To paraphrase Sir Mix-A-Lot and his 1992 classic ‘Baby Got Back’, I like big screens and I cannot lie. The best portable projectors are lighter and often brighter, which means you can take your favorite shows with you wherever you want to watch them.
I have a sizable TV sitting in my lounge, but I still prefer to project the best movies and the best streaming services on the wall for an enormously big picture. It’s better for movies, better for sports, it’s just generally better.
Most projectors are heavy and space-hogging, which means they have to stay mostly in the same place. But for those of us who like to take our projectors with us when we, say, travel, throw lavish nighttime garden parties, or go camping with the kids, there are an ever-increasing number of lightweight models being produced. These offer portability and are backed by built-in batteries to take the show on the road.
Look for a low size and weight so you can comfortably carry the thing. Next up, decide if you need battery power for outdoor watching. Then comes resolution and Lumens. The bigger, the better if you want bright, detailed images.
When it comes to inputs like HDMI and connectivity like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, generally speaking, more ports are better for connecting all your digital devices. And, finally, does it have pre-installed apps and/or the option to Chromecast? Our picks for the best portable projectors below cover all those bases between them.
These are the best portable projectors in 2023:
- ASUS ZenBeam L2 – best overall
- Emotn N1 – most affordable
- Anker Nebula Mars 3 – ideal for outdoor use
- Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser –
- Dangbei Neo – best Netflix-licensed
- XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro – best picture quality
1. ASUS ZenBeam L2
Best portable projector overall
ASUS ZenBeam L2 specs:
|Projection system||DLP LED|
|Brightness||960 LED lumens / 400 ANSI lumens|
|Projection size||40-120 inches|
|Audio||10W (1x speaker)|
|Connectivity||HDMI, Micro HDMI-internal, USB-C with DP Alt mode|
|Dimensions||132 x 172 x 132mm|
|Weight||6.2 lb (2.8 kg)|
- 1080p FHD
- 10W speaker
- Large built-in battery
- No HDMI 2.1
When it comes to attaining the ultimate on-the-go/al fresco AV entertainment, the ASUS ZenBeam L2 is your best bet. It has 980 LED lumens (400 ANSI lumens) to give beautifully bright Full HD (1080p) images at a size of 40 inches at one meter and up to 120 inches at three meters. Instant autofocus and four-corner correction make the setup simple in all lighting conditions.
In terms of connections, the ZenBeam L2 comes packing Chromecast, HDMI, 1x USB-C with DP Alt mode and 1x USB-C for charging, plus USB Type-A (5V/1.5A) and an earphone jack if you want to keep the projection to yourself, instead of letting the built-in 10W speaker entertain the ears of all and sundry.
With a battery good for 3.5 hours of continual playback, mains-free power is covered for all but the most epic of directorial self-indulgence, which for the size and weight is surprisingly capacious.
Finally, cramming in even more convenience, this feature-packed package comes complete with a Google Certified Android 12 TV box with Pre-loaded Netflix that simply slots in under the main control panel, allowing for direct access to Prime Video, YouTube, and, as mentioned, Netflix.
With an intuitive remote bundled in the box and added voice control courtesy of Google Assistant, the ASUS ZenBeam L2 is as easy to operate as it is to install, and the results on eye and ear are exemplary.
2. Emotn N1
An affordable projector with Netflix
Emotn N1 specs:
|Brightness||500 ANSI lumens|
|Projection size||60-120 inches|
|Audio||10W with Dolby Audio (2 x 5W speaker)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, HDMI, LAN|
|Dimensions||282 x 282 x 251mm|
|Weight||8.2 lb (3.7kg)|
- 2x 5W speakers with Dolby Audio
- Great image quality
- Impressive connectivity
- Mains-powered only
- Bit weighty compared to rivals
- Auto-keystone hit-and-miss
The most affordable projector here by some distance, the Emotn N1 manages to keep costs down by not featuring a built-in battery. This may seem a massive miss when it comes to the concept of portable projectors, but if you’re in the market for a particularly petite projector that you can carry around anywhere indoors that has mains access, it’s a great low-cost choice.
Capable of slapping a sharp 1080p resolution picture on your canvas of choice, 500 ANSI lumens keep things nice and bright, whether you’re projecting at 60 inches or 120, while 2x 5W speakers make a decent fist of the N1’s Dolby Audio.
Set-up is self-regulating, thanks to autofocus and auto keystone correction, with Emotn reckoning the whole process takes just three seconds. Keystoning can be hit-and-miss, so you might find yourself reliving those three seconds a few times before you get the projection positioning you need.
Connectivity options are impressive, with HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, letting you hook up to a wide variety of wired and unwired devices for instant access to all the best streaming services you could demand. This is a Netflix Officially Licensed projector, with dedicated buttons on the remote that let you plunge face-first into Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube as soon as you switch on. The online App Store lets you add countless Android apps to build your ideal mobile entertainment empire.
Small but mighty, the Emotn N1 is compact enough to carry anywhere, and performance on audio, visual and operation asides is smooth, slick and impressive. If you want portable FHD for – comparatively – very few pennies, you can’t go wrong.
3. Anker Nebula Mars 3
Best portable projector for the great outdoors
Anker Nebula Mars 3 specs:
|Brightness||1000 ANSI lumens|
|Projection size||Up to 200 inches|
|Audio||40W Dolby Digital Plus (3x speakers)|
|Battery||Up to 5 hours|
|Connectivity||HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Chromecast|
|Dimensions||160 x 260 x 250mm|
|Weight||9.9 lb (4.5kg)|
- AI image adjustment
- Dolby Digital Plus
- Chromecast compatible
Where the Emotn N1 delivers portable projector performance for the indoor world, the Anker Nebula Mars 3 has been designed from the ground up with the Great Outdoors firmly in mind.
With a resolution of 1080p (Full HD) backed by 1000 ANSI lumens, the Nebula Mars 3 is bright enough to transform any alfresco space into an oasis of AV entertainment, with a display size of up to a whopping 200-inches and loud 40W of audio spread across three speakers with Dolby Digital Plus.
The Mars 3 also comes with IPX3 water resistance, plus 0.5m drop resistance and 0.7mm dust resistance for extra ruggedness. The battery, can playback for up to five solid hours and doubles up as a power bank to fuel up your smart devices should you get caught short.
Featuring ‘Intelligent Environment Adaptation’, power the Mars 3 on and a built-in intelligent sensor sees to autofocus, keystone correction, and screen fit for you in a matter of moments. Because it’s compatible with Android TV 11 you can add hundreds of thousands of apps for movies and shows.
Connecting to your sources via HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi and Chromecast, the Anker Nebula Mars 3 may be heavier and more expensive than others on this list, but for the best possible projector experience out in the roofless wilds, don’t consider striking camp without one.
4. Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser
Best for entertainment anywhere
Anker Nebula Capsule 3 Laser specs:
|Projection system||DLP LED|
|Brightness||300 ANSI lumens|
|Audio||8W Dolby Digital (1x speaker)|
|Dimensions||83 x 83 x 170mm|
|Weight||33.5 oz (950g)|
- Very light
- Very small
- Great picture
- Short battery life
The Nebula Capsule Laser 3 is portable projection personified. It’s the size of a beer can and completely self-contained. Despite its small size, it can still produce picture quality and brightness that rivals models 90% larger thanks to a high-power laser engine.
Running on Android 11, you can download apps including Netflix via the Nebula Play app, putting that, Prime and, indeed, any other compatible apps right at your fingertips. Connectivity is over Wi-Fi or, failing that, via Bluetooth or Chromecast connection to your phone, or by utilizing the HDMI and USB-C ports.
Audio comes courtesy of an aux connection or by opening your ears to the projector’s surprisingly punchy 8W, Dolby Digital-boasting, speaker – loud enough for most outdoor locations without incurring the annoyance of nearby neighbors.
Both auto and manual keystone correction means set-up takes seconds and, equally, autofocus takes all the faff out of getting to the good stuff and, if you’ve got young kids to keep engaged, every second can count.
Capable of screen sizes from 60- (from 1.5m throw) to 120 inches (3.5m throw), images are bright and sharp, while blacks are deep and detailed, resulting in an eye-popping performance in low to non-existent ambient lighting levels.
Finally, a battery life of 2.5 hours means that most movies will be within runtime range, but if you’re planning on some insane rustic rewatch of the entire original Lord of the Rings trilogy, you’d better have access to an electric hook-up. The Nebula Capsule Laser 3 is the most portable projector on this list.
5. Dangbei Neo
Officially licensed by Netflix but no battery
Dangbei Neo specs:
|Projection system||DLP LED|
|Brightness||540 ANSI lumens|
|Projection size||37.5-120 inches|
|Audio||6W speakers with Dolby Audio (2x speakers)|
|Connectivity||1x HDMI/ARC, 1x LAN, 2x USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||264 x 226 x 212mm|
|Weight||6 lb (2.74kg)|
- Official apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Audio is slightly quiet
- No built-in battery
If you’re not looking for a battery-powered projector and just need something you can keep stored away easily when not in use, then the Neo from Dangbei may be the best solution.
Delivering Full HD at 1080p, the Neo also comes armed with 540 ANSI lumens brightness, throwing out deliciously crisp and colorful DLP pictures, and audio pumped from two 8W speakers.
Naturally, set-up is all done for you, with autofocus, keystone correction, intelligent screen fit and obstacle avoidance all on board to save you any hands-on hassle. With HDMI/ARC, LAN, USB hard connections and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, all you have to do is power up and press play to enjoy truly immersive movies and games.
Coming officially licensed for Netflix and featuring YouTube and Prime Video apps baked into the Neo’s Linux system, you can add as many apps as you like. The Neo offers powerful performance for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a projector you can simply play and then put away, the Dangbei Neo is dynamic.
6. XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro
An award-winning portable projector
XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro specs:
|Projection system||DLP LED|
|Brightness||400 ISO lumens|
|Projection size||40-200 inches|
|Audio||2x 8W with Dolby Audio/Digital/Digital Plus|
|Connectivity||1x USB type-C, 1x USB type-A, 1x HDMI 2.0, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast|
|Dimensions||161 x 119 x 108mm|
|Weight||2.4 lb (1.1 kg)|
- Incredibly light
- Power banks supported
- DCI-P3 color gamut
- No built-in battery
The MoGo 2 Pro sits in the middle of XGIMI’s range. This little box of tricks is incredibly light at just 1.1kg, but what sets it apart from rivals is the incredibly bright 400 ISO lumens.
The slick, sizable display also comes sonorously backed by two 8W DolbyAudio/Digital/Digital Plus-packing speakers, which we found to be clear, crisp and well-balanced for a variety of genres.
Set up is a breeze too, thanks to the MoGo 2 Pro’s ISA 2.0 tech giving you uninterrupted keystone correction and autofocus, obstacle avoidance and screen alignment to ensure the picture is never anything less than the very best it can be.
The XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro doesn’t come with a built-in battery, something which may seem to limit its ability. But it is compatible with a power bank, meaning you can simply plug it into your portable power supply and enjoy it when out and about.