Projector Rentals – What You Need to Know


Your boss just notified you that you have to give a presentation in 2 days to the field office in another state. Unfortunately, your office does not have a spare projector that you can take with you. You have no choice but to rent a projector. You know little to nothing about projectors, much less about renting them. So where do you start? What can you do to make sure that the projector works for you and not against you?

If you find yourself caught in this scenario, the following items are important to consider ensuring that your projector rental is a success.

When selecting a projector rental company, you should ask the following questions:

  • Selection – Does the rental company have a variety of projector models so that you can find one to fit your specific situation?
  • Accessories – What accessories are included with your rental kit – computer and video cables, remote, and carry bag? What additional accessories will you need, such as a portable screen, signal amplifier, or extra lengths of cable, and are these available from the rental company?
  • Ease of use – Does the rental company include instructions with each rental projector? How easy is the projector to set up? Do they include color-coded cables and step-by-step instructions?
  • Technical assistance – Who do you call if you have technical issues? How knowledgeable are they? What are their hours of operation and will they be available when you need them?
  • Shipments – How soon will the projector arrive at your location? Can the projector be shipped directly to your presentation site, office, hotel, conference center or home? Is a completed air bill included for your convenience in returning the projector to the rental company?
  • Charges – Will you be charged for the days the projector is in transit to and from your location or only for the days that you will be using it?
  • Added value – What additional services are offered that add more value to your rental experience? Can you apply your rental fees toward the purchase of a new projector? Do you get discounts if you rent frequently from the same company?

A good rental company should ask you several questions
to determine the best projector for your situation.

Once you have found a projector rental company with a solid reputation and track record, they can help you select a projector. The rental company should ask you the following questions to determine the best projector for your situation:

  • How large is the room in which you will be presenting? How large is your audience and how close to the screen will they be seated? The answers to these questions will determine the number of lumens (brightness) of the projector. The larger the room and audience, the higher the number of lumens are necessary for the image to be seen clearly by all audience members.
  • Is there a fixed or mounted screen in the room? What is the size of the screen? If there is a permanent screen in the room that you can use, you will need to know ahead of time where to place the projector so that the image fills up the entire screen. The projected image size depends on the projector model, so you will need to ask the rental company for the throw distance information. If there is no screen available, you will want to rent a portable screen. Projecting an image on a blank wall may seem like a good idea, but it will wash out the colors and images in the presentation that you spent so much time perfecting.
  • What are the lighting conditions of the room? Can you control the lighting? Is there a wall of windows or skylights that might wash out the projected image? Lighting conditions will affect the number of lumens that are necessary to project a bright image.
  • Will you be projecting computer images, video images (VCR tape or a DVD) or both? Not all projectors are created equal. Some projectors are engineered to project excellent computer images and only mediocre video images while other projectors are engineered to do both flawlessly. Make sure that your rental company knows their projectors inside and out so they can recommend one that will perform to your standards.
  • If you are projecting a computer image, what resolution will you be working in? The clearest projected images result when the projector's native resolution matches that of your computer.
  • Will you be connecting to a desktop computer or to a laptop? If you will use a desktop for your presentation and do not have a signal splitter, you will need a projector with a monitor loop-through port. This will allow you to see the image on the computer monitor and the projector simultaneously.
  • Will more than one presenter be connecting to the projector? If there are multiple presenters, it is nice to have a projector with two computer inputs so that switching between the two presenters is seamless. If you are the only presenter who will be using the projector, then one computer input will suffice.
  • Will you need a wireless mouse? A wireless mouse is a great tool to use when giving presentations because you are no longer tied to the laptop to change slides or open files. You have the freedom to walk around the room, keeping your presentation dynamic.
  • Will you need long lengths of cable? Standard computer and video cables are 6 feet long. If you have to set the projector farther than 6 feet away from the laptop or computer, based on the room set-up, you will need to have cables that can run the distance.

Renting a projector can be a pleasant experience if you know the right questions to ask. The above checklist should provide you with enough information to assist you in selecting a reputable rental company that can provide you with convenient, hassle free projector rentals. Happy renting!

Subscribe to Impressions, BOXLIGHT's free quarterly eNewsletter filled with presentation tips and techniques.