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The 5 best outdoor projectors in 2024

If you have a good projector, it can be a lot of fun since you can have a big screen size without actually needing to spend thousands of dollars on a massive screen. Granted, you will have to pay quite a bit if you want high-resolution and other TV-like features, but it’s still a great alternative to a traditional TV. Projectors are also a good option if you want to go outdoors camping, have a picnic, or even if you live in an RV or Camper where space is at a premium, and you can’t fit a massive TV in there. That’s where outdoor projectors come in handy, and luckily, there are a lot of great options out there if you want to grab something, although it’s worth noting that some of these options might also require you to invest in one of these portable power station deals for some extra battery life. Either way, be sure to check out all our options below.

The Best Outdoor Projectors in 2024

  • Buy the if you want the best outdoor projector overall
  • Buy the if you want the best 1080p outdoor projector
  • Buy the if you want the best 4k outdoor projector
  • Buy the if you want the best portable outdoor projector
  • Buy the  if you want the best budget outdoor projector

Anker Nebula Mars 3

Best outdoor projector overall

The Anker Nebula Mars 3 portable projector on a table under a tent.
Anker / Anker
Pros Cons
Handle makes it easier to carry Still pretty heavy
Great battery life
Quick and easy setup

What makes the Anker Nebula Mars 3 such a great projector is that it’s not so finicky or difficult to use that it might put people off, but rather, it’s made so that you can pretty much just pick it up, plop it where you need it, point it, and then watch whatever content you’d like to. For example, even though it weighs 9.9 pounds, the built-in handle makes it a lot easier to carry around and take with you to picnics or camping, and it also makes the job of setting it up and pointing it a lot easier. The built-in stand also makes it a lot easier to adjust the angle, and you don’t have to worry about figuring out some solution on the spot using other gear, rocks, or sticks.

In terms of image, you get 1080p, which isn’t necessarily top-of-the-line, but given that it can last for up to five hours, that’s still a rather impressive achievement, not to mention that being outside might not give you the perfect conditions for an image anyway. There are quite a few ways to connect the Mars 3 and get started on watching stuff, such as HDMI and Bluetooth, and since it comes with Android TV, you can also Chrome-cast to it as well, which is a handy feature. The brightness sits at 1,000 lumens, which isn’t too bad, although you won’t really be able to use this in any form of daylight, although you do get an impressive 200 inches of projection, which is impressive.

The Mars 3 also has a few other features that are pretty great, like the fact that it can also function as a portable power station, with USB-C and USB-A charging ports for you to use; it’s a great little device to use in a pinch. It also comes with a camping light with three different brightness levels, so you can use it for lighting in an emergency if you need it. It’s also worth noting that the Mars 3 has an IPX3 rating, which isn’t a lot if we’re honest, but it should handle a light drizzle, as well as drops from about 20 inches, so it’s not perfectly rugged, but it will handle being moved around without issue.

Key Specifications
Resolution 1080p
Connectivity HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Lumens 1,000
Size 6.29 x 10.23 x 9.84 inches

Benq GS50

Best 1080p outdoor projector

The BenQ GS50 projector outdoors.
BenQ
Pros Cons
Lightweight and portable Can’t get that bright
Looks great Weird dongle setup for Android TV
Good color accuracy

The Benq GS50 is an interesting outdoor projector, if only for the fact that, unlike other projectors, there’s been some thought put into the design and look of it, so it doesn’t just look like a square black box with a lens on the front. That makes it a great addition to those who want something that looks pretty, although it’s small in size and weight, 7.32 x 6.06 x 5.75 inches, and a little over five pounds, which means it’s easy to carry around and store as well. That actually makes the GS50 a pretty good option for those who live or like to travel in RVs and camper vans since it gives you a great way to get a big screen with as little space as possible.

Of course, the GS50 runs a 1080p resolution, although what’s more impressive is that, even though it’s quite small, the battery will let you run it for around two and a half hours, which is more than enough time to watch a full movie. It has good color accuracy too, and the 100-inch throw means that you can get a relatively well-sized screen to watch content on. That said, it’s important to note that the Gs50 is only rater up to 500 ANSI Lumens, which isn’t that bright at all, so you’re not very likely going to be using this in the daytime. In fact, even indoor lighting might be too much, so this is definitely an outdoor and nighttime use projector.

Even so, it does have an IPX2 rating, so it will handle splashes here and there, and it does actually have surprisingly good sound and bass for something so small, making it a good option for parties and listening to music. You do have quite a lot of ports to work with, including HDMI and USB-C, and they’re all cleverly hidden behind a side panel so that they don’t break up the cute look of the GS50. It also can connect through both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can do things like Chromecast and Air Play if you don’t want to use any cables to connect it.

Key Specifications
Resolution 1080p
Connectivity HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Lumens 500
Size 7.32 x 6.06 x 5.75 inches

https://www.benq.com/en-us/projector/portable/gs50/buy.html

Anker Nebula Cosmos

Best for 4k outdoor projector

Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K on living room table.
Anker
Pros Cons
Great brightness No Zoom
Easy to carry Minimal picture modes and adjustment
Great 4k picture quality

One thing that we really need to say from the get-go is that the Anker Nebula Cosmos doesn’t come with a battery of any sort, which means you have to have it plugged in to use it at all times. That does pose a bit of a problem for an outdoor projector since you don’t usually have access to a power outlet to get it running. That said, almost everything else about it is quite good, and if you’re going to use it in your yard or are willing to carry a portable power station with you to charge it, it won’t be a dealbreaker.

As for the image quality, you do get 4k, which isn’t something that you’ll find in a lot of other outdoor projectors, so it’s great if you want a higher-fidelity experience. It also has a much more impressive 2,200 lumens, so it won’t be affected that much by things like outdoor lighting and you might be able to use it in the evening when the sun is almost over the horizon. You’ll also be happy to know that it has a pretty impressive 150 inches of throw, so you can get a pretty big screen out of it, making it a perfect option for a yard, especially since it weighs over ten pounds and you won’t likely want to carry it around regularly, especially with the power issues.

Luckily, it does have some nice extra features, such as auto keystone adjustments, and it even has a low-latency mode that’s good for gaming; while it won’t be great for high-action stuff like racing games, it should suffice for slower-paced narrative-driven games. It also has a bulb that is rated to run pretty much the full lifetime of the projector, so you won’t have to spend extra money replacing bulbs or dealing with that issue. Also, it does have some blue-light filtering, which helps protect your eyes in the long run and is a big positive if you have kids around.

Key Specifications
Resolution 4K
Connectivity HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Lumens 2200
Size 10.35 x 6.5 x 8.66 inches

Xgimi MoGo 2 Pro

Best portable outdoor projector

The Xgimi MoGo 2 Pro portable Andtroid TV projector.
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends / .
Pros Cons
Compact and easy setup Android TV can be laggy
Excellent image in the dark No internal battery
Great auto keystone and focus features

If one of the most important things you value in an outdoor projector is its portability, then this Xgimi MoGo 2 Pro is a solid option, especially since it only weighs a paltry 2.42 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around. Luckily, the overall impact on the image quality isn’t bad, even for its smaller size, although it does have the same issue as the Nebula Cosmos in that it doesn’t have an internal battery. That means you’ll also have to have it connected all the time, but since it doesn’t need a lot of power compared to the 4K projector, it’s much easier to run off something like a portable power bank.

As for the image, it’s your standard 1080p display with relatively good color reproduction and image fidelity, and it has the same sort of connectivity you’d find on other outdoor projectors such as HDMI, USB, and Bluetooth. It also has Chromecast and comes with Android TV 11, so you can use it like you would a smart TV to watch the content you might see on a regular TV. Also, its small size makes it another good option for RVs or camper vans where space for a large-screen TV is at a minimum.

In terms of brightness, it has 400 lumens, which won’t be enough for daytime viewing, but at night it should be excellent, even with a campfire or other low lighting, although, much like most projectors, it will work best in complete darkness. There’s also autofocusing and keystone adjustment, which is a nice little addition, as is the eye protection for when you pass in front of it so you don’t get blinded by the light. You’ll also be happy to know that the internal speakers are actually pretty good and relatively loud, so you won’t really need a secondary solution that would work against it’s small and portable advantage.

Key Specifications
Resolution 1080p
Connectivity HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, Bluetooth
Lumens 400
Size 4.3 x 4.7 x 6.3 inches

Anker Nebula Capsule

Best budget outdoor projector

The Anker Nebula Capsule on table outdoors.
Anker
Pros Cons
Excellent price Doesn’t get bright
Very portable
Long battery life

Buying an outdoor projector doesn’t necessarily have to put you in the poorhouse, and if you’re looking for a good budget option, then you’ll be happy to know that the Anker Nebula Capsule is it. Of course, it is important to note at this point that you do give up a lot for an outdoor and portable projector that only costs $300 at MSRP, so you have to be ready to make compromises. That said, it is incredibly small, about the size of a soda can, so it’s the most portable outdoor projector on the list.

Of course, the small size and low price do mean you have to deal with things like a maximum of 100 ANSI lumens, which means you can’t have any other competing light sources if you want to be able to see anything. As for the image, you’re going to be getting 480p, which is a pretty antiquated standard at this point, so if you’re expecting even HD, this isn’t it. That said, the lower resolution is actually not that bad if you are going to project it in a small space, say 30 inches or so, and it does mean that you get a pretty impressive battery life of around 4-5 hours.

Probably one of the most impressive things about the Nebula Capsule is how good the speakers are, and for something this small and budget-oriented, it can produce some excellent audio. In fact, this does make the Capsule a good way to listen to music during gatherings since you can have both a video and audio feed for pretty cheap. That said, the software and apps can get a little bit buggy, as can the remote, so setting up and controlling it might take a bit of attention, but that’s not really a dealbreaker, especially given what you’re getting for the price.

Key Specifications
Resolution 480p
Connectivity HDMI, Bluetooth
Lumens 100
Size 2.68 x 2.68 x 4.72 inches

How We Chose These Outdoor Projectors

Size and portability

Unlike having an indoor projector setup where you have things like walls and ceilings to mount things with, outdoor projects need to be a lot more portable and easy to set up. While there isn’t much we can do about the projector screen itself that will rely on what you can find that fits your needs, we can aim for smaller projectors. That means that generally speaking, we want to focus on something that has a handle and is easy to carry or is small enough that you could fit it in a bag or even, potentially, a pocket. That’s especially the case if you also need to carry a projector screen since that will add a lot of weight, so the idea is to make it as easy as possible to have an outdoor projector setup.

Battery life

Being outdoors means that you likely aren’t going to have a lot of options for power unless you’re using your outdoor projector in your yard or garden. That means that you’ll likely have to rely on a projector’s battery to keep it running, and, unfortunately, the reality is that the battery life on most projectors is not that great. It’s the same sort of problem that you’d run into with gaming laptops; powering a high-resolution image and a lot of brightness means you have to have a lot of energy. As such, most of the options here only have about a 3-5 hour run-time, so enough for a movie, maybe two, but that’s about it.

That said, we have also included some options that have no battery, so the best solution at that point is to have a portable power station or power bank of some sort. It’s not an ideal solution, but if you’re going out camping or at a picnic, you might already have, or need, a portable power source, so low or no battery isn’t the dealbreaker it might seem at first glance.

Image quality & Brightness

It might be strange to put image quality so low, but the truth is that resolution is a function of size, meaning if you want something with high fidelity, it’s going to be big, and that tends not to be great for outdoor projectors. To that end, we’ve mostly focused on projectors that can hit FHD comfortably and with good image fidelity and reproduction. That said, there’s always going to be a compromise, so, for example, while we have included a 4K resolution option, it may not be at the same standards you’ll see on a 4K TV. That said, a lot of the fun and experience of a projector is seeing it on a larger screen far away, so in those situations, you likely won’t really notice the lower resolution.

As for brightness, the size of a projector bulb also plays a factor in how big the projector is, and how much power it draws. As such, most portable projectors don’t have very high ANSI lumens, and while some of them do have some form of very bright mode, one tends to cause a green tint to appear on the screen, so most folks prefer to avoid it. Ultimately, we did our best to include a wide range of lumens so that you can decide what works best for you and your needs, especially if you only want something for nighttime where the lumen might not matter as much.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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Albert Bassili
Deals Writer

Albert’s been a tech and gaming writer for almost a decade now, writing across websites such as GameGavel, How-To-Geek, and now Digital Trends. Of course, he is also generally a tech nerd, so if it’s tech-related, he’s probably heard of it, wanted to buy it, or bought it even though he probably shouldn’t have.

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