How to Choose the Right Projector for Your Room

Where to Start

Welcome to the first part of our projector buying guide. Our aim is to help you make a smart choice when you are buying a projector. Whether you are setting up a home theater, a multimedia room, or you are a gaming fan, picking the right projector can make a big difference in your experience. In this article, we will briefly discuss some important points to consider regarding the room where you will be using the projector. Subsequent articles will delve into technical specifications worth considering, and even offer our top recommendations for projectors within these distinct categories.

Room Design & Purpose

The first question you should ask is what do you intend on using your projector for? Is it creating a cool home theater, setting up an awesome gaming spot, enjoying outdoor movies, or adding a big screen to your living room? Figuring this out helps to narrow down your choices, so you can pick a projector that best fits your needs. Here is a list of the most common room design concepts for projectors:

Dedicated Room:

  • Advantage of Dedicated Spaces:
    • Utilize controlled lighting to minimize ambient light
    • Emphasize other specifications over brightness
  • Dedicated Home Theater:
    • Prioritize image quality over excessive brightness for an immersive experience
    • Seek projectors with high contrast ratios and accurate color reproduction
  • Gaming Room:
    • Focus on low input lag and high refresh rates for smooth gameplay

Multi-Use/Bright Living Rooms:

  • Multi-Use Living Rooms or Versatile Spaces:
    • Seek high brightness levels to counter ambient light
    • Opt for adaptable projectors to suit different lighting conditions
    • Choose projectors with wide throw distance flexibility for adjustable image size
    • Ultra-short-throw projectors can be mounted near walls for space-saving large screens
  • Rooms with Significant Ambient Light:
    • Prioritize projectors with high brightness levels
    • Consider using an ambient light rejection (ALR) screen
    • The combination of a bright projector and ALR screen maintains a clear image despite lights or windows


  • Consider outdoor-specific features like a battery operated projector
  • Seek projectors with excellent brightness for daylight visibility
  • Prioritize portability and easy setup for outdoor use
  • Enjoy movies, sports, and content in open-air settings


Another important question to determine is what content you will be watching, as the type of content you plan to project will directly impact which of the projector’s specs should be prioritized.


  • Prioritize color, contrast, and resolution for cinematic home experiences
  • Opt for higher resolutions like Full HD or 4K for sharp images
  • Seek projectors with good color gamut coverage in spaces like Rec. 709 and decent Rec. 2020 color space coverage
  • Higher contrast ratios enhance depth in dark scenes


  • Focus on low input lag and fast refresh rates for responsive, immersive gaming
  • Low input lag reduces delay between actions and screen response
  • High refresh rates minimize motion blur in fast-paced gameplay
  • Choose projectors with good color and brightness for captivating visuals


  • Bright projectors maintain clarity in well-lit areas
  • Quick refresh rates add realism to sports action
  • High brightness ensures clear viewing even with ambient light


Having a clear idea of how much you want to spend is also important for narrowing down your choices. The price category that fits your budget will help you find a projector that offers the best balance between performance and affordability, ensuring an exceptional visual experience for your intended use. Here are some common price categories that can serve as valuable reference points to assist you in identifying the right projector for your specific requirements:

  • Toy – Under $150:
    • Small, basic projectors 
    • Designed for basic use and easy to carry
    • Lower resolutions and brightness, suitable for simple tasks and entertaining kids
    • Not ideal for high-end home theaters, but affordable and fun option
  • Budget projector $150 – $500:
    • Decent features with improved resolution, brightness, and connections
    • Suitable for budget-friendly home entertainment setups
    • Enhance viewing experience without high cost
  • Budget Home Theater – $500 – $1500:
    • For budget-conscious users wanting a dedicated home theater or media room
    • Higher resolutions, better brightness, and improved colors
    • Provides a cinematic experience at home, although not top-tier
    • Offers better visuals for those seeking a cinematic feel
  • Midrange Home Theater – $1500 – $5000:
    • Projectors in this range elevate home theater performance
    • Higher resolutions, excellent contrast ratios, and increased connectivity
    • Create stunning visuals with accurate colors
    • Ideal for movie enthusiasts and premium viewing experiences
  • High-End Projectors – $5000 and above:
    • Top-tier projectors with superior image quality, brightness, and advanced features
    • Perfect for luxury home theaters, offering unparalleled visual experiences
    • Ideal for demanding enthusiasts and professionals seeking exceptional quality and performance

Other Room Design Considerations

Permanent or Portable:

A permanent setup involves mounting the projector and arranging seating in a dedicated manner, often found in home theaters and gaming setups. On the other hand, a portable setup provides versatility, making it ideal for rooms with multiple functions or even outdoor gatherings. Keep in mind that portable projectors tend to be pricier due to the need for additional features like an operating system (such as Android TV) and a battery.

Screen or No Screen:

Next, choose between using a dedicated projection screen or projecting onto a blank wall. Opting for a high-quality projection screen enhances key aspects like brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness, creating a more immersive visual experience. However, be mindful of the added cost, size, and type (fixed, motorized, or portable) of the screen, and make sure it complements your room’s layout and your personal preferences.

Another option is to paint the screen onto the wall, which can be better than projecting onto a blank wall. See our article “How to build a $300 screen that performs like a $2000 one.”


Lastly, when arranging seating, make sure that everyone has a great view and is clear of the projected light path. Strategically position the seats to guarantee clear and unobstructed sightlines to the projected image. Avoid placing seats too close to the screen to prevent discomfort or distorted visuals, ensuring that everyone can fully enjoy the projected content.

Next Up

These basic ideas will help you understand the needs of your projector. Our next article will start to go over the important properties of projectors.

If you have any questions regarding which projector is right for you, or if you have any other home theater related questions, feel free to leave a comment or book some time with us. See more about it here, or by clicking below.

2 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Projector for Your Room

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  1. Thanks for this article. The room is the most important aspect when choosing a projector. High brightness pjs and ALR screens have made them more viable for those without dedicated rooms (especially purpose-built USTs with lenticular ALR screens), though pricey, 120” TVs are still no -existent and 100” OLED TVs are in the $25K range.

    1. I agree USTs have made it more viable to have a larger screen in multiuse rooms, so of them are super impressive. However, there are a decent amount of large format TVs 100+ that got announced at CEDIA this year. So keep an eye on that as I think they in a few years they will come down in price to be competitive when compared to decent quality USTs, but hey only time will tell.

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