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What to Look For Before Purchasing a Projector

Pat Daniels

What is a projector?

A projector is an optical device that projects images onto a surface, commonly onto a large surface, such as a white screen or wall. Generally, projectors create images by shining a light through a transparent lens, but some projectors use lasers to direct the light to the image.

Types Projectors

What are the different types of projectors?

The type of projector needed for a given situation can be determined by understanding the different types, intended uses, and types of lenses. The most common projector types are DLP (digital light processing) and LCD (liquid crystal display).

  • LCD (Liquid Crystal Display):  An LCD projector projects an image or object using liquid crystals on a screen or similar flat surface. Display panels of this type are commonly used on computers, laptops, TVs, cell phones, and portable video games. LCD projectors typically produce sharper images at lower resolution levels, especially for data images.
  • DLP (Digital Light Processing): The DLP projector consists of chipsets and uses micro mirrors called Digital Micro Mirror Devices to reflect light and shade onto a screen. This type is primarily used for classrooms and businesses as well as televisions and digital cinema projections. In comparison to any other projection technology, DLP projectors have a better light efficiency and color control. 

What Reviewers Have to Say

What type of projector should I buy?

Choose the type of projector that best suits your needs and preferences. 

DLP projectors are lighter, portable, has higher contrast than LCD projectors and are considered to be more reliable since they fewer parts and are less expensive to repair.  LCD projectors, on the other hand, are larger but have a sharper image, more accurate colors, and superior picture quality than DLP. 

Important Features

What to consider when buying projectors?

The following tips will help you choose the video projector that will be most suitable for your needs:

  • Light Output: Projectors need sufficient light to display bright images. To ensure that a projector produces bright images, look at its ANSI Lumen rating. In general, projectors with 1,000 ANSI lumens or more provide enough brightness for home theater use. Lumen requirements will also be affected by the size of the room, the distance from the screen, and ambient room lighting.


  • Contrast Ratio: An image's contrast is the ratio of black and white areas. High contrast ratios produce whiter whites and darker blacks. Keeping the contrast ratio at least 1,500:1 is good, but 2,000:1 and above is excellent in a darkened room.
  • Resolution: Resolution refers to the number of pixels in your image. A higher 'pixel density' means a crisper image. The two resolutions home users should consider are 1080p and 4k UHD. As for business and education purposes, visual multimedia content often uses 1080p resolution (16:9 aspect ratio), while powerpoint and slide decks varies from 800 x 600 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) to 1080p resolution too. 
  • Inputs: Video projectors these days have HDMI inputs, and most also have VGA or DVI inputs for computers. Make sure you have all the necessary inputs on the projector. You should also ensure it has the connections you need if you wish to connect it with older source components, S-video, or component video outputs
  • Portability: In addition to being portable, your projector should also be simple to install and set up so you can travel with it wherever you go. In addition to being portable, your projector should also be simple to install and set up so you can travel with it wherever you go. Portable projectors enable you to use it anywhere and in any room. You can use them with different screen sizes, distances, and arrangements.

How should you maintain your projector?

In order to prolong the life of your projector, here are a few recommendations to keep it in top condition: 

  • Cooling Down: Don’t operate the projector in direct sunlight or near heat sources. It is important to take breaks in between when marathoning different films or series to avoid overheating. Also, don't shut down your projector too quickly because the heat won't dissipate and could damage your appliance. Let the fans run for at least 2 minutes to allow the device to cool down. 
  • Cleaning: Keep the lens of your projector clean with the use of a lens cloth. The smudging of the lens and the resulting blurring of images can be caused by dirty lenses. This prevents the light from being transmitted properly to the screen. Clean out the projector's filters as well to ensure that its airflow path is not obstructed by dust. 
  • Airflow: Maintain a constant flow of air through your projector's vents and fans. The device will overheat if there is not enough airflow around it. Also, don't use the unit without using an air filter if it's a model that uses one. The filter keeps dust from blocking air vents, so you don't have to clean them as frequently
  • Lamp Life: You should set up your lamp timer as soon as you purchase your projector. This is because you can use it as an indicator to see if you need to change lamps and/or bulbs. The tool tracks the estimated remaining life of your projector lamp based on the number of hours it has been used.
  • Storage: Store your projector in a cool, dry area. It is also important to store your projector in an area without temperature extremes because it can be damaged not only by overheating, but also by freezing

Top-Rated Brands

Epson: Epson, one of the leading manufacturers of projectors in the world, is known for cost-effective machines which boast of a number of useful features, such as high-quality images and the inclusion of latest technology.

Viewsonic: Three things define the high-quality projectors of Viewsonic: 1) color accuracy, which offers a more varied color range than conventional DLP projectors, 2) best overall projector warranty, and 3) smart design.

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