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Best Projector Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar’s guide to the best home cinema projectors – featuring both 4K and HD models.
Projectors are important in any home cinema set-up. Although the best TVs can’t be beat for delivering true 4K HDR content, you’re unlikely going to get a picture bigger than 75 inches – well, unless you want to refinance your house or move into a mansion.
But 75 inches is only the beginning if you have a good projector.
Whether you want to splash Blu-ray movies across a large white wall, magnify your gaming experience, or throw photos and slides from a mobile device onto a 100-inch plus screen, a home cinema projector should be your first choice.
- Now you’ve got the best projector, here’s how to build a home cinema room
Unfortunately while most AV enthusiasts dream of the day they bring home a beamer for their living room, few tend to follow through. They have the misconception that projectors are hard to setup (they’re not), hard to maintain (they’re not) and cost significantly more than a TV (they don’t).
To that end we want to dispel the myths perpetuated by non-cinephiles out there and help you pick a fantastic-looking projector without breaking the bank. To that end, we’ve rounded up the best projectors we’ve tested throughout the last year or two and have ranked them below.
Looking for something cheaper? Don’t miss our guide to the best projector deals that gets updated each and every month!
What you need to know about Black Friday 2019
On November 29, 2019 it’s Black Friday, which means it’s the perfect time to check out our guides to the best Black Friday and best Cyber Monday deals that we know are coming (and those we can expect) to help you save cash on your new projector next month. As BenQ recently released the HT3550, we could see discounts on the BenQ HT2550, as well as any other older models from the brand. Make sure you bookmark our Black Friday deals page for the latest updates from the massive sales event.
The best projectors 2019 overview:
- LG CineBeam HU80KSW (2019)
- LG CineBeam HU85LA (2019)
- BenQ HT3550 (2019)
- BenQ HT2550 (2018)
- Anker Nebula Capsule II (2019)
- BenQ TK800 (2018)
- Anker Prizm II (2019)
- JVC DLA-X5900 (UK-only, 2018)
- Optoma UHD51A (2018)
- Epson Home Cinema 4010 (2018)
The best projectors 2019:
1. LG CineBeam HU80KSW 4K projector (2019)
A 4K HDR projector with a whole home cinema system thrown in
After a five-star projector? The LG CineBeam HU80KSW offers a crisp 4K HDR picture, with the benefit of a truly all-in-one system you’ll find a lot more compact than your average smart TV. It may have more of a neutral pallet than some more vivid projectors out there, but for the all-round package and quality, you can’t do much better.
Everything from the speakers to the power plug is built into the projector itself, making for a tidy and well-designed product that’s wonderfully easy to move around the room or house. While there are physical ports for external media players, too, the on-board LG smart platform can get you streaming from any of your catch-up apps with ease.
This CineBeam model boasts and impressive 2,500 lumens, and should last you 20,000 hours before the image starts to degrade – while the Harman Kardon speakers ensure you’re getting a base quality for the audio (even if it will pale compared to a dedicated soundbar).
Prices hover around £2,000 / $2,400 / AU$3,600, depending which LG home cinema stockist you purchase it from, but this is a projector that’s absolutely worth the price.
Read the full review: LG CineBeam HU80KSW 4K projector
2. LG HU85LA CineBeam Projector (2019)
An ultra short-throw projector that knows its worth
Really need a projector that can sit right up to the wall? This ultra short-throw CineBeam projector from LG is able to project a massive display from only inches away.
You’re paying a lot more than the model above, with a $6,000 (around £4,860, AU$8,750) price tag befitting the increased convenience and advance technology required to project at such a short distance.
The projector itself is also brilliantly sharp in its construction, with a sleek rectangular profile that can hub your living room carpet or coffee table without obstructing any of the image it’s throwing up on the wall – and you can install it from the ceiling as well if preferred.
At 2.2 inches away, the projector will deliver a 90-inch screen size, while at 7.2 inches, you’ll get a 120-inch projection. The sound quality maybe isn’t as impressive as the projection, though, with a lack of detail in high frequencies, and not much power on the low end either.
Read our full review: LG HU85LA CineBeam Projector
3. BenQ HT3550 (2019)
The BenQ HT3550 (W2700 in the UK and Europe) performs like a dream
Projection system: DLP | Resolutions: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 2,000 lumens | Video inputs: HDMI x 2 | Dimensions: 380 x 127 x 263mm
We reviewed the predecessor to the HT3550, the BenQ HT2550, late last year, and to great results, but its sequel offers a few great new features: It has a beautiful new design, for starters, but it’s also optimized for BenQ’s HDR-PRO, which supports HDR10 and HLG, plus it zooms up to 1.3 times, and supports a screen size of up to 120 inches with a brightness of up to 2,000 lumens.
The real upgrade here, however, is the projector’s contrast ratio. While the HT2250 offered a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, the HT3550 steps that up to an impressive 30,000:1 – and the result is a super dynamic image.
While it might have been nice if the projector could get slightly brighter, given the fact that with enough ambient light it can put a serious damper on the overall image quality, we think the BenQ HT3550 is arguably the best way to go if you’re looking for a great projector in the $1,500/£1,500 price range.
Read the full review: BenQ HT3550 (W2700)