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Lamp vs. Laser Projectors

Lamp vs. Laser Projectors

Looking for a good projector?

If so, you’ll come across two types – the traditional lamp projector and the more modern laser projector.

Now, when comparing anything together, a question will naturally pop up…

Which is better?

Here, we’re going to help you answer that question by comparing the two projectors side by side.

We’ll take you through the world of laser and lamp projectors. This way, you’ll be familiar with both and know which one is best for YOU.

In addition to that, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

So are you ready? Let’s begin!

Lamp Projector vs Laser Projector: A Side By Side Comparison

To compare these two projector types, we’ll look at 7 things:

  • How they work
  • Specs
  • Lifespan
  • Price
  • Maintenance
  • Availability
  • Use cases

Let’s take a close look at each one.

1. How They Work

projector with blue light

The two projectors work differently.

One uses lamp bulbs while the other uses laser technology.

But let’s see just how different their workings are…

Lamp Projector

If you know how lightbulbs work, then you’ll have a good idea of how the lamp projector works.

It’s all one and the same.

To put it simply: an electrical signal activates electrons in a semiconducting material. In turn, the electrons produce photons (visible light).

Then, that visible light is reflected through tiny mirrors inside the projector. Or, the light passes through liquid crystals. (This is the difference between DLP and LCD projectors, by the way.)

So that is how a lamp projector shines a light and creates images on your screen.

Laser Projector

Laser projectors, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated.

The electrons are trapped inside atoms of specific gasses, glasses, or crystals.

Once the electrical current hits, the electrons get excited and bounce around the atom’s nucleus.

After a while, the electrons calm down. As this happens, they give off light photons.

And, like lamp projectors, there are tiny mirrors ready to reflect that visible light.

It’s interesting how both lamp and laser projectors produce the same results but use 2 different methods.

If you want to learn more about the actual process of both lamp and laser projectors, check out this video:

Laser Projectors as Fast As Possible

2. Specs

When buying a projector, one of the first things you should look into is the specs.

These are so important as it determines the video quality.

Lamp Projector

Depending on what type/brand lamp projector you get, the specs will differ.

You CAN’T expect the specs to be great if you get the cheapest lamp projector.

If you go for a more expensive one, though, you get specs that’ll allow you to enjoy HD images.

What we’re trying to say is that, with lamp projectors, some have high specs while others don’t. You need to be mindful when picking a good one.

Laser Projector

Since laser projectors use modern technology, you can be sure that almost all have high specs.

It doesn’t matter what you go for, you’ll get awesome specs such as perfect brightness, improved color and contrast, better efficiency, etc…

You might ask, “so what has better specs? Lamps or lasers?”

Well, not one projector has better specs than the other. However, the lamp projector’s specs can vary from excellent to poor, while lasers are always excellent. That’s the difference.

3. Lifespan

This section isn’t about the lifespan of the projector itself.

Instead, it’s about the lifespan of the light source (lamp/laser). We’re going to see the number of running hours, what lasts longer, etc…

Lamp Projector

You have to remember that lamp projectors are like lightbulbs – the light slowly dims before it dies completely.

Usually, it takes around 4,000 to 6,000 hours before lamp projectors start to dim. That’s a long time… unless you’re planning on leaving it on 24/7.

Don’t worry.

If the bulbs dim and no longer produce HD images (or if it dies), it can easily be replaced.

Laser Projector

Lasers last much longer.

The reason is that, while you can replace the lamps, you can’t replace the lasers (although you can let a qualified technician repair it).

That said, laser projectors can last up to 20,000 hours.

To give you an idea of how long that is, it keeps its brightness for a whole decade if used 40 hours a week.

Imagine that!

What’s more, if you have a dark surrounding, you can lower the light output and extend the lifespan even more.

If this was a competition, the laser projector wins over the lamp by a mile.

4. Price

man counting money

Another thing to consider is price. I mean, you can’t buy what you can’t afford.

Lamp Projector

Just as the lamp projector’s specs vary, so does the price.

You can find some really cheap ones in the markets today. The video quality might not be the best, but hey, it’s still a projector.

Then, you can find some mid-range ones with much better specs.

For the best specs, you have to be willing to spend a few more dollars.

All in all, you have a whole field of price options.

Laser Projector

As you might expect, laser projectors are all on the expensive side.

The highest-priced lamp projector might cost the same as a mid-range laser projector.

Here’s one thing to note, though. Sure, the initial price is expensive. However, it’ll only be a one-time payment. Whereas with the lamp projector, you have extra expenses, such as lamp replacement, more energy usage, etc…

So in a way, you could say it costs less… in the long run.

5. Maintenance

projector maintenance

If you want your projector to last longer, you need to make sure you maintain it properly.

Lamp Projector

Lamp projectors require a lot of maintenance.

For one, you’ll need to give extra care to the bulbs.

To do that, you’ll have to wait for the lamps to cool down before you can pack it. Or, you have to make sure the area is cool to reduce bulb temperature.

All these extra tasks might seem simple, but it gets slightly annoying pretty soon.

Besides that, you’ll also have to replace the bulbs every now and then.

If you follow maintenance rules, though, lamp projectors can last a very long time.

Laser Projector

On the flip side, laser projectors are low maintenance.

No, it isn’t maintenance-free. It still needs the occasional check-ups and upkeeps.

Other than that, you don’t have much to worry about.

The best part is that it lasts as long (or longer) as the lamp projectors that require a lot more maintenance.

6. Availability

It’s so annoying when you already set your mind on a projector, only to discover that you can’t find it anywhere.

You’ll either have to search harder or look for another one.

This is why availability should also be considered.

Lamp Projector

As they’ve been around for a long time, lamp projectors are readily available.

You’ll find a whole array of brands, specs, sizes, installation modes, connectors

Say you’re looking for specifics. Chances are you’ll find it with a lamp projector.

Laser Projector

Laser projectors are relatively new.

As a result, availability is rather low.

Still, they’re starting to come around. You’ll find many brands now manufacturing more diverse laser projectors for different uses.

There’s no doubt that, in the future, lasers will become the new norm for projectors.

7. Use Cases

projector used for presentation

Finally, use cases.

What’s the ideal use for a lamp projector? How about a laser projector?

Lamp Projector

If you aren’t going to use your projector that much, then a lamp projector is a good choice.

It won’t cost you too much.

There’s no need to keep replacing the lambs/bulbs since it won’t be used regularly.

You won’t be too bothered by the maintenance rules.

Lamp projectors work best for occasional use, such as movie nights, meeting presentations, and school projects.

Laser Projector

If your projector is going to undergo heavy use and ‘all-day’ application, go for lasers.

As we mentioned, it’s light lifespan can last a decade if used 40 hours a week.

Also, there’s no danger of overheating since it doesn’t use bulbs.

One last thing. With its high technology, lasers adapt better to bright or dark surroundings.

Of course, you can use lasers for movie nights and presentations, too.

Lamp Projector vs Laser Projector: Which is Better?

With all that in mind, let’s go back to our first question: which is better?

If it isn’t obvious by now, laser projectors come out on top.

However, it’s one thing to get the best projector…

It’s quite another to get the best projector for YOU.

What we’re saying is that it’s all up to you.

Do you go for the readily-available-and-affordable lamp projectors? Or are you more drawn to the longer-lifespan-low-maintenance laser projectors?

Read more: LED vs Bulb vs Laser Projector: What Is The Best?

Frequently Asked Questions


As promised, we’re going to answer 4 of the most frequently asked questions.

1. Are laser projectors better?

Yes, they are. I mean, you can’t beat their excellent specs, longer lifespan, and low maintenance.

2. Are laser projectors quieter?

Yes! The reason is that it runs at a lower temperature. This means fewer fans are needed. Thus, there’s less noise.

3. Are laser projectors faster to turn on/off?

Yes. Since the temperature is low, it doesn’t require warming up or cooling down, as lamp projectors do.

4. What are the benefits of switching to laser projectors over lamp projectors?

The most notable benefits are probably, again, the specs, lifespan, and maintenance. You’ll also get better energy-efficiency and faster on/off time.


So what will it be?

Lamp projectors or laser projectors?

With this side by side comparison, you’ll be able to figure out what suits YOU best.

We hope this article has been a great help in your decision-making!

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