I must confess that I absolutely love looking for devices to recommend as the best projector under 1000 dollars. It might sound strange to some but this price range is actually my sweet spot.
We could say that most of us dream of having a laser 4K projector that will cost around $3,000-$5,000 and those are definitely awesome devices.
However, for some of us those are dreams and the reality is that we must look for the best projector under 1000 dollars.
Still, that’s no reason to be disappointed or despondent.
I love the $1,000 price range when it comes to projectors because there are many wonderful devices to review. You’ll see just how many models we have to choose from. I believe that it’s not going to be an easy choice to make. I think we would have an easier time if we were to look for projectors in the $3,000-$5,000 price range.
While I wrote about the best projectors under $300 or the best projectors under $150 or even about the best projectors under $100, nothing compares to recommending the best projectors under $1,000. That’s going to be an awesome journey, just take all the time you need to make the right choice.
Furthermore, a projector that costs around $1,000 or a bit under deserves one thing to make it perfect. An amazing projector screen.
While it doesn’t have to be an ALR projector screen that costs as much or more than your projector, it needs to be a very good screen that clearly illustrates that your device is truly fantastic and it projects top-notch image quality.
Check out my reviews for the best 4K projector screen if you want to see what I’m talking about.
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Best Projector Under 1000 Dollars Reviews
There is a whole range of models we’ll come across when we’re looking for the best projector under 1000 dollars.
One of my favorites and I decided that it should be my top recommendation is the Epson Home Cinema 880. Its cheap price allows you to have enough money left for a good screen, a speaker, and a streaming device to complete your home theater setup. Moreover, the Home Cinema 880 truly is one of the best devices we could ever get on a very low budget.
If you’re into gaming, a projector that was created specifically for that is the BenQ HT2150ST. It’s an impressive device with a whole array of interesting specs.
For those with a budget under $500, we have the ViewSonic PA503 with 3 models with 3 different resolutions but common specs. This series is also the one to go for if you’re looking for a projector with one of the highest brightness you’ll ever encounter. These are data projectors that many people buy for watching movies, TV shows, etc.
If you don’t like lamp-based devices, then you can consider choosing the LG PF50KA 100” Portable Full HD. It’s a LED projector so you won’t have any lamp to change in a few years. It’s also ultra-portable, with a built-in battery, and a WiFi projector that can be taken anywhere.
1. Epson Home Cinema 880: Overall the Best Projector Under 1000 Dollars
When I wrote my reviews for the best projector for the bedroom, I chose the Epson Home Cinema 880 as my top pick.
Now that we’re looking for the best projector under 1000 dollars, I’m also going to go with the Home Cinema 880 as my top recommendation.
Its affordable price also leaves us enough spare money to consider buying an amazing 4K projector screen and thus create the perfect home theater set-up.
While I love the Epson Home Cinema 880, I also have to acknowledge that it’s definitely not perfect. So there are a few negative reviews that you should check out before making the final choice.
However, there is a very high percentage of positive reviews that we should also consider.
One buyer mentions that it’s great for backyard movies. So it also works for the outdoors, especially if you connect a Bluetooth speaker to it. And portable projector screens are pretty affordable.
Another buyer calls it life changing. The respective buyer mentions that if we buy the Epson Home Cinema 880, a good screen for about $200 (like the Silver Ticket STR Series), connect it to a streaming device (Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, etc), and use a nice Bluetooth speaker and all for under $1,000 then we can create the perfect viewing experience.
A user calls it a very good projector for the price. And that’s precisely why I wanted to recommend the Epson Home Cinema 880 as my top recommendation.
The top selling point for the Home Cinema 880 is the Full HD 1080p native resolution.
When it comes to image quality, I would say that the Epson Home Cinema 880 gives viewers the impression that it’s a much more expensive projector than it actually is.
Of course, to take full advantage of its good specs, we must pair it with a good projector screen.
And the best viewing experience is always achieved in little to none ambient light.
It doesn’t support 4K content so we can only play 1080p content on it.
It doesn’t support 3D content.
We also get 4 modes: Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Cinema, Natural.
And there’s +/- 30 degrees both vertical and horizontal keystone correction.
You shouldn’t aspect any lens shift in this price range of around or under $1,000. If you are interested in lens shift, check out my reviews for the best projectors with horizontal lens shift.
The throw ratio range is 1.21-1.63. It works well even if you want to install it in a smaller room.
Besides a fantastic resolution, we get another spec that contributes to the top-notch image quality.
We get an impressive brightness of 3,300 ANSI lumens.
It can be used in ambient light, especially if you pair it with an ALR projector screen. However, those are quite pricey so watching it in a dark environment can still be the best route to go with.
But we can use it for playing games or watching sports even in ambient light.
We get some impressive numbers.
6,000 hours on normal. That’s pretty much the highest lifespan we could get for a lamp-based device.
12,000 hours on Eco mode. This mode decreases brightness so no one is probably going to be using this mode. I don’t.
Epson is not exactly famous for its array of connections.
We get the basics: HDMI, LAN, USB Plug ‘n Play, USB Type A, Audio.
It supports Mira casting for smartphones, laptops, tablets for all OS.
But it doesn’t come with Bluetooth support. At least we get the Audio port.
2. BenQ HT2150ST: Best Projector Under 1000 for Gaming
If you don’t mind spending almost all of that $1,000 budget on a projector, then you might love the BenQ HT2150ST.
Personally, it’s definitely one of my favorite projectors at the moment, especially for people on a budget.
I would also say that it can be one of the cheapest gaming projectors we could buy.
As expected, at this price we get a Full HD 1080p native resolution.
We also get a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. It’s definitely not the most impressive number to come across but it’s a decent spec.
We also get an array of modes: 3D, Cinema, Game, Game Bright, ISF Day, ISF Night, User, Vivid.
As you can see, the BenQ HT2150ST is a 3D projector, which is awesome.
It’s awesome for gaming.
What makes it a gaming projector is the fact that this BenQ is designed with outstanding colors, low input lag, customizing game modes and built-in speakers.
But we can also use it to watch 3D content if that’s your thing. You’ll have to buy the 3D glasses (DGD5) separately but they’re not very expensive.
There’s only vertical keystone correction, no horizontal one. And no lens shift.
The number is decent but it clearly illustrates that this BenQ should totally be enjoyed in darkness.
We get a 2,200 ANSI lumens brightness.
Another interesting spec is the fact that the BenQ HT2150ST is a short throw projector.
It has a 0.69-0.83 throw ratio.
It can project an image of 100 inches from 5 feet 6 inches.
The BenQ HT2150ST is a lamp-based DLP device.
Since it’s a DLP, we might come across the rainbow effect but there’s no way to know for sure because not everyone experiences it.
Lamp life is nothing extraordinary: 3,500 hrs for Normal, 5,000 hrs for Eco and 7,000 hrs for SmartEco.
We get: 2 HDMI ports (one for 3D), PC, DC, USB, mini USV, RS232, Audio out/in.
There are also 2 built-in speakers 10W. If you absolutely don’t want to use any external audio, I think you could make it work with the 10W internal speakers.
3. ViewSonic PA503
If we want to maintain a budget not under $1,000 but under $500 and if we are looking for one of the best projectors for business under $1000, then the PA503 series from ViewSonic can be an excellent choice.
We have plenty of money left to buy an awesome projector screen and even an amazing speaker system for the projector.
I’m not saying that the ViewSonic PA503 is absolutely perfect but I like it a lot.
I would also say that it’s highly rated and very popular. There are negative reviews that we should check out to make an informed choice when we’re looking to buy the best projector under 1000 dollars but the really high percentage of positive reviews indicates that the PA503 is highly appreciated by buyers.
Let’s talk about the three resolutions that we can choose from because, as I’ve mentioned, the PA503 is a series that contains 3 different models differentiated by their resolutions.
I should also mention that it’s a data projector (business, education) and that’s why we come across resolutions like SVGA, XGA, and WXGA.
It’s a data projector that many people actually end up using for entertainment purposes. It works both as a business and as a home theater projector without any problems.
As I’ve said, there are 3 models that belong to the PA503 series:
- PA503S with SVGA resolution (800 x 600 pixels, which is lower than the 600p resolution, which is 1024 x 600 pixels)
- PA503X with XGA resolution (1024 x 768 pixels, a bit below HD)
- PA503W with WXGA resolution (1280 x 768 pixels)
Obviously, the PA503S is the cheapest in the series. However, the native resolution is incredibly low, lower than 600p so I recommend getting the PA503W with WXGA resolution (1280 x 768 pixels), which costs around $400. It’s still incredibly cheap.
All these three devices can project Full HD content so we can play 1080p movies. But it won’t work for 4K.
The aspect ratio for these 3 models is either 4:3 (SVGA and XGA) or 16:10 aspect ratio for WXGA.
The good news is that we can change the aspect ratio from the menu. You’ll come across the necessary instructions in the user manual.
If we’re watching a movie, we’ll want to select the 16:9 aspect ratio.
And that’s why we can comfortably use it as a data projector or as a home theater projector.
And most people buy it for entertainment purposes.
The 3,800 ANSI lumens brightness is the feature that truly makes the ViewSonic PA503 stand out.
It’s definitely one of the best projectors for daylight and absolutely one of the cheapest we could come across.
The ViewSonic PA503 has such impressive brightness volume because it’s a data projector and those are mostly used in ambient light.
Of course, even with such a high brightness, we would prefer watching our movies or playing games in a dark environment. On the other hand, if you pair it with an ALR screen, you can transform it into one of the best projectors for watching sports.
This brightness is unbeatable. And that’s the main reason for appreciating the ViewSonic PA503, especially if you’re on a very low budget or if you want to include a very good screen and maybe a speaker for a budget under $1,000.
If a projector is not laser or LED that means that you’ll have to change its lamp sometimes in the future, maybe after 3-4 years, depending on the projector’s lamp life and how much you use it.
I don’t regard lamp-based projectors as an inconvenience and I’m not going to treat it as a con.
Sure, you’ll have to spend some money when it comes to replacing the lamp but the price is decent and the whole process can easily be done at home. Plus, the lamp life is quite decent for most models.
You’ll notice that the brightness decreases and that’s how you’ll know that it’s time to get a new lamp. Or maybe your budget will allow you to buy a projector with higher specs, maybe a 4K laser. You never know.
For this ViewSonic series we get 5,000 hours in normal mode and 15,000 hours in power saving mode.
Obviously, we’ll be using the normal mode.
It’s a DLP projector so there is a small risk that some people will be experiencing the rainbow effect. It’s something that can happen with any DLP device.
We get +/- 40% vertical keystone correction. No lens shift so you’ll have to get it perfectly aligned if you’re doing a ceiling mount.
You can also place it on a tripod stand if you want to take it around. I would also say that it can work as a camping projector.
I should also mention the 22,000:1 contrast ratio. It’s not the highest but it’s quite good.
Overall, I have no complaints about image quality.
You’ll maybe be surprised to find out that it’s a 3D projector. It comes with a HDMI port that allows us to project 3D content from 3D Blu-ray players.
We get the following ports: HDMI, dual VGA, mini USB, and Audio in/out.
There’s no Bluetooth support. If you get a projector that doesn’t have any Bluetooth support, the easiest way is to connect your Bluetooth speaker to your source device (tablets, laptops, smartphones).
It also has a very tiny 2W speaker.
4. LG PF50KA 100” Portable Full HD: Best LED Projector Under 1000
My first 3 picks for the best projector under 1000 dollars are all lamp-based projectors.
However, there might be a few of you who are absolutely against lamp models.
In that case, the alternative is to go for a LED device. There are no laser models in this price range. The option is between lamp and LED as a light source.
The advantage with LED projectors is that there’s no lamp that needs changing in the future.
And the lifespan for these models is absolutely impressive. It can go for 10 years without problems.
Moreover, LED models have another thing in common. All these LED devices are tiny, portable models that can be used as the best projectors for camping, the best projectors for dorm room but they can also be quite amazing in the living room or in the bedroom.
The LG PF50KA only weighs 2.1 pounds.
Of course, since it’s so small, we can’t do a ceiling mount. You can place it on a tripod stand or you can improvise something.
Overall, the LG PF50KA is a model that costs around $600-$700 so that also allows us to have a decent sum left for buying a good screen to achieve the perfect viewing experience.
I am very excited that the LG PF50KA is a Full HD 1080p projector. It’s the main reason for reviewing it as an awesome option for the best projector under 1000 dollars.
It can project on a screen that measures up to 100 inches. An 80 inch screen would be just perfect.
There are other LED models that are almost in the same price range as this LG that still come with a HD native resolution, like the Nebula Mars II Pro. So I’m totally satisfied with this LG and its amazing specs.
The throw ratio is 1.4.
It projects a 40 inch image from 4.1 feet.
It has an estimated lifespan of 30,000 hours, which is totally impressive.
It also has a built-in battery, which is another thing that many LED models have in common.
LG estimates 2/2.5 hours on battery for 1080p content.
The power consumption is 65W, which is very low.
Since it’s a LED model, the brightness volume is completely different from lamp-based devices.
The LG PF50KA has a 600 ANSI lumens brightness.
I should mention that it’s very high for a LED device.
You’ll be able to get nice colors even in ambient light but the contrast is amazing if you watch in darkness.
Another thing that many LED devices have in common is that they’re smart projectors. They allow for wireless connectivity, Bluetooth support, some kind of OS and interface to download apps, etc.
The LG PF50KA comes with Smart TV with an app store and browser. That means that we don’t have any need for a streaming device.
It also has Bluetooth support. And it’s a WiFi projector.
The ports included are: 2 HDMI, USB, Audio, LAN.
There’s also a built-in speaker.
5. Epson Home Cinema 3200
I am fully aware that the Epson Home Cinema 3200 shouldn’t be included in an article that is looking for the best projector under 1000 dollars.
On the other hand, I want to take the Home Cinema 3200 as an example to answer a simple question: what could we buy if our budget were around $1,500?
The difference between $1,000 and $1,500 can be substantial in monetary terms. But does this monetary difference translate into a major difference in specs? It does so let’s discover what we could get for a bigger budget.
The first major and substantial difference we come across is that this is a 4K PRO-UHD projector.
The 4K PRO-UHD native resolution is fantastic and it’s a nice surprise to see that we can enjoy such a high resolution even if our budget is well under $2,000.
4K PRO-UHD is definitely not the same as true 4K but I also don’t consider them to be all that different.
4K PRO-UHD translates into 3840 x 2160 pixels.
True 4K translates into 4096 x 2160 pixels.
500 million pixels is what separates them but I still think that 4K PRO-UHD is absolutely fantastic.
Moreover, the Home Cinema 3200 comes with a 40,000:1 contrast ratio. In this area, we don’t come across anything impressive but it’s not bad either. I’m satisfied.
Plus, this is a 3D projector.
And it can be beautifully used as a gaming projector or a projector for watching sports, as well.
Another major difference between this more expensive device and the much cheaper ones that we reviewed above is the fact that the Home Cinema 3200 includes +/- 60% vertical lens shift and +/- 24% horizontal lens shift.
The 2,900 ANSI lumens brightness is nothing mind blowing but it’s still a pretty high number overall.
I could say that it’s high enough for this Epson to be used in ambient light with the right ALR screen.
No laser in this price range from Epson, that’s for sure.
Lamp life is decent but nothing extraordinary: 3,500 hours on High mode, 4,000 hours on Medium mode, and up to 5,000 hours on Eco.
We get the usual ports: 2 HDMI (one for 3D), USB A, Audio out.
And, surprisingly, we get Bluetooth support.
All in all, looking for the best projector under 1000 dollars can open up a universe of wonderful and delightful choice and can even leave us with enough money to buy an amazing projector screen because we absolutely need a screen, whether we’re using a device that costs $300, $500, $1,000 or even $5,000 or $50,000.