The Best Portable Projectors for RVs and Camper Vans
These Tiny Entertainment Centers Make Camping Even More Fun
As digital video projectors have gotten smaller, brighter, and more affordable, they’ve become more popular for use at home, in the backyard, and at the campsite. These devices instantly add a slew of entertainment options to any motorhome, travel trailer, or camper van, making them popular with RVers too. And because they are portable and easy to set up, they can create a movie-theater atmosphere just about anywhere you go.
If you’re looking for a way to watch your favorite television shows and movies while on the go, a portable projector just might be what you’re looking for. We’ve taken a look at the best models currently available and came up with a list of the ones that should be on your shopping list. After exhaustive research, these are the best portable digital projectors for RVing that we’ve found.
Why Use a Portable Projector?
While many RVs ship from the factory with at least one television installed, there are plenty of models that don’t come with a TV at all. A projector is a plug-and-play way to add entertainment options to any vehicle without the need for mounting or wiring. All you have to do is point the projector at a screen or open wall, plug it into a power outlet and connect it to a source for movies and television shows. And when you’ve finished watching, you can pack it all up and securely store it out of the way.
But even if your RV does have a TV, there are still reasons why a projector might be a worthy addition to your vehicle. For instance, most campers don’t have an outdoor television, but a portable projector works fine outside. Or if your TV is in the living area and you want to watch something in the bedroom, a projector will allow you to do just that. These devices are highly portable and versatile, which is a big part of why they are popular.
A portable projector also makes a lot of sense for use in a camper van. Space is often limited in those vehicles, which means if they have a TV, they are usually very small. But a projector is compact, lightweight, and can produce a large image in a small space. When not in use, it can be stored in a cupboard or drawer, keeping clutter to a minimum.
Things to Consider When Buying a Projector
When shopping for a projector to add to your RV, these are things you’ll want to consider:
Resolution is an indication of the number of pixels that a projector can use when creating an image. The higher the number, the clearer and crisper the video will appear. Most modern projectors output at 1080p (high-definition) or 4k (ultra-HD) resolutions, although some do fall below those numbers. Lower image quality tends to look blurry, especially in fast-moving video sequences.
When it comes to watching video, brighter is usually better. While most portable projectors won’t compete with the brightness levels found on TVs, plenty of models still look great, especially in a dark environment. Brightness is measured in “lumens,” with higher numbers indicating more illumination.
Throw distance is a measure of the distance between a projector and the image it displays on a screen or wall. Some projectors require a longer throw distance to display an image correctly. This usually isn’t the case with portable projectors, which work well in smaller environments. Still, be sure that any model you buy doesn’t require a long throw.
Size and Weight
If you own an RV with plenty of storage, then the size and weight of the projector won’t matter as much. But if space is at a premium, finding a compact and lightweight model is always nice. Check the dimensions and weight of any model you’re considering when deciding which one is right for you.
If you plan to use the projector in an environment where you might not have a power source, its battery life will be important. Nothing is worse than getting halfway through a movie only to have the projector shut down before you find out how it ends. Larger projectors tend to have larger batteries, so you may have to find a balance between battery life and size and weight.
Most portable projectors come with a built-in speaker of some kind. More often than not, the sound quality produced by those speakers is adequate at best. Volume is essential, of course, but it doesn’t matter how loud the device is if it sounds terrible. If possible, test out the sound before you purchase. Also, look to see if you can connect headphones or external speakers.
If you’re planning to connect a DVD player, game system, or other video sources to the projector, you’ll want to ensure it has ports that allow you to do that. Most should have an HDMI port, speaker ports, USB ports, and other connectors. The larger the device, the more ports it will likely have.
Many modern projectors now come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built-in. This allows you to connect a mobile device—like a smartphone or tablet—to display images and videos or play music. It can also be used to connect the projector to the internet for streaming content from Netflix, YouTube, HBO Max, and other services.
Some portable projectors run an operating system, such as Android. This allows developers to create apps for the unit to make streaming even more accessible. Most major streaming services will usually be available for download directly to the device. All you need to do is sign in with your username and password.
The Best Portable Digital Projectors for RVing
Nebula Solar Portable
This compact and lightweight device from Nebula—a sub-brand of Anker—has everything you could ask for in a portable projector. It produces an image that is large (up to 120″), bright (400 lumens), and clear (1080p). It has two built-in 3-watt speakers that produce Dolby Digital Plus sound and even supports the HDR10 standard for vivid colors.
This unit has an HDMI port, a USB-C and standard USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has built-in Chromecast compatibility for wirelessly mirroring content from a phone or tablet and can produce a clear image even when projecting from an angle.
The device uses Android TV 9 as its operating system, giving it access to more than 5,000 apps. It comes preinstalled with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and others, making it easy to stream your favorite television shows, provided you have an internet connection. The Solar’s rechargeable battery can keep it powered on for up to three hours on a single charge. Price: $559.99
If you’re looking for a projector that can provide a home theater-like performance on the go, the XGIMI Halo+ is for you. This device supports 1080p full-HD resolutions with HDR10 color reproduction. At 900 lumens, it is incredibly bright and has a built-in Harman Kardon speaker that provides outstanding sound quality along with Dolby Audio. The portable entertainment system even has a game mode to reduce latency when used with an Xbox or Playstation.
Other unique features include autofocus for the best screen clarity and auto keystone correction when viewing at an angle. The Halo+ uses intelligent obstacle avoidance to adjust the image size based on the space available. It can project an image up to 200″ and uses an LED lamp to get tens of thousands of hours of use.
The Halo+ comes with a battery pack that runs for 2.5 hours on a single charge. It also runs Android TV to access streaming apps and games and comes with Chromecast built-in for streaming directly from a mobile device. It even utilizes Google Assistant to provide voice commands and has a Bluetooth remote control. Price: $849
BenQ GS50 Portable Projector
The BenQ GS50 is another full-featured portable projector that offers impressive performance. This unit produces a 100″ full-HD 1080p image with a brightness of 500 lumens. The display can also auto-focus and auto-correct its vertical keystone settings to ensure crisp and clear video playback.
The GS50 has two onboard 5-watt speakers and a 10-watt bass output to produce clear 2.1-channel Dolby sound while watching movies. The device can also double as a Bluetooth speaker for listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. The projector’s built-in battery offers 2.5 hours of video and six hours of audio playback on a single charge.
BenQ ships the GS50 with an Android TV dongle that plugs into its HDMI port. This provides support for Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, but as you would expect, an internet connection is required. The projector comes with a Bluetooth remote and has built-in support for voice commands using Google Assistant. Price: $799
AAXA P400 Mini Projector
RVers who lack space in their vehicles will want to give the AAXA P400 Mini Projector a look. This device is so small that it weighs just 19.8 ounces and literally fits in the palm of your hand. Despite its diminutive stature, it packs a visual punch, producing an image up to 180″ in size at a 1080p resolution and a brightness of 400 lumens.
The P400 includes a built-in HDMI port for connecting external video sources but can also display files from a USB drive or SD memory card. It includes a 3.5mm stereo jack for listening via headphones or attaching a pair of external speakers. It even comes with a tripod in the box to give it extra height when projecting in cramped spaces.
Because it is so tiny, the P400 has a few drawbacks. While it does come with a built-in rechargeable battery, it offers just two hours of playback without connecting to an external power source. That may be just enough to get through a single movie or a couple of episodes of a TV show. The device also doesn’t come with built-in apps for the top streaming service, so you will have to connect a separate device to watch your favorite online programming. Price: $269
RCA RPJ140 Projector with Built-In DVD Player
The RCA RPJ140 projector doesn’t offer many of the high-tech features you find on some other models, but it has one element that helps it stand out. This unit comes with a built-in DVD player, making it easier than ever to watch your favorite movies wherever you go.
This model projects a screen size of up to 300″ in various resolutions, including 1080p. Its image is sharp and vibrant and supports both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. Built-in Bluetooth connectivity allows the projector to connect to external speakers to create a home theater atmosphere. The unit also has two HDMI ports, a micro-SD card reader, a VGA input, and a USB port for playback from external sources.
This projector does not include built-in support for streaming apps, nor does it have an onboard battery. That means you’ll need to connect it to an external power source at all times. But because it comes with a DVD player, it is ideal for use in places where an internet connection isn’t available. It is also incredibly affordable compared to some other models. Price: $120
GPX Mini Projector
RVers looking for an affordable projector for use at home and the campsite may want to take a look at the GPX Mini Projector. This model won’t overwhelm you with a lot of fancy tech features, but it does offer solid performance and specs at a bargain price.
The Mini Projector supports an image quality of up to 1080p and a screen size of 150″. It has a peak brightness of 7000 lumens, which is bright enough to be used during the day. It comes with two HDMI ports, a built-in SD card reader, a USB port, and a VGA input. Built-in speakers deliver a solid sound, although an audio-out port makes it easy to add external speakers.
Tipping the scales at 4.8 pounds, this isn’t the smallest or lightest projector on this list. It also doesn’t include native support for apps, nor does it have an onboard battery. That means you can’t wander far from a power source, although its inexpensive price point makes it easy to overlook those missing features. Price: $150
These are the best portable projectors for use in the RV and at the campsite. Some obviously offer more features than others, but the various price points make it easy for anyone to find an option that works for them. After that, you can just sit back and enjoy the show.