Hundreds of thousands of classrooms, perhaps more than a million in the US (I don’t have world wide numbers), have been equipped with what we’ll call “Classroom Projectors” over the span of the last 15 years. There has been a steady flow of technology funding from government to school districts, and equipping classrooms with projectors, especially at high school level, has been a school priority.
Just so you know, in this section think K-12 classroom, rather than the 100 – 500 seat “classrooms” found at many universities. Those university classrooms usually end up with pricier, brighter projectors with advanced networking, and more.
Teachers are relying more heavily on classroom projectors at all grade levels, but especially high school. Schools, and more often School Districts are usually in the market to find the biggest bang for their buck. With budgets always tight, it often comes down to how many more classrooms can we equip, if we go with a classroom projector with less features.
Each year, the performance of projectors designed with classroom use in mind (a large percentage) improves, and the prices manage to fall.
The most common classroom projectors currently being installed in classrooms have XGA or WXGA resolution, and brightness of 2500 to 4000 lumens.
There is both a great deal of interest, and a lot of activity when it comes to interactive projectors in the classroom. Just about every projector company targeting the schools is now offering multiple interactive projectors and often some very different ones.
If your requirement is the lowest possible price, there are still a number of lower resolution SVGA projectors out there, with prices from perhaps $300. In 2013, the first entry level 1080p (or WUXGA) resolution projectors have come down well below $1000. This makes using a few of them in a school, practical for special applications, including some science classes, perhaps engineering, art, and architecture, and others, without completely breaking the budget.
Great resource for learning about and comparing classroom projectors: Classroom Projector Comparison Report
Classroom Projector Reviews
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About Classroom Projectors
Most classroom projectors are basically 5-10 pound projectors that can also be found in use as portable projectors. Each year, though, more projectors are targeting the classroom market, with a lot of features that portable users don’t demand.
For installation in the classroom, most of the education focused models will have big sound, at least one 5 watt speaker. 10 watts of audio or more, however is now the norm for projectors targeting the classroom.
Most of these projectors have a footprint a bit larger than a standard sheet of paper, and most are less than 5 inches tall. All will have VGA inputs, but most newer models are sporting HDMI, and also USB display. All will have remote controls, but beware of some credit card sized remotes with limited range, that can be a mild nuisance.
In our most recent report, we discuss many issues, and the report encompasses 15 projectors reviewed, that were specifically recommended for school use by their respective manufacturers. We even give out some interesting awards.
On a school district level purchase, lower resolution projectors surely sell for under $500. Most districts, however, are likely spending $700 – $1200 a projector, with many fully networking the projectors, including central monitoring. Just plug them all in, and the projectors can be set to notify support of lamp failures or required maintenance (such as filter cleaning), or needing repair.
Cost of Ownership is something that should be considered. Lamp life and cost factor in, big time. There are projectors with 3000 hour lamps that cost $299, and other projectors that might have a lamp good for 4000 hours for $99. These projectors will have to last a really long time, as is the nature of school funding. If these projectors are getting serious use, maintenance, lamp replacments, and repairs all factor in. Consider the value of a projector that has a 3 year warranty, and will send you a loaner, while it’s being repaired.
Down on an individual teacher level, if you need a projector and have no recourse but to buy one yourself, or you have, perhaps a limited grant, fear not. You can find plenty to choose from below $800, and some of them are very light – in the 4 to 5 pound range, for those of you transporting them.
Popular School Projectors
Entry Level XGA and SVGA
XGA and WXGA – More Featured
Interactive and Ultra Short Throw projectors
There is definitely a projector out there that can fit your specific classroom environment needs, as well as your budget!