Best Cheap Projector Under $100

Being on a budget isn't fun, especially if you're a student and you're in a need of a new projector. Whatever your situation is, it's a bit tricky to find a gem under $100.

I was once in the same situation, and luckily, I found myself a great deal - a cheap projector that served me very well for a few years. On the other hand, my student friends have had a nightmare with their projectors.

But now with the market full of affordable projectors, the things have changed. Now that you have a lot of choices, it's all about finding the best one.

Even though projectors are way cheaper than they've ever been, not every cheap projector is going to be a good projector. Therefore, you'll have to spend some time researching the projectors to find the one that's most suitable for your needs.

That's why we've decided to list some of the best yet cheapest projectors under $100, just to make your choice a lot easier. And if you're looking exactly for that, you're in the right place.

All you have to do is choose between one of the 4 models we chose and reviewed and worry about nothing.

Top 4 Cheapest Projectors Under $100 in 2019

We've ranked the 4 cheapest projectors under $100 considering the price range, the performance, specifications, build quality, and key features that make them best in their category. These products are also backed up with a warranty as a way of manufacturer standing behind their product quality.

Best Choice: VANKYO LEISURE 3

VANKYO LEISURE 3 complete set

Key Features

  • Big screen size up to 176"
  • Noise suppression technology
  • 2000:1 contrast ratio
  • Dual speakers
  • Two-way focus
  • Smartphone connection

Specifications

  • Brightness - 2400 Lumen
  • Contrast ratio - 2000:1
  • Aspect ratio - 4:3/16:9/auto
  • Projection size - 33 - 170 inches
  • Keystone - +-15 degree

PROS

  • Best projector under $100
  • Easily portable
  • Stays cool for hours
  • Very quiet during use
  • 3-year warranty

CONS

  • The light bulb isn't bright enough for watching in the light
  • The power cord is a bit short

Overall Performance

If you have a look at everything VANKYO LEISURE 3 projector offers, you'll see that it's the best cheap projector you will be able to find under $100. It's upgraded with a Mstar Advanced Color Engine that makes it 60% brighter than any ordinary projector.

In combination with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, this projector supports 1080p HD resolutions that result in a very bright and colorful performance. Whatever your reason for a new projector is, it's most likely that VANKYO LEISURE 3 will fit your needs.

It's very simple to project the image, making it up to 10x larger. It's only necessary to plug in the device which can be a TV stick, HDMI input, or even PlayStation console and the image will be enlarged and presented straight away.

What's really useful is the size and weight of this projector which makes it easy to transport. With the VANKYO LEISURE 3 projector, you'll also receive a carrying bag and a tripod which is very useful for keeping the image steady.

VANKYO LEISURE 3 customized bag

If you're wondering how far will you have to set up this projector, the answer will depend on the screen size you're looking to get.

Since the VANKYO LEISURE 3 projector offers a screen size from 32" to 176", you'll have to distant the projector accordingly anywhere from 4.9ft to 16.4ft.

Once you set up the projector and have the device ready, all you have to do is focus the image with the help of dual focus feature. You can slide the focus ring and rotate the lens hood to get the sharpest and the most focused image projected.

When everything is set and ready, you'll enjoy decent dual speaker system. It's not suitable for music, but is perfect for movies, presentations, and other uses.

One of the things we liked the most is the ability to connect this projector directly to a smartphone. All you need to have is lightning to HDMI cable since it doesn't come included. But in case you have one laying around, you can project an image directly from your phone in minutes.

If not, you can always use some of the most common devices such as Amazon Fire TV stick, any game console, Chromecast, and many other connection standards.

After all, when you take a look at everything VANKYO LEISURE 3 projector features and then consider the price it sells for - if you find it suitable for your needs, it's a deal you shouldn't pass.

Best Quality: RAGU Z400

RAGU Z400 projector

Key Features

  • 85% brighter image
  • 180" visual feast
  • Lamp lasts up to 50,000 hours
  • Innovative noise reduction
  • Upgraded sharpness and quality
  • HiFi sound quality

Specifications

  • LED brightness - 
  • Contrast ratio - 3000:1
  • Aspect ratio -  4:3/16:9/auto
  • Projection size - 28 - 180 inches
  • Keystone - 15"

PROS

  • 1080P full HD image
  • +85% brightness
  • -90% noise
  • Upgraded NTSC and clarity
  • Durable & long-lasting build quality

CONS

  • Features only single leveling foot which isn't very convenient for most uneven surfaces
  • Features only one HDMI port

Overall Performance

If the main thing you're looking for is quality, even though you might have to sacrifice a few features, then RAGU Z400 might be the right projector for you.

Other than its quality build, RAGU guarantees the lamp will work for about 50,000 hours since the latest LED technology has been used to extend the lifespan as much as possible. This projector is even covered with a 1-year warranty.

Considering the price, RAGU Z400 projector is definitely made to last and its quality shouldn't be mistaken when comparing prices.

We would also like to mention that Z400 is a 2019 upgrade, and when it comes down to the image, this projector is now able to present 85% brighter image than its previous version and other projectors within the price range.

One of the many features we liked is the 180" visual display that combines really well with the 1080p full HD resolution. No matter how large your displayed projection is, you'll never deal with a pixelated image.

projector screen ratio

With so many upgrades, even the noise has been almost eliminated, which makes it 90% quieter. It might not matter much, but if you're watching horror movies, the silent moments will always be better with RAGU Z400 projector.

The wide application makes it really simple to connect a device to this projector. It's pretty versatile when it comes to connections, and that's another thing we really liked. You can connect almost any device that features some of the universal ports - which includes PC/laptop, TV's, USB flash drive, SD card, and even mobile phones.

Although, you should keep in mind that in order to connect the mobile phone to this projector, you should have your own suitable cable.

No matter what device you connect, using the focus ring and keystone simultaneously will allow you to adjust the focus and get the crystal clear image. Unfortunately, RAGU Z400 projector doesn't feature an automatic focus function, and you'll have to do it manually every time you connect a new device.

When everything is set and ready, whether you're watching movies or doing work, the built-in stereo speakers with HI-FI sound quality will produce a high-quality and rich sound. The sound is very loud and is suitable for both indoors and outdoors so the experience will be immersive.

And no matter how many hours you use this projector, the dual-fan system will prevent it from overheating, so you get the chance to use it to the fullest.

Best Value: APEMAN LC350

APEMAN LC350 projector

Key Features

  • 70% brighter image
  • Large range of screen sizes
  • Unique speakers and fan
  • Versatile device connection
  • Cinema friendly experience

Specifications

  • Brightness - 3500 Lumen
  • Contrast ratio - 2000:1
  • Aspect ratio - 4:3/16:9
  • Projection size - 34 - 180 inches
  • Keystone - +-15 degrees

PROS

  • The very bright projection color
  • Quality dual stereo speakers
  • Long lasting bulb life
  • Support 1080P full HD
  • Upgraded LCD display technology with an LED light source
  • Great value for the price

CONS

  • It doesn't have an autofocus function
  • The cord is on a short side

Overall Performance

APEMAN LC350 is a projector that is just under our budget for this post, yet APEMAN has tried really hard in providing the most value they can, and having a look back on the price - they've succeeded in making one of the best LCD projectors in the market.

Even though this projector is classified as a mini projector, you shouldn't judge it by its size. It can create a perfect movie night for a large family with a screen size of up to 180". And yet, thanks to its compactness, it's super easy to take it anywhere with you.

What's even easier is setting it up since this projector has a very versatile way of connecting devices. We had no problem connecting our iPhone. However, keep in mind that you should have the right cable to connect your smartphone with APEMAN LC350 projector.

You can set it up on a tripod, leave it on a table, or even attach it to your ceiling for the uninterrupted watching experience. Although, you should keep in mind to set the projector on a recommended distance according to the screen size you're looking to achieve.

Meaning, if you happen to go for the largest screen size which is 180", you'll have to distant the projector about 12ft from the surface you're projecting to.

What we find really interesting and useful is that even if you aren't a tech-savvy and have never used a projector before, you won't have a hard time setting APEMAN LC350 up. Once you've decided on the location you'll set it up, connected your most convenient device - you've done the "harder" part of the installation.

Family weekend fun is ready in minutes, just after you adjust the keystone and get the image crispy clear with the help of focus wheel.

What's really valuable is the immersive experience this projector offers with the help of really useful features that usually can be seen with some pricier projector models.

We really like that APEMAN LC350 projector supports 1080P full HD resolution along with a native resolution, and you even get to choose the aspect for the best viewing angle.

After everything is sorted out and you surround yourself with a beautiful viewing experience, you'll definitely enjoy unique dual speakers which are built-in and offer a decent audio experience suitable for movies.

Even though this projector is ideal to be used for home theater, it can be a great addition to the office too.

Popular Choice: CiBest

CiBest projector with cable

Key Features

  • Newest upgraded model
  • Multiple ways to connect devices
  • Very lightweight and durable design
  • High transmittance
  • Reduced fan noise
  • LED light source

Specifications

  • Contrast ratio - 1000:1
  • Aspect ratio -4:3/16:9
  • Projection size - 33 - 170 inches
  • Keystone - +-15 degrees

PROS

  • Top-notch viewing experience
  • Plug & play ability
  • Easy setup
  • Smartphone connection
  • Active customer support
  • Cheapest price for a quality projector

CONS

  • Speaker isn't very loud and using the external speaker is advised by the manufacturer
  • Brightness is better when used in the low light room

Overall Performance

CiBest might not be the best projector out there, but it's one of the cheapest yet quality projectors that will turn your living room in a small home theater.

Who said that creating a home theater requires a lot of money? CiBest projector proves exactly the opposite.

Even though this is a very small and compact projector you could take almost anywhere with you, it offers a screen size of up to 170" - requiring a distance of 16ft from a surface you're projecting onto.

If you live in a small apartment or have a small office, CiBest projector can still turn things around and be a great space-saving option while providing a decent screen size with the top-notch viewing experience.

The reason for such great viewing experience is that the newest model offers +80% brighter color than other mini projectors within the same price range. It even features a 1080p full HD resolution which in combination provides a really vivid and crystal clear image.

However, you shouldn't expect a lot from the speakers. They're decent for work presentations, but if you are going to watch movies or TV shows, even the manufacturer recommends using the external speakers for louder and better audio quality.

CiBest projector connected devices

Whatever device you connect to CiBest projector, the setup is very easy, and all you have to do after that is set up the focus with the focus wheel to get the crystally clear image and that's it. You can sit back and relax.. 

Best Cheap Projector Under $100: Buying Guide

Brightness

Brightness is usually measured in the Lumen and it's very common to see it listed under specifications, but what is actually brightness of a projector and how is it connected with the image, you might wonder?

Based on the number of lumens, you can determine the brightness of an image and determine if it's going to satisfy your projection needs in your environment.

projector brightness chart

For example, 1000 Lumens is appropriate for an indoor area with virtually no lighting (projecting in a dark room), while 2000 lumens is decent for indoor use with a bit of light and can even be used for outdoor use. Projectors that feature 3000+ lumens are perfect for outdoor use.

However, you shouldn't let Lumens determine your purchase, because some projectors have video optimization incorporated which means that 700 Lumens sometimes might be brighter than 1500 Lumens.

Resolution

Every projector has a resolution that it can reach, and it's a resolution that will determine the size of a display and sometimes even aspect ratio.

The higher the resolution is - the more pixels are used to generate the image, meaning the image will be more clear and crisp. Therefore, getting a projector with a high resolution is important to get all details displayed correctly and generally have a satisfying image.

Lens Zoom

If you lack some space in your room, the lens zoom feature is your new favorite feature. It's a feature that allows a projector to display the image larger or smaller without the need of moving the projector itself.

projector throw distance and zoom

Some of the high-end projectors come with a motorized zoom feature where you can adjust it using a remote controller from a distance.

It's a quite useful feature to have, especially when you lack space yet still want to use a projector in the room.

Best Cheap Projector Under $100: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the answers to the most common questions people ask before purchasing a projector. This will help you learn more and stop doubting anything, making your purchase a confident one.

Q: How projector screens are measured?

A: Projector's display image is measured as every other TV or computer monitor screen, which is the length measured from the top left corner to the bottom right right screen of the corner. This is a diagonal screen size listed in inches and it can be seen in the specifications of every projector.

All projectors have a range of screen size they can display.

Q: What does a contrast ratio mean?

A: Contrast is expressed as a number ratio between light and dark on a screen. It's calculated by taking the whitest on a screen and the darkest black in order to compare the luminosity. Therefore, 1000:1 would mean that the white is a thousand times brighter than the darkest black.

Q: What happens when a projector lamp dies?

A: Projector lamps have a limited number of hours they can last, and they're most likely to die sooner or later. Usually, they can last about 30,000 - 50,000 hours before they die.

However, once the projector lamp dies, you'll have to purchase a new one and replace the old one to continue using your projector.

Q: Where to place projector?

A: The best place to put a projector on would be a tripod stand, or even attach it to the ceiling. However, even the old-school placement on a table with a book or two underneath will work - but keep in mind, it'll have a different projection angle.

Q: How long does the lamp last on a cheap projector?

A: The quality of a projector, even if it's the projector under $100 as in this case, doesn't mean it won't last as long as a pricier projector. Usually, a lamp on affordable models can last up to 50,000 hours before it needs to be replaced.

Q: What type of lamp is in a projector?

A: There are 4 different lamp types that are used in a projector, and the most common one, which can be seen in the most affordable models is an LED lamp. It's also one of the longest lasting projector lamps you could use, and also the one that will project a brighter image.

Other lamps used are Metal Halide lamps, lasers, and hybrid projectors that combine LED and lasers.

Conclusion

Being on a budget doesn't mean you can't make an awesome home theater, and these 4 projectors under $100 prove that the quality doesn't always has to come with a big price tag.

It's true that you might not expect a commercial quality with these projectors, but having a projector that does its job well, suits your needs well, and lasts for long is a pretty great deal.

Also, we should mention that these projectors offer a lot of value for the price they cost, which can be seen especially if you have a look at their features. They have some of the features that can be seen only in pricier models, which makes them even a better deal.

Even though they have some cons and flaws, they're still one of the best deals you can get for the price.

Sources

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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