The best home theater projectors specialize in delivering a cinematic experience in your living room, but some models have an added talent – offering portable ways to easily share movies or shows outdoors. These projectors are typically smaller, include their own rechargeable battery, and are designed to stream from apps right on your phone. That makes them perfect for outdoor movie nights, projecting a favorite show on a camping tent wall, and other outside fun.
If you’re looking for a projector just like this, we’ve chosen the absolute best available so you’ll be ready for years of outdoor cinema. Take a look!
Note: The most common way to use portable projectors like these is via screencasting from your phone or using a smart platform. But some streaming services like Netflix may limit or block screencasting options and may not be available on every platform. If you plan on streaming from an app like this, look for a projector that has its own smart platform or that can download an app workaround (we have several on our list). You’ll also want a reliable Wi-Fi connection, or at least a no-cap data connection, for this to work.
BenQ GS50 Wireless Outdoor Projector
Best overall outdoor projector
- Durable design for outdoor use
- Android TV support
- Auto focus and other automatic improvements
- Fast USB-C charging for internal battery
- Lumens are pretty low, so it's for dark environments only
If you’re serious about taking your projector on adventures, there’s no model better suited than this sturdy BenQ model, which is one of the only portable projectors to include splashproof and drop-proof ratings as well as a carrying strap, making it the perfect pick for camping and similar outdoor activities. It offers a 1080p picture with two built-in 5-watt speakers, including a 10W woofer for bass boost.
The projector also benefits from BenQ’s experience in the projector field, with features like HDR10/HLG support, picture and gaming modes, and auto-focus, as well as auto keystone adjustment (important features when you are projecting outside instead of in a room). We also love to see Android TV support, a platform that makes streaming from a wide variety of sources much easier, as well as adding some support for Google Assistant.
Battery recharging is also easy here, thanks to the USB-C PD port for fast charging when necessary. The lumens are a little low at 500L, so it’s definitely designed to be used in the evening or in darker environments, but that’s not usually a problem for outdoor projecting plans.
Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
Best high-end outdoor projector
- Excellent 4K picture
- Very bright for an outdoor projector
- Auto-correction modes
- Android TV
- Internal speaker array for better-than-average sound
- Very, very expensive
If you want an outdoor projector that can mimic an indoor experience, nothing will work better than the powerful Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser, with its 4K laser projector capabilities and high lumens brightness for an outdoor projector. A sub-brand of Anker, Nebula makes great portable projectors. The Cosmos is a model that can handle outdoor movies even when the sun hasn’t finished setting yet and is of the best options for larger movie events and gatherings.
The projector can upscale to 150 inches with a large enough screen and was designed for easy carrying and automatic adaption to the environment. Along with the carrying handle, you’ll also find this projecto has built-in sound, with two 10W speakers and 5W tweeters to provide audio to those nearby. In larger setups, you may want to work on connecting larger speakers, but for smaller movie nights, this should be a fine alternative.
The Cosmos also uses the Android TV platform for easily navigating your streaming options, completing this impressive outdoor package. The only major downside — aside from the very steep cost — is that there’s no built-in battery, so you’ll have to bring your own power pack along to charge it or use it on a patio or in a similar area that still has access to an outlet.
Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12
Best outdoor projector for great color
- 4K resolution
- Great color and brightness technology
- Plentiful ports
- Android TV
- No internal battery
Epson’s portable projector is ready to cast an image up to 150 inches and at 4K resolution, but what really draws us to this model is its built-in color and brightness capabilities, which make it a great choice if you want to watch outdoors but don’t want to give up on the image quality you could get inside. Features include MicroLaser Array for better brightness and contrast, Scene Adaptive Color Correction, and HDR support.
This is another model that you’ll need to bring a power pack along for if there’s no nearby outlet, but thanks to the two HDMI ports and USB-A ports, you’ll have plenty of additional connection options for working with other devices. And the Android TV platform offers plenty of usability on its own, too.
Stereo sound is courtesy of Yamaha speakers, and the projector was designed to function as a Bluetooth speaker even when not playing movies. That makes it an ideal companion for frequent outings to a deck, patio, or rooftop for evening fun.
Best compact outdoor projector
- Very portable
- Two and a half-hour battery
- Brighter than many picks at 900 lumens
- AI object avoidance and screen alignment
- Android TV
- Speakers aren't especially powerful
This highly portable projector can do a little of everything, and thanks to the built-in battery for up to two and a half hours of playtime, you can take it just about anywhere for easy viewing whenever you like. The 1080p resolution and 900 lumens don’t hurt either, especially on a projector this compact.
This is also a projector that’s well aware that it’s going to be on the road or at least nearby an uneven lawn. It comes with auto keystone correction, AI object avoidance, autofocus, and intelligent screen alignment. That equals a quick setup and less wasted time, made even easier with the Android TV 10.0 interface.
The two 5W speakers here are nice for close-up sound, and if you’re watching in a tent or quiet outdoor area, it probably won’t be an issue. There’s an HDMI port, USB 2.0 port, and headphone jack in the back to increase your options, but the real value here is the ability to take the speaker anywhere with such ease.
Anker Nebula Capsule
Best outdoor projector for battery life
- Four-hour battery life
- Small design for easy carrying
- Up to 4K resolution in the right circumstances
- Best in smaller, dark spaces
Anker has a number of Nebula models to pick from. In addition to the high-end Cosmos version we recommend above for a bright, 4K experience, this midrange model offers a great alternative: a much, much lower price while still serving as a tiny portable projector.
The lumens are certainly low on this model, so you’ll want to save it for truly dark environments and switch off any nearby lights, but then this little projector is capable of a 100-inch image with a very impressive four-hour playback time on its battery. It also runs an older version of Android TV that still provides the necessary smart platform benefits for easy content management. Ports include two HDMI as well as USB.
This bite-sized projector is a better fit for small, dark spaces, such as a cozy date-night tent outdoors, a dark back seat on a long car ride, and similar spots. But if you’re willing to sacrifice a little, you’ll get great battery life in a super-portable package.
DBPower L23 Projector
Best budget outdoor projector
- Under $200
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support
- Large 300-inch image
- Speakers are great
- No internal battery
- Fan is a bit noisy
If none of the models on our list have felt like budget picks yet, you’ll be pleased to see this DBPower projector landing at under $200 while still being ready to take on the go. In fact, it even comes with a carrying case to tote it around more easily. You can connect devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, as well as more traditional ports like USB, HDMI, and even VGA for some classic setups.
The projector holds its own with a 1080p resolution and a screen size that you can adjust up to 300 inches. However, you may want to connect some external speakers, especially since the fan can be a bit noisy on this model. And you’re not going to get an internal battery on a model like this, so plan accordingly. Overall, it’s a good budget pick to save some money while still picking a projector you can take out to the yard every now and then for a special movie night.
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