Projectors are one of those technology areas I’ve spent most of my adult life researching and buying for myself. From the days of the earliest DLP projectors, I’ve had at least one projector running in my home. Sadly, there is a lot of poor information out there which can catch novices and cost you more money than you should.

Not knowing the technical jargon, you can end up with a cheap projector that sounds fancy but gives you washed-out images or too dark scenes. Instead of a bright picture, the entire outing is a frustration.

Projector technology is much easier and more convenient today than back in the day when it felt like the setup took longer than the actual movie. However, with so many types and outdoor movie projector options available, selecting the best outdoor projector may seem daunting, except if you have an expert to help you. 

We’ve spent over 25 hours researching and compiling data to winnow down a list of the top 30 most popular outdoor projectors. We’ve come up with a list of the five top outdoor projectors – keeping in mind that everyone has different requirements and budgets.

So, if you are anxious to watch sports or set up for an outdoor movie night, check out our list of best projectors for outdoor use. We’ve included portable projectors that fit in the palm of your hands, the best projector for sports fans and outdoor movies, a projector with hours of playtime, and the price range should fit your budget. 

Our top pick for the best outdoor project is the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Portable Projector. It has a great mix of features at a solid price.

The Best Outdoor Projectors Compared

Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Portable Projector
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XGIMI Halo True 1080p Portable Projector
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BenQ TK850 True 4K HDR-PRO Projector
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Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Porejctor
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Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Protector
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What Makes A Great Outdoor Projector?

Brightness, clarity, focus uniformity, color accuracy, contrast ratio, and battery life are things to consider when buying a new outdoor projector. Outdoor projectors with the best overall viewing experience have similar projector features

ANSI lumens are the standard measurement for how much light the projector creates and the brightness that affects image quality. For outside, you want sufficient ANSI lumens for a 100-inch screen. Daytime viewing and ambient light provide a different effect of brightness than watching a movie at night. The darker the space, the better the projector brightness will be but the lighter the area, the more washed out image.

ANSI Lumens equals the average Lux measurements times Screen Size in square inches is the formula to calculate ANSI lumens. The average is computed using the nine brightness measurements measured with a lux meter at nine different areas on an all-white screen.  

Many sellers list the light source lumens instead of the ANSI lumens. Light source lumens are not the actual brightness of the projected image; it is the brightness of the LED chip inside the projector. Again, look for the word ANSI; if you see only lumens, it refers to LED lumens.

Converting to ANSI lumens:

  • LED lumens to ANSI lumens divide by 2.4 before multiplying with screen size in square inches. 
  • Light Source to ANSI multiplied by 0.015 for the approximate measurement and then multiplied with squared screen size.

HD bulb projectors are the cheapest with high brightness but consume more energy and get hot quicker. A bulb projector is the ideal outdoor movie projector for occasional use. An LED projector has less energy consumption with a high lifespan at a relatively low cost. Laser light projectors are the most expensive, with high brightness and low energy consumption. 

The throw ratio is how big the projector’s image will be according to how far away the projector screen is. The throw ratios multiplied by the screen inches calculate the ideal throw distance for the projector from the screen. For example, a standard throw ratio of 1.5 projecting on a 100-inch screen requires a 150-inch distance from the screen. Short throw projectors have a throw ratio between 0.5-0.7, and ultra-short-throw projectors fit under the screen with a throw ratio of 0.2-0.3.

The built-in battery life may sound good on paper but consider the outdoor projector settings that influence the playback time of the rechargeable battery. The best outdoor projectors have excellent battery life without compromising brightness, clarity, and audio quality.

Some outdoor projectors have great features but short battery life, which isn’t a bad thing depending on the purpose. For example, you require more hours of movie watching for an outdoor cinema versus the display of an artist’s work. The latter requires a battery-powered projector with impressive picture quality and not long battery life.  

Image clarity and focus uniformity influence the picture quality. Image clarity is the result of the native resolution of the projector and the quality of the focusing lens. A 1080p resolution gives a clear and crisp image on a 100-inch screen, and 720p is still noticeable but soft on focus. With poor image clarity, individual pixels become more apparent.

Focus uniformity measures the clarity of text at the corners of the screen to the text in the center.

Most portable projectors have built-in speakers, and some have the option to connect additional external speakers for outdoor viewing. But let’s be honest – there’s not much space for even high-quality speakers to work their magic – so sound quality will be average at best.

Don’t expect any outdoor projector to provide a movie theatre quality sound experience. Most projectors allow for external speakers or amplifiers – use them if you really need the sound.

Most outdoor projectors have a built-in app for a streaming device. Make sure the apps are compatible with the primary streaming services you want; if not, you can always use an external streaming stick. For gaming purposes, the video gaming console input lag should be less than 55 ms to avoid frustrating gameplay.  

Unlike many home theater projectors, which are not designed to move around, projectors designed for backyard movie nights are portable with easy setup features. Some projectors are lightweight with carrying handles, while other projectors are portable but cumbersome.


Best Outdoor Projectors For Outdoor Spaces Reviewed

Overall Best Outdoor Projector: Anker Nebula Mars II Pro Portable Projector

The Nebula Anker Mars II Pro Portable Projector is our editor’s choice for its projection versatility, excellent brightness, great battery life, good sound, and compact design. 

You can expect about four hours of battery power at 300 ANSI lumens and around two hours of video playback at 500 ANSI lumens. With this internal battery, you won’t have to stop watching the movie halfway through. Of course, you can also use the included power adapter and power cord. 

The compact projector features a carrying handle for portability, and its compact design makes it the go-to outdoor projector for backyard cinema experience and camping experiences. The portable projector offers good picture quality with an image size range varying from 40 to 100-inch screen, making viewing possible on the side of a tent, a car, or a 100-inch backyard screen. In addition, a tripod mounting hole for a stand offers greater flexibility in outside placement. 

The 720p resolution is sufficient for mid-sized viewing parties, and the two internal 10W speakers are nice and loud with good sound quality. The 500 ANSI lumen outdoor projector also features a remote control, horizontal and vertical keystone correction for a stable image at various angles, the automatic focus for sharp, HD image, and extensive connection compatibility.

You can watch content on the USB port, HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi network, or screen mirroring content from your phone with Miracast. In addition, Netflix and YouTube are some streaming options connected to the internet. 

The portable projector for outdoors comes with a 12-month warranty.

Pros

  • Battery-powered and wired option 
  • Dual 10W speakers with loud sound for outdoors
  • Bright projector with 500 ANSI lumens
  • Sufficient picture quality to watch movies outdoors
  • Portable with built-in carry handles
  • 40-100-inch image size for versatile viewing at random places 
  • Netflix and YouTube streaming apps, when connected to the internet

Cons

  • Reviewers mentioned that watching sports on YouTube TV isn’t that great. 
  • Color accuracy and contrast ratio are not the best but not a concern when projecting on random sites outdoors

Top Of Best Outdoor Projectors For Streaming Options: XGIMI Halo True 1080p Portable Projector

With almost perfect app compatibility, the XGIMI Halo True Portable Projector is one of the most versatile HD projectors for indoor and outdoor use. It is an excellent choice for a 1080p outdoor projector delivering the best picture quality with a brighter image and super quiet, immersive sound system – an all-around entertainment hub for the family for movies, games, and music. 

The native 1080p FHD resolution outdoor projector paired with 800 ANSI lumens, excellent clarity, color, a sharp picture, and great contrast ratio offers a brighter image than other portable projectors. It provides one of the best picture quality for movies and gaming experiences. 

Compatible with the built-in Android TV 9.0 operating system, the outdoor projector can access over 5000 apps using Google Play. YouTube, Disney +, Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO Max are some of the streaming app options. Although not streaming the native Netflix app, the outdoor projector has almost perfect streaming compatibility, an excellent feature many projectors don’t have. 

The Harman Kardon built-in speakers are good, and users can wirelessly connect soundbars and Bluetooth headphones to the dual 5W speakers for an immersive sound adventure. With less than 30dB of fan noise, the projector is super quiet, unlike some portable projectors with whining or other disturbing distortions. 

The outdoor projector features autofocus for hassle-free clear pictures and automatic keystone corrections at 40-degree angles horizontally and vertically. In addition, screen size automatically adjusts from 30 to 300-inch maximum screen size when placing the projector within 2.59-25.9 feet. 

A high-capacity built-in battery offers 2 hours of playtime on a 150-inch screen before you need to find a power source. In addition to the USB inputs, the projector also features a DC, HDMI, wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, and audio port. 

Pros

  • Almost perfect app compatibility with Android TV access to over 5000 apps on Google Play 
  • 800 ANSI lumens for excellent brightness and image quality 
  • Practically no distortion sounds with less than 30dB of fan noise
  • All-around entertainment movies, music, and gaming for family 
  • Clear pictures with automatic keystone correction and autofocus
  • Dual 5W speakers offer excellent audio output 
  • Wide range automatic screen adjustment at 2.59-25.9 feet distance

Cons

  • Low battery life for watching movies or sports but can be plugged in
  • No native Netflix app streaming but possible with a TV stick

Best Outdoor Projector For Sports: BenQ TK850 True 4K HDR-PRO Projector

The BenQ TK850 True 4K HDR-PRO projector is the outdoor projector of choice for sports fans, binge-watchers, and daytime viewers or in a room with high ambient light levels. With the native 4k resolution, lightweight design for carrying outdoors, and 10-bit HDR (high dynamic range) processing, this BenQ outdoor projector is worth the expense.

The projector is perfect for outdoor use with a maximum screen size of 300 inches and 10W CinemaMaser Audio+2 speakers. The immersive sound mode transforms viewers onto the sports field as if they are part of the action. The compact projector weighs about 9.8 pounds, light enough to carry inside for serious TV binging despite the ambient light.

Known for their excellent home theater projectors, BenQ doesn’t disappoint with the TK850 true UHD DLP projectors. The 30,000:1 contrast ratio provides sufficient lush colors and detailed blacks for sports enthusiasts. In addition, the 4k projector with 98% Rec.709 and 3000 lumens offers high brightness in bright rooms or daytime viewing outdoors.

The outdoor projector has all the goodies required for an ultimate experience at the pool or backyard. Features include a high-end 10-bit HDR processor for realistic images with auto color mapping, a 12-bit imaging processor with a dynamic iris for enhanced contrast, vertical lens shift, keystone correction, and a 1.3x zoom lens for perfect positioning.

Viewers can connect to preferred media (Blu-ray player, Fire stick, Roki TV stick, or laptop) with two HDMI ports and an HDMI cable or USB 3.0 data input. The BenQ projector also has a mode with built-in Android TV.

Pros

  • Designed for ambient light, daytime viewing, and outdoor use
  • Native 4K resolution, ideal for sports fans and TV series binging
  • The maximum screen size is 300 inches for a theater viewing experience
  • Lightweight design for easy carrying outdoors or indoors
  • 10-Bit HDR processor for color and bright image

Cons

  • Like most 4k resolution projectors, the BenQ TK850 is more expensive than other outdoor projectors

Top Pick For Best Outdoor Projectors Sound: Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Porejctor

The Epson EpiqVision Mini projector creates an amazing sound system for a projector that fits in your hands. The Yama speakers create a unique sound experience, and the laser light source of 1000 lumens projects onto a maximum screen size of 150 inches for an outdoor cinema experience.

Weighing only 4.7 pounds and small enough to fit in the palm of your hands, the laser projector is easy to transport and ideal for camping or watching movies on the rooftop. Its compact design blends well with modern decor. Delivering full HD HDR picture quality virtually on any white wall or screen, this 4k projector is perfect for indoor and outdoor use.

Yamaha’s custom-designed audiophile speaker system ensures a powerful sound rivaling most soundbars. You also have the option to use them as standalone Bluetooth speakers. The sound is impressive for such a small portable unit.

Unique multi-array laser diode technology offers the deepest black and brightest colors for watching outdoor movies or sports. In addition, scene adaptive color correction provides a clear, natural picture quality, and the advanced 3LCD technology display 100% of the RGB color signal for every frame. As a result, viewers can enjoy their movies without distracting rainbowing.

The built-in Android TV interface features a convenient remote and a voice search with the built-in Google Assitant. With wireless connectivity plugged into the internet, you are ready to watch your favorite streaming channels and even stream live TV with YouTube TV.

Pros

  • Compact modern design that blends with home decor
  • Highly portable, it fits in your hands
  • Supports 4K media and converts down to full HD resolution
  • Yamaha speakers provide excellent sound and have a Bluetooth speaker option
  • Multi-array laser diode technology delivers great color and deep blacks
  • No distracting rainbowing
  • Built-in Android TV for convenient streaming

Cons

  • The beautiful image quality could be brighter to overcome light pollution

Best Projector For Outdoor Movie Night: Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Protector

 Fully charged, the true 1080p Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector has three hours of playtime. With a built-in stand, autofocus, 400 ANSI lumen, and keystone correction, the projector is an excellent value for money option.

The clean-looking design blends well inside, and the built-in stand for tilting up to 13 degrees with an option for mounting allows for versatile usage indoors or outside. The 3-hour playtime on a single charge is sufficient to watch a movie or even a mini-binge. You do have the plugin power option.

The dual 3W speakers offer incredible clarity with the Dolby Digital Plus. The sound is good enough to use the device as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. With the built-in Android TV 9, you can mirror content from mobile devices to the Solar portable 1080p projector or choose from the more than 5,000 apps for streaming.

Although you can hear the fan, it doesn’t interfere with your watching experience. The projector features 400 ANSI lumens for overcoming light pollution, automatic focus and positioning, a 4k downscaling option, and adapting colors according to the wall color if displayed on a wall.

Pros

  • 400 ANSI lumens for brightness and color settings
  • Great sound with the option for standalone Bluetooth speaker usage
  • 4K downscaling to 1080p HD resolution
  • 3 hours of battery life in battery mode
  • Can adapt to wall color if not screening on what wall
  • Automatic focus and positioning with built-in stand

Cons

  • Contrast ratio is not sufficient for daytime viewing or heavy ambient light

Did you find the perfect projector for your outdoor settings?