Everything’s Illuminated: How Many Lumens Do I Need for an Outdoor Projector?

Get the most out of your outdoor big-screen experience by buying an outdoor projector with the proper amount of lumens. How embarrassing would it be to have friends over to watch a movie on the patio only to find that you can’t even see it clearly? A good one will give you sharp images in almost any lighting conditions.

Sick and tired of wondering: how many lumens do I need for an outdoor projector? If yes, find out how many lumens you need here!

Calculating Brightness for an Outdoor Projector

You want to know how well your portable outdoor movie projector works with various lighting conditions. TVs use internal lighting, while projectors put light onto a viewing screen. This is why the quality of the image is going to change during different environmental parameters.

Good projectors will sufficiently illuminate the screen with a consistently vibrant and clear display, whether day or night. If it maxes out at 300 lumens, the output will be poor during the day. The picture will get drowned out by ambient sunlight or artificial outdoor lighting as it hits your outdoor projector screen.

Mini Portable Projectors

Mini portable outdoor movie projectors are a great choice because they offer Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi, and (usually) at least 500 lumens. If you see one online or at the store with less than 500 lumens, keep shopping, because that’s not going to be enough for day and night viewing on a foldable screen or the side of a home. 

If you want to go up even further, say, to 3,000 lumens, you’ll need to get a full-size projector. Even some state-of-the-art mini LED portables mast have reduced lumen output for technological reasons.


LEDs consume less power than the larger halogen bulbs used by full-sized units. Battery life is conserved well, which is a benefit for you if you’re using it while unplugged. LED-based units will have multi-lens arrays crafted with precision, which is a lot better than those cheap, single-lens models that use LCD.

You can’t upscale the cheap ones, by the way. They’ll stay at 480p or even lower, which will reduce image quality. A good-quality portable projector will use 720p or more. This makes a huge difference and enhances your experience, even at a dark campsite.

Bonus Features

If you go with a cheap model, you’ll get what you pay for. You’ll end up with low light power, no HDMI or elemental protection, and short battery life. Think about making a long-term investment in the best outdoor projector you can find, rather than having to replace it every time it breaks or you want to upgrade.

Connectivity Counts

The best projector will have HDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB Types A and C. By having these, you have the ability to connect gaming consoles, a router, a streaming box, RV radio, and more! Some models even have Android TV preloaded.

Perfect Your Outdoor Theater Experience

So, look for an outdoor projector with at least 500 lumens. Also, consider shock- and waterproofing as well as dust resistance. You may plan on being very careful with it, but it will inevitably get a little roughed up when it’s outdoors by rain, being dropped, etc., but that depends on how hard you party.

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