What Are Projector Lumens: A Complete Guide 2024

James K. Brownlee
what are projector lumens?

All You Need To Know About Projector Lumens

When purchasing a projector, it is relatively easy to buy one that doesn’t fit your viewing needs, lol—especially when you neglect critical specifications like the projector’s lumens. 

There is a general misconception that high projector Lumens ensures the best viewing experience in a projector. But this isn’t always the case.

The quality of an image partly depends on the projector’s lumen, i.e., a projector with a higher lumen will produce a more illuminated and probably a more precise image than the projector with a lower lumen.

You might find yourself asking some questions like:

Do I have to consider my projector’s lumen before getting it? 

Are lumens important to my projector? 

Can a projector work without lumens?

However, you shouldn’t worry because you will have the answers to all your questions after going through this article.

Before then, let’s get a good knowledge of a projector’s lumen and how important they are.

What Are Projector Lumens? The lumen definition.

Lumen refers to the amount or quantity of light projected by a light source or the unit brightness of a projection. 

In other words, the lumen is the measurement of brightness a projector emits.

The brightness is a key identifier needed to purchase a projector, which is why you have to consider the lumen of the projector before buying it. 

However, you shouldn’t think that brightness defines a better projector because it does not always work that way.

Brightness does count in determining a projector but isn’t the only defining feature because brightness might not count if the other factors that define an excellent projector are not in place.

However, it is best to consider a projector’s lumen before purchasing it because it plays a vital role in the projector’s smooth running.

Projector and Lumens

The projector and lumen have a vital relationship to produce quality projections. 

Without a source of illumination, there wouldn’t be any projection because the projector solely relies on light to produce images, making lumen very important in a projector’s endeavors.

The importance of light in projectors cannot be overemphasized, and there are three key lights:

  1. LED light source
  2. Laser light source
  3. Lamplight source

LED Light Source

LED light sources produce the lowest lumens, which measures at the maximum, 2000 lumens. This light source produces quality images contrary to their lumen measurement. 

It is because LED projectors have enhanced luminous efficiency and color saturation that allows them to have higher brightness than their lumen measurement.

Laser Light Source

Laser light sources can produce light with more than 3500 lumens. The lumen measurement usually goes higher with specific equipment. 

Laser projectors are usually large, and they also produce high-quality projections.

Lamp Light Source

Lamplight sources produce light at the least 2000 lumens. They do not produce images with quality as high as that of LED light sources. 

Lamp projectors are of medium size and are very affordable.

Differences between a LED, Laser, and Lamp Projector

I would be looking into the significant difference between the three projector types, including their functionality and output.

One of the significant differences between the three projector types is their lumen count. LED projectors produce light of lumen count that can measure up to 2000. 

The laser projector can measure more than 3500 lumens, while the lamp projector measures more than 2000 lumens.

In terms of price, the LED projectors are quite affordable, unlike the relatively expensive laser projectors.

Unlike the LED and laser projectors, the lamp projectors are highly affordable, making them commonly used in home theatres.

The LED projectors experience a low risk of rainbow effect, unlike the laser and lamp projectors. 

The lamp and laser projectors use color wheels or colored filters to alter the projected light as required.

If the color wheel moves slowly, the projected image might get stained with unwanted colors, but this is rare in LED projectors because of two color wheels that filter the rainbow effect before projection.

The LED projectors have a longer lifespan than the laser and lamp projectors. The LED projectors can also work for a longer time than the laser and lamp. 

LED has the highest lifespan and working time with the lamp projectors the least. The LED and laser projectors have an efficient power-up system than the lamp projector. 

You can switch off your laser and LED projectors as much as you want, but you will have to wait for lamp projectors to warm up and cool down.

The laser and LED projectors do not contain mercury, but the lamp projectors contain mercury to enhance the projector’s efficiency.

Types of Projector: What about projector display?

There are two main types of projectors.

People used CRT (cathode ray tube) projectors at a time, but they are no longer used due to the projector’s complexity.

LCD Projectors

The LCD projector makes use of polarized mirrors that reflect and pass only specific colors of light. 

It causes the different primary colors to separate and later converge through a prism after passing through the LCD panel that controls each color’s saturation and intensity.

DLP projectors

You can classify the DLP projector as 1-chip or 3-chip. Each of the chips houses millions of mirrors that reflect light a thousand times in a second.

 A 1-chip DLP can produce more than sixteen million colors, while the 3-chip can produce more than thirty-five trillion cash.

This feature allows the DLP projector to produce more lifelike and natural images. The closeness of each of the mirrors between the chips makes it not easy to see the spaces between the pixels.

It also allows the operator to create crisper and fluid images compared to that of the LCD technology.

Both the LCD and DLP projectors are excellent types of projectors, with the DLP more advantageous than the LCD projector.

Basic projector Lumen Guidelines: How many lumens do I need?

There are no two projectors with the same ideal number of lumen unless they possess the same features and probably from the same manufacturer. 

You will have to consider the lumen counts of your projector and other factors depending on your needs. 

One of the general rules for determining your projector’s lumen count is; the larger the screen, the more lumen and ambient light you will need. 

The screen aspect ratio plays a huge role in determining the space that needs lighting up.

Here are some guidelines to follow to know the ideal lumen for each size of projectors.

  • Six feet wide projector screen: For a 6 feet wide projector, the ideal lumen count should range from 2500 to 3000. This lumen count will give a perfect brightness and the needed brightness for the projection.
  • Eight feet wide projector screen: The ideal lumen count for an 8 feet wide projector should range from 3000 and 4500 lumens. This ideal lumen count will ensure a high-quality projection.
  • Twelve feet wide projector screen: A 12 feet projector is a large-sized projector that will require a large lumen measurement to produce a well-illuminated image. The ideal lumen count should range from 4500 to 5000.

Importance of Lumen to a Projector

Please do not underestimate the importance of lumen to a projector because it is a primary factor that keeps the projector performing.

The projector needs light to project, and the measure of this light is the lumen. 

You might have to regulate the lumen because extreme lumen count does not also give the perfect result.

You don’t have to wait till you fall victim to a dimly illuminated projector or over-illuminated projector before you understand the importance of lumen. 

As much as a well-illuminated projection is essential, in some cases, it can also affect the quality of the projection.

Have you ever tried editing a photo by increasing the light feature of the photo? 

You will notice that as the light feature increases, the photo’s quality increases until it gets to a point where the quality starts reducing. This action is also applicable to the projector.

High brightness can affect the image’s quality by blurring the image to match white light, while low brightness affects the quality of the image by not producing an illuminated image.

An image’s quality depends on the contrast of the colors that comprise the image; an ideal contrast produces a high-quality image.

Brightness can affect the contrast of an image. Brightness is not always suitable for pictures and colors. Too much brightness can hurt your eyes, so an ideal brightness is suitable for your projector.

For an outdoor screen, the ideal lumen count should range from 1,500 to 10,000, depending on the screen size and other factors.

Indoor lights should measure an ideal 1,000 to 2,000 lumens. Indoor with medium lighting projection should measure 2,000 to 4,000 lumens while indoor with bright lighting should measure about 4,500 to 6,000 lumens.

It is unnecessary to follow the figures for your projection, but the values should serve as a guide when choosing or setting the lumen measurement or brightness for your projector.

Other Factors you Should Consider before Choosing a Projector.

Before choosing a projector, you should consider some essential factors determining the projector’s efficiencyquality, and rating.


What is the essence of getting a visual product if you find difficulty in seeing it? 

It is best if you consider the brightness of your projector before making a choice. Make sure the projector has the ideal brightness for the location you intend using it.

Life span: 

The longevity of a projector is a vital factor to consider before making a pick. As much as people want to use the latest version of a product, they also want the one they have to last long enough. Make sure the projector is of top quality and very durable.


This factor is a prominent and deciding factor. The cost of your projector can determine its quality. A low-cost projector has a higher tendency of having lower quality than a high-cost projector.

While considering the cost and quality of the projector, you should also consider your pocket. You wouldn’t want to get a projector way beyond your budget.

Rainbow effect: 

The rainbow effect of a projector is an essential factor to consider. To understand the rainbow effect, you have to consider the projector generated colors. Some projectors use color wheels or colored filters to alter the projected light as required. 

However, there will be times when the color wheel becomes too slow and stains the projected image with unwanted colors. This situation refers to the rainbow effect. You might want to consider the rate at which the rainbow effect occurs before choosing a projector.

Color performance: 

Perfect coloring spices up the quality and appearance of an image. Every user wants their projector to project a perfectly colored image. Make sure that your projector exhibits high color performance.


The size of your projector also matters when picking a projector. The world is revolving to a stage whereby every technological tool is becoming minute as new inventions uncover. 

Take a microphone as an example; microphones have moved from a device you should hold to a button-sized device clipped to your shirt.

No one wants a large device anymore; everyone wants the device to be as small as possible, so you should make sure your projector is not unnecessarily large.

In Conclusion

Knowing that an ideal lumen count is a factor that enhances the view and appearance of a projected image, you should then find the ideal lumen measurement for your projector.

Mind you, two projectors rarely have the same lumen count, so you should be ready to find the exact one for your projector.

Many factors determine the lumen count of a projector. Some of the factors include the type of light source for the projector, the projector’s screen size, the projector’s type, the location to mount the projector (indoors or outdoors), and lots more.

As much as these factors can be, you have to put them into consideration before picking a projector to serve your task.

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