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QUESTION: I want to buy a good quality LCD video projector. Can you recommend to me what I need or what I should be looking for?

ANSWER: See below.


Generally, LCD projectors are easy to find "used" on websites like Craigslist or other online services.

LCD projectors that were very expensive when originally purchased, people are now selling cheap(er) because they don't use them anymore and have replaced them with LARGE SCREEN LCD / LED TVs. The reason we don't recommend "eBay" and suggest Craigslist is because with Craigslist it is a local buy / purchase, which means you can "inspect" the projector BEFORE you buy it / pay for it.

We have purchased some top quality LCD video projectors off Craigslist that were originally $1500+ new for about $200 or less, but still in excellent condition.

Places like SAM'S CLUB, COSTCO, and BEST BUY also sell inexpensive but high quality projectors like this one for about $460:

Epson EX5210 Portable Multimedia Projector

If you want to buy a used one from Craigslist, here is what you should keep in mind.

1.) Stick with a "name" brand you recognize (Sony, NEC, Epson, Sanyo, Panasonic, etc) ... do not buy Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob Video projectors

2.) Make sure the projector does not have any "visible" damage or a history of "overheating".

3.) Make sure the projector has the proper video "inputs" you can easily connect to your DVD-Player, computer, Media Player.

4.) Make sure the "resolution" of the projector is AT LEAST 720x480 or 800x600 pixel dimensions or higher. This is the size of the actual LCD screen inside the projector. 720x480 and 800x600 is STANDARD-DEFINITION, and not HIGH DEFINITION or [HD]. Many projectors now support [HD] resolution and if you can find a goo quality one at a reasonable price, then you should consider getting the [HD] version.

5.) Projector Bulbs or Lamps are the key to buying a "used" projector. Many times, replacement BULBS cost more than the actual projector. If you find a projector you are interested in, look around online for the price of the replacement bulb if the bulb burns out. If you pay $150-200 for the actual projector and then need to spend $300+ for a bulb, that isn't a good deal. The SELLER will ALWAYS tell you the bulb has "low hours" on it, meaning it wasn't used much ... But that is a "routine" answer and isn't always true.

99.9% of projectors have a "screen" in the menus of the setup that will tell you exactly how many hours the bulb has been used. If the projector HAS this feature in the menu, CHECK IT! Anything over 600 - 800 hours means the bulb is at the end of it's life span and will not last long, so expect you will need to replace the bulb. This will also help you negotiate a lower price with the seller if he has been "caught-not-telling-the-truth".

6.) Lumens is rating for the "BRIGHTNESS" level of the bulb and will help you figure out how "far" the projector can be from the screen to make a bigger image without the image getting too dim to see. Anything OVER 1500 lumens is reasonable. The EPSON projector listed above that is sold at SAM'S CLUB is 2200 lumens. If the projector you have found has over 2000 lumens, then it is worth investigating further to potentially buy it.

7.) When you go to buy the projector, TEST IT!! DO NOT trust the seller, and don't just turn it on for your test. Bring a DVD player of something with you so you can actually hook it up and SEE the image quality. Wait about 5 minutes while using the projector because the bulb actually gets BRIGHTER as it warms up, so after 5 minutes you can judge if the projector is good or not.

8.) Many LCD video projectors do not have all the controls / buttons on the actual projector unit and often times need the REMOTE CONTROL to set up many of the functions. Try and buy a projector that HAS the remote control with it. If the projector or seller doesn't have the actual remote, look online BEFORE you buy the projector to see if someone is selling a matching remote you can get cheap.

9.) If the seller won't let you test the video projector or asks that you "take his / her word for it that it works", DO NOT BUY IT!

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