The 11 Best Mini Projectors to Buy in 2018

Watch movies and give presentations with these portable mini projectors

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Apeman at Amazon“The inclusion of dual speakers adds to the audio-visual mix.”
  • Best for Business: Optoma ML750ST at Amazon“The Optoma ML750ST is well worth its steep price tag.”
  • Best Budget: Elephas at Amazon“It has great connectivity options: two USB ports, HDMI port, 3.5mm port, AV port, and an SD card slot.”
  • Best for Traveling: ZTE Spro 2 at Amazon“Full of features, including a five-inch touchscreen with 720p and 2.5 hours of battery life.”
  • Best Speakers: Anker Nebula Capsule at Amazon“A truly portable entertainment option with a 360-degree omnidirectional speaker.”
  • Best for Connectivity: LG Electronic’s Minibeam at Amazon“A built-in mirroring function that allows it to connect to a smartphone.”
  • Best for Home Theaters: Epson 3LCD at Amazon“It handles 4K content with aplomb and is compatible with HDR content.”
  • Best Contrast: AAXA P300 at Amazon“One of the brightest pico projectors on the market, with 500 lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio.”
  • Best for Design: RIF6 CUBE at NewEgg“A silver 2- x 2- x 1.9-inch cube that weighs just five ounces, so it easily slips into your bag.”
  • Best for Gaming: Optoma GT1080DARBEE at Walmart“It features an Enhanced Game Mode setting that levels up contrast and color.”
  • Best Value: Insignia Reverb at Best Buy“A solid serving of flexibility when taking this projector on the go.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Apeman

4.4

Measuring 3.86 x 3.86 x .87 inches and weighing 1.2 pounds, the Apeman has 120 minutes of battery life courtesy of a 3400mAh battery. It's capable of projecting a screen size up to 100 inches on a wall. The 854 x 480 resolution isn’t quite Full HD quality, but video playback still looks fantastic. The inclusion of dual speakers adds to the audio-visual mix, while noticeably low fan noise allows you to solely concentrate on immersing yourself in whatever is on the screen. The 25,000 hours of LED life allows for 1,000 days of 24-hour video playback before the bulb will burn out. Adding HDMI cable and MHL support allows the Apeman to connect directly to a laptop, smartphone or tablet for easy plug and play use.

Best for Business: Optoma ML750ST

5

Sure, it's expensive, but the Optoma ML750ST is well worth its steep price tag. The LED projector boasts a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and can upscale video content to 1080i. With 700 lumens, it yields high color accuracy and produces a beautiful, bright picture.

The ML750ST’s short throw ratio of 0.8:1 is also to thank for its impressive image quality. While many projectors need a 1.2:1 to 1.5:1 ratio to project a large picture, the ML750ST can sit rather close.

The ML750ST has run-of-the-mill connectivity options, including an HDMI port, a USB port, a 3.5mm audio output and a microSD slot. Its integrated document reader makes it a great pick for business applications, though. You can project PDFs, DOCs and more from a USB thumb drive, so you don’t need to hook it up to a laptop. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an internal battery, so you need to stay within reach of a power outlet, but when used in an office setting, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Best Budget: Elephas 1200 lumens LED mini portable projector

3.9

With a native resolution of only 800 x 480, the Elephas 1200 lumens LED mini portable projector might not be the best small projector you can buy, but it’s certainly the best budget one. It can scale up to full HD, but you’ll lose some quality as its not the native resolution.

On a positive note, this projector has great connectivity options: It has two USB ports (including a 5V port), one HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio port, an AV port and an SD card slot. Considering the price point, it has pretty decent speakers, too, but if you’re able, we’d recommend hooking up dedicated speakers via the audio jack. It’s also surprisingly quiet, which makes watching movies much easier. If you’re wary of buying a budget device, its 12-month warranty and two-month hassle-free return/replace policy should let you rest easy.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best cheap projectors.

Best for Traveling: ZTE Spro 2

4

The ZTE Spro 2 measures 5.2 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches in size and weighs just 1.2 pounds, making it an ideal size for traveling. Small stature aside, the ZTE is full of features, including a five-inch touchscreen with 720p, 2.5 hours of battery life and a 4000:1 contrast ratio for a highly detailed picture. The ZTE supports anywhere between a 20 to 120-inch or a nearly 10-foot viewable screen with DLP (digital light processing). The ZTE doesn’t require any wires, allowing content to be accessed via HDMI, USB, or microSD memory card, as well as support for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The projector also has JBL speakers that offer great sound quality.

Best Speakers: Anker Nebula Capsule

Pico projectors have improved their brightness, battery time, and picture quality, but few have much as much thought and hardware into the speaker as this new product by Anker. The Nebula Capsule is a truly portable entertainment option, with an Amazon Alexa-style, 360-degree omnidirectional speaker. The cylindrical seamless aluminum body combines the speaker and the projector in a portable and durable design. In addition to room-filling sound, the Nebula Capsule projects a remarkably clear picture, thanks to DLP’s IntelliBright algorithm that maximizes the 100 ANSI lumen projector. The picture remains vivid and clear up to 100 inches. Smart connectivity rounds out the Nebula’s all-in-one functionality, using Android 7.1 to run and stream apps like Netflix and YouTube directly on the capsule. This smart mini-projector really is a great option for anyone who wants a device they can grab and go to bring a full cinematic experience with them in their backpack. 

Best for Connectivity: LG Electronic’s PH550 Minibeam

LG Electronic’s PH550 Minibeam projector is a standout choice for portable projectors with excellent connectivity options. The 4.3 x 6.9 x 1.7-inch projector weighs 1.43 pounds and has a built-in mirroring function that allows it to connect to a smartphone or tablet for projection, but it can also display movies, pictures or even documents directly from a USB drive.

 While the wireless options require an Android device or Windows operating system hardware, (Apple is limited by design), additional options include Bluetooth streaming for sound directly to a Bluetooth-compatible sound system (home theater setup, headphones or even a soundbar) for an all-around projecting experience. The 2.5 hours of battery life for viewing is paired with 30,000 hours of total life on the LG’s LED lamp, adding up to more than 10 years of use even if the projector is utilized for eight hours every day. The native 1280 x 720 resolution and 100,000:1 contrast ratio outclasses nearly all middle-of-the-road portable projectors.

Best for Home Theaters: Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Home Theater Projector

Epson Home Theater
Courtesy of Amazon

Let’s be honest: Home theaters are really all about impressing your friends and neighbors, right? So if you have the means to splurge, spring for this Epson Home Theater Projector that boasts 2,500 lumens, 2.1:1 zoom lenses, and up to a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The Lens Memory feature lets you default to a cinemascope-type widescreen instead of a 16:9 screen (HDTV), making it faster to boot up movies. It also handles 4K content with aplomb and is compatible with High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, delivering a wide range of brightness levels with dramatic darks and blacks. That makes it perfect for projection in all sorts of environments, from dark basements to bright sunrooms.

Best Contrast: AAXA P300 Pico/Micro LED Projector

When it comes to projectors, contrast ration is a major factor. If it’s too low, it will be hard to see the screen, even in dark environments. The P300 is one of the brightest pico projectors on the market, with 500 lumens and a solid 2000:1 contrast ratio. The P300 also has a short throw distance. You can place the projector as close as four feet from the screen and still get a decently large and bright picture. This makes it a great projector for business and gaming alike.

The P300 has a removeable battery pack that lasts about an hour. It’s not quite long enough to watch a full movie, but if you carry a spare battery, you’ll be fine. Alternatively, you can keep it plugged in via HDMI. On top of that, it also has connectivity options for VGA, Composite A/V connections, plus microSD and USB readers. Unlike most other small projectors, the P300 comes with a remote, which lets you adjust volume and switch inputs, among other things.

Best for Design: RIF6 CUBE Pico Projector

Honestly, could there be a cuter projector? The tiny RIF6 CUBE is a silver 2- x 2- x 1.9-inch cube that weighs just five ounces, so it easily slips into your bag. (The cube shape, however, makes it not so pocket-friendly.) On one side it has a USB Micro-B port for charging, a power button and a headphone jack. On the opposite side, it has a microSD card slot, a mini HDMI port and a tiny focus wheel. It produces a brightness of 50 lumens and a native resolution of 854 x 480 pixels, which is pretty common for pico projectors.

It would be hard to find a projector that Amazon reviewers are more in love with. “Super dope,” “a surprise in a box” and “phenomenal” are just a few of the phrases used to describe it. Still, the RIF6 CUBE does have some faults: it doesn’t connect wirelessly and video quality could be better. But if you’ve got design in mind, this projector is the way to go.

Best for Gaming: Optoma GT1080DARBEE 1080p Short-Throw Gaming Projector

Optoma GT1080DARBEE 1080p
Courtesy of Walmart.com

A projector engineered specifically for games can take your gaming to a whole new level, and that’s exactly what the Optoma GT1080Darbee does. It features an Enhanced Game Mode setting that levels up contrast and color while delivering an impressively low input lag of 16ms. (To non-gamers, that’s the amount of time it takes to render its pictures.) According to the company, the projector “uses neuro-biologic algorithms to enhance detail and depth in skin tones, textures and relative surfaces,” which essentially means it yields a sharp picture with a stellar contrast. With 3,000 lumens for peak brightness and a contrast ratio of 30,000:1, the GT1080 displays games well in all light settings, and on top of that, it has a fantastically short throw lens, able to cast a 100-inch image from a throw distance of about three feet. Still not sold? It’s one-year limited parts and labor warranty and 90-day lamp warranty makes this purchase a no-brainer for gamers.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best gaming projectors can help you find what you're looking for.

Best Value: Insignia™ Reverb - Premium Audio Pico WVGA DLP Projector

Insignia™ Reverb - Premium Audio Pico WVGA DLP Projector
Courtesy of BestBuy.com

The Insignia Reverb is what we like to call the Goldilocks of small projectors. It’s not too big, not too dim and not too expensive. When it comes to key features, everything is just right. Enlisting Digital Light Processing (DLP) image technology, which is most common in pico projectors, it delivers crisp pictures. It serves up 100 lumens of brightness, which makes it ideal for use in dark settings, and can cast a picture up to 100 inches. With a built-in Yamaha audio amplifier, it produces surprisingly good sound for such a small device, and its rechargeable battery runs for up to 120 minutes. Altogether, that equals a solid serving of flexibility when taking this projector on the go.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 237 hours testing the four most popular mini projectors on the market. They used them to stream Netflix, watch their favorite movies, and play games to find out what the strengths and flaws really were. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these mini projectors. We've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Mini Projector

Throw - A projector’s throw distance is the distance between the projector and the image on the screen. There are projectors with long throws (usually installed on the ceiling of a big room), shorts throws (generally about 3 to 8 feet), and ultra-short throws (about 0 to 4 feet). It’s important to consider the setup of your room to determine which one you’ll need.

Lumens - The lumens rating will tell you how much light the projector is capable of outputting, which is crucial for ensuring you get a bright enough image. A projector with 1,000 lumens or more should be suitable for home theater use, though mini projectors are often less powerful. Again, the size and brightness of your room is important here.

Portability - If you’re interested in a mini projector, you likely looking for something you can toss in your bag to bring to class or over to a party. While all minis are reasonably portable, there are some picos available that fit comfortably in your hand.

Test Results: Apeman (Best Overall)

4.4

What we like

  • Easy to focus

  • Solid sound quality

  • Takes up very little space

  • Comes with a mini tripod

What we don't like

  • Setup requires some tech knowledge

To set up the Apeman, our testers agreed that you need a basic understanding of how to connect an HDMI cable to your device. One reviewer realized that she had to buy a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter to stream from her MacBook Air, so be aware that you may need to make some extra purchases before you can start watching your favorite shows and movies. The projector comes with a short HDMI cable, so our reviewers suggest buying a longer one if you discover that your setup requires some distance between the projector and your device.

Once our testers found the ideal positioning — you need to position the projector straight on at a blank, large wall — they raved about this mini projector. The easy portability, great display quality, and impressive sound are all top reasons to buy. One person said, “It was like being in a movie theater in my own bed.” She propped the projector on the top of her headboard and described the picture as “crisp.” There’s also a focus button on the side of the Apeman that makes it easy to adjust the image.

Test Results: Optoma ML750ST (Best for Business)

5

What we like

  • High-quality picture

  • Great adjustment options

  • Compact build

What we don't like

  • Slightly noisy fan

  • High price

If you’re going to spend over $500 for a mini projector, you better get what you pay for — and you do with the Optoma ML750ST. “I think this is a great product,” one of our testers said, “and if I was looking for a good projector, I would definitely buy this one again.” 

Setup is “incredibly easy” and is as simple as plugging the projector in and connecting it to your device. Plus, our reviewers love the projector’s versatility. “You can connect anything to it: computer, camera, even gaming system,” one person noted. “You can also change a lot of the picture settings, including brightness, contrast, zoom, aspect ratio, and picture type.” These customization features make it easy to adapt your projection for rooms and walls of different sizes. Our testers also appreciated the “excellent” projection quality.

Test Results: Elephas 1200 Lumens LED Mini Portable Projector (Best Budget)

3.9

What we like

  • Easy to set up

  • Affordable

  • Easily adjustable

What we don't like

  • Low lumens

  • Lacks auto-focus

Not surprisingly, our testers could tell that this was a budget projector because of its lower light output and average resolution. Nonetheless, you should consider this model if you can’t spend a lot or don’t want to jump full force into the mini projector world. The simple setup process and basic functions make this a great choice for anyone looking to get their first projector. 

Our reviewers suggest using the Elephas 1200 Lumens LED Mini Portable Projector in complete darkness. You’ll also want to keep it fairly close to the wall to get the sharpest possible picture. Luckily, you can connect multiple video sources — HDMI, RGB, USB, and more — and there’s a remote control you can use for focusing and input source selection.

Test Results: ZTE Spro 2 (Best for Traveling)

4

What we like

  • Responsive Android-based OS

  • Very portable

  • Can run plugged in or on battery

What we don't like

  • Below average sound quality

  • Confusing app store

One of our testers described the ZTE Spro 2 as a “great little travel projector.” She was surprised at how responsive the touchscreen is because she said that’s “sometimes a concern for small Android devices.” The OS allows you to download apps, customize your home screen, and even receive email. 

While the image quality didn’t live up that of larger, brighter projectors, it did get the job done. One of our reviewers lives in a small apartment, so she placed the projector about six feet from the wall. “If you have a big space, you might want a more powerful projector,” she said. The sound output is also good but it does lack some bass. One reviewer described the sound as “tinny.” 

Our testers also noted the projector’s ability to auto-adjust focus when you move it, making it great for portability.