The best outdoor projectors for film night in the garden

Whether you're spending warm summer evenings in the garden or wrapping up for a wintry film night, snap up one of the best outdoor projectors for bringing your home cinema outside

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When the warmer evenings finally arrive, there’s probably no better feeling than grabbing your favourite people, your garden furniture, cosy blankets, and a tipple of choice to enjoy your favourite film while still making the most out of the the brief British summer. So why not ramp up your al fresco entertainment and invest in an outdoor projector for your garden...

How to choose an outdoor projector

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. 

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. 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? Last but not least, some good speakers will always help. 

The best outdoor projector

1. Optoma UHD60

If you’re looking for the very best, we have it right here in the Optoma UHD60

Specifications
Lumens: 3,000
Resolution: 4K
Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1
Reasons to buy
+ Stereo speakers + Incredible 4K resolution 

If you want the best, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay the price. However, for your money, you receive stunning 4K quality, incredible colour contrasting and stereo sound. Arguably, this is the kind of stereo you buy for your cinema room (it’s hard to justify the outlay otherwise), but when you want to benefit from the full 4K quality of your Blu-ray DVDs outside, this is the kind of money you’re going to have to spend.  

Epson EB-S41 SVGA 3300 lumens Projector

2. Epson EB-S41 SVGA 3300 lumens Projector

Heavy on light output, light on the pocket – a great combination

Specifications
Lumens: 3,300
Resolution: 800x600
Contrast ratio: 15,000:1
Reasons to buy
+ Super bright + Very affordable 

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. 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.  

ViewSonic LightStream Full HD

3. ViewSonic LightStream PJD7720HD Full HD

Although a tad more expensive than the Epson, but boasting an HD quality image, this is a pretty decent all-rounder

Specifications
Lumens: 3,200
Resolution: 1920x1080
Contrast ratio: 22,000:1
Reasons to buy
+ Best in class colour contrasting + Wireless streaming (dongle) or HDMI connection 

So long as you’re prepared to exchange 4K resolution for HD, this ViewSonic projector is a great buy. In addition to a high contrast ratio, the projector boasts SuperColour technology, HDMI ports for Blu-ray hook up and a USB port for a wireless dongle. Featuring SonicExpert sound technology, the projector features an enlarged speaker chamber and a powerful amplifier for immersive sound, which means no additional cost on speakers.  

Optoma H183X Full 3D HD

4. Optoma H183X Full 3D HD

HD, 3D, lightweight and portable, when you’re looking for value for money, you can’t beat this Optoma

Specifications
Lumens: 3200
Resolution: 1,280 x 800
Contrast ratio: 25000:1
Reasons to buy
+ Super bright picture + Quick response time good for gamers, too 

Movie lovers, football fans and gamers will love this projector. With a fast response time (great for action films and action-heavy games), a massive 3,200 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. This projector isn’t without its compromises, though. Although HD, the picture won’t be the full 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, and the speakers only emit 2W worth of sound, so portable speakers are necessary. 

BenQ W2000 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector

5. BenQ W2000 3D Home Cinema DLP Projector

What better way to experience your 3D films in full HD than on the big screen outside on a warm summer’s evening?

Specifications
Lumens: 2,000
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Contrast ratio: 15,000:1
Reasons to buy
+ Full HD 3D playback + Powerful 20W speaker 

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. 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.

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