Not included). Meeting all of one’s projection needs.
And because this model is compact and less than three pounds, it’s a snap to bring in and out whatever the weather, cinematic atmosphere, and other movie going considerations require.
All this and more for less than it costs to take your partner and two kids for a movie, a bucket, and some movie treats.
3. Best Travel – VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini LED Portable
- Long lasting.
- Not recommended for office presentation like Powerpoint.
High definition at a low cost is what you get with the VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini, 1080P and 170 Inch Display Supported, Portable Movie Projector.
Supporting 1920×1080 resolution, VANKYO Leisure 3 projector is powered by the MStar Advanced Color Engine, which is ideal for home entertainment.
Providing a viewing area ranging from 32 inches to 170 inches—with a projection distance between 5 foot to 16 foot. 6.5 ft is the recommended viewing distance and it’s relatively straightforward to achieve a clear reliable picture using the built in focus and keystone correction settings.
This all purpose portable multimedia projector is perfect for watching video, TV series and photo browsing. It can be simply connected to any smartphone, PS3, PS4, X-Box ONE, Wii, or Switch to enjoy a diversified portfolio of games.
Included handy carrying case, compact size and accompanied light weight—all at an incredible value I might add—makes this the perfect model for folks looking to take their theater experience on the go. Folks like camp counselors, or parents on a camping trip.
Packs neat and travels easily so you never have to do without a little more art in your life.
4. Largest Projection – DR. J Professional AK-30 LCD Projector
- Not the cheapest.
One of the biggest and brightest projectors on the at-home theater market today is the DR. J Professional 6800Lumens LCD Projector Full HD Projector Max 300″ Display.
By updating one’s at-home projector’s brightness to a blistering 6,000 Lumens, one can enjoy their favorite activities on the biggest screen, day and night. Indoor or outdoor movies alike are enjoyable with a real at-home big screen feel by using DR. J Professional AK-30 LCD Projector.
Native 1080P Resolution with 8000:1 Contrast Ratio which guarantees the fidelity of the original content. Images large, clear, and sharp every time, even on the maximum display size of 300 inches.
That’s twenty five feet! You can see a life size T-Rex chase you in your own backyard. And now that I’ve wrote that down, I can see how that might not be appealing to those with more delicate constitutions.
Though a note to the consumer. To cast a projection that large, one needs about 30 feet for display distance.
Still, Perfect for meeting rooms, classrooms, and outdoor soirées.
The DR. J Professional comes equipped with HDMI, AV, USB, TF, Audio out ports, which allows you to connect it with your TV Stick, Laptop, Sound Bar, PS4, XBOX, Blue-ray DVD Players,Smartphones and more.
Best still, the DR.J offers customers a 3-year 100% Money Back Guarantee. No matter what kind of questions you had while you used the projector, your satisfaction is guaranteed.
All this and it’s still less than a new TV.
5. Best WiFi Enabled – Bomaker Wireless WiFi Projector
- WiFi enabled.
- Huge and bright projection.
- Long life.
- Shorter Power Cords.
Founded in 2015, Bomaker has laid its focus on the field of audiovisual entertainment. It established a theater quality home entertainment ecosystem through high-quality audiovisual components. Bomaker strives to bring the finest audiovisual enjoyment and most authentic interactive experience to their clientele globally.
And with customers in over one hundred countries already, they’ve done just that.
And their entry on this list is no exception.
No need to buy cables to connect devices to larger screens with the Bomaker Portable Outdoor Movie Projector, Full HD 1080P Supported, Wireless Screen Mirroring and Miracast.
Wirelessly screen videos, photos, apps, games, movies off of mobile devices, right to the BIG screen anytime without the hassle of cords, adapters, cables, or dongles.
(AirPlay Miracast compatible with iOS/ Android/ Samsung Smartphones, /PCs/Mac and Windows 10 Laptops.)
Miracast what you’ve seen on small screens from 35 inches to its maximum 25 foot giant screen, instantly. The recommended distance for optimal performance is 8.2 to 11.4 foot with an 80 to 100 inch large projection. Perfect for movie night with the family.
Recently upgraded to 5000 lumens—40% brighter than the original 3900 lumen models—so you can more clearly see what you are watching even in ambient light.
1280×720 native resolution,1080p supported and rated for and estimated 50,000 hours of rich detail in every scene.
6. Best Budget – OHDERII Mini Portable Projector
- Not the biggest nor the brightest.
While none of the models on this list have been as expensive as a modernTV even one third the size, the OHDERII Mini Projector is the first and best to come in for less than a single Benjamin.
Whether a permanent fixture in your sitting room or backyard cinema, the Ohderii projector is small enough to blend in on your coffee table and lightweight enough for easy transport for any backyard viewing party. With the Projector you can invite your friends for dining and movie.
While many at home enthusiasts place the projector on their coffee table in front of the viewing area, this model is engineered to be mounted right side up or upside down so that it’s easily compatible with whatever space you’re working with.
No matter what connections or storage devices you have, the Ohderii projector is likely ready to accommodate your needs. In addition to your more traditional connection ports such as VGA, HDMI, or AV port, you can also play movies that are loaded into an inserted micro SD card or USB storage drive.
Ohderii recommends utilizing the 3.5mm jack to connect a favorite speaker system for premium quality audio.
At a 200 inch maximum projection size, you’re guaranteed the most movie for your buck.
Speaking of guaranteed. Ohderii customers receive a lifetime warranty along with professional customer service and technical support. If any issues arise, please reach out to them directly on Amazon for the quickest possible resolution.
7. Best Pocket Projector – GooDee Mini LED Pico Pocket Video Projector
- Small and light. Less than a pound!
- Long life.
- So inexpensive.
- Smallest projection size.
You would almost think the GooDee Mini LED Pico Pocket Video Projector was a children’s toy when first looking at it. And honestly, at it’s incredible market point it would make a great gift or stocking stuffer for any burgeoning young cinefile, gamer, or sports enthusiast.
That’s right. Stocking stuffer. GooDee’s most popular Mini projector is quite small in size ( 5.3 inches by 3.9 inches by 2.36 inches and only 0. 59 lbs). This unique design makes it as easy to take to anywhere as the smartphone in your hand or pocket.
But being small and inexpensive doesn’t mean that you have to cut corners. This compact video projector is equipped with multiple ports, including HDMI, USB, Micro SD card, audio and AV interface. You can also show photos and videos off a USB flash drive, firestick, or micro SD. (Requires an HDMI Adaptor that is not included to project your smartphone).
The unit produces a 20 to 60 inch projection with an estimated 30,000 hours of long term lamp life.
And since it would make a great gift for kids, it’s ease of use is crucial. Fortunately GooDee thought that through and the device is almost entirely plug and play. A Built-in powerful speaker delivers a clear sound every time, so it’s everything a little needs to play.
8. Best Remote Operated – Pansonite Professional 5200LUX Home Theater Projector
- Bright and clear.
- Lifetime permanent guarantee.
- Not intended for PowerPoint.
Another great option on this list—as defined by its collection of high end features in conjunction with its exceptionally affordable price point—is the Pansonite 5200 Lumens Movie Projector.
This mini projector adopts the latest 4.0 LCD display technology with advanced LED light sources, producing 5200 Lumens. Bright enough to suit any occasion you have cause to enjoy something on the movie projector screen.
The new generation of LED light sources used within can provide up to 50% more brightness than standard LCD light sources. So much so that It can be used normally in bright daytime conditions.
Pansonite portable mini projectors really have a 3,000:1 contrast ratio offering deep dark blacks, and radiant bright light areas. Further, it supports a wide array of multimedia ports including HDMI, VGA, USB, RCA AV interfaces. Pairs easily with PCs, Laptops, game consoles, and smartphones.
Most impressively, Pansonite offers a permanent 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Permanent free replacement in case of lens dust, speaker failure, an unbalanced picture or what have you. They even offer to update for free.
You can have your own remote operated in-home theater with a bright and vivid picture in no time at all.
9. Best Smart – ViewSonic M2 Portable Full HD LED Projector
- Picture and sound quality.
- Smart and WiFi enabled (So great when ran through Alexa).
- Ease of use.
- Highest price on the list.
Buckle up, the ViewSonic M2 Portable Smart 1080p Wi-Fi Projector with Harman Kardon Bluetooth Speakers is about to make your home theater legendary.
An integrated Smart TV interface lets you stream and binge your favorite movies and TV shows. You can also stream multimedia content from your mobile devices via WiFi. Even interfaces with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, providing convenient voice control that can power the projector on and off, switch source, control volume, and so much more.
Easily screen-mirrors from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other WiFi enabled devices. Making it ideal content sharing and for wireless presentations. Further making quick relocation and setup a complete snap. And it supports most media players, PCs, Macs, and mobile devices with input options such as 3D, Blu-ray, HDMI, USB Type C, and more
Then there’s the experience.
It starts with Cinema SuperColor+, Which has 125% Rec. 709 color accuracy (and HDR10 content support). This projector produces incredibly lifelike and vivid colors for a fuller, more immersive viewing experience.
After that one is hit by the sound quality. Integrated Harman Kardon speakers deliver powerful performance in a sleek package. These premium speakers produce deep, loud, 360-degree room-filling sound perfect for music and movies, in rooms and outdoors.
Be it on the side table in the living room, bedroom or any other location you like, the M2 can provide perfectly-shaped images with comprehensive H/V keystone and 4 corner adjustment capabilities.
We’ve come a long way from the standard tv and antenna set. Now everyone can enjoy watching their favorite movies without even needing an actual tv. Any one of the projectors on this list makes said big picture easy to put in your home theater, backyard, office, classroom, gym, and/or your game/multimedia room.
But the GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Outdoor Movie Projector, 230″ Home Theater will do what others can’t—longer, brighter, and larger—without breaking the bank.
If you or someone you love is looking for the ultimate in-home/out-back theater entertainment, then order now and start watching your favorite larger than life characters, larger than life this weekend.