In this buying guide, we have reviewed Best Projectors Under 500 list based on design, features, performance, popularity, and connection and controls.
It took our team a full 2 months to research and test each projector under 500 to gather data for this article. We have reviewed each unit with honesty. I hope you guys will like our content.
With movie theatres still out of the question because of the pandemic, we all are trying to recreate the experience at home.
Streaming on Netflix, watching videos on YouTube, or playing your favorite video games on the big screen is an awesome experience unless the limited budget makes it challenging to afford a projector with HD resolution, easy portability, and the best image quality.
It is not always easy to figure out which projector is the best one. So, we’ve compiled the list of best home theater projectors under 500.
What are The Best Projectors Under 500 for 2023?
After a lot of research, I have enlisted the only best projectors under 500 that suit most situations based on their performance.
There are a lot of specifications and choices to make when it comes to buying the best projector.
The factors that are considered exclusively while buying the best home theater projector are zoom lenses, lumens, laser or lamp-based, projection size, DLP or LCD, Resolution 1080 or 4K, zoom range and lens shift, aspect ratio, brightness, contrast ratio, connectivity, sound, and the screen.
If your budget is close to $1000, check out our article about projectors under $1000.
Let’s have a look at the best home theater projector with the most reasonable prices.
- Epson Home Cinema 880 – Best Projector under $500
- Optoma HD146X – Best For Gaming
- Anker Nebula Capsule Max – Best Mini Projector
- ViewSonic WXGA Projector – Best For Business Presentations
- Epson VS260 – Best Picture Quality for the Price
- GooDee HD Video Projector – Best Lamp Life. Portable
- Epson 2100 – Best For Home Cinema
- LG PH550 CineBeam – Best Bluetooth Projector
1. Epson Home Cinema 880 – Best Projector Under $500
Although Epson Home Cinema 880 has 3300 lumens still it appears brighter, more colorful & lighter in weight as compared to other projectors of the same price.
For perfect alignment, it includes an adjustable 50-degree keystone & convenient four-color modes adjustment.
It displays a bright and clear image day & night without any washout.
Epson Home Cinema 880 has an audio jack & a built-in 2W mono speaker that is quite enough to overcome the projector’s fan noise.
The lamp’s usable hours can be extended from 6000 to 12000 hours by adjusting the projector on ECO mode, but the image remains bright & clear.
Why choose Epson Home Cinema 880 Projector
If you are binge-watching interesting TV series this versatile projector provides amazing color brightness and fast data processing while streaming games or movies. Without a doubt, Epson 880 is the Best Projector Under 500 in terms of full HD 1080p performance.
Epson HC 880 comprises surprising full HD 1080p picture quality with true 3-chip 3-LCD technology without distracting color brightness.
All-digital HDMI connectivity ensures easy connection to cables, gaming consoles & streaming devices.
Four convenient color modes, Natural, Dynamic, Cinema & Bright Cinema are easily selectable.
With a full unit replacement & warranty of 2 years, it has award-winning service that makes it best to choose a home cinema projector.
Design of Epson Home Cinema 880 Projector
Epson HC 880 is impressive in design. Lens technology has enclosed glass structure that for marvelous edge to edge picture sharpness.
It has a two-dimensional 30-degrees keystone correction & corner fit for desired image geometry.
HC 880 is compatible with many projector control systems such as AMX, PJ Link, or Crestron.
Portable design for easy transport at any place, digital zoom compatibility with manual focus adjustment.
Dynamic contrast ratio of 16,000z; 1 for detailed dark scenes with 3300 lumens of brightness
Includes a remote to control access across the room
Connections and Controls
- 1x HDMI 2.0 port
- 1x Audio out with 3.5mm stereo
- 1x PC free USB Type-A
- 1x Plug & Play USB Type-B
- Can be connected to a cable box, gaming consoles via HDMI input
- Supports Mira casting with laptops, smartphones, or tablets
- Control via RS-232
- Crestron, PJ-Links, and AMX
Overall performance of Epson Home Cinema 880 Projector
Epson HC 880 projector delivers astonishing 1080p picture quality up to 320 virtually on any large screen or blank wall.
With 3300 lumens of brightness and a lamp life of 6000 hours, you can enjoy quality home theater content.
It provides more accurate colors as compared to many DLP laser projectors that cost 3 times more than this.
You will be blown away by the picture quality of Epson HC 880. Adjustment is enough to make a straight picture.
Though Epson Home Cinema 880 projector does not have much instrumentation if you are looking for a perfect image in an affordable projector, it should be at the top of your list.
2. Optoma HD146X – Best For Gaming
It has impressive image quality with great brightness & vivid colors to display every minor detail of games & movies
Easy to install, light in weight, and takes just seconds to unplug everything to get your room back to normal.
The lamp life hours of Optoma HD146X are up to 15000 dynamic, 4000 bright & 10,000 Eco mode.
Why choose the Optoma HD146X projector?
Experience the big screen cinematic environment with economical Optoma HD146X 3600 lumens, 1080p high-performance projector for movies & games. It is probably one of the Best projectors Under 500 in terms of popularity.
It has intensified gaming mode with an input lag of 16ms. Gaming mode has amazing visibility to display dark scenes & shadows.
The auto power-off/on with HDMI-CEC technology allows effortless control of connected devices and projectors with the help of a remote.
The DLP DMD single-chip design draws perfect picture alignment with surprising brightness.
Displays perfect 3D content for even the newest generation gaming consoles.
Design of Optoma HD146X
With the resolution of a 1920×1080p DLP chip, it has a 6-panel color wheel to enhance brightness & minimize the errors in colors caused by white panels.
Optoma HD146X weighs only 6.2 pounds that making it easy to set up. To square off the image, it has a 40-degree vertical keystone correction & adjustable 1.1x zoom.
The fast input lag of 16ms makes it ideal for fast-paced consoles.
The standard throw distance projects 120 degrees of an image from almost 13 to 14ft away.
The black technology ensures more image depth with the help of smoothing lamp output to build a contrast ratio of 25,000: 1 which delivers bright scenes more clear & detailed dark scenes.
Connections and Controls of Optoma HD146X
- HDMI input 1.4 for auto power on/off
- USB Type-A connection to drive streaming stick
- The backlit remote
- Audio port with 3W onboard speakers
- Day-night highest viewing experience because of ISF modes
Overall Performance of Optoma HD146X
Optoma HD146X projector is the perfect solution for watching TV Shows, movies, and live sports. With the low input latency, you can play your favorite games on it.
The fascinating color technology, convenient installation, and easy setup enhance its worth, but the price is still affordable.
1080p Resolution supports full HD content with detailed and sharp images.
HDTV standard is capable of reproducing REC. 709 color gamut that provides a stunning display for punchy-looking images.
Optoma HD146X provides a cinematic experience at home with perfect picture quality for movies. While gaming mode has lots of advantages making it highly recommended.
3. Anker NebulaMax – Best Wi-Fi Mini Projector
Experience the brighter world with 220 ANSI lumen of brightness and the magic of cinema at home with 100 inches of HD image.
With a better battery and more capacity, Nebula Capsule Max has screen mirroring so you can connect your phones & other portable devices.
HD DLP display with a detailed resolution of 1280×720 is easy to adjust. Autofocus is fast and easy, focuses in just seconds.
The fan is not noisy & built-in speakers of 8W are loud enough with quality audio.
It has Android 8.1 for downloading and streaming on Youtube, Hulu, and Netflix. You can install Nebula Connect App on your phone by Play Store for a better experience.
With the ability to prevent direct light from entering your eyes, Nebula Max keeps your eyes to binge-watch all TV shows without straining them.
Why choose Anker Nebula Capsule Max
Nebula Capsule Max can be projected from any angle with keystone correction of 40 degrees vertical & horizontal. Automatically focuses in just 1 second.
It has an amazing battery that can last up to 4 hours on 1 charge. So, enjoy watching your favorite videos without any break.
Experience the brightest and most vivid world with 200 ANSI lumens, 1280×720p resolution & a 16: 9 aspect ratio at the cheapest price.
Enjoy immersive audio with 8W built-in speakers to hear every quality moment.
It is universally compatible to connect HDMI & USB devices to project media on the big screen. It can also be connected wirelessly with the help of Bluetooth or Miracast.
Design of Anker Nebula Capsule Max
Nebula Capsule Max is designed to be very light in weight to take your pleasure for entertainment anywhere.
The projection size of 100 inches big picture adds more joy to watching movies, TV shows with HD image quality.
Capsule Max automatically switches to lower brightness when it is uncharged with default battery saving mode.
Physical Buttons, Touch Buttons, Bluetooth Remote App & IR Remote all are designed to control & make it easy to use.
Connections and Controls
- HDMI 1.4 up to 1080 input
- USB Type-A
- Bluetooth BT4.2 Dual Mode
- Screen Mirroring
- AUX: Out
- Physical Buttons (Power, Mode Switch)
- Touch Buttons (D-Pad, Volume)
- Bluetooth Remote App
- IR Remote
- Battery 3.7V
Overall performance of Anker Nebula Capsule Max
Anker Nebula Capsule Max with a battery of 3.7V lasts for up to 4 hours without disturbing the joy of streaming & downloading.
This mini projector has surprising sound quality with built-in 8W speakers & the image quality is beyond expectation at such an affordable price.
Different types of controllers are present to make their control easier & adjustable according to the needs.
Clear & sharp brightness, crisp & vivid colors, HD display & perfect resolution at a low price are quite sufficient for this product. So, it is highly recommended.
4. ViewSonic 3800 Lumens WXGA - Best For Business Presentations
ViewSonic WXGA projector provides bright & vivid images with amazing color accuracy. It provides an extensive range of colors and elegantly ravishing pictures with a native resolution of 1280×800p.
To reproduce the finest details it has a contrast ratio of 22,000: 1. The overall setup and performance of this projector are remarkable.
SuperEco energy-saving mode reduces power consumption by extending the lamp life. Its control system is very reliable and makes it convenient to use.
WXGA has an amazing feature of an automatic sleep timer to shut off the projector or put it into sleep mode during periods of inactivity or in case you forget to turn it off.
Why choose ViewSonic 3800
With adaptable connectivity features, excellent audio-visual options, and a reasonable price, the Viewsonic 3800 Lumens WXGA Projector is perfect for use in educational institutions and business environments.
It has 5 color modes like movie, photo, standard, presentation & brightness mode users can choose according to their choice.
Different lamp modes allow extending the life span of the lamp by dimming the projected image to 70%.
Its 16ms input latency delivers frame-by-frame action faster & smoother.
Design of ViewSonic 3800
- Unique 5 viewing modes are designed to provide the best usage results such as:
- Brightest mode for the environment with maximum brightness
- Standard mode for color enhancement
- Movie mode for color saturation in a dark environment
- Photo mode for natural colors
- Presentation mode for perfect contrast ratio
HDMI port enables to project of 3D content from 3D Blu-ray players and devices such as media players, tablets, and laptops.
Auto power off/on modes is available to conserve lamp life and energy. Vertical keystone correction was installed for the adjustment of distorted images.
ViewSonic 3800 lumens design includes an LED indicator, zoom focus, projection lens, security lock, and many other connectors.
Connections and Controls
- USB Type-B mini service
- 1x HDMI 1.4
- 2x VGA
- Mini USB
- RS232: 1
- Composite RCA video In
- 1x Monitor out
- 1x Audio in/out
Overall performance of ViewSonic 3800
ViewSonic 3800 Lumens WXGA Projector works amazingly with ambient light and is very sharp and crystal clear. It has been guaranteed for the production of a bright image in any environment.
It is super easy to use and its overall performance is up to the mark.
Its remote and menu interface is reliable and intuitive. Remote is designed for 8 different codes for effortless configuration during lessons or meetings.
Lamp life on Eco mode enables a user to dim projection brightness and increases the life of the lamp. Instantly power on by direct connecting power cord or by VGA cable connection.
ViewSonic 3800 lumens work perfectly in offices for business, & indoor/outdoor movies. Lacking native 1080p resolution it still shines bright with great image quality & offers rare projection too.
5. Epson VS260 XGA – Best Picture Quality for the Price
The Epson VS260 projector is one of the most affordable and compact projectors ever. It is perfect for business presentations and epic for streaming your favorite movies and TV shows.
The VS260 can produce a big bright image up to 30 inches. No flat panel TV could ever deliver such a big and immersive image.
It is perfect for virtually any lighting condition with amazing color and bright pictures. It is possible because the VS260 uses a unique 3-chip 3 LCD projection technology with an impressive 3300 lumens of brightness to ensure everything you display will be sharp and clear.
The VS260 has a native XGA resolution of 1024×768 along with a built-in speaker, electronic zoom, a single manual focus, and a single HDMI input. It is easy to connect your computer or other devices quickly and conveniently. The Epson VS260 projector is perfect for business and epic for playing video games.
Why choose the Epson VS260 projector?
Epson VS260 is the best home theater projector with awesome brightness, excellent image quality, and true 3-chip 3LCD technology.
It has versatile and ingenious connectivity, an easy and reliable setup, a built-in picture skew sensor, and a built-in speaker with an incredible dynamic contrast ratio of up to 15,000.
With 1-year of limited warranty, full-unit replacement, along with free technical phone support for the life of the product Epson VS260 is among the list projectors that are best to choose.
Epson VS260 is sharp and focuses from left to right and top to bottom. There are several ways of picture adjustments to make it to your preference.
It is super bright and the colors are great. It is about 9 feet wide. The styling is extraordinary and it is a perfectly solid machine.
The controls and connection are pretty easy to understand, it has good color fidelity and it has a nice slide door to manually screen out the projector light.
Design of VS260
- This best home theater projector is available in exquisite white color.
- It is highly compatible as well as durable made with the best quality plastic material.
- Its true 3-chip 3LCD projection technology produces amazing color accuracy and clarity.
- The compact design provides flexibility and ease when moving the projector. It easily fits in a backpack.
- Its digital picture processing quality abolishes blocking and other compression artifacts.
Connections and Controls
- Epson VS260 is highly compatible for its overall performance.
- It has surprising video output and audio quality.
- HDMI port 1x, Audio & Video Input
- Very easy to install
- Remote controlled with power, e-zoom, menu & many auto features
- USB Type-B(2.0) plug and can be played from Mac and Windows computers
Overall Performance of Epson VS260
Epson VS260 is the perfect solution for presentation and communication among the audience.
In the modernized work environment, VS260 can connect to many favored streaming devices like Apple TV, Fire TV & Chromecast by HDMI port and facilitate 4K content
The most impressive feature of VS260 is its color reproduction which is up to 1.07 billion colors.
Its compactness and easy-to-control ability make it ideal for office use.
Epson VS260 is highly recommended because of its size, compatibility, value for money, and audio-video quality.
6. GooDee HD Video Projector – Best Lamp Life (50,000 Hours)
The sharpness of the image is amazing despite at distance and LED light adapted to LCD technology adds more crispiness to picture quality.
It comes with an HDMI cable and remote that can save money from expanding to buy it separately, while the speakers are loud enough to replace the need for an external speaker.
This projector is the easiest to set up and use. It will take 2minutes or less from opening the box to a fully set up projector.
A solid and inexpensive projector with enough native resolution, great sound is perfect to choose as an indoor/outdoor projector.
Lamp life of 50,000 hours makes this projector very long-lasting.
Why choose GooDee
GooDee 2021 has removable screw caps to make its installation ceiling mount. Light in weight so can be transported easily from one place to another.
Its adjustable foot pads can adjust the height of the projector for the best viewing experience. Its whole system is easy and fast to run.
By rotating the keystone you can focus on the best view and can also achieve multidirectional projection.
The advanced cooling effect, LED light source, long lamp life, HIFI, and 3W speakers all add perfection to the GooDee 2021.
Numerous connections allow it to connect with iPhone, Android, Xbox, PS3, and PS4.
Design of GooDee
GooDee 2021 has an upgraded brightness of 6800 Lux and a contrast ratio of 3000: 1 that provides a clear, bright, and wide image to view indoors/outdoor without any limitation.
Full HD Resolution of 1080p offers vivid and ultra-accurate video quality, while 230 inches Max screen improves viewing experience with optimal 10ft distance or more.
The newest cooling system has been installed to dissipate heat faster extending the lamp life.
HiFi Stereo with SRS sound system is present for more clarity of sound while 2 built-in speakers of 3W deliver louder sound without the aid of an external speaker.
Updated LCD technology uses LED light to extend lamp life while keeping loss minimum. So lamp life reaches up to 50,000 hours easily.
Connections and Controls
- AV Ports
- Micro USB Type-C
- Can be connected with Fire Stick TV, Xbox, PS3, PS4, Chromecast, iPhone, Android & external speakers
Overall Performance of GooDee
GooDee 2021 has upgraded brightness that is more than any other ordinary projector with a 3000: 1 contrast ratio which adds more clarity vividness to the image. It provides the best view in slight light, indoor, & outdoor like in backyard camping.
No need for external speakers. Experience a complete home theater with 2 built-in 3W speakers with an updated HIFI stereo and SRS sound system.
It can easily be connected to several multimedia devices such as a media player, iPad, iPhone, DVD, Tablet, Android, Xbox, etc. Have full entertainment by watching favorite TV series, movies, and games.
As for price, it is an excellent and inexpensive projector with sufficient brightness, picture clarity, and sound quality you can find.
7. Epson Home Cinema 2100 - Best For Home Cinema
Epson Home Cinema 2100 delivers bright & colorful pictures with a full HD resolution of 1080p & 2500 lumens of brightness.
It is compatible with almost every streaming device such as Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.
There is no need for external speakers because the sound quality is perfect with a built-in 10W Mono Speaker.
The optical zoom is remarkably joyful & fits the image perfectly at a place while 3LCD technology produces amazing colors. The keystone correction allows getting a straight image.
Very easy to install and can be mounted on the ceiling without much effort. Screen size & screen focus adjusters are made for quick and easy adjustments to fill the screen area and then to focus. It all takes a maximum of 20minutes it set up everything.
Why choose Epson Home Cinema 2100
2500 lumens of color & white brightness make it highly suitable for various lighting conditions, while for detailed visibility of dark images its contrast ratio of 35,000: 1 is extraordinary.
The placement options of Epson Home Cinema 2100 are numerous like vertical & horizontal keystone correction with 1.6x zoom and up to throw ratio of 2.16: 1.
For standard definition & HD sources, its VGA and HDMI connections show full compatibility for many smart devices.
Picture quality, brightness, audio, and video inputs in this value of money are worth it. It is perfect for sports & get-togethers that give a feeling of pleasure and joy.
Design of Epson Home Cinema 2100
The design of the Epson Home Cinema 2100 is standard but still easy to use. There are a lot of buttons for navigation menus.
It includes innovative 3LCD technology for stunning images without any rainbow effect.
There is a sliding cover on the lens to protect it while transporting and screen shields quickly when not in use, lens has focus uniformity, while the 10W Mono speaker is ideal for audio.
Its IR remote control adds more convenience by making its controls easier. For the smooth appearance of the video, it has frame interpolation that creates an interstitial frame.
HDMI and MHL-enabled devices are present for mirroring, charging, and perfect connectivity.
Connections and Controls
- USB Type-A, Mini USB
- HDMI (MHL)
- VGA In. Dsub- 15pin
- Analog RGB
- Mini Audio Jack
- IR Remote Control
Overall performance of Epson Home Cinema 2100
Epson Home Cinema 2100 is pretty sharp for presenting smooth & natural skin tones and everything just looks amazing.
The stereo mini audio port connects the projector to PCs and laptops. 1Amp USB can be used as firmware, power, and slideshow port.
Lamp life of 4500 hours in normal mode improves drastically to 7500 hours in Eco mode making it a long-lasting projector.
Additional frames are added up by frame interpolation to ensure smooth transitions while navigation keys help to make alterations during the presentation.
Epson Home Cinema 2100 is super-bright & simply outstanding. It is highly recommended as the best HD projector which saves your money.
8. LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector - Best Bluetooth Projector
LG PH550 is an LED projector that perfectly displays movies, TV shows, pictures & games. Its wireless mirroring ability connects it easily to a tablet or smartphone.
It is ultra-portable, compact & easy to set up with almost all inputs you can desire for.
Clear resolution & powerful light make it best for wall viewing. Speakers are loud enough but you can also use Bluetooth to boost audio.
Sleek, stylish & light in weight LG PH550 is attractive & surprisingly affordable.
Why choose LG PH550 CineBeam
You don’t need to worry about power consumption because the LG PH550 CineBeam LED projector has a built-in battery of up to 2.5 hours & you can carry it anywhere just like a mobile theater.
It has a wireless mirroring function that can be connected to a tablet or smartphone for projection. On USB drives it can also display office documents, movies, or music.
This projector is long-lasting due to its 30,000 hours of lamp life for perfect entertainment. Its LED displays bright & captivating colors.
LG PH550 is ideal to choose from because of its so many astonishing features within such a short price range.
Design of LG PH550 CineBeam
1.43 pounds of LG PH550 is the lightest in weight, designed to carry easily anywhere, anytime.
LED in PH550 lasts for 30,000 hours, & its build-in battery is rechargeable that lasts up to 2.5 hours. Remote controlled with two AAA batteries.
For perfect sound quality, it has a 2W stereo speaker & Bluetooth compatible sound system.
LG PH550 has a composite video adapter, as well as AC/DC adapter. The wireless design replaces the need for cable & cords making it easier to set up.
3D DLP technology displays crisp images & 550 lumens of brightness add more spice to it.
Connections and Controls
- HDMI Input
- 1 USB port
- Bluetooth availability: Version 3.0 + HS
- Portable, screen mirroring
- Compatible to windows
- Wireless connections with Android OS, WiDi
- VGA In: Dsub 15pin
Overall performance of LG PH550 CineBeam LED Projector
Syncing the projector to the Bluetooth speaker eliminates any kind of lag between sound & action. Bluetooth can be connected to headphones, audio speakers, and portable speakers.
Wireless mirroring works perfectly for Android and Windows for a vivid display.
30,000 hours of lamp life enhances its durability & battery life of 2.5 hours is sufficient for entertainment.
Image quality and brightness of 550 lumens are more than enough for watching movies or TV shows on a 100 inches screen.
The lightweight LG PH550 has almost every feature at such an affordable price, with lots of wireless connections, LED displays, and built-in batteries.
How To Choose Best Projectors Under 500 (Buyer’s Guide)
Buying the Best projectors Under 500 is not an easy task. It needs massive research and hard work to get all the required information about the specifications and functions of the projector.
For your ease, we have compiled all the important information that will be more than enough to help you buy the best home projector.
Brightness, Contrast Ratio & Resolution: The brighter the image, the more you enjoy streaming and gaming at home. It gives clarity to pictures during daylight.
The contrast ratio depicts color differentiation, so a high contrast ratio displays maximum colors.
Supported & native resolution defines pixels that play role in forming the image. High resolution is essential for HD-quality picture projection.
Lamp Life: Lamp life defines the life span of any projector. So, maximum lamp life will help to increase the durability of your projector.
Item Weight: The weight of the projector matters a lot. Sometimes it becomes difficult to transport heavyweight projectors and their setup also takes a lot of effort. To deal with it, a lightweight projector with other important features should be preferred.
Cooling Effect: A good projector must have well designed cooling system to dissipate excessive heat. It will prevent the projector from overheating, but the fan shouldn’t be noisy to disturb the audio quality.