A blank screen, speaker and mini projector are the only pieces of gear it really takes to turn your living space into a full-functioning home theater.
The best mini projectors are more portable — and affordable — than many standard home theater projectors, or your big-screen smart TVs. Most of the top mini projectors are simple to control, and pair easily with your favorite streaming devices, too. Plus, their lightweight designs make them easy to set up and start streaming both in your apartment or outdoors in minutes.
Before you start planning what you’re going to stream next, read on for our guide to the best mini projectors to buy right now.
Mini Projector Buying Guide
How much space do you have? Are you going to mount your projector or put it on a bookshelf? Can you connect a speaker to the projector? These are just a few of the most important questions to ask when you’re choosing the best new mini projector for your home theater. Here’s what we looked at when researching this buying guide.
Portability: We give strong preference to projectors that can run on battery power, although we are willing to consider models that omit this feature if they seem particularly strong in other areas. Some portable models lack a battery but can run on a portable USB-C power bank, which is almost as good. We require all the projectors we consider to be at least small and light enough to carry between rooms and to put in a backpack or suitcase. A carrying handle or included travel case is a big plus.
Mount: Where are you going to watch a movie or show with the projector? Think about where you’re going to put your projector, and make sure there’s a clear, unobstructed line from the projector to the wall or screen.
Connectivity: We’ve included a range of mini projectors in this guide, from wired models that require a power source, to wireless projectors that feature HDMI connections and Bluetooth connectivity. Depending on the projector, you may need to adjust where you place it in your room or home theater to move it closer to a power source.
Picture quality: A good portable movie projector should be able to produce a reasonably bright, high-definition image. You can find a ton of super-cheap, super-tiny projectors, many costing less than $200. Unfortunately, these projectors usually have, at best, a 480p standard-definition resolution and very low light output (under 200 ANSI lumens), so they can’t deliver a truly satisfying big-screen movie image.
Battery: Some portable projectors come with an internal battery for on-the-go convenience. However, projector battery life can vary widely, with some offering barely enough for a full-length flick and others providing hours of entertainment. If you don’t want to be tethered to an outlet, opt for a model that comes with a battery sufficient for your showings.
HOW WE CHOSE
We spent 50-plus hours researching the best mini projectors on the market, comparing specs and features, and reading consumer and editorial reviews of all our picks.
To determine the best mini projectors worth buying, we thoroughly scrutinized their designs, ease of use, durability, picture quality, speaker quality, and battery life. Our picks are lightweight, super portable, and easy to use on the go. Plus, they pack enough battery life to get through a two-hour movie, while still being small enough to toss into a bag.
Whether you’re looking to have an outdoor movie night, need a new presentation tool for work, a portable display for gaming on your garage door, or want a portable home theater set-up, there’s a projector here for you.
Our Top Picks:
The projectors we highlight here are relatively lightweight, with the heaviest weighing just more than 2 pounds and the lightest right around 3 ounces. They vary considerably in size, brightness, features, and performance. Any one of these could be your favorite travel companion.
1. Anker Nebula Capsule II
When considering mini projectors, portability is one of the prime considerations, and when it comes to portability, being the size of a soda can is about as portable as you can get (especially as most bags and backpacks have pockets designed for carrying drink-sized items).
It’s got everything you need, from a speaker built into the base to a build in app store – just connect it to a Wi-Fi network and you’re good to go.
According to our tester Hayley, the Anker Nebula Capsule II is “worth every penny for those who care about image quality, sound and portability.”
The projector actually runs on Google’s Android software, so along with the easy to use interface you get an app store for downloading apps like Netflix or Hulu, plus you get the added bonus of built-in Google Assistant. You can also control it using Google Assistant or via a smartphone app (or the supplied remote).
- Android OS built in
- Google Assistant
2. ViewSonic M1+ Portable Projector
The ViewSonic M1 smart projector is one of our favorite projectors on this list because of its self-contained versatility. The stand that is built into the projector swings up to protect the projector lens when it’s closed. When open, the stand can point the projector where it needs to go. Overall the projector gets high marks for design because of its clean look and built-in kickstand.
On the downside, this projector tops out at 480p, and the keystone adjustment tends to be glitchy. But the projector has an amazing 120,000:1 contrast ratio and a long-lasting battery that can go for up to six hours when the projector is in eco mode. Inputs range from microSD, USB-C, HDMI, and USB-A. It can also output sound with a 3.5mm audio jack.
Our reviewer Hayley, also notes that the autofocus feature tends to have trouble maintaining focus. She also notes that such a shortcoming is common in projectors with the autofocus feature. If that isn’t a problem for you, then you have a nice little projector that fits into your back pocket, keeps itself protected, and lasts for hours.
- Versatile stand
- Solid battery life
- Great sound
- Limited to 480p resolution
- Glitches in auto keystone and focus
3. Epson EF-12
Epson’s 3LCD projection system is squished down here and housed in a very tidy 14 x 18 x 18cm, 2.1kg box. While not quite as serious for brightness and picture quality as the company’s more traditional home cinema machines, it still has a way with contrast and shading that’s beyond the reach of most portable projectors.
What’s more, its sound system is streets ahead of most. It’s a 2 x 5W set-up that’s been tuned by Yamaha. It’s remarkably expressive with just enough precision to hold its own even in scenes with heavy action.
There’s no iPlayer, Netflix or All 4 apps on the smart platform and we’d like Epson to have fitted an internal battery too but these are relatively minor gripes and nothing that neither a media streamer nor an extension cable can’t solve. Definitely one for your shortlist.
- Tidy build
- Strong black depth and dark detail
- Decent sound system
- Colours lack complexity
- Mains power only
- Some key missing apps
4. Anker Nebula Solar Portable
This is Anker’s best Nebula projector to date and also a very, very good portable in its own right. Feature-wise, it’s got almost everything one could need in an outdoor/portable projector. There’s an excellent smart platform, a three-hour battery life, a good degree of brightness and plenty of source material options.
What tops it off, though, is some really rather impressive picture quality. There are brighter machines out there but, for this price, there’s a great blend of both punch and subtlety to the image. In the right setting, it’s just the ticket.
The onboard speakers are a touch weedy but the quality and spread of sound from them is good.
Do be warned that the app platform is missing a few of the UK catch-up services, iPlayer included, but otherwise, this feels like one of the best projectors out there for taking on your travels. It’s small, convenient and very well appointed.
- Vivid but balanced picture
- Great portable size and features
- Decent spread of sound
- Sound system lacks impact
- Blacks could be deeper
5. Nebula Mars 2
The Nebula Mars 2 sits in a portable projector sweet spot. It is far from palm-sized, but has a synthetic leather carry strap and a shape similar to the Bang & Olufsen BeoLit 15 “lunchbox” wireless speaker. It’s cute.
This is easily the most fun portable projector in this group too. It has a battery that lasts up to four hours and Android rather than a basic menu system. The front-end is customised for use with the supplied remote, and has a dedicated app store rather than Google Play. But you can still download Netflix, BBC iPlayer and countless other apps to run direct from the Mars 2.
That includes games, but don’t get your hopes up. Most don’t run perfectly, although you can pair your phone and use its touchscreen like a laptop trackpad.
Image quality is respectable too. In a room with closed curtains and no lights switched on, the Mars 2 can produce a watchable image on a 100-inch screen. The projector dims significantly on battery power, but head to the settings menu and you can turn this off. It will simply last closer to two hours than the claimed four.
There’s no worrying about focus either as it has motorised autofocus. Sharpness is less than perfect and there’s some disparity to the sharpness across the image, but you’ll only notice if you look carefully. Its 720p resolution offers far better image detail than a basic 480p model and is a huge upgrade for gaming in particular. And you don’t need to look close to notice that.
- Fun to use
- Truly portable
- Not Full HD
- Basic colour reproduction
6. Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11
Another option from Epson’s EpiqVision line, the EpiqVision Mini EF11 is a slightly streamlined version of the EF12 above. Its strengths and limitations are similar. On the plus side, it uses a high-quality multi-array laser with 3LCD chip technology and Adaptive Color Correction. In layman’s terms, that means you’ll get full HD detail with rich colors and sharp contrast. Its main weakness is that it’s not very bright, so you’ll only be able to enjoy that beautiful picture in a completely dark space.
Like its larger counterpart, the Epson EF11 has surprisingly great sound for its size. Its dual-speaker system includes a bass-reflex speaker that’s dedicated to the lower frequencies. While its low end can’t compare to what you’ll get from a full subwoofer, it’s far superior than the sound from most home theater projectors.
At less than 3 pounds, the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF11 is one of the most compact projectors you’ll find. That said, it’s not as self-contained as the EF12. You can’t stream content directly to the EF11. Instead, it’s designed to work well with a range of streaming sticks and services like Android TV, Apple TV, FireTV, and Roku. That limits its versatility a bit, especially considering you’ll only get one HDMI port for your content.
- Super-compact design
- Adaptive Color Correction optimizes color automatically
- Vibrant full HD picture with rich black levels
- Built-in sound is strong enough you won’t need external speakers
- Easy to set up and use
- Wired input options are limited (1 HDMI port)
- Doesn’t support direct streaming
- Lamp isn’t very powerf
7. OPTOMO LV130
With a slight increase in size comes a large leap in performance. Housed inside the Optoma LV130’s palm-sized form factor is a generous 6,700mAH battery that provides up to 4.5 hours of view time, meaning you can make it through the lengthiest of flicks with no worry of it dying on you. What’s more is that with a 300-lumen lamp, the LV130 can handle an even wider range of ambient lighting.
So even if you don’t have theater-level conditions, you can still expect solid image quality. And with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, the LV130 ensures crisp colors and dark blacks in even the darkest of scenes. The HDMI input includes MHL 2.2 compatibility, enabling use with notebooks, mobile devices, and gaming consoles.
But that’s not all — it also comes with a USB port for wireless streaming power or convenient charging capability. As an added bonus, the LV130 incorporates features like energy-saving technology and Quick Resume, offering extended bulb life as well as fuss-free operation.
- Awesome colors
- Short throw
- Included carrying case
- Wireless dongle sold separately
8. Miroir M289 Portable LED Projector
The tote-sized, 27-ounce Miroir M289’s DLP chip easily delivers a sharp 1080p image at up to about 100 inches thanks to its 400-lumen red-green-blue LED light source. And it does it just about anywhere thanks to a built-in 5200 mAh, li-polymer, rechargeable battery for up to 2 hours of uninterrupted viewing time (or use it as a battery backup for mobile devices).
This portable projector is designed for streaming, with a USB input compatible with streaming sticks of your choice, and one HDMI input that accepts up to 4K material (then downconverted) from an external media player or a laptop. There’s no way to adjust the image, but colors and contrast are reasonably good out of the box whether you’re watching movies or making presentations. The unit has three buttons (on/off, volume up/down), a focus control, and automatic keystone correction.
The 3-watt stereo speakers sound good, with enough volume to fill a meeting room. Audio outputs can connect to stereo speakers. While this isn’t a top-of-the-line projector, so you can’t expect it to compete with units costing three or four times as much, the Miroir performs solidly for this price point.
- MSRP under $400
- Accurate color
- Can use any streaming stick
- Built-in, four-hour battery
- No image controls
- One HDMI port
9. AAXA M7 Full HD Portable DLP Projector
The M7 from AAXA is a tiny, but powerful portable projector that easily slips inside your bag or briefcase to bring to business meetings. It also serves as a movie projector for unwinding after a day of work.
This 1080p unit (4K 30FPS ready) has a higher resolution than many projectors of this size. The picture from the 1,200-lumen quad-cast LED light source looks good even when blown up to around 200 inches. Using power from the 15,000mAh, 3-hour rechargeable battery, though, that drops to 650 lumens. It has a bit of a green-shift that isn’t too noticeable unless you use boost mode to raise the brightness. Darker scenes are a bit soft on detail, but not so much as to make them unwatchable.
Dual 4-watt speakers are loud enough for a night of movies, though the audio sounds a little thin—not entirely unexpected from a projector of this size. Of course, external speakers can be attached via a 3.5mm stereo output.
- 1080p resolution
- Bright image for size and class
- Powered focus
- Small enough for a briefcase or bag
- Color could be more accurate
- Doesn’t support HDR content
10. SONY MP-CD1
Featuring a form factor about the size of an iPhone and weighing just seven ounces, the Sony MP-CD1 is as portable a mini projector as you could hope for. In spite of its tiny design, it comes with a bright 105-lumen lens allowing for superior screen quality — no matter if you’re a business professional, a gamer, or a movie fan.
The MP-CD1 also includes automatic keystone correction, meaning it can be placed directly on a table and project a full-size display without the need for a tripod. And with its Dynamic Mode, the MP-CD1 automatically enhances the image’s color brightness and saturation for that same high-quality picture you expect from Sony.
Its 5,000mAh battery gives up to two hours of life — good enough for most full-length movies, but you’ll need the plug for those longer epics. Oh, and should your phone (or one of your other electronic devices) happen to die, the MP-CD1 can act as a portable power bank.
- Virtually non-existent input lag
- Multiple input options
- Not portable
- Mounting brackets not included
Can you watch Netflix on a mini projector?
You can watch Netflix on a mini projector, along with content from any other streaming service. However, to feed the content to the projector, you’ll need either a streaming stick, if the projector accepts one, or else a streaming box with HDMI outputs, like a Roku. Once those are connected, you’ll have access to Netflix (assuming you subscribe) and any other streaming apps you’d normally find on your traditional TV.
Is a portable projector legit?
A portable projector is legit! Portable projectors can play HD and 4K movies and deliver presentations without getting tied down to one location. Many portable projectors run on batteries along with AC power for even greater portability, and smaller palmtop and pico projectors fit comfortably in backpacks and briefcases. Some projectors have stereo speakers for excellent built-in sound that can fill a living room or conference room, and all connect to external speakers if you want more robust audio.
Finally, many portable projectors include Smart TV and streaming capabilities so you can download apps and play TV and movies from services like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and more. These powerful units become stand-alone entertainment centers. Now, that’s legit!
What is the best mini projector for presentations?
For presentations, consider purchasing a mini projector with a high lumen number and good picture quality. A projector with multiple connectivity options can enable you to connect it to any device effortlessly.
Projectors have come a long way since their invention. They have become smaller and advanced with technology, besides being affordable too. These mini projectors can be used at home, office, or for entertainment purposes. Go through our list of the best mini projectors and choose the one that suits your needs the most.