Home theater projectors are becoming more affordable and you have plenty of options to choose from. Budget-friendly projectors also come with many of the features you expect on a higher-priced model. While you can get a great one without blowing your budget, finding the best projector under 1000 does take a little research.
We’ve reviewed the 6 top-rated affordable home theater projectors and the Optoma EH412ST (>>> Check its pricing on Amazon) is our pick for best image quality. It boasts a bright, immersive picture, easy installation, and a lag time that won’t frustrate casual gamers.
Even though, the projector seems to come with everything it doesn’t mean that it’s the right one for every home. If portability and easy operation are key, the Mini-EF12 is worth taking a look at.
When you’re familiar with what each projector has to offer, it’s easier to bring the best one home.
Best Projector Under 1000 – Our Top Picks:
|BenQ TH685i||Optoma EH412ST||Epson EpiqVision|
|Epson Home |
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,500 ANSI||4,000 ANSI||1,000||2,700||3,400||4,000|
|Throw Distance||3.2' - 24.6'||1.3' - 11.2'||2.2' - 10.9'||3.2' - 29.4'||No data||3.3' - 24.5'|
|Screen size||30" - 300"||36" - 307"||30" - 150"||30" - 332"||320"||30" - 301"|
|Input lag||8ms||32ms||No data||No data||No data||8.4ms|
|Internal Speakers||5.0 Watts Mono||10.0 Watts Mono||5.0 Watts × 2||10.0 Watts Mono||2.0 Watts Mono||10.0 Watts Mono|
|Price||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon||Find on Amazon|
Buyer’s Guide for 2021:
One aspect you’ll notice when you’re looking at budget-friendly home theater projectors is that some functions like 3D support or wireless connectivity are missing. While these and other features are nice to have, the lack of them won’t take away from your overall viewing experience. However, there are three specifications that you want to look for on any projector before you make a decision.
Several aspects affect image quality. How bright the picture appears depends on the lumens rating. A higher lumens rating results in a brighter picture. If ambient lighting is a concern, look for a projector with at least 2,500 to 3,000 lumens.
Contrast ratio also plays a role in how crisp and clear images are, especially whites and blacks. You don’t want to go lower than a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, otherwise, colors will appear muted and faded. The ratio tells you how many times a white image is brighter than a black one.
Best Image Quality: Optoma EH412ST
If you’re planning on using the projector for gaming there are two aspects to look at, input lag and refresh rate. The input lag determines how quickly the frame sent by the GPU is transmitted to the projector and displayed on the screen. An acceptable lag time is 32ms, but players of fast-paced, action-packed games will need one around 15ms and lower.
The refresh rate refers to how quickly the projector refreshes an image. The higher the refresh rate, the smooth the images are in frame-by-frame action. Look for a projector with 120Hz or higher to prevent blurry images during action scenes.
Best Gaming Quality: BenQ TH685i
Installation and Ease of Use
You don’t want to struggle with your projector when you get it home so you want one that’s a breeze to install. Weight can be a factor, especially if you’re planning on using the projector in different areas. You also want flexibility when it comes to setting the projector up. Vertical and horizontal keystone correction automatically centers the on-screen images.
Projectors with Android operating systems are simple to use, even if it’s your first time setting one up. Google Assist is another convenient feature to watch for. It allows you to control the projector with your voice.
Best Easy to Use Projector: Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
With a 6-segmented color wheel and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, you’ll enjoy crisp, vibrant colors whether you’re watching a movie or playing a game. !0-bit color processing technology ensures smooth frames without blurred or faded colors.
Ambient lighting isn’t a problem with 3,500 lumens. On-screen images will still appear bright and clear, even in daylight. With 1080p graphics and HDR supported 4K compatibility, you’ll enjoy immersive images whether you’re watching a disc or streaming content from an app.
Gamers often feel like they’re forgotten by home projector manufactures, but the TH685i is different. Not only are images bright and detailed, but the projector also features a dedicated gaming mode. You won’t lose image clarity when you switch to the gaming mode, you’ll only reduce input lag to 8.3ms.
Along with an input lag that will make serious gamers happy, the projector also comes with an internal 5-watt speaker that boasts game sound mode. You can enjoy a truly immersive gaming experience with the Th685i home theater projector.
If you want to cast a 100” image, you will need at least 8-feet of space between the projector and screen. It’s not a short-throw projector. However, once you get it out of the box, you won’t have any problems centering the images. It comes with vertical keystone correction, along with manual focus and zoom. You can also use the lens shift feature for vertical image adjustment.
Once the projector is set up, operating it is a breeze. It comes with an Android operating system, along with Google Assistant. You can stream content from your favorite apps and any connected devices.
- Low input lag
- Bright, crisp pictures
- 4K supported
- Easy installation
- Game sound mode
- Some colors can appear muted in ambient lighting due to the lower contrast ratio
When you spend money on a home projector you expect impressive picture quality. You’ll get this and more with the EH412ST from Optoma. It comes with a 4,000 lumens rating so images are crisp and clear without blacking out the room. The bright projector lamp also makes the EH412ST ideal for use in classrooms and boardrooms where it’s not always possible to dim the lights.
A 6-segmented color wheel, combined with 10-bit color processing technology ensures on-screen images are vivid with realistic colors. The short-throw projector also boasts a 50,000:1 contrast ratio for inky blacks and brilliant whites.
Serious gamers will be frustrated by the 32ms input lag, but it’s acceptable for individuals that want to relax and play their games on the big screen. The REC.709 and sRGB color profiles ensure that your game’s images are bright, vivid, and realistic even in dimly lit levels. A built-in 10-watt speaker ensures that you can hear all of the on-screen action and game commands.
Even though this projector is ideal for use at school or work, it does weigh a little over 7lbs so you don’t want to lug it around unnecessarily. It is designed for easy and flexible installation, and you only need to place the projector 3-feet away from the screen for 100” images.
Aligning images isn’t hard, thanks to both keystone correction and manual focus. The projector also comes with manual focus and digital zoom. You can enhance details and bring images into crystal-clear focus. Chlick here for the more detailed Optoma EH412ST review.
- Flexible installation
- Bright, immersive images
- Accurate colors
- 4K compatibility
- Crisp, clear audio
- Input lag is only acceptable and can be too slow for avid gamers
Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
The EF-12 projector is a compact and lightweight projector that produces amazing images. It has a contrast ratio of 200,000:1 for crisp whites and deep blacks, along with 10-bit color processing technology. You’ll see colors that are vivid and true-to-life.
3LCD chips ensure colors are bright without fading or blurring. The laser lamp also has a 1,000 lumens rating. While you may notice a loss of color clarity in bright light, you don’t need to completely blackout the windows to use the projector in the daytime.
Avid gamers won’t enjoy the slow input lag, even with the exceptional image quality. Casual players can spend time beating levels on slower-paced games, but they might still experience a slight delay between some action-intensive levels. When it comes to hearing the on-screen action, you won’t have a problem. The projector comes with two 5-watt speakers that produce clear audio at most volume levels.
You’ll love how easy the EF-12 projector is to install and set-up. It weighs a little over 4lbs so it’s also portable. Its compact size combined with its’ lightweight design makes the projector ideal for use indoors or outside. You also don’t need a screen to throw 100” images, only a blank wall and 7-feet of space.
Aligning images is a breeze whether you’re centering the picture on a screen or wall. Along with horizontal and vertical keystone correction, it also comes with a powered focus lens. Autofocus and geometric correction ensure it only takes seconds to set the projector up no matter where you are using it.
- Flexible installation
- Accurate colors
- HDR10 support
- Wireless networking
- The portable projector is not designed for gaming.
- The lower lumens rating can make ambient lighting a problem
Epson Home Cinema 2200
You’ll enjoy bright, vivid images with the 2200 home cinema projector by Epson. Images are smooth and clear from frame to frame, even during fast-paced action sequences. Whites are bright and blacks deep and rich with the 35,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. A 2,700 lumens rating ensures images are clear in most ambient light.
For immersive image quality, the projector comes with 3LCD technology. TV shows, sports, movies, and games are vivid with accurate colors. For smooth frame-by-frame images, the projector boasts frame interpolation technology. Images won’t appear blurry whether it’s sports or an action movie.
Casual gamers won’t mind the slower input lag time, but it can frustrate lovers of GTA and other action-intensive games. You will enjoy bright on-screen images, even when your quest takes you to dimly lit levels. You’ll also appreciate the smooth images from frame to frame. If you’re worried about hearing in-game conversations and commands, the 10-watt internal speaker ensures this isn’t a problem.
You will need some space before you can throw a 100” image, at least 8’. At close to nine pounds, you also won’t want to move the projector around to various rooms. It does come with a flexible installation that makes set-up easy. Along with keystone correction, you also have manual focus and zoom.
If you’re still having problems centering images, the geometric correction feature will help. Along with an easy-to-use Android operating system, the projector also comes with Google Assistant. Add in its ability to stream content from apps and connected devices, you’ll find that operating the 2200 home projector is as easy as using a TV. Click here to read a full review of the Epson Home Cinema 2200
- Smooth, clear images
- Easy set-up
- Flexible installation
- Dynamic contrast ratio
- 4K support
- It’s heavier design makes it difficult to move around once it’s installed
Home Cinema 1080
With the 1080 by Home Cinema you get an impressive picture on either a projection screen or blank wall. Along with 1080p resolution for crisp detailed images, you also have the advantage of a 16,000:1 contrast ratio. Whites appear bright and blacks have depth. There are also four color modes so you can easily get accurate, true-to-life images.
Ambient lighting isn’t a problem with 3,400 lumens. Even darker scenes are still clear when the room isn’t completely dark. Color rainbowing also isn’t a problem due to advanced 3LCD technology.
Even though you do get amazing on-screen pictures with the 1080 home projector, input lag is often too slow for most action games. However, casual players might not have a problem. It does come with fast data processing technology that helps ensure smooth frame-by-frame action. Add in the built-in speaker and you can keep up with the game’s action and hear all of the dialogue so you’re ready for the next attack or quest.
Installation and Ease of Use
You’ll appreciate how easy the projector is to install. It’s almost ready to go right out of the box. You also don’t need a lot of space to cast 100” on-screen images. You only two-feet between the projector and the screen. Aligning images is just as easy. The 1080 projector comes with a built-in picture skew sensor that automatically centers the images for you.
- Accurate colors
- Bright images
- Built-in speaker
- Automatic image alignment
- Dynamic contrast
- The internal cooling fan is loud and can interfere with the audio
With the HD39HDR home theater projector, you get an immersive picture on the screen. The 1080p HDR resolution produces bright images. Colors are vivid and accurate due to the 6-segmented color wheel and 10-bit color processing technology.
Blacks are deep and whites brilliant with a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000:1. The home theater projector also has a bright 4,000 lumens lamp. Images will still be clear and detailed in ambient lighting.
Even avid gamers don’t have a lot to complain about the HD39HDR. You can play your fast-paced games when the projector’s in enhanced gaming mode. You’ll still enjoy 1080p resolution images with a lag time of 8.4ms.
With a refresh rate of 120Hz, action frames are smooth and clear. If you love hearing the action on-screen, the 10-watt speaker will ensure you don’t miss a thing. You’ll hear every explosion and whispered command making it seem like you were in the game.
The home projector is easy to install due to its’ flexible installation. Digital zoom and keystone correction help align the 100” images once the projector is placed 8-10 feet away. You can also use manual zoom and focus to fine-tune the alignment. Since the projector does weigh close to 8 pounds, it’s not the lightest one if you’re planning on moving it around.
- Accurate, bright colors
- Dynamic contrast
- Gaming mode
- Fast refresh rate
- Powerful speaker
- The projector is lacking some features like voice assist and geometric correction
No matter what you are looking for in a home theater projector, you can find one at an affordable. Whether you want one for gaming or to move indoors and outside, there is a projector that meets your requirements.