Mini projectors let you enjoy a smack of movie magic literally anywhere. Any bedroom, living room, and in fact, backyard can instantly turn into a theater with just a little imagination, a bucket of buttery popcorn, and one of these incredibly portable devices. Unlike the massive home projectors that will run you thousands of dollars, many of these mini projectors scream “impulse buy,” and let you get a taste of the theater experience just about anywhere. Here’s our selection of the best mini projectors available right now.
— Best Overall: Epson EpiqVision Mini
— Best for Outdoor Movies: WEMAX Go Advanced Ultra Mini Projector
— Best Portable: KODAK Luma 150 Ultra Mini Pico Projector
— Best Value: XGIMI Elfin Mini Projector
— Best for iPhone: Xinteprid Mini Projector for iPhone
How We Picked the Best Mini Projectors
Home projectors are becoming more and more popular, and unfortunately, still incredibly expensive. Yes, you can more or less replicate a true night at the movies with intense brightness and color clarity, along with immersive sound and picture quality. But expect to spend a few thousand dollars to do it. Luckily, mini projectors are far more affordable, not to mention, far more portable than their glitzy counterparts, albeit, with a few compromises in picture quality. Still, you’d be surprised how good these smaller projectors can be. Here are a few things we looked for when picking out the best mini projectors.
Picture Quality: Even with lower-end offerings, the display should at the very least be 1080p. Anything less and you might as well dig your CRT TV out of storage. Image and color clarity should also be fantastic, and adjusting the focus shouldn’t be difficult.
Portability: When it comes to emerging tech, big things often come in small packages, and the same principle goes for the best mini projectors. As previously mentioned, even devices that fit in your pocket can provide some seriously surprising picture quality. And what could be better than a device that doesn’t require any special carrying case?
Battery Life: Many portable mini projectors charge up like your iPhone and will operate, on average, for the length of an average movie, about a couple of hours. Ideally, a device can operate while it’s being charged, considering that power sources are fairly easy to come by nowadays. If a device can’t run long enough to play at least one movie, it’s probably not worth owning.
The Best Mini Projectors: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Epson EpiqVision Mini
Why it Made The Cut: It’s not as portable as other projectors in its class, but its picture quality can go toe to toe with pricier offerings.
— Dimensions: 6.9 inches L x 6.9 inches W x 5.0 inches H
— Weight: 4.7 pounds
— Max. Brightness: 1,000 lumens
— Max. Screen Size: 150 inches
— User-friendly Android backend
— Built-in Yamaha speakers
— Stellar picture
— Portable, but large
The Epson EpiqVision Mini is perhaps a misnomer, considering its size. However, the picture quality that it delivers is nearly as cinematic as projectors two to three times the price.
If you’ve ever used an Android TV backend, you’ll be more than at home here. In fact, an easy setup will import all your favorite streaming destinations from another device. This will let you tap into plenty of 4K content across popular platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. Two HDMI inputs let you plug in your favorite devices, including laptops, gaming consoles, and more. Many of the best mini projectors are cheap when it comes to their sound systems. Epson EpiqVision Mini goes for broke, though, with built-in Yamaha speakers that sound so good you won’t have to sync up to a soundbar. Go for broke may be literal here, as this device is also one of the more expensive mini projectors on the market. It’s also one of the bigger devices, but if you opt for the carrying case, not only is it incredibly portable, but easy to store when it’s not in use.
Best for Outdoor Movies: WEMAX Go Advanced Ultra Mini Projector
Why it Made The Cut: WEMAX Go Advanced is a portable and powerful backyard movie night pal.
— Dimensions: 4.61 inches L x 8.62 inches W x 5.0 inches H
— Weight: 4.2 pounds
— Max. Brightness: 600 ANSI lumens
— Max. Screen Size: 120 inches
— Very portable
— Supports over 5,000 streaming apps
— Can run while it’s being charged
— Lackluster speakers
Whether you’re in the middle of a national park or in your friend’s sprawling suburban backyard, WEMAX Go Advanced is a great outdoor mini projector.
For one, it’s incredibly portable. Mounting it a mere 10.5 feet away from a wall will grant you a massive 120-inch screen, which looks great on both outdoor projection screens and light-colored backyard walls. Once you set it up, you can enjoy over 5,000 streaming apps including YouTube, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max. There’s even a built-in HDMI port to plug in any HD device. Sure, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” is fun, but imagine playing it outside on a massive screen under the glow of moonlight. The battery life on the lowest settings is only about 1.5 hours, which is bad, but not too uncommon for a portable mini projector in its class. However, there is a USB input that will allow you to charge it as it operates using a handy and inexpensive power bank. That said, the speakers aren’t great, and there’s not much that can be done there, aside from syncing the device to a pricey speaker system via Bluetooth.
Best Portable: KODAK Luma 150 Ultra Mini Pico Projector
Why it Made The Cut: KODAK Luma 150 Ultra Mini Pico Projector packs the magic of the movies in the palm of your hand.
— Dimensions: 3.1 inches L x 3.1 inches W x 0.87 inches H
— Weight: One pound
— Max. Brightness: 60 ANSI lumens
— Max. Screen Size: 150 inches
— Easy touch controls
— Tiny form factor
— Wide device compatibility
— Tricky screen mirroring
Photography giant KODAK’s mini projector is easily the best portable offering, considering just how small it is. Despite its size, there are plenty of great features here, whether you intend to use your projector for fun or professional use. The KODAK Luma 150 Ultra Mini Pico Projector fits in just about any purse, briefcase, or backpack, and maybe even a few pockets. Its incredibly bright display makes it a great device for the office or school presentations, especially with its above-average battery life of up to 2.5 hours. While it doesn’t have its own media backend, you can bring any streaming device that connects via HDMI, which includes consoles. Adjusting brightness and focus is done simply from the easy controls on the top of the device, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing a remote. It does mirror your smart device as well using Airplay or Miracast, but users reported this to be less than ideal, stability-wise. There’s no underselling its size though.
Best Value: XGIMI Elfin Mini Projector
Why it Made The Cut: Great speakers and excellent device compatibility make the XGMI Elfin Mini Projector a standout.
— Dimensions: 7 inches L x 7 inches W x 2 inches H
— Weight: 4.4 pounds
— Max. Brightness: 800 lumens
— Max. Screen Size: 200 inches
— Room-filling sound
— Easy mirroring from smartphones
— Less than perfect contrast
Like the EpsonEpiqVision, the designers of the XGMI Elfin Mini Projector actually gave some thought to its sound system.
Inside this little projection beast are speakers by Harmon/Kardon, one of the industry leaders in excellent sound quality. Not only is the quality good, but it practically fills a room, so the projector won’t have to compete with chatty audiences. Like any great projector of any size, the Elfin has a user-friendly Android TV streaming backend, complete with access to the Google Play store so you can download channels, apps, and even games. Built-in Chromecast compatibility makes it great for easy and fast screen mirroring from your smartphone. Cinematic sound and usability aside, the picture quality is less than ideal when it comes to contrast. You can minimize this flaw by ensuring that you only operate this projector in incredibly dark rooms and environments, but it does take away from its versatility.
Best for iPhone: Xinteprid Mini Projector for iPhone
Why it Made The Cut: An inexpensive offering that also works great with iPhone.
— Dimensions: 11.5 inches L x 7.76 inches W x 4.29 inches H
— Weight: 3.21 pounds
— Max. Brightness: 700 lumens
— Max. Screen Size: 200 inches
— Affordable price
— Wireless screen mirroring
— HDMI and VGA video inputs
— Requires a secondary streaming device
If you must absolutely have a mini projector that won’t leave a yawning chasm in your bank account, Xinteprid Mini Projector for iPhone is a great budget offering that’s also perfect for iPhone users.
While it projects in full 1080p, this mini projector has an old-school addition that won’t drag it down: the VGA input. We’re not sure who wanted this, but it’s a welcome addition, especially since it has an HDMI input too. You can also easily mirror your screen from your iPhone, as long as you don’t try to run Netflix, Prime Video, or other streaming apps. It’s a great feature for spur-of-the-moment surfing or slideshows. The Xinteprid Mini Projector doesn’t have its own streaming backend like many other devices, but that’s nothing like an inexpensive streaming stick. Even if you opt for a pricier streaming device, the combined price of the device and the mini projector will still pale in comparison to just about every other offering here. What a deal!
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Mini Projectors
To Buy (Or Not to Buy) a Screen: As previously mentioned, mini projectors offer some great picture quality, but still lag behind their powerful full-sized home projector brethren. That said, a good projection screen will always improve the picture quality of even weaker mini projectors. But do you really need a “good” projection screen to get the most out of your mini projector? This is up to you to decide, but don’t expect even pricey screens to do miracles when it comes to improving picture quality and clarity. That said, if you’re opting for a mini, portable projector, why not opt for a portable screen as well? The GT Getco Tech Foldable Portable 100-Inch Screen easily sets up and collapses to store and even comes with its own case.
You’ve Got The Power: Portable mini projectors may pack visual surprises, but you can more or less set your watch to their terrible battery life. Just about every device on the market will struggle to make it through “The Godfather” without running out of juice before getting to the car bomb scene. Luckily, it’s an easy fix, considering how many handy portable power banks are available right now. This power bank by Minrise will keep your device going and going when you’re not near an outlet and is even solar-powered.
Q: What's the difference between ANSI lumens and lumens?
ANSI lumens are generally better at providing more accurate light and color, not to mention running a little brighter than standard lumens. Naturally, devices that use ANSI lumens tend to be a little pricier.
Q: Do you need a screen to use a projector?
A good screen can help you get the most out of one of the best mini projectors, but considering how portable these devices are, any light-colored wall should be fine to project on.
Q: Can you get a projector instead of a TV?
You absolutely could replace your TV with a projector. Epson EpiqVision Mini looks fantastic, and if you mount it on a ceiling it could absolutely use it instead of a TV.
Q: Are mini portable projectors any good?
Mini projectors are very good, especially if you opt for a pricier model. However, even top-of-the-line mini projectors will lag behind standard-size home projectors.
Q: How many lumens is good for a projector?
The more lumens the better, but for great picture brightness, you want to use a projector with at least 800 lumens. Mini projectors with fewer lumens can still work, but you need to ensure you use them in dark rooms and environments.
Q: What should I look for when buying a mini projector?
It depends on what you want out of a mini projector, but in general, you want a device that has good picture quality and resolution, a user-friendly interface, and battery life.
Final Thoughts on the Best Mini Projectors
Projectors make even casual movie nights more fun than they’ve ever been, and the best mini projectors are well within most budgets. Epson EpiqVision Mini runs a little on the larger side, but its brightness and picture quality could easily replace your TV. If you’re not looking to drop hundreds of dollars on a device, Xinteprid Mini Projector for iPhone is a fantastic and affordable offering, but you will need to provide your own streaming device.
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