Best Projectors Under $100October 14, 2022
I spent about $1500 of my own money to buy every projector on Amazon priced under $100 and today on the Hookup I’m going to measure their actual performance, and put them head to head against each other, the winner of last year’s video and some more expensive options to make sure you get the most for your money and the right projector for your needs.
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|Viewing Rank||Projector||Price||Measured ANSI||Native Resolution||Measured Contrast||Power Draw||Fan Noise||Input Lag|
Almost exactly a year ago I made a video showing that the specs listed on the Amazon pages for these cheap projectors are basically just made up and the reviews can’t be trusted because the companies often offer free gifts in return for good reviews. Not only do these listings use the brightness of their LED light source instead of the amount of light that actually reaches the screen, but they often say things like “1080p compatible” when their native resolutions are significantly lower than that.
However, after just a few minutes looking around on Amazon it was obvious that this year you can get a lot more performance for the same amount of money. So armed with the knowledge from my last video I set out to buy every cheap projector on Amazon with two ground rules:
First, the maximum price I was willing to pay after discounts and coupons was $100, but only for 1080p native projectors, and for 720p projectors the price limit was $70. If the native resolution wasn’t listed the projector was automatically disqualified.
Second, the projector needed to have at least 50 reviews because last year the overall winner was from a no-name brand that sold out in less than a week and never came back in stock, so I am hoping that projectors with at least 50 reviews are established enough to get restocked.
I also immediately broke those rules to buy the most popular LED projector on Amazon with over 21,000 reviews, even though it doesn’t list the native resolution anywhere on the page.
I ran these projectors through all the same tests that I would for my reviews of much more expensive projectors which includes ANSI lumen brightness measurements, full on full off contrast ratio, fan noise, power draw, and gaming input lag, and I’ll put those on the screen during the head to head comparisons. For fun I also gave each projector an honesty grade for how closely the specs on the product page matched the actual measured values, and the competition order was determined by the amount of money that I paid for each projector after coupons and Amazon discounts. All the footage was recorded in manual mode with these settings and the projectors were set up side by side for a 55” image projecting onto my vividstorm floor rising ambient light rejecting screen.
From a pure image quality standpoint the WIMIUS is a clear winner for me with consistently crisp saturated images from its 259 ANSI lumens and 1100:1 contrast ratio, but it also draws 129 watts of power, has a pretty loud fan at 46db, and if you want to play video games on it, it’s 45.6ms of input lag might feel a little sloppy. The Wimius is also a little on the larger side and is meant to be ceiling mounted using a 4 point projector mount, and as a result doesn’t have a standard 1/4”x20 tripod mounting location.
The HAPPRUN on the other hand uses 40% less power at only 79 watts and has a significantly quieter fan measuring in at 38 decibels. The picture on the HAPPRUN also isn’t bad at all thanks to it’s great black levels and 1400:1 contrast ratio, and for video games the HAPPRUN’s 27.8ms of input lag is more than acceptable, and it even comes with a cheap 100” stretchy white screen. The biggest downside to the HAPPRUN is connectivity that is limited to a single HDMI, RCA connections, 2 USB ports and an audio out.
If you want a wireless mirroring experience the FEBFOXS and FALTOPU both support WiFi mirroring by either connecting to the projector’s wifi hotspot, or by connecting the projector to your home network. As with all mirroring solutions though, they are of limited usefulness because copy protected apps like netflix and Disney plus don’t work, so you’re mostly stuck with YouTube, TikTok and Plex and in those apps I found that the FEBFOXS mirroring worked significantly better than the FALTOPU, which had issues with lagging and stuttering.
The FEBFOXS also has 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB, VGA, RCA and audio out making it by far the best when it comes to connectivity, and it also had the least amount of input lag for video games at 26.0ms. I also like the slide over lens cover and general form factor of the FEBFOXS, and it comes with a nice zipper carrying case.
So to recap, my personal top choice for a portable projector would be the HAPPRUN due to its smaller size, quieter cooling fan and lower power draw.
If I were going to be mounting a projector permanently and wanted the absolute best picture quality for the money I would choose the Wimius.
And if I for some reason didn’t want to use a chromecast or fireTV stick I would choose the FEBFOXS over the Faltopu for a projector with wireless screen mirroring and high connectivity.
If you’re in the market for the smallest projector possible the Yowhick is better than the soupu when it comes to focus and black levels, but I suspect both of the listings are lying about being 1080p native projectors because they both have noticeable screen door effect from low pixel density, and the picture quality and brightness of both are significantly worse than the other projectors I’ve recommended.
Last, if your willing to raise your budget to $200 the Nexigo PJ20 is a significant upgrade over all of these projectors with 475 ANSI lumens and a 1900:1 contrast ratio.
In addition to Amazon links for all the projectors in this video I’ve also linked to a spreadsheet where I’m keeping a cumulative list of projectors and their performance measurements. If the top projectors from this video sell out and don’t get a restock, I’ll buy and test replacements until I can match or beat their performance and update the links. As always, if you found this video helpful I’d appreciate if you could use those links since as an Amazon affiliate I do earn a small commission on the sale at no cost to you.
I’d also like to thank all of my awesome patrons over at patreon for their continued support of my channel and if you’re interested in supporting my channel please check out the links in the description. If you enjoyed this video go ahead and hit that thumbs up button and consider subscribing and as always thanks for watching the hookup.