Best Projector For Perfect Movie Night

Written by David Lahav

While traditional televisions are a solid and classic way of watching your favorite movies and shows, they do not provide the same kind of experience as the movie theater. Thankfully, you can enjoy the larger than life movie theater experience in the comfort of your own home with the best projector.

Best Projector For Perfect Movie Night

That is why we put together a list of the 8 best projectors for perfect movie night reviews of 2020. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best projector to suit your needs.

Value Section

Projection

  • DLP – Digital light processing projectors are an excellent option for home entertainment systems thanks to smoother image motion. This is also a great type of projection for contrast ratio and true to life blacks without ambient light getting mixed in. That said, DLP projectors can produce a rainbow effect and do not offer the best color saturation. Though, this type of projector does produce a more “film-like” quality, especially when displaying HD resolutions.
  • LCD – In terms of raw image quality, LCD is generally considered to be the superior option with 3LCD improving upon the basic design. Even better, LCD projection is more energy-efficient, which saves money over time, and generates less heat. This reduces the need for noisy fans to cool the projector, though the light source matters more in this respect than the projection system. LCD projection is also better in brighter environments, but it does not necessarily provide the best saturation rates.
  • LCS – Liquid crystal on silicon is the last kind of projection system and offers the benefits of both LCD and DLP. While this undoubtedly produce the best image quality out of the different options, LCS projectors are also the most expensive types on the mark

Light Source

  • Lamp – This is the traditional type of light source used in projectors and can vary wildly in terms of quality. For brightness, a lamp projector can come relatively close to a laser, but it can also be the dimmest options on the market. It is also worth noting that lamp projectors use more energy than the other types of light sources. While that is not ideal, these light sources also generate significantly more heat than their competition and require fans to cool off. On the other hand, replacing a lamp bulb is generally cheaper than other light sources, and lamp projectors are usually a bit cheaper in general.
  • Laser – In terms of pure performance, a laser light source offers the best of almost all possible worlds compared to the competition. For one, laser lights never burn out, so you do not have to worry about replacing them. Even better, laser projectors provide the best resolution and contrast ratio while also being brighter than other light sources too. As if that were not enough, laser projectors use less energy than a traditional bulb and tend to produce less heat–though not the lowest. Unfortunately, laser projectors are also the most expensive kind, and the increase in price is significant.
  • LED – This is arguably one of the better light sources for smaller projectors thanks to its relatively small size. On top of that, LED lights produce significantly less heat than some of the other options which further reduces the need for noisy fans. On top of that, LED lights also conserve less energy and last longer than traditional projector lamps. However, there is no getting around the fact that this is usually one of the dimmer light sources used.

Brightness

The brightness of a projector is commonly rated in lumens, but this can be a bit tricky with numerous manufacturers using misleading terms to judge the brightness of their projector. For example, a common marketing tactic used with projectors is to rate the brightness in lux, but this does not take ambient light into account.

Best Projector

This might arguably be the most important aspect of a projector, but it depends on where you have the projector system set up. If you use a dedicated basement with few windows or other types of ambient light, this may not be as big of a deal.

Resolution

For pretty much any display device, the resolution is highly coveted and often considered one of the most important aspects. This is one of the areas where projectors generally do not keep up as well with traditional types of televisions.

It is worth noting that many projectors will advertise a given resolution, but their maximum resolution is an upscaled version of a lower resolution. This reduces the image quality and can lead to pixelation or artifacts, but it is not terrible so long as the projector still displays in native HD.

Throw Ratio

The throw ratio is one of the more important aspects for a projector, not because it improves the image quality, but because it determines the maximum screen size. In fairness, it might seem a bit like splitting hairs when most projectors still offer at least a 10’ screen, but for that at-home cinema experience, you likely want a projector that can provide a maximum screen size of 150” or more.

It is also important to note that the throw ratio also influences how well the projector displays at other screen sizes which are far more likely for most people’s setups.

Product Reviews

Best Gaming Projector

#1

BenQ HT2050A

While not one of the first, BenQ is still one of the older and more experienced companies on our list. Though BenQ may not specialize in projectors exclusively, they do focus primarily on visual display devices.

This combination provides the BenQ HT2050A with a firm background and familiarity with solid projector design. For example, the BenQ HT2050A is one of the few products on our list that we would recommend for using with video game consoles or gaming PCs.

This is due to one of the lowest latency lag speeds of only 16 ms, though even this may not be ideal for the quickest, fast-twitch first-person shooter. Still, for the overwhelming majority of video game genres, this low latency combined with a true native 1080p HD display resolution allows for a great gaming experience.

That said, high-end projectors tend to be a bit expensive and those made for the rigors of gaming are no different. On top of that, the BenQ HT2050A is one of the dimmer projectors that we reviewed, putting out only 2200 lumens which places stricter requirements on the acceptable level of ambient light while using it.

Still, if you do have a darkened room, the BenQ’s excellent HD resolution combined with a 96-percent rec.709 color accuracy produces one of the best image qualities that we came across. Also, while not the largest we came across, the normal 1.15 to 1.5 throw ratio still allows the BenQ HT2050A to offer a large 150” display.

As if that were not enough, the BenQ HT2050A also includes 2D keystone correction for both the horizontal and vertical alignment. While not overly impressive, the +/- 30-degree range is more than adequate for most mounts or positions.

4.6 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Only has a 16 ms latency
  • Displays in true native 1080p resolution
  • Has a maximum screen size of 150”
  • Has a 96-percent rec.709 color accuracy
  • Only produces 29 dB of noise
  • Has 2D keystone correction
CONS
  • Is a more expensive projector
  • Is not the brightest

Best SD Projector

#2

Epson VS250

Epson is the oldest and most experienced company on our list, and in that time, Epson developed some of the best business projectors in the market. Of course, a great business projector still serves as a decent home projector, which brings us to the Epson VS250.

While this projector may not have the best specs that we came across, it is one of the more reasonably priced projectors made by a reputable company. On top of that, the combination of a 3LCD projection system and a 3200-lumen output makes this one of the brighter projectors on our list.

The Epson VS250 also has a reasonably long lifespan with a lamp life of 10000 hours, though this is nowhere near the top of our list. Still, for color reproduction and contrast, it is difficult to beat the 15000:1 contrast ratio of 1.07 billion colors this projector can throw.

Even better, the Epson VS250 offers a solid keystone correction of 30-degrees that corrects both vertically and horizontally, allowing you to position this projector virtually anywhere. That said, while the brightness, contrast, and colors are great, this is the only projector on our list that maxes its native resolution out at SD 800×600.

It is also worth noting that the Epson VS250 is one of the noisier projectors that we came across making a maximum of 37 dB of noise. Still, this projector does have a decent throw ratio which allows it to achieve a maximum screen size of 120” and even offers a decent 35-percent zoom.

4.5 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Is a less expensive projector
  • Is a 3LCD projector
  • Puts out 3200 lumens
  • Has a lamp life of 10000 hrs
  • Has automatic and 2D keystone correction
  • Has solid contrast and color reproduction
CONS
  • Only displays in SD
  • Can be a bit noisy

Best Budget Projector

#3

DBPOWER L21

DBPOWER does not have the same history or prestige as some of the other companies on our list and is more of a consumer-grade brand. Thankfully, this allows DBPOWER to offer an adequate home theater projector for significantly less money than some of its competition.

Of course, you should expect a modest decrease in capability for such a low price, but the DBPOWER L21 is still able to display in native 720p resolution and can accept a 1080p signal without issue. Even better, this projector puts out a great 5000 lumens, though this rating is based on lux and not true brightness with ambient light.

On the other hand, the DBPOWER L21 tops our list with the largest maximum screen size that we reviewed at 200” which is significantly larger than some of their competition. This projector is also one of the few that we encountered which uses a multiple fan cooling system which not only reduces the total ambient heat generated by the DBPOWER L21 but also helps keep it quieter than some of the competition when it does heat up.

It is worth noting that the DBPOWER L21 does not offer the best image quality in a couple of different ways with a stuttering image and tearing at the edges of the screen common. Still, with a 55000 lamp life, the DBPOWER L21 does at least last a long time before you have to replace the bulb.

4.7 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Is a less expensive projector
  • Has a maximum display size of 200”
  • Comes with a smart device adapter
  • Has a lamp life of 55000 hrs
  • Puts our 5000 lumens
  • Has dual cooling fans
CONS
  • Not the best keystone correction
  • Some stuttering and image tearing

Best Mini Projector

#4

YABER Y60

YABER is the youngest and least experienced company on our list, but they seem to identify what makes their competitors good and improve upon a solid design in a couple of important ways. For instance, the YABER Y60 is remarkably similar to other budget-friendly projectors we came across, but this model has one of the longest lamp lives that we found at an impressive 70000 hours.

On top of that, this projector also ties for the top spot on our list in terms of maximum screen size at 200”. Similarly, the YABER Y60 also ties with other budget-conscious projector systems by putting out 5000 lumens, though this model also uses the less reliable lux rating which is not as true of a representation of how it will perform with ambient light.

While not the best resolution we came across, the YABER Y60 is another model that displays in a native 720p resolution with the ability to upscale a 1080p signal. Even better, this projector is one of the more compact models that we found, so you do not need as large of a setup with it as you do some of its competitors.

One potential issue with the YABER Y60 is quality control as fingerprints on the inside of the lenses are a common complaint and indicative of manufacturing processes where the workers do not use gloves. That said, the glass lens and metal body are both good signs for a projector this inexpensive.

4.6 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Is a less expensive projector
  • Has a maximum display size of 200”
  • Puts out 5000 lumens
  • Has a lamp life of 70000 hrs
  • Has a compact profile
  • Has a decent image quality
CONS
  • Not the best keystone correction
  • Not the most durable/QC issues

Brightest Projector

#5

YABER Y30

YABER makes another appearance on our list, but this time the company puts further their flagship model which significantly improves upon most of the other budget-friendly models we reviewed. That said, this projector might be argued to be more of a mid-range model, but it is still far less expensive than some of its competition.

One of the best qualities of the YABER Y30 is that it is the least expensive projector that offers true native 1080p resolution without upscaling and the image quality issues that accompany it. Even better, this is also one of the brightest projectors on our list, putting out 6500 lumens– though this is still a model that uses the misleading lux rating and does not provide a true to form estimate of performance in the real world.

Regardless, YABER continues to offer solid specs by tying our list for the largest maximum screen size reviewed at 200”. As if that were not enough, the YABER Y30 also provides one of the best keystone corrections that we encountered with +/- 50-degrees of correction both vertically and horizontally.

On the other hand, the included instructions can make figuring out how to use the YABER Y30 a bit more difficult than some of the other products on our list. It is also worth investing in a dedicated audio system, as the YABER Y30 does not provide the best built-in speakers– though this is a fairly common issue among projectors.

On a more positive note, the YABER Y30 blows the competition out of the water with regards to lamp life at a whopping 100000 hours.

4.4 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Is a less expensive projector
  • Displays in true native 1080p resolution
  • Has a maximum display size of 200”
  • Puts out 6500 lumens
  • Has a lamp life of 100000 hrs
  • Has broad 2D keystone correction
CONS
  • Not the easiest to use
  • Not the best speakers

Best 4K Projector

#6

BenQ TK800M

BenQ makes another appearance on our list, but this time the company offers not only one of the best image qualities on our list but one of the best image qualities available. Specifically, this is the only projector that we reviewed which displays in a native 4K resolution, offering significantly sharper images than any other model that we came across.

While the great resolution is arguably good enough, the BenQ TK800M goes one step further and also provides a 96-percent rec.709 color accuracy, so every aspect of the image quality is true to form. Even better, the BenQ TK800M is one of the more future-proof projectors that encountered thanks to its use of HLG HDR which will allow it to keep properly reading improving video signals for years to come.

What makes all of this even more surprising is the fact that the BenQ TK800M uses a DLP projection system rather than the usually clearer LCD. As such, not only do you get some the sharpest images and truest colors, but you still get the great contrast ratio and deep blacks expected from DLP systems.

However, it is worth noting that the BenQ TK800M is easily one of the more expensive projectors on our list.

Of course, you get what you pay for, and this is one of the brightest projectors on our list with an amazing 3000 ANSI lumens. Furthermore, this projector offers a solid lamp life of 15000 hours as well as a decent maximum screen size of 150”.

4.3 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Displays in true native 4K resolution
  • Has a maximum display size of 150”
  • Is a DLP projector
  • Has an HLG HDR display format
  • Has a lamp life of 15000 hrs
  • Has a 96-percent rec.709 color accuracy
CONS
  • Is a more expensive projector
  • Not the easiest to configure

Best Wireless Projector

#7

Epson Pro EX9220

Epson once again makes another appearance on our list, but this time the company made sure to provide a projector designed for home theater use. However, Epson was not content to simply compete with other home theater models and included a feature not commonly found on projectors: wireless connectivity.

Aside from the fact that the Epson Pro EX9220 is one of the few wireless projectors that we reviewed, it offers multiple ways for you to connect and use the wireless function. From a basic perspective, you can use the wireless function to stream Miracast or other similar types of mirroring systems.

However, this projector is also a bit easier to use than some of its competitors, because you can control the projector from the comfort of your smart device. Beyond that, the Epson Pro EX9220 can also configure more easily than most of its competition by using your smart device to read QR configuration codes.

All of these additional features are solid, but this projector further backs them up with a true native 1080p resolution. Even better, the 3LCD projection system helps keep the images crystal clear, while the 2D keystone feature allows for nearly any arrangement in your home.

That said, all of these features do not come cheap, and the Epson Pro EX9220 is easily one of the more expensive projectors on our list. Also, like other Epson projectors, the Epson Pro EX9220 tends to run a bit hot which forces its fans to make more noise than some of its competitors.

Still, this projector puts out 3600 lumens with the IDMS 15.4 standard, ensuring that you do not have to worry about brightness in an average ambient setting.

4.5 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Displays in true native 1080p resolution
  • Puts out 3600 lumens
  • Is a 3LCD projector
  • Is a wireless projector
  • Is easier to use
  • Has automatic and 2D keystone correction
CONS
  • Is a more expensive projector
  • Can be a bit noisy

Best Pico Projector

#8

Nebula Capsule II

The Nebula Capsule II is a projector from Anker, a somewhat recent company that does not specialize in any specific electronics market. That said, Anker aims to get a foothold in saturated markets with innovative features and slick designs.

To that end, the Nebula Capsule II is easily the best pico projector on our list, but it is also one of the smallest and most compact projectors on the market. The Nebula Capsule II is literally around the size of a 12 oz can which is ludicrously small for all that it can do.

While not the brightest on our list, the Nebula Capsule II still puts out a decent 200 ANSI lumens which is pretty good for a pico projector. On top of that, this is arguably one of the easier projectors to use thanks to the 1-second autofocus that makes finding the proper zoom easy.

Even better, the small size that allows for easy positioning is only complemented by a solid +/- 40-degree keystone range. Though, it is worth noting that the Nebula Capsule II does not have the best image quality, but it does still display in a native 720p HD resolution.

One surprising quality of the Nebula Capsule II is the LED light source which provides up to 30000 hours of lamp life. Even better, this is also one of the few wireless projectors that we came across, though its wireless function is a bit more limited than others we reviewed.

4.3 of 5.0 Stars
PROS
  • Has a compact frame
  • Puts out 200 ANSI Lumens
  • Is a wireless projector
  • Has a lamp life of 30000 hrs
  • Has a +/- 40-degree keystone range
  • Has 1-second autofocus
CONS
  • Is a more expensive projector
  • Not the best image

Conclusion

In the end, the best projector for your perfect movie night will depend on a couple of different things. The setting and ambient light, your wall space, and your auxiliary hardware all factor into which is the best projector for you.

Though it is a bit more expensive, we do not think you can go wrong with the BenQ TK800M which either tops or sits near the top of our list in pretty much every relevant spec related to image quality. Whether you want to watch 4K programming, enjoy clarity and contrast, or not have to worry about ambient light, the BenQ TK800M has you covered.