A projector is a great affordable way to get a big screen experience in the comfort of your own home. And you can get this experience even if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking for the best projector under 600 bucks, you might be surprised by just how much quality you can get for the price.
Considering all the factors, the Optoma HD146X is our top choice. (>>> Check the current price on Amazon) It has the best overall picture quality along with a bright lamp and has a low input lag that makes it suitable for both gaming and home theater use.
Want to learn more? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll break down what you need to look at in an affordable projector and review five of our favorite contenders.
Best Projectors Under $600 – Top Picks for 2023:
- Optoma DH351
- Optoma HD146X
- BenQ TH575
- ViewSonic M2e
- ViewSonic PX701HDH
- Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02
|Optoma DH351||Optoma HD146X||BenQ TH575||ViewSonic M2e||ViewSonic PX701HDH||Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02|
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,600 ANSI||3,600 ANSI||3,800 ANSI||400 ANSI||3,500 ANSI||3,000 ANSI|
|Contrast Ratio||22,000:1||25,000:1||15,000:1||3,000,000:1||12,000:1||No data|
|Throw Distance||3.3' - 32.2'||3.3' - 32.2||3.5' - 32.5'||2.6' - 8.8'||3.6' - 32.7'||3.0' - 33.8'|
|Image Size||28" - 302"||28" - 302"||30" - 300"||30" - 100"||30" - 300"||34" - 391"|
|Built in Speakers||5.0 Watts Mono||3.0 Watts Mono||10.0 Watts Mono||3.0 Watts × 2||10.0 Watts Mono||5.0 Watts Mono|
You want to make sure to look at the stats of projectors in this price range. The unfortunate reality is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You will need to make some compromises compared to what you’ll get with a more expensive projector. (You might still want to check this Top projectors under 2000 guide)
The key to getting the best bang for your buck is to figure out which features you actually need, and which you can do without. Some things, like 3D or wireless capability, are easy for most people to let go of since they won’t affect your typical viewing experience.
There are 3 stats you’ll definitely want to pay attention to, though, no matter your price range.
Measured in lumens, this is an indicator of how much light is put out by the lamp. If the lamp is too dim, the colors will look washed out and the image will lose clarity. You’ll also need to think about your space when you’re looking at the brightness.
The more ambient light is in the room, the higher the brightness will need to be to get the same picture quality.
For a completely dark room, you can get away with a brightness of 1,000 to 1,500 lumens. In a normal living room or conference room, though, you will need more lamp power—at least 2,500 lumens, although 3,000 is even better.
Brightest Projector: ViewSonic PX701HDH
The throw ratio is a measure of how much distance between the lamp and screen is required to get a screen of a given size. A short-throw projector can give you a screen of 150” or more from just a few feet away, while a standard projector will need to be at least 8-10 feet from the screen to produce a large image.
(For our short-throw projectors guide click here)
Screen size isn’t the only thing affected by the throw ratio. The further the lamp is from the screen, the brighter it needs to be to get the same image quality. Therefore, a projector with a short throw ratio can get away with a lower brightness.
Shortest throw distance: ViewSonic M2e
Resolution and Picture Quality
The native resolution of a projector tells you how many pixels the screen image will have. Similar to the resolution on a television, a higher resolution gives you a sharper, more detailed picture. A resolution of 1080p is equivalent to standard HD on a flat-screen TV, and is what you’ll get from most projectors in this price range in 2022.
Just as important as the projector’s resolution is its image contrast and color production. A higher contrast means a bigger difference between dark and bright areas, resulting in sharper lines and better image depth. A wider color gamut, meanwhile, enhances the realism of the picture, as well as keeping it authentic to the source signal.
Best image quality: Optoma HD146X, ViewSonic M2e
- Sharp full HD picture with good color and contrast
- Bright lamp works in any indoor light environment
- Lightweight and compact
- Flexible installation with zoom and keystone correction
- Full 3D support
- Limited connectivity
- Long throw distance
The Optoma DH351 is a versatile projector that can work just as well for presentations and other professional uses as it does in a home theater.
Its bright lamp produces a vibrant, saturated picture even with relatively high levels of ambient light, one reason it’s great for use in classrooms and conference rooms. It’s a portable projector, too, weighing just over 6 pounds, so it’s easy to take with you wherever you want to use it.
The picture quality of the Optoma DH351 is impressive for the price. Its 1080p resolution is paired with a 6-segment color wheel and Dynamic Black technology, further enhancing the color and contrast. You can even use it to watch 3D content, something you won’t find on many projectors at the price point.
Since it’s a standard throw projector, you will need a good amount of space for the Optoma DH351. Its connection panel is also limited, with just a single HDMI input, which may be an issue for more complex set-ups. These limitations aside, alignment features like zoom and keystone correction give it a relatively flexible set-up that’s easy even if you’re not an A/V expert.
- Full HD resolution with 6-segment color wheel
- Dynamic Black contrast technology
- Low input lag in Enhanced Gaming Mode
- Single-chip design makes aligning image easier
- Relatively quiet operation
- Bright lamp
- May produce rainbow effect for sensitive viewers
- Long throw distance
For pure picture quality, the Optoma HD146X is our choice for the best projector in the price range. It uses the same advanced technology as Optoma’s higher-end projectors, including a Texas Instruments DLP chip, a 6-segment color wheel, and Dynamic Black contrast enhancement.
The end result is a sharp high-definition image with the same color depth and accuracy you’d expect in a movie theater.
The Enhanced Gaming Mode on the Optoma HD146X also makes it a good choice for gamers. The low 16ms input latency means no noticeable delay or lag. The picture is also better-optimized for gaming than other projectors in this price range, with better detail in dark areas and smoother frame-to-frame movement.
Now those sensitive to the rainbow effect may notice it with this projector, since it uses a 1-chip design with a color wheel. The HD146X also has a fairly long throw distance, so it may not be the best choice in small spaces. These issues aside, though, it’s a versatile projector that’s a fantastic value at the price.
- Sharp contrast with gorgeous picture
- Brightness works well even in the indoors
- Gaming mode reduces lag
- 3D support
- Lacks 4K
BenQ is well-known for having projectors that fit people of all budgets, and their 2023 TH575 model is no exception.
While some may be disappointed that such a new projector only offers 1080p, its picture is colorful and sharp. It has 3,800 lumens, making it ideal even in a lit environment. Its contrast is designed to give you brighter whites and richer blacks with ease.
It’s also a projector with the gamers in mind. You only need about 10.8 feet for its short-throw projection, where you can experience 1080p, 60Hz gaming at only 16ms of lag.
Overall, it’s an excellent projector if you’re on a budget, and especially if you want to whip out some video games during a party.
- Color gamut exceeds Rec.709 spectrum
- Low-maintenance with long lamp lifespan
- Portable design
- Aptoide interface for direct streaming
- Easy to set up with auto-focus and 2D keystone
- Good variety of wired and wireless connections
- Lowest lamp brightness on the list
- Limited apps available for direct streaming
Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, the ViewSonic M2e is equally portable to the BenQ above, with a similarly slim profile. It’s just as easy to set up, too. Just turn it on and the built-in sensor will automatically adjust the focus and keystone correction, no need for manual fiddling.
Along with an Aptoid streaming interface, it does have a mix of wired and wireless input options, as well as a memory card slot so you can play content you’ve downloaded.
Unfortunately, the ViewSonic M2e also shares the Elfin’s main weakness: its lamp is weak and prone to washout from even small amounts of ambient light. This is the main reason we don’t recommend it as a presentation projector, though it can still be a fine choice for backyard movie nights, camping trips, and other on-the-go uses.
On the plus side, the picture quality of the ViewSonic M2e exceeds most options in the price range. It has a high dynamic contrast and SuperColor+ technology for a color gamut about 25% wider than the Rec.709 spectrum. The result is a realistic and immersive picture—provided you’re able to use it in a completely dark viewing area.
- Full HD resolution
- 3,500 lumens let you play it in a bright place with ease
- Easy setup
- Up to 16ms input lag
- Lacks 3D and 4K
- Contrast could be better
The PX701HDH is another choice from ViewSonic if you want an affordable projector. This one is much brighter than the previous entry, letting you play it in bright rooms. It delivers a full HD experience, allowing for a screen up to 300-inches.
It uses Exclusive SuperColor technology, with its claim that it can reproduce images beautifully. Unfortunately, there were certain areas where we felt the colors and contrast could have been stronger. We recognize it’s a budget projector, but compared to others on the list, it is lacking in picture.
However, it does have 16ms input, making it ideal for gamers. It’s also quite easy to set up and bring to outings. For that, we say it’s worth checking out.
Epson EpiqVision Flex CO-FH02
- Full HD resolution
- 3,000 lumens and colorful pictures
- Includes Bluetooth
- Some smart integration
- No gaming mode
- Speaker could be better
Finally, we have this projector from Epson. It’s a 1080p projector designed specifically for portability. Whether you’re bringing it to party or for office presentations, it delivers with 3,000 lumens and 3-chip LCD technology. It even includes adaptive color correction, an advanced feature for a projector of this price. This means you’ll get the best possible picture whenever you use it.
It has impressive picture quality, and also comes with several smart features. You can use voice search with its built-in Google Assistant and stream movies right from it. While we recommend you bring an extra speaker or two because the internal one is lacking, it does have Bluetooth to make it simpler.
Overall, it’s an excellent pick, but is it the best of this list? Let’s find out.
The bottom line: The best projector under 600 dollars
Considering all the factors, the Optoma HD146X is our top choice. (>>> Check the current price on Bhphotovideo) All of these projectors have their strengths and weaknesses – but all of them can be the right one for a certain kind of consumer.
Figure out the demands of your particular space and use those to make your ultimate decision. You might be surprised by the kind of home theater set up you can get without blowing your budget.