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Best 4K projector: home theater beamers worth buying

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
XGIMI, Samsung and Optoma, some of the best 4K projectors, against orange background
(Image credit: Future)

The best 4K projectors are still the way to go if you want the ultimate home theater experience. As good (and big) as today's TVs are, these engineering feats deliver a bigger impact while taking up less space than a huge TV that dominates your home. 

What's more, some 4K projectors can even provide a bigger image than the vast majority of TV models can ever reach. Some models project 100-inch images, which is the norm, but higher-end ones can offer projections as large as 300 inches – or as small as 40 inches, if that's all you have space for on your wall.

Setting up a projector is also easier than you’d expect. So, if you're concerned about the hassle of setting up or installing a projector – over, say, one of the best TVs  – don't be. In fact, with small portable projectors and ultra-short-throw projectors offering ways to create big images while taking up less space, it might even be easier. because they won't require you to rearrange an entire room to accommodate them.

With an excellent 4K projector, you're getting truly massive, bright and beautiful images and immersive viewing without the bulkiness of a massive TV. These projectors are truly worth checking out, especially if you want to create a minimalist home or just don't have the space for a gigantic 85-inch TV (or even a 65-inch model).

We've tested and reviewed our share of 4K projectors, from highest-specified models to great value ones. To guide you in picking the ideal choice for you, we gathered the best 4K projectors right now, throwing in one or two that cap out at HD or Full HD to bring you more choice to those with smaller budgets. If you're looking for something that's more portable, you must consult our best outdoor projectors guide as well.

The best projectors: the list

The JVC DLA-NZ8 on a white background.

(Image credit: JVC)

1. JVC DLA-NZ8

The best overall 4K projector

Specifications

Projection system: Laser D-ILA
Resolution: 4,096 x 2,160 (native)
Brightness: 2,500 lumens
Video inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.1
Dimensions: 500 x 234 x 505mm (WxHxD)

Reasons to buy

+
Unbeatable black levels
+
Superior HDR performance
+
Laser-based light source

Reasons to avoid

-
Large form factor
-
Pricey compared to most 4K projectors
-
Requires dark room for best picture

The JVC DLA-NZ8 is the latest native 4K projector from the company, and unlike previous lamp-based generations it uses a BLU-Escent laser light source. This results in brighter images, greater consistency and a longer lifespan without compromising the black levels or increasing the fan noise. As a result, this excellent projector builds on JVC’s existing strengths, expanding them in some areas and adding a host of new cutting-edge features in others.

The NZ8 is also very expensive, although the pricing of JVC’s new line-up is intended to reflect the comparative cost of 4K laser projectors from Sony. Interestingly the NZ8 currently has no direct competitor, so if you want uncompromising performance, peerless HDR tone mapping, comprehensive features and a high degree of future-proofing performance, this remarkable projector is in a class of its own.

Read our full review: JVC DLA-NZ8 projector

Optoma 4K projector showing beautiful beachfront

(Image credit: Optoma)
The best budget 4K projector

Specifications

Projection system: Laser
Resolutions: 3840 x 2160 (4K)
Brightness: 3,000 lumens
Projection size: 85-120 inches
Video inputs: HDMI x 3
Dimensions: 576 x 383 x 130mm
Audio: 40W

Reasons to buy

+
Up to 120-inch image
+
Solid built-in audio system
+
Living room-friendly looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited brightness
-
Doesn't support full DC-P3 color gamut
-
Mecdiocre built-in smart TV interface

The Optoma CinemaX P2 is unusually good looking for a projector thanks to its stylish matte white finish,  complementary grey fabric grille and a peekaboo lens up top. But there's substance here too. 

It's built around a single chip DLP 4K device that uses a laser light engine. That results in pin-sharp pictures (no chance of any panel alignment issues here) and excellent color vibrancy, although we think it's actually a little less vibrant than its predecessor. But in the positive column the P2’s audio performance is top notch. Each driver has its own 10W digital amp module, so that’s a cumulative output of 40W. With the sonic chops of a large Bluetooth speaker, it’s more than loud enough to disguise its operating noise, which is a low 26dB.

This isn’t quite a cinephile grade projector, but we think that the convenient form factor and fantastic audio performance should be ample compensation.

Read the full review: Optoma CinemaX P2

samsung premiere in living room, projecting image of an astronaut

(Image credit: Samsung)
The next generation of living room projection

Specifications

Projection system: Three-Laser DLP
Resolution: 4K
Brightness: 2,800 lumens
Video inputs: 3x HDMI, 1x RF, optical, 1x AUX Out
Dimensions: 550 x 141 x 367mm

Reasons to buy

+
Bright, colorful pictures
+
Good in light and dark rooms
+
Full TV-style smart system

Reasons to avoid

-
Some rainbow effect
-
Some iffy presets for dark scenes
-
Software can be sluggish

After more than a decade since its last home cinema projector, Samsung returned with an absolute cracker: the Premiere LSP9T projector. It's an ultra short-throw beamer that makes use of 4K HDR laser projection, and its three-color laser removes the need for a color filter. That enables the Premiere's 2,800 lumens brightness to really shine, and it's capable of producing a very impressive 130-inch image. Pictures are punchy and colorful, and Samsung's support for the HDR10+ format adds scene-by-scene picture calibration in compatible films and TV shows.

This projector also benefits from full implementation of Samsung's smart TV operating system. Although we found it a bit sluggish at times, it's nice  to have it on a projector instead of the basic and poorly-organized interfaces we're used to. 

It is expensive, retailing at £6,999 / $6,490 / AU$10,999 – but we think the Samsung is a knockout choice for those who can afford it. For everyone else, there's plenty of other great models in the guide below.

Read our full review: Samsung The Premiere projector

BenQ TK700STi projector on wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
High framerate HDR gaming on your wall

Specifications

Projection system: DLP
Resolution: 4K
Brightness: 3,000 lumens
Projection size: Up to 120 inches
Video inputs: 2x HDMI 2.0 (with ARC), 1x Audio OUT, 1x USB, 1x RS-232
Dimensions: 312 x 110 x 246 mm
Audio: 5W

Reasons to buy

+
16ms input lag is brilliant for a projector
+
4K at 60Hz for premium gaming

Reasons to avoid

-
No Netflix, though that's common for projectors
-
Fiddly onboard buttons

The BenQ TK700STi is an excellent projector for gaming, but we think it's also a very good choice for TV and movies too – although it's quite pricey for a projector of this specification if response times aren't important to you. It supports 4K at 60Hz with an unsurpassed 16ms response time at that resolution, which is as low as response times get in a native 4K projector. If you want up to 120 inches of bright, crystal-clear game on your wall or screen, this sets a new benchmark. You can also push to 120Hz if you're happy settling for HD output.

If you’re never going to use it for gaming, though, and 4K isn’t a big deal to you, you can probably settle for something less expensive (like the Optoma UHD38).

Read the full review: BenQ TK700STi projector

Epson LS12000 front angle

(Image credit: Future / Mark Knapp)

5. Epson Pro Cinema LS12000

A champ for the dedicated home cinema

Specifications

Projection system: Laser 3LCD
Resolution:
Brightness:
Projection size: 50 to 130 inches
Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1 (1 with eARC)
Dimensions: 20.5(w) x 7.6 (h) x 17.6 (d), inches

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Highly flexible placement
+
Ready for games and film

Reasons to avoid

-
High price
-
Display only
-
Few ports

If you’re looking to find one of the best 4K projectors out there, you don’t have to look further than the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000. This machine is delivering powerful technology that shines an almost unbeatable image. It comes at a predictable high price, though, and Epson has gone all-in on the picture-side of the equation, leaving you to fend for yourself when it comes to video sources and audio.

The LS12000 is a beefy (we’re talking 50 pounds) laser projector with a 3LCD system inside. This combination provides a bright light source for both color and white output, powerful contrast, and no artifacts we could detect. It’s an immaculate picture that doesn’t struggle to overcome bright lighting conditions in a room and then can step up to simply blow us away when we turn out all the ambient light. 

There’s a lot of flexibility for big rooms and even bigger rooms, though we wouldn’t recommend going all out like this for a small space — this is a serious home theater projector.

Read the full review: Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 projector

Samsung The Freestyle

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung The Freestyle

Take the cinema experience wherever you go

Specifications

Projection system: LED DLP
Resolution: 1,920 x 1.080
Brightness: 550 Lumens
Projection Size: 30 - 100 inches
Video inputs: HDMI (micro) x 1
Dimensions: 4 x 6.8 x 3.7 inches (w x h x d, w/ stand)
Audio: 5 watts

Reasons to buy

+
Great portability
+
Handy suite of built-in apps
+
Impressive auto adjustment
+
Decent brightness

Reasons to avoid

-
Sluggish navigation
-
Occasional autofocus issues
-
Some random restarts
-
Auto keystone can be fussy

With The Freestyle, Samsung provides almost everything you need for a night of entertainment, bringing the smart TV experience to any surface it's aimed at. It offers access to all of your favorite streaming services, a powerful 360° built-in speaker with smart assistant support, and even mobile mirroring functionality – all you need to provide is a power source (either via a nearby wall socket or a compatible power bank) and a Wi-Fi connection (or, failing that, a mobile hotspot).

Approachability is key for mainstream acceptance of any new product, and Samsung has nailed this aspect with The Freestyle. Simply put, any projector which is ready to go within minutes of being taken out of the box is a triumph of design and engineering, and should be celebrated.

Read the full review: Samsung The Freestyle projector

This XGIMI Halo isn't a 4K projector, but can be easily carried outdoors (pictured on table)

(Image credit: Future)
The ultimate home theater on the go – though you won't get 4K

Specifications

Projection system: Lamp
Resolution: Full HD / 1080p
Brightness: 800 lumens (plugged in), 600 lumens (on battery)
Projection size: 30-300 inches
Video inputs: 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 2.0
Dimensions: 113.5 x 145 x 171.5mm
Audio: 10W (2x 5W) speakers

Reasons to buy

+
Bright pictures, even on battery
+
Great portability

Reasons to avoid

-
Video noise in dark scenes
-
Aggressive autofocus

The XGIMI Halo is a great shout for anyone after a portable projector (opens in new tab) that can deliver reasonably good picture quality while running on batteries. This stylish, compact, and capable projector is easy to take with you on the go, with built-in 5W speakers and 1080p / Full HD resolution to offer both sight and sound.

Although the Halo is capable of 800 lumens of brightness, that drops to 600 lumens when you're running on battery power in order to prolong battery life. That's fine for dark outdoor settings, where it lasts long enough for an average length movie, but for more serious use you're going to want to keep it plugged into power. We wouldn't recommend this one for serious home theater enthusiasts, though: there's noticeable noise in the dark scenes, and the brightness isn't great for a real home cinema experience. You won't find native Netflix support either, something that also applies to the XGIMI Horizon Pro.

We think the portability of this projector compensates for the brightness and resolution: the USP here is the go-anywhere ability, and while it's hardly up there with an 8K TV it's perfectly good for showing sports or movies outdoors. If that flexibility matters to you, the XGIMI Halo will prove a worthy choice.

Read more: XGIMI Halo review

This Epson 4K projector is a low, black model with a bulb lamp

(Image credit: Epson)
A superb long-throw home cinema projector for the price

Specifications

Projection system: Lamp
Resolution: 4K (upscaled)
Brightness: 2,600 lumens
Projection size: 50-300 inches
Video inputs: 2x HDMI, 2x USB
Dimensions: 520 x 450 x 193mm
Audio: None

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent color reproduction
+
Motorized lens controls are handy

Reasons to avoid

-
Blacks could be deeper
-
Motion not its strong point

We gave this beamer five stars for its impressive color reproduction, HDR support, and 2,600 lumens brightness, which deliver bright and impactful images. While this isn't a native 4K projector (something you just don't get at this price), even upscaled images are detailed and come across well, with highly natural skin stones and an impressive amount of shadow detail. 

The blacks could be deeper and the motion could be smoother, but there's really little to complain about here. The EH-TW9400 boasts advanced capability all around, from its 3D compatibility to motorized lens controls that deliver excellent precision and an impressively easy setup. There's also a lens cover to prevent dust from creeping in.

The Epson EH-TW9400 is widely available in the UK, India and elsewhere, but it has a different name in the US: for that market it's called the Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB.  Just keep in mind that it doesn't come with built-in speakers, meaning you are reliant on connected audio equipment.

Read the full review: Epson EH-TW9400

Anker Nebula Capsule II projector on DVD shelf

(Image credit: Future)
A tiny, quality home cinema projector that doesn't cost much

Specifications

Projection system: DLP
Resolution: HD (720p)
Brightness: 200 lumens
Projection size: Up to 100 inches
Video inputs: 1x HDMI, 1x USB
Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 5.9 inches
Audio: 8W

Reasons to buy

+
Android TV built-in for plenty of apps
+
Full-size HDMI port, despite its size

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim output ruins dark scenes
-
Netflix must be sideloaded

Some projector were meant to be portable – and few do it better than the Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector.

This tiny projector is roughly the size of a can of Coke, and we think it looks more like a battery pack for a piece of AV equipment than a projector. But looks can be deceiving, and the Capsule II is very capable for its size. It delivers a 720p (HD) resolution and strong audio output – which is noticeably better than 2018's Anker Nebula Mars II – and while it can't compete with the more premium 4K HDR models listed in this guide it's an excellent little portable projector.

Given its size, we were pleasantly surprised to find a fully-sized HMDI port, too, rather than the mini-HDMI alternative – as well as a USB port and USB-C charging port, allowing you to power the projector while connecting to a streaming stick like the Roku Express or Amazon Fire TV Stick. If you're looking for a go-anywhere projector we think you'll like it a lot.

Read the full review: Anker Nebula Capsule II Mini Projector

LG CineBeam 4K projector showing beautiful green landscape

(Image credit: LG)
An ultra short-throw projector that knows its worth

Specifications

Projection system: Laser
Resolutions: 3840 x 2160 (4K)
Brightness: 2,700 lumens
Projection size: 90-120 inches
Video inputs: HDMI x 3
Dimensions: 6.8 x 13.7 x 5 inches
Audio: 2x 5W

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Sleek design

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling speakers for the price

If you need a projector that can sit right up to the wall, this ultra short-throw CineBeam projector from LG can project a massive display from only inches away.

The projector's design is as sharp as its picture. It has a sleek rectangular profile that can sit happily on 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 on the ceiling as well if you prefer.

At a distance of 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. Picture quality is good but we think you'll want to use external speakers for the soundtrack: there's a lack of detail in the high frequencies and we'd prefer a bit more low-end thump too. 

Read our full review: LG HU85LA CineBeam Projector

Vava 4K projector on simple wooden media unit

(Image credit: TechRadar)
A crowdfunded 4K laser projector that won't disappoint

Specifications

Projection system: Laser
Resolution: 4K
Brightness: 2,500 lumens
Projection size: 80-150 inches
Video inputs: 3x HDMI, 1x SPDIF, 1x AUX In, 1x AUX Out, 1x USB
Dimensions: 533 x 368 x 107mm
Audio: 60W Harman Kardon speakers

Reasons to buy

+
Effortless style
+
Max 150-inch projection

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor app layout
-
Only 8-bit HDR

The Vava 4K projector is something of a marvel, with a sharp 4K picture and impactful HDR despite its 8-bit color limitations. 

This is an ultra-short throw laser projector, so you can get a massive picture (up to 150 inches) without needing to place it more than a few inches away from the wall or screen. The 2,500 lumens brightness is more than enough to make its images look vibrant, too, and its sleek design and soft fabric covering ensure the projector is aesthetically satisfying even when it's turned off.

The smart platform isn't great: it's a fairly old version of Android TV and a couple of the big-name apps you'd expect (Netflix, Hulu) are nowhere to be seen. But with Vava’s mix of bright 4K images, impactful color, and ultra short-throw picture – all packaged in a gorgeously sleek design – the hardware means this is a great choice for a new home projector.

This Vava UST projector retails at $2,799 in the US, which is more affordable than some other 4K-capable projectors.

Read more: Vava 4K projector review

Anker Nebula Solar Portable projector on outdoors table

(Image credit: Amazon)
A stunning portable projector – in the right situations

Specifications

Projection system: Lamp
Resolution: Full HD (1080p)
Brightness: 400 lumens
Projection size: Up to 120 inches
Video inputs: 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 2.0
Dimensions: 192 x 192.2 x 54.5 mm
Audio: 2x 3W speakers

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning design
+
Doubles as a Bluetooth speaker

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit dim
-
Sound could be punchier

The Anker Nebula Solar Portable is a compact and stylish mini-projector that delivers in almost every area. Its sleek design won't look out of place on a shelf in your living room between uses, and it’s small enough to fit easily into a drawer for storage or in a backpack or tote bag if you want to use it away from home. 

The battery life is around three hours, which is enough for pretty much everything shorter than The Batman, and it has a USB-C power port so you should be able to get more viewing time by connecting a portable power bank.

While the picture quality is pretty much what we'd expect at this price and in a projector this size, we'd have liked a bit more brightness for rooms that aren't in complete darkness. But that's a minor complaint and this is still a sleek, smart gadget with a few tricks up its sleeve – including Bluetooth speaker functionality that switches off the projection and just brings the tunes.

Read more: Anker Nebula Solar Portable review

A small girl watching the Epson EF12 projected onto the wall.

(Image credit: Epson)
A portable projector that offers a great marriage of form and function

Specifications

Projection system: 3LCD
Resolutions: 1920x1080
Brightness: 1,000 lumens
Projection size: Up to 100 inches
Video inputs: 2x HDMI (1x MHL)
Dimensions: 498 x 141 x 331mm
Audio: 2x 5W

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Great picture for the size

Reasons to avoid

-
Only Full HD
-
Too much lag for gaming

While films and sports look brilliant on a big screen, do you really want to watch the daily news roundup on a 100-inch panel? This is where smaller and lighter projectors come in. The Epson EF12 is both compact and attractive, features that work in its favor whether it’s being used or stashed away on a shelf.

The EF12, or rather the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Projector (to give it its full name), is a compact cuboid system that’s incredibly easy to set up. Of all the projectors with this kind of form factor, we think that the EF12 is the best looking. Decked out with a textured base, of the type you’d find on the grip of a high-end DSLR camera, it oozes a real feeling of quality. 

The laser-powered picture is colorful and clear, with a distinct lack of blurring in fast-moving images. But as great as it is for sports and films, we think that gamers will be disappointed by the long lag, which makes many games unplayable. On paper, it outputs at just 1,000 lumens, but don’t let that put you off – we found that it looks significantly brighter than the spec sheet suggests. The EF12 is also extremely power-efficient, drawing around a third of energy when compared to its competitors.

Remember that this is a Full HD beamer; if you’re after 4K in this form factor, then consider an LED projector such as the BenQ X1300i 4K. That model is also a cube, but it’s around three times the size and weight of the EF12; it costs more and consumes three times the power, too.

Read the full review: Epson EF12 EpiqVision Mini

Do I need a 4K projector?

If you're not convinced by any of the 4K projectors in this list, it may be worth weighing up the pros and cons of competing technologies.

A standard flatscreen television is generally a simpler affair: you put in your home, on a wall or countertop, and it stays there. It's a set screen size, and will offer the likes of 4K resolution or HDR at a cheaper price point than a projector.

Projectors can be helpful in their portability, or the flexibility of its picture, though it does mean that can be more to calibrate, especially when trying to suss out where to place in your home. It might be best placed right up against a wall, if an ultra short-throw projector, but if your wall is in any way uneven or off-white, it won't offer an ideal image – in that case, you may be better off with a dedicated screen, though that does defeat the point of ditching a television.

Projectors tend to be pricier for comparative resolutions or HDR support, especially dynamic HDR – with Samsung The Premiere being the only existing beamer with HDR10+.

However, the compact form and flexibility that a projector affords does make it a better choice in a lot of cases, and this guide contains some truly fantastic HD and 4K projectors worth your time.

How important is ultra short throw?

Many flagship 4K projectors these days come with ultra short throw technology, which vastly reduced the distance needed between the projector and the surface it's projecting onto (wall, projector screen, ceiling, you name it).

The laser projection used for this tends to lead to crisp images, though it does ramp up the price from a long-throw model, or even regular 'short throw' which sits somewhere between the two.

Ultra short throw (or 'UST') is certainly a great space-saving measure, keeping your projector in the same position as you might put a TV, and meaning you don't need to install a projector into your ceiling, while people moving around a room are less likely to block images too.

It just depends on whether you have the cash and the counter to make a UST projector a sensible investment – though it's worth noting that these models tend to pack in better built-in audio and more stylish designs to help justify those higher price tags.

How big should my 4K projector picture be?

An age-old question. It really comes down to how big a picture you can fit in your home: if you're hoping to fill the space where a 55-inch TV used to be, a max 100-inch projection might not do you much good. It's well worth measuring the wall you have at home, and checking whether the projector you're buying lines up well with its image size.

Some high-end models like the LG CineBeam range can go up to image sizes of 300 inches, and down to just 40 inches – making them flexible devices that can be housed in various parts of your home.

Matt Bolton
Matt Bolton

Matt is TechRadar's Senior Editor for TV and Audio, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of reviewers to watch gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.

With contributions from