TVs and computer monitors built with gaming in mind are growing bigger with every passing year, but if you want something that really impresses, there’s nothing that can match the scale of a good gaming projector. A cinema gaming experience can turn a night of Mario Kart with your friends into an event or provide you with the means to host impromptu tournaments. And while it’s something that no gamer really needs, it’s a great statement piece for your home.
If you’re looking for the best projector for gaming, we’re here to help. We’ve put together gaming projector reviews for the top ten models, and then we’ve constructed a helpful guide to help navigate you through the purchase process. Read on for everything you need to know.
TD;LR - Best Gaming Projector:
- BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector
- SonyVPL-VW295ES Home Theater Projector
- VANKYO 1080P LED Projector
- Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO
- Optoma HD27HDR 1080p 4K HDR
- ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector
- LG HU80KA 4K UHD Laser Projector
- Optoma UHL55 Compact 4K Projector
- LG PF50KA Portable Projector
- Epson Home Cinema 2100 Projector
1. BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector
BenQ is known for producing tournament-grade gaming monitors, and they've turned their expertise towards producing comparably powered PC gaming projectors with the HT2150ST. This gaming projector has 1080p resolution and an incredibly short lag time that makes it great for couch co-op or local competitive play. Visual acuity tends to suffer a bit with video gaming projectors, but the HT2150ST manages an exceptional level of color quality due to the RGBRGB color wheel.
This is a great choice as a tabletop gaming projector as well due to its compact size and its projection distance of about five or six feet. Four different modes are available. These include both a game and a game bright mode for video gaming, but there's also a cinema mode that allows the HT2150ST to double effectively as a dedicated home theater projector. A general bright mode will probably find limited usage in most homes.
2. SonyVPL-VW295ES Home Theater Projector
The Sony VPL-VW295ES may cost roughly $5000, but that actually makes it a mid-range option for a native 4k gaming projector. And while it's marketed first and foremost as a movie projector, its high-quality performance makes it a great choice for gaming as well. Compatibility for both HLG HDR and HDR10 results in an impressive breadth of color saturation and depth, while the onboard detail processing can provide an extra layer of depth to the video quality.
Specifically suited to the needs of gamers is an input lag reduction mode. If you're looking to adjust the visual and brightness settings to accommodate the mood of the party, there are nine different presets available, and the inclusion of a full-sized backlit remote means getting the perfect calibration is an easy process. If you're looking to use this as a movie screen as well, you'll be happy to know that it's been certified for IMAX.
3. VANKYO 1080P LED Projector
Vankyo's Performance V600 LED gaming projector is a demonstration of the fact that there's a big difference between a cheap gaming projector and a cheap 4k projector. But for less than $300, you get a solid entry level option that will serve most of your needs. In fact, it's good enough to serve as a gaming outdoor projector in broad daylight without the need for a dedicated gaming projector screen.
The picture brightness and audio quality make it really succeed as something to drag onto your lawn or roof, but it's an adequate option if you want a budget gaming projector for your living room. There's no remote available, but the built-in controls on the device itself are so smartly designed that you won't miss it. The video quality is surprisingly strong for the price, not the best option but easily one of the best within its price range.
4. Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO
As 4k TVs and compatible video sources and streaming services become far more prevalent and affordable, truly compatible gaming projectors remain prohibitively expensive. Some manufacturers are finding creative ways for users to make the most of 4k tech without having to shell out a fortune. Epson's 5050UB utilizes Pro-UHD technology that splits 4k input in two and plays them side by side. While it's not quite the same as 4k, it's awfully close to what you'd find in one of the top gaming projectors.
The input selection is good, allowing you to hook up a wide variety of devices and set up a stable ethernet connection. An RS-232C, meanwhile, allows you to connect it easily to your existing home theater setup. This is a projector that's designed to be stationary, so presenting an easy way to integrate it into your existing components is a smart move.
5. Optoma HD27HDR 1080p 4K HDR
Don't let the reference to 4k in Optoma's HD gaming projector trick you. While this digital projector does accept 4k sources, it downsamples them to a resolution of 1080p when projecting it to a screen or wall. That said, it's a feature that's not always present in good projectors for gaming, and it ensures that you won't have to worry about compatibility with your video formats. And the inclusion of HDR support means that it does a decent job of splitting the difference between Full and Ultra HD.
The result is a richness of color and a respectable variety of tones, and gamers will love the fact that it offers one of the best response rates of any 4k projector. Combine that with the flexible variety of connectivity options, and you're left with a portable gaming projector that hooks up to practically any source you can imagine.
6. ViewSonic 1080p Short Throw Projector
The ViewSonic PX706HD has clearly been built with the needs of gamers front and center. The 16.4 ms lag time is exceptional for this price range, and the Full HD 3D capabilities look crisp when thrown against a wide variety of surfaces. That's especially important when you consider that this is a mini compact gaming projector. Portable and lightweight, it can be brought with you for impromptu LAN parties or game nights. And the quality built-in sound system means you don't even have to bring dedicated speakers.
Further underlining that sense of versatility is the wide selection of ports. Whether you're looking to connect to a modern gaming console, a dedicated gaming rig, or a basic laptop, connectivity is a breeze. As is often the case with portable displays, this is a short throw gaming projector, so it can be comfortably set up even in a cramped dorm room.
7. LG HU80KA 4K UHD Laser Projector
Every projector on our list comes with its own unique quirks, but there's nothing quite like the LG HU80KA anywhere on the market. Its uniquely portable tower structure (with handle included) is nothing at all like the set top boxes that are so prevalent in the industry. This may not look like any other mini projectors, but the results don't lie. This is a powerful little gadget. It provides crisp 4K performance for half of the price of the Sony VPL-VW295ES and promises an astounding 20,000 lifespan from its lamp.
This is also a projector built for the 21st century. Wireless projector capabilities allow it to stream from all of the major platforms from Netflix to YouTube, and that makes it an intriguing option for the future, as platforms like Google's Stadia begin to experiment more readily with game streaming. But for today's gamers, it offers quality HDMI 2.0 inputs.
8. Optoma UHL55 Compact 4K Projector
There might not be another projector on the market packed with as many unique features as the Optoma UHL55, but it's more than just a mish-mash of functions. This is a compact and portable projector that's prescient in its design. Voice control is enabled for both Google Assistant and Alexa, a huge boon for smart home users and a surprisingly rare feature to find in a projector. Further adding to that versatility is Bluetooth capability that allows it to serve as a wireless speaker and the ability to play 4K videos from a USB stick.
Add in the streaming service functionality and you have a multimedia projector that's built clearly for the modern consumer. The video quality here is solid, and the UHL55 makes use of PureMotion technology to minimize motion blur for videos and games. The speakers are of similarly high quality.
9. LG PF50KA Portable Projector
LG's LG PF50KA is one of the most portable on our list, sporting tiny dimensions, a featherlight weight, and a 2.5 hour battery life that makes it great for presentations (but probably won't suit the needs of serious gamers). To this end, it also supports plug and play support for USB devices. But while gaming isn't centered in the same way it is for other entries, the combination of price and portability makes it a worthy consideration if you're in search of a budget option.
Dual HDMI and USB connections allow it to be hooked up to quite a few devices at once, and it should be able to comfortably find a place in your living room or at a party. The fan runs low, and the inclusion of decent speakers and Bluetooth wireless makes it a great all-around option that can handle games as well.
10. Epson Home Cinema 2100 Projector
The mid-range Home Cinema 2100 isn't an innovator, but it is a solid Full HD projector that's suitable for games and takes the time to get the fundamentals on point. The performance here is top shelf for the price, offering a great contrast ratio, solid (though not industry leading) luminosity, and a 10 watt speaker with respectably high-quality sound. An MHL port is available for streaming devices, and this projector also supports 3D content.
It's not bereft of features either. A built-in media player makes it easy to broadcast home videos and family albums to your wall or screen, and Miracast facilitates screen sharing from your tablet or phone. It's also highly portable, so it can go with you for backyard screenings.
Best Gaming Projectors Buyer’s Guide
The process of shopping for a gaming projector isn’t fundamentally different from shopping for a monitor. If anything, there are a few less specs to consider. But they aren’t exactly the same. Read on to learn the important distinctions that you need to keep in mind while shopping.
When looking at the right resolution for gaming, the same basic principle applies to projectors as to monitors: 1080p is good, but 4k is better. Because while 1080p was once seen as the designated standard for high definition, it’s a practical necessity if you want to enjoy any AAA game at anything approaching the level of graphical fidelity intended. The difference between monitors and projectors is one of pricing. The increased prevalence of the format means that you can now get a small but decent 4k monitor for a few hundred bucks, or the same price a budget-level 1080p monitor will cost you.
The price discrepancy between FHD 1080p projectors and UHD 4k projectors is significantly greater, but that could be changing. When the Sony VPL-VW295ES was released just a year ago, it was heralded for being the only 4k projector available for $5000 or less. Today, you can find multiple models that boast 4k tech for a fraction of that price. While many of these employ creative technologies to simulate 4k tech and sometimes offer results that don’t quite approach true 4k, the difference in terms of actual quality is negligible. But cheaper isn’t the same as cheap. Even a budget 4k projector like the Optoma UHL55 will cost you over a grand.
So will pricing go down even more? Absolutely, but it likely won’t happen as dramatically as the price plunge of the last year or so. If you want 4k, you need to be willing to pay a premium, and that’s something you should seriously consider before closely evaluating the products on our list.
Input lag refers to the amount of time it takes for your display to register the instructions on the screen. You press A, your character jumps, but there’s a delay that takes place between you sending the signal and the signal being received. It’s not something that most players are likely to notice on most screens, since lag is measured in milliseconds, but if you’ve ever been in a heated multiplayer match and your character doesn’t turn as quickly as you wanted them to, you understand the frustration.
Decent budget monitors built with gaming in mind will typically offer somewhere between one and four milliseconds of input lag, and for pro gamers, that discrepancy can actually have a small but notable effect on their performance. With a gaming projector, you’re looking at something more in the ball park of 14 milliseconds. That’s a pretty sizable difference, but what does it mean in practical terms?
If you plan on playing professionally in a pro tournament or you’re looking to stay competitive in high-end raids for a game like the Division 2 or Destiny 2, you’re better off using a monitor. For everything else, a projector should be just fine. The depreciated input lag of a projector won’t be a major factor in a friendly tournament of Mario Kart. The best gaming projectors offer dedicated gaming modes that prioritize input lag. Keep an eye out for these in particular.
Light intensity is a factor that many reviews consider when looking at gaming monitors, but it’s an especially important point of consideration when dealing with a projector. The size of the format and the lack of a proper screen to contain it means that you’ll want to make sure that your projector’s lamp has enough juice to show clear and crisp imagery even when the lighting isn’t ideal. This is especially true if you’re planning on using it outside.
This is a situation where you’ll have to consider the room where your projector is being used to evaluate how much luminosity you need. If you have a dedicated entertainment room that can simulate a true movie theater environment (via a lack of windows or blackout curtains), somewhere between 1500 and 2000 lumens will be able to achieve the look you deserve. Once you start to consider more conventional spaces like living rooms or bedrooms that aren’t built specifically with a projector in mind, you’ll want to look towards projectors that offer 2000 to 2500 lumens.
That probably won’t cut it if you plan on using your projector outdoors or you want to take it with you to a friend’s house or party. If you want the most versatility possible, narrow down your results to those in the range of 3000 to 4000 lumens. These are all impressive models that can provide you with solid results even in lighting situations well below the ideal.
In terms of the inputs available on projectors, there’s one universal standard: HDMI. The number and strength of HDMI inputs available can vary, but their presence doesn’t. HDMI allows you to hook up everything from Blu-Ray players to gaming consoles to computers. One input should be enough for most consumers, but if you’re looking to use your projector in lieu of a traditional monitor, you may want to more closely scrutinize the number of HDMI slots so you can hook up all of your multimedia devices.
Also prevalent are D-sub, or VGA, ports for connecting your computer directly to the projector. They’re a little more narrow in scope but great if you’re looking to hook up an older machine without an HDMI connection. Finally there’s RS-232. These connections are highly specialized, but they’ll be essential to more serious hobbyists. If you’re looking to set up a dedicated home entertainment center with multiple components, the RS-232 is a necessity. Just keep in mind that the technical complications involved are not for the faint of heart.
Meanwhile, some of the newer projectors are beginning to offer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. These allow you to ditch the direct connection to a source entirely and stream content directly from your phone or smart TV to the projector screen. It’s convenient for watching movies and TV but much less useful for gaming. But with major players like Google, Sony, and Microsoft start promoting the notion of streaming gaming and the next generation of consoles on the horizon, these wireless models could become the future for gaming projectors.
There’s no doubt that a gaming projector is going to cost you significantly more than a gaming monitor with equivalent resolution and features, but that’s missing the point. A projector offers an experience you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re using it solo or just dragging it out at parties, a projector can turn a mundane gaming or movie night into an event. We hope you find what you’re looking for, and we recommend you check out our guide to the best gaming monitors if you want something a little more conventional.If you liked our article on gaming projectors, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.