Projectors used to be reserved exclusively for the wealth, and that’s not just because they were expensive. For the longest time, these devices had a reputation for being heavy, enormous, and requiring a huge amount of space to properly display a decent resolution. But the rise of the mini projector has created a market where anyone with a decent living space and a modest amount of cash can turn their home entertainment center into a true cinema experience.
That’s not to say that there aren’t duds on the market. Competition is fierce where mini projectors are concerned, and many newcomers don’t understand what specs to look for. Our reviews and guide can help you find the best mini projector for you.
- 10 Best Mini Projectors
- 1. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector
- 2. AAXA Technologies P7 Mini Projector
- 3. GooDee Mini Projector
- 4. DR. J Professional HI-04 1080P Supported 4Inch Mini Projector
- 5. APEMAN Mini Portable 3500L LED Video Projector
- 6. Anker Nebula Capsule Lumen Portable Projector
- 7. DBPOWER Upgraded Mini Projector
- 8. ELEPHAS Lux Portable Home Theater Projector
- 9. TOPVISION Video Projector
- 10. ViewSonic M1 Portable Projector
- Mini Projector Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Mini Projectors
1. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector
With the Leisure 3, Vankyo has done what would have seemed impossible not that long ago. For under $100, they offer a projector that's capable enough to provide you with a full cinematic experience and even facilitate game night on the latest gaming consoles. The fan suppression system means that this mini projector will run nearly silent even when pushed to its limits. And you don't need to fiddle around with the mini projector itself to get everything up and running. Everything you need to do can be handled through Vanyo's smartly designed software. It's easily one of the best mini projectors for customers on a budget.
2. AAXA Technologies P7 Mini Projector
You won't find a mini projector more compact than the AAXA P7, but while it can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, it still delivers 1080p resolution video with a maximum screen size of 120 inches in low light conditions. This mini projector will set you back $400 on Amazon, but you can count on it to last. The LED bulb is rated for a life of 10,000 hours. And you don't even need an external source to make the most of this mini projector. Speakers are built right in, and the inclusion of a media player lets you easily navigate videos from SD cards or USB drives.
3. GooDee Mini Projector
The GooDee is proof that you can get a great mini projector for $50. It's not the most high-quality or feature rich mini projector on our list, but it performs well above its class considering that dirt cheap price tag. Most of the standard connectivity options are available here, so compatibility shouldn't be an issue, and you can even use your smartphone as a remote control to stream video directly through the lens. The colorful design, simple control scheme, and appealing price tag makes this one of the best (and one of the few suitable) mini projectors for kids and preteens.
4. DR. J Professional HI-04 1080P Supported 4Inch Mini Projector
The Dr. J Professional HI-04 is a middle of the road mini projector offered at a price point well below the mid-range. Whether you're looking to watch a movie, play your favorite video game, or listen to music, the quality on this mini projector is solid across the board (albeit not the best all around), and the diffuse reflection technology used in the lens prevents eye strain and fatigue during long periods of binge viewing. It can also connect to your Android or iPhone so you can easily stream all of your favorite shows and movies without having to get up.
5. APEMAN Mini Portable 3500L LED Video Projector
Apeman may be best known for their action cams, but their entry into the consumer entertainment space proves that they can make a mean mini projector as well. This is an incredibly bright projector that's up to 80% stronger than its standard counterparts, meaning you can get great video quality even if you aren't in the best lit environment. This mini projector is rated to last for a solid 45,000 hours before failure, and the dual speakers provide a meaty sound quality that's further complemented by an updated and efficient fan cooling system that keeps everything operational and whisper smooth at the same time.
6. Anker Nebula Capsule Lumen Portable Projector
Anker is another company that's not especially known for their home video gear, but they manage to outperform with the Crosstour and deliver some of the best specs around for a tiny price. The screen size is almost as much as the Apeman, and it's compatible with practically any source device you can imagine right out of the box. The 15 degree keystone correction ensures that your videos will look good from a wide variety of different angles, and it comes with all the accessories you need to get it up and running all on its own. It can also run incredibly bright without overheating.
7. DBPOWER Upgraded Mini Projector
The upgraded DBPower is only about $70, but it provides the performance of a far more expensive projector. That includes a max resolution of 1080p and an LED light that's designed to last for up to 50,000 hours while also improving the energy efficiency. Practically any video device in your home can connect easily to this projector, and it can be further expanded with a Wi-Fi dongle for wireless performance. It also offers a great color contrast ratio so both the blacks and whites will really pop regardless of the type of content you're trying to watch.
8. ELEPHAS Lux Portable Home Theater Projector
This micro projector from Elephas draws from the latest and best LCD technology to deliver impressive performance on a reasonable budget. It boasts compatibility for practically any video sources or gaming consoles in your collection thanks to the expansive ports built in, so you can get top shelf picture quality at native resolution regardless of what content you're trying to share. And you don't need to worry about investing in external speakers either. The dual Hi-Fi speaker system ensures excellent audio quality in this model. The fact that it weighs in at less than two and a half pounds makes it an incredibly easy projector to carry as well.
9. TOPVISION Video Projector
This portable projector by Topvision is a work in progress in all the best ways. They're regularly improving the color and contrast ratio to provide results that come closer to achieving the perfect image quality with each passing update, and through the use of the keystone correction and focus ring, you can adjust your image quality to achieve the perfect look for your presentations or film watching experience. HiFi stereo speakers come built right in, and there's also an advanced cooling system built in to this white projector to ensure quiet operation and reduce the risk of overheating when it's in operation.
10. ViewSonic M1 Portable Projector
The ViewSonic may be one of the more expensive options around, but it has a performance to match that price tag. It has an incredibly low throw distance, so you can get cinema style viewing even in smaller spaces, and the presence of an adjustable arm provides a simple but useful means to adjust the angle of the screen perfectly. The M1 is compatible with most video devices and offers a strong battery life of up to six hours on a single charge. And the plug and play design means setup can be handled in a matter of minutes.
Mini Projector Buyer’s Guide
Resolution will tell you the image quality that mini projectors can provide. Unfortunately, an LED projector typically isn’t going to come close to offering the same resolution that you’d find in a modern TV. A typical TV features 4K resolution, while the max resolution supported by the portable projectors on our list are 1080p, a quarter as powerful. They still qualify as high definition, but if you want the level of pristine quality when watching movies, you may not want to drag out your portable projector.
Max Screen Size
The big advantage of portable projectors is that they can project images much larger than TVs can. 180 inches is pretty typical for a projector, but you also need to consider how much space you have to work with. Each projector are tested to determine a throw range that tells you how far away you can place it from the wall to achieve your ideal size. Take these into consideration when deciding which mini projectors are best for you.
How bright you need your projector mini to be is really going to come down to what situation you plan on using it in. If you have full control over your environment, every product on our list should suit your needs. The brightness of a portable projector is measured in ANSI lumens. If you’re projecting a movie in a dark outdoor setting or a dedicated theater room, you should be able to get by just fine on anywhere from 1000 to 2000 lumens, but if you’re trying to share presentations in a conference room, you’ll want a rating of at least 2000 lumens. Making use of a white surface as a screen can help you maximize the brightness of your projector.
Projectors aren’t designed to work on their own, and that means that you’re going to need a source to play videos or share work presentations on them. There are a few common inputs that appear most commonly in these projectors, and you should treat them as a high priority when trying to pick a projector for your needs.
- HDMI is the recognized standard for HD video, and most modern streaming or video playing products will have a slot for an HDMI cable. They offer the best resolution and highest compatibility.
- TF and SD cards are common sources for data storage, and they’re a great choice if you’re trying to share hand-crafted videos, picture slideshows, or other files.
- If you have an older source device, you may want to pay attention to whether or not it can power an AV cord. These connectors aren’t as prominent as they used to be, but they’re still a common presence in DVD and Blu-Ray players. They can’t project high-quality HD, but they’re great for older sources.
- USB should probably take a priority over TF and SD cards if you aren’t using a traditional video player device. A USB connection can be used to connect your phone or computer, but it also allows you to play video directly without the need for any additional inputs.
- VGA connectors are largely outdated, but they’re present in a lot of older computers. Consumers likely won’t find themselves needing this sort of input, but it can be a solid choice if you’re using outdated equipment from your office.
If you’re looking for this type of projector, portable performance is going to be a big deal. That means you should pay attention to both the dimensions and the weight of the portable projectors you’re evaluating. A weight of less than three pounds is ideal, especially if you want a mini projector that you can carry with you for work presentations, but also consider whether or not you need to carry accompanying gear with you. Portable projectors with built-in Hi-Fi speakers may be somewhat larger, but that’s better than having to bring speakers with you wherever you go.
Portability is one of the best advantages of a portable projector, so having a built-in battery can be incredibly useful. Be sure to check the battery life of your projector. After all, the last thing you want is for your movie to cut off before it’s over because you don’t have the battery life to support it. Ideally, you want to look for a projector that supports both an AC adapter power source and a battery.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Small Projector?
The APEMAN would be our pick. A great screen size and huge selection of inputs all make this a promising choice, but the real advantage here is the powerful 3500 lumens output that outclasses practically any other model around.
Is a Mini Projector Good?
Mini projectors aren’t going to offer the same quality in terms of contrast ratio and native resolution as a TV or the general power of a more standard projector, but portable projectors can be useful tools to have. They allow you to play movies on a screen size of up 180 inches or more for a very nice price.
What’s the Best Cheap Projector?
We like the DBPower upgraded projector. It’s one of the cheapest models on the market, but its portability, remarkable performance, and 50,000 hour lamp life is frankly incredible for the price.
Whether you want to have a movie night in your backyard or share a presentation clearly and effectively at your office, there’s no better option than a mini projector. We believe our guide offers all the tools you need to shop with confidence.