When you go out to treat yourself with a new projector, one crucial factor that will pop out all the time when you are checking a particular model is lumens. It might not be the most important, but it serves as one of the most vital factors as it determines the brightness level.
When you are buying a projector, you will come across numerous terminologies that are associated with imaging units, and lumens is one of them. So now you must be wondering what are lumens and how many lumens is good for a projector? Well, without further ado, let’s find out all the answers.
What Are Lumens And Why It Is Important to A Projector
Lumens is basically the measurement of the brightness or the intensity of light that can be projected from the light source. Different projectors come with varying ranges of brightness, and it all depends upon the category it falls.
Wherever you Lumens are mostly represented in terms of ANSI Lumens, and it is a standard term that is followed by all the reputed organizations. People usually think that the higher the lumens or bright will be the projector, the better will be image output as well as the quality. However, it is valid to some extent, but it is not always the case.
LED, lamp, and laser are the three common light sources that are used in the projector, and different sources have different brightness levels. A typical lamp projector in the market comes with 2000 ANSI lumens, while most of the popular laser units in the market get more than 3000 ANSI lumens.
On the other hand, ANSI lumens figures vary widely in LED projectors as unlike other lamps; they can offer better brightness and quality than low lumens figures. This is why an LED projector, even with 1500 ANSI lumens, can provide better vividness and color saturation than a lamp projector with 2000 ANSI lumens.
The lumens plays a crucial role in a projector as it helps the device to counter the ambient light in the surrounding and maintain a clear and bright visual output. So when you set up a projector in a completely dark room, you won’t need high lumens as there is hardly any light in the room.
However, if you set up a projector in the outdoor light, you will need high lumens as the projector will face a lot of light intrusions. Remember, high brightness is not always good for a projector as it can ruin the overall image quality and hurt your eye.
So it boils down to the question of how many lumens for a projector.
How Many Lumens Is Good for A Projector?
When you are deciding to purchase a projector, you should emphasize a lot the projector’s lumens figure. It is crucial to choose an appropriate lumens amount rather than going for high lumens and expect to view a great visual output. Different situations and setups require a certain level of brightness, and there are no particular lumens that fit all the conditions. You should ask yourself, ” how many lumens do I need for a projector?” before venturing into the market. For example, if you will use the projector for projection mapping, you need at least 1500 ANSI lumens for indoor setup and at least 2500 ANSI lumens for outdoors.
Various factors determine the brightness level you need in your projector; otherwise, you will get an overly bright or faded view. The two main factors that determine the brightness or lumens amount you need in a projector are the ambient light and the screen-size range you prefer.
Ambient light is probably the most determining factor as you can’t control the light from different sources, whether it is in the indoor or outdoor area. When having an indoor setup, light from windows and normal room light is the common ambient source. Whereas street lights, natural light, car lights, etc. serve as the primary source of ambient light in an outdoor setup.
Besides ambient light, the screen size you want to achieve also serves as a deciding factor when choosing lumens. If you go for a large screen, then you will need higher lumens to get excellent visual quality. However, you can’t expect to have the same lumens figure when you go for a big screen in a completely dark room or a bright outdoor setup.
To make things simpler, we have created a projector lumens guide catering to different situations so that you can judge what would be the best projector you are targeting.
Lumens for Home Setup
If you think of getting a new projector for a home theater setup, then 2000 to 3000 ANSI lumens is more than sufficient. The 2000-3000 ANSI lumens are highly sufficient for indoor usage, and you can comfortably project a 100inch image without any color and texture fading. While having 3000 ANSI of brightness, you won’t have to control the ambient light in your room tightly, and you can still get optimum quality with little light.
However, if you are thinking of going beyond the 100inch screen and play it in a semi-lit area, then you should go beyond 3500 ANSI lumens. A projector having more 3500 ANSI lumens are slightly expensive, and you should properly assess your requirement before getting it. In case of an indoor setup with bright light, you need to look for a projector with 4500-6000 ANSI lumens.
Likewise, you can easily project a 100inch image in a completely dark, but 3000 ANSI lumens might ruin the overall visual experience. So if you want to get optimum image quality with better color performance, then it would be ideal to choose between 1500-2500 ANSI lumens range. You have to make sure you can control the ambient light in your room; otherwise, you would have a faded image quality.
Lumens for Outdoor Setup
As you can already guess, when you plan to choose lumens for an outdoor projector, a mere 2000-3000 ANSI lumens won’t be able to provide the required image quality. For a 50-100inch screen set up in your backyard, you would need a minimum of 3500 ANSI lumens for a bright and colorful view. A little amount of ambient light won’t be a problem, but if you have a lot of light intrusions, then you should look for lumens around 4000 ANSI.
The lumens range will be around 4000-5000 ANSI if you wish to project movies or games at a 100-200inch screen size range and have a decent amount of ambient light. Unlike indoor areas, you can’t control the ambient light in the outdoors, so it is best to go for a high lumens figure so that you can counter the fading effect.
However, if you want to use the projector on a bright day with a screen size above 200inch, then we suggest you go for 5000-10000 ANSI lumens. Unfortunately, the availability of daylight projector lumens is quite limited and comes with an expensive price tag, so you need to be careful with the choice. You may be interested to learn how to turn up the brightness on a projector so check out our post here.
Lumens for Education and Business Setup
Getting the ideal lumens for education and business setup is quite tricky, but we hope our projector lumens comparison will make things simpler for you. To set up the projector in a small classroom or conference and achieve a screen size around the 50-100inch range, you would need a brightness of 3000-4000 ANSI lumens.
Generally, meeting rooms and classrooms face ambient light issues, so you need a high lumens rating. However, you should try to keep the ambient light as low as possible, as it will help you to get clear text and sharp images.
For a mid-sized classroom and meeting room setup, you need to opt for a projector offering a brightness level between 4000 and 4000 ANSI lumens. With a high lumens figure, you won’t have to worry about the size of the room and ambient light. However, it would be best not to go beyond 200inch image size with this lumens range as you might face some fading issues.
If you are thinking of placing the projector in a large classroom, auditorium, conference hall, and other prominent places, then you will have to go beyond 5000 ANSI lumens. A lumens figure above 5000 ANSI can comfortably project clear visuals without getting affected by large screen size and high level of outdoor lights. While setting up the projector in large areas, you should always use high-gain screens; otherwise, an 8000 ANSI lumens projector won’t be able to give you clear image quality.
Selecting a projector is a lot more complicated than it looks, as you will obviously want to strike a balance between performance and pricing. Lumens play a crucial role in the deciding factor, and it is essential that you should opt for an appropriate lumens figure. Whether you are an old or new user, we hope our guide will direct you to the suitable lumens amount you will need based on your requirement.
Besides lumens, you should also emphasize other factors like native resolution, contrast ratio, color, screen size, etc. because all of them are co-related. If you need more information or have any suggestions for us, then you can contact us through comments or email.
- TREVOR MARSHALL, “How Bright Should My Projector Be?“, Projectorpoint.co.uk, JANUARY 28, 2019
- Michael Yun, “How good is a projector with 1500 lumens?“, Quora.com, February 05, 2020
My name is Henry Larson and I have been associated with research and development of projectors throughout my professional career. I used all my experience and expertise to create this blog so that I can guide people to get the best projector of their choice. For any further assistance, you can get in touch with me through email or comments.