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Lamp vs. Laser projection, what’s the difference?

Not sure which light source is right for you? Compare the benefits and considerations associated with lamp and laser projectors to inform your purchase decision.

Almost every teacher has had to deal with the problems that come with your standard bulb projectors. They blow in the middle of a lesson, require maintenance over time, and can lose quality as the bulb ages.

There’s a new type of projector in town, the laser projector. This new type of projector uses an LED-based laser light to project its images. But are laser projectors the new be all to end all of projectors?

Here’s a comparison guide to help you decide which projector you should go with:

Lamp Projectors:

Lamp projectors are the traditional projectors you know (and love?). Lamp projectors use a giant light bulb to project their images on the screen. The lamp takes time to warm up, loses image brightness after 10 hours, and requires fans inside the projector to deal with all the heat generated.

However, lamp projectors are cheaper and easier to setup in the initial stages. Since lamp projector technology has been around for a number of years, they have become relatively cheap and easy to maintain.


  • Low initial investment
  • Low TCO even at similar total number of hours vs. laser
  • Full brightness with lamp replacement


  • Requires maintenance
  • Labor costs for lamp replacement
  • Potential downtime due to maintenance

Laser Projectors:

Laser projectors use LED lights to project their image. LED’s are brighter, have a sharper image, require no heating up, and use less electricity. Running at a lower temperature means laser projectors don’t require as much cooling inside the projector unit.

Laser projectors also have greater contrast than lamp projectors. Blacks on laser projectors are much stronger as the LEDs just don’t fire on black sections of the screen. Lamp projectors need to project no matter what, meaning blacks are never as dark as they could be.

Laser projectors also last longer than lamps. The unit in most laser projectors can last for 20,000 hours, meaning they could be run for 8 hours a day for 12.5 years without maintenance.

Laser projectors do cost more. The laser projection units cost more as well due to the newer technology. However, when you balance the figures, the electricity and maintenance savings of a laser projector over its lifetime compared to a lamp projector makes the benefits obvious.


  • Virtually maintenance-free operation
  • Instant power On/Off
  • Absolute Black- higher contrast ratio


  • Higher initial investment
  • Constant brightness reduction
  • Costly light engine replacement

Which should you get?

The only drawback to laser projectors is price, which is dropping all the time. There are too many benefits to laser projectors to pass them up if you can afford it. If you have the budget for laser projectors, you should consider them in your next AV upgrade.


If you have any questions related to projectors or need assistance with your custom audio visual requirements, contact a DIB Audio Visual Solutions Consultant today Phone (03) 9457-4800 or contact us