A garden room creates the perfect space to spend more time outside. With the best outdoor projectors, we can enjoy sports and movies in the garden during the warmer months of the year.
The summer months are ideal for spending time outdoors long into the evening. Whether it’s catching up on your favourite movie or enjoying live sports, we shouldn’t need to go back inside the house. Many of the latest projectors create the perfect solution to enjoy entertainment in the garden and look great next to a garden room.
With an outdoor projector, we can create our own garden cinema. Live sports such as football matches and also classic movies can be streamed on the big screen for everyone to enjoy. If the width of a garden building has enough space, it could create the perfect place to mount the projector inside.
When it comes to finding the best outdoor project for sports, there are lots of features to consider. The brightness is one of the most important factors to ensure the image is clearly visible with lots of surrounding ambient light. A high resolution and refresh rate are also needed to ensure small details are visible and the video playback is smooth.
A further thought is required around how content will be streamed to the projector. For example, you may connect a mobile device or steaming stick to access content online. Not all projectors come with in-built speakers and a good speaker system is essential to create an atmosphere when watching sports.
Best outdoor projector for sports or movies
With so many options available, it can be difficult to find the best outdoor projector for sports or movies in the garden. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.
Anker Nebula Solar Portable Projector (Amazon)
The Anker brand is well-known for producing a wide range of high-quality products with a reasonable price tag. The Nebula series features a number of different projectors, each with a different feature set. Our pick for outdoors is the Nebula Solar Portable due to the rechargeable battery that delivers up to 3 hours of playback.
The design is small enough to be put in a bag for travelling and features a modern white appearance. 400 ANSI lumens of brightness is enough to provide a good quality image in different lighting conditions. The full HD resolution display ensures pictures appear sharp and easily viewable. With Android tv built-in, the Nebula can access thousands of apps without the need to connect a separate input device.
XGIMI Halo Projector (Amazon)
A full range of XGIMI projectors is available with plenty of options to choose between. Our favourite for use in the garden is the Halo projector. This model features 800 lumens of brightness to ensure images are clearly visible, even with some ambient lighting nearby. The full HD 1080 resolution provides a cinema-like experience to create an incredible image for viewing.
XGIMI have partnered with sound experts Harmon Kardon to integrate immersive dual 5w speakers into the projector, avoiding the need to connect additional speakers. Smart features make the projector easy to use and set up, with auto-focus to quickly get the best image quality. This projector comes with lifetime support, useful for any questions about using the projector in the future.
Viewsonic M2 (Amazon)
The Viewsonic product line-up features lots of projectors to choose from. This M2 model is a portable projector that’s perfect for use outdoors with 500 ANSI lumens of brightness. A high refresh rate makes this projector suitable for a range of different content including everything from sports to gaming. The bronze design provides a premium feel that blends into any background.
On board the projector is wi-fi and Bluetooth for easy connectivity or mirroring from compatible devices. Input methods include both an HDMI and USB-C port to connect a wide range of devices including a laptop. Harman Kardon integrated speakers provide room-filling sound right from the projector without the need for a separate speaker system.
LG CineBeam PF50KS (Amazon)
LG projectors boast a premium brand and plenty of features. The cineBeam PF50KS packs 600 ANSI lumens of brightness, enough for a clear and colourful image. While it does require a power adapter, the projector is incredibly small, allowing it to easily be transported in a bag into the garden. The portable projector can conveniently be carried anywhere including when watching sports at another location.
The full HD resolution produces crisp image quality with lots of detail. Connectivity options include both HDMI and USB-C for connecting to a wide range of devices. This projector could be paired with a streaming stick to enjoy movies on the big screen. With a lamp life of 30,000 hours, this projector is going to last for years into the future.
XGIMI MoGo Pro (Amazon)
Plenty of great projector models are available from XGIMI, including the MoGo Pro. This mini projector is a similar size to an iPhone, making it ideal to carry into the garden for outdoor viewing. Despite the size, there is plenty of brightness with 300 ANSI lumens for use in different lighting conditions. The 1080p full HD resolution is impressive for a small projector, with plenty of detail.
The mini-unit also integrates speakers, with 6W of power for plenty of volume. Android TV is built-in to the projector, allowing access to thousands of applications. Videos can be enjoyed without the need to connect an additional input source. Bluetooth allows for wireless speakers to be connected if a more immersive audio experience is required.
Best features of outdoor projectors for sports or movies
Digital projectors come with a huge number of features that differentiate between different models. To find the best model for use in the garden, we need to decide which features are most important.
The brightness of the display output is one of the most important factors to consider with an outdoor projector due to lots of surrounding outdoor light. We don’t want to be waiting until nighttime to be able to enjoy content that’s clearly visible on the screen.
Choosing an outdoor projector with plenty of brightness will allow us to enjoy sports and movies from the early evening when the sun begins to set. A brighter projector also allows us to enjoy a larger image, as we can move the screen further away with the image still being bright enough to be clearly visible.
Projector brightness is measured in ANSI lumens, with a higher rating correlating to increased brightness. Budget projects will start from 200 lumens, but we would avoid these if the projector is going to be used outside. Even at night, you may need to contend with lights from a neighbouring property or solar lights in the garden. We recommend a minimum of 300 ANSI lumens, with anything brighter providing an even better viewing experience.
The resolution simply means the number of pixels that the projector uses to make up the image that it displays. Resolution works in exactly the same way as on a television display. 720p is the lowest resolution high definition image and may appear to lack quality and detail, particularly when using a large screen with a projector.
Most high-quality projectors will feature a Full HD 1080P resolution. This is enough to stream high-quality images where a good amount of detail is clearly visible. A 4K display features approximately four times the amount of pixels as FHD and is available in some very high-end premium projectors.
Battery or mains powered
A feature of outdoor projectors that is often not found with indoor projectors is an in-built rechargeable battery. This allows the projector to be charged up before the beginning of a viewing session and avoids an extension cable running down the garden. The rechargeable battery also means the projector can be taken to other places without bringing lots of wires as well.
An outdoor projector with high brightness and speakers can be pretty power-hungry. Most will last for one full viewing session of a sports event or movie. Just be sure to fully charge the projector before.
If the projector is being used in a garden room that has its own dedicated supply, a model with a rechargeable battery may not be necessary.
Another feature of outdoor projectors is that many will contain a built-in speaker. Combined with the battery, this allows content to be watched without lots of wires connected to the projector. Watching content becomes as simple as turning the projector on and choosing the input source.
The type of speakers and level of performance can vary widely between different models. Be sure to look out for dual output speakers for the best quality sound. Speaker power is measured in wattage, with higher-powered speakers being a good indication of the level of volume they will produce.
Keep in mind speakers are a small part inside of a projector and won’t necessarily offer extremely loud or full surround sound. Most projectors will support Bluetooth or headphone outputs, allowing large speakers to be connected for sports events with a big audience.
Inputs & adjustability
The input is how a content source will be connected to the projector for access to sports or movies. An HDMI connection is common and widely supported by most input sources. This will allow connections from streaming sticks or a laptop. Other connectivity options include USB-C or card readers.
Some projectors feature their own operating system that can connect to wi-fi and access content directly. This removes the need for a separate input source entirely. For example, projectors with Android TV have access to thousands of applications including YouTube and Netflix. Keep in mind a good internet connection outdoors will be needed for smooth streaming in the garden.
Projectors will feature menus with lots of adjustment options. They can allow for configuration settings around the quality of the image, as well as the ability to zoom in if needed.
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Factors to consider when purchasing an outdoor projector for sports or movies
To find the best outdoor projector for the garden, we need to consider how it is going to be used. This may be for large sports events, or just for enjoying movies by yourself outside.
For sports events with friends and family around, the speakers inside a projector may not deliver the level of performance required. It’s a good idea to plan any speakers that will be connected before purchasing the projector to ensure they feature the right connectivity options.
A battery-powered Bluetooth speaker can provide a good level of sound and also avoid any additional wires connected to the projector. If there is a power source nearby, a soundbar system could provide the best listening experience with plenty of volume and bass.
As well as the projector, we also need to purchase a screen that the content will be displayed onto. Portable projector screens are available that are ideal for storing away after use. A number of different size options are available including 60” and 100” screens. The specifications of each projector will list the maximum display size and we recommend choosing a screen to match.
Outdoor screens may come with their own stand or need to be attached separately. The wall of a garden building is a potential solution to attach to depending on the size. Anti-crease screens can be put away easily without affecting the quality when next in use.
As with any electrical component, it’s important to find a projector with good-quality warranty services. While a breakdown is unlikely, an outdoor projector can be an expensive purchase. Be sure to purchase from a well-known online retail channel to ensure the device is covered.
Sometimes, the manufacturer may require the device to be registered with them to take advantage of an extended warranty. Take a look at any provided documentation for further details.
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Overall, the best outdoor projectors for sports or movies can create a perfect viewing experience in the garden. During the summer months, we can spend more time outside with our own garden cinema that compliments a garden room perfectly.
There is lots of choice available and our favourites include those from Anker & XGIMI. With lots of features available, be sure to understand which ones you require. Brightness is a key factor when using a projector outdoors and an in-built battery avoids the need for additional cables.
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