Best Mini Projector in 2021 (December Reviews)

Written by:Gadget Review Last Updated: 17 Jul 2021

Of the seven of the best mini projectors on this list, the Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector shined the brightest, literally, with upgraded LED lighting that provides 60 percent more brightness than other products, while boasting 3,600 lumens and a bulb capacity of 40,000 hours. This multimedia projector offers fantastic picture quality and easily connects to nearly any gadget, via USB, VGA or HDMI ports, and features an innovative cooling system that keeps fan noise to a minimum.

To help you find the best mini projector, one that is well suited to a home theater, business environment or camping setting, we scoured mini projector reviews and tested out a plethora of models, looking for products that delivered pristine HD visuals onto large canvases, looking for just the right lumen capacity (no less than 2,600) and long-lasting bulbs (no less than 40,000 hours.) We also kept an eye out for the best mini projector for iPhone and Android OS users, as well as the best cheap mini projector, seeking products that were so easy to set up that anyone could get it out of the box and have it ready to watch movies or business presentations in minutes. Keep reading to learn more about the Vankyo Leisure 3 and the other overhead projectors on this list. Another mini projector from Anker that just missed our list is the Nebula Capsule II.

Top 7 Best Mini Projectors

 #1  VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Why we like it: This affordable mini projector has HD resolution of 1920×1080 px and easily connects with a wide variety of platforms including iPhone, Android, Xbox and Mac and PC laptops. It’s also among the quietest of all the products listed in our mini projector reviews.

Read Full Review: VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector Review

Pros
  • USB, VGA and HDMI ports built in
  • Large, 170” maximum viewing size
  • HD resolution
Cons
  • No built in battery
  • Not the brightest for larger home theaters

If quiet operation and ease of set-up are priorities, this may be the best mini projector on Amazon right now in its price range. The Vankyo Leisure 3 LED Projector has a noise reduction feature that cuts fan noise in half, and it has twin HDMI ports as well as USB and VGA ports, so you can connect it with computers, smart TV, smart home devices and mobile devices, too, though you’ll likely need to supply a USB-C to USB cord in order to use it with a recent Mac.

Brightness tops out at a respectable 3600 ANSI lumens, and bulb life is listed at 40,000 hours. Resolution is up to 1920×1080 or full HD, and the viewing size goes up to 170,” making it perhaps the best cheap mini projector in this regard. And the best monitor in picture quality. If you want something with 4k, take a look at the best 4k projector.

 #2  DR. J Professional HI-04 1080P Supported Portable Movie Projector

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This LCD mini projector ships with a 100” screen included, plus comes with handy features like built-in dual speakers and an easy to use focus knob.

Read Full Review: DR. J Professional HI-04 1080P Review

Pros
  • USB, VGA and HDMI ports built in
  • Large, 170” maximum viewing size
  • HD 1080p resolution
Cons
  • No built in battery
  • Not the brightest for larger home theaters

This versatile product is often listed near the top of its class in best mini projector reviews. It matches our top pick, the Vankyo, in terms of claimed bulb life, contrast ratio and brightness. Though it is capable of 1080p HD with certain applications, it lists a native resolution of 1280×720.

It doesn’t have wifi or Bluetooth, however, it offers a large array of physical connection options, including SD card slot, which is great for watching videos from your camera or editing photos with a creative team. It also has HDMI, USB and VGA ports. With the HDMI input you can connect your game console, TV stick, DVD, laptop, PC, etc. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack which is great for connecting your gaming headphones. This mini projector is also one of the few that ships with an included projector screen. Overall, this is one of the best projectors for any of your entertainment needs.

 #3  Anker Nebula Capsule, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector

Award: BEST PORTABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: A well designed portable mini projector with WiFi and built-in speakers, this offers a 360º speaker, 100 lumen lamp and a battery life long enough for 4 hours of movie watching.

Read Full Review: Anker Nebula Capsule Review

Pros
  • WiFi enabled
  • Easy focus adjustment
  • Smartphone as remote capability with Nebula Connect App
Cons
  • Smaller viewing area than you get with Vankyo Leisure or DR J Professional mini projectors
  • More expensive than many plug-in mini projectors

One of the new breed of “smart” mini projectors (with Android 8.1 operating system), this device can pair with a smartphone or laptop either wirelessly over WiFi or via its USB or HDMI ports, and it can also work on its own to display media from various streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube and more. You can also stream content to this monitor via Bluetooth, Airplay, or Miracast. It’s also remarkably bright with perfect picture quality, for such a tiny (soda-can sized) machine. This portable projector is compact, and weighs just 1.04 pounds, so it is easy to carry around. That is more than half the weight of our #1 pick that weighs 2.1 pounds.

Along with its 100-lumen lamp this mini projector has a built-in 360-degree speaker. It’s battery-powered so you can take it with you anywhere, and the battery is rated to last for 4 hours of viewing. If you want to look at other options, check out this list to find the best projector screen for you.

 #4  AuKing Mini Projector 2020

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This bargain priced home mini projector comes with built-in dual speakers, up to 170” image size and a class-leading 55000 hour lamp life.

Read Full Review: AuKing Mini Projector 2020 Review

Pros
  • Longest lamp life in its class
  • Less expensive than most other 1080p-capable projectors
  • VGA and USB ports
Cons
  • Only 2600 lumens
  • Lacks WiFi

Thanks to a long, 55,000 hour lamp life and a versatile screen size, this might be the best cheap mini projector we’ve tested. It has VGA and USB ports and can easily connect with most Mac and PC laptops, and though it lacks wireless or mobile app functionality, it’s easy to connect it to a mobile phone as well if you have the right cable.

Compromises are few, and compared to the best mini projector on Amazon overall, the max brightness of this budget mini projector falls a bit short, at 2600 lumens compared to over 3700 lumens. For other budget options, check out the best projector under 1,000.

 #5  Vamvo L4200 Portable Video Projector

Award: BEST BRIGHTNESS

WHY WE LIKE IT: A unique design and bright, 3800-lux lamp and large, 200” max screen size make this mini projector a great choice for home theater use, office presentations or even outdoor movie screenings.

Read Full Review: Vamvo L4200 Portable Video Projector Review

Pros
  • Large 200” screen
  • HDMI, VGA and twin USB ports
  • Compatible with Fire TV and iPhone
Cons
  • More expensive than the Vankyo Leisure 3 Mini Projector
  • Lacks independent media streaming

Well designed and boasting the largest canvass size of the mini projectors we’ve tested, this model is well suited to home theater use and is capable enough to use in a classroom, office or even for backyard screenings as well. It has HDMI, VGA, audio out via 3.5mm headphone jack and twin USB ports.

Compatible with fire TV stick and PS4, this is also perhaps the best mini projector for iPhone in its class, as long as wireless connectivity isn’t a must-have. It’s compact and comes with a handsome lunchbox-sized carrying case, though it doesn’t have a battery.

 #6  APEMAN NM4 Mini Portable Projector

Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL

WHY WE LIKE IT: This ultra compact HD mini projector has 360º sound and comes with a tabletop tripod, so it’s easy to set up anywhere. Plus, it has a 3400 mAh battery giving it enough endurance for a whole feature film.

Read Full Review: APEMAN NM4 Mini Portable Projector Review

Pros
  • Smallest portable mini projector on our list
  • iOS and Android compatible
  • Comes with tripod
Cons
  • Lower brightness than the best cheap mini projectors
  • Wireless connection requires a separately-sold dongle
  • Native resolution of 800×480

Designed for convenience, this portable mini projector is barely larger than a phone at 3.2×6.7×7.7 inches, and comes with an included tabletop tripod. It has a USB port as well as an HDMI port and is compatible with Fire TV stick and Chromecast. It also works with iPhones and iPads if you supply a lightning to HDMI cable, or can work wirelessly with a (separately sold) dongle.

It has a 3400mAh battery with a claimed 2.5-hours of use per charge and is even quieter in operation than most corded home mini projectors. However, it’s not as bright as some other models on our list like the Vankyo Leisure 3, and it also has a slightly lower native resolution, but if convenient and portable set up is your priority, this may be the best mini projector for iPhone on our list. If you’re on a budget, consider this list to find the best cheap projector for your home.

 #7  TOPVISION Projector

Award: BEST HOME THEATER

WHY WE LIKE IT: Easy smartphone connectivity via USB with screen mirroring support, plus 3600-lux brightness and a 2000:1 contrast ratio make this a strong contender for the best mini projector for iPhone and Android mobile devices in your home theater.

Read Full Review: TOPVISION Projector Review

Pros
  • USB, VGA, SD card ports
  • 3600-lux brightness
  • Tempered glass lens
Cons
  • Lower native resolution, at 800×480
  • Not as portable as the Apeman NM4

If convenience is key and you don’t particularly need a battery or wifi, then this is among the best mini projectors for iPhone and other mobile device movie watching. It has a very long 50,000 hour bulb life, class competitive brightness of 3600 lux, and contrast ratio of 2000:1, the same as with the more expensive Vamvo L4200.

This Topvision mini projector is also easy to connect to an iPhone or iPad; just plug your lightning-USB cable into the USB port and it supports screen mirroring. Native resolution is on the low side for today’s projectors, at 800×480 as opposed to the 1280×720 the Vamvo offers.

Note: Other mini projectors that are portable are like the KODAK Luma 150 pocket projector, the Optoma ML 750, and the AAXA P7 Mini pocket projector. The Luma 150 has a built in speaker, 16:9 projection, and clear imaging with a 1500:1 contrast ratio. Kodak Luma offers up to 150-inch viewing with 1080P resolution for immersive entertainment watching movies, streaming Netflix, viewing pictures or for presentations. The Optoma ML750 has incredible picture quality with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio. And for connectivity options, the ML750 has got a microSD card slot and USB connectivity. The AAXA P7 Mini has the latest generation High Definition DLP optical engine mated to a high MTF lens for best clarity. And for connectivity options, it has a USB, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot just like the ML750.

How We Decided

In order to bring you a number of choices for the best mini projector on sale right now, we scoured mini projector reviews and tested out numerous models, looking for brightness, ease of use, reliability, and resolution.

We only considered plug-in projectors with a brightness of 2600 lux or higher; this way you can use the projector in a medium-sized home theater or even a dimly lit conference room without much trouble. We also looked for contrast ratios of at least 2000:1, so that the image quality will appear sharp and easy to see.

For battery-powered portable projectors, we looked for at least 100-lumen output and a viewing image at least 42” wide. We also required no less than 2.5 hours of battery life, so that the mini projector will stay on for at least the duration of an average feature film.

For home mini projectors we looked for connectivity options and favored models with both USB and HDMI as well as VGA ports. This adds versatility and gives you plenty of options for plugging your devices in. Wifi wasn’t a requirement but we did consider it a bonus, as with the ability to interface with smart home devices like Fire TV.

Another option to consider that just missed our list is the ViewSonic M1 – an LED Portable Projector with Harman Kardon Speakers. The ViewSonic M1 features a 30,000 hour LED light source, 854 x 480 resolution, six hour battery life and comes with a smart stand for 360 degree projection.This ViewSonic model also has USB and HDMI connectivity, as well as dual Harman Kardon Speakers.

Best Mini Projector Buyer’s Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Wired Connectivity
    If you’re looking for the best mini projector for a home theater, look for connection options that make it easy to use it with the devices you plan to use; for smart TVs and mobile devices this often means a USB port, while HDMI ports and VGA ports are welcome additions as well. In order to ensure the audio works well, look for an audio out port that works with your home stereo.
  2. Brightness
    Projector brightness is often described in either “lux” or “lumens,” and this can be somewhat confusing. Lumens refers to the total light output of a lamp, while lux refers to how much light is received within a given area. In order to convert between the two, you need to know not just how bright the light source is, but the distance of that light source from the surface you’re looking at, as well as the angle of the beam. For the best mini projectors, how much light in lumens you need depends on the size of the image and thus distance from the projection screen, as well as the dimness of the room. To achieve an image of 3600 lux illuminance, for example, you would need a light source of 3030 lumens with a 60º beam angle at one meter away, but only 758 lumens at .5 meters away.
  3. Battery
    If you’re looking for a portable mini projector for outdoor movie night screenings or for occasional use in a room where it’s inconvenient to find a plug, look for a model with an internal battery life of at least 2.5 to 3 hours.

Mini Projector FAQs

Are mini projectors worth it?

Mini projectors have come a long way, and can transform your entertainment experience at home, especially if you’re having guests over. They’re also much more portable than a similarly sized screen on a TV and so they’re great for outdoor screenings and game nights as well.

What is the best cheap mini projector?

Depending on your needs, chiefly whether you require battery power for portability, the best cheap mini projector may be a model like the Apeman NM4, our # 6 pick. Or if you’re looking for a bargain home projector and need good brightness and a decent sized image, consider a model like the AuKing Mini Projector 2021.

What is the best portable projector?

The best portable projectors have a battery life of at least three hours, good for a whole movie at full brightness, and the ability to wirelessly connect with smartphones, smart TVs and other devices. Look for an output of at least 100 lumens for mini portable projectors, and a native resolution of at least 720p.

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