Outdoor Equipment

The 5 Best Outdoor Projectors Reviewed For 2018

Enjoy Home Theater in Your Backyard with These Projectors

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 right 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.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Inflatable Hot Tubs, Inflatable Loungers, Patio Umbrellas.

Quick Answer: The 5 Top Rated Outdoor Projectors For 2018

  1. GooDee LCD Video Projector
  2. Dr. J Mini Video Projector
  3. Doace Indoor/Outdoor Video Projector
  4. Wsky LED Home Theater Outdoor Projector
  5. Meyoung LED Mini Projector

Best Outdoor Projectors

 GooDee LCD Video ProjectorWsky Home Theater Outdoor ProjectorDr. J Mini Projector
editors choice
Brightness:3500 Lumens2400 Lumens2000 Lumens
Max Screen Size:200 inches
1280 x 768
176 inches
1920 X 1080
176 inches
1920 X 1080
Smartphone Compatible:YesYesYes
Rating:4.7 / 5.04.2 / 5.04.4 / 5.0

Outdoor Projector Reviews

We feel confident one of the following backyard movie projectors will need your needs and give you the best outdoor experience. Are you ready to bring the big screen to your backyard?

#1 GooDee LCD Video Projector

GooDee LCD Video Projector at a Glance:

  • Item Dimensions: 12” x 9” x 5”
  • Item Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Available 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 is our Editors Choice for best outdoor projector and offers an image of up to 200”.

With 1080P 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.


#2 Dr. J Mini Video Projector

Dr. J Mini Outdoor Projector

Dr. J Mini Projector at a Glance:

  • Item Dimensions: 8” x 3” x 6”
  • Item Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Available 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.


#3 Doace Indoor/Outdoor Video Projector

Doace Indoor/Outdoor Video Projector at a Glance:

  • Item Dimensions: 7” x 8” x 3”
  • Item Weight: 2 Pounds
  • Available Connections: AV, HDMI, TV, SD USB, VGA
  • Sound: Built-in Speakers
  • Screen Size Range: 40” to 150”
  • Accessories Included: Free Projector Screen, Remote Control

The Doace 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 1500 lumens light output.

While the best viewing size is 84” on the included screen, it supports a screen size of anywhere between 40” and 150”. 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.

The screen included with this backyard movie projector can be hung easily with nails, hooks, or ropes. You can also hang it with double-sided tape or a bracket if you plan on moving it often.

The fan offers quiet efficiency so the sound of your movie or video game won’t be interrupted. The Doace is the best home projector in its price range!


#4 Wsky LED Portable Home Theater Outdoor Projector

Wsky LED Portable Home Theater Video Projector

Wsky LED Portable Home Theater Video Projector at a Glance:

  • Item Dimensions: 9” x 6” x 3”
  • Item Weight: 3 Pounds
  • Available Connections: HDMI, VGA, USB, Audio Out, MHL Cord for Apple Products
  • Sound: One Built-in Speaker
  • Screen Size Range: 30” to 176”
  • Accessories Included: Remote Control

This Wsky Video Projector has been upgraded for 2018 with 2,500 lumens and over 40,000 lamp hours for crisp, clear multimedia projection for many years.

Get the family or your friends together in the backyard for some audio-visual fun in the form of video games, movies, image slideshows and more.

The screen can be adjusted for a picture anywhere from 30” to 176” with 1080P supported. It has one built-in speaker but output for external sound as well so you can get the audio you are looking for.

There are dual fans built in to the LED Portable Video Projector to keep it quiet and cool. Set this portable projector up with video game systems or even your smartphone.

This backyard movie projector is backed by a 100% money-back guarantee based on the item’s performance and your satisfaction. This upgraded version of the T21 is the best outdoor projector under $200 and offers brighter, bigger picture with better sound and lower fan noise.


#5 Meyoung LED Mini Projector

Meyoung LED Mini Outdoor Projector

Meyoung LED Mini Projector at a Glance:

  • Item Dimensions: 8” x 3” x 6”
  • Item Weight: 2 Pounds
  • Available Connections: SD Card, USB, HDMI
  • Sound: Built-in Speaker, External Available
  • Screen Size Range: 50” to 130”
  • Accessories Included: AV Cord, Remote Control

While you may need an external speaker to use the VGA adapter, or just if you’d like a crisper sound, the Meyoung LED Mini Projector is available for HDMI cords and more.

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 50” and 130” when the projector is placed between 5 and 13 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 from 1,200 lumens that feature 30,000 lamp hours. The Meyoung is a smaller projector with big audio and visual quality.


How to Choose the Best Outdoor Projector – A Buyers Guide

best outdoor movie projector

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.

LCD

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.

LCOS

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.

DLP

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

Light Source

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.

Brightness

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. For larger screens, you want to have between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens.

Resolution

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.

FAQs For 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?

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”?

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?

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: What are the most popular aspect ratios?

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 do I set up my projector outdoors?

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.

If you have external sound set up, make sure the table is sturdy enough to hold the audio equipment and that it can be heard by everyone.

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.

Maybe you just want to enjoy surround sound outdoors. But adding external speakers to your outdoor video projector can give you an even better experience than using the built-in ones.

Final Thoughts

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.

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Rich Remick

I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.

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