For a movie night under the starry sky, an outdoor projector is the best choice

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By Webdesk

Bringing the family together to watch a movie everyone agrees on (Encanto?) under the stars: That’s a summer night. It’s also a relatively safe way to hang out, especially if your loved ones don’t like spending an evening indoors together.

To turn your garden into a home cinema, however, you need a projector – one that works just as well outdoors as indoors.

While most projectors aren’t marketed exclusively for outdoor use, there are plenty of options that are suitable for backyards, rooftops, and porches. You can even take superportable projectors on camping trips, making for great weekend plans as we head into the warmer months.

You just need to keep a few key specs in mind, including brightness, portability, projection distance, and sound. Whatever the specific needs of your outdoor space, there’s probably a projector on this list for you.

What is the best outdoor projector for everyday use?

It’s pretty easy to control the light level indoors: if you want it to be darker, turn off the lights and close the blinds. Outdoors, the light level is largely out of your control – all you can do is wait for the sun to go down and hope there isn’t too much ambient light for your shot.

Consider the brightness level of your garden when choosing a projector. If you’re not concerned about ambient light – for example, you live in a rural area with very little light pollution or your backyard is far away from your neighbors’ – brightness may not be your main concern. If you expect ambient light to get in the way, or if you want to use your projector during the day, choose one of the brighter options on the list. (Here the brightness is indicated in lumens.)

What is the best outdoor projector for night use?

The best outdoor projector for night use has a high lumen rating. This means it creates a clear image, making it easier to see out, especially when you’re not in pitch dark viewing conditions.

How many lumens do you need for an outdoor projector?

The number of lumens a projector has determines its brightness. For a great outdoor image, a projector should have 3,000 lumens for a bright image before sunset. Just under 3,000 lumens and you’ll have to wait for more complete darkness to have a quality viewing experience.

What is a good projection distance for a projector?

Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for the best outdoor projector is the throw distance, which refers to the distance between the projector’s lens and the screen. A long-throw projector can project a high-quality image while sitting farther from the screen; a projector with a shorter throw distance should be closer to the screen. If you have a large backyard, you may want a longer throw distance. For a roof, a small porch or a green space in an apartment, a shorter throw distance is ideal.

Choosing the right projector for the size of your room can be tricky, so we’ve done our best to specify the locations where our picks will work best. If you want to read on, there are several informative guides available. Our favorite on the Epson blog(opens in a new tab) and includes a handy distance calculator.

You can’t store a projector outside, so we’ve made sure there are relatively light options that can be easily lugged out to the backyard. Each of our picks weighs less than 10 pounds; still, if you want to travel with your projector, you’ll probably want the lightest possible option.

What products do I need for a movie night outside?

The projector will do a lot of work for you, and it should. But if you’re building an outdoor theater from scratch, there are a few other supplies you’ll need, including:

  • A screen to project on. This can be anything from a real screen(opens in a new tab) intended for outdoor use to a white sheet on a wall at the side of your garage.

  • A separate sound system, possibly. Many projectors – especially lightweight ones – don’t have great built-in speakers. We recommend purchasing a separate set of external speakers, especially if the projector’s built-in speakers provide less than 5 watts of sound.

  • A power strip and extension cords, if your projector is not running on battery. Extra batteries if so.

  • Seating for guests, preferably unobtrusive options such as cushions and low folding chairs(opens in a new tab). You may also want to keep a supply of blankets nearby in case it gets chilly.

  • snacks! You don’t have to be sneaky about outdoor dining when the movie theater is your own backyard.

Here are our picks for the best outdoor projectors. You better question the fam about that movie. Or maybe everyone can just play Super Smash Bros.

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