Best Projectors Under $100: Enjoy Movies On the Cheap!

In the market for a good cheap projector under $100? We’ve got suggestions.

What Makes for a Good Projector?

What makes a projector good? The answer depends on your specific setup and needs. Applicable features include:

  • Resolution 
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Throw
  • Keystoning
  • Media Formats
  • Inputs

Understanding the lingo

Unless you’re familiar with the world of projectors, it is easy to get lost in the technical jargon. Take some time to check out the following technical terms to make your choice a little bit easier.

Resolution

Resolution is the number of pixels within the height and width of a visual display (i.e., TV, monitor, or projector). The more pixels, the finer the picture quality.

Throw

A projector’s so-called “throw” is the distance between its lens and screen. Most projectors have an optimal throw range. If that figure falls outside of your setup, it could make for a terrible picture.

Lumens (Brightness)

Lumes represent the total amount of visible light from a source. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light. This is an important metric if you plan to use the projector in a well-lit room or outside on a sunny day.

Contrast Ratio

The property known as “contrast” considers the luminance ratio of its brightest color. The higher the ratio, the better for monitors and projectors.

Keystone

Keystoning “squares” a screen. If your projector is not exactly perpendicular to the wall or the projection screen, the top of the display may appear wider than the bottom (or vice versa). This can be fixed by adjusting the keystone of the projector.

List of the Best Cheap Projectors Under $100

Below you’ll find an in-depth analysis of the best cheap projectors currently on the market. 

Salange 2020 HD Mini Projector

Native Resolution

Max Resolution

Throw Distance

Screen Size

Lumens

Contrast ratio

Lamp Life

Colors

Weight

720P 

1080p

2.5 ft-18 ft 

xx-176’’

3800

4000:1

55,000 hours

16.77 million

2.24lbs

Truly portable at only 2.24 pounds, the Salange 2020 Mini HD portable projector packs a lot of punch for such a small package! With a native resolution of 720p and support for up to 1080p, this projector displays a very clear picture for the price. The sound from the built in speakers is not the greatest, so using it with an external audio source would be best in all but the quietest of environments. The throw distance, contrast ratio, and lamp life were the best out of all the projectors under $100.

The Salange 2020 Mini HD features one HDMI port and 2 USB ports. It also has a VGA, in addition to an audio output for connecting to home theaters and stereos. The projector also comes with a handy remote control.

The Good

  • Good Resolution
  • Great Contrast Ratio
  • Long Lamp Life
  • 3-Year Support Contract

The Not So Good

  • Low Volume from Internal Speaker
Check Price on Amazon

Crenova XPE496

Native Resolution

Max Resolution

Throw Distance

Screen Size

Lumens

Contrast ratio

Lamp Life

Keystone Correction

Colors

Weight

480p

1080p

4-18ft

28-180”

2200

3000: 1

50,000

+/- 15°

1.07 billion

4.39lbs

The Crenova XPE496 portable projector has a lot going for it, namely a high contrast ratio and a nice long throw. It’s 2200 lumens, while not the highest in this group, still manages to deliver a crisp picture at 1080p in rooms that aren’t 100% dark.

The 50,000 hour lamp life is well above average and recent upgrades to this model have made it run quieter than previous versions. The Crenova XPE496 has several inputs including HDMI, 2xUSB, VGA, Audio, AV, and SD, as well featuring a 12-month warranty that includes replacement or refunds, in addition to lifetime customer support.

The Good

  • Good Contrast Ratio
  • Long Lamp Life

The Not So Good

Low Volume from Internal Speaker

Manual Recommends Using the Projector for Only 2-3 hours at a Time to Prevent Overheating

Check Price on Amazon

LoongSon YG400

Native Resolution

Max Resolution

Throw Distance

Screen Size

Lumens

Contrast ratio

Lamp Life

Keystone Correction

Colors

Weight

240p

1080p

4’11” – 13’1”

50” – 130”

1200 Lumens

1000:1

30,000

+/- 15°

N/A

2.9lbs

The LoongSon YG400 mini projector is the definition of an average projector. It’s the Kia of projectors! While it doesn’t excel in any category, it’s also not the worst in any category and gets the job done.

The LoongSon YG400 supports resolutions up to 1080p with 1200 lumens, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, and a 30,000-hour lamp life. Its throw is not the greatest but does provide for an eleven-foot screen size when set up maximully. Inputs include 3.5mm Audio, AV ,HDMI, SD Card Slot, USB, and VGA.

As with all mini projectors, the built-in sound is not the greatest and external audio is advised, unless your environment is exceptionally quiet.

The company that manufactures the LoongSon YG400 offers a 1-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, a 30 days no-questions-asked return policy, and ample customer support.

The Good

  • Good Resolution
  • Good Lamp Life
  • 1-Year Warranty

The Not So Good

  • Low Volume from Internal Speaker
Check Price on Amazon

GRC Mini Projector

Native Resolution

Max Resolution

Throw Distance

Screen Size

Lumens

Contrast ratio

Lamp Life

Keystone Correction

Colors

Weight

480p

1080p

3’3” – 16’4”

32” – 16’

4500

3000:1

45,000

+/- 15°

???

3.19lbs

They say good things come in small packages, and the GRC Mini projector is the perfect example. With a decent throw — up to 16’4” — the biggest screen size at 16’ and high lumens count (4500), you’d think this would be the most expensive of the bunch, but it’s not! Its 45,000-hour lamp life is nothing to cluck at either.

Accessories include a remote control, HDMI Cable, and AV breakout-cable. Inputs HDMI, 2xUSB, VGA, AV, 3.5mm audio, SD card. 

The Good

  • Great Screen Size
  • High Lumens
  • Good Resolution
  • Good Lamp Life
  • 1-Year Warranty

The Not So Good

  • Low Volume from Internal Speaker
Check Price on Amazon

TENKER Q5 Mini Projector

Native Resolution

Max Resolution

Throw Distance

Screen Size

Lumens

Contrast ratio

Lamp Life

Keystone Correction

Colors

Weight

480p

1080p

3’9” – 9’10″

3’-8’6”

1500

1000:1

20,000+

+/- 15°

16.77 million

1.98lbs

The Tenker Q5 falls squarely in the middle in terms of features and specs. At 1.98 pounds, it’s the lightest of the bunch. It also has a better than average lamp life. The Q5’s 1500 lumens make for great viewing in darkened rooms, but it doesn’t fare as well in well lit rooms, which is why they “do not recommend it for PPT/Word/Excel or business presentations.” However, its 16.77- million-colors capability makes images pop in the right setting.

The Good

  • Good Resolution
  • Good Lamp Life
  • 3-Year Warranty and & Lifetime Customer Support

The Not So Good

  • Low Volume From Internal Speaker
  • No Mount for Tripod or Ceiling
Check Price on Amazon

And The Winner of the Best Projector Under $100 Award Goes To…

Our choice for the best projector under $100 is the Salange 2020 HD. It’s high native resolution and contrast ratio combined with its long throw and lamp life push it to the top. We have no doubt that you will be nothing but impressed by this purchase. Happy projecting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *