Lumens: How much does your projector need?

projector lumensWhat are lumens and how much do you need in your projector?

When you are buying a projector, one associated specification you’ll see is the lumens value. ANSI Lumens is a measurement for the amount of brightness the projector gives out.

Most DLP projectors are equipped with high light output lamps to provide the greatest brightness needed.

How much light

The lower the lumen value the dimmer the lamp in the projector.  The higher the lumens the brighter the projector lamp will be. Brighter light means more contrast, better colour and a sharper image. However, higher lumens also mean a higher price tag for the projector.

Brighter is not necessarily the best choice since the lighting needed depends on your particular set up and how much ambient light is in your room


Pico projectors are the smallest projectors on the market and use LED lights, which don’t offer high levels of brightness. These projectors are designed for portability and low power consumption but won’t offer higher brightness. For high light output you need a DLP projector.


Things to consider

The lumens needed depends on 3 factors:

  • Content: Are you showing business presentations, watching films or playing games? The more sophisticated the graphics, the more lumens you need.
  • Image size: The larger your screen the more light you will need.
  • Brightness of room: The more ambient light in your room the more projector light you will need


projector lumenTable for lumens

500 lumens or less: Small groups, portable projectors. Only suitable for very simple presentations without sophisticated photography or videos. Room must be extremely dark. You will need to project the image from a relatively short distance.

700 – 1000 lumens: Small groups, five to 10 people. Suitable for training videos or still photography. Room must be extremely dark. You will need to project the image from a relatively short distance.

1000-2500 lumens: Rooms with little ambient lighting or with blackout curtains. Normal business and classroom use. Groups of five to 15 people. Room doesn’t need to be completely dark.

2500 to 4500 lumens: Large conference rooms or classrooms with overhead lighting. Groups larger than 50 people. Offers good flexibility for high-performance media. There can be some light in the room without the image being washed out.

4000 lumens and up: Large rooms such as churches, auditoriums, nightclubs or other large venues with over 100 hundred people. Projectors will have a higher price tag. Offers best flexibility for high-performance media.

Importance of your lamp

The projector lamp is the part that produces the light so it’s important to have a OEM UHP lamp installed in your projector. These lamps retain 80% of their brightness during their entire lifetime. Generics will have a shorter life so for instance if the lamp is rated for 2,000 hours, these lamps can lose 50% of their brightness by 1,000 hours of lamp life. Authentic UHP lamps will retain more brightness.

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