Laser vs Lamp Projector – [Picture Quality, Lamp Life & Cost Comparison]

As per our survey, we have found that lots of newbies are getting scattered information about laser vs lamp projector and which to choose

So today we are going to provide you an unbiased comparison between them with actual parameters that should be considered before making a buying decision.

Before a detailed compression let’s discuss both technologies;

 Lamp projector: 

An old-school reliable technology used in lots of home theaters that utilize a durable lamp as a light source, we don’t want to deep dive into the physics of lamp, let’s have a look at the diagram you will find every detail about the lamp projector.

Lamp-Projector
Source=Research Gate
 Laser projector: 

A newer efficient and most reliable technology that constantly seeking the interest of buyers, simply a laser projector comes with an ultra-durable laser engine as a light source.

Let’s explore the diagram.

Laser-projector-diagram

Laser vs Lamp Projector – Detailed Breakdown

 Light source Life: 

Lamps need more frequent replacement as compared to laser because they heat up rapidly and the inner system loses efficiency more frequently.

Latest leaser sources can last for 20,000 to 30,000 hours, however, a lamp projector can last for 6,000 to 10,000 hours only.  Other than that lamp is not that reliable to maintain brightness for a long time you may feel visible decay in brightness and colors, this is the sign to change the lamp.

You also might want to know about projector mounting whether it is lased-based or lamp-based.

 Brightness: 

Brightness of lamp vs laser projector

As per our tests top of the line, lamp projectors are equally bright as the modern laser projector, still, after moving down we have found that laser projectors have more consistent and brighter image quality.

Laser projectors have no brightness decay, however, the lamp projector’s picture turns light gray after a certain time.

So, the bottom line is laser projectors are dominating the lamp projector in terms of brightness.

 Redundancy: 

Laser projectors have higher redundancy because we have tested a laser projector with a failed diode and sparingly it still projects images, however, we are not able to get images from a projector whose lamp explodes.

 Picture quality: 

Picture-quality

Laser projector has wider color gamut as compared to lamp projectors, though this is not true in all cases expensive lamp projectors of sonny and any other brands have wider color gamut in general, we have found that laser projectors project more vibrant colors and decent sharpness as compared to the lamp.

Moreover, with extra brightness, the colors of laser projector become more prominent; however, lamp projectors have slightly muted colors and contrast.

 Freedom of installation: 

Laser projectors are more reliable to install at any orientation, they have 360 degrees orientations, however, in a lamp projector you have a fixed Lamp and you can’t install it at any ideal position.

 Weight and portability: 

Laser projectors are bulky and heavy as compared to lamp projectors because of the complex inner mechanism. Though the manufacturer rushes to cut its weight the fact is currently they are somehow heavy compared to lamp projectors.

 Noise: 

As lamps need a decent cooling source you will find a noisy large fan inside the lamp projector, However laser projectors don’t require any large fans since lasers are not vulnerable to heat.

The bottom line is laser projectors are less noisy or even noiseless as compared to lamp projectors.

 Cost: 

Lamp projectors are way cheaper than laser projectors, though they need some ongoing cost of maintenance, lamp replacement, etc. the initial cost of a laser projector may be 1.5x or even more as compared to a lamp projector.

I have sonny Sony VPL-PHZ10 that cost me $2200, however, my friend has another sonny Sony VPL-CH375 with lamp technology that cost him about $1550.

So the bottom line is you have to spend at least 1.5x more than a lamp projector until the technology becomes mature.

 Maintenance: 

Laser projectors are free from maintenance even we don’t need to clean their filter because they don’t need adequate ventilation to cool down, however, the lamp projector needs properly maintained like cleaning of filter ventilation, etc.

Lamp projectors need a clean filter and ventilations, if the ventilations and filter become chocked lamp has a massive thread of high heat up.

 Startup time: 

Laser engines don’t need initial heat up, you just need to push the turn ON button, however, lamp projectors need an initial heat-up of about a few seconds or even minutes.

If you are a guy who wants to deliver presentations and lectures it is better to go for a laser projector.

 Safety: 

As you might know, the laser is not safe for the eyes, however, a lamp is a better option for the eyes. Still, we don’t need to see the laser light of the projector we just need to see the projection which is fine unless you are crossing the laser beam.

Other than that modern projector has a safety system whenever a person crosses from the beam of the projector the projector’s beams automatically turn off.

Check out our guide about projector’s troubleshooting

Pros and Cons of lamp projector

Pros of Lamp projector

  • Low initial investment.
  • Lightweight.
  • Radially available.
  • Cheaper lamps as compared to laser engines.
  • Decent picture quality.

Cros of Lamp projector

  • Long startup time.
  • Low lamp life.
  • High brightness decay.
  • Need maintenance.
  • High ongoing cost.

Pros and Cons of Laser projector

Pros of Laser projector

  • Instant startup.
  • Negligible maintenance.
  • Long lamp life.
  • Vibrant color.
  • Impressive sharpness.
  • Efficient.
  • No brightness decay.
  • No ongoing cost

Cros of Laser projector

  • High initial cost.
  • Low verities in the market.
  • Bulky.

Check out our blog post about the advantages and disadvantages of projectors in general.

Final Thoughts

We have done several practicals and consult with experts to provide you an unbiased comparison between laser and lamp projectors, I hope you will not struggle to make buying decisions between them.

Keep in mind laser projector has bright future due to simplicity, sustainability, and readability.

Though lamp is an old-school mature technology constantly dominating the market, still the trend of laser engines is stepping up, as per our research the most famous brands like Epson, sonny, VAVA, Samsung, BenQ, etc. are trying to step in the market with latest laser engines.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

Q: Are the laser projectors better for home theater?

Yes, laser projectors are an excellent choice for home theaters because they are silent long-lasting, and provide top-notch picture quality as well.

Q: Are the laser projectors worth the money?

Yes, if budget is not a problem go for the laser to cut off your ongoing cost

Q: How long will a laser projector last?

If you are talking about the whole projector it can last longer than your expectations, however, the laser may need to replace after 20,000 to 30,000 hours

Q: Are the laser projectors dangerous?

Not at all, modern laser projectors have the functionality to cut off the light source when striking an object.

Q: Do you need a screen with a laser projector?

Yes, you need a source to project the projection, it could be a screen bare wall a sheet, etc.

Q: Do laser projectors dim over time?

No, lasers are free from brightness decay.

Q: How much does a laser projector cost?

Depending on the product maybe you have to spend over 6,000 bucks for the high-end model, however, you can get an average model within 2,000 bucks.

Q: Are the laser projectors noisy?

No, they are silent as they don’t need an ultra-cooling source.

About Steve Steal

Steve is also an optics Engineer. He is been working in the optics company since 2019. He also has 4 years of experience as a projector, projector screen, camcorder, cellphones, and DSLR technician.

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