The 9 Best Video Projectors
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in May of 2015. Treat yourself, your family, and your friends to the full cinema experience in the comfort of your home with one of these video projectors that can provide images as big as 300 inches. They work equally well for web content and video games, too. Our list features everything from the highest-quality models with 4K and HDR support, to more affordable options for movie fans on a budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 27, 2021:
There are more high-quality projectors to choose from than ever, but a couple brands definitely stand out above the rest right now. The Optoma UHD50X is one of the top options for the money, but the Optoma UHD30 is so much less expensive that it's just about neck and neck in terms of price to performance ratio. The Epson EpiqVision LS500 is widely viewed as one of the best on the market, but it's not very economical for most people. Meanwhile, the Epson Home Cinema 2250 is relatively well priced, although it's limited to a 1080p output. The Anker Nebula Solar is our favorite portable model at the moment, and the Vankyo V600 comes in as one of the best options for those who really don't want to spend much.
December 23, 2019:
In a fast-moving category like this one, it's no surprise to see that 100 percent of the models included on our last list have either been upgraded by new versions from their companies, or have had other products come out that beat them out in specifications. We're seeing a few more 4K models available this time around, for example, and by that we mean true 4K, not just models with 4K inputs. A lot of cheap projectors out there will put "4K" in their titles knowing full well that it only means they can process a 4K input fast enough to project it in whatever resolution (usually 1080p) the projector actually offers.
The BenQ HT3550 Home Theater is a great example of a model that's been upgraded to include true 4K performance. Ultimately, though, it was hard to deny the supremacy of the Optoma CinemaX P1 4K, which probably has the best built-in speaker system of any projector I've ever reviewed, along with some of the deepest blacks and most naturalistic images I've encountered.
A little farther down the list you'll find some very capable options for a bit less money, one of the coolest of which is the ViewSonic M1+, which boasts a battery that can outlast the average seen in most portable projectors to the tune of several hours. That can make a big difference on a camping trip that encounters any kind of delays that could leave the kids feeling restless.
Sony Home Theater Projectors If you're willing to make a significant investment, you'd have a hard time doing better than one of these top-of-the-line models from Sony. They're designed to produce an almost flawless image, support a wide color gamut, and do a better job with HDR content than nearly anything else available. sony.com
Making An Amazing Media Room
But keep in mind that there are many options for small but powerful speakers that still put out plenty of sound.
To take your enjoyment of movies, shows, and console video game play up to the next level, you have to have a dedicated space for viewing or playing. A media room allows you to enjoy the content before you without the distractions of other sounds or sights, from clattering in the kitchen to whatever is walking past the windows. When you step into your media room, you can immerse yourself in the film you are about to watch or the world of the game you will play, and you will ultimately enjoy the experience much more.
If you want to convert an existing space into a media room, the most important consideration is how you will control the lighting. If the room has no windows, or has windows that can easily be darkened with existing blinds and drapes, so much the better. If a room has windows that allow in light, then new window dressing is imperative. You can also consider using blackout window film to fully block light from entering your windows at minimal cost. Window film can usually be installed quickly and with ease, and it is not permanent, so you can always peel it off.
A great media room also needs great audio. If you can afford a surround sound system and added acoustic insulation for the walls, then go ahead and treat yourself to an aural space par excellence. But keep in mind that there are many options for small but powerful speakers that still put out plenty of sound. Better yet, there are many great, compact speakers that are Bluetooth ready, so you don't have to worry about wires or about permanent installation of audio hardware.
And finally, a great media room needs a great television. Rather than spending a fortune on a large TV that will take up space and requires either wall mounting or a media console, consider using a video projector in lieu of a television. All you need is a flat, smooth surface onto which you can project your favorite media to finish off your ideal home media room.
Choosing A Projector For Movie Magic
There is a vast gulf between the price of a top tier video projector and the most affordable options on the market. In fact, the most expensive, top quality units cost as much as ten times more than their cheapest counterparts.
However, one need not think of a low-cost projector as an inferior unit; it is simply a machine that meets less exacting standards.
There are two primary differences when it comes to selecting between a high-end projector and a low-end model, and these are light conditions and screen distance. To discuss light first, many of the more expensive projectors can create clear, crisp images with faithful color reproduction even in lighted rooms.
These are great options for use as your everyday television, or for use in classrooms, conference rooms, or anywhere you need to show media or give a presentation where you can't (or don't want to) turn off the lights and shut the windows. Top tier projectors also tend to have a much longer projection distance across which they can maintain crisp images and colors.
However, one need not think of a low-cost projector as an inferior unit; it is simply a machine that meets less exacting standards. If you are setting up a home theater that will be used with the lights turned off and where the screen (or projection surface) is only a dozen feet or so away from the projector, then a lower cost model is the smart choice. There are many affordable video projectors that still create high definition images, boast significant brightness, and that are fully compatible with all major input types, such as HDMI, USB, and more.
The Video Projector As A Computer Monitor
There are many reasons you might want to consider ditching the traditional computer monitor in favor of a projector, and they start with simple convenience. If you use a laptop as your primary computer, then keeping an external monitor perched on your desk for those times when you need a bigger screen or to use multiple screens can be an annoyance, especially if you have a smaller work (or play) area. When you use a projector in place of a monitor, you can attach the projector to the ceiling or stick it on a shelf out of the way of your daily routine.
Video projectors are also a great choice for collaborative work.
A projector allows you to enjoy a much bigger screen than you could hope to find in a traditional monitor, even letting you turn a far wall into your work or gaming screen. Using a larger screen set farther away from you can help to mitigate the eye strain that can come with hours of using a computer. Thus using a video projector as your computer monitor might be good for your health as well as a boon to your gaming or programming experience.
Video projectors are also a great choice for collaborative work. If you regularly work with colleagues on projects, it is much easier for you all to sit back and look at a large screen or wall than to huddle around a single desk.
If you are considering getting a projector to connect to your computer, just make sure to choose one that works well even in bright light. It would be a mistake to limit yourself to seeing your "monitor" properly only when the lights are out and the sunlight blocked.