Having the room, equipment and money for a full-blown projector setup in your home isn’t feasible for most people. But just because you don’t have the space or money doesn’t mean you should miss out. A great way to upgrade your movie watching experience with a huge picture is to grab one of the best portable projectors from our list — no rolldown projector screen required (admittedly, that would be awesome).
Projectors used to be large, difficult to setup and generally unwieldy, but that has all changed in recent years. Now there are soda can-sized projectors that can throw a 100-inch image up on the wall without having to put much effort into setting it up. And with options from Anker, LG, Kodak and Viewsonic, there’s a portable projector for everybody, whatever your needs may be.
Why You Should Buy a Portable Projector
Portable projectors are great for movie nights when you want a large display, but without the more involved setup process of a full-sized projector. Portable projectors are small and lightweight — one of them can literally in your back pocket — so you can break them out when you want, and store them away when you don’t. You wouldn’t want these to completely replace your 65-inch TV, (many don’t work great when it’s bright inside), but when it’s dark and you want to load up a blockbuster movie on Netflix, the best portable projectors can throw a sharp image up on the wall for you, your friends and your family to have an at-home theater experience. (Remember when we all went to movies?)
Many of the best portable projectors also have a media platform such as Android 7.0 or Android TV built-in, which means they don’t even need to be connected to a media device to enjoy your favorite streaming services. Beyond streaming capabilities, portable projectors have multiple connectivity ports, making it great for not only the home, but also the office.
With all the connectivity and ease of use, you can easily pop in a USB thumb drive and display your presentation at work without even needing your computer or additional cables. Plus, these battery-powered units make it as simple as turning the projector on and presenting.
Bring the movie-going experience to your home, or be the office superstar with one of the best portable projectors below.
1. Anker Nebula Apollo
BEST PORTABLE PROJECTOR OVERALL
Don’t let the size of this portable projector fool you into thinking it’s not packed with features — you’d be sorely mistaken. Running on Android 7.1, the Anker Nebula comes equipped with Android apps, and plenty of ways to control the device, including on-board controls, a remote or the Nebula Connect app. Your favorite video apps like Netflix and YouTube are on the platform, and you’ll be able to stream for about four hours before it needs a recharge. If that wasn’t enough, you can also display pictures, and it doubles as a Bluetooth speaker. Big things sometimes come in small packages.
2. XGIMI Mogo Pro
With built-in Android TV, Chromecast and Google Assistant, it’s basically a media streaming device disguised as a portable projector, eliminating the need for any external devices. Of course, there are still plenty of wired connectivity options, including HDMI and USB inputs. As for picture quality, it displays an impressive 1080p picture and plenty of controls to adjust and dial in the visuals. Plus, there’s Bluetooth connectivity if you want send the audio to an external speaker. It’s the total package in miniaturized form.
3. LG CineBeam PH550
With a sleek, white casing and a copper ring around the lens, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more stylish projector. Beyond looking great, there’s an abundance of connectivity including a coaxial connector for watching cable TV or picking up over-the-air TV broadcasts with an antenna. You can also mirror the screen of an Android mobile device or Windows computer to display through the projector. Boasting good picture quality at 720p resolution, the Cinebeam LED projector is one of the best portable projectors due to its mixture of design, performance and price.
4. Anker Nebula Capsule II
BEST FOR DARK ROOMS
You’ll find all the same features as the Nebula Apollo here, with 720p resolution instead of 480p and even a better-sounding Bluetooth speaker, which makes the experience of watching your favorite movies or shows even better. Instead of using Android 7.1 to power its smart UI, this portable projector uses the Android TV, which is clean, intuitive and easy to navigate. With wi-fi connectivity, Bluetooth and Google Assitant-powered voice commands, there are no shortage of robust connectivity options, but these additional features also come at a higher price than the Nebula Apollo. Just make sure you are in a dark room to enjoy the full visual experience.
5. Optoma ML750 WXGA 700
BEST FOR WORK
Need an on-demand projector for work? The size and connectivity of the Optoma mini projector make it the best portable projector for office use. You’ll find HDMI, USB 2.0, thumb drive and micro SD connectivity on-board, so you’ll be able to plug in just about any type of media you need to display. It’s lightweight and small enough to easily carry around from office to office, or pack in a carrier. Be warned: You’ll need a dongle if you want wi-fi connectivity.
6. Anker Nebula Astro
BEST PROJECTOR FOR KIDS
While this the Anker Nebula Astro won’t blow the doors off the competition in terms of specs, this Grapefruit-sized projector comes in at an affordable price and packed with a couple of features that make it a great distraction for your kids when they start to grow restless. First it has an eye-guard sensor that kills the projector bulb if your kids decide they want to try and look this thing directly in the eye. Secondly, it comes with content controls which ensure that you don’t walk in the room and find your grade-schooler captivated by an episode of Euphoria. But this projector can also be a great options for adults looking for a value option that strikes a nice balance between affordability and quality.
7. ViewSonic M1 Mini
With portability in mind, and low brightness, this portable projector is best suited in an office setting compared to your main movie projector. The low brightness doesn’t make for optimal movie night quality (although you can stream Netflix), but tossing up a presentation on the wall really quick to impress your boss and colleagues — it can do that just fine. And the projector can literally fit in your back pocket, making it ultra-portable, especially when you consider the battery packs enough juice to let you project a couple of hours worth of YouTube vids whenever and wherever the desire may strike.
8. Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
BEST BUDGET OPTION
This might only be a 480p projector, but at this price, you can’t really complain. This is the best entry point into the world of projectors that won’t put a dent in your savings account. It doesn’t have any on-board media streaming or wi-fi connectivity, so you’re also going to need a streaming device to supply the entertainment. And with the ability to project an image well over 100 inches, you can fully immerse yourself in whatever the movie of the night is.
9. Kodak Luma 350
You can not only control this mini-projector with the remote or on your Android device, but can also run a whole slew of Android apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other movie streaming options. For such a small footprint, it actually displays quite a big picture, up to 150-inches in theory, although the visual quality might not be on par with the likes of XGIMI or Anker. In a dark, quiet room, this can serve as a quality portable projector, especially when you consider the price tag compared to others.