Using a projector outside during the day, when the sun is high, may turn into a big disappointment. Due to too much ambient light, it becomes impossible to clearly see anything on the screen.
But with a powerful, bright projector with high lumens rating, you can enjoy clear viewing in daylight.
But How many lumens do you need to project in daylight? You need not less than 2500 lumens to produce clear pictures in daylight. The higher the lumens rating, the more brightness the outdoor daylight projector has, and the better it can fight ambient light.
Read our in-depth guide below to discover more helpful info and tips about using a projector in daylight.
How many lumens is natural sunlight?
Natural sunlight produces up to 120,000 lumens of brightness. However, the lumens value can vary depending on your location and the weather condition.
According to NASA, the sun produces up to 1362 watts per square meter. (Source). Direct sunlight also has a luminous efficacy of approx. 93 lumens per radiant flux watt.
Multiply 1362 by 93 lumens, and you’ll get 126,666. This is the approximate amount of lumens the sun produces on a perpendicular surface at sea level.
Generally, the number of lumens from sunlight ranges from 32,000 to 150,000. At full daylight, you can expect a total lumen count of between 10,000 and 25,000. And when working under direct sunlight, the lumens can get as high as 32,000–130,000.
From this figure, it’s clear that you can’t compete with the natural sunlight—the biggest source of light on the planet. We’ll discuss more tips on using your projector in the daylight for maximum picture quality (don’t close that tab!
How many lumens do you need to project in daylight?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, you’ll need at least 25000 lumens of projector brightness to ensure you enjoy clear images in daylight.
Remember that daylight is the strongest ambient lighting you’ll ever deal with when using a projector.
The higher you go on the ANSI lumens chart for projectors, the brighter a unit you get. Some models can be as bright as 10,000 lumens and output great picture quality in daylight!
But such models are quite expensive and are best used for large venues such as convention halls and not for movie watching sessions for your family.
What you intend to use the projector for will also give you an idea of how many lumens you need in a projector for daylight viewing.
For instance, if you plan to watch a movie outdoors, you should consider more lumens (say up to 5000 lumens or a 10000-lumen projector) for greater picture quality.
However, if you’re looking to project a normal presentation, a typical daylight projector of between 2000-3000 lumens will work for you.
How many lumens for an outdoor projector at night?
You may think you don’t need a bright projector for projecting at night, but that’s not true.
There’s still plenty of ambient light even at night. This can come from the moon, sky glow, security lights, porch lights, etc.
You should get an outdoor projector rated at 2,000 to 2,500 lumens for night use. This is enough brightness level to wash out the artificial ambient light at night and ensure your images don’t appear muddy, faded, or faintly.
This is no big difference from a project you can use outdoors in daylight. Whether you go with a LED projector or LCD projector for the lighting technology, you’ll still find a unit that outputs more than 2000 lumens.
How well do projectors work in daylight?
A projector will work in daylight, provided you choose one that outputs high brightness levels to combat the ambient light from the natural sunlight.
We’ve already the ideal range of lumens (projector brightness) to consider, so we won’t go into the details again.
Besides getting a daylight projector screen with high brightness, there are additional measures you can implement to ensure you get the best viewing experience in daylight.
These measures include:
- Avoid direct sunlight: As we have seen earlier, sunlight has unparalleled luminous capacity. Not even the most advanced laser projector units can come close to it. It’s futile to compete with it. For this reason, you should ensure the sun doesn’t shine directly on your projection screen.
- Work with a shady screen: If possible, try looking for a shaded area for the screen placement. This will help significantly lower ambient light. It will also shield your projector from direct sunlight, which can cause it to overheat.
- Don’t project on the wall: Walls will absorb more light than they’ll reflect and will often result in poor picture quality. Use a reflective white surface to ensure you get the lumens intended by the projector manufacturer.
- Ensure your projector is correctly placed: You’ll get a small screen size if you place your projector too close to screen. But if you set it too far away, you’ll get larger but faded images. Take into account your projector’s throw distance for correct placement.
While still at it, some people think that a daytime 4k projector will work best in daylight conditions. But this isn’t 100% true. The 4K simply refers to the projector resolution and is not related to its brightness.
If you’re looking for this high-resolution unit, therefore, make sure you take its brightness level as well.
A 4k model with ANSI lumens rating of 3000 and above will meet your needs for daylight projection. Don’t expect a 4K unit with less than 2000 lumens to perform well in daylight.
Also, the contrast ratio isn’t equal to the contrast, so you should still check the projector’s contrast ratio to ensure you enjoy high picture quality.
Ambient light is one of the major challenges you’ll have to deal with when using your projector in daylight.
Ideally, you want to look for a projector capable of outputting at least 2500 lumens to counter the ambient lighting and ensure you get clear pictures on your screen.
The higher the number of projector lumens, the clearer and better the picture quality.
Hopefully, this lumen guide has shed enough light on the type of projector you need to use in daylight.