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 the brightest lamp and has a low input lag that makes it suitable for both gaming and home theater use.
Having said that, it won’t necessarily be the right projector for everyone. Those looking for more portability or a shorter throw ratio may want to consider an option like the Kodak Luma 450, and the other options we review here have their strengths, as well.
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:
|BenQ TH585||Optoma HD146X||Kodak Luma 450||ViewSonic PX703HD||Acer H6531BD|
|Contrast Ratio||10,000 : 1||25,000 : 1||3,500:1||12,000 : 1||10,000 : 1|
|Throw Distance:||3.6' - 32.7'||3.3' - 32.2||7” – 12’6”||3.2' - 24.7'||3.2' - 32.7'|
|Image Size||30" - 300"||28" - 300"||up to 170"||30” – 300”||26” – 300”|
|Built in Speakers||10W||10W||1W||10W||3W|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
Best projector under 600 buyer’s 2020 guide
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: Optoma HD146X
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: Kodak Luma 450
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.
You might see two resolutions listed on a projector’s stats: the native resolution and the supported resolution. The native resolution is the highest image quality you’ll get in a projected image, even if it supports a higher quality. If the projector supports 4K but has a native resolution of 1080p, this means it can play 4K content, but it will look like 1080p on the screen. (Find our guide of best of 1080p projectors here)
Projector with the best resolution: Kodak Luma 450
Let’s start with the versatile BenQ TH585. It’s an excellent choice for multi-use spaces like living rooms and media rooms because it’s responsive enough for gaming, with an input lag as low as any high-end projector. You’ll experience no noticeable delay when you’re playing, letting you focus on the game without frustration.
The BenQ TH585 is also a great choice for home theater use. It has a full HD resolution with a high contrast ratio for sharp, crisp on-screen details. We also appreciate the bright lamp, which puts out 3,500 lumens. That’s enough to keep the image bright and colorful even if there’s a lot of light in your viewing area.
Setting up the BenQ TH585 is relatively easy. It has a manual zoom and focus with a 20% lens shift, everything you need for easy alignment to the screen. The only thing to keep in mind is you’ll need a decent amount of space—about 11 feet of distance for a 100” screen. That can make it a challenge to use in smaller rooms.
- Full HD resolution
- Crisp, detailed picture with good color accuracy
- Menu interface is intuitive and easy to navigate
- Bright lamp can be used in any space
- Low 16ms input lag for gaming
- 3D support for all content sources
- Short lamp lifespan at higher performance levels
- Not ideal for small spaces
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.
- 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
Kodak Luma 450
You might not expect to find a smart projector in this price range, but the Kodak Luma 450 is a surprising device in more ways than one. This starts with its Android 7.1 operating system, which lets you watch content from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services right through the projector.
We also like how portable the Kodak Luma 450 is. Along with a compact, lightweight build, it has instant focus and automatic keystone correction. No more frustrating fiddling to get the image aligned to the screen. You even have the option of battery power, which lasts for about 3 hours between charges. All of this together makes it a great choice for backyard movie nights, road trips, and other outdoor applications.
Unfortunately, the Kodak Luma 450 has one significant limitation: it might be smart, but it’s not very bright. The LED light source is long-lasting but not as powerful as other lamp designs. If there’s any extra light in your viewing area, the picture will start to look dim and washed out. This limits its use indoors to dedicated home theater spaces where you have full control over the light level.
- Native Full HD resolution with 4K input support
- Smart OS lets you stream content right to projector
- Choice of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or wired connections
- Fast, easy set-up
- Compact and portable with included tripod stand
- Battery lasts for an entire movie
- Requires completely dark space
- Built-in speakers are weak
The ViewSonic PX703HD is another option that will catch the attention of gamers for its low input lag and smooth on-screen response. That’s not just great for games, either. Smooth frame-by-frame movement is also a big part of the projector’s Sports Mode, which optimizes the picture so you’ll feel like you’re right there at the arena.
The ViewSonic PX703HD is easy to install, though you will need a good amount of space for it. It’s well-suited to ceiling mounted installations thanks to the inclusion of vertical keystone correction. The optical zoom and lens shift also help with aligning the image.
With its bright lamp, the PX703HD will give a consistent picture in any light level. The full HD resolution is sharp and detailed, and stays that way even when you’re playing games or watching 3D movies. Overall, it’s a user-friendly and reliable option for use in any home.
- Cinema-quality color
- Bright lamp
- Flexible connection options
- Robust image alignment and adjustment features
- Low 16ms input latency
- Full HD quality for 3D content
- Longer throw distance
- Lens shift can’t be used while in Gaming Mode
Acer isn’t a name you hear often in the projector world, but that just may change after you check out the H6531BD. This durable and low-maintenance projector has a lamp lifespan of up to 20,000 hours. It’s easy to install, too, with an optical zoom and image shift function that give you more wiggle room during installation. There are good options for connecting content, too, with a component input along with 2 HDMI ports.
The image quality with the Acer H6531BD is on point, too. It has the same full HD resolution and bright lamp you’ll find on the projectors above, and produces lifelike colors with Acer’s ColorSafe II and ColorBoost3D technology.
You’ll definitely need to use external speakers with the Acer H6531BD. The 3-watt speaker that comes in it is too weak to be of any functional use. That small issue aside, this is a great choice if you’re looking for a long-lasting and user-friendly home theater projector.
- Durable, low-maintenance design
- 3D support through HDMI inputs
- Bright, true to life colors
- Automatic keystone correction and alignment options
- Has both HDMI and component inputs
- Weak built-in speaker
- Needs a lot of space for a big picture
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 Amazon) 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.