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Laser vs. DLP Projectors

Laser vs. DLP Projectors

You’re in the market for a new projector. You have an excellent budget, so you want something worthwhile. Now, the big question is, should you go with a laser or DLP projector?

Both projectors have their pros and cons, so how do you decide?

In this article we will walk you through their features, how they work, their affordability, and a few pros and cons.

So, let’s put them side by side and see what makes each one tick.

Laser Projectors (A Definition and How They Work)

A laser projector is a projector that creates images using laser lights to watch movies, TV shows, or presentations.

However, the laser is only part of what creates the image. Laser projectors use other elements like mirrors to create that pristine image we love so much.

Some laser projectors only use one laser, but others use three, which allows them to create a wide range of colors.

The biggest upside to having a laser projector is the potential for bright images and a broad range of colors.

But what does that mean for you as a buyer? Let’s dive into it some more.

More Brightness and Better Color

One of the best qualities of a laser model is the wide range of colors it produces. Laser projectors offer the most colors out of all other types of light sources, making them ideal for a home entertainment system.

friends gather around projector screen and projector

As a result of its powerful nature, it also emits great contrast, clarity, and focus at any distance.

Lasers are also hardier and last longer. They provide better brightness and do not decline over time as much as traditional lamps.

Overall, lasers are simply efficient in creating higher-quality colors for your images.

More Efficiency

Speaking of efficiency, these projectors work with the touch of a button. In fact, laser projectors instantly turn on once their “Power” button is pressed.

Other projectors, like traditional lamp models, need time to warm up before you can use them.

This is a great feature if you’re trying to replace your TV with a projector or use a laser projector for work presentations.

Lower Maintenance Costs

man removing projector from the ceiling mount

Laser projectors have a lifespan of about 20,000 hours before you need to replace them.

If you compare this to other projectors, components start to break down, and eventually, you have to replace the lamp or the projector as a whole.

Although a laser projector is often more expensive than other projector types, this investment saves you money in the long run.

Even the need to replace filters goes down to zero when using a laser projector. This makes a laser projector the most user-friendly machine you can purchase.

Great Machines Overall

A laser projector uses very little electricity for the amount of light it outputs, making it energy efficient.

However, these machines offer spectacular durability, reliability, and long-lasting life as a machine.

If that’s not enough, they’re great to place almost anywhere, and the image will remain perfect.

A Few Cons

Every product, no matter how incredible, has cons. Laser projectors are no different.

Laser projectors are some of the most expensive projectors on the market. This is a major disadvantage if you simply want to try it out. It means many will not experience the brilliance it holds.

a man counting money

Apart from that, they are big, clunky, and heavy. So if you’re looking for a small, pocket-size laser projector for your dorm room, chances are you won’t find one.

DLP Projectors (A Definition and How They Work)

A DLP projector (AKA Digital Light Processing) is a machine that uses micro-mirrors to reflect light and produce your image. A DLP projector uses these micro-mirrors in conjunction with a color wheel to project colors and hues.

DLP projectors are primarily used for entertainment and even professional purposes.

While that’s all great news, what does that mean if you decide to purchase one?

Let’s get into some advantages below.

Good Technology

DLP projectors technology provides great images with sharpness, lots of colors, and decent contrast.

The spaces between the micro-mirrors are minimal, meaning the pixels are very close together, giving you a clear image.

Bright Lights

Projector Project on a Ceiling

The mirrors inside these types of projectors allow them to trap light tightly, producing brighter images than a traditional lamp.

The light produced by a DLP is often bright enough to use in ambient lighting.

Great Color Gamut

Using a color wheel means a DLP can handle up to seven colors, giving it a wide color gamut. The color wheel also allows for excellent greyscale.

For comparison, many projectors use three colors, red, green, and blue (RGB.) A DLP projector uses up to seven at once to create as many colors as possible.

A Few Cons

Although DLP projectors are great, like any machine, they have flaws.

For starters, their light sometimes creates what users call a “rainbow effect.” In other words, sometimes, if you’re looking at a particularly bright image, it might look like a rainbow.

rainbow effect on a DLP projector

On the plus side, this is rare, but it does happen.

To avoid this, make sure you take any DLP projector for a visual spin before purchasing it.

An annoying factor of the color wheel is the noise it produces. If you do not like mechanical tweets, don’t buy one. You’ll most likely chuck it out the window.

There’s also an issue with its contrast. Scenes with black and white next to each other do not appear clean. The image is jagged. An error causes this in its diffusion of shadows when one pixel cannot project a shadow correctly.

If you’re a gamer, DLP projectors are notorious for lag time. That’s a deal-breaker for any gamer.

Because of its DLP technology, your installation options are limited to the ceiling. If you were planning on placing it on a tabletop, chances are the scaling will be limited, and the picture will suffer.

Affordability

Now that you know about their technology and how they function, it’s time to dive into their affordability.

Laser projectors can be pretty pricey. A DLP projector’s biggest advantage over a laser projector is its price. DLP projectors come in many shapes, sizes, and specifications. Therefore, finding one within your budget is a matter of spending a few minutes searching for one you’re happy with.

However, we should break it down a little more and discuss prices for both laser and DLP projectors and what you get if you decide to go with a more inexpensive laser projector model.

Projectors

Laser Projectors

Generally speaking, laser projectors are more expensive than other types of projectors on the market.

However, you can find affordable models out there. It just depends on the specifications you’re looking for and, of course, your budget.

If we look at the Epson EpiqVision, you’ll notice it has a lot of great specifications.

Epson EpiqVision Ultra Short Throw LS300 3LCD Smart Laser Projector, 3600 Lumens Color & White Brightness, HDR, Android TV, Yamaha Speakers,...
  • Epson Certified-Refurbished Product - Epson’s quality-assurance team reviews each refurbished...
  • Stunning Picture Quality up to 120" – Delivers an immersive, bright viewing experience for TV...
  • Sound by Yamaha — Custom-designed audiophile 2.1 speaker system offers a powerful and emotional...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

These specifications include:

  • Ultra short throw
  • 3600 lumens
  • 120-inch size image
  • Built-in speakers
  • Sleek design
  • Chromecast built-in
  • Accepts 4K visuals
  • and 1,500,000:1 contrast

In other words, you’re paying for all these great things, but you’re bound to be happy with your purchase.

But as I mentioned, there are deals out there.

Take the Wemax Mini Pocket Projector, for example. It’s a bargain, but the specifications reflect the price.

WEMAX Go Ultra Portable Laser Projector – 300 ANSI Lumens Mini Pocket DLP Projectors – 1080p Support – Wireless Mirror Screening for Android iOS...
  • 【Pocket Cinema Projector】 Less than 1-inch thick and weighing only 0.66 lb, WEMAX Go easily...
  • 【Unrivaled ALPD Laser Technology】 Adopting the best in projection technology, WEMAX Go...
  • 【Square & Sharp Image】 With auto vertical keystone correction, WEMAX Go aligns the distortion on...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The specs for this projector include:

  • ALPD laser
  • 500:1 contrast ratio
  • Ultra-Thin
  • 300 ANSI lumens
  • Native 1080p resolution
  • Wi-Fi phone connection

If you notice, even though this laser projector is more of a bargain, the reviews and specs are not as great as the one above. For laser projectors, you get what you pay for.

DLP Projectors

To contrast laser projectors with the affordability of DLP projectors, let’s look at FATORK 5G Mini Projector.

Sale
Mini Projector, FATORK 5G WiFi DLP Smart Portable Movie Projectors, Pocket Monster Outdoor Projector for Phone 1080P HD Support Wireless Video Travel...
  • 🌞【CLARITY & SHORT FOCAL DISTANCE】:DLP projectors provide better light efficiency and color...
  • 👜【PORTABLE & AUTOMATIC KEYSTONE CORRECTION】:With a design more minor than the size of a...
  • 🤖【WIRELESS 5G WIFI CONNECTION】:The WiFi projector supports 2.4G/5G, realizing the same...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Let’s look at what we get for its price.

  • Projection size of 10 – 114 inches
  • Automatic Keystone Correction: ± 40 °
  • Max Support Resolution: 1920 x 1080p
  • Lifespan of 30,000 Hours
  • 150 ANSI lumens

Although it’s not the best, it works well in a pinch.

A slightly more expensive DLP projector gives you a lot more bang for your buck.

This Wemax Dice gives you:

Sale
WEMAX Dice 1080p FHD Portable Projector for Outdoor Movie, 700 ANSI Lumens, Android TV Smart System, 3 Hrs Battery Life, Dolby Audio Home Theater,...
  • 【700 ANSI Lumens 1080P FHD/Remarkable Clarity】 WEMAX Dice Projector delivers 1920x1080...
  • 【4 Points Keystone Correction/Angles Never Bother You】 Just put DICE at any angle, the patented...
  • 【Dolby Audio DTS-HD/Theater-Like Audio】 hear your movie come to life. The 2 built-in speakers...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • 700 ANSI lumens
  • 1080p resolution
  • 40-120-inch projection
  • Built-in speaker
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio

Not too bad. I’d buy this one as a birthday present.

Alternatives

white projector on the stand

On the plus side, if you decide both DLP and laser projectors are not for you, you can always try other types.

You have options, which include:

  • LED projectors
  • Traditional lamp projectors
  • LCD
  • LCoS

However, weighing their specs is just as important before you purchase them.

Although, in my opinion, projectors of all kinds are pretty incredible.

Comparison table

We threw a lot of information at you, so let’s put it all inside a table so you can compare and contrast everything we just talked about easily.

  Pros Cons
Laser Projectors
  • More brightness and better color
  • Highly efficient machine
  • Lower overall maintenance costs
  • Efficient use of electricity
  • Durable
  • Reliable
  • Long life
  • Instant “On” button
  • Expensive
  • Often too big
  • Too Heavy
DLP Projectors
  • Technology allows for great contrast
  • Good colors
  • Smooth images
  • Wide color gamut
  • Light output is usually bright
  • Reasonable prices
  • Many models to choose from
  • Good for people on a budget
  • Rainbow effect happens due to its color wheel
  • Its color wheel makes noise which can be annoying
  • Contrast between black and white is jagged and not clean
  • Installation is limited to ceiling

Conclusion

If I’m being honest, I believe all projector types are amazing. But if I had the money, I would go with a laser projector. That’s not to say DLP projectors are not good. Laser projector technology is simply more advanced.

However, since money is a factor in our decision, I would choose the projector with the best specifications and a higher lifespan.

Regardless of which one I would choose, the decision is ultimately yours.

Which one are you leaning towards? We’d love to know.

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