Best outdoor floodlight for 2023: tested by our experts
Going to the movies is a favorite pastime for many people, but with rising prices it has become more expensive than ever to buy a few tickets and a tub of popcorn. You can still have the magical feeling of going to the movies right from your own backyard by using an outdoor projector. The best outdoor projectors can make you feel like you have a home theater, and they’re smaller, brighter, and more affordable than ever, making setting up a movie night in the garden a breeze.
You can easily choose between portable, battery powered models or wired models with integrated streaming and tons of brightness for outdoor cinema. Ideally, you’ll have some sort of screen, but a large sheet or poster board can do the trick when using an outdoor movie projector.
All of the projectors on this list have speakers, but if you have a big yard or want your outdoor movies heard over the rowdiness of some youngsters, you might be better off connecting to a bluetooth speaker and other external speakers.
If your Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough to reach where you want to show the movie, you can turn your phone into a hotspot.
In a few cases, you can download content to the projector itself, but don’t expect this from all models, or from all streaming services.
Here are the best outdoor projectors we’ve tested with impressive image quality.
The tiny Mars II Pro isn’t the brightest, smallest, or cheapest projector on this list. It’s not even the easiest to use. But it combines a nice picture with decent sound for a good price.
It’s a great all-around option without the serious downsides of many other portable projectors.
The main issue with the Mars II Pro is that it doesn’t use the full version of the Android TV streaming service like some newer models.
As such, it’s not as easy to use and you won’t get every streaming service. The big ones are here, like Netflix and Disney Plus, but not HBO.
You can connect a streaming stick, and there’s a USB connection to power it directly from the back.
The battery lasts about the length of a long movie.
Read our Anker Nebula Mars II Pro review.
You are receiving price alerts for the Anker Nebula Mars II Pro
The Xgimi Halo Plus is a 1080p projector with a built-in battery.
It’s reasonably bright, looks good, and has Android TV built in. That means it streams a wider variety of content and does it with less hassle than most portable projectors.
Overall, it also looks better than most laptops. However, it is quite expensive and does not perform as well as more traditional home projectors that cost the same price.
If you’re looking for something that’s easy to use, offers good image quality away from a power outlet, and don’t mind paying for it, this is a great choice.
You are receiving price alerts for XGIMI Halo+ 1080P Portable Projector
The AAXA P6 throws an impressive amount of light and lasts up to the promised four hours with its built-in battery.
You’ll need to add a streaming stick to watch anything, but there’s a USB connection to power one up, so that’s easy to do.
Overall, image quality is decent, but not great. The colors are off, the contrast ratio isn’t great, and its 1280×800 pixel resolution is noticeably softer than 1080p and especially 4K projectors.
That said, it’s bright and inexpensive, which is a great combination.
Read our AAXA P6X review.
You are receiving price alerts forAAXA P6X
The AAXA P8 is tiny, like the nebula capsule below, but rectangular compared to the cylindricity of this projector. It’s noticeably brighter than the Capsule, but it lacks that projector’s battery.
Like its big brother the P6X, the P8 doesn’t have the best image quality. However, it’s inexpensive and bright, two things we really like.
For a similar price, the image quality of the Vimgo P10 is arguably a bit better, but this projector has its own serious drawbacks.
All ultra-budget projectors have concessions on price, but with the P8 those concessions don’t include brightness and size.
Read our AAXA P8 review.
You are receiving price alerts for AAXA Technologies P8 Smart LED DLP Mini Projector, WiFi Bluetooth, Android 10.0, Wireless Smartphone Mirroring, USBC & HDMI Input, Built-in Netflix, YouTube, Support 1080p Portable Movie Projector
The adorable capsule is the size of a soda can, but has a built-in battery, streaming, and even a speaker. For something to backpack overnight, this is ideal.
The main downside is that it’s very, very dark. While the other options here can easily create images the size of a TV or larger, the capsule image is more like the size of a computer screen. Not necessarily a dealbreaker, if your main concern is size.
Note that you can save $50 at Amazon right now by activating the instant coupon on the product page.
Read our Anker Nebula Capsule review.
You are receiving price alerts for Anker Nebula Capsule (Black)
The Vimgo P10 can be yours for $200. It’s a strange product, which does something right and a lot of things that don’t. The image it produces is watchable and has an incredibly high contrast ratio, but the colors are downright atrocious. Brightness and sharpness uniformity are some of the worst I’ve seen, meaning anything not in the center of the image is darker and softer than the middle. It also doesn’t have upward projection, so it has to be placed at the same height as the middle of the screen, which is, as I said, odd for a cheap projector.
The biggest downside to this list is its lack of battery. But for the extra price of an extension cord, it’s still cheaper than most other projectors on this list.
Read our Vimgo P10 review.
You receive price alerts for Vimgo P10
The Laser 4K’s claim to being portable and “outdoor” comes down to a huge handle built into its design. It lacks a battery, it’s quite heavy, and it’s really expensive.
It is, however, exceptionally bright. One of the brightest projectors we’ve ever tested. It also has Android TV built-in. It’s more portable and better suited to outdoor movie nights than, say, the Epson 5050.
The Optoma UHZ50, BenQ HT2050A or Epson Home Cinema 2250 are however better overall. They’re all shiny, cheaper, and easy to carry, though they don’t have a fancy handle.
Read our Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K review.
You are receiving price alerts for Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
Other products we tested
Anker Portable Solar Nebula: The Solar’s sibling, the Mars II Pro, is better. The main drawback of the Solar compared to the others on this list is its relatively dark image, which means it can’t project as big of an image and still look good. If you want a sleek, budget laptop with 1080p and plan to keep the picture on the small side, this is a solid choice. Read our Anker Nebula Solar Portable review.
LG CineBeam PH30N: The tiny LG PH30N is only slightly larger than the AAXA P8. It’s not particularly brilliant, however, and it doesn’t have any built-in apps either. The battery does not last as long as the AAXA P6X although it is a bit cheaper. Read our review of the LG CineBeam PH30N.
Samsung Freestyle: The small, sleek, cylindrical Freestyle is an interesting idea, but it’s not very bright, lacks battery power and is quite expensive. Read our Samsung Freestyle review.
Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2: Is another relatively expensive small projector that could be better. You might appreciate the compact size, 1080p resolution, and built-in Android TV streaming, but it’s relatively weak, especially for the price. It also lacks both a built-in battery and compatibility with a USB power source, so it’s not really portable. Read our Xiaomi Mi Smart Projector 2 review.
How we test outdoor floodlights
We treat outdoor floodlights no differently, in terms of testing, than any other floodlight. Just because a projector has the convenience of being portable doesn’t mean it shouldn’t perform to reasonable standards. The biggest difference is to check the performance of the battery against the plugged ones. This almost always results in a difference in light output.
Learn more:How we test projectors
Outdoor Floodlight FAQs
Can any projector work outdoors?
Yes! Well, sort of. No projector should live outside. Changes in humidity and temperature will quickly ruin a projector, just like with a television. But if you plan to bring it indoors after every use, which we highly recommend, you can use any projector outdoors.
What should I do if my Wi-Fi does not reach outside?
Most phones can function as a Wi-Fi hotspot, using your cellular data instead. If you are not on an unlimited data plan, however, this may exhaust your available data. Also consider making free or low-cost upgrades to your home’s wireless network. This could extend the range enough.
Do outdoor floodlights have streaming apps? Netflix, Disney?
Sometimes. Most of the projectors on this list have full or partial streaming interfaces, like you’ll find in a modern smart TV. However, they may not have all the streaming apps. Netflix is pretty much a given, but beyond that it varies.
All of the projectors on this list have an HDMI input, and all but the Capsule also have a USB connection, so you can connect any streaming stick to it and get all the apps you’re used to.
Leave a Reply