Pocket-sized, iPhone compatible and 1080p resolutions, a portable projector allows you to bring the magic of the cinema into your living room, back garden, or even camping in the great outdoors. Not only that, but they're also perfect for children’s sleepovers and making memorable business presentations at work.
Jani is a professional photographer and filmmaker from Finland with over 15 years of experience in both fields. He has studied at some of the best schools and universities across the globe, leading him to become an expert in creative industries. Today he is the creative director and the owner of JP Harrow Portraits that specialises in portraiture for same-sex couples and families in London, UK.
If you're looking for an expert in portrait photography, filmmaking, drone flying or anything else technical, make sure to visit Jani's website JP Harrow Portraits for quotes and direct contact, or follow him on Instagram.
For those after a quick look, here is a selection of 5 of our recommendations:
For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of portable projectors available and understand how our ranking was determined.
This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.
Nebula by Anker
Nebula by Anker
Capsule HD Ready Smart Mini Projector
Mini Portable Projector
LH200 Portable Projector
CineBeam Portable LED Projector
Luma 150 Pocket Projector
Mars II Pro Portable Projector
The Foldaway Projector for Movie Marathons Anywhere
Lightweight, Functional and the Size of a Drinks Can
Top Pick for Those Who Want to Project From Their Phone
For Fantastic Contrast Ratio on a Budget
Unbeatable Performance for Professional Use
A Smart Palmtop Projector With Quality Images
A Sturdy Hand-Size Projector for the Casual User
Aesthetics and Function in One Portable Projector
A Projector With Tripod to Help Position it Perfectly
The Small but Mighty Projector Ideal for Kids’ Parties
|Dimensions & Weight||12.6 x 14.5 x 4 cm (689 g)||11.5 x 6.5 cm (473 g)||9.8 x16.8 x 9.8 cm (600 g)||31.1 x 21.9 x 12.8 cm (1930 g)||5.7 x 28 x 19.2 cm (2.2 kg)||101 x 17.3 x 4.3 cm (650 g)||7.8 x 7.8 x 2.2 cm (455 g)||18 x 12 x 18 cm (1.4 kg)||11.5 x 11.5 x 3.2 cm (400 g)||14 x 9.6 x 5.4 cm (317.5 g)|
|Resolution||1080 pixels||480 pixels||1080 pixels||720 pixels||1080 pixels||720 pixels||1080 pixels||720 pixels||1080 pixels||1080 pixels|
|Keystone Correction||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||Horizontal and vertical||No||No|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||250 lumen, 120000:1||200 lumen, 40000:1||300 lumen, 25,000:1||6500 lumen, 6000: 1||2000 lumen, 200,000:1||550 lumen, 100000:1:||150 lumen, 1500:1||500 lumen, 2000:1||300 lumen, 5000:1||Unspecified|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100″, 2.6 m||100″, –||100″, 1.2 m||200″, unspecified||118″, –||100″, –||150″, 3.3 m||150″, 4 m||100", 2.88 m||152″, 3.8 m|
|Sound Output||2 x 3 W||1 x 5 W||1 x 5 W||2 x 3 W||4 W||1 W||1.5 W||2 x 10 W||Unspecified||Unspecified|
|Connections||USC, HDMI, micro SD||USB, HDMI, micro SD, Airplay, Miracast, Bluetooth||USB, USBC, HDMI, MHL, wireless||HDMI, WiFi, USB, Multi-screen, Miracast||USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, Smartphone app||HDMI, USB, MHL, Bluetooth, coaxial||HDMI, USB, micro SD, Miracast||USB, HDMI, WiFi, Miracast||HDMI, USB, Airplay, Miracast, DLNA||USB, HDMI|
|Battery||6 hours||20,000 mAh, 4 hours||9000 mAh, 5 hours||Unspecified||12000 mAh, 2.5 hours||2.5 hours||2.5 hours||3 hours||9000 mAh, 5 hours||Unspecified|
If you intend to use your projector for business or at-home movie nights in the house or garden, then you can afford to opt for the heavier and more robust models. More often than not these models have an incredibly stable viewing experience and higher-quality sound output, not to mention a longer 'throw ratio' for a truly cinematic experience.
It is worth keeping in mind that when travelling with your portable projector, you might have to also carry additional equipment from a portable white screen to extra cables. These combined can mean you carry over ten kilos of weight, so keep this in mind when choosing the projector. While the projector itself might be lightweight, the gear and equipment it requires always isn't!
When compactness is a priority, a pocket or palmtop projector will be ideal. However, you will find that the brightness and definition suffer slightly with smaller models. Palmtops are slightly larger but still compact enough to slip into a bag - they also have a better quality projection and more connectivity options.
Although they won't be as light, larger palmtop LED models have a superior image and sound quality and can often stand up sturdily by themselves. The 'throw ratio' will be much shorter in these models, however, keep an eye out for short-throw projectors which will be capable of bigger images at a shorter distance of a couple of metres.
Generally speaking, the image quality does decrease the smaller the projector gets. This is all due to limitations in technology. While kids might not care about the image quality and are okay films shown lower resolution, adults might not.
For this reason, it might be worth investing a bit more money in higher quality projector if the image quality matters to you a lot.
The higher the resolution your projector provides, the crisper and clearer the image will be. You can also check the resolution by looking at the number of pixels it uses. So if you're projecting a DVD or BluRay, pick one with a resolution high enough, for example, 1080 pixels. However, avoid dipping below 720 pixels.
That said, as technology advances over the years, a better investment may be one that is compatible with higher resolutions since it is likely to outlive laptops, BluRay, and other technology - meaning it should last you for years to come!
Immerse yourself in the home theatre experience with a 4K TV for Under £500!
While it might sound like a 4K projector is always better than a 1080p projector, that isn’t always the case. Just because a projector has FullHD 1080p resolution doesn’t mean it will make movies look good.
Many 720p projectors can produce a much better image and colours than a 1080p projector, and hence you should always read the reviews of that projector before purchase.
However, it does reduce the overall image quality in the process. So if you refuse to sacrifice a crisp, vibrant image, use one with no keystone correction. Also, if you’re lucky enough to have a flat surface for your projector at just the right height, keystone projection won’t be necessary anyway.
Keystone corrections are more prevalent in proper home theatre projectors, but they can sometimes be found in portable projectors too. Just bear in mind that the ideal place for the projector is always right in front of the screen. This allows it to project the image without any distortions, and no digital image corrections are required.
Projectors with between 1000-1500 lumen don’t require quite as much darkness to produce a clear image, so if you can’t guarantee a total blackout, choose a device with this number or higher. However, if you’re setting up a garden home cinema or you’re able to watch in complete darkness, fewer than 500 lumens will be perfectly sufficient.
Struggling to make the room dark enough? Check out our best blackout blinds.
If you plan to use your portable projector in a bright room during the day, you need a projector with a high Lumen number. Ideally, aim for a projector with Lumen numbers over 1000 or more.
However, if you can always control the light and make sure the presentation room is dark, you don’t need to worry about the projector brightness numbers. A lower Lumen number will produce darker blacks in those situations, making your movie experience a lot better.
The contrast ratio does not account for the way your projector will display shades of grey in between black and white. Thus, a projector with a ratio of 40,000:1 doesn’t guarantee a ten times better contrast than one with a ratio of 4000:1. Nevertheless, for a rich image, try to find a contrast ratio of at least 1000:1.
The contrast ratio is one of those things that doesn’t instantly tell you how good the projector is. Each manufacturer uses its own measurements, and hence there can be a big difference between two different projects having the same contrast ratio.
My suggestion is to check the reviews of that particular projector and see what people say about the image quality. If people praise the image and its colours, that projector might be good for you.
By definition, anything portable means that all you should require will be built into the unit. However, not all portable projectors are built the same and will come with the same sound quality or any speakers at all, so you must check this detail. Though, there's a higher chance that the higher quality projectors will give you high-quality sound output.
Higher power means the speaker can produce a more dynamic sound so you will want to look for built-in speaks with anything between 3 - 6 watts of power, with 4 watts of output being the middle ground for the average user.
While some portable projectors can have built-in speakers, they are usually quite awful. If you genuinely care about the presentation quality, you should consider having a set of separate speakers to produce the sound.
If you are using the projector for Powerpoint slideshows only, then this feature might not matter, but any movie will sound a million times better if you have separate speakers to use.
To combat poor connectivity, an SD card slot means you can load your media straight onto the projector, whilst still being wire-less. Also, nowadays most projectors have an MHL port that allows you to connect it to your smartphone or tablet, or the ability to cast or 'mirror' your phone screen via technologies such as Miracast or Chromecast.
The biggest drawback with portable projectors is that they aren’t as advanced in wireless connectivity as you might think. While you can get away with making a simple one-slide Powerpoint presentation over WiFi or even Bluetooth, a cabled connection is almost in every other situation a better option.
If you don’t want to experience delays, dropped frames, or video being out of sync, always use a regular HDMI connector port instead.
Make sure that the battery life suits the kind of usage you have planned and for mini or portable projectors, we suggest to go for at least 4000 mAh for normal use or one that has 2.5 to 5 hours estimated run time. However, remember that the brightness and quality of the image are usually much better when plugged in.
Many portable projectors have a built-in battery that allows you to use them without plugging them into the mains. This makes them very convenient to use in places where you might not find a power socket.
If you choose to buy a battery-powered projector, please ensure it has an advertised battery life of at least 3 hours. This way you can even watch longer movies while travelling.
This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
|Dimensions & Weight||12.6 x 14.5 x 4 cm (689 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||250 lumen, 120000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100″, 2.6 m|
|Sound Output||2 x 3 W|
|Connections||USC, HDMI, micro SD|
|Dimensions & Weight||11.5 x 6.5 cm (473 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||200 lumen, 40000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100″, –|
|Sound Output||1 x 5 W|
|Connections||USB, HDMI, micro SD, Airplay, Miracast, Bluetooth|
|Battery||20,000 mAh, 4 hours|
|Dimensions & Weight||9.8 x16.8 x 9.8 cm (600 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||300 lumen, 25,000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100″, 1.2 m|
|Sound Output||1 x 5 W|
|Connections||USB, USBC, HDMI, MHL, wireless|
|Battery||9000 mAh, 5 hours|
|Dimensions & Weight||31.1 x 21.9 x 12.8 cm (1930 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||6500 lumen, 6000: 1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||200″, unspecified|
|Sound Output||2 x 3 W|
|Connections||HDMI, WiFi, USB, Multi-screen, Miracast|
|Dimensions & Weight||5.7 x 28 x 19.2 cm (2.2 kg)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||2000 lumen, 200,000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||118″, –|
|Sound Output||4 W|
|Connections||USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, Smartphone app|
|Battery||12000 mAh, 2.5 hours|
|Dimensions||101 x 17.3 x 4.3 cm (650 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||550 lumen, 100000:1:|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100″, –|
|Sound Output||1 W|
|Connections||HDMI, USB, MHL, Bluetooth, coaxial|
|Dimensions||7.8 x 7.8 x 2.2 cm (455 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||150 lumen, 1500:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||150″, 3.3 m|
|Sound Output||1.5 W|
|Connections||HDMI, USB, micro SD, Miracast|
|Dimensions & Weight||18 x 12 x 18 cm (1.4 kg)|
|Keystone Correction||Horizontal and vertical|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||500 lumen, 2000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||150″, 4 m|
|Sound Output||2 x 10 W|
|Connections||USB, HDMI, WiFi, Miracast|
|Dimensions & Weight||11.5 x 11.5 x 3.2 cm (400 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||300 lumen, 5000:1|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||100", 2.88 m|
|Connections||HDMI, USB, Airplay, Miracast, DLNA|
|Battery||9000 mAh, 5 hours|
|Dimensions & Weight||14 x 9.6 x 5.4 cm (317.5 g)|
|Brightness & Contrast Range||Unspecified|
|Screen Size & Projection Distance||152″, 3.8 m|
One of the best things you can do for your projector is buying a sealed case for it if it doesn't already come with one. By storing it away you're protecting the goods from any dust, moisture and potential bumps and scrapes that may compromise the quality of your viewing experience and longevity of the machine.
Projectors also have a tendency to overheat from the use of an LED bulb, so while keeping it well ventilated in use is a must, it's also important that you allow the projector to cool down after you finish using it before you store it away again.
We partner with specialists across various fields to proof-read our buying guides to deliver accurate and reliable information. Our specialists do not endorse any products that we recommend.
- mybest UK
PC and cameras
Home appliances and electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones