Shopping for a projector is no easy task. Over the many years we have been in the business of making DIY Projector Screens, we have helped countless customers in their search to find the right projector. Common questions we receive include “What projector should I buy for my home theater?”, “What is the best projector for a golf simulator?”, and “What projector should I use for gaming?” While we don’t sell projectors ourselves, we recommend a handful of models and offer a few valuable resources to simplify your search. We have compiled all of our best tips and recommendations in this one post.
Helpful Projector Resources
When configuring any projection setup, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of aspect ratio. This article, All About Aspect Ratio, walks through the general concept as well as the specific aspect ratios you should consider. The article, Five Things To Consider When Picking A Projector covers resolution, brightness, throw distance and more. Next, the website, Projector Central, is a great place to find reviews on specific models and Amazon typically has the most competitive prices. Finally, if you need help determining the right screen size, our Screen Size Calculator and this article explaining How To Select Your Ideal Projector Screen Size are great resources.
Carl’s Tip: Watch for deals. Like many electronics categories, retailers will occasionally drop prices or run promotional sales. When our team finds a great deal on one of our recommended models we will post it on our Facebook page. Follow us so you don’t miss out!
Generally affordable for most home theater setups, 1080p projectors are still the mainstream choice.
Carl’s Tip: While it’s important to pay attention to brightness, buying the brightest projector should not necessarily be your goal. The ideal brightness level will result in a high contrast image that is not too bright for comfortable viewing. 3000 lumens is generally enough for most home theaters, while 4000-5000 is generally preferred for meeting room or classroom settings.
Sometimes referred to as Ultra HD, 4K projectors are becoming an increasingly popular choice for home theater setups. This newer technology offers four times the pixels of standard 1080p resolution. While they are becoming more affordable each year, 4K projectors are noticeably more expensive than those with 1080p resolution.
Large Venue Projectors
When choosing a projector for a church or other large venue setting, it’s important to find a model with enough brightness to overcome ambient light and produce a clear, legible image.
Carl’s Tip: It’s important to pay attention to native aspect ratio. If you’re building a golf simulator or configuring a conference room you might be opting for a 4:3 projector screen (more about aspect ratio here). If you’re planning to project in 4:3, make sure you select a projector with a 4:3 native aspect ratio.
When searching for a 4:3 projector, as with any projector search, you’ll want to consider brightness, throw distance and resolution, but make sure to also check for a 4:3 native aspect ratio in the specifications.
Carl’s Tip: It’s possible to force a native 16:9 projector to project in 4:3 or 1:1 aspect ratio, but it may dramatically increase the required throw distance and. If you go this route, you’ll want to pay close attention to the requirements of your space and have a good understanding of how to modify your computer’s display settings.
If you have a particularly small viewing area, an ultra short throw (UST) projector might be the best option. Mounting the projector close to the screen also eliminates the risk of shadows from objects between the projector and screen.
Carl’s Tip: Shopping for a screen for your UST projector? There are several things to consider when purchasing a projector screen for a UST setup. Here’s what to look for.
If you need to move your projector around for meetings, travel or backyard movie nights, you’ll want to consider the portability. The best portable projectors still offer great brightness and resolution, with the convenience of simple transport and setup.
There are pros and cons to every projector, so be sure to select the best one for your needs.
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Disclaimer: Information is based on projection information that may have changed or is inaccurate. Check with your seller before making any final decisions. Information and related materials are subject to change without notice. This web page, and all information and related materials it contains, are provided “as is.” Carl’s Place makes no representation or warranty whatsoever regarding the completeness, accuracy, “up-to-dateness”, or adequacy of, or the suitability, functionality, availability, or operation of this web page or the information or materials it contains. By using this web page, you assume the risk that the information and materials on this web page may be incomplete, inaccurate, out of date, or may not meet your needs and requirements. Carl’s Place specifically disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including without limitation, the warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement with respect to this web page and information, graphics and materials contained herein.