Best Budget Home Theater Projectors

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Want to take your media room to the next level? Did you know that a 4K resolution projector can cost less than a 4K big-screen TV? Best of all, new models are compatible with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and digital media.

So, if you’re aiming for that cinema-size wall, a home projector under $1,000 can be your best bet.

When Projectors Are Better Than Big-Screen TVs

Although the price of big-screen TVs has dropped over the last several years, home theater projectors can still compete when it comes to size and affordability.

Resolution gets better every year, as new technology advances deliver higher pixel density. But you need a really big screen to take advantage of it. If you want to make the upgrade to 4K, you’ll find that a projector system offers a much larger screen for your money.

Size Matters

Now, you could get an 8K TV that measures 146 inches, but the five-figure price may be better spent elsewhere. Especially considering that the human eye is incapable of really noticing the difference.

With a home theater projector, any white wall can give you a 300-inch display. Newer models of home projectors under $1,000 also support 4K resolution too.


Although a wall works, for better color and contrast, you’ll want a projector screen. The good news is that you can get a 150-inch screen and home projector under $1,000 combined and still keep that mega-wall under budget.

Gaming Conundrum

Hardcore gamers may wonder if a projector can keep up with gaming action when it comes to delivering big-screen images. Truth is, home theater projectors have a few distinct advantages over a TV.

Short-throw projectors can provide a massive screen that gives split-view game players an excellent view equal to the size of a 32-inch TV.

Look for DLP gaming projectors and 120-hertz refresh rates when shopping for minimal blur in gaming use.

Going Places

One of the most significant advantages of a home theater projector is portability. Remember that white wall? Portability means you can play a big-screen movie anywhere you can find one.

So, they’re perfect for gaming parties, family reunions, or setting up a “drive-in” in the backyard with the kids.

The Bad News About Home Projectors vs. TVs

Home projectors have a few advantages, but you should also consider any downsides:

Warm-up Time

Projectors need time to turn on and off, at least when compared to a big-screen TV. However, if you’re used to the lag of a Smart TV connecting, it may not bother you.

So, keep in mind that a projector takes time to warm up and cool down whenever in use.

Maintenance Issues

Projectors have a reputation for being high maintenance when compared to televisions. Standard bulbs grow dim over time and require replacement. LED technology offers longer bulb lifespan.

Environmental Impact

A home theater projector uses as much as 400 percent more energy than a comparably sized TV. Along with this energy consumption comes heat and noise.

Projector bulbs get hot and require fans to keep the unit from overheating. This uses more energy and increases the temperature of your media room. This can increase the need for ventilation in your entertainment space.

And then there’s the whir of the fans, which some users find impossible to ignore.

True 4K

In most cases, even the best home theater projector under $1,000 with 4K resolution isn’t really 4K at all. DLP projectors can fool the eye into thinking that there are more pixels than are actually there by projecting the same pixel twice. Does it matter? No, not at all. Your eyes and brain still see one image with incredible resolution.

Related read: 5 Great Projectors For Under $1000

5 Top Home Projectors Under $1,000

Now that you know a bit more about what to look for, check out these top picks for home theater projectors on a budget:

Optoma GT1080HDR Short Throw Gaming Projector

If the idea of gaming with a 120-inch screen has you excited, the Optoma GT1080HDR might be the home theater projector for you. It features HDR10 tech with 4K input and boasts accurate and vivid color.

Looking for a fast refresh rate? This Optoma model has an 8.4-millisecond response and a 120-hertz refresh rate. The short-throw lens projects a 120-inch screen from 4 feet away.

It offers flexible connectivity to your Xbox, PlayStation, Chromecast, Firestick, or Apple TV, so you can use it with a wide range of devices. Other inputs include HDMI 2.0 and VGA for versatility.

It also features vertical keystone correction +/- 40 degrees, so you have more options when it comes to placement.

KODAK Luma 350 Portable Smart Projector

Looking for a truly portable home projector under $1,000 that makes media streaming seamless? This compact and stylish little projector from Kodak takes connectivity to the next level.

It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity with its own iOS 350 Luma app for easy-to-navigate connection to the internet, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It also offers universal inputs for gaming consoles and a USB port for digital media.

It delivers a display up to 200 inches and uses DLP mirroring for a 4K experience and clear imaging.

The Luma 350 runs on rechargeable Li-Ion batteries, so you don’t even need an outlet. It also has a built-in speaker, so you won’t need an external speaker setup.

XGIMI H2 4K Projector

Another compact projector that offers super portability for outdoor use, the XGIMI Halo mini projector offers Android capability. It boasts a possible 5,000 apps you can use for your entertainment needs. It’s also Bluetooth compatible and has an HDMI port as well as a USB port for digital media.

The Halo features automatic focus that ensures you get a clear picture all the time, every time. You also get +/- 40-degree keystone correction both horizontal and vertical for manual override and adjustment.

This XGIMI model offers superb sound quality, as well, with dual Harman Kardon 32 mm, 5-watt speakers with full-range reproduction for rich audio.

This compact unit delivers a 100-inch display screen at 1080p high resolution with 4K mirroring. And with a built-in battery, you’ll get up to four hours of playtime before you need to recharge.

Artlii Full HD Projector

Although the Artlii classes itself as a business projector, its multiple functions make it flexible for entertainment too. It features full 1080p HD for movies or business presentations.

It’s extremely bright at 6,500 lumens (280 ANSI lumens), so you can still see clearly with ambient light. With an MStar chipset, LCD technology, and 5,000:1 contrast ratio, you’ll get vivid colors and detailed imaging.

It offers 100 to 75 percent zooming so you don’t have to mess with placement when moving from room to room.

The Artlii projector delivers a display of up to 300 inches. Connect with two HDMI ports or VGA, as well as a Micro USB port for digital media.

WiMiUS P28 Projector

This snappy home theater projector offers a beautiful picture and great audio in one package. It boasts 6,800 lumens and a one-key brighten function for clarity in any environment.

You’ll get 1080p resolution and 10,000:1 contrast ratio, but it can also support 4k via your smartphone or computer.  You’ll also enjoy two 10-watt speakers built-in for superb audio reproduction, including Dolby sound.

With a +/- 50-degree keystone correction, you can place this projector anywhere without fuss or frustration.

It features a 300-inch display and connectivity with two HDMI and two USB ports.

Bottom Line

While each one of these home theater projectors is a great pick, the Optoma tops the list. With its stellar refresh rate and lightning-fast response, it’s perfect for gaming.

With multiple options for seamless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the Optoma is a clear winner when you consider the range of devices it supports.

Although the Artlii and WiMiUS are less expensive, they don’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity. The XGIMI impresses with its regular software updates, but it doesn’t support iOS. And while the Kodak model is compact and good looking, its low lumen output limits its usability.

The Optoma gets top spot for the best home projector under $1,000. It’s sure to impress with its gaming capability, full 3D rendering, and built-in high-end audio.