How Many Lumens Do You Need to Project in Daylight?

How many lumens do you need to project in daylight? You need at least 2,500 lumens or lux of projector lamp brightness to successfully make your projector image appear in daylight, which is the strongest type of ambient light you’ll ever come across. In particularly bright rooms at least, projectors go by the “3,000 lumens and above” rule instead although 2,500 lumens is a good enough starting point. Take note, this isn’t under direct sunlight but in a shady part of your outdoor theater. Direct sunlight requires a whopping 120,000 lux of brightness instead, which isn’t available in any projector in existence.

The Importance of Brightness to Project in Daylight

There are several things to keep in mind that assists a projector in projecting an image, video, or user interface in daylight. No, direct daylight will make any projector light weak and faded, but daylight in general or ambient light in a conference room can be dealt with using the right amount of lumens on your projector of choice. 

Remember, the key factor remains the projector’s overall brightness and perhaps the reflectivity of the screen you’re using. To wit:


  • Brightness in Lumens: Lumens or lux is a measurement unit for light brightness. The more lumens your projector lamp has the brighter the resulting light will be. Daylight or direct sunlight has 120,000 lux or lumens of brightness. However, making a projector image visible under daylight when you’re projecting in your backyard for some outdoor movie marathon action or something. The brighter your projector the better it will look even in the presence of ambient light, daylight, open curtains, a conference hall, and so forth. Low-light projectors require pitch-blackness or dimmed lights and a reflective screen to ensure image clarity.


  • Consider The Application: How much lumens you need from your projector depends on what you’re using your projector for and where it’s located. To be more specific, what your projector is being used for should dictate how much lumens it should carry, although 2,500 to 3,000 lumens and above is a good minimum requirement for presentation projectors wherein ambient light is unavoidable. Some games require more brightness than others, particularly horror games. Presentations can work with the wide swathes of white space in every slide as well. The diagonal image size can also dictate the amount of lumens you need.


  • Typical Room Brightness Considerations: Room brightness ranges from low to pitch black in the case of home and commercial cinemas to medium brightness in conference rooms with the light fixtures turned on to high brightness like projecting a movie at your backyard in the afternoon or drive-in parking lot theaters. As much as possible, you want a highly bright projector to offset the brighter ambient light or daylight that seems to rob the intensity of your projector’s image by comparison. The light from your projector doesn’t change but your eyes tend to adjust in accordance with the amount of light it sees.

  • Home or Commercial Cinemas to Drive-In Theaters: Lower or weaker lumens should strictly be used in the home or commercial cinema settings. Higher lumen projectors can be used in classrooms, conference rooms, boardrooms, and such. Ultra-high lumen projectors are also available for the sake of projecting even in daylight but don’t think you can somehow compete with direct sunlight. You still need a bit of shade to make your projector image visible, which is also the deal with drive-in theaters that show their movies in the afternoon or the evening instead of high noon.

How Many Lumens Do You Need to Project in Daylight? what is a good lux for a projector?

You need thousands of lumens instead of hundreds if you plan on projecting videos or presentations in broad daylight. The projector that emits the highest amount of lumens wins in such a scenario even though the brightness is just one of many considerations when buying any projector for your viewing pleasure, among other reasons.


  • Dark Cinema Rooms: A modern 21st Century or 2010-2020 projector should at least have 1,000 lumens of brightness for viewing movies in dark rooms. Sure, in the dark or pitch-blackness, you can get away with projectors with only hundreds of lumens as long as you have an extra-reflective screen, but modern projectors have higher brightness requirements to keep up with the higher resolutions. Even in darkness, a high-resolution projector requires more brightness of up to 1,000 lumens to ensure you can see every last pixel and to fulfill the crystal-clear clarity marketing included in such Ultra HD devices.


  • Brighter Rooms with The Lights On: what is the best projector for a bright room? When projecting outdoors in broad daylight or indoors with the lights turned on, you need higher numbers than 1,000 lumens or else you’ll end up with muddy, ghostly, or faded colors and movement, like you, ‘re looking at an onion paper version of what you’re watching. Brighter rooms require at least 2,500 to 3,000 lumens of brightness to combat the ambient light robbing your projector of its sharpness and vivacity. If you’re projecting in a vast room that’s bright all around, like a warehouse for a huge convention such as Comic-Con, then a 4,000-lumen projector or brighter is required.


  • Dealing with Daylight Projection: What is the best projector for daytime viewing? If you’re attempting to project your movie or TV show as well as live streaming service for or YouTube in the great outdoors with piercing daylight all around you, then you need to pay close attention to the lumens of your projector. Start at least 3,000 to 4,000 and go from there. The higher the better. When doing a backyard party outdoors in the afternoon or early in the morning, go for a 5,500-lumen projector or more. This high-lumen device can particularly spread a huge Ultra HD image across a 40-feet inflatable screen or wall.


  • Daylight Presentation Projector Screen: Perhaps an Ambient Light Rejecting or ALR projector screen can help you deal with ambient light or daylight instead. ALR screens ensure that the daylight or ambient light is redirected elsewhere while the projector light is maximized by being reflected directly to the audience. This “trick” is done by proper angle and image viewing placement of the screen relative to the projector and the light source. A presentation or business projector screen with ALR capabilities can go hand-in-hand with a highly bright projector in ensuring image clarity.

  • The Influence of the Sun on a Projector: how many lumens do you need for an outdoor projector? There’s no such thing as a 120,000-lumen projector that could deal with direct sunlight projection on a huge screen. You might need a bit more shade, a bit more ALR screen action, and a bit more strategic placement to avoid turning your projector image into something practically invisible or barely visible in daylight. 5,500 lumens and so forth are more realistic and affordable. A laser projector can reach up to 6,000 lumens for $3,000 but it’s at the highest settings and it’s limited at 1080p. It’s more practical to find enough shade or to avoid direct sunlight so you can work with even a 4,000-lumen projector.


  • Controlled Light versus Daylight: You can’t control daylight as well as light fixtures such as lamps and ceiling bulbs. Ambient light inside a conference room can be turned off or dimmed as needed. With daylight, it’s more about finding shady areas, putting up umbrellas, using curtains, or setting up a shed so that you can maximize the brightness of your projector without the sunlight robbing it of intensity. Therefore, you should avoid angles where the sun shines directly onto your screen. This results in a washed-out image that’s barely visible to your audience. Be aware of glare and sunlight reflections.


  • The Best Way to Get a Good Quality Image on a Projector: Aside from sunlight or ambient light, the image of your projector will also suffer if you use a low-resolution projector on a huge screen. When you blow-up an image on the screen, it will naturally fade a little or have more washed our colors the bigger it gets. When you use low-resolution projectors with low lumens in daylight projection, this results in disaster. You need to compensate with 1080p HD or 4K Ultra HD resolution projectors that have high-lumen LED lamps to make them fully visible in daylight with the crystal-clarity of a back-lit monitor of an HDTV.


When Push Comes to Shove

Searching for the right projector for you can be quite the struggle. Projectors weren’t originally designed with bright rooms in mind. They’re more for shady or low-light rooms, as in the case of movie theaters and the like. Technology eventually marched on though, and soon we have presentation-level projectors you can use with the lights turned on so that the people in your boardroom can take notes or converse with each other, as though they’re merely watching television with an extra-big projected screen.

There are even projectors capable of projecting in daylight, which is quite handy when you’re camping outdoors. You don’t need to wait when it’s nighttime and the sun is down to watch your favorite shows or movies. You can even use these projectors as your extra-big computer or laptop monitors in case you want to surf the web or use Netflix through your computer to watch various media in that way. Outdoor projection is now a thing, which has led to lunchtime movie marathons in many a backyard with barbecue grills included.


  1. How Many Lumens Do You Need to Project in Daylight?“,, Retrieved March 31, 2020
  2. Lumens Guide“,, Retrieved March 31, 2020
  3. How many lumens do you need to project in daylight?“,, February 8, 2020


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James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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