The best outdoor projectors 2024

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BenQ GS50 outdoor projector

(Image credit: Future/Will Donovan)

1. The quick list
2.
Best overall
3. Best 4K
4. Best budget
5. Best portable
6. Best for streaming
7. Best sound

The best outdoor projectors offer high quality picture no matter their environment. You're looking for high brightness lenses in compact form factors here, and if you're going truly portable we'd also keep an eye on that battery life as well. Now that the evenings are growing darker, outdoor projectors are becoming more and more viable - no need to compete with the sun's rays for the best picture, after all. So, wrap up warm and settle in as we take you through the best outdoor projectors we've had our eyes on this year. 

For context, cinemas aren’t dark just so you can cuddle up in the back row; the light from the projector wouldn’t be able to make the colors so strong and vivid if it was competing with house lights. Similarly, even the best home projector is no match for a gigantic ball of fire in the sky. Any projector is going to struggle with a sunny day, even in a shady area. That's why we'd recommend keeping even the best outdoor projector for the twilight hours.

We've rounded up all the best outdoor projectors currently available right now, so you can make the most of those long evenings heading our way. 

The Quick List

The best outdoor projector overall

The best outdoor projector

Specifications

Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080)
Brightness: 500 ANSI lumens
Contrast: 100,000:1
Clear image size (diagonal): up to 112 inches
Throw ratio: 1.21 (fixed zoom ratio)
Weight: 2.3kg
Connections: 2 x HDMI (including for streaming stick), 1 x USB A, 1 x USB C, Bluetooth and wifi

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound
+
Strong battery life
+
16GB internal storage
+
Great HD picture

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom or lens shift
-
Slightly pricy for HD pictures (but worth it for the portability)

The BenQ GS50 is the best outdoor projector this year, and is one of your top premium choices should you be looking to splash out.

Buy it if:

✅ You prioritize sound quality: If you're going to be competing with a lot of external sounds, the power in these speakers is going to be much appreciated.
✅ You want to keep files on the go: Don't want to rely on internet connection? The internal storage here will keep everything you need on the projector itself.
✅ You don't need 4K resolution: If you don't need a super crisp resolution outside, there's no need to pay for one. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the best resolution: The GS50 packs plenty of outside-friendly features at a lower resolution, so if you're after the best picture quality possible you'll need something else.
You want zoom or lens shift settings: Setup does take a little longer here, so this isn't one for a quick prop and play experience.

Design: The GS50 is truly built for portability, with a hard-wearing outer case that is splash resistant, is drop tested to about two feet (or "carrying height"), and comes with a smart carry case. We found the battery to last well over two hours, but this can be stretched out to almost three, while you can also charge via a USB-C power brick. 

Features: BenQ claims the 2.1 Bluetooth sound is a first for a portable smart projector, and it’s likely the loudest we’ve heard on a portable projector. Volume was kept below 10 out of 50 at home for the most part in our testing, but even when cranked right up to full volume there was no noticeable distortion – so you can listen outdoors without the need for extra speakers.

Performance: The HD picture is crisp with good colour reproduction. There’s no game mode and input lag is measured at 62ms – not noticeable unless you’re a competitive gamer but showing that gaming isn’t the focus of the GS50. You could get a higher-end home projector for this money, and although it’s more than fine for casual home watching, the features mean this has to be, first and foremost, a front runner for the best outdoor projector money can buy right now.

Verdict: The BenQ GS50 is the best outdoor projector over all right now. With bright picture in a range of environments and surprisingly powerful speakers, this durable little lens shined up excellently in our road testing.

Read more: BenQ GS50 review

The best 4K outdoor projector

(Image credit: Future)

2. BenQ TK850

The best 4K outdoor projector

Specifications

Resolution: 4K UHD (3840x2160)
Brightness: 3,000 lumens
Contrast: 30,000:1
Features: Motion enhancer, CinemaMaster audio and video, Sports Modes
Throw: Standard/Short

Reasons to buy

+
Amazingly bright picture
+
4K and HDR support
+
Great for sport

Reasons to avoid

-
Longer impact lag than expected

BenQ is one of the biggest names in projectors because they offer great quality at a price well below similarly specced competitors. If you're after 4K picture outside the house, specifically, the BenQ TK850 is your best bet.

Buy it if:

✅ You want day and night viewing: The fantastic brightness levels here make the BenQ TK850 acceptable for both bright and dark viewing environments.
✅ You want a projector for sports: The custom sport modes mean you can keep up with all your stadium viewing with excellent motion handling.
✅ You've got a considerable budget: This isn't a cheap device, so it's one for those investing in something long-term. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a projector for gaming: There's a lower input lag than we expected to see here, which means the BenQ TK850 isn't your best option for gaming.
You want to spend as little as possible: This is a pricey affair because of those additional features - you can spend a lot less by sacrificing some frilly extras.

Design: The BenQ TK850 offers up a slick, understated design with an all-white body and blue panel running across the front. It keeps things light at just 9.3lbs and 7.7-inches tall as well, so while it's too powerful to run off a battery it will still be easy to transport should you travel to an area with a power outlet. 

Features: For anyone who wants to replace the full stadium experience while the stands are empty, the TK850 is made for whatever sport you’ve been missing. It has custom sports modes, helped by its low lag so you can watch even the fastest matches seamlessly. This includes sound settings, which gives you every bit of the dubbed crowd or shout from the pitch through its chambered 10W speakers. Projector speakers can be a mixed bag but these are loud and clear enough to not require dragging a sound system outside.

It’s a simple unit to set up, and as well as vertical keystoning offers a lens shift wheel to move the image up or down – making it easier to get a great picture when you don’t have the perfect spot for it to rest. The only downside is that the input lag of 83ms is slower than the ideal for gaming, although it would take a keen eye to spot this.

Performance: The TK850 gives true 4K UHD for incredibly sharp pictures and intense, detailed color. Its 3000 lumens mean this unit is incredibly bright and will be watchable when other projectors are still waiting for nightfall, while the backlit remote means you’ll still be able to change settings in the dark. The newer HT3550 model better represents color, but the TK850 still retains its win in the brightness area which is far more important when considering an outdoor projector. 

Verdict: The TK850 sits at the premium end of the price spectrum, but if you're after bright, vivid 4K picture outside it's the best of the lot right now. 

The best budget outdoor projector

(Image credit: TMY)

3. TMY V08 720p Native Projector

The best budget outdoor projector

Specifications

Resolution: 720p Native (supports 1080p HD)
Brightness: 5,500 lumens
Contrast: 2,000:1
Features: Dual-stereo speaker, multiple ports, remote control
Throw: Standard

Reasons to buy

+
Free screen and case
+
Incredible value

Reasons to avoid

-
Some focus issues

When putting a projector indoors, there’s a reasonable chance of having a white wall that the image will look great on. Outside, this is less likely. So not only is the TMY V08 great value in itself, but it includes a free 100-inch screen sheet, saving you having to buy one separately. It’s a small touch, but a very useful one that few brands provide.

Buy it if:

✅ You'll have a plug nearby: This is a projector capable of running outdoor in higher lighting environments, but it does need to be used at home where you can trail a power cable.
✅ You don't want to break the bank: This is one of the cheaper outdoor projectors actually worth buying, and it's saving you on a screen at the same time.
✅ You don't need the best image quality: If you're after function rather than a luxury experience, this is the projector for you.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a truly portable projector: Portable projectors running their own batteries do cost more, but if you don't want to rely on external power we'd recommend investing here.
You want at least 1080p native resolution: The TMY V08 can take input from 1080p sources, but its native resolution is 720p. 

Design: The TMY V08 weighs in at just over 4lbs, which means it's easily slung in a backpack - especially thanks to its compact form factor. The whole build feels solid and durable as well, with a simple white aesthetic running across the entire rectangular block. There's nothing particularly special about this visual design, but it certainly doesn't look as cheap as it is. 

Features: One of the most helpful features straight out the box is the inclusion of that screen, making this a true plug and play device. This is a budget projector, though, so your resolution is capped to 720p. Considering the price we're not arguing here - even budget native 1080p projectors are going to cost a lot more than this and you'll still be able to squeeze an FHD picture through it. You'll also be able to watch in all lighting conditions with the impressive 5,500 lumens brightness. 

Performance: It’s a bright outdoor projector which will give as good an image and clear sound as you’ll find in this price range. Some users have reported issues having all areas of the screen in focus but this is only noticeable if you’re using it as a secondary monitor with lots of text, and not something which interferes with your home drive-in watching pleasure.

Verdict: The TMY V08 is one of the cheapest projectors worth buying at the moment overall, and its outdoor features make it the best budget outdoor projector as well - just make sure you have a plug nearby.  

The best portable outdoor projector

Hand holding Anker Nebula Capsule II projector on a white background

(Image credit: Future)

4. Anker Nebula Capsule II

The best portable outdoor projector

Specifications

Resolution: Native 720p (1280 x 720)
Brightness: 200 ANSI lumen
Contrast: Not stated
Features: Projector mode, speaker mode, Android operating system, 3 hours of video playback on battery
Throw: Short

Reasons to buy

+
Watch it anywhere
+
Connect wirelessly to Android phones
+
Stream direct to the projector
+
Short input lag

Reasons to avoid

-
 Inferior image quality to mains units

At the size of a large drinking glass, the Anker Nebula Capsule II is slightly bigger than its predecessor but has several upgrades making it the best portable projector available right now. 

Buy it if:

✅ You want an outdoor projector for camping: Sling the Nebula Capsule down, aim it at a blank surface, and you've got everything you need for some camping entertainment - in a super compact form factor.
✅ You don't mind reduced image quality: This is another 720p model, but considering the size and additional features on board it's still excellent value overall.
✅ You pack light: If you don't want a projector to take up all your hiking space, this is the model you'll be watching out for.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You prioritize image over portability: Don't plan on hiking too far? If you can square a less portable form factor there are plenty of options out there with better video quality.
You don't need an internal battery: Of course, if you're after an outdoor projector for the garden you might not need to pay for that internal battery. Finding an option that can plug into your home's power can save you extra cash.

Design: With a super compact form factor and rugged casing, this is a projector designed to sit neatly in your backpack and take a beating if need be. What's more, this is a simple design. The impossibly small cylindrical block features an easy set of controls running up the back, with ports placed around the rear of the unit. Setup can take seconds once you've found a decent backdrop. 

Features: It now has Android TV installed which means all your favorite streaming apps can run on it (although you need a quick workaround to install Netflix). Set up is a breeze as you can connect your Android phone to import WiFi and app account details, and even use the phone as a controller rather than needing to type using the remote. Automatic focus and keystoning means you’ve got a clear picture fast.

If you’re venturing out to camp, be sure to pack this. You can take it anywhere with three hours of video playback (30 hours of music) on a single charge and 8GB of storage (plus a USB port for a memory stick or external hard drive). 

Performance: The picture isn’t the sharpest, brightest, or the biggest, with a throw distance of about 60cm to 3m (around two to ten feet), but this can be used anywhere, in seconds. This isn’t about perfect high fidelity, this is about fun and portability. 

Verdict: The Anker Nebula Capsule II is the best outdoor projector for anyone taking their setup on longer trips. The small form factor, solid battery and internal storage, and easy setup means it's a go-to for campers, even if the picture quality isn't going to match up to bulkier devices. 

The best outdoor projector for streaming

5. Anker Nebula Mars 3

The best outdoor projector with built in streaming

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Brightness: 1,000 lumen
Features: Android TV, automatic keystoning, digital zoom, 5 hour battery, Dolby Audio 3-way speaker
Throw: Standard

Reasons to buy

+
Water, dust, and drop protection
+
Android TV streaming
+
Sophisticated speaker system
+
Easy set up

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower quality picture
-
Too heavy to be truly portable

If you're after a super flexible outdoor projector that will keep all your streaming options open even out in the yard, the Anker Nebula Mars 3 is where you should be looking. 

Buy it if:

You want to stream from the yard - The Anker Nebula Mars 3 is most at home being carried from the house to the yard for some outdoor streaming of an evening. If you just want to make the most of some warmer weather later in the year, this is an excellent option. 

Built in audio is a must: With Dolby Audio and a three-way speaker, you're not only getting built in audio here but pretty solid sound to boot. 

You want an easy setup - The Nebula Mars 3 is a true point and play - simply aim the device where you want your picture to go and you're off. 

Don't buy it if:

You want a truly portable device: Don't let that handle fool you, the Mars 3 isn't a portable device. At 9.9lbs it's a chunkier device that won't fit in your backpack.

You want high-end image quality: This device won't hold up to similar images from a strictly indoor projector at the same price. If you're after luxury image quality you'll need to spend a little more. 

Design - There's a distinction to be made when considering the Anker Nebula Mars 3 - this is an outdoor projector, not a portable one. The 9.9 pound device has a sturdy handle fixed to the crown simply to take it out into the yard, or sling it into the car. This isn't a backpack option, it's a home projector designed to survive the dangers of the wilds. It's a heavy battery-powered projector, but you do have the extra peace of mind with IPX3 water resistance and a drop distance of nearly 20 inches. 

Features - Running at native 1080p with a 40 watt full-range speaker, the Nebula Mars 3 has everything you'll need for a solid streaming experience. The key here is the built in Android TV (as well as HDMI space for an external streaming stick) to keep all your movies and shows streamable directly from the device itself. That speaker is solid in itself, but if you've got a more substantial setup you can also hook it up to a separate system via Bluetooth. 

Automatic keystoning and digital zoom also keeps each setup quick and easy - the Nebula Mars 3 can also stretch or shrink its image to fit whichever screen you're using automatically as well. You've got enough battery life for a good session here as well - two hours on full whack power and five hours on Eco power.

Performance - The Anker Nebula Mars 3 doesn't pack the same visual power as you would expect from a home projector of the same price. However, those devices aren't packing batteries and extra protection into the cost. Detail is good, with super shark 1080p picture and surprisingly strong motion handling, and while there's a lack of easily navigable picture settings across the various modes the Anker Nebula 3 still puts out decent images across a variety of lighting scenarios. Of course, darker situations are going to give you the best results. 

Verdict - The Nebula Mars 3 is doing something few others are. There aren't many outdoor projectors packing this kind of resistance against water and dust with a more rugged design to withstand knocks and tumbles. The built in battery, solid sound system, and Android apps make it a home entertainment must-see. 

The best outdoor projector for sound quality

(Image credit: DBPower)

6. DBPower L21 LCD Video Projector

The best outdoor projector for sound quality

Specifications

Resolution: 720p Native (supports 1080p HD)
Brightness: 5,000 lumens
Contrast: 3,000:1
Features: Dual-stereo speakers, 256K color reproduction, multiple ports, daul fan cooling, remote control
Throw: Standard

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound, in stereo
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Loud fans

The sound of one of the best outdoor projectors might not be the first thing on your mind, but not having to carry out speakers every time you want to use it makes set up much less of a chore. The L21 boasts not one but two great speakers, and it’s a rare treat to get stereo at this price. 

Buy it if:

✅ You prioritize sound over image quality: If you're tired of lackluster audio from your projector, DBPower has a trick up its sleeve in those dual stereo speakers.
✅ You just want a simple everyday projector: This is a solid everyday device that doesn't flash too many extra features while getting the job done.
✅ You don't want to break the bank: The stripped back design means you're not paying for features you might not use and saving your wallet in the process.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want 1080p native resolution minimum: At 720p, this isn't going to look as good as more expensive outdoor projectors.
You want the best picture quality possible: Outdoor projectors with built in speakers and an easy setup process generally cost a lot more if you're aiming for the best picture quality possible. However, it's worth considering if you want to move beyond entry level. 

Design: The L21 is unremarkable in its design. This is a cheap projector so it's not going to come with all the flashier bells and whistles of other devices. You're getting a squat white box with an excellent selection of ports on the side and a few small grills. Controls are handled at the top rear of the device, with a remote control also packaged in the box for easier navigation as well.

Features: Convenience is key here – the L21 is quick to set up and a glance at the simple and unfussy remote reflects the commitment to keeping things simple. BDPower boasts about the quality of its dual-fan cooling system, but the drawback is that this fan noise means both speakers will have to be turned up loud to drown it out. You're getting a 4,200 lumen brightness which means you'll be able to watch at pretty much all times of day, and an LED lamp with 50,000 hour lifespan. 

Performance: While it supports input from 1080p sources, the L21 only outputs at 720p so you're not quite getting the picture quality of a more expensive device here. In practice, the L21's picture is passable, and offers a solid viewing experience - if it doesn't handle clarity and details in the same way. 

Verdict: Considering its price point, anyone on the hunt for an everyday projector that doesn't fall down on sound should be looking here. The L21 offers up excellent value overall, but particularly for those who don't want to shell out for an external system for boosted sound.

Best outdoor projectors: FAQ

What's the best outdoor projector?

Any of the products on our best portable projectors guide are going to be, we think, great candidates for you no matter what parameters you're working within to find the best projector for outside.

No matter what constraints you have in terms of budget, outdoor space, lighting, connections, power supply, and so on, there's an outdoor projector for you - and the best one will be one that has the 'correct' amount of must-have features, while also factoring in some necessary compromises. From pocket-sized powerhouses like the Anker Nebula Capsule units and the XGIMI Halo+, to larger units like the Epson EF-12, there are solutions on our outdoor projector guide for everyone.

What do I need for outdoor movies?

It might seem like a lot of hassle, but watching movies, sports, or live streams outdoors is as easy as it's ever been. You'll need to pick the right contender for best outdoor projector from this very page first, then you'll need to pick up one of the best outdoor projector screens and you're basically set! Of course, it's good to get your outdoor space in order and ensure you have enough space to throw your images, enough room to view them on, and a power source to ensure you won't run out of juice.

How many lumens do I need for a projector outside?

Because of strong ambient lighting and the general nature of being outdoors, getting one of the best outdoor projectors with enough juice and power to project clearly is a key consideration when looking for a mega picture giver.

In short, the generally-accepted number of lumens for an outdoor projector to be clear - in daylight - is about 2,500. Almost all of the models on our best outdoor projector have that amount or more so will serve you well. However, at night the required brightness can be lower than this due to it, well, being darker and nighttime. That's why something like the XGIMI Halo+ with 900-odd lumens can be a belter at night.

Overall, you have some fine options here, and we will keep adding to as often as we can. If you're looking for the more traditional gaming screens then you have to check out our guides on the best gaming monitors and the best gaming TVs.

Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.

With contributions from