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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.