I always find it a bit tricky to answer the question how long do projectors last because it’s not like a general answer can apply to any device on the market.
When it comes to determining how long projectors last on average, we can only do that by looking at lamp life.
Of course, projectors are devices made of a multitude of components so there are other things that can go wrong with them but let’s hope that it doesn’t happen.
Thus, we can only look at lamp life to estimate how long a projector can last and hopefully will last.
From my personal experience with lamp-based projectors, I can say that projectors can last well beyond 10 years. As long as you change the lamp when the brightness decreases, you have the chance to use the same projector for more than 10 years.
According to ViewSonic, lamp, laser and LED models claim to have 10K, 20K and 30K hour life spans respectively.
I don’t agree with the 10K estimate for lamp-based projectors. Most of them have a lamp life of 5,000-6,000 hours, some even lower at 3,500 hours estimate for normal mode.
Laser and LED indeed boast of 20K and 30K hour life spans respectively.
Moreover, this equates to approx. 14, 28, and 42 months of constant use.
But no one uses their projector 24/7. We only turn it on for a few hours daily. Or maybe some of us only use our projectors 1-2 times per week.
As you can see, the answer to the question how long do projectors last changes based on how much we use our devices.
How Long Do Projectors Last? Lamp Life
Since there are three main types of projectors, we’re going to have to analyze the lamp life for each of them to get our answer.
There are 3 main types of projectors:
As you can see, projectors are categorized by their light source: LED, laser, and lamp.
The lamp-based ones were the first on the market and they’re still the most popular, although laser projectors are starting to attract more and more buyers, even if they are generally more expensive.
Since the light source is different for each of these three types, it will be interesting to see what lamp life each type boasts of on average.
Each of these three types of projectors can further be characterized as LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays) or DLP (Digital Light Processing). Thus, we can have LCD laser projectors, DLP laser projectors and the same goes for the other two types.
LCD and DLP are chip technologies that determine how the image is formed.
DLP projectors use a chip(s) that is composed of microscopic mirrors and a spinning wheel. That’s how images are created.
LCD projectors generate images by using liquid crystal displays, just like it’s the case for TVs and monitors. There are no physical moving parts like we get with DLP devices. A combination of lens, mirrors, and color filters are used to project images on the screen.
How Long Do Lamp Projectors Last?
Let me first tell you that lamp-based projectors are the only ones for which we need to change the lamp when the brightness decreases.
The brightness of any projector is measured in ANSI lumens and it’s one of its most important specs, especially if we’re looking for something like a projector for daylight use.
Laser and LED projectors don’t have a lamp as a light source so there’s nothing to change for these two types. The maintenance is greatly reduced and that’s an important reason for some people ending up choosing to spend more money on a laser model.
4,000-6,000 hours lamp life
Nowadays, we can easily come across lamp-based projectors that have a lamp life of 4,000-6,000 hours.
Even cheap lamp projectors can have a lamp life of 5,000 hours, which is a nice upgrade for older models that had a lamp life of 2,000-4,000 hours.
For example, the Epson Home Cinema 880, which is a pretty affordable projector and one of the best projectors for bedroom, has a lamp life of 6,000 hours in normal mode and 12,000 hours in Eco mode.
Let’s say that you’re using your projector for 4 hours daily. That means that our projector will last at least 4 years until we have to change the lamp.
Obviously, we just have to change the lamp and we can continue to use the same device for many years to come.
So, even for lamp-based projectors we can say that a projector can easily last for 10 years and more. These are devices that are built to be used for a very long time, they don’t break down easily if you buy a decent device.
What is Eco mode?
According to Epson, Eco mode reduces lamp brightness and fan noise. It saves power and lamp life.
The normal mode sets maximum lamp brightness. If your room is not completely dark or if you don’t have a very good projector screen, then you’re going to enjoy the normal mode a lot more.
I’m not into the habit of using the Eco mode because I want to enjoy the full brightness that my projector is capable of.
However, if you were wondering how you can make your projector last longer, using something like an Eco mode is definitely an answer.
How Long Do Laser Projectors Last?
Laser projectors have the reputation of being long lasting. I mean, given some of these devices’ prices, they should clearly last a good deal of time.
Their estimated lifespan is 20,000 hours.
However, another thing that we must pay attention to is that, with laser projectors, the decrease in brightness is less noticeable. We’ll be able to enjoy top notch quality for many years to come.
If we were to use a laser daily for 4 hours, that would mean that the lifespan is estimated at at least 13 years.
If you are interested in knowing more about laser projectors, I recommend starting your research with the LG HU810PW. It’s very expensive but, in my opinion, it’s one of the best at the moment.
How Long Do LED Projectors Last?
If we were to talk about the projectors that can last the longest based on their lamp life, then LED projectors are the winners among the three types.
We could say that most have a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours, although there are some models that estimate a 20,000 hours lifespan.
Let’s take the LG PF50KA, which is one of my favorite LED projectors. It offers pretty amazing specs for a really decent price so it’s exactly what I like to see. Due to these reasons, I also recommended it as one of the best projectors for dorm rooms.
The LG PF50KA has an estimated lifespan of up to 30,000 hours.
If we were to use this LED projector 4 hours daily, that would lead to a lifespan of about 20 years.
I don’t actually think that there will be people who are going to use the LG PF50KA for 20 years but I can totally expect it to last 10 years at least, if there are no other malfunctions with other components.
All in all, what I can answer with a degree of certainty to the question how long do projectors last is that they’re devices made to be used for years to come.