The 10 Best Projectors for the Classroom 2020

May 30, 2020

The 10 Best Projectors for the Classroom 2020

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Are you not a tech-savvy teacher that needs help choosing the best projector for your classroom? Are you a tech-savvy teacher that still needs help deciding which projector to purchase for your classroom? This buyer’s guide is here to help you out! Using specifications of different projectors will allow you to compare and contrast these top 10 projectors for the classroom.

Best projectors at glance

  1. Epson VS250 SVGA Projector
  2. ViewSonic PA503S
  3. Kodak Luma 150 Pocket Projector
  4. ACER H5382BD Projector
  5. Our Choice: ViewSonic PS501W WXGA
  6. Epson EX5260 XGA
  7. Optoma W412 WXGA Projector
  8. InFocus IN116XA Projector
  9. VANKYO Performance V610 Projector
  10. Crenova BL-76

Our Top 10 Projectors for the Classroom Reviewed

Through our research, we considered several details for a projector to make this list. First, it had to have good feedback from customers. Then we looked at components of the projectors. We looked for portability and type of throw (long-throw, short throw, or ultra-short throw). We also considered mounting possibilities and audio output.

Trying to keep in mind classroom space, size, and lighting were important in choosing which projectors to place on this list. We wanted the projector to have multimedia purposes. For example, we didn’t just want one that projected presentations but also had good movie quality.

We even considered gaming when choosing the projectors for the teachers that use it in their classrooms. Warranties offered is a detail we took into consideration when adding the projector to the list.

Although teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites, we know you will find a favorite projector, just as we did. Pssst… it’s the ViewSonic PS501W WXGA. However, all units on this list are solid choices for your classroom needs.

1. Epson VS250 SVGA Projector

Coming in with 3200 lumens and SVGA (600×800) resolution, this projector can project from 30 inches to 350 inches with its 3LCD projection. It is PC and MAC compatible, as well as iProjection App compatible. The Epson VS250 is portable and lightweight. It has manual and digital focus as well as comes with a remote control. 

Our Take

The winning components of this projector is the color and brightness of the picture. The color is very vivid. The picture has somewhat of a grainy appearance, but it is hardly noticeable if you don’t focus on it. This projector is ideal for presentations and graphics in a well-lit room. If the font on a presentation is smaller than 14, it is difficult to read. Offering fast and easy set up makes this projector very user friendly and portable.

Another aspect that makes this projector user friendly is that the controls and features are easy to understand. Similar to the Kodak Luma 150 Pocket projector and the Acer H5382BD, this projector has an easy setup and is portable. The ViewSonic PS501W has a greater resolution, but it is a short-throw projector. 

One of the negative aspects of this projector is that it is not Bluetooth compatible. However, it does support HDMI connectivity and compatibility. The built-in speakers are sufficient for sound, but if you want a more powerful sound, you will have to get a little creative as there is not an audio out port.

Purchasing an HDMI extractor could be useful for sound. We think this resolution is a little low for a large classroom but would be suitable for a smaller classroom or small group instruction space. The light source is a lamp that is easily replaceable but not very cost-effective; it does have a 90-day limited warranty if it breaks. The projector itself has a two-year limited warranty as well.

Pros

  • HDMI Compatible
  • Vivid color and brightness
  • Fast and easy setup

Cons

  • No external audio jack
  • Not Bluetooth compatible

2. ViewSonic PA503S

Able to connect to PC, MAC, mobile devices, HDMI, VGA, and mini USB, this projector has high brightness with 3,600 lumens. An optical zoom lens provides a clear, focused picture. A six-segment color wheel provides color accuracy. The ViewSonic PA503S offers an SVGA (800×600) resolution.

Our Take

This ViewSonic projector includes advanced features that are great for the classroom. The multipurpose projection allows videos, presentations, and graphics to be presented in a versatile way. A remote control allows easy access for function change. The six-segment color wheel gives the picture a life-like color that is pleasing to the viewer.

Unlike the Epson VS250 projector, this projector offers an audio-out option, which gives the user the ability to connect an external speaker system. Also, this projector can be mounted on a tripod where the Epson VS250 can not be. 

The feature we like the most is the SuperEco mode that reduces power consumption by 70%. When this mode is selected, the lamp in the projector can project for 15,000 hours. Another great feature is the plug and play set up. Just plug in all the wires, and the projector will play from the source chosen. This easy set up is comparable to the Acer H5382BD.

ViewSonic backs its products with a three-year limited parts and labor coverage warranty. It also offers a one-year lamp coverage and a US-based customer service team to answer any questions you may have. Unlike the more advanced model, PS501W, this projector is a long throw projector. It will project an image that is 120 inches wide from a distance of 15’8.” This is almost four times farther than the short throw PS501W model. 

Pros

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • SuperEco mode
  • Vivid color

Cons

  • Could not find any

3. Kodak Luma 150 Pocket Projector

The Kodak Luma 150 offers several built-in options because it is portable. It has built-in speakers, onboard controls, a rechargeable battery, and a 60 Ansi lumen LED lamp. This little projector can produce an image that is 20″-150.” In order to use the projector, it must be connected with HDMI, micro-sd card, USB, or wirelessly. The resolution is 854×480. It is multimedia compatible and easily connected to game consoles. 

Our Take

Although this pocket projector is ideal for the teacher who moves from classroom to classroom or even building to building, the rechargeable battery only lasts about 2 hours when fully charged. Before using this device, you must charge it for four full hours. It is easily portable, lightweight, and fits in a small pocket. The onboard controls light up when the projector is turned on, and no remote is offered, making it hard to move away from the projector when using it. This projector is ideal for movie viewing but will not stream copyrighted content from apps such as Hulu, Netflix, and similar services. These apps can not be mirrored or screencast.

The best way to use this projector is using a laptop and connecting through an HDMI cable. This projector offers the ability to mount to a tripod, like the ViewSonic. A smaller and sleeker design compared to the Epson VS250 SVGA, you get what you pay for with this projector. The smaller design limits the color and picture quality. The best aspect going for it is the portability. It does come with a limited warranty, and contacting the Kodak customer service is the only way to see if the warranty covers the malfunction.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Due to its small size, it is easy to move to different classrooms
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Connectivity is limited
  • 2-hour battery life

4. ACER H5382BD Projector

The specs of this white projector has a brightness of 3,300 lumens, DLP projections, and 1280×720 resolution. Connect to this projector through HDMI, USB, VGA, or wireless connections. The eColor Boost 3D offered with this projector allows projection on any colored background. 

Our Take

There are many positive aspects to this impressive projector. First, it connects in three easy steps. Whether connecting using HDMI, VGA, or USB, it is easy to connect. The wireless connection is also simple. With the wireless connection, the presenter has the freedom to move around the room.

Much like the ViewSonic projector, this projector offers an audio out port to hook up external speakers. With rich details and bright and natural colors, this projector is impressive for the cost. We love that this projector has an ambient light sensor. This sensor can detect lighting conditions and adjust the image accordingly. It optimizes the image’s brightness and color saturation. Unlike the Kodak Luma 150 Pocket Projector, this projector is not easily portable. 

There are a couple of negative aspects to this projector as well. Although Acer claims the lamp can last from 5,000-10,000 hours, costumers reported they don’t last this long. This projector does not have HD capability, but Acer offers a wireless HD kit that can be purchased separately to stream HD quality content. Replacement bulbs are pricey. If the projector stops working, you could return it as a one-year limited warranty comes with this projector; however, after that year, getting support from customer service is costly. For a fee that is almost as much as the projector, Acer customer service will take a look at the projector to see what is wrong with it.

Pros

  • Ambient light sensor
  • Audio out function
  • Rich details
  • Bright and natural colors

Cons

  • Short bulb life

5. ViewSonic PS501W WXGA

This is the only short throw projector on the list. It offers 3,400 lumens, WXGA (1280×800) resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and keystone adjustment. You can connect to this projector through VGA cables, HDMI, and mini USB. If you wish to connect wirelessly, you can purchase an HDMI wireless dongle. It does not have Bluetooth capabilities but does have a remote to allow more freedom to move around.

Our Take

Definitely, one of our favorite projectors on this list, the ViewSonic PS501W, has an ongoing list of great features. First, it is a short-throw projector so it can project an image that is 120 inches wide from only four feet distance. ViewSonic offers a distance calculator to allow you to figure out how far to mount your projector away from your screen, depending on the size of the image you want to project.

This projector displays smooth images without delay and is great for the classroom or educational setting. This is a more advanced version of the ViewSonic PA503S. The resolution is better on the PS501W, but the other ViewSonic projector has a better brightness. The same warranty is offered for the ViewSonic projectors. The PS501W is a short-throw projector where the PA503S is not. 

If you have high ambient lighting, this projector may not be for you. The best quality image is for medium to low ambient lighting. However, to fix this issue, lights or one light can be shut off in the classroom when using the projector. The built-in speakers are weak and not very loud; however, like the Acer H5382BD, it has an audio out port to plug in external speakers or soundbar. This easily fixed negative qualities and the ongoing list of positive components makes this projector our favorite on the list

Pros

  • Short throw
  • Warranty/ Customer service support

Cons

  • Mounting kit not included

6. Epson EX5260 XGA

 Offering 3600 lumens of brightness and XGA (1024 x 768) resolution, this projector is very similar to the Epson projector on the list. Connecting to this projector is possible through HDMI, wireless, USB, VGA, and RCA. It is portable and has an easy setup. Automatic vertical Keystone and manual horizontal Keystone makes focusing the projector more accurate.

Our Take

Compared to the other Epson model on this list, this projector has 1.5 times more resolution. Both have no external audio out option, although the speakers have been upgraded with this model. The same limited warranty is offered as the other Epson model. There is also an option to purchase an extended warranty. Text-heavy presentations are projected with a crisp and clear accuracy using this projector. The images are bold and vibrant.

Much like ViewSonic, Epson offers a distance calculator to calculate the distance the projector needs to be for the desired picture size. If you plan to connect to this projector using HDMI, USB, RCA, or VGA, we think this projector would be great for the classroom.

In contrast, we do not like the wireless connectivity capability. You must purchase a LAN wireless adapter, or it must be configured on a network to use the wireless connectivity. The projector offers the ability to connect to the projector using a QR code; however, getting to that point means spending more money. This is not stated very well in the product information found online. Another option to connect wirelessly (after purchasing the adapter or connecting to a network) is using the iProjection App provided by Epson. However, this App does not support all files or formats. So, as convenient as it would be to connect to the projector wirelessly, it is inconvenient to get to the point that connects. 

Pros

  • Greater resolution
  • Crisp, clear, accurate picture

Cons

  • Difficult wireless connection

7. Optoma W412 WXGA Projector

 This projector offers 4400 lumens of brightness, WXGA (1280×800) resolution, vertical keystone correction, built-in speaker, 15,000-hour lamp life, and 4K HDR input. Included is a carrying case and a remote that has the option of a sleep timer. To connect to the projector, you have the option of dual HDMI ports or VGA ports. Wireless connectivity is not an option. On the back panel is a Kensington lock. 

Our Take

The most professional projector on the list, this projector, also has the highest lumen output allowing lights to be left on while using. Also, the amount of lumens put out by this projector would be ideal for a classroom with numerous windows. The resolution is comparable to the ViewSonic PS501W. The 10 Watt built-in speaker is loud and crisp and perfect for a small to medium classroom. If this is not loud enough or you have a large classroom, it does have an external audio jack to hook up external speakers, unlike the Epson projectors. 

This is our second favorite projector on the list because of the professional quality. Another positive aspect to this projector is the color. It has highly detailed visuals, brighter white, and deeper blacks. If you use a lot of videos or include brightly colored images in presentations, this projector is a great fit. It has flexible installation and vertical keystone correction (+/- 40°). However, there is no horizontal keystone correction.

We really love the Kensington lock for security purposes. Whether you mount this projector to the ceiling or a cart, having the lock will make it hard for theft. This is the most expensive projector on the list because of all the professional components offered. Like Epson, Optoma offers a 90-day lamp warranty, Optoma also offers a one-year parts and labor limited warranty

Pros

  • Resolution
  • Brightness
  • Perfect for classroom use
  • Built-in 10 Watt speaker

Cons

  • No wireless connection
  • No horizontal keystone correction

8. InFocus IN116XA Projector

 This InFocus projector offers 3800 lumens of brightness and WXGA (1280×800) resolution. It is 3D capable and has a contrast ratio of 26000:1. A long last lamp comes with this projector that offers 15,000 hours of projection. Depending on the projection distance, this projector has a 33″-300″ range. 

Our Take

Much like the ViewSonic PS501W, there aren’t any negative aspects to this projector. However, there is nothing that makes us think “WOW!” either, unlike the ViewSonic PS501W. Coming in at a mid-range price projector, this InFocus projector has vivid color because of the BrilliantColor Technology InFocus has developed. Considered a classroom/meeting room projector, you get what you paid for. There are not a ton of bells and whistles that make this projector stand out. It is just a good mid-range projector. The picture is clear and crisp and of quality. The 2 HDMI ports, VGA, and S-Video connections make connecting to devices fairly easy.

Like many of the projectors on this list, it has an audio out port for external speakers. The built-in speakers are quiet and not suitable for a large classroom. Like the Optoma W412 projector, this projector has a remote with a built-in sleep timer. 

Pros

  • Vivid Color
  • Sleep Timer

Cons

  • None

9. VANKYO Performance V610 Projector

 A long last lamp life of 50,000 is one of the components of this projector. It has an HD (1920×1080) resolution. The keystone correction of +/- 40° makes this projector adjustable. 5 Watt dual speaker is included as well as an external audio port. Ways to connect to this projector include 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, AV, VGA, and SD. VANKYO offers a warranty to the purchaser of this projector.

Our Take

We love that VANKYO is confident with their product. They offer a 3-year warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. This is the best warranty for a projector that is on this list. This projector is one to fall in love with. The sleek, black exterior is very appealing. Perfect for the classroom, it has more ways to connect to the projector than any of the other projectors on this list.

However, wireless and Bluetooth connection is not an option unless you purchase an adapter. This is also true if you want to connect an iOS or Android device. The brightness of 6000 LUX meets all school requirements. Even with high ambient light, this projector has a clean, sharp, crisp picture. This projector can project a picture from 45″ to 200,” making it easy to be seen almost anywhere in the classroom. 

The remote makes it easy to adjust the keystone correction without having to climb on a chair to use the onboard controls. In fact, if you lose or forget the remote, there could be trouble. The remote is the only way to make adjustments to this projector. Whether those adjustments are focusing, coloring, input selection, and even volume, the remote is a necessity.  Although having the remote is a necessity to make adjustments, the adjustments that can be made are very basic. 

Pros

  • Warranty
  • Money-back guarantee
  • HD Resolution
  • Numerous connection choices

Cons

  • Basic adjustments only 
  • Remote is a necessity

10. Crenova BL-76

The specs for this projector include a five-layer LCD lens, 50,000 hours of lamp life, and roller type refocusing in addition to the keystone. Offering an HD (1920×1080) resolution, this projector comes in red. The forms of connection are standard, USB, VGA, AV, and HDMI.

Our Take

Although this long shot projector is toward the cheaper end of the list, it has some great qualities. We love that it only comes in red making it fun and a perfect piece for the classroom. The image starts out very immersive, remarkable, and smooth, but as the projector is used, it becomes cloudy with blurry corners.

With the ability to adjust the keystone +/- 15° and a roller focus wheel, it should not be so hard to focus. This product is easy to mount on the ceiling or to use with a tripod. We believe this is a convenient projector for smaller spaces as the largest the display will get is 200″; however, the fans have a tendency to get loud the longer they are used. Crenova supplies a 12-month product warranty and offers an extended lifetime warranty to be purchased through them. 

This Crenova projector has very similar specs as the VANYKO. The brightness and projection are the same, but that is the end of the similarities. The ability of this projector to not focus completely is a negative aspect. Another negative aspect is that you need an adapter for a convenient phone connection. Also, like many of the other projectors, copyrighted content from Hulu, Netflix, and similar services can not be mirrored or screencast. The built-in speakers do not offer great sound quality, and an external set of speakers or soundbar is suggested. 

Pros

  • Great for smaller spaces
  • Immersive, remarkable image

Cons

  • Ability to focus

A Buyer’s Guide for Your Classroom Projector

When purchasing a projector for the classroom, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many specifications on projectors that keeping the numbers organized can be difficult. Knowing what each spec is, is also helpful. This buyer’s guide is designed to help straighten those specs out. While researching these top 10 projectors for the classroom, we focused on five components we thought were important in purchasing a classroom projector. These components are throw, brightness, resolution, audio ability, and connectivity. 

Throw

The first spec we are going to look at throws. Throw distance is the amount of space between the projector and the image that is being projected. The size of the image that is projected and the throw distance are directly related to one another. As the distance increases, so does the image. When looking for a projector for the classroom, considering the throw of a projector is important when thinking about space and the size of the classroom. Throw is offered in 3 types, ultra-short, short, and long. Long throws are generally your normal projectors. All of the projectors on this list are long-throw projectors except for the ViewSonic PS501W WXGA. We think this short-throw projector is the best. 

Brightness

The next spec we are going to look at is brightness. Brightness is measured in lumens and lux. Lumens are the total amount of light emitted from the bulb. Lux is the amount of lumens in one square meter.  The higher the number of lumens/lux, the brighter the projector’s projection will be. If you have an extremely bright room and you don’t want to turn off any lights while using the projector, then you need to find a projector that has a greater number of lumens. 2500-4000 lumens is the adequate size for a normal-sized classroom.

Resolution

The next spec is resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels in a given area. Again, like brightness, the higher the number, the better the resolution. Resolution is also given in fixed resolutions. For example, XGA (1024 x 768), WXGA (1280 x 800), and HD (1920 x 1080). The optimal resolution for a classroom projector is anything greater than 800×600. It is possible to have HD resolution or 4K resolution. Generally, the higher the resolution, the higher the price. You will pay for an HD or 4K projector.

Audio Ability

Almost all projectors come with built-in speakers. In fact, all of the projectors on this list have built-in speakers; however, depending on the size of the classroom and the other noise within the classroom, these speakers may not be enough. Keeping in mind the size of your classroom and other noise when purchasing a projector is important. Adding some external speakers will help the sound of the projector to be louder. Not all projectors have audio out ports, so be on the lookout for that when purchasing a projector. The Epson models on our list do not have audio out ports, but the rest do. 

Connectivity

The last and probably the most important spec we looked at when researching the top list of projectors is connectivity. The question you should ask yourself when thinking about connectivity is how and what I am going to connect to the projector. Most projectors come with at the very least an HDMI port, which is great for laptop connection. Other types of connections include VGA, RCA, wireless, Bluetooth, and USB. The projectors have at least one of these types of connections. Connectivity also allows for centralized control within a tech department. If it is important for your school to perform maintenance or project over a network, then you want to be sure to purchase a projector that allows this connectivity. 

Conclusion

Keeping in mind space, size, lighting, connection, and noise will give you the ability to choose the right projector for your classroom. Although there are many specifications that are applied to a projector, it is not as overwhelming when you understand the four main specs. There is a projector on this list that is the perfect fit for your classroom. Choose one today!



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