My favorite thing about the current projector market is that you can get a projector for almost any budget, including $50. You don’t have to have a fat bank account or set aside funds for months or years to afford one. There’s a catch, though – It’s easy to buy counterfeit projectors that will run for a few hours and shut down for good.
So which projectors are the best buy on a budget of $50? Better yet, what should you consider before buying one?
I spent hours reading through hundreds of online reviews to come up with the top five best cheap projectors under $50. Read on as review each one and discuss the factors you should take into consideration before purchasing a projector under $50.
The Best Cheap Projectors Under $50: My Top Picks
After spending lots of time reading through online reviews, these are the top five best cheap projectors under $50 I came up with:
Aoreun WI-FI Projector – Best Overall
This projector has garnered lots of positive reviews online for a reason – it’s packed with many great features for its price.
First off, it has a native resolution of 720p but can project up to 1080p content. Not only that, it has an impressive contrast ratio of 7000:1 and a brightness of 7,500 light source lumens or 300 ANSI lumens. This means that you’ll get crisp and clear images in dark and low light environments.
Second off, this projector is simple to set up. And that is because it’s light, weighing under four pounds, and comes with image alignment features namely manual focus and keystone correction.
Third off, it offers many connectivity options: HDMI, WI-FI, VGA, USB, SD and AUX.
On top of all that, it has an internal speaker that produces solid sound according to online reviews. But if you’re not impressed, you can always hook up external speakers via the audio out port. It’s also quiet, thanks to built-in innovative cooling technology to keep the fans’ rotating speed down.
- Solid sound from onboard speakers
- 720p resolution; supports 1080p
- Easy to set up
- Comes with a carrying case
- No horizontal keystone correction
Aokang Mini Projector – Runner Up
I ranked the Aokang mini projector in the second place because it’s almost similar to the Aoreun projector in terms of features.
If you like to set up your projector once and forget about it, then you’ll like this one. It can be mounted on a ceiling or tripod and operated with a remote that comes in the package. It’s also small and light making positioning an easy task.
And if you wish to align the projected images, you have manual focus and keystone correction feature to help you with that.
When it comes to image quality, you’ll get 720p but you can still project content with a resolution of up to 1080p. What about the image size? Well, you’ll get a maximum of 170 inches from a distance of about 18 feet.
What I also admire about this projector is the many connectivity options it provides: HDMI, MHL. VGA, and USB. The bummer here is that it doesn’t support Bluetooth or WI-FI connections.
By now, you’re wondering whether it has built-in speakers. It does but you may not like the low volume or okay quality. Luckily, you can hook it up to a soundbar for better quality and volume.
- Low fan noise thanks to noise reduction technology
- 3-year warranty
- 720p resolution; supports 1080p
- Many connectivity options
- Long lifespan (50,000 hours)
- No Bluetooth or WI-FI
RCA RPJ136 Projector – Best for Outdoor Use
If you like to set up backyard parties, then the RCA RPJ136 projector is your best bet. It has sufficient brightness for dark and low light backyards and the picture quality is acceptable. You get a native resolution of 480p but you can project content with a resolution of up to 1080p. That is to say that it’s perfect for background visuals for backyard parties.
It’s small and light enough to be portable but lacks keystone correction, zoom and other features that make picture alignment a piece of cake.
The speakers are built-in but the sound coming out of them is nowhere close to perfect. You’re better off using an external speaker from the get-go.
This projector only supports wired connections, so your limited to HDMI, USB and VGA ports it comes with.
- Large screen size of up to 170 inches
- 480p resolution; supports HD
- Many connectivity options
- Replacing the bulb is expensive
- No WI-FI nor Bluetooth
ZSWCBRT Mini Projector – Best for Children
In my opinion, there’s no better gift for your kid than a functioning projector. And the ZWCBRT fits the bill.
This projector is small enough to fit in your kid’s hand reducing the risk of damage from falling as they handle it. It’s also light enough to not require much energy to move from room to room, backyard or elsewhere.
Plus, it comes painted one part white and the other yellow. Knowing kids, these colors will excite them and spark interest.
What I like about this projector is that the image quality is respectable. You get a native resolution of 480p with support of content of up to 1080p. Keep in mind though that any content above 480p will be downscaled.
You only get a maximum screen size of 60 inches but that’s sufficient for children.
The brightness is 400 lumens which is impressive for such a small projector. Children can use it indoors and outdoors with a bit of ambient light comfortably.
As you’d expect of any cheap projector, connectivity is limited to USB, HDMI and VGA.
Something else I admire is that this projector has onboard speakers that produce solid sound.
- 480p resolution; supports 1080p
- Okay brightness
- 1-year warranty
- No wireless connectivity
- Low speaker volume
Generic Home Theater Projector: Also Great
I’ll confess- I have a hard time trusting projectors with no brand name. And were it not for the many positive reviews I found in my research, I would have passed on it. But again, at this price point, there aren’t that many good options.
Now, when it comes to features you’d want in a projector, I have nothing against it. In fact, I find them to be impressive.
The native resolution is an incredible 720p with a maximum resolution of 1080p. Its brightness is also great with a value of 6500lux or 260 ANSI lumens. Needless to say, it will deliver good quality images in both dark and low light environments.
It’s light, small and features manual focus and keystone correction, all of which you’d need for an easy setup.
You can connect content sources via HDMI, VGA, Micro SD or MHL ports.
It does have an integrated speaker but the sound quality is decent at best. You’d have to hook up an external speaker, soundbar or headphone for the best sound quality and volume.
- 720p resolution; 1080p maximum
- Easy to install
- Sufficient brightness for low light places
- 3-year warranty
- No zoom, so you have to physically move the projector
Choosing the Best Cheap Projector Under $50: Buying Guide
If you’re looking to buy a cheap projector on a budget of $50, here are the factors you should consider before deciding on which one to purchase:
What are you going to use the projector for? Is it for movies, presentations, gaming or outdoor use? Is it meant to be a gift for children? The faster you determine the answer to these questions, the easier the decision-making will be.
The quality of the displayed images is determined by many factors with resolution and contrast ratio being at the forefront. You want to find a projector with at least 480p resolution that also supports HD content.
It’s difficult to find a projector under $50 producing solid sound. What you normally get is an audio out port to pair external speakers or soundbars to boost sound quality and volume. So be sure to be on the look out for that.
Most projectors at this price point lack wireless connectivity. But as is evidenced by this review, you can get them if you look hard enough like I did.
That said, ensure HDMI, USB and VGA are available so that you have flexibility when it comes to connecting the projector to different content sources.
Ease of setup
The key features that matter when it comes to setup are keystone correction, manual focus and more importantly, zoom. And not to forget the weight and physical size of the projector. Get most of these right and decision making will be an easy task.