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Best Outdoor Projectors 2023

Jan 22, 2024

Movie or game nights in the backyard have never looked so good.

Whether you plan backyard movie nights, Sunday afternoon football, or showing off vacation snaps during your barbecue, you need a projector suitable for outdoor use. Thankfully, movie nights under the stars and big-screen sports on sunny days are now something everyone can enjoy with a clear and vibrant picture thanks to advancements in projector technology.

However, you’ll need to consider certain things before buying. If you primarily want to watch movies, image quality is paramount. Sports fans and gamers will need to think about refresh rates and input lags, while brightness is critical for daytime viewing.

Here's a look at some of the best projectors for outdoor use available today.

Elevate Your Outdoor Entertainment Experience

The ViewSonic PX701-4K is a versatile outdoor projector with 4K UHD resolution, high brightness, and SuperColor technology for vibrant and accurate visuals. It offers a low input lag and high refresh rate, making it ideal for gaming and sports, while its portability and adaptability add convenience for outdoor use.

The ViewSonic PX701-4K is an excellent choice for movie buffs, sports fans, and gamers who want outdoor projection at any time of the day. The display is bright, vibrant, and clear thanks to its 4K resolution, high contrast ratio, and 3,200 ANSI lumens. If you need even more luminosity, there's a 4,000-ANSI lumen 4K model and 3,500 versions with 1080p resolutions.

It also features SuperColor technology for a wide color gamut with accurate reproduction. Movies look vibrant, and showing neighbors your vacation videos during backyard parties will not be a yawn-inducing experience!

It has a low input lag of 4.2ms and a high 240Hz refresh rate for gaming and sports. Motion blur and noticeable delays are virtually non-existent, making this projector an excellent choice for watching Sunday afternoon football. It also means you can entertain the kids with big-screen gaming during afternoon barbecues.

When used outdoors, its 40-degree horizontal and vertical keystone correction, anti-warping stabilization, and 1.1x optical zoom mean you can quickly adapt the picture to the projector's position. You can project from any spot if you don't have an available flat surface, such as a table. In addition, it's portable and lightweight, and you can easily carry it from the house to the yard or car.

A Portable, Affordable Streaming Projector

The Emotn N1 portable projector offers affordable access to quality streaming with integrated apps like Netflix and Prime Video. It features a native 1080p resolution, HDR10 support, quick setup with ToF Auto Focus and Auto Keystone Correction, and convenient connectivity options like HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet.

The Emotn N1 portable projector is officially licensed by Netflix and features additional integrated on-demand content, such as Prime Video. It's an excellent streaming projector perfect for accessing entertainment without the need for external devices and comes at an affordable price point to boot.

Yet, despite its affordability, our review of the Emotn N1 found that it doesn't compromise on image quality. It boasts a native 1080p resolution and HDR10 and HLG support. However, its 500 ANSI lumens of brightness limits its outdoor use to movie nights only, as it will struggle to produce clear pictures in bright environments.

Setup literally takes seconds. With ToF Auto Focus and Auto Keystone Correction, it treats you to trouble-free configurations; getting quickly settled into your movie is super simple. However, at 8lbs, it's not the lightest, but it's not the heaviest either; it's still transportable without too much worry. Emotn's N1 projector is also relatively compact and won't take up much room in a back seat or car trunk if you need to take it somewhere.

Sound-wise, it comes with two 5W speakers. You will require an external speaker to get the audio up to scratch when using it outdoors, and it has Bluetooth or a line-out port for connecting. Other connections include HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet for convenient options with a variety of sources.

Versatile Projection with Extensive Connectivity

The Epson Pro EX9220 is a versatile, portable projector suitable for outdoor, indoor, and professional settings. With impressive image quality and a wide array of connectivity options, including screen mirroring and multiple input ports, it offers a seamless and vibrant projection experience from various content sources.

The Epson Pro EX9220 is a suitable projector for outdoor use and offers a plethora of connectivity options for sourcing your content. It's also lightweight and portable for easy transportation to the yard. Or, as it's also an excellent choice as a business projector, you can simply pop it in the back seat or trunk and take it to the office.

The projector boasts a 1920x1200p WUXGA resolution, 3,600 ANSI lumens of color and white brightness, and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. Its 3LCD, 3-Chip technology utilizes three separate LCD panels to deliver a wide color gamut with accurate reproduction. Images are vibrant and high-quality; movies and cartoons look great day or night. However, with a typical refresh rate and input lag for a projector in its class, video games and fast-paced sports will be subject to some motion blur.

You can connect and stream from a variety of sources. With Miracast, you can screen share from just about any source, while there are also two HDMI ports. It also has USB, VGA, and even RCA ports for an old-school analog video connection. You can also mirror your tablet or smartphone using the MHL connection while simultaneously charging your device.

Affordable Outdoor Gaming

The Optoma HD146X is a budget-friendly projector suitable for gamers who enjoy sessions indoors and outdoors. It offers reduced input lag, vibrant visuals, and 3D support, making it ideal for immersive gaming, while its 3,600 ANSI lumens and portability ensure it's a good choice for outdoor viewing.

The Optoma HD146X is a good choice for gamers on a budget who enjoy day or night sessions in the yard or in the living room. While it may not have the highly-impressive gaming specs that the ViewSonic PX701-4K offers, it still has enough about it for a satisfying session. With Enhanced Gaming Mode, the projector prioritizes the reduction of input lag and faster response times for a more captivating experience. Additionally, it offers Game Display Mode, which enhances shadows and produces more clarity in dark scenes.

Whether it's the sun or the moon that shines, with 3,600 ANSI lumens, it's perfect for outdoor use. In addition to video games, the 1080p resolution and Dynamic Black technology help deliver awesome-looking movies with stunning visuals and depth with a striking dynamic range. The Optoma HD146X also has 3D support for various sources, including Blu-ray players, broadcasts, and gaming consoles. It enhances 3D viewing with its 120Hz refresh rate support for smooth and flawless immersive experiences.

While the projector offers gamers excellent value, it doesn't come without its flaws. Fan noise is something of an issue, and it also has a limited number of connectivity options. Nevertheless, given its price point, it delivers a bright outdoor experience for gamers and movie buffs.

Smooth Big-Screen Sports Action

The BenQ TK800M is a high-performance 4K projector equipped with DLP technology. With a 120Hz refresh rate and low input lag, it delivers smooth and immersive sports viewing, while its dedicated picture modes and customizable sound options enhance the overall entertainment experience.

The BenQ TK800M is another top-notch 4K choice and perfect for enjoying big-screen sports in the yard. In addition to its stunning 4K clarity, the projector is kitted out with DLP technology for pixelation reduction and better dynamic range and color reproduction. Sporting a 96% Rec.709 color accuracy and 3000 Lumens of brightness, it brings Sunday afternoon football to life.

It also boasts a high 120Hz refresh rate and a low input lag, meaning it's tailor-made for fast-paced sports. The action is smooth and blur-free, while the dedicated Football Picture Mode produces natural skin tones and perfectly green grass. While the 5W speakers are loud enough to fill a small room, you may want the addition of a soundbar when watching outside. You can further enhance the audio with preset EQ modes, including Sports Mode and Football Mode, for better midrange frequencies.

However, these impressive specs mean BenQ's TK800M is not just an excellent choice for sports fans. Movie buffs, especially lovers of high-octane action and sci-fi, can enjoy smooth motion in crisp, sharp detail and quality audio. Gamers will also love its features, and it sports two HDMI ports for connecting consoles, among a plethora of other connectivity options to source your entertainment.

Immersive Movies in Stunning 4K

The ViewSonic PX748-4K projector offers impressive visuals with its 4K resolution, high brightness of 4,000 ANSI lumens, and HDR support. It delivers smooth and immersive viewing experiences with a 240Hz refresh rate, low input lag, and convenient setup features like optical zoom and automatic keystone correction.

Movie nights and afternoon matinees are perfect with the ViewSonic PX748-4K projector. With 4,000 ANSI lumens, movies look pristine even on the sunniest afternoons. It also has HDR support and delivers captivating cinematic visuals. Additionally, its compact dimensions and lightweight design make transportation to and from the yard hassle-free.

You can get a clear 4K picture on a display of up to 300 inches. Action movies and energetic sports look particularly impressive owing to the projector's 240Hz refresh rate and low 4.2ms input lag. Rapid scenes are sharp and fluid, while you also get quality, fast-paced, and responsive gaming experiences.

Setup is simple with the ViewSonic PX748-4K projector. Thanks to its 1.3x optical zoom, anti-warping stabilization, and automatic horizontal and vertical keystone correction, you have the freedom to project from various angles and surfaces while ensuring an aligned and undistorted display.

A Versatile and Portable Projector

The Epson PowerLite is a versatile, portable projector suitable for business and backyard use, offering a 1080p resolution, wireless screen sharing, and a durable build. With its lightweight design and convenient connectivity options, it delivers sharp images and is easy to transport.

The Epson PowerLite is a versatile projector designed for the business professional, but thanks to its high-lumen output and portability, it's also a good choice for the outdoors. Weighing less than 4lbs and made with a durable plastic build, it's easy enough to take back and forth to the yard and can survive minor bumps and scrapes.

While it doesn't display content in 4K, its 1080p resolution still delivers images sharp and detailed enough for most. It also features Epson's proprietary 3LCD 3-Chip technology delivering competitive color accuracy and brightness. You can also screen share from your laptop or smartphone, eliminating the need for carrying around cumbersome cables. It's even a decent choice for gaming with its low input lag and 60Hz refresh rate.

Furthermore, if you want to take it to the office for presentations on workdays, The PowerLite's slimline dimensions of 11.5 x 8.4 x 1.7 inches mean that it can slip into a briefcase or bag with ease. Its 3,200-ANSI lumen brightness also means you can clearly see the display in a bright office or conference room. Connectivity options are also plentiful and convenient, with VGA, USB, and HDMI options available.

Ultimately, you should consider several factors before diving in and buying a projector for outdoor use. One of the most crucial is its brightness. This consideration is significant for those intending to use the projector in the daytime. For afternoon movies and sports, you should be thinking about at least 2,000 lumens. However, the recommendation is 3,000 or higher.

You may also want a projector that allows you to source content from a variety of connectivity options. You’ll likely need HDMI and USB, while screencasting is a luxury option that offers convenience. The Epson Pro EX9220 has all of these and also features VGA for connecting a PC and MHL for mirroring smartphones and tablets.

Sports fans and gamers require certain specs for the best experience. A good refresh rate and a low input lag make both interests a much smoother and more enjoyable experience. If you have a next-gen games console, you might even want to splash out on a premium projector with HDMI 2.1. However, if you’re on a budget, the Optoma HD146X supports a refresh rate of up to 120Hz and has a 16ms input lag. It may not be cutting-edge enough for pro gaming, but it certainly suffices for Saturday afternoon sessions in the backyard.

If you want something that covers it all, the best choice is the Viewsonic PX701-4K. It offers outstanding 4K images, excellent specs for gaming, and high brightness. It's also lightweight and portable for taking back and forth to the yard.

Elevate Your Outdoor Entertainment Experience

The ViewSonic PX701-4K is a versatile outdoor projector with 4K UHD resolution, high brightness, and SuperColor technology for vibrant and accurate visuals. It offers a low input lag and high refresh rate, making it ideal for gaming and sports, while its portability and adaptability add convenience for outdoor use.

Barry has had a passion for all things tech-related ever since he was given a Commodore Plus/4 computer as a child. Having spent most of his adult life traveling, teaching, and writing—often combining all three—Barry considers himself a "digital nomad." His current passion is travel gadgets, and he has been writing buying guides for around a year.

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