Can you really call a home theater a home theater if it doesn’t involve a projector? Maybe, but there’s nothing quite like the effect of a big screen delivered from a light projector. And if you really want to get the biggest screen size possible, you won’t find a better value per inch than what you get from a home theater projector.
HotRate wants to help you find the best projector for your living room or home theater. We’ve picked out 10 of the best home theater projectors available in 2020 and broken down what the advantages and disadvantages are for each. But we’ve also provided you with the general shopping information you need to know if you want to go hunting for the top home theater projector.
TL;DR - 10 Best Home Theater Projectors:
- Optoma HD143X 1080p Projector
- JVC DLA-NX9 4K Projector
- ViewSonic 3600 Lumens SVGA Home Projector
- BenQ HT2050A 1080P Projector
- Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Projector
- LG PF50KA Portable Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector
- Anker Prizm II 200 ANSI Multimedia Projector
- Artlii 2019 200″ HD Projector
- YABER Native Video Projector
- CiBest Native LED Video Projector
1. Optoma HD143X 1080p Projector
Vibrant Colors Right in Your Bedroom
Optoma has a reputation in the projector community for delivering some of the best DLP projectors at some of the best prices, and the HD143X is no exception on that front. This projector can support a brightness of up to 3000 lumens, and the lamp itself is rated for a full 12,000 hours of usage. The accuracy here is great too. The Optoma HD143X offers one of the best contrast ratios in the business, resulting in a greater distinction between lights and darks and giving viewers access to a whole new and expansive world of cinema colors.
2. JVC DLA-NX9 4K Projector
Luxury Performance for a Luxury Price
Do you want the best of the best projector in terms of image quality? While the JVC DLA-NX9 will set you back thousands of dollars, it's the best of the theater projectors available to consumers. Not only does it support native 4K resolution for some of the best picture quality around, but it can also simulate upscaling beyond 4K image quality with its 8K/e-shift technology. Even more practical is the support offered for High Dynamic Resolution - simulating something much closer to the true theater experience. It even makes use of its processing power to reduce motion blur significantly.
3. ViewSonic 3600 Lumens SVGA Home Projector
Reliably Middle of the Road Performance
If your definition of the best theater projector is one that's reliable, affordably priced, and well equipped for everyday use, your best choice might be the ViewSonic PA503S. Its retail price is more than fair even without waiting for a sale, and the generous number of ports allow you to conveniently hook it up to a number of devices at the same time. This home projector can hit a maximum brightness of 3000 nits, and while it's designed to be portable, it's also a great choice for just leaving mounted in your home theater room.
4. BenQ HT2050A 1080P Projector
Phenomenal Contrast in the Dark
The BenQ HT2050A doesn't offer the best performance in mediocre lighting, but the upside of that is the phenomenal contrast on display here. If you can control the environment this BenQ projector is in, you'll get some of the brightest brights and darkest darks you could hope for in a projector around this price point. No matter what device you want to hook this BenQ projector up to, chances are that you can. The latest input formats are supported on this projector for a higher level of compatibility, and it works in smaller rooms too. You can achieve a 100 inch screen from a distance of just 8 feet with the BenQ.
5. Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Projector
A Fantastic Upper Mid-Range Home Projector
Looking for real theater projectors that don't require you to spend close to ten grand? The Epson Home Cinema 5040UB isn't the most inexpensive projector we've found, but it's going to represent the highest level of luxury most consumers will want. It offers image quality at a full native 4K resolution in addition to supporting the HDR10 format, and this projector boasts a contrast ratio of 1:1,000,000 and 100% coverage of the full color spectrum for richer and more accurate color reproduction. And the design here is really clever too. With the way the vents on the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB are exposed, you can position this projector just about anywhere.
6. LG PF50KA Portable Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector
Projectors Built with Streaming in Mind
LG is a big name in the TV business, so it should come as little surprise that they've managed to produce one of the best theater projector models available today. The LG PF50KA is built for taking with you everywhere from the office to the park. It's lightweight and highly portable and even comes with a dedicated battery that offers a full two and a half hours of play time on a single charge. And since both USB and HDMI are supported, you can have easy access to practically any video you could want to play.
7. Anker Prizm II 200 ANSI Multimedia Projector
The Prizm II isn't the projector you want as the centerpiece of a full home theater setup, but it's perfectly priced and perfectly specced for those just looking for a relatively inexpensive alternative to a big TV. Its throw distance and brightness are a little low, but there's a decent amount of variance in screen size, and the inclusion of keystone correction lets you get the proportions just right. And when it's in the right element, the image quality is actually pretty great. This is a somewhat specialized projector, but if you're in the right circumstances, it's just about perfect.
8. Artlii 2019 200″ HD Projector
With a price tag of under $200, the Artlii 5500 proves that you can get a great projector on a budget - just as long as you can create an environment to accommodate it. Because once you get past the relatively low brightness of this projector, you'll find some sharp color and image quality that well exceeds the cost. And in a move beyond the traditional projectors in this price range, it can project a screen size of up to 200 inches. And there are a ton of ports packed in here. Practically any device that can play video should connect just fine.
9. YABER Native Video Projector
The YABER may be priced for those on a budget, but there's something special about this home projector. While it offers native 1080p resolution and supports 4K video, it's the six layered glass lens that really makes the image quality stick apart from the rest of the competition with this projector. This is a projector designed for consistent use both indoors and outdoors, and that versatility is further bolstered by Bluetooth connectivity that lets you stream video straight from your phone. This projector can achieve a maximum screen size of 300 inches when placed 30 feet away from the screen.
10. CiBest Native LED Video Projector
The CiBest BL45 isn't the best in any one category, but this is a projector that will work with just about anything you need it for. Whether you're looking to break out the party games or host a movie night, it offers solid performance at a budget level price. This projector is small enough to be used for travel, and the huge host of connection options mean that you won't have to make adjustments just to stream or play the video you want. And that small form factor means that this projector can be easily mounted in a number of different ways.
Home Theater Projectors Buyer’s Guide
While some of the specs that you should use when shopping for a new TV hold true when looking at a home theater projector, there are other aspects that are unique to theater projectors. We’ll look at all of those specs in greater detail so you can understand what you’re getting for the price on a projector for your home theater. We’ll look at the different applications for theater projectors and use that as a guiding point to figure out the features you need to pay the most attention to when on the search for the best theater projectors.
Home Projectors for the House
If you’re on the search for projectors and you just want something that can sit comfortably in your living room, you have a distinct advantage. Since you can control the ambient light, you can look for projectors that offer great color and picture quality without having to worry about how bright they can get. The brightness of the lamp should still be a priority, but your top concern should be the resolution. Native 4K resolution is going to offer the best picture quality, but native 4K projectors for home tend to be pretty expensive.
Try to minimize the ambient light as much as possible, and pay more attention to features like color coverage and aspect ratio. You’ll have much more flexibility to track down projectors if you don’t have to worry about how well features will work when it’s not as dark. Also, pay close attention when shopping for a resolution. Some 4K projectors only display 4K footage at a lower resolution. You want to find native 4K projectors if you want the full Ultra HD experience.
Home Projectors for Outdoors
We think there’s nothing better than sitting on the back porch of your home watching evening double features. But outdoors projectors require more considerations than home projectors. Since you have less control of lighting, you’ll want to look for projectors with relatively high brightness. You might not notice the ambient light until you turn on projectors, but it will definitely show through when you try to watch a movie.
If you’re really looking for a projector you can bring out into the wild with you, you should keep an eye out for one that features its own rechargeable battery. These types of projectors tend to be pretty rare, and the battery life isn’t much longer than the length of a movie on average, but they offer a huge advantage if you want to take your projector camping with you.
Home Projectors for Gaming
While gaming isn’t the number one choice for theater projectors, there’s something special about racking up kills or knocking the competition out from last place that just feels better on a big screen. Of course, features like aspect ratio and picture quality are going to matter when gaming, but you’ll also want to search for another important spec: input lag.
Input lag refers to the amount of time it takes for your video source device to translate the input from your controller. The best and most cutting edge gaming monitors offer a refresh rate of less than a millisecond. You can expect much, much less from projectors, but if you don’t want to be frustrated by lag, you’ll want to search for a model that features the lowest lag as possible.
The market for home projectors has grown so much in the past decade or so, and it’s not showing any sign of abating any time soon. Fortunately, that just means more options for the consumer. We’re confident that you’ll find something you’ll like on this list, and we hope that our guide helps you better understand the most important specs and features. And if you have any experience with any of the products on our list, we enthusiastically encourage you to share your experience using the form below.If you liked our article on home theater projectors, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.