In recent years, many people have finally taken the plunge and decided to design that home theater space they’ve always wanted, complete with a high-end sound system, comfy seating, and custom lighting. However, what’s a home theater without a way to watch your movies or TV shows? Sure, you can stick with that 4K conventional TV, but there’s a better option – a 4K projector.
Not sure what you’ll need to look for in a great projector? Don’t worry. We’ve done all the legwork and assembled a list of the top 10 best 4K projectors, so all you have to do is pick the one that’s right for you.
Our Picks for the 10 Best 4K Projectors
With an understanding of what you’ll need to get the most out of your projector, as well as a better idea of what goes into creating a good model, it’s time to turn our attention to the list of the ten best 4K projectors.
The Optoma GT2100HDR, featuring DuraCore laser light technology, offers up to 30,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation and an IPX6 dust resistance rating for durability. Its short-throw lens can project a 120″ image from just over four feet away, making it ideal for smaller spaces. The projector displays sharp and detailed 1080p HD resolution content without downscaling or compression. It boasts an enhanced game mode with low input lag for responsive gaming and supports 4K HDR input with a 300,000:1 contrast ratio for rich, cinematic colors.
- Long-lasting laser light source
- Short-throw lens suitable for smaller spaces
- High-resolution 1080p display
- Lack of native 4K resolution
- Potential for image distortion at a maximum throw distance
Epson Home Cinema 5050UB
Next up is the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB. You’ll notice several differences immediately here. First, this isn’t a true 4K model. It uses image-shifting technology to bump up its 1080p image, but that’s not really a deal-breaker, as the image quality is still outstanding. The real benefit here is the near-true-4K capabilities with a budget price point. It’s also very capable of showing extra detail in HDR highlights and offers an outstanding color range. It’s simple to set up, and the automated lens control is a nice feature to have, particularly with such an affordable model.
- Low price point compared to other models
- Outstanding color production
- Automated lens control
- Not true 4K
- Lower contrast ratio of 4,400:1
Epson Home Cinema 3800
The second Epson model to make our list, the 3800, is the bigger, more expensive brother of the 5050UB. Like the previous model, this one is not true 4K and uses image-shifting technology to deliver an upgraded viewing experience, but many viewers won’t notice that detail. It also offers a contrast ratio of 100,000:1, which gives it excellent picture quality. Unlike some other projectors on the market, this one also offers two HDMI 2.0 inputs and two USB 2.0 inputs.
- Great contrast ratio
- Four inputs
- Good color reproduction
- Not true 4K
Sony takes fourth place in our list of the best 4K projectors on the market. This is a true 4K projector, and it delivers lots of benefits. One of those is the ability to hit a maximum image size of 300 inches (which is almost double what many other projectors are capable of). It also includes lots of connection options, including two HDMI 2.0 ports, a single USB 2.0, PC, and LAN connections. The contrast ratio is 350,000:1 so it’s not as good as our top pick, but very, very respectable. It’s also easy to set up.
- True 4K
- Fullscreen HD and SD upscaling
- Lots of connection options
LG CineBeam UHD 4K Projector HU70LA
The LG CineBeam UHD 4K Projector HU70LA offers up to 140 inches of breathtaking screen size with 4K UHD resolution, leveraging XPR and 8.3 million pixels for four times the resolution of Full HD. It employs wheelless LED technology with a 4-channel LED for vivid, deep colors, and it avoids the discoloration of LCD and DLP’s rainbow effect. Remote Focus provides enhanced zooming capabilities, while HDR 10 with Dynamic Tone Mapping optimizes picture quality frame by frame. The projector also includes TruMotion technology for fluid animation and AI ThinQ with Google Assistant and Alexa for voice control.
- Large screen size with 4K UHD resolution
- Wheel-less LED technology for vivid colors
- HDR 10 and TruMotion technology
- Potential difficulty in installation due to size
Anker Nebula Cosmos Max
Another portable projector, the Nebula Cosmos Max, is an interesting combination of features and capabilities. It offers OTA connectivity (Chromecast, Airplay) but also has HDMI and USB connections. It runs on Android and is a fun option with its own built-in speakers. However, this is not a true 4K projector. With that being said, it’s capable of producing an image of 150 inches, and it’s battery-powered.
- Decent image quality
- Fun and easy to use
- Not true 4K
- Color reproduction is not the best
ARTlii 5G WiFi Home Theater Projector
The ARTlii 5G WiFi Home Theater Projector boasts native 1080p Full HD resolution with 4K UHD support and a high-refractive glass lens. Its brightness and color range outperforms other 1080p WiFi Bluetooth projectors thanks to a Mstar performance chip, TFT LCD technology, and a color gamut that represents up to 80% of NTSC, displaying 100% RGB color signals. It offers fast and stable 2.4G/5G WiFi for screen mirroring and smoother streaming, while the Bluetooth connection allows for wireless audio equipment pairing. Additionally, it provides a large image size with a 60% to 100% image zoom feature.
- Native 1080p Full HD resolution with 4K UHD support
- High brightness and color range
- Fast and stable WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Possible challenges with setup and alignment
- Dependence on a strong WiFi connection for optimal performance
The ViewSonic PX701-4K projector brings 4K UHD quality to your home theater or gaming setup, offering 3200 Lumens brightness and a high contrast ratio. It creates an immersive gaming experience with a swift 4.2ms input lag and a 240Hz refresh rate. This projector provides an easy setup with a 1.1x optical zoom, anti-warping stabilization, and H/V keystone for flat or curved surfaces. SuperColor technology and HDR/HGL support provide a wide color range, and SuperEco Mode offers up to 20,000 hours of lamp life.
- 4K UHD resolution with high brightness
- Low input lag and high refresh rate for gaming
- Easy setup with versatile placement options
- Might need calibration for optimal color accuracy
Stylish and modern, the BenQ TK850 delivers an outstanding picture with true 4K resolution and all the brightness you could want. It also provides very good HDR handling and delivers motion-smoothing technology for sports.
- Native 4K resolution
- Good brightness
- The fan is noisy during operation
- Not the best blacks (video noise)
XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K Projector
The XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K Projector offers true 4K resolution with 8.29 million pixels and a bright 2200 ANSI lumens output. The projector features intelligent screen adaptation technology with auto keystone correction, screen alignment, focus adjustment, and obstacle avoidance for quick and easy setup. It utilizes the X-VUE 2.0 Image Engine with MEMC motion compensation, HDR10, HLG color format, and AI brightness adjustment for stunning visuals.
- True 4K resolution
- Vibrant images
- Dual Harman Kardon speakers
- Limited speaker output for large rooms or outdoor use
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best 4K Projectors
We based our criteria on some pretty specific criteria. For instance, does the projector display true 4K resolution? Does it accurately display HDR video? Is it capable of reproducing Ultra HD’s wider color range? Are the inputs full-range HDMI 2.0b?
Note that most of the projectors we reviewed didn’t tick all of those boxes, which isn’t surprising. However, it did give us a good range of comparison and helped us separate the good from the decent and those that should be avoided.
What to Look for in a Good 4K Projector
New to this whole projector thing? You’re not alone. A lot of American families have found themselves facing the question of what to look for in a good 4K projector, and there’s really no easy, cut-and-dried answer. A lot of it is pretty subjective, too. However, we’ve outlined a brief list of what goes into making a great 4K projector to help guide your buying decision.
- HDR capabilities (ultra-high contrast ratio) since contrast ratio affects image quality and helps you avoid a washed-out image.
- Higher brightness capabilities since brightness determines not just picture quality but also the size of the screen you can use.
- Color accuracy since this affects the quality of the image and the fidelity of the colors reproduced on the screen.
- Color range (also called gamut) since this affects the number of colors the projector will reproduce on the screen.
In addition to those considerations, you’ll also need to think about a few other things. For instance, do you need a short-throw projector to fit a smaller room or a room with limited customization options that mean you cannot mount the projector permanently to the ceiling? Do you have an AV receiver so you can switch between sources? Do you want a projector that includes apps, or will you use apps through another device, such as a Blu-ray player?
Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. One projector might be great for you but a poor fit for someone else. The best advice is this: know what you need and then compare your options to find the 4K projector that addresses as many of those as possible. Only then should you start looking at “nice to have” features.
Why Switch to a 4K Projector?
Before we dive into the list of the best 4K projectors on the market, we should probably take a little time to discuss why a projector is the right choice in the first place. There are a few reasons, but the most common reason to go this route is size. If your home’s TV tops out at 60 or 70 inches, you’re not getting a true theater experience. With a 4K projector, you can take that picture all the way up to around 130 inches, which is almost double the size of the average TV these days.
There are other reasons you might want to make the switch, too. For instance, with some of the best 4K projectors on the market, you get the blackest blacks and the whitest whites possible (the best contrast ratio). Simply put, it’s the only way to recreate the cinema experience at home. However, there are a few things you should know before you jump into a purchase of this nature.
You’ll Likely Need Sound
One thing that surprises many people is that most of the high-end 4K projectors today are just that – projectors. They don’t come with sound. Yes, there are a handful of models that include speakers, but it’s generally better to pair a great projector with a great sound system.
You’ll Likely Need to Spend on a Good Screen
With prices of several thousand dollars for a 4K projector, many buyers hope to save a little money when it comes to the screen. There are tons of budget white and gray screens out there, and some people assume they can just use the wall of the room as the screen. Yes, you can go cheap here, or you can even skip a screen altogether, but here’s the thing: without a high-quality screen, you sacrifice picture quality.
In fact, even with our top-rated 4K projector, you’ll sacrifice between 50% and 70% of the picture quality if you use the wall. You also lose most of your HDR benefits with a low-end screen or wall. So, invest in a good screen, preferably one with a positive gain.
You’ll Need Excellent Light Control
All 4K projectors are meant to be used in rooms where you have complete control over ambient light. Ideally, you’ll set up your home theater in a room with no windows. However, if you have windows, you’ll need light-blocking curtains. If you can’t control the light completely, you’ll notice that the image washes out badly.
A Permanent Point of Installation
Finally, most of the 4K projectors that are worth your money are big – too big to put on a stool or chair. That means you’re going to need a permanent place to put it. For some, that means installing it to the ceiling. Some models offer short-throw technology, though, so they can work on a low entertainment center just a few inches away from the screen. Either way, you’re not going to be setting this up old school in the middle of the room and then putting it away when you’re done.
Up Your Theater Game!
With the list of the 10 best 4K projectors on the market, you should be ready to create the home theater of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for true 4K resolution, want to save money with a model that offers image-shifting technology, or prefer something portable, there’s an option on our list for everyone.