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How Bright are Laser Projectors?


Laser projectors are quickly growing in popularity. They’re sleek, produce amazing picture resolution, and can either be ultra-short throw or long-throw to fit your space. 

From portable units that fit in the palm of your hand to professional projectors for a dedicated home theater room, there is a laser projector for virtually any occasion. 

But how do they compare to LED and lamp projectors? How bright are laser projectors? Are there any downsides to laser projectors? 

Keep reading to find out! 

How Bright are Laser Projectors?

Laser projectors can be from 1,500 to 20,000 lumens bright. 

ViewSonic LS700HD 1080p Laser Projector
Click image for more info

Laser projectors have a wide brightness range, with smaller units only emitting about 1,500 lumens and larger units producing up to 20,000 lumens

Since a projector’s brightness must fit the space it’s in, this range allows you to find the perfect laser projector for you. 

This brightness makes laser projectors the ideal choice for daytime or outdoor viewing. 

Are Laser Projectors Brighter Than LED/Lamp Projectors?

Yes, laser projectors are brighter than LED and lamp projectors. 

Optoma ZH406 1080p Professional Laser Projector
Click image for more info

Although every projector model will vary, laser projectors are generally much brighter than LED or lamp projectors. 

Let’s see how laser projectors compare to LED and lamp projectors. 

LED

LED projectors can usually project no more than 3,500 lumens. This may come as a surprise since many LED brands boast much higher lumen counts, but these numbers are often very exaggerated. 

One pro of LED projectors is, like laser projectors, they tend to be quieter. This means you won’t have to crank up your speakers to hear what the characters on-screen are saying. 

Lamp

Lamp projectors vary greatly in brightness, producing anywhere from 1,000 to 43,000 lumens of brightness. 

However, lamp projectors drastically dim over time, losing up to a quarter of brightness after being in use for 500 hours. This means that although your lamp projector may be crisp and clear when first taken out of its box, its outstanding picture quality won’t last long. 

The lamp unit must also be replaced, which can be a costly and delicate process. 

To learn more about the differences between laser, LED, and lamp projectors, watch the video below! 

Lamp vs LED vs Laser Projectors - What's The Difference?

Laser Projector Pros and Cons

There are a few pros and cons to using laser projectors. 

Laser projectors are great, but they’re not perfect. Whether getting a laser projector is the right choice for you will depend on your lifestyle, home theater setup, and viewing preferences. 

Let’s go over a few pros and cons of laser projectors and how they apply to various viewing experiences. 

Laser Projector Pros

Availability of Ultra-Short Throw Projectors (UST)

One great benefit of laser projectors is the availability of ultra-short throw units. These projectors only need to be placed inches away from your wall or screen to project a 100-inch picture!

UST units are brighter than long-throw projectors since less light is lost as it doesn’t have to travel several feet from your projector to the screen. 

You also don’t need to worry about mounting them from the ceiling or rearranging your furniture to accommodate the long throw distance. 

Watch the video below to learn more about UST projectors and their specific pros and cons. 

5 Pros & Cons Of An Ultra Short Throw Projector! // VAVA 4K Laser UST TV // Home Theater 2021!

Very Bright

Laser projectors are much brighter than LED and lamp projectors and don’t lose their brightness over time. You can expect your laser projector to maintain its out-of-the-box brightness after hundreds of hours of watch time. 

Their high lumen count makes them ideal for outdoor and daytime viewing, especially when paired with an ambient light rejecting screen. 

Because laser projectors are so bright, you can turn on eco-mode to save power without sacrificing image quality. 

ViewSonic LS860WU 5000 Lumens WUXGA Short Throw Laser Projector
Click image for more info

Are you nervous about hurting your eyes? Don’t be! 

Many new laser projector models come with a motion sensor that will prompt the laser to immediately turn off if it senses something in front of it. 

Also, studies show that watching content on a laser projector for long periods is completely safe as even the brightest units aren’t strong enough to damage the human eye. 

Low Maintenance

Unlike lamp projectors which require lamp replacements, laser projectors do not have parts in need of constant repair or replacement. Not only does this make them more durable and increase their longevity, but it also makes them a great low-maintenance option. 

You also only need to replace or clean the filter unit every 5,000 to 20,000 hours of watch time. On the other hand, LED and lamp projector filters must be cleaned or replaced every 100 to 300 hours

Just remember to regularly clean the lens and wipe off the projector, and you’re good to go! 

clean the projector lens

Laser Projector Cons

Lower Black Levels

One downside of laser projector’s brightness is their lower black levels. A picture’s black levels define how dark and even the black parts of the image are. 

This feature is most important when watching content with large black areas, such as space films or deep sea documentaries. 

You may notice that the blacks aren’t as deep and consistent as they are on LED or lamp projectors. 

If you’re experiencing this problem, try adjusting your unit’s contrast settings and ensuring your room has as little ambient lighting as possible. 

a black projector set in a bright living room

Cost

Although laser projectors require very little maintenance, the initial cost is more expensive than LED or lamp projectors. 

Costs will vary on the unit’s size, brand, and throw distance (ultra-short throw projectors are usually more expensive). 

Consider that you will not need to frequently buy pricey lamp and filter replacements, or spend time installing them. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if investing in a laser projector is the right choice for you and your wallet. 

Size

If you’re someone who likes to take their projector on the go, laser projectors may not be the right choice for you. Laser projectors tend to be on the larger side, making them difficult to transport. 

While there are a few portable laser projectors on the market, none of them are as compact as the LED and DLP portable units you’ll find. 

ViewSonic M2e 1080p Portable Projector
Click image for more info

So, it’s better to stroll past the laser projector aisle if you’re looking for a unit small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. 

Wrapping Things Up

Laser projectors are not only bright, but they’re also perfect for those looking for an ultra-short throw unit and anyone who doesn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars a year on maintenance fees. 

Whether you want a projector for backyard movie night or your dedicated home theater room, there is a laser projector for you! 

Do you think that laser projectors’ pros outweigh the cons? What’s your experience with laser projectors? Let us know in the comments below!


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