outdoor movie projector and accessories

10 Best Projectors for Backyard Movie Nights in 2021

In Buyers Guide by Jamie

A nicely trimmed, fresh, and green lawn is always a great hangout place. Whether you just want to barbecue dinner with your friends or have a backyard camp-out with your family, having a vast garden gives you a great hangout place.

One of the best things you can do in your yard is to have a backyard movie night. You can invite a bigger crowd, have everyone stay in tents, blankets, or bean bags, and oh yeah, don’t forget to bring the popcorn and chips.

But the one thing that will make this experience just right is getting the best outdoor projector that suits your needs for an ideal backyard movie night. With so many options in the market, we give you a quick rundown on what to consider when buying an outdoor projector and a list of the best projectors for your backyard movie night.

So, read up and take note of everything so you can decide which one is the best one for you.

What to consider when buying an outdoor projector?

There are several things to consider when buying an outdoor projector. On top of which is a projector’s brightness, throw ratio, contrast, resolution, and quality.

Brightness

The most significant factor to consider when buying an outdoor projector is its brightness since you’ll be projecting outdoors.

Brightness is measured in lumens, or how bright the projector is or how much light it emits. Granting that you’re aiming at a backyard movie night, you should consider how bright your surroundings are. Technically, since you’ll be using it at night, your projector doesn’t need to be that bright but incase of day time use you’d want to choose the brightest available.

However, you are also going to work around lights in the area. There could be streetlights or lights from nearby homes that could affect the brightness in your yard. Plus, the brightness of the moon, which is beyond your control.

To be safe, look for a projector with at least 2,000 lumens. You can go for something higher if you want to be sure. But that’s the least you should get. Anything lower than that is a risk that you might not see the picture clearly.

Throw Ratio

Throw ratio (or also called throw distance) is the distance that your projector can “throw” the picture on your screen considering your screen size. This helps you estimate whether or not the projector can show a big enough picture on your screen.

There are instances that the picture would ‘overbleed’ on your screen because it has a higher throw ratio. To compute the correct distance, you multiply the projector’s throw ratio with your screen width. The product should be the farthest possible distance you can place your projector away from the screen.

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio is the ratio between the amount of ambient light in your yard and the contrast of the video content. As we all know, the brighter the light, the more it can kill the contrast of the picture on the screen.

There is no definite rule or standard as to what contrast your projector should have since most products don’t have this in their specs. However, any light around you can affect the projected contrast of your picture. You can adjust your projector’s contrast in the settings, though. And you can test this setting before you buy an outdoor projector.

Resolution

Resolution is the number of pixels (or seen as dots) on an area or image. This means that if there are more pixels, the image will show in better quality and less pixelated or blocky.

It’s more challenging to look for outdoor projectors since you also need to consider some interference like dust, etc. This could disrupt the quality of the image being projected on the screen.

Ideally, you should go for projectors with a 1080p to get full high-definition resolution. They may come pricey, but the quality will make it all worth it. Plus, it is better to have Full HD projectors, so you will still have a good quality image even with bigger screens.

If budget is a factor, the lowest resolution you should go for is 720p HD.

Lamp Life

The bulb or lamp life of a projector doesn’t matter that much, but let’s just weigh-in for a bit.

Most projectors have a lamp life between 30,000 – 50,000 hours. If you convert that in days, that can amount to three to five years. That’s a lot of lamp life already considering that you don’t use the projector 24/7 in its entire lifespan.

However, if you’re investing in something expensive, you might as well look for the ones with a longer lamp life. It may take years before the bulb gets busted, but at least you can use your projector worry-free.

Input Connections

Connectivity is essential when it comes to choosing a projector. Not all input devices have the same connections. Some use VGA, HDMI, RCA, or DVI.

Look into which input connections are compatible with your projector. Also, consider what input device you would often be using. Would it be a DVD player? A laptop?

Whichever it is, always ask on what connectivity cords come with it. The good thing about modern projectors is that they are compatible with almost all of the contemporary devices as well. If not, you can opt to buy third party adapters if your input device is not compatible with any of the projector’s connectivity options.

Speakers and Sound

Projectors often come with built-in speakers. However, this seems useless at some point, especially if you use it outdoors.

These built-in speakers are often small and have low wattage, which means its quality is not as good as hooking up a separate speaker that’s bigger and louder. Just make sure that your projector has the right input connection for audio. I have used my Bose SoundLink Revolve and it creates the perfect sound for my outdoor movie nights.

Overall Quality

Check your projectors’ overall quality.

Read reviews on how sturdy it is. Make sure that it is made out of materials that are meant to last. Also, consider if it is dust and humidity proof since you’ll be using it outdoors.

You also need to check how portable the projector is since you’ll be moving it around. Its size and weight matter in this aspect.


The 10 Best Projectors for Backyard Movie Nights

After knowing which factors you should consider in looking for a projector, we give you a list of the top ten best projectors for backyard movie nights that you can find online.

1. GooDee HD Outdoor Movie Projector (Best Bang for Your Buck)

We put the GooDee Outdoor Projector on top of the list because this is where you’ll get your money’s worth.

It may come as a bit more expensive compared to others, but you’re getting excellent video quality, both in pictures and sounds. It projects brighter and wider videos making it perfect for outdoor viewing.

One of its selling points is its cooling system that is comparably quieter and more efficient. That way, you won’t hear any additional noise coming from the projector itself.

It is also compatible with most devices, including gaming and other mobile devices. This means you can use it for outdoor viewing or game nights, too.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Min. Throw Distance: 1.5 Meters
  • Weight: 2.7 kgs.
  • Contrast ratio: 3000:1
  • Resolution: 1080p Supported
  • Connectivity: VGA, USB, HDMI

See on Amazon


2. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector (Best Price)

Compared to other projectors with its size and range of specs, Vankyo Leisure 3 has the best price among them all. It makes it a contender to be the best projector for backyard movie nights at a ultimate low price.

This product is best known for its quality of materials and durability. The picture and sound quality are also good, especially with its price. The manual is clear and understandable, making it easy to set-up and use.

One great feature of this projector is that it is compatible with most smartphones. You can view photos, videos, and even stream shows and movies from major streaming sites in a breeze. This makes it an excellent all-around projector for any intended use.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Min. Throw Distance: 1.5 Meters
  • Weight: 0.9 kgs.
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Resolution: 1080p Supported
  • Connectivity: VGA, USB, HDMI

See on Amazon


3. Epson EX3260 SVGA (Best Quality)

Epson is a brand that’s best known for its quality, especially on printers and projectors. That’s why we put the Epson EX3260 SVGA on the list.

With 3,300 lumens, its brightness allows projecting images in vivid colors. It even projects high-quality images in a brightly lit room; imagine what it can do in your backyard at night!

Its quality makes the projector great not just for presenting still pictures, but for high-quality videos as well. Is it the best projector for backyard movie night? It certainly provides amazing quality.

A downside about the product, and you’ll see most users point this out, is that there is no audio output. Which means you either have to stick to its built-in speakers, or spend a few dollars on an audio extractor and whatever wire or adapter you might still need to hook it into an external speaker. The speakers are high-quality and produces great sound.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Brightness: 3300 Lumens
  • Min. Throw Distance: 1.5 Meters
  • Weight: 2.5 kgs.
  • Contrast ratio: 3000:1
  • Resolution: 800×600
  • Connectivity: HDMI, VGA, RCA

See on Amazon


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

The Dr. J Professional Portable Movie Projector is another example of value for money.

Considering its price, it gives you a product of exceptional quality. Even with just 1,800 lumens, it is bright enough to have a night viewing outdoors. It also supports 1080p resolution, so images are projected in full high definition.

One thing that sets this product apart from others is that it can be mounted into a tripod. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to adjusting its height just in case your screen is placed higher than usual. It is also very portable making it easy to move around or adjust its position. Plus, when you buy the product, you already have the screen included!

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Min. Throw Distance: 1.5 Meters
  • Weight: 2.5 kgs.
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Resolution: Full HD 1080p
  • Connectivity: HDMI, USB

See on Amazon


5. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens SVGA

ViewSonic’s 3600 SVGA projector may be more known as an indoor projector for business presentations, but its specs are also suitable for outdoor viewing at night.

Its SuperColor Technology allows you to view pictures of vivid colors and with the highest accuracy possible. It makes pictures look just stunning.

A great feature of this projector is that it is Blu-Ray and 3D ready. So, just imagine the possibilities of what movies or series to watch with that feature alone!

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Brightness: 3600 Lumens
  • Min. Throw Distance: 1.19 – 13.11 Meters
  • Contrast ratio: 3000:1
  • Resolution: VGA to Full HD Support
  • Connectivity: HDMI, VGA

See on Amazon


6. APEMAN NM4 Mini Portable Projector

Moving on to a mini portable projector, the Apeman NM4 has one of the best qualities out there. It is easy to use and set-up. It comes with a tripod, too.

It comes as a plug-and-play device, so most of the settings are dependent on the connected device rather than the projector. You can still adjust its brightness and sharpness, though. As a small option, it can be one of the best projectors for backyard movie nights.

It has a great battery life so you can enjoy a movie marathon without worrying it will turn low in just a few hours.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Resolution: Support 1080p
  • Connectivity: HDMI, USB

See on Amazon


7. AAXA P7 Mini Projector with Battery

AAXA P7 Mini Projector is a bit bulkier than you can expect of a ‘mini’ projector. But it does its job well.

It is bright for its size, and the images come out crisp. It can connect to most devices, making it versatile enough for any use. Be it your laptop, phone, or gaming consoles.

This projector can operate up to 90 minutes of viewing time, which is excellent for a night-long outdoor movie night.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Brightness: 600 Lumens
  • Battery life: Up to 90 mins.
  • Weight: 0.64 kg.
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Resolution: Full HD
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Composite AV, MiniVGA, USB

See on Amazon


8. VANKYO Miracle110 Mini Portable Projector for Kids

Vankyo’s design is cute – you can’t NOT want it.

Its ‘octopus’ legs work as a built-in tripod so you wouldn’t have to worry about its stability and balance. It is also durable enough, perfect for its product intent as a projector for kids.

For its price and size, its brightness is okay, and its image quality is good enough. Overall, it does its job as a projector for kids. It is the best projector for backyard movie night kids version because of its eye protection technology!

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Min. Throw Distance: 2 Meters
  • Weight: 0.6 kg.
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Resolution: 720×480, Full HD Support
  • Connectivity: USB

See on Amazon


9. YABER Portable Projector

Yaber’s Portable Projector looks bigger than other ‘portable’ ones, but it is lightweight enough to make you not feel how bulky it is.

Compared to others, Yaber has a better picture quality. Its contrast ratio of 5000:1 makes it an ideal projector for backyard night viewing. Its native resolution is also much higher compared to other portable projectors.

It is also great for both wide or bigger screens and smaller ones. You only need its remote control to adjust its screen size rather than moving it closer or farther the screen.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Min. Throw Distance: 3.05 Meters
  • Contrast ratio: 5000:1
  • Resolution: Full HD Support
  • Connectivity: HDMI, AV, VGA, USB

See on Amazon


10. QKK Portable Mini Projector [with Tripod]

QKK updated its portable mini projector to increase its native resolution to Full HD and improve its contrast ratio.

It gives off vivid colors and high-quality pictures, making any daytime or nighttime viewing pleasing to the eyes making it a best projector for backyard movie night contender.

This QKK projector also has more USB ports and connectivity options. With wired mirroring, you can use your phone to project any video or picture on your screen.

This one comes with a tripod that fits perfectly with the projector. It is sturdy and stable enough to support the projector’s weight.

IMPORTANT SPECS:

  • Brightness: 2200 lumens
  • Min. Throw Distance: 3.5 Meters
  • Weight: 1.4 kgs.
  • Contrast ratio: 2000:1
  • Resolution: Full HD Support
  • Connectivity: VGA, HDMI, USB

See on Amazon


Recommended Accessories

Jumbo 20 Feet Inflatable Outdoor and Indoor Theater Projector Screen

This 13 feet by 8 feet inflatable movie screen is a must if you plan on having a big backyard movie area. It will provide a large enough screen for a full football team to sit around and enjoy. Use rear or front projection to suit your needs.

The kit comes with everything you would need to set it up, including an electric blower, rope, stakes, and also a carrier bag.

It really creates the ultimate movie theatre experience!

See on Amazon


Projector Screen with Stand 100 inch Portable

If you arent looking for a jumbo inflatable projector screen, I understand, it could be a bit much for some backyards. Opt-out for the 100-inch portable projector screen you can set up almost anywhere.

It has a wrinkle-free design making movies appear correctly and unwarped. It has a 16:9 ratio perfect for the projectors on this list. Plus its stand makes portability easy!

See on Amazon


Jaxx Juniper Outdoor Bean Bag Patio Chair

An outdoor bean bag chair provides a comfortable movie experience. If you are interested in this chair by Jaxx it is available in 10 colors from striped designs to one solid color. I know the kids love bean bag chairs!

Feel free to leave them outside, they are UV, weather, mold, and fade resistant. Plus the cover is removable and can be machine washed, can this get any easier?

See on Amazon


Bose Speakers


If you are looking for a smaller but still powerful speaker I recommend Bose. I am sure you already know about them, they are one of the top-rated speakers because the sound they produce is amazing. Simply hook up using an aux cord or another adapter and enjoy high-quality audio outdoors.

The best Bose speakers for an outdoor theatre would be:


Nostalgia Popcorn & Concession Cart

A popcorn maker and concession cart will totally top off that backyard movie theatre. The movie doesn’t really start until there’s popcorn!

Have 10 cups of popcorn per batch with the nostalgia popcorn maker. Also, it is movie theatre style so it is super yummy. In addition, you can place all the popcorn supplies in its base compartment, but also stash candy, drinks, and more!

See on Amazon


2 in 1 Chair with Footrest Recliner

Sit back and relax in this 2 in 1 Camp Chair that can have a footrest or act as a side table. Camping chairs are easy to set up and they are in the affordable price range. If you are seeking a comfy backyard lounge chair read our 10 Most Comfortable Outdoor Lounge Chairs.

See on Amazon


Conclusion

There’s no definite ‘perfect’ projector, but there could be one that fits your needs. If searching for the best projector for a backyard movie night was difficult, I hope this list made it easy!

Just take note of the key factors to look for in a projector and evaluate which among these you should prioritize. Of course, it would depend on your needs and budget, too.

Once you get the ideal one for you, we assure you that you’ll have tons of fun and enjoyable backyard movie nights or viewing parties with family and friends. Plus, to make things better I added the best backyard movie accessories top make things even better!