Projectors are instrumental pieces of technology. They’re great for presentations, teachers, home theaters, and slideshows. But, if you’re going to buy a projector, it’s better to understand the projector life expectancy.
As you might have guessed, the projector life expectancy depends on the type of projector you buy. However, this is where it gets a little tricky.
It’s correct to say that projectors last around 1500 to 2000 hours (also known as the lamp life.) However, the more accurate number really depends on the type you purchased. So, let’s get into some projector life expectancy 101 on LCD, DLP, LED, and laser projectors for a more accurate number.
Projector Life Expectancy (and lifespan in general)
The interesting thing about the projector’s life expectancy is that it depends on a few reasonable things.
How long do you use your projector? Do you use it a couple of hours a day? Or do you use it all day, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Are you using your projector inside a classroom where the air is regularly circulating and free of dust? Or are you outside projecting on walls where dust can enter inside the machine?
All of these questions are important to consider when determining the lifespan of your projector.
As previously mentioned, the projector life expectancy is about 1500 to 2000 hours of lamp life. Although some newer projectors say they can last about 5000 hours.
It’s important to note that these hours are the median range of life expectancy. In other words, if used a couple of hours a day, a few days a week, most projectors will last around 2000 hours.
If overused, or underused the lamp life will be less or more hours respectively.
Now, if you’re trying to expand the projector life expectancy, a little tender care will go a long way.
We already mentioned overusing reduces the lamp life of your projector. However, there are a few things you can do to help your projector along.
Overheating is the number one cause of decreased life expectancy. If overheating occurs, don’t move the projector. Also, don’t leave your projector inside your overheated car.
Allow the projector to cool down after each use regardless of how hot it is.
Use a projector in a dust-free area whenever possible. If not, remember to clean the filters regularly.
How do you know your projector’s life expectancy is running low? The most significant sign is the brightness of the lamp.
If you start experiencing a loss of brightness, it means the bulb is on its last legs.
From here, it’s up to you if you want to replace the lamp or purchase a new projector entirely.
Once the projectors lamp starts to go, the next step is total failure.
Different Types of Projectors and Life Expectancy
Now that we have the general questions out of the way let’s get into some basics of each different type of projector.
We have LCD, DLP, LED, and laser projectors. Each one has a different life expectancy. So, what’s the difference between them? Let’s break it down for you.
An LCD projector is a projector that uses liquid crystal displays to cast images, video, and even computer data onto a flat area.
Usually, LCD projectors are more common than other types because they’re cheaper than other models. Considering the LCD Projector doesn’t have many moving parts, it will last longer.
However, some say an LCD projector is great for business meetings and presentations but not good for watching movies. If you’re interested in watching movies or creating a home theater, a 3chip-LCD Projector is great for movie watching.
The LCD projector uses a lamp called a Metal-Halide. This lamp works by creating a broad spectrum of colors at a moderate temperature. It does so by sending light through a prism that breaks up the light into red, green, and blue video signals.
The liquid crystal display uses these colors to create different colors per individual pixel. It’s a little more complex than that, but that’s an article for another day.
In any case, if you’re wondering how long the life expectancy for an LCD projector is, expect about 20,000 hours of lamp life.
On the downside, an LCD requires more filter maintenance to maintain this lifespan.
To understand the DLP projector, one must understand why it’s called a DLP or Digital Light processing projector.
The DLP is a set of microchips that works in conjunction with digital micromirrors. These digital mirrors work with a color wheel that projects an image.
The DLP system itself is found in TVs, projectors, medical instruments, and in some cell phones.
The DLP projector is smaller, more compact, and more reliable. The image is smoother because the pixels are smaller. The colors are sharp, and the blacks are true black.
DLP projectors also have fewer parts, which means it needs less repair, directly correlating to its life expectancy.
So, how long is the DLP projector life expectancy? It’s roughly 2000 to 5000 hours.
We all know what LEDs are. In fact, some of your household light bulbs are probably LED lights. As a result, most people understand that LED light bulbs last forever.
LED stands for light-emitting diode. This is what an LED projector’s primary source of light is.
The LED is a light powered by electric currents. When electrons recombine with electron holes, it releases energy (or photons.) The color of each LED corresponds directly to the energy released by the photon. Although technically it’s very scientific, it works well in LED projectors.
As a result, projector life expectancy is around 20,000 hours.
LED projectors also use less energy which makes them cooler than other projectors.
These projectors have a broader range of colors which makes them a favorite among consumers.
Laser projectors are great for many reasons. Firstly, their simple machines that work out of the box. The lasers don’t need to warm up or cool down. Therefore there’s no need to wait several minutes before moving it or turning it back on.
The laser is not hot, which means the machine will last longer overall. Because of this, maintenance for laser projectors is almost non-existent.
Although laser projectors are bulkier than the rest, these projectors are easy to install. Other projectors can only be installed according to how the lamp illuminates, but a laser can be installed in any direction.
They’re also great for larger venues like churches and sports games.
A laser also emits high-quality colors and brighter images. However, the price for laser projectors is higher than other models.
Even so, laser projectors have a life expectancy of 20,000 hours.
Long Live the Projector Life Expectancy
The projector life expectancy of LEDs, DLPs, LCDs, and laser projectors all differ. So does the quality and maintenance of each machine.
In other words, knowing the projector’s life expectancy is important, but the most crucial factor is its usage. Will you use it outdoor or indoors? Is it business or pleasure? How much will you use it?
Knowing the answer to your questions will significantly help or reduce the life expectancy of each machine.
So, now that you have the answer to all your questions, what’s it going to be? A long-living LED projector or a fancy DLP projector with micromirrors?
James Quintanilla is a technical copywriter. Although his experience allows him to write on many topics, he loves to focus on tech and travel. As a freelancer, James has worked on projects with Pointer Clicker, Lonely Planet, and the Travel Channel. When he’s not writing or planning his next adventure, he’s watching a scary movie.