With only a few weeks to go until we can see our friends and family in *actual real life* (29 March if all goes according to plan), we’re spending a large portion of time thinking of activities that we can do with them – all outdoors and socially distanced, that is. There will, of course, be picnic blanket gatherings aplenty, walks in our favourite walking boots (yes, more walks) and a barbecue or ten on the cards… but for something a little different, why not try setting up your own outdoor cinema experience?
Creating an at-home cinema experience in your garden is actually a lot more simple than it looks; besides the cosy blankets, comfortable seating and snacks (lots and lots of snacks), the main components to an at-home cinema set up worthy of the ‘gram are a white screen like this (or even just a white wall) and most importantly, one of the best projectors. So as the temperatures rise and lockdown lifts, we’ve done all the hard work and found the best projectors for outdoor cinemas to buy now.
What do I need to consider when buying a projector?
Even for the tech-savvy, a foray into purchasing a projector can be a bit overwhelming. Here are the key factors to consider when purchasing one.
There is a range of resolutions available on the market that will affect both your at-home cinema experience – and the price. 4K projectors are considered the gold standard to give you as many pixels and as clear a resolution as possible, but they come with a hefty price tag, and generally, this level of resolution is just not really necessary for a family movie night. HD projectors are the most popular and a good compromise between quality and price.
This is where it starts getting technical, but stick with us here – brightness is measured in lumens, but more lumens don’t always mean better viewing quality. The amount of brightness you’ll need actually depends on when you’re planning on indulging in an outdoor movie marathon. For anything after dark, we’d say go for picture quality over brightness in a projector; but if you’ll be screening in the day, look to buy a projector with more lumens.
3. Size of your outdoor space
Another thing to keep in mind is the size of your garden and where you’ll position your projector. Most projectors have a range of throw distances’ (the distance between the projector and screen) but if you have limited space in your garden, it’s best to go for a projector with a short-throw space (like this one) that will still give you high-quality images when your projector is up close.
4. Outdoor connections and portability
Thinking practically can save you the trouble of buying the wrong projector for your home. Consider where you’ll power the projector from or if it can run for hours on battery, whether you’d like one that streams on WiFi, Bluetooth or that you have to plug your device into, as well as how much you’ll be moving it around.
The best projectors for an outdoor cinema
To find the best projector for yourself, you’d need to take into account the above factors, as well as your budget. Prices vary from under £100 to well over the £1000 mark, but there are plenty of projectors that fall in the middle ground that we rate highly. This micro projector from The Tech Bar is a great option, with its HD quality screening and 5 hours run time – plus it’s super portable. Or there is this projector on Amazon that pairs easily with all forms of multimedia and has a good combination of resolution and brightness – plus did we mention its under £200? All the more savings for the snacks.
After more outdoor content? We’ve found the best garden furniture to transform your outdoor space, the best pizza ovens for al-fresco dining and the best patio heaters to keep you cosy when the sun goes down. Consider yourself summer 2021 ready.