It’s a confusing world out there when shopping online for projector lamps. We break it down for you.
If you know what to look for then shopping for projector lamps on Amazon or ebay can land you some real deals.
If your projector is a newer model, then consider ordering the original OEM packaged lamp from the projector manufacturer or their authorized reseller. While this is the most expensive option as you’re paying a premium price for the brand package, plastic cage, bulb and assembling, you are guaranteed a lamp with brightness, clarity and longer lamp life. If your model is much older, you may not be getting the original branded lamp as it’s probably not in production. Look for generic lamps for your older projectors.
Third-party with original lamps
A more affordable option is to buy a replacement lamp that has an original bulb but with a third-party lamp housing. This type of lamp comes in a brown box but has the Philips, Osram, Ushio, Phoenix original bare bulb inside. This is the best value as you get a high quality branded bare bulb without paying premium prices for a branded packaging and cage.
This is the most economical choice and is mostly what you find on Amazon and 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 the 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 optical elements in your projector.
There are some telltale signs to watch for:
- Often the description, even of expensive lamps, doesn’t say which bare bulb is inside: Philips, Osram, Ushio or a cheap generic Chinese bulb.
- There may be some sort of a brand log that doesn’t link to the reseller. It’s only there to give you the impression the lamp has original parts.
- Check that the reseller who is advertising an Osram/Philips/Ushio bare bulb inside also delivers you the original version and doesn’t substitute.