A projector can be a useful device to keep in your studio. You can use one to exhibit digital art, preview your works, project designs for tracing, and much more. It can be handy to choose one that is compatible not only with computers but also smartphones, as that means you’ll have less tech to set up and carry around, if you plan to travel with your projector. Plus, projectors can be great for small spaces, as the set up can be temporary. Below, we’ve found the best home projectors for under $1,000, all of which are portable.
1. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens WXGA High Brightness Projector
This 3,600-lumen home projector wins in our book because it provides an excellent picture quality for a relatively low price. You get accurate color, high resolution, and a crisp, bright image that can show up even outdoors before sunset. Fast and straightforward to set up out of the box, it also offers vertical keystone correction—lens adjustment, in common parlance—so you can raise or lower the image for optimal positioning. We also like that there are many connectivity options for media players, including HDMI, VGA, and more.
2. BenQ TH585 1080p Home Entertainment Projector
The BenQ is a great option if you intend to use your projector for different kinds of viewing experiences. This 3,500-lumen device achieves a slightly less intense brightness than our top pick, but it comes with convenient, pre-customized modes such as “living room,” “cinema,” “sports,” and “game,” so you can spend less time adjusting for the right subject matter and environment. Like our top pick, it also allows for vertical keystoning. It produces a fairly accurate image in terms of color and sharpness, but its contrast could improve.
3. AuKing Mini Projector
For a projector that costs under $100, this AuKing model offers great color accuracy and brightness. However, your picture can get pretty pixelated as you increase the size, so this projector is best for small spaces. And even if it puts out 2,600 lumens, its image is really visible only in a near-completely dark room. Despite these drawbacks, you can make plenty of adjustments for color, contrast, brightness, and focus. Note that you’ll also need to buy an HDMI adapter if you’d like to connect your smartphone.
4. Xgimi Mogo Pro
For the sharpest picture quality and a convenient design under $550, go with this compact device, which runs on an internal battery. Small enough to stand on your palm, it also boasts realistic color, impressive contrast levels, and simple navigations. Plus, not only is it equipped with four-corner keystone correction, it also automatically focuses so you can move it around without having to worry about spending more time adjusting. Finally, its internal speaker system produces pretty decent sound—a rare feat for many compact projectors.
5. Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
Just slightly more expensive than our pick for penny-pinching students, this model from Vankyo produces a solid image that is crisp and detailed. You can make some adjustments, but its focus wheel is limited as are its adjustments for color and keystone correction. Because it starts to lose focus when placed more than ten feet away from a screen, it’s best for using in small spaces. A dark room is ideal for enjoying its image, but this device is also bright enough to use in a space with ambient light.