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The 5 best home projectors for 2024

The 5 best projectors for 2024
Awol, Samsung, Hisense, Nebula, BenQ

The best home projectors provide a cinema-like experience at home, whether you're watching a favorite TV show, movie or live sports event. The latest projectors can throw an image on screen up to 200 inches (measured diagonally) and showcase video in sharp, 4K resolution with bright and accurate colors, combined with crisp detail and excellent contrast. 

Which type of projector is right for you will depend on where you plan to use it; the size of your viewing space; how bright of a picture you like (measured in ANSI lumens) and the size of the picture you want. 

Our top five best projector picks for 2024

Our in-house team of consumer tech experts has gone to great lengths to test plenty of home projectors and research the latest projection technologies to curate this list of our top five best projectors for 2024. Some of these models are designed to be permanently installed and will become the centerpiece for your home theater setup. Others are portable and can be moved from room to room, or even taken outside and be set up in minutes, so you can host a movie night in your backyard or during an outdoor camping trip. 

Just like when shopping for a  55-inch65-inch75-inch and 8K TV, things like resolution, brightness, and display refresh rate should all be considered. If you'll be using the projector as part of a home theater system, we recommend using it with either a soundbar or complete surround sound system to get the most out of your viewing experience. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a traditional, big-screen TV (as opposed to a projector), be sure to check out our picks for the five best TVs for 2024.

Best projector overall: Hisense 100" L9H Series TriChroma Laser TV

Hisense 100L9G Laser TV Triple-Laser Ultra Short Throw Projector

Category: Ultra-short throw | Display Technology: Triple color laser | Native Resolution: 4K | Image Brightness: 3,000 ANSI lumens | Max. Projection Size: 100-inches | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Contrast Ratio: 2,000,000:1 (dynamic) | Throw Ratio: 0.25:1 | HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Laser Lifespan: Up to 25,000 hours | Speakers: 2x 40-watt (Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital) | Smart TV OS: GoogleTV  | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, 1x HDMI eARC, 2x HDMI, USB, RF antenna | Dimensions: 24 x 13.6 x 6.1 inches | Special Features: Generates up to 1.07 billion shades of color, reaching 107% of the BT.2020 color space.

As a higher-end, ultra-short-throw projector, the Hisense 100" L9H Series TriChroma Laser TV is designed to be installed in a fixed location and used with an ambient-light-rejecting screen. This projector uses a cutting-edge, three color (RGB) laser system to deliver a sharp picture that showcases bright and accurate colors. In fact, the lasers generate more than a billion colors. The projector also offers support for Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, which further enhances the picture you're seeing. 

To complement that detail, the projector offers a maximum brightness of 3,000 ANSI lumens, so even in daylight, you'll see a sharp and clear picture. Another key feature of the L9H is its maximum projection size of 100 inches, so you'll enjoy an authentic and immersive movie theater-like experience. 

The projector is designed for use with a Hisense ambient light rejection screen to eliminate up to 85% of glare. And while you probably won't rely exclusively on the stereo speakers built into the projector, they do generate 40 watts of audio power that supports Dolby Atmos sound.

Hisense filmmaker mode ensures that movies (and TV shows) look exactly the way the director intended. When gaming, you'll enjoy Auto-low-latency mode that tweaks the projector's settings to showcase game graphics. While not cheap, the Hisense L9H offers just about all of the key features you'd want when choosing a centerpiece for your home theater setup, which is why it's currently our top pick.

Best portable projector: Samsung's Freestyle (2nd Generation)

Samsung's The Freestyle (2nd Gen)

Category: Portable Projector | Display Technology: LED | Native Resolution: 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) | Image Brightness: 230 ANSI lumens | Max. Projection Size: 100-inches | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Contrast Ratio: 100,000:1 | Throw Ratio: 1.2 | HDR: HLG, HDR10+ | Light Source Lifespan: Up to 30,000 hours | Speakers: 5-watt | Smart TV OS: Tizen  | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI | Dimensions: 4 x 6.8 x 3.7 inches (with stand) | Special Features: Alexa voice assistant integration; Weighs just 1.8 pounds (with stand)

Designed to travel from room to room (or even take a trip outside for a backyard movie night), Samsung's Freestyle (2nd Generation) portable projector can be positioned at any angle (on a wall or on a ceiling). The projector will automatically adjust the picture so it looks perfect.

Sure, we'd love to see a version of this projector with a higher maximum brightness; the current version of the Freestyle offers a maximum of just 220 ANSI lumens. You'll see a sharp and bright 1080p resolution projected picture, but only if the viewing area is really dark. 

Like Samsung TVs, this portable projector uses the Tizen operating system to offer smart TV capabilities and give you quick and easy access to streaming services. The projector can connect directly to Wi-Fi, or you can also connect it directly to your mobile device or computer using an HDMI cable to view content stored inside.

This portable projector does not have a built-in rechargeable battery, but a battery pack base (that offers up to three hours of video playtime) is sold as an optional accessory for $190. And if you plan to use the projector outdoors, keep in mind that it's not waterproof or even water resistant. That said, we love the Freestyle's design and overall functionality. It's easy and quick to set up, plus it projects a sharp picture up to 100 inches.

Best projector for versatility: Nebula by Anker Cosmos Laser 4K

Nebula by Anker Cosmos Laser 4K Projector

Category: Portable/Outdoor Projector | Display Technology: DLP Laser | Native Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) | Image Brightness: 2,200 ANSI lumens | Max. Projection Size: 150-inches | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Contrast Ratio: 1,200:1 | Throw Ratio: 1.27 | HDR: HDR10 | Light Source Lifespan: Up to 25,000 hours | Speakers: 2x 10-watts and 2x 5-watts Dolby Audio | Smart TV OS: AndroidTV  | Connectivity: HDMI, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AUX | Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.1 x 6.5 inches | Special Features: Weighs 10.7 pounds and has a built-in handle

We're huge fans of the Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K projector because, while it's portable, it also offers laser technology that produces a stunning 4K resolution (60Hz refresh rate) picture with a maximum brightness up to an impressive 2,200 ANSI lumens (with support for HDR10). So whether you're using the projector indoors or outdoors, you'll enjoy a sharp and colorful picture, even if the viewing area is not pitch black.

Plus, the projector generates an image up to 150 inches and accompanies it with quality audio via two 10-watt speakers and two five-watt speakers that support Dolby Audio. From a design standpoint, the projector is a tad on the heavier side at just under 11 pounds, but it has a built-in handle for easier transport. 

We also like that the projector runs using the AndroidTV OS, so if the projector has direct Wi-Fi access, streams content from popular streaming services. Plus, you can stream content directly from your mobile device or computer, either wirelessly or using a cable connection. This gives you plenty of versatility in terms of what you can watch and when.

Out of all the portable projectors we've seen, this one offers the best collection of higher-end technology. You can easily move it between rooms, host a movie night in your backyard, or take it on a camping or RV trip. While you'll pay a bit extra for the 4K resolution, laser technology and maximum brightness, the projector is well worth the expense.

Best short-throw projector for gaming: BenQ X500i 4K 

BenQ X500i True 4K UHD HDR 4LED 2200 Lumens Short Throw Console Gaming Projector

Category: Short Throw Projector | Display Technology: LED DLP | Native Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) | Image Brightness: 2,200 ANSI lumens | Max. Projection Size: 150-inches | Refresh Rate: Up to 120Hz | Contrast Ratio: 600,000:1 | Throw Ratio: 0.69 - 0.83 | HDR: HDR-PRO | Light Source Lifespan: Up to 30,000 hours | Speakers: 2x 5-watts | Smart TV OS: Android 11, GoogleTV (with dongle connected)  | Connectivity: HDMI, USB Type-A, USB Type-C, RS232 In, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Chromecast | Dimensions: 14.41 x 9.61 x 4.65 inches | Special Features: Multiple integrated gaming features, including RPG Mode, SPG Mode, FPS Mode, 4.16ms low input lag

Designed for in-home use, the BenQ X500i offers not only offers 4K resolution and an impressive 2,200 ANSI lumens maximum brightness, but also integrated features designed for gamers playing on a screen up to 150 inches. In fact, whether you're watching action movies or playing games, the projector's up-to-120Hz refresh rate will display it all smoothly, using vivid and accurate colors and excellent contrast. 

Gamers will appreciate the 4ms response time and the projector's ability to automatically adjust settings as soon as it detects a connected console gaming system. This includes specialized settings for Xbox, PlayStation and the Switch. This is a short-throw projector, so it can be set up close to a screen, while the brightness of the projector showcases content clearly in most lighting situations. Whatever you're watching will be accompanied by audio generated from two 5-watt stereo speakers or whatever audio system you connect.

Positioning the projector just 4.9 feet from the screen will generate a 100-inch picture, while a distance of 7.5 feet will allow the projector to achieve its maximum projection size of 150 inches. Using the AndroidTV OS, you get easy access to streaming networks, but you can also take advantage of Chromecast, Bluetooth or a wired connection to display content from your mobile device or computer.

Best premium projector: Awol Vision LTV-3000 Pro 4K 3D Ultra Short Throw Triple Laser Projector

AWOL VISION LTV-3500 Pro UST Triple Laser TV Projector

Category: Ultra-Short Throw | Display Technology: RGB Triple Laser | Native Resolution: 4K (with Active3D) | Image Brightness: 3,000 ANSI lumens | Max. Projection Size: 150-inches | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Contrast Ratio: 2,500:1 | Throw Ratio: 25.1 | HDR: HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Laser Lifespan: Up to 25,000 hours | Speakers: 2x 36-watt (stereo) with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support | Smart TV OS: Android | Connectivity: 3x HDMI (with 1x HDMI eARC), 2x USB, Ethernet, digital audio output, AV in, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Dimensions: 23.6 x 13.9 x 5.7 inches | Special Features: Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistant integration; Able to display 1+ billion colors (107% Rec.2020); Offers Turbo Game mode (8ms)

The Awol Vision LTV-3000 is designed as a centerpiece of a home theater system, to be used with an ALR screen up to 150 inches. This is a premium projector in every sense, in that you get ultra-short throw technology combined with a triple RGB laser projection system that generates a sharp and vibrant 4K resolution picture at a 60Hz refresh rate. 

Its maximum brightness of 3,000 ANSI lumens means you can use the projector in almost any lighting situation (but as with any projector, you'll get a sharper picture in a dark space). The projector offers an impressive contrast ratio and HDR support for detail and color enhancement. And for sound, you get support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The internal stereo speakers offer 36-watts of audio power, but you'll probably want to connect a soundbar or surround sound system for an immersive viewing experience.

As you'd expect, the LTV-3000 offers plenty of ports for connecting a mobile device or computer to stream content from. We love that Awol takes advantage of a Ricoh F2.0 glass lens for enhanced picture clarity, and that it generates more than a billion colors. The projector also supports Active3D, Control4 and an impressive game mode. In the sub-$4K price range, you won't find a better projector.

15 features to look for in a home projector

Our consumer tech experts have compiled this list of 15 key things to look for when choosing the perfect projector. We've also explained the key terminology you'll need to understand when evaluating a projector's specifications and features.

  1. Viewing space: When you're going to be projecting video sizes anywhere from 80 to 200 inches (diagonally), you want to make sure the viewing space can accommodate this, and that viewers can sit a decent distance away to enjoy an immersive picture. To determine the ideal viewing distance, take the projection size and divide it by .84. So if you're viewing a 100-inch projection, the ideal distance to be viewing from is 9.91 feet from the screen.
  2. Projection size:  A projector will typically offer a range of projection sizes. Consider the size of your viewing area and then determine the largest projection size that space can accommodate. This will vary based on the projector make and model, but will typically max out at 150 inches or 200 inches.
  3. Resolution: Ideally you want a projector to display content in native 4K resolution and be able to upscale lower-resolution video to as close to 4K as possible. Some 1080p projector makers use confusing language to make you think that a projector's native resolution is 4K, when in reality, its a 1080p resolution projector that's upscaling content. This is not the same quality as native 4K resolution.
  4. Refresh rate: The refresh rate of the projector is measured in hertz (Hz). It represents the number of times, per second, a picture will be redrawn on the screen. Most of the latest projectors offer a 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate, or an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the better, especially for high-action content, live sports, or playing games. When a projector offers a 120Hz refresh rate, this means the picture is being redrawn 120 times per second, so action will look very smooth.
  5. Light source: All of our top picks use the sharpest RGB triple laser, LED or LCD lighting technology. If you can afford it, we recommend the RGB triple laser technology to experience a wider color gamut and more vibrant colors.
  6. Brightness: This is measured in ANSI lumens. A lumen is a measure of brightness that a projector can generate. ANSI is an industry-standard term; it means the measurement meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute. If a projector's brightness is not promoted in "ANSI lumens," you may not be getting reliable information. The higher the maximum brightness rating, the more vibrant the picture will be (especially when there's ambient light in the viewing area). For a home projector that will be permanently installed in your home, we recommend a brightness of at least 2,000 ANSI lumens. If you want to see a clearly in broad daylight, at least 3,000 ANSI lumens is recommended. 
  7. Color reproduction: This measures of how accurately colors are reproduced. 
  8. Focusing: These days, almost all projectors, including our top five picks, offer auto-focusing. Make sure this is the case if you choose a projector that's different from one of our top picks.
  9. Throw ratio: This is the relationship between the distance from the projector's lens and the screen. A short throw or ultra-short throw projector can be positioned much closer to a screen than a regular projector, yet still offer a large projection size (potentially up to 200 inches). The throw ratio is measured by dividing the project's distance from the screen by the width of the projected image. Throw ratio is also sometimes referred to as throw distance.
  10. Aspect ratio: Used to describe an image's shape, this is the relationship between the width and height of a projected image. It is typically expressed by two numbers, separated by a colon. For a projector (or TV) that showcases a traditional widescreen (rectangular) image, the typical aspect ratio is 16:9 (or 16 to 9).
  11. Contrast ratio: This is the difference between the lightest and darkest portion of a picture. If a projector offers a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, this means that the white within the image will be 2,000 times brighter than the black. The higher the contrast, the better the overall color representation, and the less washed out an image will be. Ideally, you want a projector with at least a 5,000:1 contrast ratio, but a 3,000:1 contrast ratio should be OK in darker viewing areas.
  12. Operating system: The operating system determines what connects the device to help you find content. Many of the most popular projectors rely on AndroidTV or GoogleTV (which are very similar). 
  13. Portability: Can your projector be easily be moved from room to room, or quickly set up outside? When shopping for a portable projector, pay attention to additional things like its size and weight, waterproof rating, overall durability and speaker quality, because you likely won't be pairing the projector with an external sound system. Some portable projectors have a built-in rechargeable battery. If that case, pay attention to the maximum playtime the battery can support, how long recharging takes.
  14. Integrated speakers: While most projectors have built in stereo speakers, they're typically not the highest quality. They also lack the bass you'd get from a soundbar or system with a subwoofer. We recommend pairing a projector with an optional soundbar or surround sound system if it's a model that will be permanently set up in your home.
  15. Brand name and reputation: During your shopping, you'll come across projectors from no-name brands. These might be less expensive, but proceed with caution and make sure you read the fine print. Also, pay attention to the projector's warranty and how easy it will be to get it repaired. You also want to make sure that when the projector's light source dies (which is typically after between 20,000 and 30,000 hours) that you can easily buy a replacement.

What is a good amount of ANSI lumens?

If your viewing area will be pitch black, a projector's maximum brightness can be much lower. A projector's maximum brightness is measured in ANSI lumens. 

For a pitch-black viewing area, a projector with a maximum brightness between 300 and 500 ANSI lumens should be fine. If there's just a little bit of ambient light, you want a projector that offers between 1,000 and 2,000 ANSI lumens. But if you plan to use the projector in daylight, you definitely want a projector that offers 3,000 or more ANSI lumens, so the picture quality will not appear too dim or washed out. 

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