- 1. VANKYO LEISURE Q5 3 Mini Projector
- 2. DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector
- 3. AuKing Mini Projector
- 4. Meer YG300 Portable Mini Projector
- 5. CiBest W13 Mini Projector
- 6. QKK AK-80 Portable Mini Projector
- 7. GooDee YG200 Mini Projector
- 8. Vamvo L4200 Portable Video Projector
- 9. OHDERII Mini Projector
- 10. Crosstour P600 Mini Projector
- 11. Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector
- 12. ManyBox Mini Projector
- 13. ARTlii New Mini Projector
- 14. Meer YG220 Pico LCD Video Projector
- 15. Amazon Renewed Miroir Micro Projector
Brand:GooDee YG200 Mini Projector
Brand:ManyBox Mini Projector
Brand:Artlii New Mini Projector
The Best Mini Projector
I'm sure you love electronics and finding the one that nobody else has yet is always a good thing. Projectors are fab things to have in the home and if you adore watching movies with the kids or spending a bit of me-time in front of your favorite comedy TV channel, portable projectors are great little things to have on hand - they're little novelty items that can give you the experience of a movie theater or gaming lounge, without the big price tag.
Remember having to write or type (or, if you were lucky, print) your stuff on a piece of perspex, then having to project your work through light from an ugly metal machine onto a more-than-inconvenient and ugly framed screen? Back then, if you're as old as some of us here at Unclutterer, the best projector was the one in the theater that, wait for it, projected not just an image at a time but lots (that was called a video movie!).
Most mini projectors used to be known for their poor picture quality and low resolution, and even the bigger office projectors had a bad name. Not any more. They aren't exclusive or only for the rich anymore. Here we have our 2020 review of portable projectors in the 'mini' or 'ultra mini' categories that fall below $210. Below are some details on features to watch out for too. Project, watch, enjoy.
First up is our first look at the VANKYO LEISURE Q5 3 Mini Projector which comes it’s own quality storage bag that’s big enough for the cables. It’s as portable as a laptop so easy to set up anywhere needing a projector but we would recommend a foldable tripod if you intend to take it places. The noise reduction tech does help although as with all projectors there’s going to be a hum while it operates. While 6.5 feet is the recommended viewing distance, anything further away will blur the image, although it promises an image size up to 170 inches we think this is a little ambitious but we do think our best choice is quite a nice little budget buy.
Great for home theater
Didn’t get hot over a 2 hour projection
Not for Office presentations
Extra HDMI adaptors needed (iPhone & Android)
Bluetooth not supported
100″ Projector screen included
Smartphone compatible (with HDMI)
Contrast ratio 3800:1
The DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector is a nice well-built portable mini projector and while it’s easy to spend $400+ on a premium projector this one is a great first buy. While the text viewing isn’t great, the LED lighting helps with imagery and you’re getting a pretty big picture size for general movie/TV watching. The mini projector can be placed up to 16 feet away from your screen and the image quality is pretty much comparable to the Vankyo Leisure Q5 (number 1 on our review list).
Can mount to ceiling
Not great for presentations
No zoom option
Poor viewing in daylight
Can be loud
With up to 16 feet viewing distance and a screen size of between 32 and 170 inches, the AuKing Mini Projector has built-in speakers and boasts a 55,000-hour lamp life which means you shouldn’t need to replace them for the life of the machine, or up to 15 years. As with the majority of mini projectors, this is a ‘plug and play’ so the HDMI lead is needed. For Android or iPhones specific HDMI adaptors are needed which must be bought separately. This is the AuKing 8541730864, manufactured by Bolun, and it claims this model is rated at 2600 lumen.
Good screen size
Ideal for gaming, movies, TV
No carry case
Fan is fairly loud
Not for daylight viewing
This is the Meer YG300 Portable Mini Projector and we included it as one of our many low-budget mini projectors on our review list. While this isn’t going to provide you with an all-round cinema experience, it’s actually great for children perhaps as an exciting and different gift – just like Mom and Dad’s one! The largest measurement on this little sweet projector is just 11.9cm which makes it ideal for traveling with. Perhaps you like camping where there is no electricity although it doesn’t come with the 5v power supply it needs to charge it. It can be connected to gaming consoles, laptops, DVD players, and smartphones and its largest projection size is 60 inches with the largest distance to place it is just under 10 meters.
Easy to carry
Ideal for children
Separate power source needed
Blurs over approx. 3 feet distance
HDMI not supplied
The CiBest W13 Mini Projector offers mini projection at a distance of up to 14.8 feet giving 200 inches of screen size and it’s quite fun to use. This model is pretty well built and it is quite bright therefore ideal for night time viewing. It is very lightweight so easy to move from indoors to outdoors on a hot evening. It has a rotating zoom control and a screw underneath so that it can be attached to a tripod. A speaker system addition, if you have one, will help improve the audio especially if you are having an outside showing. This is an awesome little machine and one of the best of its size compared to those similar in our review list.
Poor sound quality
The QKK AK-80 Portable Mini Projector is well priced and offers a bright viewing experience. It comes already sat in its sturdy carry bag which is handy when storing away or taking on your travels. Supplied with the power cord, remote control, tripod, and the HDMI lead although as is typical you will need to purchase the necessary smartphone or iPhone adaptor separately if you’re looking to connect those up to the projector. It supports up to a 170 screen at a distance of around 16 feet although its recommended to take this mini projector a little closer to your screen/wall to about 11 feet for a much clearer view.
Height adjustment screw
Ideal viewing in dark room/at night time
Not the best choice for gaming
Unsure on resolution
Not the smallest on our list yet the GooDee YG200 Mini Projector is still absolutely tiny, fitting snugly in the palm of your hand. Designed in an attractive blue and white, it is 13.5cm at its widest and small enough to carry around in your bag. Distance it away from your projector screen up to 6.5 feet and you will be able to view a projection of up to 60 inches, although we found that positioning at around 5 feet gives a sharper image and. At this low price, it’s an ideal children’s gift. The image quality isn’t the best. If you need to enhance the sound it does have an auxiliary port.
Ideal for children
Easy to travel with
Distance farther away for viewing small images
Could be brighter
High % of 1* reviews
Zoom lever not rotation
This quality projector in our opinion not only looks high quality, but it also works in an awesome way too. The Vamvo L4200 Portable Video Projector comes with a smart carrying case that fits the projector and all the leads supplied with it (power, HDMI) so you don’t have to schlep it about when you move it. It packs away nicely and travels well too. It has a screw point underneath so can be fixed to a tripod that needs to be purchased separately. If you decide to mount it on a ceiling a bracket will need to be purchased separately also. You might like that it can project a screen size of up to 200 inches still with a good quality image.
Ideal for presentations
Carry case supplied
Excellent for movies/gaming
Projector screen not supplied
Extra speakers a good idea
Needs a darkened room
Zoom is fixed
Fairly low resolution
Quite a bulky or industrial looking LED projector which can display up to an average 120 inches of viewing screen. The OHDERII Mini Projector has its own cooling system, has a screw point for fixing it to a tripod, and will connect to multiple devices using an HDMI adaptor, leads for Smartphones and/or iPhones that need to be purchased separately. This is just one of the mini projectors on our list that can become a permanent fixture in your viewing room or back yard, or if you prefer to leave your options open and move it around from time to time. Although the lumen rating is stated as 3800, we can’t confirm that and suggest contacting the manufacturer for clarification if you need to.
Good % of 5* reviews
Need to add external speakers
Only usable in darkness
The Crosstour P600 Mini Projector is another good budget buy. It can connect wirelessly with the addition of a dongle, as with the majority of mini projectors. This projector is compatible with iPhone using a separately bought HDMI adaptor, which is typical even with the best mini projector, and it is the same with connecting to Android. It will work in darkness so good image quality will be experienced by viewers.
Easy to load up
Fan noise suppression
Not for presentation use
Below average 5* review ratings
If we are all honest, how many of us buy a larger model because they generally will contain the technology to do more? This may not be true of the S1. The Vamvo Ultra Mini Portable Projector is one of the best mini projectors of those on our review list. Some obvious points are that it is an ultra-mini projector, has a sliding lens cover, and touch keys. The touch control ensures that even in your bag or pocket you won’t cause problems with it switching itself on. The manufacturer has even managed to fit a tiny zoom scroll, USB port, and made sure it can support gaming consoles, desktops, smartphones, and iPhones/iPads. The 5200mAH battery should give 2 hours on its brightest setting, compare that to some fully-sized projectors’ battery life and this ultra mini portable projector is stunning. But it won’t replace the full home theater setup.
Mini tripod included
Battery power indicator
Easy touch key operation
Need speakers if 2 or more people listening/watching
May not support older devices (4yrs+)
With all of the projectors, mini seems to be the way to go if you aren’t looking for an all-out permanent home theater system. This portable projector is the ManyBox Mini Projector and, of course, it is lightweight enough to move from inside to outdoors or from room to room, and good enough to make it a permanent fixture in your dedicated viewing room. We think that you’ll like that it does have a fairly quiet operation, image quality, and correction controls, and has a fairly bright output. Its built-in speakers are effective enough though you do have the option to add external speakers by plugging into the av/auxiliary port. A good choice for those looking for a low-cost option either as a first-time projector owner or as a gift.
3 year warranty
Great for kids or first-time owners
Not for presentations/office docs
Manual difficult to follow
No Bluetooth support
Dolby audio unsupported
This mini model is another of the portable projectors we wanted to review and the ARTlii New Mini Projector is selected as best value pick on our list, and it’s the lightest. While not all ‘mini’ projectors will fit in your pocket, this one will certainly fit in the palm of an adult-sized hand though it’s too thick to pop in your pocket. It’s a fabulous little budget projector and ideal for kids and for traveling, especially where there is no electricity as the built-in-battery can be charged (buy yourself a charger). It’s a clever little thing and makes a great toy for children, especially at this price.
Good for children
3 year warranty
Not for the serious
Questionable picture quality
The Meer YG220 Pico LCD Video Projector is one of the best ones we have on our review list according to looks, that is if you like the retro style – it’s reminiscent of a desktop fan, but it’s a projector. There is, however, no built-in battery so can only be plugged into a power source or an external battery source but at least you don’t have to be concerned with battery life while you watch/play. Place a distance of under 9 feet and the result is a screen size of 60 inches although as with all mini projectors, clarity will depend on you making adjustments until you are happy with the screen quality. We think you and the kids will love the 360 degree rotating tripod stand and it’s worth mentioning, as, with all projector mini models, it’s best used in darkness.
Ideal for children
Pro design v quality is deceiving
Recommend external speaker/s
Picture quality not great
More a toy/novelty
The last on our list, the Amazon Renewed Miroir Micro Projector is just one of the tiny portable projectors featured here on our review list. Good for video/movie/gaming and it can supply up to 2 hours battery life. This particular model is small enough to carry around in your bag for travel or as a personal projector – it’s about the size of an Alexa Dot, but square, so it will fit in the palm of your hand. Just a note that this is the M75 which is a refurbished model so it may be supplied in ‘generic’ packaging.
Backed by Amazon Renewed 90 day guarantee
Poor picture quality
Features To Consider With Best Mini Projectors
The basic uses of a mini model are, for the most, going to be for the kids to watch something novel that isn't a 'dull' old TV set; smart device integration; something to be able to view images/videos/text on a larger screen when a phone/tablet/laptop screen isn't big enough e.g camping trips. They have features that mirror whatever is on your smart device that magnifies the image onto a wall, or preferably, a purpose-built screen.
Indoor vs Outdoor
While projectors aren't specifically designed for outdoor use, there is no harm bringing projectors outside. They will only work in very dimly lit or dark spaces so indoors you typically need blackout window blinds/drapes during the day. In the yard, patio, or lawn the same applies and of course, any projector should be protected from the weather and low, if any, lighting should be considered for a better video/image viewing experience.
It goes without saying that 'mini' means exactly that. All small light stuff is transportable. Some models have built-in batteries (usually the pocket-sized models) and a few you'll find will come with a handy carry case. Don't forget to consider the extras if you're going to get them and that's the tripod, the projectors screen, external speakers, and the additional leads and adaptors for connecting to smartphones and iPhones/iPads, etc.
The standard most common for projectors of the mini variety these days is 1080p resolution which you will commonly see in detail when researching, this can also be listed in this way: 1920x1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio.
Simply put, a projector with a higher resolution has more number of pixels to create an image.
A tip to perhaps mention at this stage is, when you own your projector if you get problems with distortion you can improve the resolution and image by:
- Adjusting the projector focus;
- Cleaning the lens (amazing how many people forget this one!);
- Make the projected screen size smaller, by shrinking the image by altering the distance between the screen and the location of the projector you might get a smaller screen size but your image will be more clear;
- Avoid tilting the projector where possible, if you have to use the keystone feature (to make an image square on the screen because the projector isn't square on to it) you will reduce the resolution.
The zoom control will make an image larger or smaller giving you the desired image size. Some zooms are limited. If you see a figure, let's say, 2.0:1 lens. This can be listed as 2.0x and means that the maximum picture it will project can be made double the size of the minimum image size. In the same way, a figure of, say, 1.20:1 can be listed also as 1.2x and means the maximum picture it will project can be made just 20% of the minimum image size.
If you are unsure, refer to manufacturer listings as they usually provide the minimum and maximum achievable image size in inches. Bear in mind there is no guarantee that if the details say 60 inches to 180 inches, you may still have to adjust the size using zoom controls to ensure you get the clearest picture available on that model.
The brightness of your new projector is important. Movie theaters are dark with only dim safety lighting for a reason. The decor is usually dark too. If you're looking to get a mini projector the chances are that you aren't going to want to dedicate and paint a room in morose colors just so you can watch movies, TV, or play games!
If light gets into the room while the projector is operating, it turns black coloring in images to gray therefore washing out the image. Thankfully with more and more tech being put into projection devices, high-contrast grays have been introduced which do improve the black color levels of images from projectors.
Basically take steps to make the room as dark or at least as dim as you can if you want to get the best experience. Try blackout drapes or blinds even if the light outside is low - or use a room that already has those or is naturally not a bright space. Remember that projectors are designed for use in the dark so, if all else fails, be prepared to only use your new toy at night when it's dark outside. Nothing like popcorn and nacho filled movie evening. Problem solved.
Some mini projectors are supplied with a screen, most aren't. It's the same with tripods and carry cases which double up as storage. Most speakers that are built-in are okay for projectors used by just one person or a small group, so you might want to think about connecting external speakers too. Also if you're looking to connect to certain apps, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and/or connect wirelessly you will need extra dongles, USB cables, and specific HDMI adaptors.
Make sure you check out all the facts and figures before you part with your hard-earned cash. The chances are for the projector to do what you want it to so you can benefit from all of its features, you'll need to budget for more than what it costs for just a projector.
Mini Projector FAQ
Q: What is a mini projector used for?
Usage of mini projectors can be limitless, but most often they are used for:
- Indoor & outdoor entertainment
- Viewing images/photos/movies/games/apps/TV when there is no electricity (camping, power outage).
Q: Can you play Netflix through a mini projector?
Some won't support certain applications due to copyright but most will. You simply need to mirror the screen from the device on which you have Netflix (laptop/tablet/smartphone/iPhone) using a USB or HDMI adaptor.
Q: What is the difference between a mini projector and a regular projector?
Generally,the biggest advantage of a regular projector is the brightness, with the benefits of a mini version being its smaller size.
Q: How do I connect my iPhone to a mini projector?
To connect your iPhone or iPad you will need to use a lightning HDMI adaptor which usually will not be supplied with your new kit.
Q: Is 7000 lumens good for a projector?
If you think that a movie theater will use a projector of up to 30,000 lumens due to the size of the image required then 7,000 lumens is sufficient enough for home theater. As an example guide, 2,000 lumens is good enough to watch a screen size of around 100 inches on a white wall/screen in a darkened room.
Q: Is it worth buying a mini projector?
Mini projector project images in a different way then a TV does you will be getting a compacted movie theater experience at home. While a mini projector isn't for the serious gamer or for big showings of the latest movie, they're great for personal use, small groups, kids, and even for taking on vacation.
So yes, they're worth buying. They're inexpensive, portable, entertaining, and you don't need to permanently convert a room into a home theater. They make good gifts, but then why give one away when you can treat yourself?