Sometimes there is nothing like taking the rest of the day off to relax, cook up some delicious popcorn, and sit down to a wonderful movie–all while enjoying it within your own living room or home theater. This is true, I do it quite a lot myself.
And nothing creates an experience like projection, which is why we have compiled our top ten favorite projectors for 2020. Just in time for the holidays and for those looking to spend this time building a killer theater experience within their home.
We’ve spent a lot of time tallying the results around here to bring you this list. Based on our experience both here, various show floors, and via private demonstrations throughout the year. It took us a while as we fought, bickered, and pulled at each other’s hair, but we delivered. Here, are the results.
1) Vava 4K Laser Projector – Brilliant 4K
This is a beautiful projector that performs as well as it looks. Vava didn’t hold back when they created this one. It offers a 4K HDR10 image up to 150-inches (range: 80-150-inches) and sits just a few inches away, right underneath the projected surface area (ultra-short throw). Not only that, but it offers a built-in Harman Kardon soundbar running across the front of the projector. It looks amazing, it sounds amazing, making it a great all-in-one solution. We wish we had one on-site here to really break-in.
Average Price: $2,799
2) LG CineBeam (Model HU80KA) – Another All-In-One 4K
Another option that has everything included. A 4K HDR projector packed away into a very uniquely shaped short-throw project that can be picked up and carried off for travel or simply please it off to the side when not in use. It features built-in speakers, although we’d recommend using a soundbar or something else external in order to match the image. It features LG’s webOS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and more.
Average Price: $1,999
3) Optoma UHD50X – Best Cinema Gaming Projector
The other two projectors are quite expensive. Which makes this one a little more of a relief. Yes, it is also a bit expensive, but it is less, and it is one of the best projectors for gamers (which makes it worth it). A 4K HDR projector with the ability to crank the refresh rate up to 240Hz if you are ok with 1080p. It features a low input lag and 3,400 lumens, making it pretty bright, even with the lights on.
Average Price: $1,599
4) Epson Home Cinema 5050U – Pixel-Shifting
This one made the list due to its amazing performance but fell to 4th place, even though it typically deserves more than that. This is because Epson seemed to be late to the game when it came to delivering a proper 4K projector. This one uses pixel-shift to deliver a rich 4K image and although it is only 2,600 lumens, you’d swear it was brighter with how rich and bright the colors are. It can produce up to a 300-inch image on the projected surface and offers a motorized lens for adjustments. There are a lot of features packed away in this model. We are big fans of Epson projectors and even have some in some of our demo rooms where we benchmark things that come in every week, so we’ve had a lot of hands-on with their models over the years.
Average Price: $2,799
5) BenQ CinePrime HT3550 – Rich 4K Detail For A Dark Room
Now we are back to more affordable options. This one features a 95% DCI-P3 color gamut that provides some amazing color detail, rich blacks, and a wonderful over-all experience. It has a short-throw lens, so it can be used in smaller rooms if needed as it doesn’t have to be as far away from the screen. The only catch with this one is it only offers 2,000 lumens, meaning its performance relies on a dark room. So make sure you can throw blackout curtains on any windows nearby so that you can get the most out of this one.
Average Price: $1,499
6) BenQ TK850 – Great For Sports
Now we experience a game of balance here as we shift from the last BenQ model (which requires a darker room) to a model that can shine even with the lights on. With 3,000 lumens at your disposal, it’s ok to turn up the lights, making it great for gaming, or sports (although for gaming, we’d still recommend the Optoma UHD50X). With its motion-smoothing, this makes for a wonderful projector for watching your favorite teams on. Colors are rich, allowing it to be a great all-around option. Details aren’t as rich as the BenQ HT3550 though, so if you are more about sitting down to your favorite movie with the lights off, the HT3550 does beat this out in detail.
Average Price: $1,499
7) BenQ HT2150ST – Affordable 1080p For Gamers (Under $1,000)
Looking for affordable, good picture, and good for gaming? This model from BenQ delivers a low-latency solution that works quite well for gamers. It isn’t the most affordable projector on the market, but when it comes to gaming, you can’t afford high-latency else your experience while playing competitively with friends online will be quite poor. It also isn’t 4K because we mostly passed the world of 4K once we cross below $1,000. That being said, this makes for a good sub-$1,000 option that is far more affordable than the Optoma UHD50X above. Don’t let the poor photoshopping of the projector’s placement in the above image throw you off (their editing, not ours). It does perform quite well for the price, and the 1080p performance looks great on the big screen (for the price). Not as good as the above models, but it’s a balance of price and low-latency while still having a decent picture.
Average Price: $799
8) Optoma HD146X – Budget 1080p Projector
If the other projectors are a bit too much for the budget, then Optoma is here for the rescue. Resting within the $500’s, it isn’t a 4K solution, but it does offer a wonderful 1080p picture for a DLP projector. Best with the lights down or completely off, this projector makes for an affordable option for watching your favorite movies. You get plenty of hours out of the lamp and setup isn’t difficult. It’s bright, it’s affordable, and it offers a good picture.
Average Price: $549
9) GooDee YG620 – Super-Affordable 1080p
This is where we fall into the whole “I just need something that works without having to spend a lot of money!” category. This model from Goodee provides a huge image (up to 300-inches) with incredibly bright colors. The lumen rating is pretty crazy. Enough where you might even turn the brightness down a tad if you plan to have the lights off all the time. It is also quite affordable and dirt cheap for what it produces. The only catch is that the color accuracy isn’t going to be like any of the above models. It isn’t a cinematic projector with accurate color profiles. The colors are simply “close enough”. You have to pay more to get a well-balanced cinematic experience. This is when you just want it to work, you want the colors to be “close enough”, you want a huge image, want to be able to use it with the lights on or off, and can’t afford the other options. Even more of a steal because they normally offer wonderful sales on their website. For example, we profile a coupon below that brings it to less than $200 for crying out loud. What a deal! This makes a great option for kids’ rooms, playrooms, and dens. (see our review here)
Average Price: $269 (Save $90 off with coupon “AFF90OFF” on Goodee’s website)
10) Anker Nebula Capsule II – Compact/Mobile Projector
This final option is a focus on mobility more than anything. There are a lot of smaller projectors (and pico projectors) out there promising a solid mobile experience. However, most of them fall short of being worth anything and usually fall flat for just about everything. This one survives with a few helpful features. For one, it has Android built into it, so you can download all of your favorite apps onto it. This also means you don’t have to connect your phone or other devices to send video to it. It can be self-contained and provide its own video source from the apps, as well as sound via a small built-in 8W speaker, and 2.5hrs playback worth of built-in battery. It not, it has an HDMI port so you can plug anything into it. It’s super compact, almost the size of a can of soda. The only thing we don’t like is it is only 720p (which was expected as any small projector or pico projector typically falls around 720p) and the image isn’t as bright as we’d like (which again, is like most ultra-small projectors out there). It’s the price that makes us hold those last two variables against it. Beyond that, if you need something ultra-small, mobile, and able to be self-contained with its own apps, this is the projector you were looking for.
Average Price: $579