Which 4K projector is best?

Even the biggest televisions can’t match up to the scope a projector offers. For many years, projectors lagged behind in quality over their solid cousins. Today, there are more than enough 4K projectors to choose from. The only real downside is the massive jump in cost from televisions to comparable projectors.

The best 4K projector is the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K Projector. It’s packed with technological marvels that make its visuals the best in town. It comes in wired or wireless configurations.

What to know before you buy a 4K projector

Bulb technology

4K projectors usually use one of the following bulb types: liquid crystal display, light-emitting diode and digital light processing.

  • LCDs are the most common and most affordable. They’re also the lowest quality while still providing clear images. They require some maintenance and can struggle to accurately display darker images.
  • LEDs have more pros and cons. They require no maintenance and last the longest. In return, they have the darkest projections and are best for medium-or-smaller rooms. They also tend to be the easiest to set up and have midrange costs.
  • DLPs are the best option — if you can afford it. They have the shortest lifespans, although they do still last for a few thousand hours. They usually offer the brightest and highest quality projection. They even offer 3D support on occasion.

Wired vs. wireless

All 4K projectors must connect to a power source, so “wireless” only refers to compatibility with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or special wireless HDMI technology. If you mostly stream content you’ll want to look for a “smart” label — this means it connects to Wi-Fi. If you use physical media such as Blu-ray players or game consoles you’ll want your projector to support wireless HDMI tech.

What to look for in a quality 4K projector

Lens shift

With old or cheap projectors you had to physically move them in order to fix a crooked projection. Most 4K projectors include lens shifting technology to avoid this. With lens shifting, you can minutely adjust the angle of your projection without physically touching the projector to ensure a perfect angle.

Throw

Throw is a measure of how far away a projector needs to be from the screen in order to display the highest quality image. Many 4K projectors have variable throws for projecting certain image sizes. Most throw distances are between 2-40 feet.

Upscaling

Upscaling is a process by which non-4K content is upgraded to look better than its original image. This will never make your Full HD content look as good as native 4K — for all but the cinephiles, it’s more than enough.

How much you can expect to spend on a 4K projector

The cheapest 4K projector still costs around $1,000. Most cost $1,500-$3,000. The best 4K projectors can easily reach and exceed $5,000.

4K projector FAQ

What size screen should I buy for my 4K projector?

A. That depends on your projector and your home. Most 4K projectors have an optimal projection size of 100 inches. Most can project images between 30-300 inches without losing quality. You’ll want to buy a screen that perfectly fits your projection size — too small is obviously bad but too large and you’ll have a white frame around your image that the eye finds naturally distracting.

Do I need to mount my 4K projector?

A. No, but it can help to keep it out of the way. 4K projectors are far too expensive to risk bumping them off their stand or spilling something on them. If you do choose to mount them, either buy a wireless model or keep the various wires you’ll need to connect in mind when planning its mounting location.

How dark does my room need to be for optimal projection?

A. That depends on how bright your projector can be, as measured in lumens. The higher the lumen count of your projector, the easier it will be to see your images in a bright room. That said, all projectors look their best in rooms with as little light as possible. If you frequently use your projector during the day, you’ll want to use shutters or curtains to block any natural light that may stream in from windows.

What’s the best 4K projector to buy?

Top 4K projector 

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K Projector

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K Projector

What you need to know: This is packed with advanced technology for a great price

What you’ll love: It has a brightness of 2,600 lumens with a contrast ratio of up to 1,000,000:1. It has a full 4K resolution with a 60-hertz refresh rate.  It’s available with wired or wireless connectivity. It displays 100% of the Red-Green-Blue signal.

What you should consider: Some consumers reported receiving dud units. Some consumers had problems with wireless functionality. It’s heavy at 24.7 pounds. It doesn’t support Dolby Vision.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Top 4K projector for the money

ViewSonic PX701-4K Projector

ViewSonic PX701-4K Projector

What you need to know: This budget pick still provides a good projection.

What you’ll love: It’s available without smart compatibility at 3,200-lumen brightness or with smart compatibility at 2,400 or 2,900-lumen brightness. It weighs only 6.2 pounds. It can have a screen size anywhere between 30-300 inches with throw distances of 3.3-35.9 feet. 

What you should consider: There’s noticeable lag when projecting from game consoles. Native streaming service apps struggle to run. Some Blu-ray players are incompatible.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sony VW325ES 4K Projector

Sony VW325ES 4K Projector

What you need to know: This high-end pick is best for cinephiles and gamers.

What you’ll love: It comes in white or black. It projects in native 4K with upscaling for lower-resolution content. Its X1 processor is Sony’s cutting-edge technology. Dynamic HDR boosts visual quality even further. MotionFlow smooths visuals out for enhanced sports and gaming. It’s multi-voltage for international use.

What you should consider: This is among the most expensive models. It only has a maximum brightness of 1,500 lumens — you’ll need to use it in a fully dark location.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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