[6/10/22: Updated with Samsung Freestyle]
It's time to start making the most of the outdoors – by investing in one of the best outdoor projectors.
As with the best projectors for the home, picking the right model for outdoor entertainment can be tricky, with a very different set of criteria. Portability for taking outside, audio quality outside of a sound-proof room, battery life and more need to be kept in mind when making such a purchase.
We've rounded up the best outdoor projectors out there, delivering a fantastic movie night no matter your outdoor setup. Whether you're having a romantic evening for two, or a party for a few, there are plenty of options. (If you're planning on staying indoors, of course, we have a best home cinema projector guide for that too.)
Whatever you choose, you're guaranteed to have a great summer with these versatile units – but don't forget to pop the popcorn before you head out.
What to keep in mind
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
What makes an outdoor projector? Many of the models listed here were designed for indoor use, but a long enough power extension cable can mean that the plug socket in your living room can reach out onto a garden patio or balcony – so don’t write off these models just yet.
Of course, most projectors aren’t built to be weather-proof as such, and we wouldn’t recommend leaving one out in the rain. It’s best to make sure you have a clear sky or some kind of cover – whether that’s an awning, roof, or otherwise. The smallest, most portable models could even be set up inside a tent on camping trips – though try not to get caught out with a short battery life, especially if you won’t have anywhere nearby to charge. (To solve that issue, check out the best power banks too.)
The best outdoor projectors in 2022
The XGIMI Halo is a great shout for anyone after a portable projector that doesn't give up on quality pictures entirely. This stylish, compact, and capable projector is easy to take with you on the go, with built-in 5W speakers and 1080p / Full HD resolution to offer both sight and sound.
You're getting 800 lumens max brightness while plugged in, though this does drop to 600 lumens when running on battery – fine for dark, outdoor settings, though you'll undoubtedly fare better with the former setting. Regardless, the battery life is long enough to watch an average-length movie (no Snyder Cut, sorry) and you won't have to pay through the nose for this capable model. There's no native Netflix support, sadly – something that also plagues the XGIMI Horizon Pro – but complaints are few and far between for the Halo.
It's worth noting that heater enthusiasts may not be satisfied with the brightness and picture of the Halo, especially because of somewhat distracting video noise in dark scenes. Meanwhile, casual viewers who want a projector they can pop-up at home, in their yard, or on camping trips may be just as satisfied with a more affordable, slightly dimmer option. But, for anyone who needs flexibility and wants the best projector that can fit that need, the XGIMI Halo will prove a worthy choice.
Read more: XGIMI Halo review
The Anker Nebula Solar Portable is a compact and stylish outdoor projector that delivers in almost every area. Sporting a sleek design, it will look great on a shelf in your living room between uses, and it’s small enough to fit easily into a drawer, or even a backpack or tote bag for taking out and about.
As a portable model, the battery will last around three hours, which should be good for getting in a film when you’re not close to a plug socket. However, its USB-C power port means you should also be able to link up a portable power bank for multiple uses.
While the picture quality is pretty adequate for the price and form factor, the projector is let down on the brightness front. Nevertheless, it’s still a sleek, smart gadget with a few tricks up its sleeve – including Bluetooth speaker functionality that switches off the projection and just brings the tunes.
Read more: Anker Nebula Solar Portable review
Billed as a lifestyle projector, the size and shape of the EpiqVision Mini EF12 will appeal to those who have an eye for design and are on the lookout for a portable model.
The EF12’s internal features aid portability, since there’s a built-in Chromecast and decent Yamaha speakers that pump out well-rounded sound that isn’t at all harsh. There are also two HDMIs with ARC support, and the unit runs on a snappy Android TV platform, so it’s a doddle to set up. The EF12 is a Full HD projector, which could put off those who insist on 4K resolution, but it’s as good as we’d expect in a projector of this size.
The laser-powered picture is colourful and clear, with a distinct lack of blurring in fast-moving images. But as great as it is for sports and films, gamers will be disappointed by the long lag, which makes many games unplayable. On paper, it outputs at just 1,000 lumens, but don’t let that put you off – as it looks a decent amount brighter than that. The EF12 is also extremely power-efficient, drawing around a third of energy when compared to its competitors.
Read more: Epson EF12 review
If you're looking for an easy-to-use, set-and-run projector to keep the little ones entertained, the ViewSonic Ultra-Portable Projector is just the model. The whopping six-hour battery will give you a run for your money, whether you're playing games or watching movies.
Compact with a built-in stand, this projector is perfect for camping or simply relaxing at home. While the ViewSonic is 300-lumen model, the unit does feature keystone correction and sports dual Harman Kardon speakers – which, for the price, isn’t bad going at all. It's compatible with USB-C, HDMI and micro SD too.
We haven't reviewed this particular outdoor projector, though you can see our thoughts on its close cousin, the ViewSonic M2, which definitely impressed with its ease of setup, loud speakers, and good connectivity options – even if the motion smoothing was a bit aggressive for our liking. For a cheap, portable projector though, it's hard to find too many complaints here.
Keep in mind that there are a few iterations of the ViewSonic M1+, including a more basic M1 pocket projector with more basic JBL audio (for about half the price).
Read more: ViewSonic M2 review
Some projector were meant to be portable – and few do it better than the Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector.
About the size and shape of a can of Coca Cola, the tiny projector looks more like a battery pack for a piece of AV equipment than an all-out projector, but those looks are deceiving. The Capsule II is very capable for its size, offering a 720p (HD) resolution and strong audio output – and a noticeable improvement on 2018's Anker Nebula Mars II – even if it can't compete with the more premium 4K HDR models listed in this guide.
Given its size, we were pleasantly surprised to find a fully-sized HMDI port, too, rather than the mini-HDMI alternative – as well as a USB port and USB-C charging port, allowing you to power the projector while connecting to a streaming stick like the Roku Express or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
There's also 3,600 apps to make use of, all pre-built into the Android TV smart platform. However, given some tricky certification issues around Netflix, you won't get the biggest TV streaming service on there unless you connect an external device to do it for you.
Read the full review: Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector
After more than a decade since its last home cinema projector, Samsung has exploded back on the scene with The Premiere LSP9T projector.
It's an excellent model (receiving five stars in our review) but if you're shelling out £6,999 / US$6,499 / AU$10,999 for a 4K projector, you'll likely want to be able to use the projector beyond one room.
As a wired projector, you may need an extension cord to bring this model out of doors – and you'll want to be careful it doesn't get stuck in bad weather – but you likely won't be disappointed with the result. An ultra-short-throw model, the Premiere can be placed right up against a wall or screen. The resolution is superb as a result of 4K HDR projection with tri-color laser technology.
This is the only projector that packs in the HDR10+ dynamic HDR format, which adds in scene-by-scene picture calibration with compatible films and TV shows, so you're guaranteed the best picture. The 40W built-in speakers are great for adding extra atmosphere, too.
Read our full review: Samsung The Premiere projector
Another technically indoor model that could be convinced to trail outside with an extension cable, the BenQ TK850 offers exceptionally high brightness at 3,000 lumens – meaning it's a smart choice for ensuring visible images in the kind of evening light that dimmer projectors may struggle with.
The BenQ TK850 can output a lot of brightness, making for vividly-realized colors and immediately visible detail, even in daytime or with some level of ambient light in the room. For that, it get a thumbs up from us.
There's some video noise in gray shadows or dark scenes, and the lack of streaming apps may disappoint some, but overall the TK850 is a fantastic projector for your home – or just outside it.
Read the full review: BenQ TK850 projector