Categories
BUYING GUIDES

Best Movie Projector For Outdoors

Outdoor movie night is always special and something to look forward to. It’s great to get out of your living room and into the fresh air. The only problem, your indoor projector may not be able to handle ambient lighting. Your solution, an outdoor movie projector.

We’ve taken care of the research and reviewed 5 top-rated outdoor movie projectors. We looked at the important features like image size and brightness, along with portability. Each of these projectors offers a great performance, but the Optoma UHD38 is the one we choose for outdoor movie nights. (>>> Check the current price on Amazon)

Best Movie Projector For Outdoors – Our Top Picks for 2021:

 Optoma UHD38Optoma GT1090HDREpson Pro EX1000BenQ LH930Optoma HZ39HDR
Brightness (Lumens)4,000 ANSI4,200 ANSI4,500 ANSI5,000 ANSI4,000 ANSI
Resolution3840x21601920x10801920x10801920x10801920x1080
Contrast Ratio1,000,000:1300,000:1100,000:13,000,000:1300,000:1
Image Size33" - 300"Up to 300”40" - 500"Up to 300”Up to 300”
Throw Distance4.0' - 32.7'1.3' - 10.9' 6.3' - 48.3'4.8' - 29.7' 3.2' - 26.4'
Projector Size4.60" x 12.40" x 10.60" 4.80" x 13.26" x 10.50" 4.10" x 12.70" x 11.70" 6.54" x 16.38" x 13.82" 4.80" x 13.26" x 10.50"
PriceFind on AmazonFind on AmazonFind on AmazonFind on AmazonFind on Amazon

The Optoma UHD38 has a high lumens rating and weighs under 10 lbs. The Optoma GT1090HDR is also lightweight but it comes at a higher price. You get wireless connectivity with the Epson Pro EX1000 but lose some image quality.

Knowing what you want from an outdoor movie projector makes it know which one works best in your backyard.

Optoma UHD38

Optoma UHD38

Pros

  • 4K resolution
  • Dynamic contrast
  • Bright images
  • Built-in speakers
  • Flexible installation

Cons

  • Image quality is reduced to full-HD in gaming mode
  • The lack of lens shift limits where you can install the projector

Ease of Installation and Set-Up

You won’t have any problems moving the UHD38 around. At 9.25 lbs., you won’t pull a muscle carrying it outside. Its compact size also makes it easily portable. It’s not a short-throw projector, you need at least 10’ of space between the screen and lens for 100” images. To cast 300” onscreen pictures, you’ll need a few more feet.

Vertical and horizontal keystone correction make image alignment a breeze. The UHD38 doesn’t come with lens shift, but 1.1x manual zoom and focus allow you to fine-tune images for optimal clarity. If you’re still having trouble centering images, the projector also comes with a handy geometric correction feature.

Picture Quality

The UHD38 boasts a true 4K resolution. With 8.3 million pixels, images are crisp and detailed. The 8-segment color wheel produces accurate colors, and UltraDetail technology enhances image sharpness. You get incredibly colorful images whether you’re watching movies indoors or outside.

Ambient light is impossible to control outside. You can’t turn off the moon or your neighbor’s porch lights, and it’s not a problem with this projector. The 4,000 lumens light source produces bright images in most low lighting.

Connectivity

You don’t want to get the projector outside only to discover there aren’t enough connections for your devices. It’s not a problem with the UHD38. Along with audio, optical, and USB ports, there are also 2 HDMI inputs. The projector is compatible with most streaming services, included Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast Ultra.


Optoma GT1090HDR

Pros

  • Has a short-throw ratio of 0.50:1
  • Automatic keystone correction
  • Lightweight build at 10 lbs.
  • Easy installation
  • Budget-priced

Cons

  • Automatic keystone correction can limit how the images are aligned on-screen.
  • Images may be blurry in some outdoor lighting.

Installation and Ease of Use

Optoma designed the GT1090HDR laser projector to be easy to use and set up. It is a short-throw projector so you only need to be a few feet away from the screen to show 100-inch images. It does make set up easier outside when you don’t need a lot of space between the projector and the screen. >>> Check current price on Amazon

Getting images centered on the screen won’t require a lot of work. It comes with automatic keystone correction. You are limited by the keystone correction, the projector doesn’t allow for lens shift.

Picture Quality

With a 4,200 lumens rating, ambient lighting outside at night won’t interfere with picture quality. Images will still be clear and detailed at a 1080p resolution. Colors will also be clearly defined with a dynamic contrast ratio of 300,000:1. A four segmented color wheel ensures that there won’t be any fading from frame to frame. Colors are accurate and realistic.

Image quality can suffer from ambient lighting without enough lumens. The Optoma GT1090HDR comes with a 4,200 ANSI lumens rating. You will have to wait until dark to start watching movies, but clear night skies won’t interfere with your viewing experience.

Connectivity

You won’t have any problems connecting your devices, even outside, You have plenty of ports on the projector, including a 4K input for improved image quality. The 4K UHD input also allows you to connect a dongle for streaming content services.

There are also ports for USB devices, along with the audio. You can connect almost any device to Optoma’s short-throw laser projector. A more detailed Optoma GT1090HDR review can be found here.


Epson Pro EX1000

Epson Pro EX1000

Pros

  • HD resolution
  • Bright picture
  • Flexible installation
  • Dynamic contrast
  • Wireless connectivity

Cons

  • The resolution is lower than some competitive models

Image Quality

You get bright, crisp images with the Pro EX1000. It uses 3-chip 3LCD technology to produce true-to-life colors. Every frame has brilliant colors without fading or rainbowing. There’s nothing to distract you from the onscreen pictures.

Full HD resolution, combined with dynamic contrast, ensures crisp whites and deep blacks. You won’t confuse blacks and greys even in ambient light. The high 4,500 lumens rating ensures images are still sharp and bright in full moonlight.

Ease of Installation and Set-Up

Compact and lightweight, you won’t dread moving the Pro EX1000 around. It only weighs 9.5lbs, and installation only takes a few minutes. It’s a standard throw projector, you need to place it 9’ away from the screen for 100” images. If you want to impress your friends and family, set the projector up 15’ away. You’ll get amazing 300” images. You’ll feel like you’re at the drive-in.

It doesn’t matter if the projector is centered on the screen or at an angle. Horizontal and vertical keystone correction take care of image alignment. 1.6x manual zoom gives you some flexibility, along with manual focus.

Connectivity

Along with dual HDMI and USB ports, there are also inputs for audio. You can connect gaming consoles, DVD players, and other external devices.

You’ll appreciate the projector’s wireless connectivity that includes Miracast, especially on outdoor movie nights. You don’t have to drag cords outside to stream content. Watch Fire and Apple TV, along with Roku and Google Chromecast. Add in the two onboard 16W speakers and the only thing you need to bring outside is the projector.


BenQ LH930

Pros

  • Quick setup
  • 92-percent color gamut
  • 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Lightweight construction
  • 5,000 lumens output

Cons

  • It can be difficult to center images, especially if it is your first time.
  • You may need to add external speakers if there is noticeable background noise outside.

Installation and Ease of Use

One of the first things you’ll notice when you’re installing the BenQ LH930 projector is its lightweight construction and compact size. Weighing less than 14 lbs. you won’t mind taking movie night outside. Its small size also makes it easy to set up almost anywhere. >>> Check current price on Amazon

It is a short-throw projector so you don’t have to worry too much about space. The minimum and maximum throw distance are only 12-inches. With both horizontal and vertical lens shift, along with 1.6x zoom, it’s not difficult to get images centered on the screen. It might take a few minutes, so it’s best if you set the projector up before you’re ready to start watching the show.

Picture Quality

Even with a 5,000 lumens rating, you can’t turn it into a daytime outdoor projector, but the lamp is bright enough to handle clear nights and neighbors’ porch lights. The LH930 projector also comes with an ambient light sensor.

Along with 1920 x 1080 resolution, it also comes with DLP imaging for true-life colors. A 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio ensure blacks are deep and rich, while whites are crisp and bright. You won’t have problems with colors fading from one frame to the next.

Connectivity

You’ll be able to connect almost any device to the BenQ projector. It comes with several ports that include ones for audio. Along with mini jacks and RCA audio in and outputs, you also have HDMI and USB ports.

The projector does come with two 10-watt speakers that may eliminate the need for external ones, depending on the distance you want the sound to carry and its quality. Audio won’t be crystal clear with the included speakers but it is audible at shorter distances.


Optoma HZ39HDR

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Budget-friendly
  • Full HD 3D support
  • 4,000 lumens
  • 1080p resolution

Cons

  • You will need to place the projector 8 – 11 feet from the screen to display a 100” image.
  • Manual zoom and vertical only keystone adjustment can make it difficult to center images.

Installation and Ease of Use

If you’re tired of carrying 20 lb. projectors outside, this 9.4 lb. projector from Optoma won’t weigh you down. It’s lightweight and compact. The HZ39HDR is a short-throw projector with a ratio of 1.21:1 – 1.5:1. You do need to be at least 8’-9” away from the screen to have 100” images centered. It is a further distance than other models, so you will want to look at your outdoor setup. >>> Check current price on Amazon

Centering the images may be a little difficult for first-timers. It is a manual focus with a 1.3x manual zoom. While some people prefer bypassing automatic lens correction, others enjoy letting the projector’s technology take over. If you haven’t worked with manual focusing before, it might take some time before you’re satisfied.

Picture Quality

The 4-segmented color wheel ensures that images are realistic. All colors appear true to life, without fading. Blacks are rich and whites crisp with the 300,000:1 contrast ratio. You’ll also enjoy watching movies in 1920 x 1080 resolution.

You might encounter problems if you try to use the projector before sunset. It is rated for ambient lighting, but the lumens are a bit low at 4,000. If your neighbors have bright porch lights or spotlights on at night, it can interfere with image clarity. The same can also apply to clear nights with a bright moon.

Connectivity

You need to be able to connect your devices if you want to use the projector. The HZ39HDR allows you to connect almost anything. Along with 2 HDMI and USB ports, there are also in and outputs for audio.

The projector does come with internal 10-watt speakers, but you might want to consider adding external ones for improved sound quality. You can also connect a streaming service via a dongle to one of the HDMI ports. Click here for our more detailed review of HZ39HDR


Conclusion

Any one of these projectors will make outdoor movie night a memorable one. You can easily turn your backyard into a home theater. Each projector produces bright images and is designed for easy portability. You also won’t have any problems with installation. It comes down to resolution and price when you’re trying to make a choice.

The Optoma UHD38 boasts a 4K resolution and a flexible set-up, but it lacks wireless connectivity. (>>> Find on Amazon) With the Optoma GT1090HDR, you also get stunning image quality at a higher price. The Epson Pro EX1000 comes with built-in wireless connectivity but has a lower resolution.

When you’re making your final choice, pay attention to the lumens rating. The higher the better. It ensures images are sharp and bright in moonlight or with the porch light on.