How to Use a Projector Outside? Simple DIY Methods

In this article, I have explained How to Use a Projector Outside and why it is important to have a projector with high lumen output to tackle ambient light.

I can even express how pleasing and joyful it is to watch movies and series outside with your buddies during a pleasant day or under a bright night sky.

But, the problem is projectors aren’t designed to use in the broad daylight, it is very hard to get the same amount of the home theater experience outdoors as we get indoors. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t use a projector outside.

Using a projector outside means at least 3000 to 5000-lumen output. This much brightness is necessary to watch the picture.

We also need a shaded area where we can limit the sunlight penetration. In addition to that, we also need ALR screens, blackout curtains, and artificial shading if we don’t have a built-in one.

Why Bother Using A Projector Outside?

The cinematic experience on a large screen is the reason why I use a projector outside over a TV. It honestly feels like you are at the movie theater. It is a whole new experience. You will have to try it believe it.

While TV is better than a projector in many ways, try using a projector outdoor and watch a movie, you will never go back to TV again. I have also discussed this topic in my article.

How To Use A Projector Outside?

A dark room remains the ideal home theater-like experience, but there are many ways to watch video content on your projector outside or in broad daylight.

I have compiled some tips and methods for you, read each one carefully and follow as much as you can.

Projectors With A High Lumen Count:

Projectors under 3000 lumen often require more ambient light control. You would need to create a dark environment by shutting the windows, turning off the lights, and drawing the curtains to get the maximum out of your projector. This will certainly not work outdoors.

A projector with a lumen rating between “3000-5000”, or even higher can tackle the ambient light situation. You can easily see the picture outside.

However, projectors with higher lumen output are often expensive, and an extra bright picture compromises the picture quality. The picture will pixelate.

Don’t worry I have recommended some top-notch budget projectors in this article.

Weather Conditions:

You can set up a projector and enjoy video content on a huge screen if you have a small patio, a garden lawn, or a veranda, but we gotta look at the weather conditions.

Firstly, extreme winds and rain are to be avoided. Wind can damage the projector screen and rain will fry your projector’s circuit.

Secondly, we gotta pick the right time of the day to watch movies, and ideally, that time is sunrise, sunset, and evening.

Lastly, if you wish to watch the movie during the sunniest time of the day, then between 10 am – 4 pm is the ideal time – you might need to increases the shaded area using a tent.

Use Of ALR Screens:

Use-Of-ALR-Screens

ALR (ambient light rejecting) screens are great if your room receives plenty of ambient. These screens reject daylight that is why most of the people with projectors including me use them.

There are several types of ALR projector screens but you gotta keep in mind that they can’t deflect the ambient light traveling in the same direction and angle as your projector’s light and image. Always sideways of the sunlight, remember that.

You can learn more about projector screens and their types by reading our article.

Screen Sizes:

different sizes of screens for outdoor usage

The size of your screen and lumen output are directly proportional. A fewer lumen output would be enough for a smaller screen to watch video content during.

However, if the screen is big and your projector’s lumen rating is lower, then you would have to lower the projector’s projection size (aspect ratio) to watch a brighter picture.

If you try to fit the projector on the screen, the image will pixelate. A 16×9 foot projector screen requires a minimum of 3000 lumens, but 4500 lumens is the ideal rating for outdoors. Similarly, a 20×9 projector screen requires a minimum of 4500 lumens outdoors.

Learn more about projector screen types.

Creating A Full Or Partial Shade:

Since you are competing with the sun, partial or full shade is recommended. Make a structure with a limited cover like a Gazebo, or simple square awning like ones you see people tailgating under if you don’t have any built-in structure. An umbrella with a mobile arm will also work.

During weddings or professional events where a projector must work no matter the weather conditions, waterproof gazebos are recommended for such conditions.

Tripod Projector Screens:

Tripod Projector screen

I would also recommend a tripod-based screen because it is movable and much easy to install. However, it is not suitable for uneven surfaces and windy conditions.

Tripod-based projector screens are excellent for even surfaces. You can move them to any side of the garden’s shaded place. If your area is not that windy and has pleasant weather, this budget-friendly option might be suitable for u.

Are Gaming Projectors Are A Better Choice For The Outdoors?

Like gaming laptops, gaming projectors are also equipped with high-end features with excellent graphics and picture quality which is why they are a bit expensive.

Weirdly, gaming projectors are the number one choice for many projector geeks for an outdoor experience. I also use either Optoma UHD30 or Epson 5050UB whenever I watch movies outdoor with my buddies.

You can spend a few extra bucks, go for a gaming projector. Not only it will display top-grade images with fine details, but it will also projector high brightness which is needed for daylight. You can learn more about gaming projectors and our recommendations in this article.

Following gaming projectors will work perfectly for outdoor conditions;

RECOMMENDED BY EXPERTS
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Optoma UHD50X True 4K UHD
    Optoma UHD50X True 4K UHD
  • 3500 ANSI lumens.
  • 240Hz refresh rate to provide extremely low input lag of 15.7ms
  • Enhanced gaming mode.
BEST BUDGET

BenQ TH685
                       BenQ TH685
  • 3500 ANSI lumens.
  • 120 Hz refresh rate with 8.3ms input lag on 1080p.
  • Versatile gaming modes.

 How Can I Use A Projector Outside Or In Daylight?

  • Get a projector with an above 3000-lumen rating
  • ALR projector screen that offers a 160-degree viewing angle
  • 16×9 screen means 4500 lumens, and 20×9 foot screens mean a minimum of 4500 lumens.
  • A shaded area is required. A Gazebo, or simple square awning like the ones you see people tailgating.
  • Sun shouldn’t be behind or in front of the screen.
  • A gaming projector is recommended for the outdoors. They produce more graphic and brilliant pictures with high brightness.

Top Outdoor Projectors

Following projectors are not specifically created for outdoor usage, but they can work perfectly for outdoor conditions.

RECOMMENDED BY EXPERTS
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Epson-EpiqVision-Ultra-LS300
       Epson EpiqVision LS300
  • 4000 ANSI lumens
  • 240Hz refresh rate to provide extremely low input lag of 15.7ms 
  • Enhanced gaming mode.
BEST BUDGET

Optoma-GT1090HDR-Short-Throw-Laser-Home-Theater-Projector
            Optoma GT1090HDR
  • 4200 ANSI lumens
  • 30,0000:1 contrast ratio
  • 3000 hours lamp life on eco mode
HIGH END

Optoma HD28HDR 1080p
             Optoma HD28HDR
  • 3400 ANSI Lumens
  • 50,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 150,000 hours lamp life

Gregor Allen is the Founder and Managing Director of Glinty Lab. He is an Electronics Engineer and Blogger. He loves to write unbiased reviews about tech products.

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