Best Projector Under $1,000 for 2023

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Home theater projectors are becoming more affordable with plenty of options to choose from. Many budget-friendly projectors come with features more common on a higher-priced model. While you can get a great one without blowing your budget, finding the best projector under $1,000 does take a little research.

We’ve reviewed the 6 top-rated affordable home theater projectors and the ViewSonic PX748-4K (>>> 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.

While the Viewsonic is our top pick, it isn’t going to be perfect for everyone. If portability and easy operation are key, the ViewSonic X1 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.

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:

Optoma GT780BenQ LW500STOptoma
ViewSonic X1
Contrast Ratio12,000:125,000:120,000:150,000:150,000:13,000,000:1
Brightness (Lumens)4,000 ANSI3,800 ANSI2,000 ANSI3,800 ANSI4,000 ANSI3,100 LED
Throw Distance3.2' - 24.7'1.3' - 11.1'1.8' - 10.2'1.3' - 10.9'4.2' - 24.4'6.5' - 12.5'
Screen size30" - 301"35" - 302"30" - 200"36" - 307"40" - 300"60" - 150"
Input lag4.8msNo data33.4ms8.4ms8.4msNo data
Internal Speakers10.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono6.0 Watts × 2
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Buyer’s Guide for 2023:

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 making a decision.

Image Quality

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: ViewSonic PX748-4k

Gaming Quality

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 more 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: Optoma HD39HDRx

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 Assistant is another convenient feature to watch for. It allows you to control the projector with your voice.

Easiest to Use: ViewSonic X1

ViewSonic PX748-4k

ViewSonic PX748-4k

When you spend money on a home projector you expect impressive picture quality. You’ll get this and more with the ViewSonic PX748-4k. 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 PX748-4k ideal for use in classrooms and boardrooms where it’s not always possible to dim the lights.

The 4k resolution is accomplished through the use of mirrors that can display multiple pixels simultaneously. The mirrors rapidly convert the pixels to allow the projector to produce a 4k image from a 2k chipset.

This is an ideal option for buyers who want to have the best options for gaming and for watching movies. The low 4.8ms lag at 1080p resolution means you’ll have an immersive gaming environment that you can take to the big screen. The low lag rate means that movies will show smoothly without stutter or blur.

The biggest downside to this projector is the low 12:000:1 contrast ratio. The 4,000 lumen lamp is plenty to provide a good, viewable image with the details and clarity you expect from a 4k projector, but the contrast will leave blacks seeming a little gray, while some bold colors are more muted. The long throw of the projector also doesn’t help to improve the clarity of the low contrast, particularly when you are trying to get an image larger than 250 inches.

Keystone correction is available in either automatic or manual modes and provides 40-degrees horizontal and vertical alignment to make it a snap to get the image squared up on your screen.

A few other goodies are thrown in with this one including a dedicated USB-C port that lets you stream content from a compatible smartphone or tablet and a 12v trigger that can give you control of motorized screen functions. The projector can decode HDR10 content to give you the most realistic image possible. Click here for a more detailed ViewSonic PX748-4k review.


  • Flexible installation
  • Bright, immersive images
  • Accurate colors
  • 4K compatibility
  • Crisp, clear audio


  • Low contrast

Optoma GT780

Optoma GT780

The Optoma GT780 provides a decent image with a native 720p resolution when you provide a 1080P input. One of the best things about this projector is the small distance you need for throwing an image to attain a big-screen effect. This makes it convenient to set up in small spaces and it works great in class rooms and offices when you don’t have much space.

The projector uses DLP technology to enhance the image quality without sacrificing speed. It is intended to display video content at 24 fps, the same as the movie camera that shot the video. The 25,000:1 contrast ratio lets you see true-to-life black colors and vibrant bright colors. A 3,800 lumen bulb provides ample viewability even in less than ideal conditions where ambient light can’t effectively be controlled.

This projector boasts a wide range of connection options including RCA, composite and HDMI ports so you can hook up video game consoles, Blu-Ray players, and even stream videos from an Amazon FireStick. You’ll get a 120-inch image with the projector mounted only 4.4 feet from the screen and it’ll hit up to a 300-inch image from about 11 feet.

If 3d videos are your thing, this projector has got your back. It has the capability to play almost any 3D video format, but you will need to purchase 3D DLP Link-compatible glasses to take advantage of your favorite three-dimensional Blu-Ray movies.

Setup is somewhat primitive and features only a 40-degree vertical alignment. You’ll have to position the projector so that you get the proper horizontal alignment to square your image. This can be somewhat problematic, as short-throw projectors are more challenging to get adjusted correctly since you have less margin of error.


  • Excellent for outdoor use where high lumens are essential
  • Good color quality from a segmented wheel device
  • High contrast ratio improves colors


  • Limited adjustment means setup can be challenging
  • Low resolution quality compared to other options
  • No voice assistant

BenQ LW500ST

BenQ LW500ST

Anyone looking for an eco-friendly projector will want to take a look at the BenQ LW500ST. Advertised as a business projector, it also functions as a home theater projector. It comes with an eco-friendly mode that reduces power usage by up to 70%.

The 20,000:1 contrast ratio may seem a little low, but the projector comes with various color modes that help ensure everything from spreadsheets to movies is crisp and clear. The lumens’ rating is only 2,000. It’s enough to counteract some ambient light, but you may need to darken the room for daytime viewing.

Weighing a little over 5lbs., the projector is easy to move from home to office. It’s also a breeze to set up. Corner Fit and Screen Fill make it easy to align onscreen images without losing clarity. Automatic vertical keystone keeps images centered. You can also take advantage of the 1.2x zoom function.  It allows you to have a short or slightly longer throw distance.

Dual HDMI ports allow you to connect external devices at work or home.


  • Lightweight and easy to set up
  • Dual HDMI ports
  • Various color modes
  • Crisp colors
  • Automatic on/off mode


  • The lumens’ rating is a little low for daytime viewing

Optoma GT1080HDRx

Optoma GT1080HDRx

The GT1080HDRx brings gamers and movie lovers together. It’s a projector that offers something for everyone. It’s a short-throw projector, ideal for cramped spaces. You only need four feet of space to enjoy 120” images.

A 4K input combined with HDR10 technology produces immersive onscreen images. The projector is HDR-compatible and uses a six-segmented color wheel. Whites are crisp and blacks are easily separated from greys. You get accurate colors across the spectrum. A 3,800 lumens light source prevents images from looking washed out during daytime viewing.

With a 120Hz refresh rate, you can enjoy lag-free live sports and games. Place the projector in Enhanced gaming mode and you get an 8.4ms lag time. It’s fast enough to keep up with most competitive games, including multi-player ones.

You get some flexibility with connectivity with the dual HDMI ports. However, to access Apple TV, Chromecast, and others, you will need to connect to a streaming device. It can limit the number of devices connected.


  • Short-throw distance
  • Easy installation
  • Bright lamp
  • Low input lag in gaming mode
  • Dual HDMI ports


  • Is only compatible with 3D content with the addition of conversion software

Optoma HD39HDRx

Optoma HD39HDRx

It’s surprising what you get with the HD39HDRx, considering its affordable price. You can watch movies in full HD resolution or take advantage of the HDMI input with 4K support. A 50,000:1 contrast ratio gives your sharp, crisp details, without blurry edges. The projector does use a six-segmented color wheel but rainbowing is rarely an issue.

The 4,000 lumens light source effectively counteracts most ambient light. You can watch movies and play games without issue during the day or night. The bright light source also makes the projector ideal for outside use. It weighs a little over 6 lbs., making it easy to move around.

When it comes to gaming, the projector is ready. It boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and 8.4ms input lag. Whether you are gaming online or via a connected console, you can keep up with the action. The fast refresh rate also ensures movies and sports play smoothly.

It is a standard throw projector, so you are going to need some space. It’s not the best option for small apartments or dorm rooms. You do get some flexibility with installation, thanks to the 1.3x zoom.


  • Bright light source
  • Lag-free gaming
  • Vertical keystone correction and lens zoom
  • Vibrant colors
  • 4K support


  • 4K resolution is only available via an HDMI input

ViewSonic X1

ViewSonic X1

Weighing under 8 lbs. and a breeze to set up, the X1 is a versatile LED projector. It comes with a start-up guide that walks you through the installation steps. 4-corner adjustment, keystone correction, and 1.3x lens zoom give you some flexibility with placement. You do not have to center the projector with the screen to align images.

Full HD resolution and a bright 3,100 lumens LED light source produce clear images in almost any setting. You get lifelike colors with Cinema SuperColor technology. Colors are realistic across the Rec.709 spectrum.

The projector supports most devices and comes with smart connectivity options. You can connect the projector to your home’s WiFi. While gamers will be disappointed with the input lag, the projector is designed for casual gaming, it does come with an impressive internal sound system. Dual Harmon Kardon speakers can fill a room with immersive audio.


  • Easy installation
  • Bright, accurate colors
  • Onboard Bluetooth speakers
  • WiFi compatible
  • Long-lasting light source


  • The input lag is too slow for most gamers


No matter what you are looking for in a home theater projector, you can find one at an affordable value. Whether you want one for gaming or to move indoors and outside, there is a projector that meets your requirements.