In search of the best projector under $500 to have a big cinema screen at home? The units in this price category have good contrast and brightness, support different resolution formats (from SVGA to Full HD, and even 4K), have 3D capability, and can connect to a large array of AV devices. Still, due to price point, they’re seldom equipped with wireless and often lack the comfort features of more expensive models (fully adjustable keystone, regulated legs, a smartphone app for control, voice control, etc.). Look what options we’ve gathered here, and make up your mind on your next home theater or office projector!
Representing a low-budget model, the V630 offers several connectivity options, native Full HD resolution, and quick smartphone mirroring. It can work as a PC monitor through the VGA port, play video or audio content from an SD card, a USB flash drive, HDMI sources (2 inputs). It can charge connected USB devices with a 5V current and a headphones jack. If you do well without Bluetooth or other direct wireless protocol, the Vankyo V630 could be the best 1080p projector under 500 dollars.
This is the medium-throw projector letting you position it from 5.15 to 30.18ft away from the screen. The minimum display size is 46 inches, and the largest one is 300 inches. The device has the manual focus and keystone regulators while the keystone adjustment (vertical and horizontal) is performed electronically as well. The manual wheel lets you adjust the image to 15 degrees higher or lower, while the digital keystone is regulated up to 45 degrees. The focus adjustment is easy and sensitive, letting you reach a precise high-contrast picture worthy of the best projector under 500 dollars.
The brightness of this unit is measured in LUX making 6,500. I could say, it’s very bright fitting for various light conditions. The contrast ratio is 5,000:1, and the color spectrum is warm and diverse in 1080p mode. The LED-based mechanism ensures prolonged lamp life (reaching 50,000 hours).
Fitting well for educational centers and business applications, this model can also claim the title of the best home projector under 500 dollars. Its native resolution is 800 x 600 pixels while better formats are supported, up to 1080p. It’s also very bright (3,800 lumens), letting you use it with the lights on. The colors boosted with the SuperColor tech stay uniform and preserve saturation. It can produce an image from 30 to 300 inches.
This unit is a medium-throw one and should be put between 10 to 15ft from the screen to represent the most contrast and clearest image. Meanwhile, it can also perform at 4ft and 40ft from the screen. The menu has presets for 5 different picture modes letting you choose the most suitable one for your current task / environment. I was glad to see the modes can be further customized by changing the brightness, contrast, tint, and so on.
The best projector under $500 must have various ports for input and output. The ViewSonic 3800 conforms fully. It has an HDMI for various players and TV sticks, the audio input, and the composite port. With 2 VGA in jacks, it can be hooked up simultaneously to 2 PCs. The outputs make the AUX and Monitor out. Besides, there’s RS232 and USB Type-B for service / control.
High brightness, flexible positioning due to smart image correction technologies, good contrast, and accuracy in color representation make this unit the best home theater projector under 500 dollars. However, while offering native Full HD resolution, it’s only compatible with 4K and cannot perform HDR during 4K gaming and movie watching.
The brightness for this model is indicated in LUX making 7,200. It’s bright, and the image is well visible without noise or washes out issues in the medium environment light. The color gamut of this projector is quite wide (1.07 bln hues) and deep. Colors are saturated and precise. The contrast is 10,000:1, and the blacks and grays look consistent.
The array of connections integrated into this model is on the level with the best projectors under 500 dollars. It has 2 HDMIs and 2 USBs for multiple players, gaming devices, smartphones, and tablets. It can be used as the PC display when hooked up through the VGA port. The AV jacks are present as well.
The projector is based on LED (LCD) technology and features a prolonged lamp life reaching 100,000 hours for the low-brightness mode. The maximum size of the image is 200 inches, and the projection distance can be varied from 4.9ft to 18ft. The advanced keystone regulation lets you put it in any place and makes it the best short throw projector under $500. The image can be tweaked both vertically and horizontally for 50 degrees while some soft edge effect might be present at the extreme keystone positions.
Supporting 4K and having a high contrast ratio of 10,000:1, the Y31 model from Yaber could well be the best HD projector under 500 dollars. It’s equipped with a LED lamp, producing 7,200 LUX and rendering a sharp picture with the ambient light present. The color accuracy is fine, and the gray color consistency is high, making dark scenes detailed.
The projection distance can vary from 4.9ft up to 21.3ft, providing for a variety of installation positions. The projector can be ceiling-mounted or placed on a surface. It has a digital zoom decrease to make a picture smaller by 25% without moving it. The flaws in the vertical and horizontal adjustment can be compensated with the 4D keystone regulation mechanism. It digitally adjusts the image position for up to 50 degrees. The smallest image size makes 50 inches, and it can display a 300-inch picture as well.
The projector performs 4K playback while it’s native resolution is 1080p. It has HDMI (2) and USB (2) ports, VGA input, RCA audio output, and AV input. The unit makes a solid option as the best projector for under 500 dollars, especially for setups with CD, DVD players, and other devices implementing the RCA output.
The sound drivers, integrated into the projector, have a medium-loud output and clear sound. They’re stereo, rated at 3W, implementing the SRS system for 3-dimensional sound output. The Dolby Digital support is another feature making this model worth the name of the best 4K projector under 500 dollars.
Priced as the entry-level unit, this projector brings a solid Full HD picture with good contrast. Having a ratio of 7,000:1 and the LUX brightness of 7,000, this 1080p projector under 500 dollars performs well in the SDR outlining the highlights and making the shadows deep and full of color grades. It also produces consistent colors that have a wide spectrum of shades and remains solid in action scenes. A slight trail behind quickly moving objects might be registered; still, the motion overall is quite sharp.
The projector reacts to controls immediately preserving the low-latency for HDMI connection as well. Full HD gaming is immersive thanks to the high level of detail and contrast on display.
The connectivity panel of this projector lets you plug in all the devices at once and just switch / activate the inputs once you need them. The options comprise 2 HDMI jacks, 2 USB connections for flash drives or USB-powered gear, a PC-RGB port (VGA). There’s also the Audio output to have the sound on an external acoustic set or within your headphones.
The screen sizes go from 45 inches to 300 inches. If you have space, this model could easily become the best video projector under 500 dollars. The unit requires installation in between 5.4ft to 29.5ft and can be characterized as a long-throw projector.
If you are planning to purchase an outstanding projector with 3D and Full HD that won’t cost much, the Optoma H184X is probably perfect. It features multiple in- and out connections, can playback a 1080p picture, has high contrast, and diverse color. Though not being a wireless model, it’s compatible with mobile devices and dongles through an HDMI connection. The latter is a single port with the version 1.4a. Other inputs are represented with the composite prot, audio input, and the VGA port. There’s also a VGA output letting you send the signal to another projector or monitor, the RS232 port, and the audio out to connect speakers or headphones. The projector has its own stereo driver system rated at 10W, which provides enough sound volume and clarity to fill in a small-to-medium room.
The picture looks good out-of-the-box, due to high brightness and careful color mapping. The latter corresponds with the Rec. 709 format, making the picture neutral in gamut and crisp. The 3,600-lumen brightness makes the colors pop and keeps the whites impenetrable and shiny against saturated blacks. The contrast ratio for this model makes 28,000:1.
The positioning and setup of the projector are simple. The unit can make a picture from 30 to 300 inches and has a long projection distance (from 3.9 to 45.9ft). The image adjustment options comprise the optical 1.1 zoom and 40-degree vertical keystone regulator.
If you want to spend the evening with friends or family watching a movie on a large screen, here’s one of the top projectors under 500 dollars to fulfill the request. The V630W by Vankyo supports dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), ensuring immediate connection with other Wi-Fi enabled devices. The physical ports include HDMI, VGA, AV connection, USB, and SD card slot. Switching between different inputs is quick, and the content is displayed at once.
The 1080p resolution is native, providing a detailed image with a smooth accurate color disposition. The brightness is about 6,800 LUX and that is optimal for viewing in a dark room. The contrast is 5,000:1 resulting in the distinct image in bright picture modes, and somewhat dim ones, with an inconsistent gray level in low-brightness mode.
This model has a medium throw and can make up a large image of a 300-inch diagonal. It’s equipped with digital zoom (for picture decreasing) and keystone regulation (up to 50 degrees). The menu is simple to navigate, access settings, and control the playback. The Vankyo V630W makes a solid option among projectors under 500 dollars, especially for home theaters with multiple source devices.