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There’s nothing like enjoying a cool Summer night watching movies in your backyard or at the campsite.
Whether you want to share precious memories at a BBQ or watch the big game with friends, family and the neighbors, the best outdoor projector can make it happen.
However, there is a lot that goes into choosing the best outdoor projector for your needs.
Here, we’re going to teach you all about the technology involved in projectors so you can pick one that will be suitable for your viewing needs.
Best Outdoor Projectors
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Outdoor Projectors For 2021
- Epson Home Cinema 4010 Pro-UHD
- GooDee LCD Video Projector
- ViewSonic Short Throw Projector
- Dr. J Mini Video Projector
- YABER Native Outdoor Video Projecto
- Nebula Mars II Pro 500 Cordless Projector
- Optoma HD27HDR 1080p 4K HDR Projector
We feel confident one of the following top rated backyard movie projectors will give you a great outdoor movie experience. Are you ready to bring the big screen to your backyard?
Outdoor Projector Reviews
- Brightness: 2,400 Lumens
- Weight: 6.6 Pounds
- Connections: Dual HDMI, VGA, RCA, USB
- Sound: Built-in Stereo Speakers, 3.5mm Audio Out
- Screen Size Range: 50″ – 300″
- Accessories Included: Remote Control
When you want a large, crisp picture for your backyard cinema the Epson will fit the bill. It can give you a giant size display of 25 feet and is our Editor’s Choice for the best outdoor movie projector.
With that size picture you might think it’s not bright but the Epson has 2,400 lumens of brightness so at even that size the picture is excellent.
While the picture is superb I would recommend a good external speaker for good sound. The projector is ideal for movies, sports and even gaming.
The projector is compatible with most any gaming console, streaming devices(Roku, Apple TV, Firestick & Chromecast), Blue-Ray and of course your cable/satellite box.
The two most common aspect ratios are offered, 4:3 and 16:9, with many types of video, audio, and image formats supported.
The picture size is 50″ – 300″ when the projector is placed between 3 and 30 feet away from the screen with 4K resolution.
- Brightness: 300 Lumens
- Weight: 5 Pounds
- Connections: Dual HDMI, VGA, AV, Dual USB, MicroSD
- Sound: Built-in Stereo Speakers, 3.5mm Audio Out
- Screen Size Range: 44” x 200”
- Accessories Included: HDMI Cable, AV 3-in-1 Cable, Remote Control
With vivid picture worthy of your photo slideshows, movies, and more, the GooDee LCD Video Projector offers an image of up to 200”.
With 1280*768P quality, dependent on the quality of the source video, you can sit back and enjoy an accurate and high definition experience.
The light source is LED for the brightest picture and it features smartphone connectivity along with several other available connections to view almost anything you want from various sources.
You will get the best quality at 10 feet of distance and a screen size of 98 inches.
However, the viewing distance can be anywhere from 5 to 18 feet and an adjustable screen size of between 44” and 200” making it easy to adjust to the best quality no matter what your space and screen can fit.
It also features a 30,000-hour lamp life so you know you can rely on it for a long time to come.
With a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty the GooDee might be the best outdoor projector under $200 and comes with a no questions asked 60-day refund policy. Keep in mind with it’s 300 lumens, the GooDee is best used in low or dark light condtions.
- Brightness: 3,000 Lumens
- Weight: 6 Pounds
- Connections: Dual HDMI, VGA, AV, Dual USB
- Sound: Built-in Stereo Speaker, 3.5mm Audio Out
- Screen Size Range: 54” x 300”
- Accessories Included: VGA Cable, Remote Control
Viewsonic is probably best known for their monitors but they have come out with some excellent projectors. The Short Throw has similar specs to the Epson but has a significant difference.
The short throw means that you can get the same large picture without having to have the projector very far away from the screen.
This makes it ideal for patios or small backyards where you don’t have a lot of room.
It has 3,000 lumens of projector power with 1080p resolution making it ideal for HD movies, gaming, sports and Blue-Ray DVDs.
It has a maximum picture size of 300” or 25 feet but it’s really not designed for those larger sizes. The Epson would be a better choice.
The internal speaker is adequate but for a good movie or to really enjoy a game, you will want to hook up some external speakers for good sound!
It has all the usual connections: HDMI, USB, VGA, RCA etc so you have lots of flexibility. If you have a small area, this best outdoor projector for you!
- Brightness: 2,200 Lumens
- Weight: 3 Pounds
- Connections: AV, TF Cards, VGA, HDMI, USB
- Sound: Built-in Stereo Surround Sound Speakers
- Screen Size Range: 32” to 176”
- Accessories Included: HDMI Cable
With two available aspect rations, both 4:3 and 16:9, you can watch nearly any slideshow or movie in HD on this outdoor tv projector.
The new 2018 upgrade for the Dr. J Mini Projector includes a 10% increase in light production and the 40,000-lamp hour life ensures a long life with the average being 10 years even if you watch 10 hours per day.
Sync your Mini Projector with your laptop or tablet, or even your Amazon Fire Stick or TV box as well as most smartphones. Enjoy movies and video games on the big screen.
This outdoor movie projector has a built-in speaker that offers crisp surround sound of a smaller projector. With 1080P fully supported, you will get the crisp picture to go along with beautiful acoustics.
The screen size is adjustable from 32” to 176” for the best viewing no matter the distance from the screen. The fan is quiet but efficient in cooling the projector without interfering with the sounds you really want to hear.
The Dr. J is the best cheap projector under $100 and it’s protected by a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty including 100% money-back guarantee.
- Brightness: 5,000 Lumens
- Weight: 6.3 Pounds
- Connections: AV, HDMI, TV, SD USB, VGA
- Sound: Built-in Speakers
- Screen Size Range: 50″ to 300″
- Accessories Included: Remote Control
The Yaber Indoor/Outdoor Video Projector is made to have crisp, accurate picture both inside and out, whether you are in the backyard or the park. It supports both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio with 5000 lumens light output.
You have a wide range of viewing sizes, from 50″ to 300″ with the optimal distance between the projector and screen is 10 feet.
With 5000 lumens of brightness you still get a pretty good picture at the max size of 300″ with 1080p resolution.
This outdoor theater projector connects to many electronic devices easily, including: smartphones, video game systems, laptops, tablets, or even your TV or Blu-ray Player.
There are 3 fans that provide plenty of cooling and extend the life of the bulb and electronics. Even with the 3 fans running, they are quiet so the sound of your movie or video game won’t be interrupted.
The Yaber is the best home projector in its price range and best used in low light and dark conditions.
- Brightness: 500 Lumens
- Weight: 4 Pounds
- Connections: HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring
- Sound: Dual 10W Speakers
- Screen Size Range: 30” to 150”
- Accessories Included: Remote Control
If you are looking for a cordless battery powered projector, the Nebula Mars II Pro 500 is for you. No electrical outlet needed, making it super portable! Use it in your backyard or take it camping.
Being a battery powered projector it does not have the same brightness as others on our list so it not going to work well for daytime use.
It’s rated at 500 lumens on full power and projects an HD image of 1280 x 720p.
The Nebula offers the most connectivity options of any projector on our list with HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Screen Mirroring.
Easily broadcast movies, games, Youtube, Netflix, the Nebula can do it all! With the lithium battery, you get 3 hours at full power, plenty of time to watch a movie or several hours of gaming.
You can vary the picture size from 30″ – 150″ (12.5 ft) and has surprisingly good sound from the dual 10W speakers that provide solid bass response.
If you just want to use it as a Bluetooth speaker, you get 30 hours of music playtime. The Nebula Mars II Pro is probably the best wireless outdoor projector on the market!
- Brightness: 3,400 Lumens
- Weight: 6.2 Pounds
- Connections: 1 x HDMI (2.0 with HDCP 2.2), 1 x HDMI (1.4a), USB
- Sound: Built-in Speaker, External Available
- Screen Size Range: 28” – 305”
- Accessories Included: Remote Control
If you are looking for the largest image size at over 300″ or 25 feet with 4K resolution the Optoma needs to be on your list.
With a brightness of 3,400 lumens and 50,000:1 contrast ratio you will get a stunning movie experience. It has a built in 10W speaker, you get a better experience you should hook up external speakers.
With lag free response times of 16ms at 60Hz, hook up a game console for the ultimate gaming experience, inside or out!
You can even attach smartphones with the additionally purchased cord. The smaller size of the projector makes it perfect to bring to backyard parties or even camping.
The screen is adjustable between 28” – 305” when the projector is placed between 3 and 36 feet away from the screen with 1080P resolution.
Both major aspect ratios are offered, both 4:3 and 16:9, with many types of video, audio, and image formats supported.
The built-in speaker offers crisp audio with bright picture with 3,400 lumens and a long life lamp that will last 50,000 hours. The Optoma is a smaller projector with big audio and visual quality.
Outdoor Projector Comparison Table
|Outdoor Projector||Brightness||Display Size||Resolution||Rating|
|Epson Home Cinema 4010 Pro-UHD||2,400 Lumens||50" – 300"||4K UHD||4.6 / 5.0|
|GooDee Outdoor Movie Projector||4,000 Lumens||44” x 200”||1080P||4.7 / 5.0|
|ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector||3,000 Lumens||54” x 300”||1080p||4.6 / 5.0|
|Dr. J Mini Video Projector||2,200 Lumens||32” to 176”||1080p||4.4 / 5.0|
|YABER Native Outdoor Video Projecto||5,000 Lumens||50" – 300"||1080P||4.6 / 5.0|
|Wsky LED Portable Outdoor Projector||N/A||32” to 176”||1080P||4.6 / 5.0|
|Optoma HD27HDR Projector||3,4 00 Lumens||28” – 305”||1080P||4.0 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Projector – A Buyers Guide
- Types of Outdoor Projectors
- Considerations for an Outdoor Projector
- FAQs For Outdoor Projectors
- Tips for Using an Outdoor Projector
- Final Thoughts
With so many technical details involved in choosing the right projector for your outdoor events, it can be hard to know which of them are important to you. There are several things you may want to look at when choosing the perfect outdoor projector.
Types of Outdoor Projectors
All of the outdoor projectors featured here are LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display. However, there are three types of them.
A traditional LCD projector has many benefits, including the ability to show images in 3D, with a stronger brightness, as well as images that are more crisp. These are also much quieter, sometimes not needing a cooling fan at all, and they use energy more efficiently.
The LCOS display, which stands for Liquid Crystal on Silicon, and it is a type of LCD technology. This is usually only available on more expensive projectors and can create a very vivid picture at larger screen sizes. However, you trade a better picture for an expensive investment.
A DLP Projector, also known as a Digital Light Processing Projector, use mirrors to display the image on the screen. These are more prone to damage as the mirrors can move out of place. The image can also be a bit blurry at larger sizes and you may see a rainbow prism effect on the screen.
Considerations for an Outdoor Projector
While a traditional lightbulb is used in many projectors, it can only usually support about 4,000 lamp hours. Most modern outdoor movie projectors, and the ones listed here, are LED bulbs.
The lamp life of LED projector bulbs can be up to 20,000 hours. LED projectors also give a brighter picture, require less cooling if at all, and are more energy efficient.
The brightness of the picture can be affected by light in the area, whether indoors or outdoors. However, the lumens rating of the projector will tell you how much brightness the projector is capable of in perfect conditions.
Daytime Use – If you will be using your projector during the day, you should at least look for 3000 lumens but 5000 is better. Especially if you will be having a large picture like 20 feet.
Night Use – Here you will not need as much brightness and you could probably get away will as little as 1000 lumen projector. To be safe, look for 2000 lumens.
Resolution is also known as “pixel density” and is determined by how many pixels are in the picture. A projector with the best resolution will support 1080P, or pixel dimensions of 1920 x 1080.
However, this can always be adjusted. The resolution isn’t only determined by the quality of the projector but also the quality of the video feed you are playing.
Lens Zoom and Shift
The lens zoom will allow you to adjust the size of the picture without moving either the projector or the projector screen. This is especially beneficial when adjusting for image quality.
Lens shift, or Keystone correction allows you to adjust the image shape if you aren’t able to place the projector immediately in front of the screen. This can be extremely beneficial in outdoor settings.
Obviously you will need to connect up a laptop or some type of media player to your projector. The most common is HDMI. Every projector will have this type of port so if that’s what you plan to use you are good to go.
If you are looking to hook up a DVD player or even an old VCR, you may need RCA jacks. Old laptops may only have a VGA output port so be sure your projector has this connection port.
Speakers / Sound
To get the full movie experience, you need a good sound system. Good sound can make a break a movie. So invest in a good set of speakers instead of relying on the projector speaker.
A good set of outdoor speakers are not that expensive, even a set of wireless speakers which I would recommend. Mount them on tripods, ceiling or a wall so you can get the speakers off the ground for better sound.
Setting Up Your Outdoor Projector
Projector Stand – First thing you will need is a stand to hold your projector. It needs to be level so your picture is not distorted.
If you will not be using it too often, you can use a temporary stand by using a table, a cooler or even a chair as long as it’s level.
If this is going to be a regular thing for your family then creating a dedicated projector stand will be a better option for you.
This is a DIY project as there are no dedicated projector stands available on Amazon. If you are handy, you should be able to make one from some PVC pipe or 2”x4”s.
Wiring – Hopefully you have a nearby outlet to run an extension cord. Make sure its an outdoor electrical cable in case water gets spilled on it, or you get a rain shower.
Projector Screen – Now you need something to project your movie onto. This a lot easier, there are quite a few screens available. You can find massive inflatable screens, pull down screens and ones with a metal frame. Any of them are a great option. It mostly depends on how big you want to go. You can see my reviews of them here.
Next you will need a projector screen like the Elite Screens, they go for roughly $150 depending on size.
Lastly, a set of speakers like the Polk Audio outdoor speakers, these go for about $150 as well. So for about $1,000 you will have yourself a excellent setup for a great movie experience!
FAQs About Outdoor Projectors
You most likely still have questions about backyard movie projectors. Do you need more information about how to choose the right one? Or maybe why you need one in the first place. Here, we cover some common questions that people face when looking at outdoor projectors.
Q: Why buy an outdoor projector?
A: Bringing audio and visual aspects to your backyard get-together or even while camping can elevate the experience. Bring out the blankets, the big pillows, and the camping chairs to relax on cool nights with a video game, a movie, or even a picture slideshow. It’s definitely a way to get everyone out of the house and enjoying the outdoors.
Q: What is a “throw ratio”?
A: The throw ratio will tell you how big the screen will be if the projector is placed a certain distance away from it. If you don’t have much room to move the projector back, away from the screen, you need one with a shorter throw ratio. If you have room, you can get the biggest screens the projector can produce by placing it the recommended distance away.
Q: Do I need a projector screen?
A: While sometimes you can project the images on the side of a wall, you will get the best picture when the projector is used with a projector screen. Most screens will also allow you to project onto the front of the screen or from the back. By placing the projector behind the screen, it removes it from high traffic areas so it isn’t bumped.
Q: Can you use outside projector during day?
A: Yes you can but to use one in bright, sunny conditions you will need a high powered projector in the 3000 lumen range. If possible you should locate the projector screen in a shaded area or have a cover to keep the sun off it as much as possible.
Q: What are the most popular aspect ratios?
A: Typically, there are two common aspect ratios when it comes to video. The full screen aspect ratio of 4:3 will be taller than the widescreen format of 16:9. While home videos, photos, and video games may be a bit off from these two most common ratios.
Q: How many lumens do you need for projection in daylight?
A: In bright sunny conditions you will want an outdoor projector of at least 3000 lumens. This is one aspect where more is better, if you can get one with 4000 or even 5000 lumens you will be better off.
Q: How do I set up my projector outdoors?
A: The screen should be set up between 5 and 15 feet away from where you will place your projector. Finding a place for a large projector screen in the backyard can be as easy as choosing the biggest wall on the side of your house. However, the screen can also be hung between trees or other objects you have in the area.
The projector, when used outdoors, should be on a sturdy table and well away from foot traffic to prevent accidents. You may want to tack the power cord and video input cables to the ground somehow or cover them with a concealer so the cords aren’t easily tripped over.
Tips for Using an Outdoor Projector
Need tips on how to use your new projector? We have our top 5 tips for making your outdoor projector experience the best it can be.
Tip #1: Get the Accessories
Most outdoor TV projectors these days come with a remote control to make it more convenient to use. You may also find some projectors that come with an included screen, like the Doace P1 projector that we featured above.
However, you may want certain other accessories such as different cables to hook up several types of devices. Phone specific cords can help you connect phones or tables, an HDMI cable is a must. But you may want VGA cables and more so you can always connect your favorite devices.
Tip #2: Adjust for Brightness
Most outdoor theater projectors have a brightness level determined by their lumens. The higher the number, the brighter the picture. However, it is important to keep in mind that the light in the room or produced by other sources outdoors will also affect the brightness of the picture.
The lumens of your outdoor projector should be directly related to how big the screen can get. Those capable of screens over 150” should have between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens. For smaller screens, 1,000 to 2,000 lumens is sufficient.
Tip #3: Pay Attention to the Specs
Not only should you make sure you get the picture as big as you’d like for outdoor use, there are several aspects of projectors that will impact the quality and life.
Enjoying both common aspect ratios is important and you should be able to adjust the resolution to match the source material. A back-lit remote control can make it easier to use outdoors when it can be quite dark.
Tip #4: Focus on Versatility
If you are looking for an outdoor video projector, you may want to take it with you to multiple locations, such as a friend’s backyard or even the lake while camping. This means you should look at specs that allow the projector to fit into several situations.
If you have a long throw ratio, it may be hard for you to use it everywhere with the same quality. On the safe side, choose a projector that can be used in many situations with great quality and with ease.
Tip #5: Add a Sound System
While every projector we featured here come with built-in speakers, you may want to add a bit more. Maybe it’s a large area and you need to make it louder.
Are you ready to get an outdoor video projector and invite everyone to try it out? Are you ready to pack it up to head to the campground?
Want to spend some time playing video games outside with life-size characters and environments? An outdoor projector can give you an experience like you’ve never had and can make your backyard the designated spot for block parties.
How We Researched
To come up with the top outdoor video projectors, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Wayfair along with our own personal experience.
We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.
With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in yard design and home repairs.
The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.
To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from landscapers, bloggers and contractors.
After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.