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How Many Lumens Do I Need For The Outdoor Projector?

You want to enjoy big screen entertainment with family and friends while camping or having a picnic outdoor. You may have a larger or commercial outdoor event or backyard movie night. For this purpose, the projector is the best option you can ever have.

An outdoor projector device offers a wonderful way to enjoy an entertaining evening with family and friends. But the question is how many lumens do your projector need while presenting outdoor movies?

Checkout our guide ? best outdoor projectors for movies. ?

Lumen Requirement for Count for Outdoors

Lumens or lux is a measurement unit of brightness or intensity of projectors. Normally, direct sunlight or daylight has 120,000 lumens or lux of brightness. But no projector is capable of such a high amount of intensity or brightness. Therefore, for outdoor projectors, lumens should be above 3000 ANSI (American National Standard Institute).

Outdoor projectors can be used in various ways they can be used to convert backyards into a movie theatre, create photo presentations, watch matches or sports along the poolside, or you have to make parking lot theatres. All you need is the projector should contain enough lumens so that it can work as efficiently as it is in the cinema hall while the sun is still out.

For an outdoor projector, you need to consider the following points in your mind;

  • Forget about projecting under direct sunlight when you have a projector of lumen less than 2500.
  • You need some sort of shade, angle, or tarp to keep the sun from disturbing your projection.
  • Your projector should have the capacity to cope with the various environments.
  • Outdoor projectors require high lumens against sunlight of 120,000 lumens intensity, at least a best projector has lumen from 3000 to 9000 with some shade in daylight.
  • The more the lumen, the more high-quality image can be seen.

Required Lumens for Outdoor Projectors

It is natural to wonder about the projector’s ability to cope with the environment. After all, apart from the TV’s internal lighting, the projector throws light on the screen. That’s why it is important to observe the performance of the projector concerning lighting parameters. However, with sufficient illumination power and the right projection internal, a good projector delivers consistently a clear, vibrant display no matter a day or night.

Maximum Lumens for Outdoor Projectors

Not sure how many lumens you need for an outdoor projector. This will give you an idea of what will you need to buy depending on your screen size.

             Screen size(feet)     Minimum lumen needed         Ideal lumens needed

Hence, the table shows that the larger the projector screen, the higher the lumen need. As a general rule of thumb, an outdoor projector with 3,000 lumens should be able to project an image you can see before sunset.

Know ? How to Watch Projector Outside In Daytime?

Brightness is just one aspect of outdoor projection. Brightness isn’t equal to contrast though, so go for contrast ratio as well. Outdoor projectors requires high lumens. Normally, 2500 lumens or lux is a starting point. But when you are in direct sunlight or with noisy surroundings, parameters change themselves. If the projector contains hundreds of lumens instead of thousands, best to use it inside the theatre or dark room instead of outdoor.

For Daytime Operation, the Higher the Better

You have to be more focused while it is on the lumens of the projector. The maximum lumen for a typical backyard projector is 3000. This will give you the best viewing experience before sunset. For a daytime projection, it needs to compete with sunshine. If you go for a projector with less than 3000 lumens capacity, its output easily gets drowned out by ambient light and you will get a barely visible image.

So, you should start with 3,000 to 4,000 lumens and from there you can also go onward to get live streaming internet programs on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, as well as TV shows. The higher the lumen, the better the resulting image even with the 4K projectors. Backyard parties in the afternoon or evening require a 5,500-lumen projector at least. At noon, the deal is still the same but you need some shade to reduce the sun glare.

The Most Lumen Wins

The more the lumens, the high the brightness of the projector. Because as a rule of thumb, you should have a minimum of 2,500 lumens to present the picture on the outdoor projector. However, brightness is one of the aspects you should keep in your mind while purchasing an outdoor projector. But all other aspects come after you pass the hurdles of lumens.

You need many lumens for the outdoor projector to successfully make a picture on the screen in daylight without looking too faint or washed out. For rooms full of ambient light, you need to start with 2,500 or 3,000 lumens.

Ideal Lumens for Projectors at Larger Outdoor Events

If you are going for the larger corporate or commercial event outdoor with a big screen for example 16 feet, you should go for a projector with 4,000 lumens at least. While brighter rooms with ambient light need up to 2500 to 3000 lumens projector without turning the lights out.

But at a backyard barbecue or a movie night such as for movie “The Fast and Furious” you need a projector with more than 3000 lumens to keep the vivacity and sharpness of the image active.  You also need more than 3000 lumens with a larger area and with a quite larger audience.

1.     Best Lumens for Backyard Movie Projector

Most modern projectors require high brightness that coincides with a bigger resolution. We know that sharper images require more brightness and it helps when projecting the theatre-sized screen since the more the image blows up the fainter it gets. Therefore, you need almost 4,000 lumens for a backyard projector to deal with a huge audience.

2.     High definition projector Lumen count

A high-definition projector requires more brightness to avoid the last details of the image pixels and enhance the image quality. Even in the dark of a home theater with the curtain drawn and no lighting, you need 1000 lumens to see every last pixel of an HD projector.


You may have trouble finding the right projector at first. However, once you know the specific lumens for your sunny garden and maybe figure out how many lumens you need for an outdoor projector (at least 3,000 or cautiously in direct sun with a larger backyard 5,500 lumens or go above if you can afford it), it should go from there be smooth.

With this information, you can enjoy watching a movie with family and friends in a larger outdoor space and grilling while having a great time in the evening.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.     How many lumens are best for an outdoor projector?

The best lumens for a typical garden outdoor projector is 3,000 lumens. This will give you the best picture quality without it being washed out or washed out. These lumens will provide the best viewing experience even before sunset and in the presence of ambient light. Lumens below 3000 will require a dark projection to get a better picture.

2.     How many lumens do you need to project in daylight?

The lumens you need to project in daylight should be at least 2,500 for the projector to successfully display the image in daylight, which is the strongest type of ambient light you will ever encounter.

3.     What to focus on when buying an outdoor projector?

When buying an outdoor projector, you should consider the following 5 things;

  • Brightness
  • Contrast ratio
  • Throw ratio
  • Resolution
  • Choosing an outdoor screen

4.     What is a good outdoor projector screen size?

A good size outdoor projection screen should have a 120 inch model for wide use. But this screen is also available in sizes that range from 57 inches for intimate outdoor spaces to 200 inches for those looking to create an immersive cinematic experience in the backyard.

5.     Can I use a sheet as a projection screen?

Yes a plain white sheet works best. It doesn’t even have to be a sheet. Any piece of plain white fabric will do. The most difficult part of using a sheet as a projection screen is hanging it properly to prevent wrinkles, folds, or movement.