Best outdoor projector 2020: 7 top-rated buys for your own garden cinema

Find the best outdoor projector for your garden with our pick of seven projectors which have made the top charts in the UK, for the best prices

best outdoor projectors - 7 top-rated buys for your own garden cinema - Real Homes
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If you want to create a garden cinema then you need the best outdoor projector (your) money can buy. Yep. With one of these you'll beat the queues (and the crowds), probably be more comfortable and have the flexibility to watch exactly what you want, when you want, all in your very own garden.

We've rounded up the top outdoor projectors in this expert guide which we feel will be just the ticket to create the perfect outdoor cinema. We've considered everything you'll need to know before parting with your cash – cost, image quality and other factors – that will affect your overall experience. The projectors are all suitable for indoor and outdoor use, just don't forget to bring them inside when you've finished your outdoor screening! 

Want to keep watching your favourite shows to indoors? No worries: head over to our best TV guide for budget buys to premium 8K Ultra HD screens.

The best outdoor projectors for 2020

BenQ TK850 outdoor projector

(Image credit: BenQ)

1. BenQ TK850 Projector

The best outdoor projector: it's a pretty high-end choice but is a choice worth considering, especially if you're a sporting fan

Specifications
Lumens: 3000
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Contrast ratio: 30,000:1
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly bright picture+Support for 4K and HDR+Sports mode
Reasons to avoid
-No streaming apps

This projector boasts an amazing 4K resolution, boosted audio, an intense brightness and a focus on sports broadcasts, which really helps it to stand out from the crowded projector market.

True 4K UHD with HDR-PRO

This projector really is for the Live Sports Enthusiasts, and those of you who just appreciate a very impressive picture. You can replicate the football games in your living room, or garden, to create the ultimate stadium experience. This model even comes with Custom Sports modes, with powerful sounds, for that all-round home cinema experience.

The HDR-PRO technology works with the 4K HDR to enhance the viewing experience, offering a wider field of contrast to bring out every detail of the scenes as they unfold.

Keystone correction

When the projector must be placed off-centre, such as placing it on a table on uneven ground, the vertical keystone function will adjust the image so it is ideally aligned for viewing.

Chambered speakers

Featuring a powerful 10-watt chambered speaker, this projector will enhance the sound of you games, movies and favourite shows, whether your in or outside the house.

  • Buy the BenQ TK850 Projector

The best outdoor projector: Epson EB-S41 SVGA 3300 lumens Projector

2. Epson EB-S41 Projector

Best budget outdoor projector: this projector ticks all the boxes if you want to keep spending to a minimum

Specifications
Lumens: 3,300
Resolution: 800x600
Contrast ratio: 15,000:1
Reasons to buy
+Impressive image quality for price+Very affordable +Comes with a speaker
Reasons to avoid
-Does not offer HD

If you're on a slightly tighter budget you can't look past the capabilities of this projector.

Incredible image quality for the price

When it comes to watching films outside, the brighter the lumens the better. It means there’s a greater contrast against any background light, which should mean a higher quality image.

While it may not boast HD resolution, this projector has a pretty impressive contrast ratio, too, so there should be no compromise made to your favourite movie scenes. 

Affordable price point

If you’re looking for an affordable, portable projector for the occasional film in the garden, then this Epson pretty much ticks all the boxes.  

  • Buy the Epson EB-S41 Projector

The best outdoor projector: BenQ W2000 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector

3. BenQ W2000 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector

Best outdoor projector for 3D viewing: this projector will consume your senses and make you feel even more involved with the big screen action

Specifications
Lumens: 2,000
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Contrast ratio: 15,000:1
Reasons to buy
+Full HD 3D playback +Dramatic on-screen visuals+Powerful 20W speaker 
Reasons to avoid
-Does not come with wireless kit – available separately or with model no. W2000w

Another BenQ projector on our list is this popular, and slightly cheaper model than our top spot, which is perfect for those wishing to make the most of 3D films.

Enjoy your favourite films in 3D

Calibrated for cinematic colour, this projector is perfect for watching films, and with 3D compatibility you can even watch your favourite characters pop out in your garden, too.

Impressive sound system

The projector comes with powerful 20W speakers installed, with the BenQ Audio Enhancer ensuring a good bass and stereo sound. With both HDMI and USB imports, this projector is great for Blu-rays and smart sticks.

  • Buy the BenQ W2000 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector

VANKYO LEISURE 3

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Projector

Best mini outdoor projector: it may be small but it packs a mighty home theatre experience

Specifications
Lumens: 2400
Resolution: 1920*1080P
Contrast ratio: 2000:1
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful, clear picture+Quick and easy to set up+Projects a large screen
Reasons to avoid
-Requires a dark room (or for the sun to be fully set) for the best performance

Wow. This item has flown off the shelves so it's now out of stock. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock but in the event it does become available again, it will show in our handy pricing widget above.

If you're looking for a portable projector to use around the home, or garden, then this projector from Vankyo should fit the bill.

Big, bright picture

This 2019 model has had its' tech updated so it now projects a 6- per cent brighter picture than what it achieved before. It's also been updated with the 2018 revolutionary renewed 2400 Lumens for an incredible picture quality.

You can choose to watch your favourite movies on any screen sizes from 32in, right up to a massive 170in. And you can pretty much position it anywhere within viewing range thanks to a projection distance of between 4.9ft to 16.4ft.

Smart connections

Set up is mega easy with a HDMI lightening cable for iPhone, plus a MHL cable for Android, although you will have to buy these separately to take advantage of the connection.

Alternatively you can easily stream content from the Amazon Fire TV stick, video consoles, PCs, laptops (etc) with the HDMI input.

  • Buy the  VANKYO LEISURE 3 Projector

TOPTRO Mini Projector

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. TOPTRO Mini Projector

Best value mini outdoor projector: if you need an easy-to-carry projector but are watching the pennies, then this pick is for you

Specifications
Lumens: 5500
Resolution: 1080p
Contrast ratio: 4000:1
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Good image quality+Quiet  (when operating)
Reasons to avoid
-Sound is a bit tinney

If you're looking for a portable, lightweight and affordable outdoor projector, then you'll want to find out more about this option from TOPTRO.

Big screen, for a small unit

This portable projector weighs just 1.32kg, but don't be fooled by it's compact size. It can display a 33-200" image in 1.15-5.5m projection distance, in a quality which is near Full HD.

What's more, the TOPTRO uses the highest quality glass in its lens to ensure a better light transmittance and realistic image. This means that your images will be crisp and clear in varying degrees of light.

Connect multiple devices

With access to multiple ports, including HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, TF card plot, the TOPTRO is easy to connect up to your PC, phone, PS4 and X-Box for easy streaming in the garden.

  • Buy the TOPTRO Mini Projector

The best outdoor projector: Optoma H183X Full 3D HD

6. Optoma H184X 3600 Lumens HD Ready Projector

Best outdoor projector for gamers: this is one for movie and football fans, too

Specifications
Lumens: 3600
Resolution: 1280x800
Contrast ratio: 28,000:1
Reasons to buy
+Super bright picture +Wireless streaming ability+Quick response time good for gamers, too 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best speakers around

Movie lovers, football fans and game players will love this projector, and it gets our vote for the best outdoor projector for gamers.

Fast response time 

With a fast response time, this model is great for action films and action-heavy games.

Impressive image quality

Thanks to a massive 3,600 lumens and an excellent contrast ratio, you can expect to experience a great picture whether you’re inside or out. And 3D fans are catered for, too.

Easy to set up

You can choose how you connect with multiple in / outputs: HDMI, VGA in/out, Composite video, Audio in/out, RS232. Just to keep things simple..

  • Buy the Optoma H184X 3600 Lumens HD Ready Projector

GooDee Upgraded video projector

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. GooDee Upgraded Video Projector

Best outdoor projector if you're looking for an entry level: the upgraded brightness makes the image bigger and brighter than ever before

Specifications
Lumens: 5800
Resolution: 1080p
Contrast ratio: 3000: 1
Reasons to buy
+Good picture quality+Easy to set up
Reasons to avoid
-Fan is a little noisy

This projector is another good option where budget is tight, and it come highly recommended on Amazon with reference to an easy set and good picture quality, too.

Upgraded brightness

This model is an upgrade from one of the best selling projectors at GooDee, and they've upgraded the lumens to 5800 which makes it a whole lot brighter. Together with the 3000: 1 contrast ratio and wider viewing, you'll be able to enjoy this bigger, brighter image in slight light or outdoor places such as your garden.

Get connected

This video projector can easily connect to a range of devices: Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, PC, laptop, tablet, and so on, via the HDMI, USB, VGA and AV ports. (Phew! That's a lot of entertainment coverage, right there!) So, with this in mind, you can not only stream content from a range of devices but you could also set up some surround sound with 2 built-in 3W speakers, too.

  • Buy the GooDee Upgraded Video Projector

How to choose the best outdoor projector 

When it comes to choosing the best outdoor projector to suit your needs, there are a few factors worth careful consideration.

Image quality

For a projector to provide a quality image outside, 2,000 lumens is the lowest you can go in terms of brightness. Outdoor projectors should also playback in at least HD resolution to ensure the picture is of reasonable quality. The Optoma UHD60 earns our top spot thanks to its incredible 3,000 lumens output, super high quality 4K resolution and massive contrast ratio. 

Screen

Aside from those fairly important tech specs, consider whether you’ll need to purchase a screen or whether the side of the house or your garage door will do. 

Film source and sound

Consider the source of your film – will you need to bring a laptop or games console outside? Or is the projector compatible with a smart dongle? Some good outdoor speakers will also always help. Browse our pick of the best outdoor speakers to connect with your projector.

How to create a cosy outdoor cinema

Outdoor projector in garden

(Image credit: N/A)

If you want to recreate an outdoor cinema from summers past then all you really need are a few things which are probably already in the house. Technically, a sheet, or a white wall and an outdoor projector is all that's required, but we think it's the extras that make it all the more special plus a little imagination... 

Step one: set up the outdoor projector

It's best to do this first because it might determine where you can set up your outdoor cinema. You will have to have it connected to a video source so do that first so you can work out how far away from the source you can have it. Pop it on a side table and a stool and then you can move on to sorting out your screen. 

Step two: rig up your sheet

Obviously, if you have a blank white wall in your garden you can skip this step because you will be projecting straight onto that. If you are using a sheet,  we think the least damaging way to get it up is to peg it to a washing line – you could try using a very strong masking tape to tape it to a wall too. 

Turn on your projector now and check it's straight and the picture is central. 

Step three: get decorating

So with the essentials sorted now comes the fun bit, making it look like the most Instagrammable thing you have ever created in your life. Basically that means string up A TON of fairy lights, the more the better. We love the look of festoon lights and you could also add some lanterns to create even more of a lovely glow. And if you are feeling really extra, bring out you duvet and hang up a net canopy to create am almost outdoor bedroom. Dreamy!

Make sure your garden furniture is extra comfy by adding plenty of cushions and roll out an outdoor rug to create an even more outdoor living room feel. Pop some blankets in baskets and over the back of your furniture, and if you want to get really cosy add a fire pit or a chiminea. You could even toast some marshmallows – kids and adults alike would love it!

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