The Best 3D Projectors

Steve Scott

Updated on

What's up everyone. Ready to learn about 3D projectors. 🤩

In recent years, 3D has become one of the most entertaining ways to watch movies. It has become much more enjoyable since the huge 3D fad of the early 2000’s with movies like Spy Kids 3D that used terrible effects and awkward “look at the random objects flying at you” gimmicks.

Since then, we have had purely magical 3D experiences at the movie theaters, like with James Cameron’s Avatar and the masterpiece that was Hugo. After experiencing such things at your local theater, it is hard not to want to do the same in the comfort of your own home. Yes, you can absolutely purchase that huge 3D television you saw in the electronics aisle at Wal-Mart. However, watching movies and shows on a 3D TV just doesn’t have the same feel as it does watching them in a theater.

The main reason for this is the theater’s key ingredient, the projector.

You can purchase your very own 3D projector for use in your own home. However, when looking for one, you’ll come across a lot of options. This can be rather intimidating. We are here to help you on your quest of purchasing an amazing 3D printer. We have taken the time to shorten the long list of 3D projectors to just the four best options. 

Let's get into it!

3D Projector Reviews - Our Top 4 Picks

Optoma Portable DLP LED Projector

Key Features:

  • 1 Watt Audio Speaker
  • 700 Lumens
  • HDMI/MHL connectivity
  • Small, lightweight, and portable
  • Built-in Office Viewer

Specifications:

  • Contrast Ratio: 10,000:1
  • Throw Distance: 1.8 - 10.6 feet
  • Image Size: 17 - 100 inches
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • Native Resolution: 1280x800

PROS

  • Both HDMI and MHL Connectivity
  • Very Portable
  • High Quality Image

CONS

  • Extremely Small
  • Remote Sometimes Unresponsive

Overview:

The Optoma Portable DLP LED Projector is one of the best DLP projectors out there. This thing is tiny. I mean it can literally fit in the palm of your hand. Do not be thrown off by this. This is to make it one of the most portable projectors around. Despite its small size, this projector still packs a big punch.

Visuals are Key

The 700 lumens makes it as bright as you would need it to be. The built-in Office Viewer is especially helpful. This prevents the need of using a PC for any of your presentations. The 1 Watt audio speaker gives crystal clear sound for anything you wish to watch on it.

Obviously, the detail of the projected videos and images is important, especially if you want to view it in 3D. Luckily, the Optima Portable DLP LED Projector has a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. The image size is 17 to 100 inches. If you take advantage of this and go up to that 100 inches mark, or at least close to it, then you can enjoy the pleasure of having a beautiful 3D images on a screen bigger than any TV’s. This projector has a resolution of 1280x800, making for an extra clear and crisp image.

The throw distance of this projector is 1.8 to 10.6 feet. The throw distance of a projector is how far away the projector lens is from the screen you are watching it on. Therefore, the Optima Portable DLP LED Projector, with its 1.8 - 10.6 foot throw distance, allows you to have it set up in just about any average-sized room.

If you are planning on doing your projections in small or medium sized rooms, check out the best short-throw projectors for you. 

Downsides:

Size isn’t Everything

Even though the projector’s size makes it extraordinarily portable, it can affect your ability to alter the focus manually. It is so small it can make it difficult to adjust it.

The remote that it comes with is not great. It can be unresponsive, the buttons often stick, and you typically have to be pointing it at just the right angle for it to actually work.

This projector does have amazing visuals. However, to get the best quality possible, you do need to be in the darkest room possible. Needing to shut the lights off in order to see the visuals from a projector, but this one requires an especially dark room to get the fullest experience out of it. While watching a movie, that is not the worst issue, but it can be a big problem if you wish to multitask while the movie is on.

InFocus IN3146

Key Features:

  • 5,000 Lumens
  • 10 Watt Speaker

Specifications:

  • 1.5x Optical Zoom
  • 3D support for Blu-ray
  • Two 1.4 HDMI, VGA ports
  • Network Monitoring
  • Native Resolution: 1280 x 8000 (WXGA)

PROS

  • Quality Speaker Built-In
  • Amazing 3D Capabilities
  • High Resolution for Price

CONS

  • Not Enough Adjustment Options
  • Would Be Better If HD

Overview:

The InFocus IN3146 3D Network Projector is an especially incredible and powerful projector. It’s easily one of the better ones on the market.

Great Visuals Deserve Great Audio

This projector uses 5,000 lumens, which is particularly bright for a projector. This means that the visuals will be seen clearly even if the room is not completely dark. If you want to see those sweet 3D movies, you are probably already dealing with the 3D glasses. You don’t want anything else being an annoyance visually. A projector bulb using this many lumens will certainly be beneficial for that.

The natural resolution of 1280x8000 (WXGA) also helps with the visuals immensely. This is a pretty standard and ideal resolution for a projector. This resolution will allow you to see those 3D images very clearly.

The 10 Watt speaker on this projector amazes me. It’s louder and more clear than the built-in speakers on most other projectors. I would usually suggest using external speakers or sound bars with a projector, but this one does not need anything of the sort. This great audio pairs perfectly with the fantastic 3D visuals.

The network monitoring feature on this projector is extremely helpful for detecting if anything goes wrong with the software and letting you know what the problem may be.

Downsides:

Not Quite HD

The visual quality of the InFocus IN3146 3D Network Projector is great, however it’s not quite as good as it would be in HD. The natural resolution of this particular projector is WXGA, which is good, but a step below HD. This can cause movies you watch on Blu-rays to appear a bit grainy at times.

It comes with a fairly decent remote. However, the remote could use more adjustment options on it so you don’t need to do as much manually. 

Epson Home Cinema 3D Miracast Home Theater Projector

Key Features:

  • 2,200 Lumens
  • Two HDMI Ports
  • 5 Watt Speaker
  • Up to 300 inches viewing size

Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 16.9 to 20.28 mm
  • Zoom Ratio: 1.0 to 1.2 manual
  • Contrast Ratio: 35,000:1
  • Natural Resolution: 1920x1080p (HD)

PROS

  • HD Projection

Overview:

As Close to Being in a Theater as Possible

Another almost perfect choice for a 3D projector is the Epson Home Cinema 3D Miracast Home Theater Projector. There should be more emphasis on the “Home Cinema” aspect of it because the viewing size of up to 300 inches means that this projector allows you to watch movies on a screen that’s half the size of the standard movie theater screen. That is a lot larger than just about anything else you can watch movies on at home. This will make it feel like you really are in a theater to see that incredible 3D film.

This is easily one of the best projectors possible to view those gorgeous 3D effects. The 2,200 lumens is definitely bright enough to enjoy in any room regardless of dark it really is. The contrast ratio of 35,000:1 This is particularly vivid for a projector, so you’ll be able to see your 3D movies better and brighter than you could with other projectors or 3D Tvs.

The projector’s natural resolution of 1920x1080p means that everything you want to watch on it will be in HD. Furthermore, this is one of the best HD projectors available on the market. This is a little above the standard for projectors, so the visual quality will be especially amazing on this one.

If you wish to adjust the focus or are having difficulty with seeing something in particular on your projector’s image, there’s no need to worry. The Epson Home Cinema 3D Miracast Home Theater Projector offers a zoom ratio of 1.0 to 1.2. This means that, if you feel the need to, you are able to vary the image size by 20%. The projector’s focal length of 16.9 to 20.28 mm means that it allows the projector to be able to keep the image in focus optimally at pretty far distances from the screen.

The 5 Watt speaker makes for high quality and beautifully clear sounding audio. There is no use watching nice looking 3D video if you are not going to pair it with audio that’s just as good. The speaker on this projector absolutely does so.

Downsides:

Loud Speaker, Louder Fan

The fan noise on the Epson Home Cinema 3D Miracast Home Theater Projector can be rather loud at times. The speaker on the projector is loud enough that this is not the worst issue. However, if you are seated close enough to the device itself, then you might get annoyed by the fan’s noise.

There are several reports of this projector ceasing to function after just a short amount of time, usually around a couple of months. This problem only seems to be occurring for a handful of people, but it should not be happening to such an otherwise great projector. Many of those people who have reported this issue have also stated that customer service was able to assist them with the malfunction. The vast majority of users have not witnessed this problem occurring whatsoever.

Error messages seem to be a frequent issue with this one as well. However, rebooting appears to fix this issue.

The majority of viewing modes on this projector work just fine, but this particular one has a not-so-great “Cinema” mode. It does not look much like what you would see in a cinema. Instead, it causes the visuals to be blurry and washed out. 

Key Features:

  • 50,000 Hours of LED Lamp Life
  • Connectivity through bluetooth or WiFi
  • 5 Watt Speaker

Specifications:

  • 30 to 150 inch display size
  • Viewing distance: 3.6 to 19.68 feet
  • Natural Resolution: 1280x800 (WXGA)
  • Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1

PROS

  • Great Wireless Connectivity
  • Extremely High Durability

CONS

  • Some Data Types Aren't Supported
  • Subpar Fans

Overview:

The SeoJack Portable 3D Projector is one of the more portable options for a 3D projector. It is extremely lightweight and is only a few square inches in size. This is great if you are looking for a projector to take on the go. This can be particularly handy if you are someone who wants to take it to work or school to give a presentation, if you want to bring it to a buddy’s house to show it off, or to bring it for a fun outside movie night.

That’s Bright!

I am especially amazed by the 50,000 hour LED lamp life. That bulb is most likely not going to die for as long as you have this projector if this is truly the case. The average lamp life of a projector is around 2,000 hours, so this one will really last an extremely long time. Think about how long the light bulbs in your house last. It is most likely nowhere near as long as this.

Despite the small size of this projector, the resolution is still really good. It is 1280x800, which is WXGA. This is a step below being in HD, but it is still as good as it can get without it being in HD. In 3D, it still looks amazing.

This projector can reach an incredible display size. With this, you can watch movies on screens of 30 to 150 inches. The biggest TV screen you can typically find in-store is around 80 inches. This projector allows you to watch movies on a screen almost double that in your own home. Imagine how exciting of an experience it will be to play a 3D movie on this during the holidays when the family is over.

The SeoJack Portable 3D Projector has a viewing distance of 3.6 to 19.68 feet. The viewing distance is how far you are able to have the projector from the screen in order for it to come in clearly. The wide range of this particular viewing distance lets you have the projector in an average living room of any size or shape.

The 5 Watt speaker on this projector offers a loud and clear audio to match with the gorgeous 3D effects of whatever movie you intend to watch on it. The contrast ratio of 1,000:1 makes for some great visuals. However, it’s not quite as great as the contrast ratio of other projectors.

I am personally a big fan of the bluetooth and WiFi connectivity because it prevents the need for pesky wires being used to connect other devices to the projector. When using some of the best wireless projectors, there is no need to trip over or untangle anything thanks to this helpful feature.

This projector is compatible with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku Streaming Stick, laptops, DVD and Blu-ray players, and video game consoles. It should fit any of your entertainment needs, basically. 

See related - Best Portable Projectors

Downsides:

Small Projector, Big Problems

As I previously stated, the contrast ratio may be good, but it could be a lot better. The average contrast ratio of a projector is closer to 5,000:1 or even higher. You probably want the best visuals possible if you plan on watching movies and shows in 3D on the projector, and the visuals do suffer a bit from the contrast ratio it has.

If the projector is set up too far away from the screen, then small letters and numbers on-screen become blurry and difficult to read.

The projector’s fan is pretty subpar. The unit is known to overheat at times despite the fan being on. The fan is also rather noisey.

There is no volume control on the projector itself. There is volume control on the remote only. This means you should keep the remote around at any time you use the projector and to always make sure you have extra batteries for it on hand.

The projector does not recognize MOV files from USB sticks. It recognizes other video files just fine. However, not accepting any specific type of file is still pretty limiting.

Questions and Answers

Do I need 3D glasses to watch things on 3D on a projector?

Yes, you will need 3D glasses to view movies in 3D on a projector. The brand of projector determines which 3D glasses you should use.

How Does 3D work on a projector?

3D projectors usually use image engines that show twice as many images to make up a single 3D field. They can use an infrared emitter or radio transmitter that sends signals to the 3D glasses so that they are synced up to the projector’s video.

How is 3D made?

3D is made by using two lenses that are placed side by side.. Non-3D is filmed with just one lens. The reason why using the two lenses produces the 3D effect is because they simulate exactly what your eyes do. Your left eye sees one side, and your right eye sees the other. Your brain takes these two separate images and combines them to make one three dimensional image. In 3D movies, two lenses capture two different images, and then the camera uses those to produce one three dimensional image.

Can any projector play 3D?

Not just any projector can play 3D. Only 3D specific projectors can play 3D. Most basic projectors cannot play 3D. Thankfully, the market for 3D projectors is quickly growing. The reason basic projectors cannot play 3D is because they do not use the same image engines that 3D projectors use.

Are 3D Projectors better than basic projectors?

It depends on what you are looking for. For the most part, they are fairly equal. Obviously, basic projectors are unable to show 3D visuals. However, 3D is typically a little more expensive.

Conclusion

The capabilities of 3D have certainly come a long way in recent years. It was once a gimmick used in movies that sacrificed story to make it feel like objects were literally being thrown in the audience’s faces to trick people into thinking they were being entertained. “3D” was even used in plenty of titles of films like My Bloody Valentine 3D just to convince people to go see lame movies to have things flown at their face.

Now, we have the luxury of being able to enjoy something as epic as Marvel’s The Avengers in gorgeous 3D without it just being about what’s flying at the screen. The best part of it is that you can now do so in your own home with a 3D projector. There are nw tons of options out there for a great 3D home projector, but I hope I helped to narrow down your search with the four best options to turn your home into a 3D cinema. 

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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