Projector Buying Guide

Photo of author
Written By Noah Campbell
Projector Buying Guide

Looking to upgrade your home theater experience can be rather exciting as you see all the options available in the market today. Projectors have become much more popular and technological advancements have taken great leaps forward with their development. Nowadays projectors are much more affordable and this makes upgrades in personal households within reach even on a budget. But something that seems to be taken for granted is the choice of projector screens. If you are going to show something on the big screen you want to at least make sure that the quality of the picture is not compromised.

Projector Screens Instead of Walls

Sometimes you might be tempted to simply project directly to the wall especially if you have a nice looking blank wall. After all, is it not enough that you got a 4k projector to give you a beautiful viewing experience? It may seem like you are saving good money by skipping the screen but the truth is you are not giving justice to the quality of image your projector makes when you simply use a blank wall.

Sure it works but there are some things you will notice when you just use your wall. First, you will notice the bumpy texture of the wall messes with the image quality. This is especially true for textured walls. Even if you have a smooth surface to project on, the color of your wall can affect the image output. How about white wall? Even then, a white wall is not designed specifically to do an optimal reflection of the projector light. If you put a projector screen and wall side by side in comparison, the image quality difference will be rather obvious.

Screen Material For Better Reflection

Good quality screens are made of vinyl which gives you a beautiful and smooth-looking picture with crisp detail. Manufacturers will also add a layer of specialized coating on top of the vinyl so it will help with the reflecting of the light back at the audience. Details you need to watch out for when testing out these screens are the brightness, contrast, and viewing angle of your screens.

projector screen

Go Big or Go Home!

The whole point of buying a projector system is because you want a much larger picture than you would with even the largest television screen in the market. Having a sixty inch TV is already considered quite huge but put it next to a standard ninety-two inch projector screen then you can see how much of a difference they make.

What Size Is Best?

First thing you need to check in terms of size is not the screen itself but the space where you intend to put the projector screen. You do not have to worry about price differences between different-sized screens because the price range does not follow televisions. For example if you buy a 60” TV, getting 20” bigger than that will cost you a significant amount of money. With projector screens, you could go from 80” to 120” and it will not be much of a price difference. 

Aside from also checking your space or size limitations, you must also check on your projector’s capabilities. Just because it can project onto the largest screen possible it does not mean you should. There is an optimal distance and projecting size that your device can provide. Otherwise you might end up with a subpar imaging output. 

If you want to calculate for the distance of the viewer from the projector screen then you simply multiply 1.5 with the size of the screen from a diagonal measurement. This measurement works for the 1080p HD projectors. For 4k projectors, you can sit much closer to the screen. The calculation serves as a guide and you do not need to follow it down to the last inch of calculation. It will then depend on your personal preference as to where you want to sit during the screening.

Now there is a possibility that your space will not have a matching projector screen size already available in your nearest store. There are companies that offer a customization option so that you can provide the size you want to fit in your home theater and they can make it for you.

To Retract or To Stay Fixed

Several reviews of projector screens have shown people complaining about the mechanism of the retractable projector screens. If you do not want to deal with the hassle of having it corrected or fixing it yourself then a fixed screen is the best option.

projector on the ceiling

Fixed-frame screens are best for places where you have dedicated completely for the viewing with a projector. This could be your home theater, a conference room with a dedicated projector wall, or even a classroom wall. Installation is easy because the screen itself is stretched over a frame so you simply hang up the frame on the surface. If you are not going to be using the wall where this screen is placed then go for a fixed-frame screen to avoid the inconvenience of having to set up the screen when you want to project something.

Retractable screens can either be motorized or manual. Motorized screens can be controlled remotely and may cost a lot more than your manual retractable screens but they do have that cool factor when you want to watch a movie and show off to your friends. Another advantage is that there is no room for human error when doing the retraction so you can expect lesser possibilities of tear or damage to the retraction mechanism. 

With manual retractable screens you can either position it at the bottom part and retraction goes upward or it can be hung from above and then pulled downward. Manual retractable screens are the most screens used everywhere. Their main advantage being portable and easy to store which makes for very adaptable screens. However as earlier mentioned, their biggest advantage is their tendency to have problems in their mechanism of retraction. The screen can get stuck sometimes or retract in an uneven manner which causes damage on the screen itself. Constant pulling also puts a lot of strain on the vinyl and one day you can see a visible tear happening.

Screens That Help With Light

One of the earlier problems of projectors was that ambient light would cause the picture to suddenly go faded. Now you can either buy a more expensive projector or you can find a screen that has a higher-grain so it helps reject this ambient light. Now you will not have to worry about turning off the lights every time something needs to be projected. This is especially helpful in an office setting or a classroom where dimming the lights is not best for a productive environment.

Screen First Before You Buy

When buying your first projector screen this guide can only give you a glimpse of what is available out there and there are plenty of affordable options. But to really get the most out of your money find a reputable supplier that has a good track record. Projector screen ownership has been around for quite some time so you can have reviews of screens going for more than decades of use. Reviews are a great deal of help as well as an indicator to point you to the best brands out there.

Our team has considered all the factors outlined in this buying guide, along with their expertise and knowledge in Projector, to recommend the top choice for you. You can shop being confident that someone has considered all relevant information and you will get the best Projector to meet your needs. Happy shopping!