You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a massive screen in your home theater. While the top of the line projectors can cost over a grand, you can also find perfectly acceptable models that are kinder on your budget. The best cheap projector under 100 dollars won’t give you extra features like 3D or 4K resolution, they are the most affordable way to have a big screen under your own roof.
Most projectors in this price point will use an LED bulb for the image. This style of lamp has both advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional halogen bulbs. One big difference is they generate less heat, which means the projectors can be smaller and lighter, as well as more affordable. They also tend to be less bright, so you’ll probably need to make more adjustments to your space than you would with a more expensive projector.
Considering the difference in price, though, this is a small concession in our estimation. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite projectors under a hundred bucks. Read on below for the full reviews, and some info on what to expect when you buy a cheap projector.
What You Need To Know
If this is your first foray into the premium world of cinema projectors there are a couple of things you need to look out for.
How we tested
To evaluate each projector’s performance, we conduct both objective and subjective tests. For objective tests, we use Calman software, an Xrite i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, and a DVDO iScan Duo test pattern generator to measure each projector’s contrast ratio, light output, and color and color-temperature accuracy. We measure all the available picture modes and brightness settings to find the best combination of performance attributes. Our screen is an 84-inch, 1.1-gain EliteScreens MaxWhite 2.
A projector’s most important performance attribute is its contrast ratio, which is the difference between the brightest part of the image and the darkest. A high contrast ratio means dark blacks and bright whites. A low contrast ratio means the image is more washed-out, usually with more gray-looking blacks. No projector in this price range has a great contrast ratio, but some are certainly better than others.
Tied in with contrast is the projector’s brightness. As we mentioned above, the projector’s brightness determines how large an image you can create, but it also affects the quality of the image and the types of content that look best. Lots of projectors are bright, and they perform well for everyday TV watching and gaming. But a good home theater projector that you use primarily for watching movies in a dim or dark room needs to strike a balance between brightness and black level. The ability to produce a dark black is crucial to good performance on movies, and many budget projectors fall short in this regard.
To judge color accuracy, we compare the projector’s performance with reference standards set by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). If a display has accurate color, that means everything you see appears more realistic and natural—and more like what the filmmakers intended. Some projectors can’t produce fully saturated colors, and they create yellows and reds that look dull next to the results from those projectors that can. Color temperature basically refers to the projector’s color of white: Does the entire image look more blue or red?
Since numbers don’t reveal the whole picture, we also do qualitative comparison testing by placing projectors next to each other and sending them the same signal using an HDMI splitter. Viewing the same image side by side with identical screen sizes makes it easy for us to see differences in black level, contrast, and color.
Top 10 Projectors under $100 in 2022
Crosstour has been able to make this projector which represents incredible value for money. The quality is impressive and you’ll love the big picture which can be sized anywhere from 32-170-inches which is supported by a throw distance from 3-12 feet.
The projector gives you all of the compatibility you need with many different options available. The only downside here is that the projector can be quite loud. That being said, you’re barely going to notice this when you have your speakers on as it’s easily drowned out by whatever you’re watching.
The picture quality is impressive and you’ll be able to love using it, whether that is for cinema, gaming or anything else. On top of that, the projector is also very easy to set up and you’ll be able to start watching in no time at all. It’s impressive for the price and you’ll love your new watching experience.
One of the best value for money projectors coming for an under $100 price, the PONER SAUND GP16 has an HD-ready quality with wireless technology. When scaled, it offers a full HD resolution of 1280 x 720p and 1920 x 1080p.
The mini projector has a high luminosity of 5,500 lumens and a strong contrast ratio of 5,500: 1. This makes it ideal for use in daylight. Depending on the projection distance, there is a projection surface diagonal between 40 and 210 inches possible. According to the provider, the built-in LED light unit can provide 80 percent more brightness.
The mini projector delivers a clear, dynamic, and colorful image. It has image optimization and with the high-definition glass lens, the image quality is not disturbed by a dark image edge. Focusing and Keystone Correction can be done manually. The projector is equipped with integrated steel speakers for sound reproduction without headphones or external speakers.
It’s compatible with an Android and iOS system. It can be used to mirror movies, apps, videos, games as well as photos on mobile phones to any big screen available. The projector comes with a lifetime warranty.
Do you need a compact projector that you’ll be able to travel with? For the likes of business professionals, this ticks all the right boxes. The projector is quite small and easy to pack away while also being lightweight and easy to carry. Despite those smaller dimensions, it still has some excellent qualities.
With a brightness of up to 3800 lumen, it’s a projector that’s not going to be short on power. That’s proved by it having a throw distance of up to 5-meters which means that you can have a screen size of up to 170” which is fantastic on such a compact device.
A 3-year warranty is included with the projector and that should give you plenty of peace of mind regarding its build quality. The audio isn’t the greatest but that is a common theme among projectors but there are many compatibility options and that includes being able to hook it up to external speakers.
4. Dr. J 4-inch
The Dr. J Mini Projector uses an LED bulb to light its lamp. This gives it a low energy usage and long lamp life. The downside is that it’s not as bright, putting out only 50 ANSI lumens. It is a bit brighter than the LED projectors of the past, but you’ll still need to use it in a dark environment to get a clear picture.
The resolution is pretty good for the price. It has a native resolution of 480p, though it does support content in 1080p. The contrast ratio is 2,000:1 and the color accuracy is pretty good. We wouldn’t recommend it for anything you need to see clearly, like documents in a business presentation, but for watching shows and movies it’ll serve you well enough.
In terms of usability, sending your content to the projector is as simple as plugging your streaming stick, game console, or other device into the HDMI port. This isn’t a short-throw projector per se but it does have a shorter throw than other options. You’ll still need a decent amount of space—up to 11 feet if you want the maximum screen size—but it’s easier to work with in smaller spaces.
If you have a look at everything VANKYO LEISURE 3 projector offers, you’ll see that it’s the best cheap projector you will be able to find under $100. It’s upgraded with a Mstar Advanced Color Engine that makes it 60% brighter than any ordinary projector.
In combination with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, this projector supports 1080p HD resolutions that result in a very bright and colorful performance. Whatever your reason for a new projector is, it’s most likely that VANKYO LEISURE 3 will fit your needs.
It’s very simple to project the image, making it up to 10x larger. It’s only necessary to plug in the device which can be a TV stick, HDMI input, or even PlayStation console and the image will be enlarged and presented straight away.
This cool mini projector is lightweight (0.70 lbs) that allows you to create your cinema experience wherever you like. Its picture quality is best with 70% brighter & 50% sharper display than similar products in the market.
PVO 300Pro is powered by an adapter. It does not have any built-in battery. Luckily, you can power it with your car charger, mobile phone charger, or power pack using a micro-USB interface.
You can also connect it through any device, including Macbook, PS4 and smartphone including iPhone and Android. Most users prefer it to watch Netflix and Hulu in home cinema.
Moreover, the sharp and bright video can go as big as 150 inches as it moves 5m away from the projection surface. Besides, it can be used for home theatre, bedroom, and party even outside. Finally, It can be your kid’s favourite gift.
The DIWUER mini video projector offers a 4200 lumens lamp that hardly any other product shows in the same price range. You can connect it with Android and iOS phones using Wi-Fi or using a simple USB cable. Notably, most other mini projectors require an HDMI adapter for USB connectivity.
Besides, the mini projector offers a mega screen size of 35 to 200 inches from a projection distance of 1-6 meters. Large screen size is joined with Dolby digital sound that ensures every sound effect is adequately delivered to you.
It also comes with HDMI, VGA, USB, AV, and SD interfaces along with Wi-Fi, which makes it compatible with your smartphones, laptop, PC, gaming consoles, TV Box, TV sticks, and more. Besides, it has the most extended lens life of 55000 hours with lifetime support.
This mini projector has a 32″ to 170″ projection display size with a 1m to 5m projection distance which is really good for a portable projector. It comes with a built-in 5W speaker which offers the excellent sound quality, and if you wish, you can also connect external speakers with this projector to meet your higher sound quality needs.
As it is an upgraded version projector, it comes with the most efficient and powerful cooling system that cools the heat of the lamp efficiently for more durability and helps in extending the bulb life to 55,000 hours (approximately 15 years of usages).
Performance-wise, this mini projector is really great and provides a crystal clear sound quality with pixel-perfect viewing experiences and an approximate life of 15 years which is really great for a projector under $100.
In addition to all these features, this AuKing projector is also compatible with all your devices and you can easily connect your devices using the integrated VGA, HDMI, and USB ports. It is really a perfect projector with a perfect combination of compact size, low weight, pixel-perfect viewing experience, and superior performance.
One great way a projector can enhance your viewing experience is by taking your phone screen and blowing it up to the big screen. The Topvision T21 plugs into your smartphone and mirrors the screen up to 176 inches. It’s inexpensive and can typically be found for less than $100. The projector displays an image at 1080p and a surprisingly bright 3,600 lumens.
Simply plug your phone into the back of the projector using the USB-A cable you use to charge it. There is a pretty big limitation though. You cannot project apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu due to copyright restrictions. You can project those apps from your laptop, but not your phone. Some people bypass that by plugging a streaming device into the HDMI port.
A really cool use case for this comes in the realm of gaming. You can plug your phone into the projector for a large screen mobile gaming experience. Blowing up Call of Duty mobile to a 100-inch screen puts you even more into the game. It’s a fun way to make your mobile gaming an even more immersive experience.
10. Crenova XPE496
If you are looking for a cheap yet best home theater projector that can meet your movie watching and playing game needs, then crenova xpe496 projector is the one for you.
With the native resolution of 840 X 480, this projector can project up to 1920 X 1080 FHD resolution. This affordable and lightweight projector harbor staggering 2200 lumen with a contrast ratio of 2200:1. You can expect the picture quality to be the best in this price range.
Further, this projector has a lamp lifetime of 50,000 hours and can produce image size of 28-180 inches from a distance of 3.93-18 feet.
This projector easily supports input from Amazon fire, chromecast via HDMI ports. Besides, it can be connected to a wide array of peripherals via VGA, USB, AV and SD card ports.
Are cheap projectors any good?
Based on our experience, we can say that a cheap projector may not offer mind-boggling performance. But the performance it provides is sufficient for home entertainment or official presentation.
What projectors can I connect with my PS4 gaming console?
All of the projectors, in my list, support or compatible with most of the gaming console. You can go with anyone of them, but my recommendation would be the VANKYO LEISURE when connectivity and compatibility are concerned.
What are the types of lamp in a projector?
There are a few types of lamps in a projector. The most common one is LED, which also happens to be energy-efficient and affordable. There are also the laser light source projectors and the hybrid types that combine both. As for the bulb, we recommend the metal halide bulbs as they are high intensity.
Can the projector work on the wall?
Projectors work on the only plain white wall, but if you use any other wall color with unevenness, then it will result in reduced output.
I know at this time and age finding the best cheap projector under 100 bucks is not an easy job especially if you are a busy individual that doesn’t want to surf the market just to get their hands on the right product that will serve them for days to come.
This is why I have curated this “all you need list” so that you can get easy access to the best cherry-picked cheap projectors without having to go through the hassle, just like I did. Anyhow, feel free to comment below if you have any sort of issues, as I would be happy to help.