Difference between indoor and outdoor projectors


Undoubtedly, the demand for indoor and outdoor projectors is getting massively high. But there exists a clear-cut difference between them. Here you can check out and get to know how these projectors are different from each other. The main difference between indoor and outdoor projectors is that indoor projectors are designed for use in controlled, sheltered environments, while outdoor projectors are built to withstand exposure to the elements and provide a clear image in bright ambient light conditions.

FeatureIndoor ProjectorsOutdoor Projectors
Primary UseUsed in controlled lighting conditionsDesigned for bright sunlight and unpredictable weather
Display BrightnessModerate brightness is sufficientRequires higher brightness to be visible in daylight
Display ResolutionHigher resolution for optimal qualityOften lower resolution due to focus on brightness
DurabilityStandard durability is adequateHigher durability to withstand outdoor conditions
PortabilityPortability varies; often less of a concernNeeds to be portable and quick to set up
Environmental FactorsLighting conditions can be controlledMust handle varying light conditions, including ambient light
Recommended UseIdeal for indoor settings with controlled lightBetter for daytime outdoor use, considering black levels
VersatilitySpecifically designed for indoor useSome models can be used both indoors and outdoors

Most important factors to choose an outdoor projector screen

Screen Material and ReflectivityChoose screens with high gain and reflective backing for bright, clear images, especially important in outdoor ambient light.
Portability and SetupInflatable screens are ideal for easy setup and portability, making them suitable for outdoor use.
Size and DurabilitySelect a large and durable screen, capable of withstanding outdoor conditions like wind and exposure to the elements.
Viewing TimeFor daytime use, pick a screen designed for such conditions, as some are optimized only for night use due to their reflective properties.

Overall, they differ in terms of brightness, durability, screen gain, screen type, the color of the projector screen and whether they are weather-proof projectors. Below you can see further details: 

How indoor and outdoor projectors are different?

A number of factors determine whether to use an outdoor projector or an indoor projector. Compared to indoor projectors, outdoor projectors require higher display brightness, durability, and lower resolution because they are designed to handle bright sunlight and unpredictable weather conditions. Several of them are designed to be used outdoors during the daytime, so they need to be portable and quick to set up.

However, indoor projectors are typically used in controlled lighting conditions and require a higher resolution display for optimal results. You need to consider the brightness, resolution, and black levels of a projector when using it outdoors due to ambient light. When buying an outdoor projector, portability and durability are also important factors to consider.

Choosing a projector that can be used both indoors and outdoors is also recommended in order to maximize its utility. We have listed a few of the differences, which will quickly explain to you how an indoor projector is different from an outdoor projector:

FeatureOutdoor ProjectorsIndoor Projectors
BrightnessRequire more brightness and lumens to counteract daylight and unpredictable outdoor conditions.Need less brightness and lumens as they are used in controlled lighting environments without sunlight.
DurabilityDesigned to be more durable to withstand unpredictable environmental conditions like heavy rain and strong wind.Considered less durable as they are not exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
ResolutionGenerally have lower resolution since they are designed to be viewed from a farther distance.Require higher resolution for optimal image quality, as they are viewed from a shorter distance.
Screen GainHave high screen gain with special coatings to enhance picture quality and visibility in outdoor settings.Have lower screen gain as they are used indoors with less ambient light.
Screen ColorScreens are often black or grey to enhance contrast and absorb unwanted light in outdoor settings.Screens are typically white, controlling unwanted ambient light and ensuring a brighter, clearer image.

Outdoor projectors, are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and high sunshine, making them more durable and portable. They also feature a higher lumen output, making them appropriate for outdoor use. Outdoor projectors are also designed to work with screens that are more reflective and clear than indoor panels. When using an indoor projector outside, it is important to consider the location, weather prediction, and ambient light to produce the optimum image quality.

Suitable screen size for indoor and outdoor projectors

You might be wondering what can be a suitable screen for indoor and outdoor projectors; here we are going to tell you.

120 inches or more is the suitable projection that an indoor projector can display. In the case of outdoor projectors, you can keep the screen size as much bigger as you can.

When getting an indoor projector, the individual remains restricted by wall space. That is why 120 inches of projection seems appropriate for indoor projectors.

The average size for outdoor projector screens starts from 120 inches and can go up to 300 inches wide. Furthermore, the average aspect ratio concerning an outdoor projector screen is 16:9.

Best projector screens for outdoor use

Screen TypeSummary
Elite Screens Yard Master PlusRecommended for top outdoor picture quality. Rigid frame, reflective screen, adjustable height. Pricier.
Inflatable ScreensPopular for their portability and quick setup. Ideal for easy outdoor projections.
Yardmaster Screens from EliteKnown for better quality, thicker material. Provides a high-quality viewing experience.
Mdbebbron 120-inch Projection ScreenBudget-friendly, 120-inch screen size, suitable for outdoor projections.

Ideal size for an outdoor projector screen

Recommended SizeScreen sizes for outdoor use typically range from 80 to 250 inches.
Audience SizeScreen size should correspond to the number of viewers (e.g., 12’x7′ for 100 people, 30’x17′ for 1000 people).
Other ConsiderationsConsider portability, durability, and reflectivity of the screen for the best outdoor viewing experience.
Ideal Size DeterminationChoose based on specific viewing needs and the projector’s capabilities.


Outdoor projectors are always weatherproof than indoor projectors.

As mentioned above, outdoor projectors must bear tough rainy, windy and stormy weather times. They are weatherproofed because minimal damage occurs even if they are exposed to rain or wind.

Furthermore, the outdoor projectors remain additionally protected with an exclusive weatherproofing coating. You never know when rain droplets or a gust of wind will blow your projector screen. That is why they guarantee to show weatherproofing nature and stand up every challenging weather time.

Advantages of using an indoor projector outdoors

If you plan on using an indoor projector outside, there are several restrictions to consider. Indoor projectors aren’t designed to withstand harsh sunlight or changing weather conditions, which may adversely affect the image quality. It is important to consider a projector’s brightness when using it outside, and a projector with a brightness of 1000-1500 lumens may not be sufficient.

If you are going to use the projector outside, the resolution of the projector may not be as critical as it is when used indoors due to the fact that outdoor speakers may not be as audible. However, some interior projectors include excellent speakers that may come in handy when used outdoors.

Best practices for using an indoor projector outdoors

AspectShort Recommendation
Shaded LocationPlace in shaded areas to reduce sunlight impact.
Brightness and ScreenUse >3000 lumens projector with a suitable screen for visibility.
Weather ProtectionProtect from extreme weather; store indoors post-use.
Proper StorageStore in safe conditions away from extreme temperatures and moisture.
Optimal Time of DayUse during sunset, evening, or night for minimal ambient light interference.
Portability and CareEnsure dust-free, ventilated space; bring indoors after use to prevent damage.

Which projector screen looks more challenging to set up?

Outdoor projector screens look more challenging and harder to set up than indoor projector screens.

When setting up an indoor projector screen, the process is easy. You only have to pull down the screen. That is all! Indoor projectors have fixed screens. You can either pull them down manually or use a remote control.

When it comes to setting outdoor projector screens, the process will take a bit longer. First, you must mount that screen on the wall or any tension frame. In addition, you have to drill holes in the wall, and here, you will need special tools as well. Keep the screen in a standing and firm position using weights. 


We hope you have understood the key differences between indoor and outdoor projectors. Giving you a general idea again! These projectors differ in weatherproofing nature, brightness, durability, screen color, screen gain and how much time they take to get set up. Stay tuned with us too!

Hi there! My name is Haris Rehman, and I review projectors for homes, movies, and offices. My passion for all things audiovisual has led me to test and review a broad range of projectors for consumers to help them make informed purchasing decisions. The reviews I provide are honest and unbiased based on my understanding of what makes a quality projector. Check out my blog for the latest reviews and insights.

Leave a Comment