5 Best Cheap Projectors under $100 Reviewed in 2018

Settling down with a nice, big bowl of popcorn on a Saturday night to watch a movie is a favorite pass time for many. Indeed, home theater systems are growing in popularity very quickly, with components sometimes including large 120 inch flat screen televisions, and an entire surround sound stereo speaker system.

5 Best Cheap Projector under $100 Reviewed
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However, not all home theater systems need to be so pricey. If you don’t have the added cash on hand to purchase a large 120 inch flat screen TV, fear not, for there is another viable option: The home theater mini projector.

That’s right, home theater mini projector, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the best cheap projectors under $100 on the market, just for you.

With a mini home theater projector, all you need to do is connect your projector to your PC, laptop, game console, DVD player or smart phone or tablet, and enjoy the show on a large, crisp and clear viewing area.

These mini projectors might look small, but they can most certainly pack a punch when it comes to watching your favorite videos on the big screen.

List of Best Mini Projectors under $100

S/NPhotoBrandOur RatingPrice
1.RAGU Z400 Mini Projector (Home Theater)RAGU
2.ELEPHAS YG400 LED Mini Movie ProjectorELEPHAS
3.Upgraded DBPOWER T20 LCD Mini Movie ProjectorDBPOWER
4.Crenova XPE460 video projectorCrenova
5.TENKER Q5 LED Mini Movie ProjectorTENKER

5 Best Cheap Projectors under $100 Reviewed for 2018

1.RAGU Z400 Review (Powerful Cooling System)

Compact and Easy to Use: If you are in the market for a versatile, powerful mini, home theater projector that performs extremely well in dark environments, then the Ragu Z400 Mini Projector should be the one you look at first.

This easy to transport, light weight mini projector has a brightness of 1600 lumens, measures just 5.1 x 8.8 x 12.2 inches and weighs in at only 2.3 pounds.

It’s 2.25 inch diameter lens comes with a lens cap which easily snaps on and off, and the bottom of the unit has a screw foot where you can add an additional 1/2 inches of lift.

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Integrated Speaker and Cooling: TWhile this model comes with a good, integrated speaker system, it is strongly recommended to use an external speaker system in order to capture the best sound possible.

Simply connect your external speaker to the 3.5mm audio out jack. As for keeping the projector cool, RAGU developed an advanced cooling system which keeps your projector running cool, and do it quietly.

Versatility and Screen Size: The Ragu is perfect not only for your indoor home theater system, but performs equally well for backyard viewing for outdoor birthday parties, sports viewing parties, or pool parties.

This model has been designed to provide an ultra-large big screen viewing experience with a 50 to 130 inch and 5 to 13 foot projection distance, with ability to support 1920 x 1080 pixel imagery.

If you are in the process of configuring your home theater system, know that the best screen size for the Z400 is a screen display of 100 inches and projection distance of 8 feet.

Excellent Connectivity: As for connectivity, this unit comes with the following ports: USB, HDMI, AV/TV, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and SD Card slot.

This means you will be able to play your favorite video games, DVD players, PC, TV, smartphone, tablets, Laptops,as well as cable box. Your purchase includes a RCA input cable, HDMI cable, power cable, and remote control.

Advantage
  • 1600 lumens of brightness, perfect for dark areas
  • Compact, light and easy to transport
  • Low noise fans
  • Very good image quality with a large screen size
  • Excellent connectivity options
Disadvantage
  • Bright for dark areas, but will not work well in rooms with ambient light
  • Will not work well for presentations or classroom lectures

Summary: The Ragu Z400 Mini Projector has got what it takes to project clear, bright and sharp images and video on your wall or screen with a brightness rating of 1600 lumens, ability to support 1920 x 1080 pixel imagery, screen size of 50 to 130 inches and 5 to 13 foot projection distance.

At 5.1 x 8.8 x 12.2 inches and 2.3 pounds, you’ll have no problem moving it from pool side to bedroom, to theater room. You’ll love the connectivity which includes USB, HDMI, AV, SD card, and 3.5mm audio out jack.


2.ELEPHAS YG400 Review (LCD Display)

High Performance at an Affordable Price: What makes the compact 7.6 x 5.6 x 2.7 inch, 2.16 pound Elephas LED Mini Portable Projector a fan of so many, is that it offers solid performance at an affordable price.

This basic mini projector has a native resolution of 800 x 480, a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080p, and a brightness rating of 1200 lumens.

Easy to use and set up, the Elephas comes with a user friendly remote control allows you to control the quality of your still images and video from a distance.

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Runs Cool: One of the concerns of owning a mini movie projector is heat dispersion. The Elephas mini projector runs cool and the fans operate quietly as you enjoy your media.

However, it is still recommended that you turn the unit off, and let it cool every 3 to 4 hours during extended use, such as during movie marathons or gaming for long hours.

Connectivity and Integrated Speakers: As for connectivity, you get the following ports: 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack port, AV port, an HDMI cable, and an SD cart slot.

The integrated speakers will give you a good sound, but it is recommended that you connect some external speakers of your choice using the 3.5mm audio jack.

Excellent connectivity means you can easily enjoy playing video games, hook up your PC or laptop, DVD player, cable box, streaming sticks, and Chromecast.

Eco-Friendly Features with Lamp Care Technology: While this unit does support your smart devices, if you wish to watch media from your smartphone or tablet devices, then you’ll need to purchase an additional adapter. This eco-friendly mini projector uses little power.

It also saves energy and uses the newest eco-friendly, mercury free, Lamp Care Technology with the included LED bult lasting up to 30,000 hours and saving you up to 70 percent in energy savings. This unit is made for table top or ceiling or wall mount giving you a viewing screen size range of 50 to 130 inches.

Advantage
  • 30,000 hour, eco-friendly mercury free lamp
  • Energy saving
  • High connectivity for a variety of devices
  • Connects to smart devices via an adapter (purchase separately)
  • Lightweight, compact and provides viewing screen range of 50 to 130 inches
Disadvantage
  • Does not perform well in situations with ambient light
  • Resolution of 480p makes it good for home, but not commercial use

Summary: At 7.6 x 5.6 x 2.7 inches and around 2 pounds, the Elephas YG400 LED Mini Movie Projector is a great way to watch your favorite videos on the go with its 2 USB ports, HDMI, 3.5mm audio out, AV port and SD card slot.

With a brightness rating of 1200 lumens, native resolution of 800 x 480 and ability to support 1920 x 1080 imagery this easy to set up and use projector gives you clear images every time.

Excellent heat dispersion and long bulb life mean you can use your Elephas for watching movies, tracing stencils or creating holiday displays.


3.DBPOWER T20 Review (Innovative Cooling)

Compact and User Friendly: The DBPower T20 LCD Mini Movie Projector is a well-made unit that at 7.25 x 6 x 3 inches, is able to fit into most backpacks, briefcases and purses.

This easy to use mini projector has its controls, such as power button, menu, escape and source buttons, as well as a keystone dial and focus control, located on the top of the unit for easy access.

A user friendly remote control is also included, so you may control the projector from where you are seated.

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Connect to a Wide Variety of Media Sources: Turning your unit around, you’ll notice that it has a nice variety of ports. These include HDMI, VGA, AV, Auxiliary, USB inputs, as well as an SD card reader and charging port.

This means you’ll be able to easily use this unit to play digital files from a USB, view photos, play video games, connector to your TV, PC, Laptop or cable box.

Excellent Screen Display Features: Features include a native resolution is 800 x 480 pixels, maximum resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels, TFT LCD Imaging Technology, 16:10 aspect ratio, a screen size range of 32 to 176 inches, and contrast of 1000:1.

If you are planning your home theater room, then keep in mind that this models prime projector distance is 2 to 2.5 meters, and a display size of 130 inches, diagonal. Also, remember if you’d like to view files from your smart devices, you’ll need to purchase an adapter separately.

Efficient and Effective Cooling System: Keeping your projector cool is extremely important, after all not only does it have a motor, but it also has a hot bulb, so an efficient cooling system is a must.

The T20 solves this issue with its ample ventilation slots as well as a quiet, hard working fans. As for lamp life, you get an amazing 50,000 hours of lamp use, so it will be a while before you need to purchase a replacement.

Advantage
  • Brightness of 1600 Lumens, excellent for dark rooms
  • Integrated DBPOWER T20 speaker
  • Good quality image with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Lightweight, compact and easy to transport
Disadvantage
  • Not bright enough for class or office presentations
  • Fan can make a low noise

Summary: The Upgraded DBPOWER T20 LCD Mini Movie Projector’s compact size of 7.25 x 6 x 3 inches means you can slip it into your briefcase or backpack to take to a friends house to play video games or watch films.

It has a native resolution of 800 x 480 with the ability to play video with 1920 x 1080p resolution, and easily connects to your TV, PC, laptop, cable box, gaming console or smart device.

With a brightness rating of 1600 lumens, integrated speakers and quiet, efficient cooling system you’ll be able to create a fabulous home theater system at a fraction of the cost.


4.Crenova XPE460 Review (Large Screen)

Upgraded LED Light Technology: The Take this easy to set up and use mini projector with you anywhere to enjoy video games, movies and sporting events.

With its upgraded LED Light Technology, the Crenova XPE460 mini projector provides you and your family with a nice size, maximum viewing area of 37 to 130 inches, a brightness rating of 1200 lumens.

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Supports 1080p Images and Video: As for resolution, you get an impressive, native resolution of 800 x 480 with the ability to project 1080p HD imagery.

This means you can project video and images from HD devices such as your Blu-ray player, which is not bad for a budget projector.

Square Pixel Technology for a Clear Image: For the best, possible image, plan on situating this model about 2 meters from the screen, with a screen size of 80 inches, diagonal.

It’s Square Pixel Technology gives you clear imagery in dark rooms due to eliminating the hard edges from each individual pixel, and gives you true, vibrant color.

Comes with Important Cables and External Bluetooth Speaker: This mini projector measures 12.4 x 4.2 x 7.5 inches, and weighs in at 2.82 pounds , comes with Keystone Correction and a free HDMI cable, and the following ports: HDMI, VGA, USB and SD card slot.

By using an adapter, purchased separately, you can view media from your smart phone or tablet devices. Your purchase includes a power adapter, remote control, AV cable, HDMI cable, and an external Bluetooth speaker.

Advantage
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Native 800 x 480 resolution, maximum 1080p HD
  • Sufficient connectivity
  • Comes with free HDMI cable
  • Screen size up to 130 inches diagonal
Disadvantage
  • Blurry or distorted image if played on large screens
  • 1200 lumens so it’s not efficient for use in rooms with ambient lighting

Summary: The Crenova XPE460 Mini Movie Projector is a good, basic, easy to use unit which projects imagery on a viewing area of 37 to 130 inch screen, has a brightness rating of 1200 lumens and native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and supports 1080 HD.

It’s upgraded LED Light Technology and Square Pixel Technology help you get the sharpest image possible for your videos. An added plus, is this particular purchase comes with a remote control, AV cable HDMI cable and external Bluetooth speaker.


5.TENKER Q5 Review (Reduced Fan Noise)

Solid Resolution and Portability: The Tenker Q5 LED Mini Movie Projector gives you a brightness rating of 1500 lumens, and a native resolution of 800 x 600, but does support 1080, 720 and 480 pixels, which is absolutely perfect for enjoying your favorite videos in a nice, dark home theater environment.

While it measures only 7.7 x 2.8 x 5.9 inches, and weighs in at around 1.98 pounds, it is capable of giving you a nice 37 to 100 inch screen size when positioned at it’s 1.15 to 3 meter perfect projection distance.

TENKER Q5 LED Mini Movie Projector
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Compatibility and Connectivity: In order to get the best clear, clean and crisp image, it is recommended that you place your Tenker so it is about 2 meters from the viewing surface.

Connectivity for this unit is extensive and allows you to view digital media files from your PC, gaming consoles, laptops, USB, TF cards and smart devices.

Support for a Vast Variety of Media File Formats: This projector supports common video formats such as MPEG1, MOV, MPEG2, MPEG4, RM, RMVB, MJpeg, OIVX, VOB and MXV.

Audio file formats include: WMA, MP3 M4A, APE, FLAC, WAV, as well as image formats Jpeg, BMP, and PNG. Please note that this projector will support text files, TXT, which is not something many projectors do.

Good Heat Dispersion: However, while it does display imagery from your smart phone and tablets, you will need to purchase an adapter separately.

This mini projector runs cool, easily dispersing the heat, while the fan runs quiet via Noise Suppression Technology. This unit comes with Keystone correction feature and has a projection method of front, rear or ceiling.

Advantage
  • Easy to use, lightweight and portable
  • Brightness rating of 1500 lumens
  • Excellent connectivity options and file formats
  • Fan uses Noise Suppression Technology
  • Native resolution of 800 x 600 pixels can support 1080 pixel images
Disadvantage
  • 1500 lumens is not bright enough for business or classroom use
  • Must purchase the smart phone/tablet adapter separately

Summary: For a compact, complete and competent home theater mini movie projector, measuring 7.7 x 2.8 x 5.9 inches and giving you a 37 to 100 inch screen display, you can’t go wrong with the Tenker Q5 LED projector.

Versatile, this 1500 lumen unit with native resolution of 800 x 600p supports major video, image and audio file formats as well as text, TXT files, which is not supported by all projectors.

Additional features such as Noise Suppression Technology and Keystone Correction make this mini projector the perfect addition to your home theater system.

How to Choose a Home Theater Projector?


Consider Versatility Before Buying: 
When choosing your projector, think of the versatility it brings. In todays world of apps and software, there are numerous things a mini projector can accomplish, besides just watching movies.

If you are looking for a versatile mini projector, then choose one that has a bulb with a nice, long extended life, as well as an excellent cooling system of ventilation slots and fans.

Holiday fun: Most of these mini projectors have bulbs which have a life expectancy of around 30,000 to 50,000 hours. that’s a lot of hours, so why not take advantage of your mini projector, and holiday fun is one of those ways. You can hook up your mini projector to project everything from snowflakes, to having spooky ghosts dance across your windows.

Light Shows: Software such as MusicBeam, will turn your mini projector into a light show for your party. This software, and others like it, work by responding to music, with the lights dancing in tune with the beats.

Other types of software and apps for projectors include looping to present a continuous theme, specialized apps for those who want to use their projector to view the universe on their ceiling, or fall asleep to a continuous rainstorm.

Graphic Art/Game Art: Graphic artists and art students will appreciate the large screen available to them when using a mini projector. Simply position your projector image so that it appears above and in front of your PC, and proceed to work on Photoshop, Blender or Maya projects in a whole new, large and expansive environment.

DLP or LCD Projector: There are two main types of home theater projectors: Digital Light Processing (DLP) or Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Both of these types are excellent at what they do. However, there are some preferences of each that you should be aware of.

DLP: DLP stands for Digital Light Processing. Digital Light Processing projectors are light, portable and easy to transport. They perform exceptionally well with Blu-ray and HDTV videos, are great for action movies and sports, and have a good color contrast.

LCD: Liquid Crystal Display projectors are a good choice for business meetings and classroom lectures due to their high brightness rating. This means that colors show up nice and vibrant even in a partially lit room. These models are energy efficient, quiet and work well with 3D.

Resolution: When you read the specs, one of the first things to pay attention to is the resolution. Resolution is…… The higher the resolution, the smaller the pixel, and this is what makes images with higher resolution look so clear, clean and crisp. A basic, high resolution projector will have an HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Other resolutions include: …. A 4K Ultra HD projector has a high 4096 x 2160 resolution. If you happen to come across a pixel shifting 1080p resolution, it means that the projector will be compatible with 4k videos, and will project a nice, sharp image, but it will still be the same quality as a tru 4K Ultra with 4096 x 2160 resolution.

Brightness: When you read our home theater projector review, you’ll note that attention is paid to lumens. This is important because it is the brightness rating that ensures you can see the image in either a dark or lightly lit room. for instance, if you are using a projector for business meetings or classroom lectures, then you’ll look for a projector with a higher brightness rating.

This higher brightness means that you and your viewing audience will be able to see it, even if the room has ambient lighting. However, if you plan on using the projector for your home theater in a dark environment, then one with a lower brightness rating will work just fine.

Additional Features: If you’re a fan of 3D movies, then you’ll love the fact that 3D films and projectors are simply made for one another. However, not every projector has 3D ability, so if you are into this, check the specs.

Most people have their home theater area planned out. If this fits your scenario, then look for a mini home theater projector that gives you the option to permanently mount it to the wall, or ceiling.

If you are an artist and plan on using it to project images for stenciling or painting, then look for one that you can attach to a tripod. Finally, consider what actually comes with your mini projector.

Remember, if you have to purchase extra cables or a remote control, it counts toward the final price of your entire system. Try to make sure you get the most for your money, and get a projector that comes with a remote control, power cord and cables.

Types of Projectors


Home Theater: 
Home theater projectors produce excellent, large size videos for film and even video games. These projectors are built solely for home entertainment, so have vibrant, rich colors, quieter fans, HDMI ports, and high contrast.

These projectors are made for dark rooms specifically made for home theater viewing. If you are looking for the best resolution possible on a large viewing area, then this is the one to choose.

Business/Classroom projectors: These projectors will have a high brightness rating so the image will be easily viewed in a room with ambient lighting. These are best for PowerPoint presentations, conferences, classroom lectures and business training. These are built to be light and easy to transport and set up.

Pico Projectors: These mini projectors weight less than 3 pounds, and are perfect for the person on the go. They are just made to fit into backpacks, briefcases, bags, purses or suitcases. These are great for students, business people on the go, or if you live in a small, studio apartment but still want to project your video or gaming on a larger screen.

How to Setup a Home Theater Projector?

While setting up your home theater mini projector is not exactly difficult, it is important that you follow the instructions that came with your manual. Also, please remember that you should disconnect all components from their power source while you connect your projector to the components. If you are connecting your computer to the projector, then make certain your computer or laptop is off.

Step 1. Blackout Curtains

No matter how much you pay for your mini home theater projector. No matter how many features it has, or how carefully you plan out your projection distance and proper screen size, if the surrounding environment is not set up correctly, your image will appear blurry.

The best picture quality will be attained when images or video are shown in a dark room, or outside when the sun goes down. To help create this environment, it’s wise to invest in some high quality blackout curtains for your home theater room. Blackout curtains will ensure you’ll have a dark environment which means you’ll get the best, clearest image possible.

Step 2. Location

This depends on the type of projector you own. If you have a home theater projector, you can position it on a table or desk, but more than likely you’ll want to affix it permanently from the ceiling. If it is a portable projector, plug it in and proceed to move it around a bit so you can get the best picture possible.

Many models come with an adjustable screw foot, where you can adjust the tilt of the unit if needed. When setting up, keep in mind that the farther away, the larger the image, the closer the projector, the smaller the image.

Step 3. Connect

Once it is positioned perfectly it’s time to connect your media source, which can be either your video game console, PC, Laptop, Blu-ray or DVD player, cable box, or mobile device. When you connect to your laptop or PC, use a VGA cable. If you are connecting to a TV, then use the AV cable, if you are using a video game console, then use the HDMI cable.

When it comes to connecting your smart phone, tablet or WiFi streaming device, you may need to purchase separate adapters, such as an MHL cable. iPhones may require a lightning or thunderbolt connector. Once connected, then turn on your computer, laptop, gaming console or TV.

Step 4. Alignment and Focus

You know you need to have a completely dark environment to get the best image from your home theater projector, but what about the viewing area? While some people simply set up their mini projector and ‘eyeball’ it, others prefer to use an alignment image.

Many mini projectors come with an alignment image already installed and ready for you to use. If yours does not, simply download one online. Proceed to use this alignment image to ensure that the image fits your screen perfectly, and adjust the focus until the lines appear sharp and clean.

Step 5. Audio and Mode

While the manufacturer of your mini projector has probably worked hard to silence your systems fans, you’ll still hear them. The solution for this is to connect an external speaker to your projector when setting up. To do this, simply plug your external speaker into the 3.5mm audio out jack.

Once you’ve got everything set up, including the audio, it’s time to get ready to enjoy your movie! However, just one more step. Remember to choose the ‘movie’ or ‘cinema’ mode to ensure you get the best image possible, and you’re ready to go!

The Final Words (Summary)

Just because a big screen, HD TV is out of your budget, does not mean you cannot enjoy high quality video and imagery. By hooking up a simple mini projector to your smart devices, PC, video game consoles, TV, or laptop you’ll be able to get a gorgeous imagery at a mere fraction of the cost.

These mini projectors are just perfect for the person on the go, or for those who live in small living areas. As you can see from our home projector review, these mini’s can be used outdoors for birthday parties, super bowl parties, indoors or for fun holiday decorations.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our best cheap projector under $100 review, and that it brought you one step closer to enjoying your favorite shows and movies on the big screen, right in the comfort of your own living room.

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