Best Projectors Under $500 in 2020 – The Ultimate Guide

best projector under $500

Modern projectors have become smaller, they are easier to operate, and they can deliver sharper images.

From watching HD movies to giving PowerPoint presentations, projectors now provide flexible solutions for setting up a big screen almost anywhere.

You also have dozens of projectors to choose from, which creates a potential problem. Which is the best projector for your budget?

To ensure that you find the right one, check out our comparison of the best
projectors under $500.

ViewSonic WXGA PA503W 1080P Projector: Project images up to 120 inches from just over 15 feet away, with this quality projector from ViewSonic. It comes with everything needed to start projecting images from your PC, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.

Thanks to its connectivity options and resolution, it is a top choice for almost any environment, including your home or business.

Resolution and Brightness
The ViewSonic PA503W projector has a WGA display, providing 1280 x 800-pixel
resolution. It also features a 3600 lumens lamp with up to 15,000 hours of life.
While WXGA is a step down from full 1080p HD, it is the standard resolution used
for most HD tablets and smartphones.

Design and Compatibility
The projector comes in a compact shell with a built-in two-watt internal speaker.
The speaker is too quiet for most applications, but it is still useful for watching the
video alone in a small room.

The back of the projector includes the various ports for connecting a video input.
The available connectivity options include 3D HDMI, VGA, analog video, and mini
USB. It even has outputs for audio and a monitor.


  • Quality resolution for the price range
  • Projects up to 120 inches with great clarity
  • Includes keystone correction for leveling your picture
  • Plug and play ready for fast setup with most devices
  • Comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty


  • The internal speaker is incredibly quiet

BenQ MH535FHD 1080P Home Theater Projector:

If you need 1080p HD from your projector, consider using this option from BenQ. The projector includes a bright lamp and fast response time, giving you the clarity
and refresh rate needed for gaming or watching Blu Ray movies.

With the lens zoom and short-throw technology, you can project images up to 100 inches in full high definition.

Resolution and Brightness
The BenQ MH535FHD projector features full 1080p HD resolution for ultra-sharp
pictures. For added sharpness, it has a contrast ratio of 15,000:1 and a 3,600 lumens bulb.

The display uses digital light processing (DLP), providing smoother motion for videos and gaming with fast action. You should have no problem watching a movie outdoors or projecting images in a medium-sized room.

Design and Compatibility
This device has a small, two-watt, built-in speaker and measures just over 13 inches. To connect your devices, it has two HDMI ports, a composite video input, and a mini USB-B connection.


  • Uses DLP technology for better response time
  • Offers a native 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
  • Compatible with 3D Blu Ray players
  • Uses short-throw technology for larger displays from shorter distances


  • Includes a small speaker that you cannot hear in larger rooms.

Epson VS355 WXGA 3300 Lumens 3LCD Projector:
Enjoy clear images indoors or outdoors with this Epson VS355 3LCD Projector. It uses LCD technology to provide greater energy efficiency and longer lamp life. Thanks to the simple interface, you can also get it up and running within seconds.

Resolution and Brightness
The vivid colors and sharp images that you get with this projector help it stand out compared to the competition. This projector has a 3300 lumens bulb and native WXGA resolution. It supports full HD and works great with widescreen laptops.

Design and Compatibility
The Epson VS355 comes in a slim design, making it easy to pack up and take with
you to remote locations for presentations. With the low-noise fan, it also operates relatively quietly.
If you want a projector that you can connect to your android or iPhone device out
of the box, this is a top recommendation. It includes many inputs on the back, including a USB-B and USB-C input. You also get HDMI, VGA, and RGB inputs, along with an audio jack.


  • Easy to setup – plug and play compatible with most devices
  • Includes inputs for connecting smartphones and tablets
  • Provides clear pictures even in well-lit rooms.


  • Does not offer the brightest bulb, but still looks great.

Acer H5382BD 720P 3D DLP Home Theater Projector:
The Acer H5382BD Projector provides several useful features to help deliver a better home theater experience. You get 720p resolution, HDMI connectivity, and DLP technology in a compact projector.
It also offers exceptional sharpness for its price, with 20,000:1 DynamicBlack
contrast, making it easier to see the picture in rooms that are not completely dark.

Resolution and Brightness
This projector comes packed with features to help deliver a brighter, clearer display. It has native 1280 x 720-pixel resolution and supports WUXGA for a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. It also has a 3300 lumens bulb with up to 10,000 hours of use.

When placing the projector 3.4 meters away from the wall, you can display images up to 100 inches. It also includes automatic keystone to level uneven pictures.
For enhanced clarity, it has Boost 3D technology and ColorSafe II.

The Boost 3D technology helps with wall-color compensation, allowing you to use the projector on the surface other than completely white walls. ColorSafe II prevents the decay of color that sometimes occurs during extended use.

Design and Compatibility
The projector features multiple inputs, including RGB, HDMI, and one stereo minijack. You can connect almost anything, but you still need an adapter for connecting a smartphone or tablet.


  • Offers exceptionally sharp, vibrant pictures with full HD support
  • Includes multiple inputs
  • The 20,000:1 contrast ratio and advanced technologies improve clarity.


  • Does not have a USB-C or USB-B connection for smartphones or tablets
  • Does not have the brightest bulb, requiring less light in the room

Which Projector Should You Choose?
Now that you have browsed the best projectors under $500, you should think about the features you need. Some of the main considerations include:

  • Throw distance
  • Resolution
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Bulb Life
  • Compatibility

The throw distance and resolution determine how big you can project your video without sacrificing clarity.

The native resolution is the size that the projector uses when processing images. If you exceed the native resolution, you may notice a reduction in the sharpness of the picture. To get the clearest images, look for a projector with a native resolution that comes close to the source resolution.

For example, several of these options have a native resolution of 720p or 1080p. Anything lower would limit the quality of HD video through the projector.

The contrast and brightness impact the overall quality of the projection in different environments. With a higher contrast ratio, the dark colors appear darker
and the light colors appear lighter. The result is a sharper image.

Bulb life matters most when choosing a projector with a standard bulb. While LED
bulbs may offer 30,000 hours of use or more, most standard bulbs only last for about 5000 to 10,000 hours.

The final feature to consider is compatibility. If you plan on using the projector for presentations, ensure that it supports your device and has the brightness needed for displaying graphs and slideshows.