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The brightness of a projector is measured in ANSI Lumens or simply Lumens. The brighter the projector, the higher the Lumens rating.

Projectors come in a wide range of light output and generally as brightness increases, so does the price.

When choosing a projector you need to ensure that the brightness is right for your requirements.

What you need to consider when choosing the ideal brightness

When selecting the right brightness for your application there are some things to consider:

How bright is the room?

The best image is always achieved in a dark room regardless of the projector brightness, however it is not always possible or practical to darken the room.
A room where the lights can't be dimmed or turned off, or where there are no blinds to obscure the windows would require a bright projector while a dark home cinema room will get best results from a lower brightness projector.

What is your application?

With certain applications such as training and workgroups it is not practical to turn the lights off as people need to take notes or see each other as well as the presentation. Also the image needs to be clear and bright, so a brighter projector would be required.
For simply showing a video or for home cinema, a dimmer projector would be suitable.

If the projector is to be used on the go, you may not know if the room is going to be bright or not so it is recommended to buy the brightest projector your budget allows.

How many people are in the room or how big is the screen?

The number of people in the room determines the size of the projected image
that is required for easy viewing by everyone present. As the number of people in the room increases, the image size must increase and this diminishes the apparent brightness of the projector as the light is spread over a larger area.

Bigger screens will require a brighter projector.

What kind of screen are you using?

Most projection screens today provide significant light reflection making even a relatively low brightness projector look good in the ideal setting.
If the room lacks a projection screen, as is sometimes common in a mobile sales presentation, you will require a higher brightness projector as a wall is a poor reflector of light and the image could appear washed out.

What is the right brightness for my application?

Brightness levels can be classed in a few categories as follows:

  • Less than 1000 Lumens

Today most projectors with a brightness lower than 1000 Lumens are meant for home cinema use where they can be used in a dark room.
If you are buying a projector for work, we suggest you invest in a brighter projector.

  • 1000 to 2000 Lumens

There are many projectors in this class to choose from. These machines are suitable for normal business conference room and classroom use.
Presentations should be done with the room lighting reduced somewhat (especially for projectors with brightness of less than 1500 Lumens) for best screen viewing, although a totally dark or dimly lit room is usually not necessary.

  • 2000 to 3000 Lumens

This represents the high-performance range of the portable and semi-portable projectors. Products in this class are suitable for large conference rooms and
classrooms. They offer more flexibility in terms of ambient room light, since the image is bright enough that a reasonable amount of room light can be tolerated without washing out the image. They also offer more flexibility in terms of audience size since they can illuminate a larger screen without much loss of image quality.

  • 3000 Lumens and up

These ultra-bright projectors are in several performance classes unto themselves, ranging from 3000 up to 12000 lumens or more.
Prices of these products also cover a wide range depending on other performance
characteristics. They are used in a variety of large venue applications, including
board rooms, conference rooms, training rooms, auditoriums, churches, concerts, nightclubs, and so forth.

If you are in any doubt or need advice on choosing the right brightness for your application, contact a specialist who will be able to advise depending on your situation.