The Best Portable Projectors to Take the Big Screen With You Anywhere

Ditch your tiny smartphone screen for one of these portable picks!

portable projectors best 2018
Anker

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Portable projectors are more affordable than ever before, and they allow you to instantly transform any wall into a movie theater. Most are equipped with a rechargeable battery, speakers, and apps for streaming all your favorite shows anywhere. We tested a handful of portable projectors to help you find the best one for your needs and budget. Our picks are easy to operate and pack enough battery life to get through a 2-hour movie, but are still small enough to toss in a bag.

1 Nebula Capsule Smart Portable Projector
amazon.com
$349.99

Best Overall

The Capsule by Anker checks all the boxes for what a portable projector should be. It's reasonably priced, but doesn't feel cheap. It dishes out outstanding image and sound quality. Plus, it packs 4 hours of battery life, so you won't ever need to worry about it dying before your movie is over.

We think out of any projector we've tested or researched, this one has the best design. It's small and lightweight, and its unique soda-can shape and size truly lets you take it anywhere. We used it to play Mario Kart on a garage door, project the Avengers: Infinity War on a hotel room wall, and to fittingly binge-watch soaps from a bathtub.

Although the Capsule has a built-in HDMI port, you won't need to fuss with connecting your laptop to it, since it runs Android and has many of your favorite streaming apps (like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video) preinstalled. It comes with a remote control, but we preferred controlling it with our smartphone using its free app. Despite its small size, its speakers are surprisingly loud, and you can even use the Capsule as a Bluetooth speaker, too!

Our only complaint is that we wish it charged over USB-C instead of the older and slower Micro USB standard. We don't think this is a deal-breaker, though, considering the Capsule offers the perfect balance between price, performance, features, and portability.

Related: The Best Portable Batteries to Keep Your Projectors Juiced Up

2 LG PH550 Portable Projector
amazon.com
$549.99
$396.99 (28% off)

Best Image Quality

When it comes to image quality, this LG portable projector can't be beat. The device is capable of projecting a 100-inch HD picture at 550 lumens that's crisp and brighter than the competition.

Plus, the LG offers a wide range of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, a headphone jack, a HDMI port, USB Type-A slot. It even features a digital TV tuner, meaning it can pick up over-the-air signals so you can watch live TV.

At 7 inches long and 4 inches wide, the LG is small enough to toss in a bag, but it doesn't feature an onboard operating system, which slightly hinders its portability. You'll have to connect it to your laptop over HDMI, play files on USB drives, or mirror your smartphone's display, instead. If you want the best image quality, though, the LG is your smartest option.

3 Nebula Mars II Portable Projector
amazon.com
$499.99

Best for the Biggest Sound and Largest Screen

Compared to Anker's Nebula Capsule, its Mars II portable projector is significantly larger. Fortunately, this one has a convenient leather handle for easy transport, as well as a fuller sound and much bigger picture. It packs a 1280-by-720 resolution and a convenient autofocus function, too.

The Mars II is just as versatile as the Nebula Capsule, and features built-in Wi-Fi, an HDMI jack for hooking up video game consoles, and several downloadable apps for quick and easy streaming.

It projects images up to 150 inches and has a battery that lasts around 4 hours. We tested the Mars II and think its picture and sound quality were spectacular for the price, but if you want more portability, we recommend going with the Nebula Capsule instead.

4 AAXA P6 Pico Projector
amazon.com
$319.00

Best Budget

Even though you can buy a projector as cheap as $90, that doesn't mean you should. Ultra budget models break easily, and suffer from mediocre sound and image quality. We think if you're on a budget, AAXA's P6 projector is the best one you can buy. 

It has a wide array of ports, and comes with a remote control and even a tripod. We think you'll be happy with its picture quality, which features 600 LED lumens of brightness and a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution.

You can project an image up to 140 inches with the P6. Our biggest qualms are its mostly plastic body, shorter 80-minute battery life, and its loud fan, but if you're on a budget these minor shortcomings are easy to forgive.

5 Vivitek Q38 Smart Portable Projector
amazon.com
$549.99

Best Splurge

Whether you're using it for work or play, the Vivitek Q38 is a reliable portable projector that'll allow you to bring presentations and videos with you anywhere you go. It offers an impressive native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels and the ability to project an image up to 130 inches.

The projector is equipped with a 2.5-hour rechargeable battery, but its built-in speakers aren't as loud as other projectors' — which is to be expected considering its smaller size.

On the device's backside you'll find an HDMI port, a pair of USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. There are controls on the top of it, but it also comes bundled with a remote control.

We like that the projector has a built-in kickstand for angling it upwards, but we preferred Anker's Nebula operating system over Vivitek’s, so you'll probably want to use a streaming device for watching videos. The projector's 12,000 mAh battery will last for up to 2 hours.

6 Sony MP-CD1 Portable Projector
amazon.com
$357.22

Best Portability

The MP-CD1 projector from Sony is about the size of a smartphone, making it small enough to fit in a pocket. But don't let its size fool you, because it can project a 120-inch display on your wall or ceiling. It features a metal housing, so it feels much more robust and premium than other projectors.

You can expect 2 hours of battery life with the MP-CD1. Even though battery life isn't as long as other projectors we mentioned, you can still use the projector while it's charging, which is a huge plus — especially given that it has a USB-C port that supports fast charging.

Besides the USB-C jack, it’s equipped with a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, a HDMI port, and a tiny speaker. Fortunately, it also supports Bluetooth, so you can connect it to better-sounding wireless speakers. Besides being disappointed in audio quality, we wish that Sony's projector included a remote. Overall, this option is one of the most premium-looking and portable options you can get!