If you long for a true-to-life and immersive experience while watching movies, TV shows, or playing games, a 4K projector is something you shouldn’t miss out on. Just a couple of years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to find these amazing devices for under $10,000. Luckily, with the fast-advancing technology full of innovations, you can now find a wide array of 4K projectors that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, allowing you to build a home-cinema from your dreams.
Top Picks for 2021
Keep on reading to find out what are the best budget 4K projectors. We’ve also created a detailed and comprehensive Buyer’s Guide so you can make a well-informed buying decision that best fits your needs.
1. ViewSonic True 4K Home Theater Projector
This compact, portable, and budget-friendly projector features a stunning 4K ultra HD resolution, delivering ultimate image clarity and detail for a true life-like experience. The True 4K Home Theater Projector by ViewSonic has an integrated smart TV, enabling you to stream your favorite content from your mobile device onto a big screen and binge-watch movies, TV shows, or YouTube videos.
This smart device is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing you to voice control powering on and off, control volume, switch source, and many more. Equipped with Harman Kardon Speakers with Bluetooth, this projector can produce loud and room-filling sound ideal for music and home theater.
Featuring the latest LED technology, free of filters, mercury, and lamps, this device provides 30,000 hours of use while consuming far less power than a standard LCD TV. It is also kids and pet-friendly as it features a safety auto-off, switching the device off when an object is too close to its lens.
2. ViewSonic True 4K Projector with 3500 Lumens for Home Theater Day and Night
Another powerful but affordable machine by ViewSonic. The True 4K Projector For Home Theater Day&Night has an incredible Ultra HD resolution as well as the brightness of 3,500 lumens, delivering immersive and cinema-like entertainment in both bright and dark rooms around the clock, day and night.
Featuring a true 3840 x 2160 resolution, SuperColor technology, powerful speakers, and HDR content support, this device will produce crystal clear and detailed images, theater-like sound, and amazingly detailed video playback. You can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows at any time of the day, in any room and environment.
Equipped with an energy-saving Super Eco lamp, this home theater projector will work up to 15,000 hours with reduced power consumption. It comes with a backlit remote control with an illuminated button, making it suitable for night-time usage and super easy and convenient to use in dark environments.
Thanks to its wider optical zoom, you won’t have problems mounting this projector, and the whole installation hassle will be a thing of the past.
Take a look at the pros and cons of this model in the following video:
3. Optoma True 4K UHD Gaming Projector
Thanks to its incredible picture quality, the True 4K UHD Gaming Projector by Optoma produces vivid and extra-sharp images, allowing you to experience a true cinema-like feel. Its HDR10 and HLG content compatibility ensure you enjoy deeper blacks and brighter whites for the ultimate viewing experience of videos and images.
The Optoma projector is optimized for gaming and offers a 16ms response time for lag and blur-free visuals and incredible smoothness. With its UltraDetail technology, you can enjoy your favorite games, movies, and TV shows, with images of exceptionally crisp, vivid colors and an outstanding smoothness.
Featuring 3,400 lumens brightness, you can enjoy your home cinema in any room during any part of the day and even outdoors, while camping, barbequing, and summer family gatherings.
Thanks to its extended lamp life, you can enjoy 15,000 hours of content, which amounts to two movies every day for ten years and more. It is incredibly easy to set up, and you can mount it on the ceiling or a table and adjust the picture to your liking.
4. BenQ 4K UHD Home Theater Projector with HDR and HLG
Equipped with the latest 4K projection technology, the Home Theater Projector by BenQ delivers an awe-inspiring image quality with outstanding clarity and sharply defined details.
Compared to other technologies, the Digital Light Processing technology in this projector provides better image quality and resolution with smooth and pixel-free edges. You can even play your favorite console games with the BenQ Home Theater Projector, such as Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and others, and enjoy lower input lag and sharp pictures.
Featuring high contrast ratio and outstanding brightness, it ensures sharp image quality with amazing black levels even during the day. Enjoy your living room afternoons watching your favorite movies and sport events thanks to its 3000 lumens of brightness.
This projector comes with an all-glass 4K-optimized lens, enabling a better light penetration for increased image sharpness and clarity. Other components coming with the product include a remote, power cord, lens cover, user manual, and a quick start guide.
Check out this video for more info about this model:
5. AAXA 4K1 LED Home Theater Projector
Another pocket-size budget projector is the AAXA 4K1 LED Home Theater Projector. It comes with the native 4K Ultra High Definition Pixel Resolution, 1500 lumens, electronic focus, and Osram Quad-Cast LEDs that last about 30,000 hours. It also has a vibrant color technology, ensuring a life-like and mind-blowing cinema experience.
Thanks to its multiple inputs, including a Dual HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, you can stream movies and others onto a bigger screen and enjoy your favorite content in a crystal clear image. This device is compatible with Hulu, Netflix, and many other streaming platforms.
The Remote Electric Focus allows you to better control any adjustments and ensure a crisp and sharp projection. Its Premium Dual 2W Speakers will fill the whole room with sound and add to the immersive viewing experience. Thanks to its Onboard Media Player, you can play videos, music, images, and texts directly from a TF card or USB.
This projector is super compact and portable, and therefore it’s excellent for home theater or office. You can easily carry and install it in different rooms if needed. You can purchase this product with a mounting kit, which will allow you to mount it on the ceiling as well.
Buyer’s Guide to Help You Make The Right Choice
If you plan to buy a cheaper 4K projector for home entertainment, there are several varying factors you need to consider, especially if you don’t have any previous experience with these. This is not a product we buy every day, and it’s really important to pay attention to the following prior to purchasing it:
Factor #1. Resolution
Resolution level is perhaps the essential feature of home cinemas as it affects the overall image quality. When purchasing a home theater projector, pay attention to its resolution level stats. A 4K HDR projector has a resolution of around 3840×2160.
Be mindful of those labeled as supporting 4K resolution as these won’t give you the same picture quality. This only means that your device can receive a 4K signal but is not able to produce it or output it. Once you feed your projector with a 4K signal, your device will perform downscaling and output the content in 1080p resolution or less.
Take a look at this explanation of the different 4K projections.
Factor #2. Brightness and Light Output
If you want a clear and bright image, your projector needs to be able to output a sufficient amount of light. If the light output is too low, the image will be blurry and muddy, even in dark environment conditions. The best way to determine if the projector produces enough brightness and light is to check for ANSI Lumens rating.
Generally, home theater projectors should have Lumens rating of 1,000 ANSI Lumens to make sure it outputs enough light. You will need less or more lumens depending on your room and screen size, screen distance, and ambient light.
Factor #3. Contrast Ratio
Contrast ratio refers to the ratio between the white and black image portions. Higher contrast ratios deliver images with extremely white white-portions of an image and extremely black blacks. The contrast ratio complements your projector’s brightness, and if it’s low, the image will be washed out no matter how high the lumens rating. Therefore, target contrast ratios of at least 1,500:1 in darker rooms. However, you can never go wrong with a contrast ratio that is 2,000:1 or higher.
Factor #4. Lamp life
Lamp life will determine the longevity of your projector’s lamp. You need to take this factor seriously because lamp replacement is not cheap and can cost almost as much as your budget projector. Therefore, to ensure the best value for your 4K projector, target those with a standard lamp life of 10,000 hours under normal conditions and use. Of course, lamp life can be much higher, but it can affect the price of a projector. In any case, avoid ones that have only 5,000 hours of lamp life or less unless the cost of its replacement is inexpensive.
In the following picture, you can see a comparison of the LED, laser and lamp projectors and their affordability:
Factor #5. Speakers
For a true-to-life and immersive viewing experience, you need good sound. Of course, you can always buy additional speakers. But if you plan to use your projector on the go, it’s important to have decent speakers that go with it.
For loud and clear sound, go for speakers of 10W or 20W. They will produce a good enough sound in a room with two or three people while someone is talking.
Factor #6. Inputs
Before buying a new home projector, make sure it has all the connections you might need. The majority of projectors on the market today provide HDMI inputs as well as DVI and VGA inputs for computers. Besides these, a projector should also have other inputs and ports, such as audio input and output, USB ports, and RS-232 port.
Factor #7. Easy and comfortable to use
Just like any other device, your home projector should have straightforward and easily understandable software so you can navigate it with ease. Make sure that all options have auto-control, as this will make your life much easier, and you will be able to enjoy your home cinema without fiddling around with lens adjustments and focus.
For less maintenance, go for ones that operate in 50-80% humidity. It’s also important to have an effective cooling fan that will keep your device under 50 degrees Celsius and will not make annoying sounds while working.
Factor #8. Portability
Make sure your projector is compact, light, and easily portable. This will make it easier to travel with and simplify its setup and installation. Its portability will allow you to set it up outdoors during summertime and enjoy your own family drive-in cinema. We would recommend projectors that are under 5 kilograms or 12 pounds. Additionally, some projectors come with handles, making them easy to carry around.
To Wrap Up
A home theater projector can indeed improve the home entertainment experience. However, don’t just buy any projector that is on sale and within your budget. Before purchasing it, consider all the factors we mentioned above and choose the one that best fits your needs, and that will last you for years to come.
Q: What is the best inexpensive projector?
A: Our picks for the best budget projectors for the home cinema would be the numbers 2, 3, and 4 on our list as these offer the greatest feature variety for the best price.
Q: Can I play 4K video on a 1080p projector?
A: Yes, you can set the player to read a 4K video, but the image quality will not be in 4K resolution.
Q: Does a 4k projector need a special screen?
A: Generally, any screen that is smooth and has a finer grit is good for 4K projectors because these reflect the 4K resolution better, and the image will be clearer.
Q: How do I choose a good projector?
A: You need to think about the room size, placement location, and installation position for the best viewing experience. Read our Buyer’s Guide for further information on the best specs for your 4K home projector as well as other factors you should consider.
Here are some other interesting and affordable models available on today’s market: