What are LED projectors? Things to Consider Before Buying

What are LED projectors? They’re simply projectors (usually DLP or LCoS) that have LED lamps instead of standard metal halide or halogen lamps. LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) last much longer than your standard bulb (3,000 hours vs. 10,000 hours).

There’s been a lot of buzz lately for Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lamp projectors. It uses a technology that swiftly works to give you superior benefits to standard lamp projectors. The LED is a long-lasting type of bulb that used to be Christmas light sized but eventually became a halogen lamp alternative.

It’s also a fluorescent light alternative nowadays because of LED technology advances. With that said, what exactly are LED projectors? What are the things you need to consider before buying this type of display device?

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What are LED Projectors?

Obviously, LED projectors are projectors with LED lamps instead of standard lamps using halogen or metal-halide lamps. LEDs are known for their longevity and brightness without producing so much wasted heat that shortens the lifespan of other bulb types.

LEDs—along with DLP-type projectors—came along around the Turn of the Millennium and started replacing fluorescent lights as the de facto lighting options for homes, apartments, offices, and commercial buildings. LED lamps guarantees you top-class picture quality for projections.

LED projector

Types of LED Projectors

Here are the types of LED projectors to watch out for.

Standalone LED Projectors

These devices require a cable to connect to the external media player for content projection. Typically, it uses HDMI or A/V cables in order to serve these requirements. They can connect to anything from laptops to smartphones.

Embedded LED Projectors

They embed their body in an electronic device. The needed power and required video signals for its operation comes from the connected electronic device. Instead of requiring cables, you embed the projector to the media device.

USB LED Projectors

The Universal Serial Bus LED projector uses the USB cable in order to connect to external devices. They’re also known as USB projectors. Some media devices allow them to produce video from the USB cable instead of the HDMI cable (usually, USB cables provide power and/or file transfer capabilities).

Media Players

Some media players come with their own LED-lamp projectors. They don’t require external devices like DVDs or Blu-Ray Players in order to play media. They’re stand-alone media players with LED projector capabilities on their own.

LED Projector Buying Guide

The halogen lamps of old have ultimately been replaced by their LED counterparts. LCDs mostly use halogen lamps but DLPs can go either for standard lamps or LED lamps. Certain makers can combine LED projector functionality with the micronization of small pocket-sized devices.

There are also mid-sized LED projectors available. They can become small or portable mostly because of DLP technology that utilizes millions of micro-mirrors to create cinematic results.

The Benefits of Going the LED Projector Route

The LED projector is enhanced with many features and attributes such as Android app access to users or the ability to offer livestreaming options.

  • Tens of Thousands of Operation Hours: LED projector productivity is pretty impressive. LEDs last for tens of thousands of hours while still being easy to replace, allowing you at least a decade of operation. LED lamps offer sufficient brightness to be used in daylight or outdoors.
  • Multimedia Magic: The LED projector allows you to play your favorite movies, TV shows, videos, music videos, and much more such as your random PC or smartphone files on a flat projection screen or wall while you’re on-the-go or traveling around for vacations.
  • The Future of Projectors: LED projectors are future-proofed and serve as the wave of the future for projectors. You won’t have to carry large box projectors anymore like in the days of LCD digital projectors of the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Pocket Sized or Compact Box Sized: You can go for pocket-sized dynamic LED projectors or high-definition DLP LED projectors. They’re both portable in their own right, with mid-sized ones able to function as an outdoorsy projectors with a long enough cable extension.
  • Portable vs. Non-Portable: The portable ones allow you to use the projector wirelessly without eating up so much space. Standard-sized or mid-sized compact box DLPs offer better lighting, brightness, resolution, pixel density, and image size care of its extra circuitry.

LED projectors

What to Look for When it Comes to LED Projector Types

When buying LED projectors, watch out for the different types and which ones have the best specs of their category.

  • Standalone LED Projectors: When shopping for standalone LED projectors, look for the devices that at least deliver the best possible resolution and brightness in exchange for all the wires you’ll have to deal with, from USB for powering it on to HDMI for the video output.

They require external devices like cable boxes, DVDs, Blu-Rays, smartphones, tablets, and PCs. If they’re portable, make sure their rechargeable batteries last at least as long as a typical laptop battery. The wired DLP ones should have more screen adjustment options.

  • Embedded LED Projectors: As mentioned above, the embedded LED projector is a type of projector that embeds its body into an electronic device like a cartridge embeds itself on an NES console.

The connected electronic device provides it power and video signals like with a storage device to a laptop but in reverse. These projectors are rarer than standalone LED or DLP projectors. They’re also quite expensive by their nature.

  • USB LED Projectors: The tricky part about USB LED projectors is finding a compatible external media device that accepts and reads its USB cable connection as a video connection rather than a power connection or a file transfer connection.

If it’s able to read the USB connection as a video link, you should be able to use the projector image as an alternative monitor display without needing a special A/V cable like HDMI, DVI, or DP. The USB cable also serves as a power connection regardless (it has no battery).

  • Media Player: This is also an uncommon type of LED projector that doubles as its own media player. Many smart device DLP projectors have their own HDD that saves videos on its own so that it can play videos without you having to hook the display on an external media source.

If you’re able to find this, expect it to be more expensive than the standard DLP LED projector (which is also the case with the embedded LED projector). It’s a media player with its built-in projector or a smart projector with its own media player included.

Potential Applications of LED Projectors

Match up the application or purpose that applies most to your circumstances to the right type of LED projector available.

  • Office Purposes: If you’re in need of a presentation projector for all your presentation, conference, and screening needs at the office, you should get an SVGA to WXGA type of LED projector to deal with them.

A portable standalone projector allows you to move from meeting to meeting easily. Just hook it up to different laptops or workstations in order to access different PowerPoint Presentation files or machine OS software. Or it could have the files in it already if it’s its own media player.

  • Watching Video Content on the Big Screen: Most LED projectors are of the DLP variety. The Digital Light Processing type of projector, in turn, is the most cinematic of the portable or home theater projectors because 85% of commercial cinemas use DLPs themselves.

You can use the bright lights of the LED DLP projector to watch television in style via your cable box or your saved wedding video files. If you want to watch something like BDs and DVDs you might as well do so on the big screen. The quality of these projectors is second to none.

  • Gaming on the Big Screen: If you’re going to play a videogame—whether it’s an FPS like Halo, Call of Duty, Doom, and Fortnite or an open sandbox game like Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft—you might as well play it in style with a home theater standalone LED projector.

Once you can experience world-class big screen gaming, you’ll have a hard time going back to small-screen gaming. You can even do portable console gaming with a similarly portable DLP LED projector and a nearby wall or portable screen.

The Final Judgment

LED projectors are renowned for their brightness even in ambient light settings like the great outdoors as well as their lamp longevity. Halogen lamps only last for about 3,000 or so hours (maybe even less). An LED can last upwards of 50,000 hours or more or about 10 years of regular use.

With that said, we recommend the CiBest Outdoor Video Projector and Erosmate WiFi Projector.

The CiBest Outdoor Video Projector is great because this LED portable home theater projector has a 4,500 lumen LED lamp, 200-inch projection image size, and 1080p resolution. It’s compatible with PCs, DVD/BD players, the PS4, and various other devices via HDMI, A/V, VGA, and USB.

CiBest iPhone Projector Outdoor Movie Projector 7500L
CiBest iPhone Projector Outdoor Movie Projector 7500L

As for the Erosmate WiFi Projector, it’s a Mini Projector for the iPhone that boasts 50,000 hours of lamp life. This 2021 Super HD Wireless Mirroring Projector that features compatibility with VGA, SD, USB, HDMI, iOS, and Android devices as well as the Amazon TV Stick or Roku Stick.

The CiBest LED projector costs about $80 while the Erosmate costs about $90. The Erosmate costs extra because it’s more compatible with modern entertainment devices like smartphones, tablets, and the latest notebook PCs.


  1. Intro – LED Projectors“, Projecticodis.com, March 12, 2019
  2. Solomon Poretsky, “How Does an LED Projector Work?” AZ Central, Retrieved June 25, 2021

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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