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Best Projector Under $1,000 for 2022

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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 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 TH685iViewSonic PX748-4kEpson EpiqVision
Mini EF12
Epson Home
Cinema 2200
Epson Home
Cinema 1080
Optoma GT780
Resolution1920x10803840x21601920x10801920x10801920x10801280x800
Contrast Ratio10,000:112,000:1200,000:135,000:116,000:125,000:1
Brightness (Lumens)3,500 ANSI4,000 ANSI1,000 ANSI2,700 ANSI3,400 ANSI3,800 ANSI
Throw Distance3.2' - 24.6'3.2' - 24.7'2.2' - 10.9' 3.2' - 29.4'No data1.3' - 11.1'
Screen size30" - 300"30" - 301"30" - 150"30" - 332"320"35" - 302"
Input lag8ms4.8msNo dataNo dataNo dataNo data
Internal Speakers5.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono5.0 Watts × 210.0 Watts Mono2.0 Watts Mono10.0 Watts Mono
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Buyer’s Guide for 2022:

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.

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: 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 Assistant 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


BenQ TH685i

BenQ TH685i

With a 6-segment 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 manufacturers, 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.

Pros

  • Low input lag
  • Bright, crisp pictures
  • 4K supported
  • Easy installation
  • Game sound mode

Cons

  • Some colors can appear muted in ambient lighting due to the lower contrast ratio


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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Low contrast


Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12

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. Click here for our full review of the Epson EF12

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible installation
  • Accurate colors
  • HDR10 support
  • Wireless networking

Cons

  • The portable projector is not designed for gaming.
  • The lower lumens rating can make ambient lighting a problem


Epson Home Cinema 2200

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

Pros

  • Smooth, clear images
  • Easy set-up
  • Flexible installation
  • Dynamic contrast ratio
  • 4K support

Cons

  • It’s heavier design makes it difficult to move around once it’s installed


Epson Home Cinema 1080

Epson 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.

Pros

  • Accurate colors
  • Bright images
  • Built-in speaker
  • Automatic image alignment
  • Dynamic contrast

Cons

  • The internal cooling fan is loud and can interfere with the audio


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.

Pros

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

Cons

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


Conclusion

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.