Even if many of us can't rely enough on the weather to create a permanent entertainment space in our backyards, the best outdoor projectors are a fantastic way to achieve the ultimate movie night without leaving your home. Watch the big game with friends, cuddle up with your significant other in front of your favorite movie, or seriously enhance your gaming sessions.
The outdoor projectors we have included on this list are all standout portable options that don't require being hooked up to the power to run (after they have been charged, obviously). Battery life varies, but you don't have to deal with extension leads and trailing wires, setting the best outdoor projectors apart from standard models.
Projecting images of more than 100", these devices surpass entirely what you expect from at-home viewing, and you can easily take them on trips away without sacrificing too much space in your bag.
To help you choose the best outdoor projector for you, we have assembled some of the most popular models on offer, ranking them based on resolution, brightness, contrast, battery life, and more. Of course, if you're more interested in a device for general use, you can look at our guide to the best projectors. For now, keep reading for more advice on making your decision.
The best outdoor projectors in 2022
With 1080p Full HD resolution, good contrast ratio, and 2.5 hours of battery life, the BenQ GS50 is our pick for the best outdoor projector. At 500 lumens, it'll perform best in dimmer conditions but is brighter than many other portable projectors. And by portable, we mean entirely wireless for up to 2.5 hours on a single charge - ideal for your next camping trip.
With a minimum throw distance of 6.9ft, you'll struggle in a tiny outdoor space, but the projector can give you a 120" image for your movie nights. It also has an IPX2 splash and drop-resistant rating, so it will be acceptable to use if water is nearby, and built-in Android TV means you can stream without additional inputs.
Though Nebula Solar's native resolution sits at 1080p, the projector can also display 4K content via the HDMI 2.0 input. That means it offers the highest possible picture quality on this list, though the impressiveness of this is stunted slightly by the brightness of 400 lumens - keeping it from our top spot.
The Solar does, however, offer slightly better battery life when compared to the BenQ GS50, with up to three hours of playback before you need to find a power source. The Nebula model also offers two 3W speakers, a built-in stand for easier positioning, and Android TV for streaming.
Our pick for the best outdoor projector for use in daylight, the LG PH510P CineBeam Projector is a mid-range option with 3D support and incredible contrast ratio - perfect for enjoying your favorite movies in 720p HD resolution. The brightness is slightly better than others on this list, too, sitting at 550 lumens.
Portability is good, too, with the projector weighing in at just 1.4lbs. It's small enough to carry in a bag when you're traveling or just from the living room to the garden, and you can use it for about two and a half hours on a single charge. It can project up to 100" or as small as 40" depending on your position.
A super cute projector that you can use wherever you want, the Nebula Mars II Pro is the company's most naturally portable offering, with its convenient carry handle included in the design. Offering a brightness of 500 lumens and a 720p native resolution, it's not the most high-end projector on our list, but its ease of use earns it a place.
Those with sensitive ears might want to connect a separate Bluetooth speaker for maximum sound quality, but the dual 10W speakers built into the Mars II Pro do an adequate job. It can also project up to 150", with HDMI and USB ports to connect everything from your laptop to your PlayStation. The projector runs on Android 7.1, so you also have all the apps available there.
If you're someone who wants the convenience of having your projector and speakers in one package, then the BenQ GV30 could be the perfect fit. So great as a 720p HD projector with Android TV and 2.5 hours of battery life, it also comes with a 2.1 channel speaker with dual 4W midrange tweeters and an 8W woofer built-in.
This makes the projector ideal for enjoying everything from movies and games to sports and concerts without needing to hook up an external speaker. Sadly the GV30's brightness could be better, so using it at night would be your best bet, but its 135-degree projector angle (due to its unique shape) is a plus.
Sporting the best battery life on this list, the ViewSonic M1+ is our top pick for those who want more time with their entertainment before needing to recharge. This also makes the M1+ the ideal choice for trips away, such as camping, where power points are a little harder to find. The model also has integrated Harman Kardon speakers and a 360-degree stand.
This stand won the projector an iF Design Award, doubling as a lens protector when folded down. You also have different options for controlling your media via the app or the remote. Unfortunately, brightness sits at 300 lumens, which isn't the best, so we recommend using the device in dark conditions for the best results.
The Kodak Luma 150 is an excellent option if you're looking for an ultra-portable pico projector. With a built-in speaker and rechargeable battery on board, you can pop it in a backpack or handbag and take a screen size of up to 150" with you anywhere.
Of course, while you can use the Kodak projector to watch movies or play games on the go, it's also perfect for many other things. For example, reviewers reported using it to project images for drawing, which may be more suitable for the unimpressive 60 lumens of brightness. Or you can use it for your next work presentation.
How to choose the best outdoor projector
When choosing the best outdoor projector to suit your needs, a few factors are worth careful consideration.
When it comes to brightness, the higher the lumen count, the better, but unfortunately, with the convenience of wireless battery power comes a typically lower performance here. The projectors on our list range between 300-550 lumens, so if you want something that will perform well in daylight, you should go for the highest possible.
Aside from those somewhat 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? Many outdoor projectors have limited volume, so some good outdoor speakers will always help, especially if you are broadcasting to a crowd. Browse our list of the best outdoor speakers to connect with your projector.
Also, note: most outdoor projectors are not compatible with Dolby Digital, so if you're having trouble with sound, turn off Dolby Digital on your device.
How to create a cozy backyard theater
If you want to recreate an outdoor theater, you only need a few things that are probably already in the house. Technically, a sheet, a white wall, and an outdoor projector are all required, but we think the extras make it all the more remarkable, 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 to work out how far away from the start 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
If you have a blank white wall in your backyard, you can skip this step because you will be projecting straight onto that. However, if you are using a sheet, we think the least wrong way to get it up is to peg it to a washing line – you could try using a solid masking tape to tape it to a wall.
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. That means to put up A TON of string lights - the more, the better. We love the festoon lights look, and you could also add some lanterns to create even more of a lovely glow. And if you are feeling extra, bring out your comforter and hang up a net canopy to make your 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 cozy feel. Pop some blankets in baskets and over the back of your furniture, and you can even add a fire pit or a chimenea. Get creative and toast some marshmallows – kids and adults alike would love it!
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