The best home theater projectors can turn an ordinary Friday night at home into something extraordinary. If you’re looking to rally your family and friends around a massive screen for the next movie night or big game or bring the cinema home — be it in your living room, den, backyard, or basement, there’s no better solution than a home theater projector.
To find the best home theater projectors for the money, we reviewed many of the top-selling models at varying price points, and took a close look at the features that place them squarely at the top of their class.
Click the button above if you don’t have time to read our reviews and just want a quick list of the best selling home theater projectors on Amazon. Otherwise, let us take you to our home theater projector reviews and detailed buyer’s guide!
UPDATE: Additional reader reviews updated for January 2020.
Editor’s Selections: Best Home Theater Projectors For The Money
Best Home Theater Projectors under $200
Xinda 5.5 inch HD Projector
The Xinda Home Theater Projector doesn’t sport all of the top notched features that come with more premium projectors, but it does offer solid performance at a very affordable price. The Xinda projector offers a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels thus creating a sharp image. Also, it provides 20% clearer and 60% brighter images than other HD projectors in the same class.
With a brightness of 3500 lumens and a contrast ratio of 4000:1, the Xinda 5.5 inch HD model provides consistently vivid, crisp, and bright images.
You’ll be hard pressed to find another home theater projector with full 1080p for less money.
Durability, solid performance, and affordability are the top reasons why you should consider purchasing the Xinda home theater. While you will certainly get a lot of projector for the money with the Xinda, some users may wish to stay away due to its inability to support Dolby surround sound.
- Supports USB, VGA, and HDMI input
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Comes with three year warranty
- Stellar technical support
- Great price
- Does not support Dolby sound
- Lack of wireless connectivity
- Does not include stereo audio jack
VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Movie Projector
If you want to experience a theater-like quality movie in the comfort of your own home, and spend less than $200, you cannot go wrong with the VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Projector. This affordable projector offers a native resolution of 1280×768, an aspect ratio of 16:9, and a contrast ratio of 3000:1; so watching a movie, Youtube video, football game, or presentation is a visual experience as the image quality is clear and sharp.
Its versatility secures its spot on our list of the best home theater projectors under $200.
The VANKYO Leisure 510 Full HD Projector comes with TFT LCD technology which delivers about 80% more brightness as it drastically reduces light attenuation. The device also features manual focus, multimedia connection, extended lamp life, advanced cooling system, and keystone adjustment wheel.
What’s more? VANKYO offers a 3-month free return for a refund to its customers and 3-year factory warranty.
Our reviewers especially liked the ability to play video games with this projector as it is compatible with Xbox and PS3/PS4.
In our opinion, the VANKYO Leisure 510 makes for one of the best projectors under $200. Consumers agree as sales for the Leisure 510 projector are consistently high.
- Superb built-in speakers
- Adjustable images
- Long-lasting lamp
- User-friendly ports
- No wireless connection
WiMiUS Upgraded T4 3500 Lumens Home Theater Projector
We got a chance to see the WiMiUS Upgraded T4 3500 Lumens Home Theater Projector in action and couldn’t believe the price for the quality. This is an impressive projector with some fantastic features which make for a real cinema experience.
The unit is built to be durable so that you don’t have to worry about rust or wear and tear. The WiMiUS Upgraded T4 has a projection size which ranges from 50 to 200 inches, and allows for easy adjustments of the screen size. With a contrast ratio of 3000:1, this projector provides a clear and sharp picture. With the advanced LED lamp, the projector can last up to 50,000 hours – more than usage time that can be offered by the vast majority of projectors on the market.
Also, like the Xinda projector, the WiMiUS is capable of full 1080p resolution.
Some reviewers have found even more novel uses for this projector, and have been able to use it effectively as a projector for Halloween displays.
- Quiet fan
- Creates vibrant colors
- Excellent, adjustable projection size
- Available under $200
- Image sides can at times fall out of focus
- Intended for home use – not commercial
Real HomeGenerosity Reader Review
“My boyfriend really wanted a projector so I bought this one for x-mas. It was way more affordable than I expected and he tells me that he loves it. He usually tells me when I get him a bad gift lol so I recommend this projector.”
Best Home Theater Projectors under $1,000
Optoma HD39Darbee 1080p Home Theater Projector
The Optoma HD39Darbee Home Theater Projector is a multi-talented 1080p home theater projector that handily makes our list of the best home theater projectors. The HD39Darbee sports a significant 3,500 lumens, which keeps the contrast steady even in the most brightly lit of rooms. Also, you’ll love the details in movies and videogames from its contrast ratio of 32,000:1.
What else do you get? The Optoma HD39Darbee provides one of the largest screen sizes among even the best home theater projectors under $1000. Also, it has one of the longest lamp lives among the models we reviewed at 15,000 hours.
- Razor-sharp DLP images
- Game console-friendly low input lag
- Perfect for rooms with excessive ambient light
- Lack of horizontal keystone adjustment
BenQ HT2050A Home Theater Projector
The BenQ HT2050A Home Theater Projector is a fantastic home theater option with its whisper quiet fan and outstanding image quality. There are a couple of features that set this projector apart from its competitors. First, it is capable of projecting 3D games and movies – an especially excellent projector feature for buyers with kids. Also, the projector has a considerably lower input lag time than other competitors in its price range.
The BenQ HT2050A Home Theater Projector makes for a great choice for a home theater set up. Though the projector lamp is a bit dim when used in a bright room, it can easily also function as a presentation projector – great for business professionals, salespersons, and educators.
The HT2050A also comes with a 3-year warranty, and is one of the few projectors in its price range with an extended warranty. For a sub-$1000 home theater projector, it is difficult to compete with the BenQ HT2050A.
- Premiere image quality
- Horizontal and vertical keystone correction
- Moderate size and weight
- Vibrant colors
- Extended warranty
- Could perform better in brightly-lit rooms
- Only one 3D mode
BenQ HT2150ST Home Theater Projector
While plenty of home theater projectors offer incredible gaming experiences, few do it as perfectly as the BenQ HT2150ST projector. The projector features a full HD 1080p image experience with a 15,000:1 contrast ratio, 2,200 ANSI lumens and 6x RGBRGB color wheel giving you images that are vibrant and lifelike.
We particularly love this projector for tight spaces. The BenQ HT2150ST is in the running as the best short throw projector requiring only 1.5m of distance from a screen of approximately 100 inches. In addition, this projector includes two built-in speakers, as well as Cinema Master Audio+ technology which provides a superior audio experience.
- Minuscule 16 millisecond lag time
- Awesome gaming experience
- Supports 100-inch display at only 4.9 feet
- Two 10-watt speakers
- Maximum screen size of 120 inches
Epson PowerLite 1781W WXGA
The Epson PowerLite 1781W WXGA offers a winning combination of excellent resolution and brightness. A standout feature of this projector is its lightweight build. With a weight of about 1.67kg, this machine is ultra-portable and is very useful if you need to take it out of the house for a presentation, or for more fun, the backyard for movie night under the stars.
Along with the Epson PowerLite easy setup, this projector packs some of the highest quality image projection on any projector under $1,000. Though it doesn’t feature a 4K resolution, you can barely tell the difference due to its HD video quality.
With 2600 lumens, the device output is always vibrant and bright, and thanks to its 3LCD 3-chip technology, you can quickly adjust for varying light levels. Reviewers have almost unanimously declared this projector to be a fantastic centerpiece to their home theater setup. Throw up a projector screen, microwave the popcorn, and you’re set for family movie night.
- Great image quality
- 3LCD 3-chip technology
- Light and slim design
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
- Will not project 3D videos
Best Home Theater Projectors under $2000
BenQ TK800M 4K UHD Home Theater Projector
You might remember the BenQ TK800, well, now here’s the TK800M.
The BenQ TK800M is a 4K home theater projector designed to bring the game into your living room.
With dedicated sports and football modes, we’ve found the TK800M to be the best home theater projector for sports.
Its football mode works to enhance the game’s colors, and furthers heightens the lifelike experience of your favorite sport by boosting the sounds of the game (far exceeding most projector’s inferior built-in speakers).
The TK800M provides a crystal clear 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution and 3000 ANSI lumens with a lamp that is said to last 15,000 hours.
Compared to the TK800, the TK800M’s HDR performance has been improved by the addition of HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), an HDR format that is specifically designed for live broadcasts. Great for NFL Sundays? Oh yeah.
HomeGenerosity Editor Review:
“The only projectors I’ve used have been for presentations. I had no idea just how far they’ve come when it comes to movies and TV until I tried the TK800M by BenQ. I used it to watch the British Open on a 100″ screen pop-up screen with the family and wow! Colors were crisp and the resolution was great – better than my 65″ TV. I was a little skeptical that a projector would perform in a well lit room, but was glad I was proven wrong. We had the TK800M set up in a sunny room and there was no difference in the picture. Only downside? Now my son won’t stop asking me for a projector!”
- 4K UHD DLP for a great price
- Tops of class for performance in ambient light
- Football and sports modes
- 5-watt built-in speakers
- Lacks the black levels to excel at being used in a darkened home theater
Optoma UHD60 Projector
The Optoma UHD60 Projector is an attractive all-around projector that delivers superior DLP performance. Offering an impressive true 4K ultra high definition with cinematic color and bright 3000 lumens, the UHD60 is by far one of the best 4K projectors in its category.
Its HDR10 technology delivers the deepest blacks and brightest whites. Reviewers were blown away by the sharpness of the Optoma’s picture.
This projector has a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 which gives you razor sharp images by producing 8.3 million-pixels. Once you have stopped staring at the device’s phenomenal sharpness, you start realizing just how well the projector handles HDR. Reviewers have noted marked improvements in image quality, especially when using HDR with PS4.
- Great 4k projector for the money
- Superb HDR performance
- One of the better viewing experiences available
- Video settings may take some adjusting
BenQ HT3550 4K Home Theater Projector
If there’s anything BenQ likes more than making home theater projectors, it’s topping itself.
Reviewers found the HT2550 to be a solid all around projector. The HT3550 though takes what was great about its predecessor and brings it to the next level.
The BenQ HT3550 is a single chip DLP projector that sports 2,000 lumens.
While it has less lumens than the ambient light oriented TK800M, the HT3550 more than compensates by adding a dynamic iris to enhance black levels.
What does that mean? It performs exceptionally well in a dark “theater like” room.
HomeGenerosity Editor Review:
“My boss gave me the BenQ HT3550 to try for a week. It’s now been 2 and I don’t really have any plans on returning it. I really like how compact and light the unit is. It weighs less than 10 lbs. and can fit virtually anywhere. While I’ve enjoyed using it for television, the real game changer is movie night. It’s 4K HDR-Pro technology makes my blu-rays pop – a true home theater projector for a reasonable price.”
- Cinema and HDR modes
- 8.3 million pixels per frame
- Auto vertical keystone for easy setup
- Less lumens than some comparable projectors
Epson Home Cinema 4000 3LCD Home Theater Projector
One of the best reviewed projectors under $2,000, the Epson Home Cinema 4000 plays 4K content, and supports BT.2020 and HDR. Quite simply, the Home Cinema 4000 packs more features than almost every other projector selling for under $2,000.
While almost every model in its price range features the HDTV color gamut, the Home Cinema 4000 contains a true extensive color gamut support. The projector is capable of HDR10 high dynamic range, and claims a 140,000:1 contrast ratio with 2,200 lumens. You can also find a motorized lens cover plus motorized zoom, focus, and shift. When it comes to features, this home theater projector leads the pack.
Reviewers have also raved about how well this projector operates in brightly lit rooms; even finding that the Home Cinema 4000 provides better image quality than a 65 inch Vizio.
- Fantastic image quality
- Plays 4k video
- Backlit remote control
- Easy to use calibration controls
- LCD panel alignment
- Not true 4k (will play 4k content)
- Replacement lamps are pricey
Home Theater Projector Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve found the best home theater projectors for the money, how do you pick among them to find the one that is perfect for you? With this buyer’s guide, we’ll highlight the most important features to consider before choosing a home theater projector and discuss what each of them means in real terms – without the tech talk. So let’s dive into it!
In modern projectors, there are two main types of technologies used to display a picture: DLP and LCD. The DLP projectors are typically more expensive, and models like the ones from Optoma and BenQ incorporate 3D technology which allows its user to use 3D glasses for the ultimate home viewing experience. This technology can also be found in movie theater projectors.
LCD projectors on the other hand use the same technology used in most modern televisions. As a result, LCD is usually far less expensive than DLP. However, LCD projectors are not as bright as DLP projectors. Another advantage DLP has over LCD is the refresh rate. With DLP, you don’t have to worry about the blur effect whenever there is fast action on the screen.
Contrast, Brightness, and Resolution
Projector contrast is an extremely crucial factor in picture quality. Usually, a higher contrast ratio marks a better picture quality. However, if there is a high level of ambient light in the room, the difference between a high and low contrast projector will become negligible.
Even when shopping for an entry level home theater projector, it’s important to buy the projector with the highest brightness capabilities that you can afford.
Brightness is one of the things that most differentiates top-notch projectors from the cheap ones. Typically, it is better to have more intensity as the projected image will be able to overcome ambient light thus making it easier to see. Resolution is another essential factor you should consider; a higher resolution gives more exceptional details when projecting light and color. If you can spend more, it is also good to have a 4k projector which is capable of improving low-resolution content.
A projector screen size is rated for the smallest and largest image sizes that your device can project while maintaining a clear picture and retaining at least 1920 x 1080 resolutions. Generally, the projector will deliver the best picture somewhere in the middle of this range. Be sure about where you are most likely to use the device when considering the maximum and minimum screen size.
While it may sound cool to have a 120 inch screen in your apartment’s home theater, you need to be realistic when it comes to screen size.
This refers to the ratio between a projector’s height and width. Your screen size options are largely dictated by your projector’s aspect ratio. The most popular projectors aspect ratios are 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10. For instance, a 16:9 display delivers an image that is more rectangular while 4:3 ratios gives you an image that is more square in shape. So what aspect ratio is best for you? Well, it depends on what you plan to project.
- Cinema Video (2:35:1) Best suited for home cinema.
- Widescreen (16:10) and HDTV (16:9) Requires a slightly larger screen as the screen height should equal about 1/3 of the distance from the screen to the viewing area.
- Presentations and Standard Video (4:3) Standard aspect ratio. Generally, you will want a screen size that is 1/6 as high as the distance from the screen to the viewing area.
Some home theater projectors come with features like powerful cooling system, which adds extra value and protects your projector be reducing its chances of burning out. Also, if you want to stream content to your projector rather than having to deploy physical cables, be sure to look for a model that features Wi-Fi.
If projector portability is essential to you, choose a projector that is compact and easy to connect. Many of the projectors now for sale on Amazon are made for easy transport, either to the backyard for movie night or presentations at work.
Depending on where you plan to install the device, the lens shift feature can also come in handy as it makes it easier to install your projector. The feature allows you to move the projected image left or right, up or down while you keep the projector stationary.
In the end, the home theater projector you decided to pick may not matter as much as some of the other available features. Why? If you have a budget in mind, you may not have much of a choice in the type of model you choose.
Think about what you want most out of your device and how often you plan on using it. How much is it worth to you? As with almost anything on the market, the cheapest product is rarely a good idea, and a hefty price tag does not automatically guarantee the best quality.
Our tip? Keep in mind that once you upgrade to a new projector you’re going to get the itch to upgrade other items in your home theater as well, such as the surround sound system and furniture.
The choice is yours. Just know that with the right people (and right movie!) you can enjoy yourself just as much with one of our projectors under $200 and a backrest pillow on the floor.
Time to Buy a Projector
We have looked at some of the best-selling and highest-quality home theater projectors for the money. While each of the units have their pros and cons, we have selected the best of the best for you. We encourage you to check out any of these products and make a comparison and then choose the one that best fits your need and budget.
Adding a home theater projector to our kids’ playroom has been fantastic. The kids are happy to watch their movies on the big screen and family movie nights are that much more special.
Image credit: Amazon.com