Lamp vs Laser Projectors

Home Theater Projector

Overhead projectors have been in use since the late 1950s. Since their inception, they have improved over the years, keeping pace with the current technology and using it to evolve.

Traditionally, projectors have used a large bulb, or lamp, to project images onto a screen. The bulbs used in lamp projectors are either ultra-high pressure mercury vapor lamps or metal halide lamps. These giant bulbs or lamps produce a lot of heat, so a cooling fan is an essential component of lamp projectors.

On the other hand, laser projectors are fairly new to the market. As the name suggests, these projectors, generally speaking, utilize multiple lasers to create a powerful light source in lieu of a bulb.

If you are thinking about buying a projector, this brief comparison between the two types of projectors may be useful.

Consideration Lamp Projector Laser Projector
Initial Investment Comparatively lower. Much higher than lamp projectors.
Operation time Requires time to warm up and cool down. Instant on-off.
Image Quality Image projection is white light. This means there is less contrast and the images are not as sharp. Images projected by lasers are sharper and clear due to more contrast.
Brightness Lamp brightness reduces over time, affecting the image quality. However, every time the lamp is replaced it gives full brightness. The brightness of the lasers also goes down progress. However, since lasers are not replaced frequently, the quality does deteriorate.
Maintenance Lamp life ranges from 2000 hours to 6000 hours. There is a cost involved in procuring the correct lamp and having it replaced. Practically no maintenance is required. The life of the lasers is about 20,000 hours, practically the entire lifetime of the projector. However, if the light engine fails in a laser projector, it is costly to replace.

I have compared some of the most important points that should be considered when choosing a projector. All things considered, laser projectors come out on top. Not only because these are technologically more advanced, but because they are more efficient and less expensive in the long run.

The choice of projector ultimately will depend on your setting (home use vs commercial use) and your budget. One of the major factors that will affect your decision when buying a projector is the intended use. For projecting in your home theater, or anywhere else in your home for that matter, you may choose to reduce costs and opt for a lamp projector.

However, if you are scouting for a projector to use in a commercial environment, the image quality, life of the device, and maintenance requirements will play an important part. For projecting on huge screens, like walls of shopping malls or large conference rooms, simply the brightness required for the projection may force you to choose a laser projector. There are high lumen laser projectors in the market which can project high definition still or moving images onto large screens or walls.


Laser technology is evolving as we speak, and people are coming up with more and more creative ways to use this technology, especially in the commercial space. If the initial investment is not a deterrent, it is easily the better value in the long run.

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