When the weather is warm, everything shifts outside, even entertainment. Whether you want to have a movie with the kids or you’re planning a moonlit date night, a projector is a great way to bring the big screen outside. But what if you want to use it outside during the day?
To use a projector outside during the day, it needs to have high lumens (4000+). Some of the top picks for this purpose are the Epson Home Cinema 1060 or ViewSonic 1080p for high-quality images, or the CiBest Native 1080P for value. Position in shade and use short-throw models to enhance visibility.
This article will provide essential insights and key strategies for using a projector in daylight, ensuring optimal outdoor viewing. Get ready to elevate your outdoor entertainment experience.
- Daylight conditions: While no projectors are explicitly designed for outdoor use, models with high lumens (4000+) are crucial for daytime viewing.
- Top Picks for Daylight: Epson Home Cinema 1060 and ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw are excellent for their high lumens and image quality; CiBest Native 1080P is a great budget-friendly option with adequate brightness.
- Don’t Forget the Screen: You can project against a flat wall of your house, but you’ll have better luck using an outdoor projector screen that you can inflate (example on Amazon) when using and store when not in use.
4 Best Projectors For Daytime Viewing
While there are no projectors that are specifically created for outdoor use, there are great projectors that can be used outdoors. As we have already mentioned, when searching for the best projector for daylight viewing, you’ll want to look for a high lumen count, in addition to great picture quality and integrated technology.
Epson Home Cinema 1060 Full HD 1080p
The Epson Home Cinema 1060 Full HD 1080p projector (on Amazon), a mid-range, HDMI projector, is outstanding for outdoor use, thanks to its high brightness. is great for outdoor use with its high lumen count. It includes 3LCD technology for top action performance and can project a lifelike image of 25 times bigger than a 60-inch flatscreen TV.
This model features dual HDMI inputs, perfect for integrating with your home theater projector system.
ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector
The ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector (on Amazon) is designed to sit closer to the screen, so it may be a great choice for you if you have a smaller outdoor living space. It can even be just inches from the screen.
Although slightly pricier than the Epson, this small projector is excellent if you’re dealing with limited space, offering top-tier specifications.
HOPVISION 1080P Supported Video Projector with 15000Lux
This HOPVISION 1080P Supported Video Projector (on Amazon) with its impressive 15000 lumens, is an ultimate choice for projectors for daytime viewing, adaptable to any time of day. It is a mini projector, and it is a budget-friendly choice, starting at $190. When you are looking for a small, yet powerful projector, this is a great option for you.
CiBest Native 1080P Portable Projector
This projector is one of the most popular choices on Amazon, and it’s only $100! With over 9,000 ratings, it still rates 4.3 stars. The CiBest Native 1080P Portable Projector, praised for its vivid picture quality and clear sound, is an excellent choice for daylight use.
Since it is small, it’s easy to transfer back and forth to your outdoor space for movie nights. It sits at a very budget-friendly price of just over $100, which makes it an easy choice for people who want a great projector but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars.
Can You Actually Use a Projector Outside?
Not only are projectors suitable for everyday TV watching as we explained in our guide, but they are also fantastic for outdoor movie experiences. because they can make a much larger screen. It really feels like you’re at the movie theater, and when you’re watching a projector outdoors, it’s even more enjoyable.
On the other hand, while projectors can be used outside on a sunny day if the lumens are high enough, it still won’t be possible to watch your projector in the direct sun. So, the shadier the location, the better. However, if you can pull it off, projectors are very cost-effective to run (our article) and will be much cheaper than a large outdoor television screen.
Fun Fact: The earliest projector, shadowgraphy, dates back to prehistory and led to traditional shadow puppetry in Asia (Source).
How To Make A Projector Brighter In Daylight Conditions
Before we get into details on lumen count, projector positioning, and other important thing to consider when using a projector in daylight, take a look at the table below presenting some quick tips on how to make your projector brighter in these circumstances.
|High Brightness Projector
|Choose a projector with high-lumen output to overcome daylight (at least 3000 lumens, but ideally 4000+).
|Use a High-Quality Screen
|Enhance image brightness and contrast with a specialized outdoor projection screen.
|Control Ambient Light
|Position in a shaded area or create shade to reduce the impact of sunlight.
|Adjust Projector Settings
|Increase the brightness setting and use a mode for outdoor or bright environments.
|Angle away from direct sunlight to reduce image washout.
|Maintain the Projector
|Regularly clean the lens and ensure optimal functioning for maximum brightness.
Suggested Lumens Count For Daytime Projector
If you’re going to be using your projector outside regularly during the day, your projector will need to have at least 3000 lumens, but it will ideally be more around 4000+ for flexible viewing in part sun or indirect sun.
We have another article that goes more in-depth on lumens, but for this conversation, you’ll just need to know that more is better.
When it comes to figuring out how many lumens are needed for your projector, these two factors are most important:
- The projector screen size.
- The amount of sun it will be competing with.
Different Screen Sizes
When you’re looking at the number of lumens, the size of the screen that you’re projecting to plays a big part. A smaller screen needs fewer lumens to be bright enough to watch during the daytime than a screen that is twice as big.
For example, a 16×9 foot projection screen will need a minimum of 3000 lumens, but the ideal number of lumens is around 4500 for daytime outdoor use. A 20×11 needs around a minimum of 4500 lumens for daytime outdoor use.
For easy use, consider purchasing this inflatable projector screen(on Amazon) for outdoor use.
Lumens and Sunlight
Since your projector is competing with the sun’s brightness, the amount of sun that your projector is in makes a difference. You’ll need a larger number of lumens for a projector that is in the sun at all times of day, less for a part-shade projector, and even less for full-shade projectors.
If you don’t have any built-in shaded areas, it may make sense to build a structure with limited cover like a gazebo, or use a simple square awning like the ones you see people tailgating under at football games.
Another thing to remember is that short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors are great for bright environments where space is limited. Both types minimize shadows and glare, enhancing visibility in daylight compared to traditional projectors.
Choosing the Best Location for an Outside Projector
If you’re looking for the best spot to place your projector outside, there are a lot of great locations where you can put it. However, it’s important to choose a spot that works well with your unique projector, the number of lumens it has, and where you can place your projector’s screen.
You’ll ideally want to choose a shadier spot for a projector with lower lumens, and you can be more flexible with a very high-lumen projector. You’ll also need to be near an outlet or run an extension cord for power.
Permanent or Temporary Placement?
While certain TVs are specifically adaptable for outdoor use, outdoor projectors for daylight are not exclusively engineered for these settings (more on comparing TVs and projectors in this article). While certain projectors can be used outdoors, it’s not advisable to leave them outside due to weather conditions, extreme temperatures, and other damaging elements.
Since projectors aren’t designed to live outside, it’s necessary to use a stand to place your projector on when it’s in use. It will be placed several feet from your screen, between 5 and 20 feet. Your projector’s manufacturer will usually specify the distance that it should be kept from the screen.
The best placement for your projector will also depend on where your projector screen fits best in your outdoor space. So in the end, the best location for a projector depends on a variety of factors that you will have to take into account when deciding.