Home / News / The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024

The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024

147
anker nebula mars 3

Whether you are planning a cinematic adventure on a camping trip or just need something for a backyard movie night, an outdoor projector is the gadget to have. Here are our handpicked recommendations to get you started.


UPDATE: 02/05/2024

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and these are still the best outdoor projectors you can buy.

What to Look For in an Outdoor Projector in 2024

Portability, durability, and battery are three of the main characteristics that differentiate an outdoor projector from any other regular projector. So, when shopping for an outdoor projector, it’s vital to consider how and where you will use it to get a suitable option.

If your projector is likely to encounter weather or is going to be a permanent installation in a relatively open setting, it’s good to get an option that has some water and dust resistance. Similarly, if you are often going to use your projector away from a power socket, a built-in battery will help. Ruggedness is also desirable if you plan to move the projector every time you operate it, as mishaps happen, and you don’t want to get caught unprepared.


Besides, you want all the features you would typically expect in a regular projector. So, if you want a crisp picture with finer detail, it’s better to go for a 1080p or 4K projector. But remember that the higher the resolution, the more expensive it will be.

Similarly, a built-in platform, like Android TV, offers a seamless way to stream content from your favorite service. But you’ll have to account for connectivity as you’ll need Wi-Fi to use the streaming service. Otherwise, you’ll have to stock up on content in a storage drive for your outdoor binge sessions.

Although most outdoor projectors come with a built-in speaker. Its performance can vary. So, if you are not easily satisfied, ensure you have a proper sound output port to support your audio setup.

Finally, your budget will play a critical role in your purchase. Fortunately, outdoor projectors are available across the price spectrum.

Nebula

Pros

Cons

Good picture quality

No optical zoom

IPX3 water resistance and a sturdy build

Slightly expensive

Built-in Android TV 11

Part of Anker sub-brand Nebula’s Mars lineup, the Mars 3 has all the makings of an excellent outdoor projector, including a relatively rugged build. It’s rated IPX3 for water resistance, has a 0.7mm dust resistance, and can withstand a drop from around half a meter. The company also includes a sturdy handle, a camping light, a lens cover, and a built-in stand to prepare it for the outdoors.


But its readiness for the outdoors isn’t the only good thing about the projector. It also delivers good picture quality. While the native resolution is 1080p, it negotiates a 4K signal from the source when available and down-converts it to Full HD, giving you a better picture and even HDR when a streaming service only offers HDR with the 4K copy.

The onboard 40W sound system using three drivers also produces excellent results. So, you won’t necessarily need an external audio device, which is good if you want to keep the setup simple.

Nebula has also added a 185Wh battery that can deliver up to two hours of video playback in Standard mode and up to five hours in Eco mode. Keep in mind that the brightness and audio level will decrease significantly in Eco mode.

Another positive of the Nebula offering is the built-in Android TV 11 operating system that gives you access to tons of streaming apps, games, and support for Chromecast.

Although rated for 1000 ANSI lumens, the Mars 3 can only reach just over 500 ANSI lumens in real-world usage. But that’s pretty good for a portable projector.


In terms of the port selection, there is a single HDMI port, one USB-C port, and one USB-A port. You can use the HDMI port to connect to other video sources, while the USB ports are suitable for charging mobile devices or connecting storage drives.

Unfortunately, all these features make the Nebula projector slightly expensive. But if you want something a bit cheaper, BenQ’s GS50 is a good alternative. It’s also ready for the outdoors with a rugged build and can deliver a 1080p video output.

anker nebula mars 3

The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024
Anker Nebula Mars 3

Best Outdoor Projector Overall

$980 $1100 Save $120

From a rugged body to a built-in battery, the Anker Nebula Mars 3 has everything most people want in their outdoor projector. It also offers good picture quality and decent audio performance.

Best Budget Outdoor Projector: AAXA P6X

aaxa p6x
AAXA

Pros

Cons

Good picture quality with high brightness

No apps or smart TV platform

Can last up to four hours in Eco mode

No Wi-Fi

Compact build

If you are tight on the budget but still want a reasonably good outdoor projector, the AAXA P6X makes a strong case. Its compact design, lightweight build, and built-in 15,000mAh battery make it perfect for on-the-go content consumption.

The projector has a native resolution of 1280x800p, but it negotiates a Full HD signal from the connected devices, essentially acting as a 1080p projector. Picture quality is also good, with a decent contrast ratio.

You will get a battery life of one and a half hours with the Standard mode on the P6X with over 400 ANSI lumens brightness. Eco mode drops the brightness to just over 150 ANSI lumens but increases the backup to four hours. If you want an even brighter image, you will have to connect it to a power source to enable the Bright mode.

Unfortunately, there is no Android TV or other smart TV platform, but you get a built-in media player to run media from a connected storage device. However, there is a single HDMI port to connect your favorite streaming device. Other inputs include a USB Type-A port that can also deliver power and a microSD card slot. It also lacks Wi-Fi connectivity.

Audio is delivered by a 4W speaker, which offers decent output, but you may need to connect an external speaker using the 3.5mm jack for a good experience.

Overall, the AAXA P6X is far from perfect, but it delivers good value for the money.

aaxa p6x

The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024
AAXA P6X

Best Budget Outdoor Projector

The AAXA P6X is an affordable portable projector that works well on the go. It has high brightness for its size, good picture quality, and a battery that can last up to four hours.

Best Portable Outdoor Projector: XGIMI Halo+

xgimi halo plus
XGIMI

Pros

Cons

Good picture quality and HDR support

No handle

Onboard speakers are good

No Netflix

eARC support

There is much to like about the XGIMI Halo+. It’s a relatively compact projector with tons of exciting features to make your outdoor movie-watching or gaming experience enjoyable. The Halo+ has a 1080p native resolution but can negotiate a 4K signal from the video source if available and down-convert it to Full HD. It also delivers good color accuracy, particularly in SDR.

The built-in 59.454Wh battery offers 2.5 hours of run time, and you can also run the projector directly from wall power. Plus, the XGIMI offering has high brightness for a portable projector and is rated at 875 ANSI lumens. But as you can expect, the brightness drops in battery mode. Other helpful features include intelligent screen alignment, auto keystone correction, and obstacle avoidance.

Another positive of the Halo+ is the audio performance of the dual 5W Harman Kardon speakers that support DTS HD and Dolby audio. But if you need external audio, you can use eARC support with the HDMI port or the 3.5mm audio jack.

While the available Android TV platform gives you access to most popular streaming services, Netflix is a surprising omission. Moreover, unfortunately, there is no handle for carrying the projector. But the company offers a carry bag.

xgimi halo plus

The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024
XGIMI Halo+ Portable Projector

Best Portable Outdoor Projector

$649 $849 Save $200

XGIMI’s Halo+ shines as an outdoor projector with its impressive picture quality, 1080p resolution support, and powerful speakers. It also runs on the Android TV platform.

Best Short Throw Outdoor Projector: Optoma ML1080ST

Optoma ML1080ST
Optoma

Pros

Cons

Vibrant and lifelike picture

No preloaded smart TV platform

IPX5 dust resistant

Lacks a built-in battery

Decent port selection

There aren’t a lot of outdoor-oriented short-throw projectors, but if you really need one, it’s hard to go wrong with the Optoma ML1080ST. It’s compact, IP5X dust-resistant, and uses a laser light source to deliver Full HD projection.

The Optoma projector also supports auto keystone correction and can focus automatically. You will also be happy to know it can cover 105% of the BT.2020 color space, providing a lifelike picture. Plus, there is HDR10 and HLG support.

In other features, you get an HDMI 2.1 port to connect a streaming device and two USB ports for power and storage drives. One of the ports is USB-C and supports USB PD. Moreover, the company has included a single 3W speaker, which will suffice in a pinch. But you’ll be better served by an external audio setup.

One of the drawbacks of the Optoma ML1080ST is the lack of a built-in battery. So, if you are away from a wall socket, you will need something like a portable power station to run it. Optoma also plans to sell external battery packs compatible with the ML1080ST.

In other missing features, you don’t get a smart TV platform, making you dependent on a streaming stick or storage drives to enjoy content.

Optoma ML1080ST

The Best Outdoor Projectors of 2024
Optoma ML1080ST

Best Short Throw Outdoor Projector

With its short-throw projection, the Optoma ML1080ST is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the biggest backyard. It can deliver a full HD picture with lifelike colors, good brightness, and a decent contrast.

FAQ

Do I need a projector screen to use a projector?

While you don’t technically need a projector screen to use a projector, a screen helps get the best out of a projector. That said, you can use a wall or a similar surface if it has no imperfections and is treated with special projector screen paint.

How do I connect a phone to my outdoor projector?

Most modern projectors come with an HDMI port, which will be your best bet for connecting your phone. Depending on your phone, you will either need a USB-C to HDMI adapter or a Lightning to HDMI adapter (or a USB-C/Lightning to HDMI cable). But keep in mind not every phone supports a display output. So, it will mostly only work with high-end phones. You can alternatively cast content from your phone if your projector supports Chromecast or Apple AirPlay.

Are outdoor projectors weatherproof?

Some outdoor projectors are weatherproof, but the level of their ruggedness varies. Some can be IPX3 rated, whereas others are only IPX2 rated. Similarly, while some outdoor projectors come with drop protection, others don’t. So, if you want a weatherproof projector, don’t forget to check the product specifications.

Comments