If you’re interested in the best projectors for a home theater setup, then a projector screen should be on your to-buy list. Don’t waste your tech on a white wall at home, no matter how pristine or spotless it is. Certain products are meant to be used in very specific ways. Projectors go with projector screens, period.
Likewise when using a projector at school or in the office. A projector screen helps in making sure all the information that you need to convey during an important presentation is clearly read by everyone in the room. Simply turning off all the lights won’t cut it.
How to choose the best projector screen for your needs
There are a lot of options out there if you’re looking for the best projector screen or best portable projection screen. But not all of them are really worth the money, even the cheap ones, especially if you’re looking for a long-term investment that will last several years.
And there are also expensive projector screens that come with features that you don’t really need. The trick is to find something that fits exactly to your needs. If you’re going to use a projector screen exclusively for school or business presentations, then you probably don’t need something from our list of 4K Ultra HD projectors. If you’re looking for something portable that you can easily take with you to a friend’s house, then a 150-inch projector screen should be the last thing on your list.
Thankfully, shopping for the best projector screen is easier than shopping for the best projectors. Still, it can get confusing if you don’t know where to look and what to look for. To save you the trouble of browsing through dozens of products, we compiled five projector screens that are worth looking into.
Best cheap projector screen (Best value)
Let’s start off with a very budget-friendly projector. Contrary to its name, the Best Choice Products Manual Projector Projection Screen isn’t the overall best projector screen out there. But if you only count budget projector screens, it is easily one of the best options. It’s super affordable, easy to use, and produces images with excellent detail.
When extended in full, the projector screen is actually square, despite looking rectangular in marketing materials. It has an 84-inch x 84-inch frame with a diagonal length of 119 inches, making it very suitable for the typical 4:3 and 16:9 standard aspect ratios preferred by many. Naturally, the square frame makes it less suitable for other wider configurations.
The screen is anti-static and easy to clean, though the edges are prone to wrinkling. Thanks to its lightweight frame, it can be easily mounted to a wall or attached to the ceiling using a pair of sturdy hooks. The screen needs to be manually pulled down, though. Be sure the hooks are well screwed into the ceiling when going for a ceiling setup to avoid accidentally pulling the entire thing down.
Like many other projector screens, it has a 1:1 gain. This means that the light projected onto it doesn’t get absorbed, which allows the projected image to appear in optimal quality. If you’re watching an animated movie with particularly vibrant colors like the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Book of Life, you can trust the projector screen to keep the vibrancy intact. It also has a 160-degree viewing angle, making it a great choice for a home theater setup for a big family.
Overall, the Best Choice Products Manual Projector Projection Screen is an excellent product. (They should really think about changing its lengthy name, though.) We definitely recommend it if you’re in the market for a budget projector screen for school, office, and home use. However, if you’re looking for something exclusively for a home theater setup, you might want to look at other, more expensive choices.
Best cheap 100-inch diagonal portable projector screen
One minor issue with the Best Choice Products model above is that it can be a hassle to set up, though its bracket is fairly lightweight for transport. If you really want the best portable projection screen that you can pop out and store with extreme ease, then we recommend the VIVO 100-inch Portable Projector Screen.
The projector screen is attached to a sturdy tripod that can be easily folded, making it easy to carry from place to place (or classroom to classroom, if you’re a school teacher). You can set it up as fast as you can store it. It basically works just like a plug-and-play device. Well, sort of. The screen height can be adjusted quickly and locked in place with minimal effort. And you can bank on the lock to stay in place during the entirety of your school or business presentations.
This pull-up projector screen comes with a diagonal length of 100 inches and a 60-inch by 80-inch frame. This means you’re pretty much locked to an aspect ratio of 4:3. It’s great for school and office use, but not so much if you’re into wide-screen cinematic experiences at home. Still, with its very friendly price, we’re not complaining.
The screen has a white matte finish that spreads out the light in every direction and a 1:1 gain that makes sure the light reflected is pretty much the same as the light projected. This means pictures won’t be dull-looking and bland compared to when simply using a white wall as a projector screen. It also comes with a black backing and black borders to help in preventing light penetration and enhancing contrast, respectively.
The viewing angle is slightly more restrictive at 120 degrees, though. But it’s not a deal-breaker. We recommend the VIVO 100” Portable Projector Screen to those looking for the best projector screen with hassle-free portability. It also comes in a smaller 84-inch version if you want even more portability.
Best 4K Ultra HD-ready projector screen
With the popularity of budget 4K televisions, 4K streaming, and gaming systems capable of rendering games in 4K, it has become increasingly apparent that 4K technology is the future. So it’s not really surprising that projectors have also entered the fray. There aren’t many 4K-ready projectors out in the market yet, but you can check out our picks for the best 4K projectors currently available. (Spoiler: they’re expensive.)
We have two 4K-ready projector screens on the list, and the first one comes from a well-known name in the projectors business, Silver Ticket. The Silver Ticket STR-169120 has an impressive diagonal length of 120 inches, making it perfect for the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. It boasts a 160-degree viewing angle with no resolution loss. This means you won’t lose out on the glorious 4K experience if your couch isn’t positioned directly in front of the screen, for whatever reason.
The screen isn’t just a piece of cloth or sheet. It’s specifically made of projection screen material to bring out all the explosions in whatever Michael Bay-directed movie and all the underwater colorfulness in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. The screen is made of vinyl, which makes cleaning it easy and effortless. Don’t use liquid on it, though.
The STR-169120 is supported with aluminum frames wrapped in black velvet fabric to help in absorbing excess projected light. It comes with the usual 1:1 gain to make sure the projected light stays as is. If you want to go overboard, you can go for the more expensive High Contrast Material version of the projector screen. It’s also available in Grey Material, Silver Material, and Woven Acoustic Material.
Though the projector screen is advertised as easy and quick to set up, it can actually take up to an hour or two to get it done, with the center balancing rod the most common area where people have had trouble with. You can watch how-to videos on YouTube to get an idea on how to install it. The STR-169120 is on the expensive side. But it’s worth every penny if you’re looking for the best projector screen that’s capable of handling 4K content.
Best motorized drop down 4K projector screen
If you want a traditional drop-down projector screen with more oomph than the Best Choice Products model, then we recommend breaking the bank for the Elite Screens Spectrum instead. Like Silver Ticket, Elite Screens is also one of the most popular names in the projectors scene.
One of their signature products is the Spectrum series of projector screens. They are available in different aspect ratios and diagonal sizes. For this list, we’ll focus on the Elite Screens Spectrum 100-inch projector screen that comes with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is HDR-ready, which translates to even more vibrant colors, and is able to handle 4K and Active 3D. Perfect if you missed out on watching the Sandra Bullock starred Gravity in 3D.
The screen – housed inside an all-steel bracket, along with the silent motor and infrared receiver – can be easily controlled with an infrared remote control. The bracket can be mounted on the ceiling or on the wall and comes in a black or white finish. Just pick whatever color suits your home theater setup.
By default, the Elite Screens Spectrum 100-inch projector screen comes with the “MaxWhite” matte screen material. It offers the standard 1:1 gain for optimum picture quality, mildew resistance, black backing to ensure no light passes through, and 180-degree viewing angle. That last bit may seem more impressive than 160 degrees, but you’ll hardly find any use for it. Well, unless you watch movies from odd and questionable positions. Like directly adjacent to the projector screen.
You can also go for the moiré-free “AcousticPro UHD” screen material. It has a 1:0 gain and is best used when you have an elaborate speaker system that needs to be placed behind the projector screen. If you’re looking for the best projector screen and money is not an issue, we definitely recommend grabbing an Elite Screens Spectrum 100-inch projector screen. It ships fully assembled, too, unlike the Silver Ticket model.
Best 100-inch traditional drop-down projector screen
Last but not the least we have another product from VIVO. If you’re looking for a traditional drop-down projector screen that has a 16:9 aspect ratio but not as expensive as Silver Ticket and Elite Screens products, then the VIVO PS-M-100 is for you.
Unlike the VIVO portable projector screen, the PS-M-100 is available in 16:9 aspect ratio, making it more ideal for watching movies at home (or in the office, if you have the guts). It comes with the usual 1:1 gain that helps in keeping the projected light stay as it is on the screen and the standard black backing that prevents light penetration.
The black borders also help in boosting the contrast and absorbing excess light for better quality. The PS-M-100 doesn’t exactly offer an eye-popping experience similar to the two 4K-ready 16:9 projector screens above, but it gets the job done. The screen easily retracts in and out of the bracket, which can be wall- or ceiling-mounted and can be locked in place if you don’t want to use the entirety of the screen.
The one downside to the PS-M-100 is that the screen sometimes comes out wrinkled, which could lead to slightly distorted images when watching movies. It’s not all that bad and the bottom pole helps in straightening out the screen. Still, it’s worth noting.
Obviously, the PS-M-100 isn’t as portable and easy to set up as its portable counterpart. You’re better off looking at other products if you’re looking for the best portable projection screen. Or, in other words, scroll up and give the VIVO 100-inch Portable Projector Screen a second look.
You might be tempted to simply use a white wall as your projector screen at home, especially after seeing that the really good ones don’t come cheap. But if you do that, you’re basically wasting the full potential of your projector – most especially if it’s a really expensive 4K projector. If you’re already invested in projectors as your entertainment medium, why not go all the way and buy a good projector screen?
Once again, the key to making the right choice when it comes to projector screens – portable or not – is knowing exactly which product fits your needs. Hopefully, we were able to help you nail down the projector screen of your choice.
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