How many lumens for an outdoor projector?

Would you like to watch movies on a big screen outdoors? Or do you feel like you should have an outdoor movie session on picnics or trips? An experience such as this requires a portable projector that is bright and portable.

The excitement of using an outdoor projector can enhance your life in so many ways. It can be used to watch movies with a large group of friends or family.

Additionally, you can use it to watch or play games. An outdoor projector is also useful for quite a few other purposes.

Outdoors, the amount of light must be so great that a normal projector cannot work. Normal projectors have a very limited brightness that will be indistinguishable in well-lit spaces.

Hence, you must be wondering how much brightness an outdoor projector should have to be clearly visible.

 This type of projector is also very expensive, which is why you must choose carefully. Also, you should know beforehand how many lumens an outdoor projector should have. 

Here is an article that aims to resolve this doubt of yours: how many lumens should an outdoor projector have?

Lumen, what is it?

Before knowing how much lumens an outdoor projector has we should firstly know what lumen is. A lumen can be defined as the total visible light that is emitted over a period of time from a single source.  A lumen measures only that light that can be seen by the human eye and the other light units measure all forms of light.

Most of the projector’s brightness is measured in ANSI lumens. ANSI stands for American National Standard Institute.

Therefore the lumens are standardized by the ANSI. This is the easiest way to measure visible light from any device, not just the projector.

How many lumens for outdoor projector:

For determining how many lumens you need, several factors must be taken into account. The following factors are a few of them, here we go:  

Ambient light:

The sun provides ambient light when it is outside. Remember that even in the evening, the light outdoors cannot be controlled. Lighting is present outside in the form of street lights and security lighting.

Large Screen:

A larger screen will require more lumens to fill the area, so the projector will require more power. Thus, if your screen is large, you will need more lumens of brightness.  

Quality of content:

If you turn on the full brightness of the projector, the image produced is less clear and is frequently washed out. A projector should never be operated at its maximum brightness. Before purchasing a projector, remember that the brightness stated on the box cannot be used fully. Therefore, select a projector that has an adequate brightness considering this factor.

Screen gain:

In terms of your screen, gain is an indication of how much light gets reflected from it. A screen with a gain of 1.0 reflects light equally in all directions. Having more gain on the screen boosts the brightness since more light is reflected. Therefore, if you want a brighter image, you must also choose a screen with more gain.

You should therefore choose an outdoor projector with the appropriate brightness according to the screen, content, lighting etc. The following are some basic considerations when selecting a projector with adequate lumens:

In order to enjoy clear pictures during daylight, experts recommend having a projector with 2500-3000 lumens at minimum. Nevertheless, if your screen is extremely large, you might even need as many as 5000 lumens.

When watching movies outdoors at night, if the area is sufficiently dark and you plan to watch movies only at night, even 500-700 lumens are sufficient. However, the screen size should not be too large.

What if the brightness of your projector is not measured in lumens?

The problem with some projectors is that their brightness is not measured in lumens. It is probably confusing that if they have no lumens, how can you know how much brightness they have. Well in such a situation you will find that the brightness is measured in terms of Lux or Watts. In this section, we will look at how to compare these brightness measures and choose the best projector for outdoor use.


Lux measures brightness compared to volume. Light intensity is calculated by multiplying the area of a square meter by the visible light intensity. There are online calculators available that can help you figure out how many lumens in a lux. Therefore even If your projector is listed as having brightness in lux, you can still see how many lumens it has. 

Watts measure the amount of energy consumed by a light bulb.

The watts is not a measure of brightness in particular, but can be converted into lumens. The Watts of a projector lamp refer to the duration of its life. As an example, a 13 W LED bulb, 19 W CFL bulb, and 53 watt halogen bulb all produce 1100 lumens of brightness. 

Even if your projector does not specify brightness in terms of lumens, you can convert other values into lumens. Therefore, you can get a uniform measure of brightness and choose appropriate lumens accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Is 7000 lumens good for an outdoor projector?

The 7000 lumens on this lamp are impressive and the light will work well in bright sunlight.

Are portable projectors equipped with enough lumens to project outdoors?

There are portable projectors in the market that are just as good as the standard projectors and have great brightness levels.

Does an outdoor projector with 400 lumens work well at night?

For an outdoor projector, 400 lumens is not a great amount of brightness. However, if your area is sufficiently dark at night and your screen is not very large, then 400 lumens should be sufficient.


The best projector to use for playing games and watching movies outside would be one that has high brightness. A projector that has a minimum brightness of 5000 lumens is needed for daytime viewing since light from outside cannot be controlled.

Although the lumens of your projector are determined by other factors such as the screen size, lighting, screen gain, etc. Hence, before making any move, take these factors into account.

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