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How Many Lumens Do You Need To Project in Daylight?

How Many Lumens Do You Need To Project in Daylight?

Projecting in daylight can be a tricky endeavour if you are not familiar with the capabilities of your projector. Direct sunlight produces a staggering 120,000 lumens of brightness, which isn’t available in any projector in existence.

Does this mean projecting in daylight is not possible? No, you should tackle this problem with some common sense.

A projector that emits the most amounts of lumens will work best in this case; however, brightness is just one of the aspects that you should focus on.

We will work through all the factors in the latter sections.

The number of lumens you will require will depend on what you are using your projector for and where it is located. However, 2,500-3,000 lumens and above are great as a minimum requirement for unavoidable ambient light.

Some games will require more lumens than others and specifically horror games. On the other hand, presentations can work with a wide area of white space.

Another key focus should be on the diagonal image size that can also determine the number of lumens required.

So, what works well is determined by where you want to project and what you are projecting. This is why this article is important for you to read in its entirety so that you don’t buy the wrong projector with inadequate lumens for your setting.

Some of the key things we will cover include:

  • Lumens for daylight settings
  • Lumens for-in-room
  • Lumens for an outdoor setting
  • Some frequently asked questions

As a bonus, I’ll throw in some useful tips about projectors and how to make the buying process easier for you.

So, sit back and get ready while I go in-depth and illuminate all your projector queries!

Daylight Lumens Required

projector with daylight lumens

The key things to note when dealing with projectors are the relationship it has with lighting, image quality, brightness, projection distance, and color.

So, what are the ideal lumens you might need for displaying your projector during daylight?

You should think of it like this: by comparing the brightness of the projector to that of the headlights of an automobile and consider the viewing effect in different ambient lighting conditions.

The intensity of the headlights is amplified in dark environments whereas in direct sunlight or during midday it is very hard to see the headlights at all. Therefore, we can say that the same relationship exists between projector brightness and ambient lighting.

You will need a high output projector of more than 3,000 lumens; furthermore, to accommodate this we recommend a good contrast ratio of 6,000:1 or higher.

In essence, it won’t matter if it’s an HD projector, 4K, or any other type of resolution; the primary function that it should be able to do is, handle the unique output challenges of daylight viewing.

Quick Tip: When using a business projector, the lumen output can be lower when in video mode. This is due to the lower luminance output from video signals.

Lumens for in-room projecting

projector with suitable lumens for in room projecting

Have you ever wondered what are the ideal lumens for projecting crystal clear images inside your house? There are two possible answers depending on; if you are watching in pitch black darkness (basement, at night) or if there is some kind of ambient light in the room (room with windows, study lights, or work lights).

With that said, a rule of thumb is that the lighter your room is, the more lumens you will need to project great images.

To make it a bit clear, we have made an easy-to-understand table.

Indoor Low Light 1,000-2,000 lumens
Indoor Medium Light 2,000-4,000 lumens
Indoor Bright Light 4,500-6,000 lumens

You should however remember that brighter projections will not always be better.

Quick Tip: You will find that home theatre projectors are mostly measured in video mode and this gives you accurate specifications for brightness. They also give you better video scaling and contrast ratios than business projectors. One thing to note is that 3D mode drops the lumens in half.

Outdoor lumens required

an outdoor projector with high lumens

Projecting outdoors can be a fun way to bring a large crowd of people together. However, knowing the right number of lumens that you will require can be tricky.

A key thing that you should consider when projecting outdoors is the screen size and the lighting conditions, for example, during the day or night.

We have designed a table that will show you the exact number of lumens required during the day or night for your screen size.

9×5 foot 1,500 2,300
12×7 foot 2,300 3,000
16×9 foot 3,000 4,500
20×11 foot 4,500 7,500
25×14.5 foot 5,000 10,000
40×22.5 foot 5,500 12,000

These numbers are not rigidly set, which means that they can be adjusted to your liking and will depend on the quality and brand of the projector you use.

Quick tip: In a sanctuary, the first and last pew where the projector will be placed is crucial because the size of the recommended screen will vary depending on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many lumens does an outdoor daytime projector need?

To start with, we recommend a minimum of 4,500 lumens for a screen size of 20×11. Irrespective of the screen size, you should always look for a projector that has at least 3,000 lumens if you are going to use it outside during the day.

TIP: The closer you get to 4,000 lumens and beyond, the better projections you can expect during the day.

Are 5000 lumens good for a projector?

Yes, they deliver well beyond what is normally required. It is ideal for places with high levels of ambient light and big spaces like exhibition halls, auditoriums, and large meeting rooms.

Do more lumens mean better projections?

In some cases, this is true. If you are in a well-lit ambient room then more lumens will be better. However, with more lumens, you can hurt your eyes or get headaches if you project it onto a smaller screen. It can also adversely affect picture quality.


To wrap things up

You may want a projector for your home, outdoor gathering, work project, or an outdoor theatre. All of these will require specific lumens to get the best picture possible.

We believe that this article has made you better understand the number of lumens required for each scenario. It doesn’t have to be mind-boggling once you have the information, you just need to get out there and purchase the perfect projector to illuminate your life and surroundings.

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