Whether you’re screening the world cup or your next business presentation, choosing a projector can be daunting with so many models out there. Before you choose the right one for your event, check out our comprehensive guide to projectors for all occasions.
Three Common Types Of Projector
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
Transmissive projectors, otherwise known as LCD’s (Liquid Crystal Display), work by splitting light into three wavelengths and passing them through an LCD panel into a prism where the wavelengths are recombined and projected. LCD’s generally produce a bright image, with good colour saturation and low noise levels. They do, however, require a certain degree of maintenance as their filters need cleaning regularly.
DLP (Digital Light Processing)
Reflective projectors or DLPs (Digital Light Processing), use tiny mirrors to project the light into an image and do not require any filters. They can still produce a sharp image with strong brightness so can be used in larger venues and brighter rooms. The only drawback here is the lifespan of the lamp which is limited to about 1,500-2000 hours though newer models can last up to 5,000 hours.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
LED projectors are in a slightly different category because it refers to the bulb type rather than display technology. Consequently, though LED projectors are technically a category of their own, some DLP projectors can also use LED bulbs. Efficiency is the main advantage of the LED projectors; their bulbs can last for up to 20,000 hours (more or less the lifespan of the projector itself) and they do not require filters. The LED projector is also smaller, quieter and more energy efficient, yet they lack the brightness intensity of LCDs or DLPs.
Best Categories By Event
Mini projectors (also known as portable, pocket or pico projectors) are ideal if you are looking for something more movable than the monster projector your teacher used at school. Mini projectors can weigh as little as 0.14kg and can fit into your bag or even pocket, making them perfect for travel or presentation on the go. Here are our three top models:
APEMAN Mini Video DLP Projector
LG Minibeam LED Projector (PH550)
RIF6 Cube Mini Projector
The APEMAN’s low price (just £169.99 on Amazon) is no indicator of poor quality. This is one of those DPL projectors that uses an LED bulb that we mentioned above, giving it both high resolution for its size (854 x 480) and a long bulb life. Despite its small size – the Apeman measures just under 10cm in diameter – it can still produce an image size range from 80cm – 260cm. The reason why this model wins the top spot, however, is for its user-friendly features. The Apeman has an inbuilt rechargeable battery removing the dependency on electric sockets and has the capability to connect to multiple devices – laptops, tablets, cameras, and smartphones.
Short Throw Projector
Short throw projectors are projectors that can sit close to the surface they are projecting against and shoot upwards. This is ideal for use in limited space, crowded rooms or tricky installations. Since the projector sits close against the screen/ wall there is no danger of people walking through the beam and it takes the work out of finding a surface the right exact right height and distance away from the wall. Check out our top picks:
ViewSonic PJD5155 SVGA
ASUS Zen Beam E1 Short Throw Portable Projector
LG Electronics PF1000U Ultra Short Throw Smart Home Theater Projector
Our top pick for the short throw projectors has to be the ViewSonic, for its good value and flexibility. Though this model doesn’t have as large an image size as some of its competitors, it makes up for it with its built-in optical zoom – meaning you have the freedom to place it where ever you like and adjust the image accordingly. A massive point in this projectors favour is the 3,300-lumen lamp with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio, allowing it to produce a bright, clear image even in daylight conditions. It’s got great short throw capacity producing the ideal image just 128cm from the screen. The ViewSonic is all wrapped up in a stylish curved designed shell for a just £379 on Amazon.
Large Venue Projector (HD Projector)
Large venue projectors are often but not exclusively installation projectors – projectors used primarily for venues and installed permanently to the wall or ceiling. This is primarily because large venues are often set up require a certain set of qualities – a large display image and very high lumens to create an HD image on a large scale. This can be achieved by installing large projectors or by stacking cheaper ones and overlapping their displays.
Epson Powerlight 2265U
When it comes to high lumens, the Epson Powerlight is really streaks ahead with 5,500 lumens (in both white and colour lumens), creating a display that will show up in even the largest venues. Despite its power, Epson describes the projector as a portable business projector rather than a large venue model. Yet, this is exactly what puts this model ahead for us, as it has all the power of a large venue projector but encased in a far smaller body weighing just 4.6kg. Aswell as its brightness, the 2265U offers a large image (up to 7.62m) but maintains high resolution (1920 x 1200) and capacity for full HD (1080p).
Home Cinema Projector
If you are planning on getting a projector for use at home, there are a couple of things to consider. Firstly, what sort of space are you working with? What are you planning on using it for? What are you planning to connect it to? Here are our top three recommendations for home screenings:
This DLP Optoma projector deservedly takes top spot as the best home screening projector. Its double HDMI port makes it easy to set up and perfect for connecting to multiple types of device. As a home projector, this feature is key, as it means you can watch movies or sport via a laptop, pc Blu-ray player and media streamer. You can even connect it to a games console so you and your friends can play on a bigger scale, or turn it into a smart projector by hooking it up with Apple TV or Chromecast directly. This model of Optoma is also lightweight and portable, weighing less than 2.5kg so you can easily move it about the house or garden and has a respectable brightness with 3000 lumens.
Best Projectors To Rent On Fat Llama
Finally, one last thing to consider when you are buying a projector is what you are going to do once you have actually have it. Unless, you have invested in an installed, large venue projector the likelihood is that you will not be using it every day. If this is the case, you might want to consider renting it out when you are not using it (fully insured) on peer-to-peer rental platforms like Fat Llama – and fund your next projector adventure! Here are three projectors that are making the most money in peer-to-peer rentals at the moment:
This projector is a great ‘all rounder’ designed to be easy to use and effortless to set up so even a first-time user won’t struggle to assemble it. On top of this, it’s light (weighing just 2.3kg) and bright with a 3000-lumen bulb. It’s simple design, high performance and good value rental rate (about £18 per day) make this one a favourite amongst borrowers on the platform. What’s more with a standard purchase price of £358 it would only take roughly 20 days rental to cover the initial cost of it new!