Best projector for home theater in 2020 – CNET

As everyone continues to hunker down inside, a projector is a great way to brighten up dull evenings. The latest offerings in home projector technology have high brightness and excellent color, and you don’t need to spend over a grand to get a good one.

Whether you’re looking to go the whole hog with 4K and HDR compatibility, want something that will make HD sources look great, or need something you can use in the backyard, you’re going to find the best home theater projector for you on this list. We’ve taken into account factors like contrast ratio, picture quality, how visible the projector is in ambient light, screen size, brightness and more. We didn’t get hung up on 4K resolution, but if that’s a must-have for you, we’ve got something that will scratch your itch. We also update this list periodically as we review new products.

And if you’re interested in projectors, you’ll probably be curious about how to set them up correctly, including placement, settings and more. We’ve got you covered there too, with eight tips for setup, placement and picture settings on home theater projectors

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

We wouldn’t put this in the “cheap projector” bucket, but the BenQ HT2050A is definitely the best video projector you can get for the money. It produces a bright picture with great contrast and lifelike colors. It’s also one of the only comparable models with vertical lens shift, which makes setup a little easier.

Read our BenQ CineHome HT2050A review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

If you’re susceptible to the “rainbow effect” on moving edges on a DLP projector, then an LCD projector is for you. The Epson Home Cinema 2150 is perhaps the most flexible home theater projector we’ve seen with a bright, colorful image and enhanced setup capabilities like a wider zoom and lens shift.

Read our Epson Home Cinema 2150 review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Optoma HD28HDR is one of the cheapest HDR-compatible projectors. It offers a bright image perfect for gaming (if you’re in the market for a gaming projector) or the latest movies. Unlike its Optoma stablemate above, it’s only 1080p and it isn’t the best for non-HDR content.

Read our Optoma HD28HDR review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The M2 is about the size of a cake (hello portable projector), but it comes with onboard streaming, and with the (optional) battery it’s a good option for backyard movie parties (with the proper distancing precautions taken around the projector screen, of course).

Read our Viewsonic M2 review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The BenQ HT2050A above is less-expensive and a superior-all around performer, but if you’re a gamer looking for a specialized tool for the job, the TH685 is worth a look. If you don’t mind sacrificing color accuracy it can get a lot brighter than the HT2050A, ideal for brighter rooms, and gaming input lag is comparable.

Read our BenQ TH685 review.

Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The EF-100 is a small, highly portable projector in the same vein as the ViewSonic M2. It fits a slightly different niche, however. It requires AC power and it’s significantly brighter, roughly 1,500 lumens to the M2’s 350. The coolest part is the EF-100’s light is created by Epson’s “MicroLaser Array Projection Technology.” Yep, laser beams. That means no lamps to replace.

Read our Epson EF-100 review.


Now playing:
Watch this:

Six things to know about home theater projectors

2:33

More home theater recommendations