The advanced projectors of today are much more than office equipment. Of course, they can still do a great job of displaying your slides and presentations – but these handy pieces of kit are a complete home entertainment system, packed into one small unit. The modern project can deliver HD viewing on a large screen, right inside your living room. If you want cinema quality TV, movies and games but have a budget to consider, take a look at our guide. We have picked out the best 1080p projectors under $500 on the market today.
Choosing a projector on a $500 budget
If you want to pay a sensible price for your projector but still get top quality screening, $500 is a very reasonable price point to look at. For this, you can pick up a sleek and modern projector unit for portable use or for static mounting: one which delivers HD image quality and fast, consistent performance. Consider the devices you will use it with as well: many have built-in hard drives or support SD cards and flash drives, but you can also hook these projectors up to your TV box, Bluray player, laptop, console or cell phone and stream direct content such as films, games and your own images.
Many of these projectors also double up as great business equipment. They will work well in the office, and are lightweight for mobile use across the office, in meetings or when you head out on the road for sales pitches and conferences. All of the devices we have selected for review offer the 1080p display output you want from a good projector, and have their own unique features and abilities which make them stand out from the rest.
Our projector picks
Epson Powerlite HC2030 Home Cinema 1080p Projector
- Size: 14.6 x 14.3 x 17.2 inches; 8.8 pounds
- Output: 1080p HD; 2000 lumens; up to 300″ projection
Bring the excitement of 3D movies into your own living room with this home cinema projector from the team at Epson. This great little HD projector delivers a surprisingly large 300 inches of screen cover at around nine feet, which is more than sufficient for most home purposes! It adjusts easily to fit to your own screen, so you can create a comfortable viewing set-up that works for you and your household. This is also a great device for console gamers who want a bigger screen to play on: games look clear, solid and detailed so you never miss any of the action. Color and white light brightness are an even 2000 lumens each, and the anti-glare tech makes this a top choice for viewing at any hour of the day.
Mitsubishi HC4000 300-Inch 1080p Front Projector
- Size: 15 x 13 x 8 inches; 7.7 pounds
- Output: 1080p HD; 1300 ANSI lumens; 31dBA decibels; 300″ projection
This Mitsubishi model is a little older than the others in our list, but the timeless technology is still as good as any new model. The fine engineering skills of the Mitsubishi brand are evident in this great little projector, which is a top choice for laptop, PC and console gamers who need something bigger than their computer screen. The 300 inch projected display is as good as an home theater projector on the market today, and this is also a top choice for business professionals who need a sturdy, reliable work projector. As an all-round choice which can carry out many functions, this is a great choice to go for.
InFocus IN8606HD HD Home Theater Projector
- Size: 10.3 x 11.2 x 4.8 inches; 6.9 pounds
- Output: 1080p full HD; 2500 ANSI lumens; NVIDIA 3DTV; 10,000:1 contrast ratio
If design matters to you as much as performance, this cute little InFocus model may well catch your eye. At just under seven pounds, this is the lightest projector we reviewed and it is small enough to be carried in your bag – or even a large pocket! If you spend a lot of time working around the country and need equipment that can go where you do, this is the right model for you. It also performs extremely well for home TV and movie viewing. One area for improvement is the remote control – it is small and easy to lose – but the projector itself is smart and functional and will do any job you need.
Sanyo PLV-1080HD High Definition 1080p LCD Home Theater Projector
- Size: 13.6 x 17.7 x 5.7 inches; 16.5 pounds
- Output: 1080p HD; 1200 ANSI lumens; 10,000:1 contrast ratio; 100″ projection
The big advantage of this slick projector is the extensive range of ports and connections. From HDMI to USB, you can set up all your entertainment devices to stream through the same unit. This is a better choice as a static unit – it is a little weighty and quite a substantial size. Mount to the floor or ceiling, depending on your set-up, or use a dedicated projector cabinet to house your machine. The internal fan’s low sound output is another big selling point for this Sanyo model. At just 21 dB, it won’t interrupt your films and shows. It is easy to set up yourself thanks to smart internal technology that shifts and focuses the lens, so you can use this projector at a wide range of distances.
Sony VPL-HW40ES Full HD SXRD Home Theater ES Projector
- Size: 23.5 x 20 x 11.5 inches; 27.5 pounds
- Output: 1080p Full HD; 1700 lumens; 21 dB fan output; 1.6x optical zoom lens
This is the largest projector we reviewed and therefore more suitable for home cinema and gaming purposes, or as a fixed projector for a meeting room or office. It delivers powerful performance and advanced graphics, and is perfect for viewing movies and games. Sony technology is built to last so you can expect many years of viewing pleasure. The internal Reflective LCD Imaging technology gives the clearest, sharpest picture yet and the Full HD looks amazing on any flat plain wall, as well as on a dedicated LCD screen. The fans inside are silent and you shouldn’t experience any issues with overheating when using it.
Lead image credit: Wikipedia
All details correct at the time of writing, via Amazon.com