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LED vs. Bulb vs. Laser Projectors

LED vs. Bulb vs. Laser Projectors

All projectors have a light source, although it differs from one projector to another.

Based on the light source, there are three types of projectors: LED, laser, and bulb projectors.

LED and laser projectors are the new solid-state projection light sources. On the other hand, the bulb or lamp projector is older and more common.

Before concluding on the best technology, let’s look at each projection light source in detail.

Laser projector

laser projector

This type of projector projects laser beams on a screen. It is different from the regular projectors. The laser projector has a long-lasting brightness level. The color and contrast of this projector are incredible.

The laser light source is more controllable compared to regular projectors. They have an average lamp life of 20,000 hours. This will last you for a long time.

It has a low maintenance cost. Although it costs more to purchase this projector, maintaining it is much cheaper.

This is a very efficient projector. However, it requires regular cleaning to keep it in a good condition. The filter should also be changed regularly.

It can produce a single-color projection or a full-color projection, from one light source and three light sources respectively.

Bulb projector

bulb projector

This is otherwise known as a lamp projector. It is the most common type of projector. It has been in the market for a long period of time. Over the years, the bulb projector has undergone several upgrades in its brightness level as well as the lamp life.

In a bid to increase the brightness level of this projector, the dual-lamp system was introduced. Luckily, this worked but it increased the maintenance cost of the projector.

This projector is affordable. It has a fantastic brightness level. You may consider getting a bulb projector if you are on a tight budget.

However, the lamp life is not impressive. It is only suitable for short term use. You will need to change the lamp life repeatedly to use it for a long period. This increases the cost of maintenance over time.

Also, the lamp life is not predictable. It is usually lesser than the lamp life indicated on the product packaging.

LED projector

led projector

This projector uses light-emitting diodes to project an image on a screen. It can last for up to 20,000 hours; there is no need for a replacement bulb.

When this projector was introduced, it produced low lumens of brightness, and the image quality was not very impressive.

However, with time it was upgraded. Most laser projectors now produce high lumens brightness of up to 3500. It produces a more accurate color. The white light is a combination of blue, red, and green LEDs.

Brands like Optoma, Epson, Hitachi, Panasonic, and several others have produced LED projectors.

An LED projector is small in size and produces less noise compared to other projector types. It also consumes less energy.

The projector does not overheat easily. This eliminates the chances of injury when heated parts are accidentally touched.

The cost of maintenance is very low. The filters are the only parts that require cleaning once in a while. This is done to keep off the dust that might have accumulated over time.

One major disadvantage of this projector is that it is expensive.

LED vs. Bulb projector

These two projectors have their similarities as well as differences. They can produce high lumens of brightness, and their image quality is impressive. However, they differ in the area of price, lamp life, and cost of maintenance.


LED projectors are more expensive than Bulb projectors. This can be attributed to their portability and high image quality.

Lamp life

projector lamp

Bulb projectors have a lower lamp life compared to LED projectors. You need to change the lamp from time to time if you intend to use the projector for a long period.

Cost of maintenance

It costs less to maintain an LED projector. This is because unlike the Bulb projector, it does not require a change of lamp. Only the filters need cleaning.

Watch the video below to see more similarities and differences between LED and Bulb projectors.

LED Projector VS Lamp Projector

Comparison table


Lamp life

Brightness Cost of maintenance


Bulb projector It has a low lamp life. It is suitable for short term use It has a good brightness level It has a high cost of maintenance. The lamp needs to be changed regularly It is an affordable projector
Laser projector It has an average lamp life It has an impressive brightness level It has a low cost of maintenance It is an expensive projector. However , it is not as expensive as the LED projector
LED projector It has a long lamp life This projector has a fantastic brightness level It has a low cost of maintenance It is an expensive projector


Can I replace a projector lamp with an LED?

You can replace a projector lamp with an LED. However, there are three things you need to consider before doing this:

  • The lumens of brightness that the LED can produce
  • The heat of the projector
  • Compatibility of the projector with the LED

Before you replace the projector lamp with an LED, check the lumens of brightness that the LED can produce. This is because most projectors split white light into layers.

When this happens, not all the light produced by the lamp is projected, and this causes the image to be blurry. Therefore, you must choose an LED with high lumens of brightness to compensate for this.

Check the heat of the projector. Excess heat can reduce the lifespan of the LED. Also, take note of the compatibility of the projector with the LED. The LED will not function if both devices are incompatible.

To solve this, you can disable the projector’s optocoupler; this way the motherboard cannot detect that it is an LED.

Are cheap LED projectors any good?

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LED projectors are generally expensive. However, you can find cheap ones online; all you need to do is to search for cheap LED projectors and you will find loads of them.

Normally, everyone expects to get low quality when a product is bought at a cheaper price. Not that cheap projectors are bad, but they cannot be compared to the high-priced projectors.

To an extent, cheap LED projectors can give you what you want, but the question is, are they satisfactory? When you check the ratings of these projectors online, you will see that some of them have as much as 5-star ratings.

Most times, the reason for this is that some people have not tried the high-priced projectors. It is easier to assess the performance of a projector if you have tried out many others.

When you compare these cheaper LED projectors with one another, you will see that some of them are better than others.

One problem with cheap LED projectors is that some vendors publish false specifications. What you get is completely different from what you see in the product specification.

However, we cannot completely discard these cheap projectors. Some of them produce large and clear images although not up to the expensive projectors.


One common feature between these three projector types is that they all project nice images. However, their image quality differs.

If the LED projector is beyond your budget, you can opt for a bulb or laser projector.

Bear in mind that each of these projectors is unique and suitable for a particular purpose.

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