How Many Lumens for Outdoor Projector?

How Many Lumens for Outdoor Projector

When was the last time you enjoyed a good movie with your family and friends? With an outdoor projector, you can create memorable experiences for yourself and your loved ones. For that, you won’t need to go out to the theater.

But do you know the kind of projector you would need for that? Or rather, how many lumens for an outdoor projector? What kind of light intensity should a projector produce to be fit for the outdoors?

This article answers your questions about that and more. Keep reading to know the projector you should pick for home entertainment purposes.

What Is a Lumen?


A lumen measures the intensity of light from a given source over a given length of time. Lumens measure how visible a beam of light is to the human eye. It is, therefore, the best measure of the amount of light you can perceive on the projection screen.

What Is a Lumen

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) labels most projectors with the lumens the devices can produce. Therefore, you can know a projector’s capability simply by looking at its ANSI lumens rating.

How Many Lumens Are Needed for An Outdoor Projector?


The number of lumens needed for an outdoor projector may vary depending on many factors. While 2000 lumens can work at night, at least 5000 LUX or lumens are ideal for daytime. The following are the factors determining how many lumens a projector should have:

1. Ambient Light

The ambient light is a big deciding factor when you are buying a projector for outdoor use. A daylight projector should have intense brightness to project clear images on a screen.

While there are 20,000 lumen projectors that can work in any condition but a 5500 lumens outdoor projector should not have any problem lighting up your screen a few hours before sunset. 

How Many Lumens Are Needed for An Outdoor Projector

If you can afford it, a 12000 lumen projector is ideal but any more than that might make an LCD screen more lucrative.

2. Screen Size

The larger the screen size the more lumens you need. For a 100”~120” screen 3000 lumen is ideal in bright ambient light. But you can count 5000 lumens minimum for a comfortable experience in the daylight. Because a 3000 lumens outdoor projector is not that much.

3. Image and Content Quality

It is usually unnecessary to turn a projector to the highest brightness level. Whether you’re playing a game or watching a movie, turning a projector to 100% can reduce the image quality..

Image and Content Quality

Therefore, you need to keep the brightness at a much lower level to maintain good image quality. If you have a projector with 4000 lumens, you may need to tune it down more often.

4. Screen Gain

Gain is the intensity of light projector screens can reflect. The relationship of screen gain with lumens is that the more the gain, the brighter the light.

For instance, if your 1.5 gain screen is reflecting 1000 lumens, it will look like 1500 lumens. So, the more the gain of your screen, the fewer lumens you will need.

How Many Lumens for An Outdoor Projector at Night?


2000-2500 lumens should be enough for outdoors at night.

However, you can watch your favorite movies on the big screen during the night using a simple mini projector. A portable projector can deliver 500 lumens minimum and works well at night.

How Many Lumens for An Outdoor Projector at Night

But that doesn’t mean that a theater projector would perform poorly at night. Considering screen size, image/content quality, and screen gain, you may need a more powerful projector. Therefore, nothing stops you from using a 5000 lumen projector outdoor.

How Many Lumens for A Daytime Projector?


When choosing a daytime projector, you should consider the ambient light, image/content quality, screen size, and screen gain. That can help you determine how many lumens you should have for an outdoor projector. Here is a guide to help you purchase the right projector based on the screen size:

How Many Lumens for A Daytime Projector
  • 9 x 5 ft screen – 2,500 lumens minimum, ideally 3,000 lumens
  • 12 x 7 ft screen – 3,000 lumens minimum, ideally 3,500 lumens
  • 16 x 9 ft screen – 3,500 lumens minimum, ideally 4,000 lumens
  • 20 x 11 screen – 4,000 lumens minimum, ideally 5,500 lumens
  • 25 x 14.5 screen – 5,000 lumens minimum, ideally 10,000 lumens
  • 40 x 22.5 screen – 5,500 lumens minimum, ideally 12,000 lumens

Before buying a portable projector, you should figure out the screen size you need. If you already have a projection screen, measure it to know the kind of projector you must pair with it. Importantly, you should compare the screen size with the outline above. Knowing its lumens can help you choose an appropriate screen if you already have a projector.

How Many ANSI Lumens for An Outdoor Projector?


According to the ANSI, an outdoor projector should have a minimum lumen rating. The lumens appear as an ANSI label on the projector to provide buyers with a general guide. Here are straightforward guidelines on the ANSI lumens rating:

How Many ANSI Lumens for An Outdoor Projector
  • 100-inch screen size, 1500 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 2300 ANSI lumens
  • 150-inch screen size, 2300 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 3000 ANSI lumens
  • 200-inch screen size, 3000 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 4500 ANSI lumens
  • 250-inch screen size, 4500 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 7500 ANSI lumens
  • 300-inch screen size, 5000 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 10000 ANSI lumens
  • 400-inch screen size, 5500 ANSI lumens minimum, ideally 12000 ANSI lumens

While having the right number of lumens on your projector is important, matching it to the ambient light, screen yield, and the required image/content quality is also important.

Choosing a higher-lumen projector is much better because it makes it possible for you to watch movies outdoors while the sun is still up. Apart from having the ability to counter ambient light, it can work with a bigger screen and provide better picture quality without struggling.

How to Set Up A Projector Outside?


Even having the latest laser projector doesn’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy a movie or play a video game in perfect resolution. You need to know how to set up the projector.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up a theater projector outside:

How to Set Up A Projector Outside

Step 1: Choose a projector with the right lumens. You should do that by matching it to your screen if you already have one. If you have a screen, you should get the right projector.

Step 2: Connect the projector to the sound system or home theater system using the wiring. Also, connect your laptop, tablet, game console, or another source of sound and footage.

Step 3: Set up the screen using the right equipment such as rope, frame, wall, or portable stand. You need to have collected all that you need beforehand. Make sure you hang up the screen to make it visible to everyone in the audience.

Step 4: Once you have erected the screen, you can pick a movie or game. You can turn it on to test the picture quality and volume of the sound system. Before you sit back and start viewing your movie, double-check that everything is in working order.

Step 5: Having ensured that the picture quality is good and the sound quality perfect, you can now power on the projector. Invite your family and friends to join you for the movie. While at it, make sure you maintain the perfect distance between the screen and the audience.

Final Words

A daylight projector needs to have the highest possible lumens to overcome the brightness emanating from sunshine and ambient light. At the very least, a 2,500 LUX projector would do well.

However, it might not be enough to give you a good viewing experience considering the screen size. You should maintain an allowance that provides the best possible content/picture quality in the same light.

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