Best projector: get the cinematic experience at home

The best projectors for an immersive viewing experience, or when your TV just isn't big enough

best projector: Optoma Cinemax P2 projector movie on wall in living room
(Image credit: Optoma)

If you want to create a real home cinema in your living room, then sometimes a TV just won't cut it. Luckily, the best projectors will help anyone create an immersive, cinematic experience right at home, and they tend to be a lot more affordable than an 85-inch television.

Projectors are capable of giving you a much bigger image, too, going up to 100-200-inches that can be projected onto the wall or a dedicated projector screen. That's ideal for everything from cosy movie nights and gaming sessions to entertaining the kids and watching the big match.

To help you choose the perfect projector for your needs, we've scoured the web for the best and most popular choices at a range of price points. And if you want to go down a more traditional route, take a look at our guide to the best 75 inch TVs.

Keep reading to see what we thought.

The best projectors in 2021

Epson EH-TW7000 projector

(Image credit: Epson)

1. Epson EH-TW7000

Best projector for max screen size

Specifications
Display: LCD
Native resolution: 4K
Brightness: 3000 lumens
Contrast ratio: 40,000:1
Smart?: No
Bluetooth?: Yes
Noise: 32dB
Screen size: 40-500in
Dimensions: 31 x 15.7 x 41cm
Weight: 6.6kg
Reasons to buy
+Bluetooth connectivity+Good keystone correction+3D ready
Reasons to avoid
-No built-in speakers

As with a lot of entries on this list, you'll need to plan to find the best place for the Epson EH-TW7000 but, once you do, it's capable of projecting images up to 500-inches in clear native 4K resolution. The only drawback is the lack of in-built speakers, so you'll need your own sound solution.

This exclusive no-doubt keeps the price-point a little lower, with the EH-TW7000 very much sitting in the mid-range. For this, the projector is 3D ready, has an impressive brightness and contrast ratio and boasts HDR support. In addition, manual controls for lens shift, zoom and keystone correction allow you to get the perfect image.

Optoma UHD65 4K DLP Projector

(Image credit: Optoma)

2. Optoma UHD65

Best projector for image quality

Specifications
Display: DLP
Native resolution: 4K
Brightness: 2200 lumens
Contrast ratio: 23000:1
Noise: 25dB
Dimensions: 16.8 x 31.6 x 10.8cm
Weight: 4.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Amazing colour+Fluid viewing+Easy to install
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive when compared with some of the other models in this guide

The Optoma UHD65 is one of the older models in this guide, so, when compared with the newer projectors, it is a tad on the expensive side.

However, it offers impressive 4K digital cinema quality images compatible with High Dynamic Range (HDR) AND has PureMotion frame-interpolation processing. What does this mean? It means that you'll be watching all your fave movies in incredible detail, colour and contrast, with any motion blurring eliminated (even if you're into high-speed action thrillers).

Installation is mega easy with vertical lens shift, which will enable a wider range of screen size options and give you flexibility on the positioning. 

BenQ TK850 True 4K Home Entertainment Projector

(Image credit: BenQ)

3. BenQ TK850

Best projector for sports

Specifications
Display: DLP
Native resolution: 4K
Brightness: 3000 lumens
Contrast ratio: 30,000:1
Smart?: No
Screen size: up to 100"
Dimensions: 8 x 26.3 x 12.7cm
Weight: 4.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly bright picture+Support for 4K and HDR+Sports mode
Reasons to avoid
-No streaming apps

The BenQ TK850 boasts an amazing 4K resolution, boosted audio, an intense brightness and focus on sports broadcasts, which really helps it to stand out from the crowded projector market.

This projector is really for live sports enthusiasts and those who appreciate a very impressive picture. So you can replicate the football games in your living room or garden to create the ultimate stadium experience. The HDR-PRO technology works with the 4K HDR to enhance the viewing experience, offering a wider field of contrast to bring out every detail of the scenes as they unfold.

Beyond the vision is the sound. Featuring a powerful 10-watt chambered speaker, this projector will enhance the sound of your games, movies and favourite shows, whether you are in or outside the house. And you don't need to worry about where you position this projector, either. When the projector must be placed off-centre, such as placing it on a table on uneven ground, the vertical keystone function will adjust the image to be ideally aligned for viewing.

Optoma CinemaX P2 best projector

(Image credit: Optoma)

4. Optoma CinemaX P2

Best projector overall

Specifications
Display: Laser
Native resolution: 4K
Brightness: 3000 lumens
Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1
Smart?: Alexa, Google Assistant
Bluetooth?: Yes
Noise: from 26dB
Screen size: 85-120in
Reasons to buy
+Ultra short throw+Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant+Bluetooth connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Not as bright as previous Optoma models

Optoma's recently released CinemaX P2 projector has found its place on our list due to its gorgeous design, ultra-short-throw that's suitable for smaller spaces, and fantastic contrast ratio. It's an upgrade on the Optoma UHZ65UST, though not by much, and will set you back a few quid.

Making use of the short-throw projection, you can place the CinemaX P2 almost against the wall, saving space and doing away with the need to mount the device to the ceiling to enjoy big-screen viewing. This opens up many more possibilities for those living in small spaces or converting their spare room into a home theatre.

The projector has Bluetooth for streaming music directly from your phone, and there's in-built Alexa and Google Home, so it basically functions as a smart home hub in its own right. The digital art platform Framed also allows you to display something aesthetically pleasing when not actively using your projector.

Audio is a highlight, too, with an integrated 40W soundbar that delivers sound pretty close to what you'd expect from a standalone speaker hooked up to your telly.

Xgimi Halo 1080P 800 ANSI Lumen Portable Projector

(Image credit: XGIMI)

5. XGIMI Halo

Best portable projector

Specifications
Display: DLP
Native resolution: 4K
Brightness: 800 lumens (600 on battery)
Screen size: up to 200in
Dimensions: 29.1 x 21.4 x 21.3cm
Weight: 0.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Small enough to carry with you+Android TV+Harman Kardon speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Not as bright as others

Designed to be taken on the go, the XGIMI Halo projector is a great option that, while not measuring up to others on this list in terms of specs, is seriously impressive for a wireless projector that you can use pretty much everywhere. Of course, this includes the garden and, for more options there, read our guide to the best outdoor projectors.

Sound quality is also good, considering the size of the projector, and you can attribute that to XGIMI's partnership with Harman Kardon for its built-in speakers. You'll need to keep the remote control handy for adjusting settings and focus but, with Android TV built-in, you can stream directly without any additional gear.

Optoma Cinemax P2 projector showing yoga class on living room wall

(Image credit: Optoma)

How to choose the best projector for your home

Projectors come with their own set of downsides, which are worth running through before you rush out in search of ever-gigantic screen sizes. The first is that while projectors make large screen sizes cheaper than ever, getting them at high resolutions still commands a price premium that's much higher than equivalent TVs. 

While you can now have 4K TVs for budget prices, their projector equivalents tend to cost more than a grand, and that's for a budget 4K experience. 

The second is that if you're investing in a projector, you will almost certainly need to buy a set of external speakers. While most projectors include a set of speakers in their housing, we've generally found these to be equivalent to those you might find in a laptop. As a result, they sound cheap, they sound tinny, and they don't sound like something you want to enjoy the latest Hollywood blockbusters with. 

Finally, there are noise and heat concerns with projectors that simply don't exist with TVs. Projectors get hot while they run, and that means that you'll need to leave them in a well-ventilated position and, more importantly, be prepared to deal with a certain amount of fan noise. 

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Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.

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