Best Outdoor Projectors for Daytime Use

by | Jun 10, 2021 | Yard Activities

We all miss movie theatres and while being in quarantine may have taken away that particular outlet of entertainment, it hasn’t taken away our ability to be creative.

Many people have been enjoying their family entertainment in their backyards and with the stress that comes from continuous isolation, it’ll help bring back a little sanity in your life.

It may not have the social aspects of your local AMC but if you have kids, they’re going to love a little outdoor theatre.

If you’re shopping for the best outdoor projectors to use during the day, there are certain features you need to consider:

Lumens: If you’re holding viewing midday, you want a projector with enough lumens bright enough to display during the day.  You can start with 4000 lumens but if you’re in direct sunlight, you may want to consider something brighter.  You can also try to provide some shade to the screen.  You’ll be amazed at the difference. It’ll also be a helluva lot cheaper than having to spend the extra hundreds on a brighter projector.

Contrast Ratio: Some people are ok with a little dullness in their color when viewing outdoors but if sharp deep colors are important to you, you’ll want a high contrast ratio.  If you’ve ever read the specs on TVs and/or projectors, you’ll see numbers like 5000:1 or 20000:1.  What this means is (using 5000:1 as an example) the white image is 5000 times greater than the black image or the brightest pixel is 5000 times brighter than the darkest.  You want the whitest white and blackest black possible for better visibility and crisper picture quality.

Native Resolution: When it comes to resolution, you want to stick with a minimum of 1080p.  Forget 780p regardless of price.  We promise – you will notice the difference.  Also, when shopping for a projector, make certain the specified resolution is the native resolution.  Certain manufacturers tend to mislead consumers by indicating 1080p in the description without specifying whether or not it’s native or supported.  Their specs usually promote the supported resolution which indicates the resolution that can be played by the unit whereas the native resolution indicates the unit’s resolution output or fixed pixel count.  In other words, if you play a video that is in 1080p with a projector that has a 720p native resolution, the projector itself will compress and play the video in 720p.

Audio: Built-in speakers and audio ports for external speakers have become standard with modern projectors.  And most of them are surprisingly good.  But if you have ambient noise, external speakers will always be the better choice even if you’re indoors within a small room.  Another cool little feature the newer projectors have is Bluetooth expanding your options to include wireless/Bluetooth speakers.  If you have kids or pets running around, wireless will probably be the better and safer choice.

Keystone: If you need to position the projector to one side or somewhat above or below the screen, you’re going to want a keystone feature.  It provides the user the ability to change the angle or the horizontal and vertical positioning of the image on the screen so that it displays evenly.

Now, a good projector with the features mentioned above will provide you with a great outdoor movie but there are some external factors that can affect your picture as well:

Ambient Light – It doesn’t matter how many lumens your projector has, if it has to compete with the sun, the sun is going to win every time.  Too much sunlight will simply wash out a projection.  The only way to hold outdoor viewing midday is if it’s overcast, using a TV, or by controlling or minimizing the amount of ambient light which will help increase color saturation and the overall brightness.  Providing shade around the screen is a great solution or you can reschedule your showing in the early evening.

Screen:  An outdoor screen is another important element of outdoor viewing. And although white ones may appear to be the norm, you want to go with a darker screen.  The picture quality is noticeably sharper and better.  Think of it this way:  Since there is no “black” color being produced by a projector, how black do you think black can get on a white screen?  Despite all of the perceived contrast, black colors are going to be more pronounced on a darker screen so going darker will unleash the full picture quality from your projector.  You also want to keep the screen as flat as possible.  Any wrinkle will be visible as shadows and/or distorted.

There are a number of projectors that have the capability of displaying a bright picture outdoors under the right conditions.  Here are 5 we can recommend:

Optoma GT1090HDR

If space is a constraint, a short-throw projector like the Optoma GT1090HDR is the perfect solution.  Its compact design and powerful features will provide any family with an eventful evening.

Features

One of the key selling points of this projector is it’s lamp-less feature.  At an estimated 4000 lumens, it utilizes a dual-core laser for its light source which puts out a vibrant picture both in and outdoors.  And with most laser light sources comes an approximate life span measured up to 20,000 hours.

Other features:

Full HD 1080p native resolution display
4200 lumens
Short throw 0.50:1 projecting 100-inch images
Supports Full 3D
2x HDMI, Mini USB, VGA, RJ45, RS232, VGA Out, 3D Sync, RCA (Yellow, composite), 3.5mm audio, 3.5mm mic, 2x 15W speakers
4-corner adjustment and auto keystone.

Epson Pro EX10000

If you want an engaging video for a large presentation or party, the Epson Pro EX10000 will project a vibrant picture up to 300 inches. It may be overkill for most but thanks to its 3LCD laser technology, the quality and capability of the unit available at its price point make it a top contender on the list of projectors you want to use outdoors.

Features

The EX10000 produces a sharp image and can project up to a whopping 300 inches. Perfect for presentations and more than enough for outdoor viewing. Like most laser projectors, you get to benefit from its long-lasting light source.  Another great feature is its built-in mirroring capabilities with Miracast. It allows you to showcase presentations, images, or videos directly from your external device with ease.

Other features:

Full HD 1080p native resolution display
4500 lumens
3 Chip, 3LCD technology
16000:1 contrast ratio
2x HDMI, Mini USB, VGA, RJ45, RS232C, VGA Out, RCA, 2x 3.5mm audio, 3.5mm audio out, 3.5mm mic, 16W speaker
1-1.6x optical zoom
Wireless, Miracast

Panasonic PT-VZ580U 5000-Lumen WUXGA

From brightness to color, this Panasonic PT-VZ580U offers amazing picture quality. This unit clearly demonstrates how you don’t have to spend thousands on a projector for clear and sharp pictures.

Features

Among its list of strong points, this projector boasts a bright 5000 ANSI lumens rating and allows you the ability to view in 16:10. It’s incredibly bright but with this amount of brightness comes a caveat. Make note of the surrounding temperature and possibly external cooling measures when using outdoors during the summer evenings. When used in “normal” mode, this unit will heat if the external temps are too warm – but as is the case with most high lumens projectors.

Other features:

1920×1200
5000 lumens
16×10 Aspect Ratio
16000:1 contrast ratio
2x HDMI, USB 2.0 Type-B, VGA In, VGA In/Out, RJ45, RS232C, RCA Composite, 2 RCA Audio In, 2x 3.5mm audio in, 3.5mm audio out, 3.5mm mic, 10W speaker
3LCD
1-1.6x optical zoom
Auto Keystone

BenQ MH760

Despite its focus on business applications, this BenQ MH760 provides you with picture quality and features ideal for an outdoor projector.

Features

With a native resolution of 1920×1080, the images are bright even outdoors from the throw distances of its 6.5’ to 15.1’ range.

For its audio, this Business projector comes with 2 10 Watt speakers which should be more than enough for the average users but as with any projector, if you’re looking for surround sound quality, the unit does come with RCA or 3.5mm ports for external speakers.

One of the downfalls with this particular projector is the shorter lifespan of its lamp between both of its two lamp settings, normal and economic which is 2000 and 2500 respectively. A replacement will cost you anywhere between $250 to $300.

Other features:

1920×1200
5000 lumens
16×9 Aspect Ratio
3000:1 contrast ratio
2x HDMI, USB 2.0 Type-B, VGA In, VGA In/Out, RJ45, RS232C, RCA Composite, 2 RCA Audio In, 2x 3.5mm audio in, 3.5mm audio out, 3.5mm mic, 10W speaker
3LCD
1-1.3x zoom
Keystone

Epson PowerLite 2250U

This is the second Epson to make our shortlist and with good reason. The PowerLite 2250U can project onto screens up to 300 inches providing you with a theatre-like, outdoor movie experience.
With 5000 lumens at your disposal, you can view movies in moderate ambient settings but is probably best at dusk. Full HD 1080p resolution provides you with surprisingly clear, crisp pictures and vibrant colors.

Features

Aside from its sharp picture quality, this Epson PowerLite 2250U has optional wireless networking and wireless security, although the wireless feature is not built-in. The wireless dongle would have to be purchased separately. Another great feature is the split-screen capability. You can split the video or images from two separate sources.

Other Features:

WUXGA native resolution
5000 lumens
16×10 Aspect Ratio
15000:1 contrast ratio
2x HDMI, USB Type-A, USB Type-B, 2x VGA, 1x RJ45, 1x RS232C, 1x RCA Video In, 1x RCA Audio In (L and R), 2x 3.5mm audio in, 1x 3.5mm audio out, 16W speaker
3LCD
1-1.6x zoom ratio
Keystone

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