The term LED refers to the type of lamp used in the projector. It is a technology of the future with many advantages and still some limitations. See the selection of the best-LED projectors.
LED is an acronym for Light, Emitting, Diode, and stands for a type of lamp. Projectors with an LED lamp are generally lighter and more compact but less bright.
This technology, its derivatives (OLED, etc.), can be found in many products, from televisions to car headlights. In a projection, LED refers to the light source and not to the projector technology itself. “LED” projectors are thus generally DLP or LCD models with an LED lamp.
What are the differences with a traditional projector?
Traditionally, projectors use mercury lamps (UHP, Ultra High Performance), which are brighter but have certain drawbacks such as lamp life or high temperature. While they generally have lower brightness, LED spotlights are often more compact and quieter than standard models. Find their strengths and weaknesses in the section below.
Advantages and disadvantages
There are many reasons for buying a projector, but unfortunately, these LED projectors are not suitable for all uses. Below is a list of their main advantages and disadvantages.
- Low heat: LED lamps to operate at much lower temperatures than conventional mercury lamps.
- Compact and lightweight: LED spotlights need less cooling than conventional spotlights. Therefore, there is no need for multiple fans in the devices, allowing them to design smaller and more robust models, particularly mini projectors and pocket projectors.
- Quiet: little cooling required so little noise. LED projectors are generally very discreet.
- Energy-efficient: LED technology consumes comparatively very little electricity (excellent light output). In the absence of an extensive cooling system, it is possible to have projectors running on a battery.
- Long lamp life: The projector from 10,000 to 20,000 hours on average, 5 times more than conventional lamps. At a rate of 2 hours of daily use, the light will have a lifespan of between 14 and 27 years.
- Ecological: there is less chance of lamps; therefore, less waste and less toxicity (no mercury).
- Low light: 1500 ANSI lumens at the maximum but generally somewhat less than 1000 lumens. It will often be necessary for home theater to have a very dark room for good picture quality. If the brightness has increased in recent years, it is still often insufficient to compete with that of conventional LCD and DLP models.
- For information, many manufacturers use “LED lumens” instead of “ANSI lumens.” See the insert below for more details.
In summary, LED projectors are more compact, quieter, more economical, and more environmentally friendly. In return, however, they are also less luminous, which limits their field of use.
An LED projector’s color rendering is different from that obtained by a model with a standard lamp. Consequently, for the same light output, the perception of brightness will also be different. This difference can be explained in particular by the Helmholtz – Kohlrausch effect (see Wikipedia). The perception of the clarity of an image depends on the saturation of the colors that compose it.
To value for this difference, manufacturers of LED projectors often use “LED lumens” (also called “color lumens”) instead of “ANSI lumens,” believing that the latter do not correctly reflect perceived brightness.
In our opinion, quantifying the perceived brightness is exciting, but unfortunately, there is still no standard that defines the mode of calculation of the LED lumens. In practice, each brand uses its method. Thus, it becomes impossible to objectively compare the models with each other, as is the case for ANSI lumens (measured according to a precise standard).
The selection below is specified for each model, whether the brightness is expressed in LED lumens or ANSI lumens.
What’s the use of
Due to its features, LED technology is mainly found on portable or transportable projectors. These are often “nomadic” devices, compact and robust, suitable for travel and professional use. Also, battery-operated models open up new horizons in terms of potential applications.
LED projectors are also quite suitable for projecting photos or films in large format. However, we will have to wait a little longer to have an extensive dedicated home theater range, with performance comparable to conventional DLP and 3LCD projectors.
Hybrid led-laser projectors
The system uses a light source an LED lamp associated with a laser to maximize the brightness. The colors are then composed of red (LED) and blue (Laser). This technique makes it possible to achieve higher brightness. However, these models are still few and relatively expensive to date.
Best LED Projector
Find below a selection of the best-LED projectors, sorted by price (from 350 to 1500 USD). If you are looking for a mini LED projector, you can also check the mini projectors page.
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Note: To see more models at low prices (less than 300 $), you can consult the list of LED projectors on Amazon.