What are the Best Lumens for an Outdoor Projector?

If you’ve been looking for an outdoor projector for a backyard party or a more significant commercial event, you’ve probably come across the term Lumens.

You may be wondering what Lumens are and how they will affect your outdoor projector if you are not in the lighting industry or fresh out of physics class.

It’s good to know that Lumens is easy to understand and apply to your setup, unlike most industry jargon.

What Are Lumens In Projectors?

Lumens are a value that addresses the brightness of the bulb or lamp in your outdoor projector.

Why is this important to you? Without sufficient Lumens of brightness, if you prefer, the image on your screen will be less than clear.

The Lumen rating of your projector will also determine the size of screen you can project onto a clear and crisp image.

Having a higher-rated Lumen projector will allow you to watch a movie outdoors at dusk, while a lower-rated projector will only show an image when it’s completely dark and maybe with no ambient lighting.

So, all in all, Lumens are pretty important to your viewing pleasure.

The ANSI lumen is 240% brighter than the standard lumen, so be sure to know which rating applies.

What are Outdoor Projectors?

An outdoor projector lets you watch a movie or sports on a large screen. You can link audio and video to have the perfect solution for an outdoor party with family and friends.

Are Outdoor Projectors waterproof?

Outdoor projectors are full of sensitive electronics and will be affected by water. So keep your projector dry.

There are waterproof enclosures to protect your outdoor projector from sunned rain showers.

Outdoor Projector Recommendations

Optoma HD146X High Performance Projector

The Optoma HD146X from Texas Instruments is a good all-around projector for use outdoors and indoors. It features:

  • High definition picture quality 1080p. Unique color wheel for home calibration ensuring the best picture quality
  • Texas Instruments technology allows for perfect image alignment when combined with The Texas Instrument high lumens. The picture quality is clear, crisp, and defined.
  • You can use this projector indoors with the lights on! The 3,600 lumens give a cinematic viewing experience when the lights are dimmed. Show movies at dusk when using the projector outdoors.
  • Unlike other projectors, Texas Instruments has an incredible response time for gamers. Gaming mode alters the contrast for greater visibility in dark scenes, which makes seeing obstacles easy.
  • Single remote operation through the projectors HDMI-Link. Operation is user-centric and straightforward for the ultimate projector experience.

BenQ HT2050A 1080P Home Theater Projector

BenQ HT2050A 1080P Home Theater Projector BenQ is synonymous with evolving technology making their projectors some of the best on the market.

  • Possible one of the best picture quality projectors available in this price range. 1080p delivers crisp, well-defined images, 2,200 lumens give optimal performance for this projector. Perfect for indoor and outdoor use
  • Gamers can enjoy a seamless gaming experience when the projector is in gaming mode. Ultra-low latency gives a fast response and delivers a superior image.
  • Be the talk of the party when your friend with an incredible 100-inch screen image from only 8 feet away, just 96 inches. The BenQ HT2050A is capable of projecting up to an impressive 300 inches for an authentic cinematic experience.
  • Extensive range of connection options from USB, gaming consoles, and mobile devices.
  • This highly acclaimed projector packs a punch and is an award winner.

Why did we recommend these two projectors? They offer great value for money, and the technology used in each is advanced. You can use these projectors at dusk!

What Is The Best Outdoor Projector Resolution For Me?

Your screen is going to be part of the equation of the resolution.

I’m sure you don’t want a small screen, and a good screen for your projector is around eight feet wide. It’s kind of a standard that works well with backyard projectors.

Also, the amount of albeit lighting will factor into how many Lumens you will need.

If you would like to start showing a movie an hour before dusk, you will need a minimum of five thousand Lumens, that is 5000.

Many outdoor projectors are sold with half of that amount of Lumens, and they will do a job that will provide a reasonable image and entertain your guests. However, the light levels will need to be below for you to enjoy the movie.

If viewing time is not essential, you can limb buy with a three thousand 3000 Lumen projector. But, the lighting will need to be very low.

The 3000 Lumen projector works well with an eight-foot screen and is a super popular projector for outdoor events such as backyard movie parties and weddings.

Viewing movies in your backyard in pitch-black darkness is not a good idea, and if, like most of us, there is always some light intrusion from a source nearby.

Lumens are essential, so don’t be fobbed off by the retailer because he doesn’t have the correct unit for your requirements.

Screen Size and Lumens

If an eight-foot screen is too small for your event and you decide to up your screen size, you will need to up your Lumens to compensate for the extra screen size.

If you jump up to a 10 or 12-foot screen, I recommend an 8 or, better still 10, 000 Lumen projector.

Once you start getting into the realms of projectors with this amount of Lumen output, your projector setup is becoming what I would regard as semi-professional.

Why Buy a Higher Lumen Rating Projector

It’s all about light!

What do I mean? Well, most projectors work perfectly in an environment where there is no light pollution.

But the truth is when you hold your backyard movie night, there will be some ambient lighting for your guests to be able to get around.

If you have a high-lumen projector, you can view movies in brighter ambient light conditions.

You can even show movies for kids at dusk!

What are the Best Lumens for an Outdoor Projector?

Turning the projector to 100% will wash out the image and reduce contrast and quality when watching films or playing games.

It’s not a simple answer, and here is why. The number of lumens you need for an outdoor projector varies with the light condition.

Ambient lighting will affect your movie. If the lumens are low, then your movie will be washed out by the ambient light.

You should also factor in the size of your screen and the distance from it. Now you can begin to see why the question of how many lumens is so tricky to answer.

But don’t worry, on decent projectors, you can adjust the lumens until you get the perfect picture.

Are 7000 Lumens Good for a Projector

Well, you will negate most of your ambient light issues as 7000 lumens is quite bright and would usually be used in a medium-sized conference room.

The biggest issue with using 7000 lumens for a backyard movie theater is the cost. A good 7000-lumen projector will cost in the range of $3000.00, and in comparison, most 3000 Lumen projectors cost $700.00, a third of the cost.

Now, of course, if the cost of the projector is no issue, then 7000 Lumens will deliver excellent quality, and your guests will be delighted with the experience.

However, is the 7000-lumen projector worth the extra bucks? For most of you, the answer will be no. A 3000-lumen projector in the backyard delivers everything you need and more.

How Many Lumens Do I Need to Use a Projector in Daylight

Any bright daylight scenario will not give you a great outdoor projector experience; bright light will make the images on the screen look faded.

For example, sunlight is measured at 120,000 lumens. Trying to compete with that is somewhat challenging, if not impossible.

If you need to show a movie during the day, you will need to move indoors to get the best results.

To use your outdoor projector at dusk, you would need a minimum of 3000 lumens. If you have more lumens, the sharper the image will be with crisp outlines.

So, I guess the answer is to buy an outdoor projector with adequate lumens, say above 3000 lumens should do an excellent job for you.

However, too many lumens can wash out your movie the same as sunlight, so the question of lumens is a balancing act, but if you have 3000 lumens, this should be adequate.


Light control is critical and ambient light can wash out a low Lumen projector.

In most cases, you will find a three thousand Lumen projector that will meet all of your requirements in terms of screen size and viewing pleasure.

Three thousand Lumens may be a little more pricey, but the extra cost will be worth the experience.