With so many online choices online, it can be confusing finding the best replacement projector lamp. We break it down for you.
With a little bit of knowledge, you can land some great deals for your projector lamp replacement. The key is knowing the types of lamps and when to walk away.
If your projector is a newer model, then consider protecting your investment by installing an original OEM replacement lamp bought direct from the manufacturer or their authorized reseller. While it may appear to be the more expensive option, it's actually a smarter buy since it protects your projector from any damages, protects your warranty and guarantees a superior product. Since you’re paying a premium price for the brand packaging, plastic cage, bulb and assembling, you are getting a lamp with optimum brightness, clarity and longer life. However, if your projector model is much older -- maybe even out of production-- chances are you won't be able to find original OEM lamps since they are not in production. In that case, look for generic lamps for your older projectors.
Third-party with original lamps
Budget conscious companies will appreciate the more affordable option of third-party replacement. This is a lamp with an original Philips, Osram, Ushio, Phoenix bulb housed inside a third-party lamp cage. This is the best value as you get a high quality branded bare bulb without paying premium prices for branded packaging or lamp cage. The catch is to find an authorized dealer that is recognized by the industry. So when shopping for lamps online, do that extra step and check out the company's website for the stamp of approval.
This is the most economical choice and is mostly what you find on Amazon and on other marketplaces. Generic have no OEM parts since the replacement lamp uses a generic bare bulb in a third-party housing. Picture quality, brightness and longevity won’t be the same as the OEM branded bare bulb because these non OEM manufacturers cannot use the patented technology of Philips and other manufacturers. They save you money and for many of the older projectors this is the only available option.
What you want to avoid are counterfeit lamps sold at an inflated price with a fake brand logo of Philips or Osram on a generic bare bulb. Sometimes even the brand packaging is counterfeited to create an authentic impression. These lamps offer NO value since they usually don’t last longer than a few hours. Sometimes they won’t fit the projector. Worse case scenario is that they explode and end up damaging the optics such as the color wheels and other elements in your projector.
So how can you spot a counterfeit lamp? Here are some telltale signs:
- Vague descriptions of the bulb. It doesn't mention Philips, Osram, Ushio.
- A company hard to find on the internet or solely based in China.
- A brand logo that is not linked to a reseller. But only listed to give the impression the lamp has original parts.
- Badly reproduced packaging mimicking the manufacturer's packaging.
- Check that the reseller who is advertising an Osram/Philips/Ushio bare bulb inside also delivers you the original version and doesn’t substitute.
- Ridiculous reviews claiming to make the projector work beyond it capabilities or so 5-star reviews and nothing objective.