Best Home Theater Projector 2018 | An Unbiased Review with Buying Guide

What We Have Covered

We often think that a high end LED TV would quench our thirst for super-sized movie theater experience in the home. Large TVs are an excellent source of entertainment for watching a movie in high definition but for an original film like experience; you should go for a home theater projector. The crucial advantage of a projector is that you can watch your movie at a great size which often measures up to 300 inches. However, it’s not easy to find the best projector for your home theater.

To help you in the process, our lab experts have tested top 10 home theater projectors of 2018 in the lab. According to their report, I am here to find you the perfect home theater projector you are looking for.

In this 10 home theater projectors, we have divided all 10 projectors into two portions. You will find the expensive and high-end projectors from number 1-5 and the cheapest home theater projectors from number 6-10.

Top 10 Best Home Theater Projectors in 2018 with Reviews

1. Sony VPLHW45ES Home Theater Projector Review

Sony VPLHW45ES Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Sony VPLHW45ES a top-notch home theater projector that has a super throw ratio. It is one of the supreme projectors in the entire industry. We liked the usage of SXRD technology, Motionflow technology, Reality Creation and RF 3D compatibility. Even though it is slightly expensive, but its visual performance is unmatchable in the segment.

Features and Benefits

Sony VPLHW45ES is a highly decorated home theater projector that is geared with 1920 X 1080 pixel native resolution and state of the earth lens that ensures you will get what you wished. It is often regarded as the finest model as it employs advanced SXRD panel technology which sits at the pinnacle position of projection technology.

However, you might be little upset to see its 1800 lumens of white and color brightness but trust us you will be shocked when you look at its exceptional visuals. The Advanced Reality Creation in Sony VPLHW45ES process all the details and textures so that you can get crisp visual. You will also find Motionflow technology whose primary job is to bring out every aspect as much as possible and curb down all motion blur at the same time.

If you have an affinity towards 3D contents, then you will fall in love with its 3D performance which is at par with cinema theaters. The RF 3D glasses along with dynamic lamp control brings out a magical 3D view in front of your eye. Sony VPLHW45ES boasts a best-in-class cooling system where it has utilized whisper-quiet fans and placed them in the front. Tweaking process is quite simple in the projector as you will find 1.6x zoom lens with a large lens shifty facility and calibration mode.

You can almost connect every external device with this model as it offers HDMI, USB, Digital RGB, IR IN minijack, D-Sub and RS-232C. The 6000 hours lamp life is a little bit downer especially when you are paying a considerable amount of money for this most capable projector. Lastly, you won’t have to worry about its longevity as it comes with three years warranty with complete customer support.

Things We Like
  • Exceptional visual quality
  • Low fan noise
  • Presence of SXRD technology with smooth visuals
  • The visuals are bright and crisp
  • Top notch design with a simple interface
  • Option for update through USB
  • It offers a lot of tweaking options
  • Three years warranty
Things We Didn't Like
  • It doesn’t come with 3D glass
  • It is slightly expensive
  • The lamp hour could have been better

2. Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Epson home cinema 5040UB is a popular model in home theater projector. Its 3LCD 3-chip technology, HDR10, wireless HD and 4K enhancement technology makes it special to many users. I have heard a lot of positive feedback about this beautiful home projector from customers on different blogs and forums. That pushed us to give this projector a try at our lab. 😀

Features and Benefits

Epson is supposedly one of the most selling projector’s brands in the market along with Sony and some other big name. They have been ruling here for a long time. 5040UB is one of those quality products that has helped Epson to win the race and sit in top tier position. The most significant weapon of 5040UB is its performance, and it comes with the assistance of 3-chip 3LCD design projection technology.

With its 3LCD chip, 2500 lumens of brightness and 1000000:1 contrast ratio, the projector presents you jaw-dropping visual that you mostly expect from an expensive projector. It even has a No Rainbow Effect technology that ensures you get the pristine visual quality.

What makes Epson home cinema 5040UB so special?

It’s 4K enhancement technology that notches up all non-4K content to Full UHD quality along with razor-sharp clarity. Not only that, it’s HDR10 capability with full 10-bit color output and the whole DCI-P3 color gamut takes the performance to whole new level.

It is much more efficient than REC.709 so you can stay assured whether you watch non-4K or 4K contents the visual output will blow your mind. With this device, you can view accurate 3D contents as it offers Full 3D compatibility with the bright 3D drive.

Epson home cinema 5040UB is the first model with wireless HD capability, and it means that you can wireless stream any Full HD content without any lag issue. Apart from this you also get an array of ports, and it comprises HDMI, D-Sub, RS-232c, LAN, USB and mini USB.

Calibrating the projector won’t sweat you much as it uses 10 presets powered lens position memory along with simple menu interface. The only thing that might trouble you is installing the device as it is slightly heavy.

Things We Like
  • Smooth 4K up-scaling without any oversaturation
  • Availability of full HDR10 compatibility
  • Beautiful quality with pinpoint detail
  • Decent 3D performance
  • Bright visuals with quality depth
  • Impressive build quality
  • It doesn’t bother you with rainbow effects
  • Option for a massive number of connection options
Things We Didn't Like
  • The lamp life could have been better
  • The fan noise is a little bit on the higher side

3. Epson Home Cinema 4000 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 4000 3LCD Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Home Cinema series of Epson is probably well known to every projector users in the world, and 4000 model sits on the top position in the industry. Its certain uniqueness gives it precedence in the market and serves as the main reason behind its reputation. The 4K enhancement, HDR10, DCI-P3 color gamut, motorized lens and Full HD 3D are those factor that gives it focus when compared with other home theater projectors.

Features and Benefits

Epson Home Cinema 4000 is not an average home theater model that you would ignore but rather an ideal model you can have for entertainment purpose. 3-Chip 3LCD design technology is the trademark of Epson, and Home Cinema 4000 bears the same DNA along with Full HD native resolution that oozes out an exceptional visual quality.

The visuals are quite lucrative, and it is mainly because of 140000:1 contrast ratio and 2200 lumens of brightness. However, we can’t put HDR10 out of hand as it plays a crucial role in bringing rich black contrast along with full 10 bit color in the visual. Epson has a glorifying history regarding its effort to bring out 100% color accuracy, and with Home Cinema 4000 they have done the same by employing DCI-P3 color gamut.

Whether you are watching non-4K or 4K content, you can stay assured that you will view 4K quality visuals and all the credit goes to 4K enhancement technology. Fixing the angle while watching a movie is quite easy as it offers 2.1x zoom lens along with ten preset motorized lenses. Not only that it also employs a vast lens shift that assists in proper calibration.

The screen size range you get with Epson Home Cinema 4000 is mammoth, and the good news is that it won’t bother your eye with any rainbow effect. A big task of any projector is to provide ample amount of ports, and this model lives up to that expectation by including RS-232c, trigger out, D-Sub, mini USB, HDMI, USB, etc. However, the drawback of this model is its heavy weight that can create a problem during installation or portability.

Things We Like
  • It provides an eye-popping image quality
  • Massive black depth with vast color accuracy
  • Impressive UHD quality
  • Availability of a lot of calibration features
  • Decent price structure
  • It offers the varied type of input options
  • The build quality is admirable
  • It comes with three years warranty
Things We Didn't Like
  • The absence of manual HDR or SDR switching
  • The fan noise could have been slightly lower.

4. Optoma HD142X DLP Home Theater Projector Review

Optoma HD142X 1080p 3000 Lumens 3D DLP Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Optoma 142X is unarguably one of the highly rated home theater projectors in the market that has blown many potent models out of its way. When you switch device, it will simply blow your mind with its quality and all the credit goes to its 0.65inch 1080p DC3 DMD chip DLP technology and 1080p native resolution.

However, this is not the end, it’s 3000 ANSI Lumens and 23000:1 contrast ratio also plays prudent in bringing clarity as well as vividness to every image it produces. When you compare the color production of Optoma HD142X with other models, you won’t be able to believe your eyes, and it is due to its comprehensive coverage of REC.709 and REC.709b color space.

It also employs 144Hz refresh which makes sure that there is smoothness in every frame that you see. It is loaded with a 10-watt speaker who promises to deliver crystal clear clarity, but it dies down when utilized in a large room. Many movie buffs prefer this model as it comes with pure 3D projection and visuals are treat to the eye without any rainbow effect.  (Check 144 Hz Monitor’s list here)

The 8000-hour lamp life of Optoma HD142X takes most of the attention, and according to many users, it can last more than 5 years with regular usage. It is extremely portable and offers a maximum projection size of 305inches so you can even play on your lawn. The list of inputs you will find in the projector is immense, and it comprises the likes of HDMI, USB, MHL, Audio, 3D-sync, etc. Lastly, correcting the angle of the projector won’t be any tussle as it offers keystone correction but doesn’t have any lens shift.

Things We Like
  • Jaw dropping visual performance
  • Impressive color accuracy with bright images
  • The fans don’t make much noise even in full power
  • Immaculate 3D visuals without any flicker
  • An extensive array of projection size serie
  • Heavy-duty lamp with good longevity
  • The audio clarity is satisfactory
Things We Didn't Like
  • It often shows rainbow effect
  • The design could have been better
  • The absence of lens shift
  • Basic remote control

5. BenQ HT2050A 3D Home Theater Projector Review

BenQ DLP HD 1080p Projector (HT2050A) - 3D Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

BenQ DLP HT2050A home theater projector is a charming model that holds the prowess to impress who lays their hand on them for the first time. When we first tested this product, it amazed us with its many areas of expertise, and it comprises DLP projection, RGBRGB color wheel, REC.709 coverage, zero latency, swift DMD response and inbuilt audio. However, we can say more than its design and amenities; its visuals performance is what makes it unique in the market.

Features and Benefits

BenQ DLP HT2050A is one of those projectors which carries massive demand in the market, and you might think it is due to its price point, but actually, it isn’t. Most of the buyers are inclined towards its performance which is the result of its DLP projection technology and 1080p native resolution.

However, this is not the whole scenario, its 2200 lumens of brightness and 15000:1 contrast also plays a crucial role in deciding the crispness of the image. You won’t find any lag or motion blur in this mode, and it is mainly because of its low input lag with swift DMD response time.

Click here to check out our guide to set up cinema theaters outdoor.
BenQ DLP HT2050A doesn’t give you any room to complain about its color instead you have to praise its color accuracy as it covers 96% of the REC.709. Not only that it also comes with Cinematic Color technology along with six-speed RGBRGB color wheel whose main job is to bring the best color blend in every frame.

A highlight feature of this projector is that BenQ has included All Glass Cinema grade lens in this projector which is terrific. You will hardly face any issue while adjusting the angle because it comes with vertical as well as horizontal keystone correction.

Focusing and zooming with BenQ DLP HT2050A will be a piece of cake for you because you will 1.3X zoom capability. BenQ has included a dual 10-watt MaxxAudio inbuilt speaker in the projector which delivers crystal clarity but lacks volume.

Even though it utilizes high-end lamp but still saves a lot of your money of energy as it uses SmartEco technology that extends the life to 7000 hours. Whether there is a malfunction or hardware issue, you won’t have to worry because BenQ offers three years complete warranty.

Things We Like
  • Fluidic visuals with zero lag
  • Mindboggling color accuracy as well as color production
  • Decent audio quality
  • Beautiful design with a commendable build quality
  • Durable lamp with a decent lifespan
  • Excellent throw ratio
  • Simple controls and easily identifiable
  • You will have for keystone correction
Things We Didn't Like
  • It doesn’t come with 3D glasses
  • It often shows a rainbow effect in black and white videos

6. BenQ HT3050 HD 1080p 3D Home Theater Projector Review

BenQ HT3050 HD 1080p 3D Home Theater Projector Review

What We Liked Most About This Product

Another all-rounder projector from the manufacturer BenQ, another set of excellence. But this time, the product- BenQ HT3050 is specialized as one of the best projectors for home theater and yes, off course for the money!

What we liked most about BenQ HT3050 is it’s SmartEco Technology that saves energy up to a huge percentage. Apart from this, we have a lot more to talk about this projector. Keep going through the review-

Features and Benefits

As mentioned, BenQ HT3050 is a Home Theater genre. To give the audience a perfect theater experience at home, it has got a built-in color palette in the device. Also, a 15000:1 contrast ratio, a premium RGBRGB color scheme and a certified color reproduction scheme has made both ends of quality and price met.

BenQ HT3050 is an awesome projector for a cinematic experience. Its operation is completely “whisper-quiet”. So, at even the most silent moment of the movie, you’ll hear the movie, not the projector.

To make the movie appearing large, the BenQ HT3050 has a 100” image size and a diagonal screen size of 60”- 180”. 1.3x exact zooming capability and a throw ratio of 1.15 to 1.5. What else does a movie-freak need?

Things We Like
  • SmartEco technology to last the lamp life- 7000+ hours
  • A certified technology combo for enjoying movies at the fullest
  • Quiet and sound projector to provide whisper-silent display
  • Comes from one of the best projector brands of the globe
  • A catchy design with smooth finishing
  • 1.3x zoom and 60”-180” screen size.
  • Easy to install and re-setup.
Things We Didn't Like
  • Should be taken extreme care. The lamp would malfunction otherwise.

7. RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector Review

RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector Review

What We Liked Most About This Product

The most wondering fact on the RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector is its extremely pocket size and superb mobility. You can literally carry around the entire unit in your palmtop. That’s an epic sign that where technology has taken us, indeed. You will be surprised to know that this is a cheaper option that comes under $300.

Features and Benefits

Meet one of the smallest home theater projectors of the world, the RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector! As the name contains the word- Pico, you can already guess that you can keep it on a palmtop. Although it comes will a well-standing tripod.

To make anywhere a cinema hall, this RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector is equipped with its own battery, speaker, SD card reader and a stand-on tripod. Just plug it in and literally any place can be turned into a home theater.

That’s about its size and mobility. But what about the picture quality?

The RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector is based on its own LED-based digital light source that shows every frame of the picture with a stunning color and superb clarity. Surprisingly, it has a durability of 20,000 hours if taken care of properly. So, the calculation says, you can watch a movie every day for the next 20+ years with this little magic box.

IN a nutshell, anyone who needs mobility in their life as a movie-lover would fall in love with this RIF6 CUBE Pico Video Projector. Although it’s quite pricey, once bought, it will repay every penny of it with the awesome movie experience.

Things We Like
  • Sized as small as 8 x 8 x 2.5 inches.
  • Supports movie clips and image resolutions up to 1080p
  • Works with all MHL and HDMI devices
  • A perfect pick for backyard movie might and camping home theaters
  • A supreme durability of 20,000+ hours
Things We Didn't Like
  • Will cut some big bucks.
  • Not so sturdy in structure

8. Epson EX7240 Pro WXGA 3LCD Projector Pro (Wireless) Review

Epson EX7240 Pro WXGA 3LCD Projector Pro (Wireless)

What We Liked Most About This Product

Epson is one global brand with enormous reputation and that reflects in its home theater projector Epson EX7240 Pro.

What charmed us most on this pro-level home projector is its accuracy in color and resolution. With 3200 lumens display standard, a WXGA resolution of 1280×800 and HD quality presentation is a perfect blend for any theater lover.

Features and Benefits

Epson EX7240 Pro is quite significant compared to its typical competitor models of best projectors for home theaters. While other models have more or fewer issues with lagging and latency in displaying, Epson EX7240 Pro has an improved connectivity to face the challenge.

It’s completely wireless that can cast from your laptop, tablet or iPhone without any cable connectivity. So, you can move freely without any effect on the movie display.

As mentioned before, it’s display quality is quite improved than other devices. Its processor is made of 3-chip technology that gains 3x higher brightness and 3x wider color gamut. What else can you expect from a movie projector?

Lastly, we’d like to do a mention of honor for the price that it offers. Comparing the features that it comes with, it has made itself way affordable for buyers who’re bound in limited budget.

Things We Like
  • Powered with 3-chip technology processor.
  • Higher brightness and wider color gamut
  • 3200 lumens display shine.
  • Wireless connectivity with mobile devices and tablets.
  • Light in weight and easy to carry around.
Things We Didn't Like
  •  It’s installation process will reach difficulty for first time users

9. Nebula Mars Portable Home Theater Projector Review

Nebula Mars Portable Home Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Nebula Mars portable projector is probably one of the cheapest home theater projectors in the market. It offeres 3000 Lumens brightness and dual JBL speaker. Along with these its DLP technology with 4K and 3D support also steals the limelight in HD home theater projector market.

Features and Benefits

Mars portable cinema projector from Nebula is a brilliant projector that will make you go awe with its superior performance and a vast list of features. Starting with its projection attributes, it packs a DLP technology with 1280 X 800 native resolution which is sufficient for overwhelming movie session.

To make the image brighter and clear, Nebula has embedded a powerful RGB LED lamp that possesses 3000 Lumens of brightness. The exciting portion of this projector is that you can connect any device to enjoy 4K movies using this projector and that too without frame loss.

The highlighting part of this projector is its capability to project 3D content without any rainbow effect, and this feature makes it one of the best home theater projectors under $1000. You will fall in love with this projector because it packs dual JBL 10 watt speaker that would give an extra edge to your movie session.

While watching movies or TV series, you won’t have to worry about power because it comes padded with 19500mAH battery. It lets you project visual between the range of 12 inch and 150 inches. The throw distance is pretty good on this projector, and it ranges from 0.5m to 3m.

With Nebula Mars, you can almost connect all the favorite gadgets because it comes with HDMI and USB port. You can also utilize its wireless connectivity to connect your Android or iOS smartphone. However, you can’t join Windows Miracast and Google Chromecast for projecting any content.

Let’s sum it up by looking at its pros and cons:

Things We Like
  • It is compact and quite easy to carry.
  • It projects good quality visuals.
  • Excellent dual speaker.
  • Wireless streaming.
  • Powerful battery life.
Things We Didn't Like
  • The software is slightly buggy.
  • The visual quality is not very sharp.

10. OCDAY Home Cinema Theater Projector Review

OCDAY Home Cinema Theater Projector

What We Liked Most About This Product

Talking about its liking, OCDAY projector grabbed our attention through its LED projection system that has 1280 X 800 as native resolution with 16.7k colors. However, 30% reduced power consumption and 50000 lamp hour swayed us the most.

Features and Benefits

OCDAY projector merely is one of the best cheap home theater projectors you can own, and it is not only meant for homes, as you can even utilize it for churches. It boasts a LED projection system with 60Hz refresh rate and support for both 720p and 1080p. The visuals are treated to watch because it projects 16.7k color with native 1280 X 800 resolution. To add to its stunning visual performance, it also boasts a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio with three kinds of projection method. To give an extra edge to your visuals, it also comes with 360-degree image flip facility.

You won’t be disappointed with brightness because OCDAY video projector comes with 2800 Lumens of brightness. This potent cheap projector will baffle you with its longevity as the manufacturer claims that the lamp will last up to whopping 50000 hours. To maximize your entertainment, it allows you to play with the screen size from 50 inches to 200 inches. It also boasts a throw distance ranging between 4 feet and 12 feet. You will love the clarity and deep blacks because it boasts a contrast ratio of 2000:1.

OCDAY 5.0 inch projectors come with a dual 3-watt speaker which is sufficient enough to produce soothing sound. Even though it is not a projector of under 500 dollar mark but the large connection option will baffle you which includes HDMI, USB, AV, VGA and YPbPr port. It supports almost all kind of video, audio and picture format so you can seamlessly play your content without any ado. It only weighs 3.5Kg so you can easily carry it anywhere and install them according to your need.
Now:

Things We Like
  • High clarity visual.
  • Enormous lamp hour
  • It is quite easy to carry.
  • 1080p support.
  • A broad array of connection option
  • Good sound quality.
Things We Didn't Like
  • The absence of proper manufacturer warranty
  • Low contrast ratio
  • Refresh rate could have been better.

How To Choose A Projector For Home Theater Within Low Budget

It might seem easy to choose a home theater projector, but in reality, it is a pretty thorny task as you have to keep a lot of things in your mind as a whole. And of course, if you are going to choose a cheaper one, that makes the process even harder. When you go search for them, everyone will look impressive especially those flashy features that are highlighted to lure consumers. However, you should not get swayed by any fancy features instead you should look into the crucial facts.

First, you have to consider the native resolution of the projector, and it is always preferable to opt for projectors with 720p and 1080p resolution. However, never rule out projectors that supports Full HD or 4K resolution even if they have 1280 X 800 resolution.

Along with resolution, you need to take contrast ratio and aspect ratio into account while choosing home theater projectors. Always go for projectors which support 16:9 aspect ratio because it will produce high visual quality. Likewise, choose a projector that has minimum 1000:1 contrast ratio as the more the contrast ratio better is the depth of the visuals.

Screen size is another factor that you should consider because it would be futile to go with a projector with low screen range. The advisable screen size range starts from 50 inches and ends at 250 inches, and never settle for devices below this.

During the selection process, you have to consider a lot of crucial features, and one of them is Lumens. The lumens number determines the brightness of a projector and never settle for Lumens number below 2000 because they won’t provide bright and clear images.

Lastly connection option in the projector and it is ideal to opt for a projector with wireless connectivity. However, you should also consider that provide an array of ports which include HDMI, USB, MHL, AV and other necessary outputs.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Cheap Home Theater Projector

It is a familiar scene that many consumers commit mistakes while choosing a cheaper projector for home theater as they buy abruptly without considering any considerations except the price.

 

First and foremost spend time on what type of features and doing research saves a lot of your time as well as money. You should learn all the details that will be ideal for your need and then go out for shopping. Secondly, consider the layout of the room and measure appropriately so that projector will be suitable for the setup. Make a plan for the installation and measure the area accurately where you will mount the projector.

Never take “Lumen” number casually, and it is seen that people often opt for projectors with low lumens which don’t provide enough clarity as well as brightness. So it is essential that you should pay heed to the lumens number because it will ensure proper clarity even if there is ambient light.

People often skip projector screen while buying a projector which is entirely a poor move. They consider their white wall as their screen, but they forget the fact that they won’t get the same visual as HD projector screen. So it is crucial to always opt for screens while buying a home theater projector from the store.

The most common blunder people make while selecting their projector is by cutting their budget. Even though the budget is an important consideration but when you are investing in the projector, it is best to go for the best in the selected range. Never opt for any below grade projector nor an over expensive one during selection. It is always smart to target the most potent projector in your target range because you won’t buy them every month.

Some FAQ Regarding Home Theater Projectors

How to find the brightness of a projector?

The best way to find out the brightness of a projector is by finding out its lumens number or ANSI lumens number. More the lumens number better will be the brightness, and the prominent level starts around 2000.

What is the need for lens shift?

Lens shift is an essential feature of a projector, and it allows you to customize the placement of your projector. It comes in the form of vertical lens shift and horizontal lens shift which assists you to place the projector relative to the center of the screen.

What to do during any serious abnormality?

During any kind of malfunctioning, it is best to call the help desk and ask for assistance rather than solving the issue by own. However, factory reset is a simple solution you can apply if you find it appropriate for the situation.

What is contrast ratio?

The contrast ratio of a projector depicts the division of projector’s distance from the screen by the width of the image. Contrast ratio also describes the depth of the blacks in a picture along with visual clarity.  It comes handy during installation process because the number gives you the idea of the idyllic placement.

How to utilize the projector for a wireless connection?

You can utilize your projector for wireless functionality by inserting a USB wireless dongle into the port. However, some projectors nowadays come loaded with inbuilt wireless connectivity option.

How to find the replacement bulb of the projector?

The most prominent way to find the replacement bulb of your projector is by finding it in Amazon.com or local stores. Most of the online sellers sell replacement bulb of various projectors pertaining different brands.

 

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