There are some common questions you might have such as whether it is a good idea to buy a used projector. It’s tempting to want to find the cheapest / best deal on a projector if you fit into these categories. Maybe you also want a high-end model from years ago for a better price and you’re wondering if buying refurbished is a good option. So the question arises:
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So should you buy a used projector?
There’s only a few instances in which buying a used projector is a better idea than not. Factors such as bulb life, projector type, price, and warranty status are the biggest things that will sway you one way or the other.
You don’t want a projector that could be nearing the end of its bulb life, nor do you want a used projector that could die sooner than you wanted and require more money towards repairs. However, it can be a very good deal for you if you find a projector that checks the boxes on all the things we just mentioned.
The rest of this article will help you understand these factors in more detail. I want you to use this article as a quick reference to help you reach a decision on your purchase more efficiently, and in a manner in which you feel like you made an informed decision. Don’t just fall for the appealing price! So without further delay, let’s get started!
I called Best Buy and asked them the same question: this is what they said…
I gave the tech support guys a quick call and explained to them what I was looking for. My call consisted of asking them what they would recommend if I was looking to buy a used projector for a cheap set up in an office, garage, or for an entry-level home theater set up.
They did in fact say they would recommend buying a used projector if it could check some important boxes. I was actually more skeptical of buying a used projector than they were, but by the end of the conversation, I understood what they meant.
It depends on what type of projector it is
There are a few different types of projectors: DLPs, LCDs, SRXDs to name a few. DLPs have the longest bulb life out of the models I just listed. LCDs are the worst! I absolutely do not recommend buying an LCD projector because of how crappy its bulb life is. It’s so much more likely to die by the time you inherit that projector from someone who’s already used it for some time.
DLP projectors have bulb lives of thousands of hours! Most home theater projectors will be DLPs, just make sure none of the products you look at is LCD!
It depends on whether it’s refurbished or “open” box status
“Refurbished” means that the product was sent to the manufacturer because something in it was all jacked up. It could be anything from a loose screw to a part of the motherboard that needed to be saudered back on. Either way, this causes the price of the projector to go down substantially. When someone returns a projector, for this reason, the manufacturer might refurbish it and resell it at a lower price because the buyer wanted a brand new model.
Open-box means that the product was returned because it wasn’t what the user expected the product to be and it was within their return window. Open-box projectors are more expensive because no technical work was needed to get the projector up and running. There are four tiers of open-box status. Tier 1 = they returned it within the trial window because it wasn’t what they wanted. Tier 4 = it came and didn’t work as advertised so they returned it, it got fixed, and the buyer wanted a new model anyway. Try to find a projector lower and the tier rating.
Bulb life, price, and age all relate to each other (and equally matter)
Warranty fits in with these factors as well. It’s ideal to find a projector that still has a warranty on it at the time of purchase (for a period greater than 90 days). It’s also okay if it doesn’t have a warranty left on it. I’m not at all sponsored by Best Buy, but if you go through them, the guy said they can put Geek Squad Protection on it so you’re still covered if you have any issues. Also, note that replacing a dead bulb will cost around $200.
When you’re looking at a used projector, consider the following questions. Has the bulb been replaced already on the projector or will it likely burn out while I own it? Will the price of any repairs / additional warranty equal the cost of me just buying a projector new? How old is the model and when was it manufactured? How much has the projector been moved around? Has it been dismounted multiple times and packed up considerably? That could lead to some additional wear and tear.
A Good Example of a Used Projector Deal
The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema is a great example I’ll use (Best Buy found this for me and I could have bought this one during the phone call).
- Epson PowerLite Home Cinema, $400, 3100 Lumens, Refurbished, 1080p, only 90 days left of warranty. This one has a lot of lumens! It’ll be nice and bright with good image quality. I could even put Geek Squad Protection on it for extended warranty and it’ll still be a good deal. Epson makes good projectors with long bulb life, I trust this brand to hold up for many years to come.
- Not as ideal example: Epson Home Cinema 2150, $600, 2500 Lumens, Refurbished, 1080p, 1 year left on the warranty. Buying this one new would cost around $700 on Amazon. That’s not that much more initial investment. This projector will be an awesome addition to any space you put it in, it’s worth that amount if you have a budget above $600.
With all the products the Best Buy guy mentioned to me during our call, I found it’s only a real steal if you can spend less than $500 on a bright DLP projector with minimal costs to extended warranties.
How do you tell what the current bulb life is on a projector? There is no real way to tell how used the bulb is on a projector. Bulbs on DLP projectors can last thousands of hours, whereas LCD ones are in the hundreds. It’s more important to look into what type of projector and how old the model is. However, SOME models will have a settings option that lets you see the number of hours recorded while being turned on. But you won’t be able to know just looking at the product description on Best Buy, eBay, or Amazon.
Where is the best place to buy a used projector? Any place that can give you sufficient details regarding the product is good. If you’re buying from a place like eBay or the used section on Amazon, it’s good to get a personal feel for the seller. How much did the original customer use it and how much did they move it around? Did it sit in a dusty, compact area for most of its use? Little inquires like that can tell you a lot about what kind of condition it should be in.
Buying a used projector doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor! You just have to be aware of what to look for and know what constitutes a good deal. By the end of this article, I’m confident that this is all the information you need to make a sound purchase for whatever you decide to use your projector for.
Knowing what to look for was a completely foreign concept when my family purchased my first one! I wrote an article on our first dedicated projector purchase. Buying it new was a better option because this was actually a good price for a projector of this quality.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to respond. If you have any other article suggestions don’t hesitate to let me know as well. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back for the next article!