Are you looking for a cinematic viewing experience, but don’t have the space for a traditional home theater projector? Maybe you live in a studio apartment or a dorm, and you don’t have the range necessary for a long-throw projector. Or maybe you need to do a presentation in class or at work and there are no projectors provided. In any of these circumstances, a short-throw projector is ideal. Short throw projectors provide a clearer and larger image in smaller spaces compared to those with long throws.
An Ultra Short Throw (UST) projector has a very wide angle lens with a throw ratio of less than 0.4, letting you place the projector just under or just above the screen. A key benefit is that anyone giving a presentation won’t need to stand in the beam of projected light and create shadows on the image. Another benefit is that it is easy to install and saves the cost and hassle of a ceiling mount.
What are short throw projectors?
You might hear the term “short throw projectors” and think that it would be used in a radically different context than a standard projector. But at the end of the day, a short throw projector provides all the same functionality. The big difference is that it doesn’t have to be as far away from the wall you’re projecting onto.
But don’t mistake this as a gimmick, or a luxury lacking utility. If you have a smaller space, such as an apartment, or a smaller room that you want to use for movies, a short throw projector can be great for recreating that home-theater experience with minimal fuss.
Your average short throw projector can give you a 100-inch picture when placed 3-5 feet away from the wall. Compare this to a standard projector, which often needs 10-13 feet, and you can immediately see the benefit of having a short throw projector.
10 Best short throw projectors 2020:
|VAVA 4K UHD||2500 lumen||23.81 lbs|
|BenQ TH671ST||3000 lumen||5.90 lbs|
|Epson EH-TW7100||2500 lumen||7.70 lbs|
|Optoma HD27e||3200 lumen||6.75 lbs|
|Samsung The Premiere||2200 lumen||24.9 lbs|
1. VAVA 4K UHD
For one thing, the VAVA has one of the shortest throw distances available. With it you can get a 100-inch display on your wall from just 7.2 inches away. The VAVA also supports HDR 10, so blacks are deep and dark and colors are bright and accurate.
While many projectors have speakers, they are usually subpar and will require external speakers anyway. The VAVA has an integrated Harman Kardon soundbar with 60 watts of power. That means you can get a pretty impressive sound in a compact package. Yes, you’ll still get better sound from a more robust setup, but the VAVA can also competently do the job on its own.
The VAVA has seven ports on the back for you to connect hard drives, computers, and Blu-ray players. It doesn’t support any casting technology, but you can always hook up an Apple TV or Roku to get the same experience.
In our view, the VAVA offers everything you would want in a home theater experience — without the setup.
- 4K resolution
- Short throw distance
- Powerful audio
2. BenQ TH671ST
BenQ offers its TH671ST short-throw projector. With a 1080p resolution and 3000 ANSI lumens, the TH671ST is a solid projector that outputs a high resolution and with lumens to match. It can withstand a considerable amount of ambient lighting.
And its low input lag makes the BenQ TH671ST a great choice for gaming. A 92% Rec. 709 rating ensures accurate colors. Capable of shooting a 100-inch image from five feet away, it’s perfect for plopping on a coffee table or ceiling mounting. Using BenQ’s QCast HDMI mirroring dongle, you can wirelessly stream content to the TH671ST. There’s vertical keystone correction for a perfectly rectangular image even at an angle. And a low 16ms input lag makes the TH671ST one of the best gaming projectors on the market.
Picture quality is great, and should satisfy most users. However, the BenQ HT2150ST boasts a 96% Rec. 709 rating for lifelike colors at the expense of lumens.
If you’re a gamer and need the low input lag or require high lumens for daytime viewing, the TH671ST is a better option. Cinephiles might critique its color reproduction which, while good, doesn’t match that of a home theatre projector like the HT2105ST. The TH671ST is an excellent all-around performer which is versatile enough to handle movies watching, live TV or sports, and gaming with equal grace.
- 1080p resolution
- 3000 ANSI lumens
- 92% Rec. 709
- Low input lag
- 100-inch image from just 5 feet away
- Color reproduction
- Black levels
It’s a shade pricey for an entry-level device but, make no mistake, this is the king of affordable 4K projectors. It’s easy to set up and install, and produces a picture that’s reminiscent of what you’ll get at the cinema.
You’ll get a great image right out of the box without needing to be any kind of expert at tinkering with the settings. All the preset modes are very well judged and it gives an excellent level of black depth and dark detail for a projector at this price. Colours are balanced and motion is naturally smooth.
That said, it’s as much the convenience of this machine that makes it so good. Bluetooth allows for direct connection with a wireless speaker or soundbar, and the high luminance means that it’s usable in moderately lit rooms. In other words, an AVR, speaker package and home cinema room are not entirely necessary. How’s that for a superb family projector?
- Excellent contrast handling
- Balanced, nuanced colour palette
- Good connectivity options
- No 4K motion processing
4. Optoma HD27e
The HD27e delivers a 1080P high resolution with a massive 3400 ANSI Lumens of brightness and 16:9 native aspect ratio. The design features dual HDMI inputs, MHL and a built-in 10W speaker for quick and simple setup. The 1920 x 1080 full HD produces sharp and detailed images from HD content without downscaling or compression, which makes this projector perfect for Blu-ray movies, HD broadcasting and playing video games.
The Optoma HD27e projector can display true 3D content from almost any 3D source, including 3D Blu-ray players and 3D broadcasting. The projector can last 15000 hours in the ECO+ mode, making the maintenance less expensive.
- Excellent color accuracy and high contrast
- Fast video gaming, with input lag, just 16.4ms
- 3,500-hour lamp life in Bright power mode; 12,00 hours with Dynamic Black on
- The 3D mode is customizable, with one predefined color mode plus a User a mode
- HDMI and HDMI/MHL are the only video signal inputs
- 1x zoom limits placement flexibility
After more than a decade since its last home cinema projector, Samsung has exploded back on the scene with The Premiere LSP9T projector.
This ultra short-throw beamer makes use of 4K HDR laser projection, with a three-color laser removing the need for a color filter and therefore allowing The Premiere’s 2,800 lumens brightness to really shine. Pictures are punchy and colorful, and Samsung’s world-first introduction of the HDR10+ format, which adds in scene-by-scene picture calibration in compatible films and TV shows.
This projector also benefits from full implementation of Samsung’s smart TV operating system, which – if a bit sluggish at times – is incredible to have on a projector over the basic and poorly organized interfaces we’re used to. The built-in 40W speakers are above par, too.
With a max 130-inch picture, a host of high-end and world-first technologies, and a TV operating system that fixes one of our main complaints about the best projectors available today, Samsung’s The Premiere is a knockout choice for a new home cinema projector.
- HDR10+ and 40W audio
- Full TV-style smart system
- Some rainbow effect
- OS can be sluggish
The Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is an option when you want a number of connection options on a device.
It produces 2,500 lumens, so it is still capable of producing a quality picture when some ambient light is in the room (although generally, we like the lumens to be at least 3,000 for playing during the day and the blinds up).
The contrast ration on the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is 2,500:1 while it has a projected image of 1280 by 800 (which would classify it as a 720 HD picture, which is on the lower end of high definition).
One of the benefits of the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is you only need to have it about four feet from the projection surface, which is good when you don’t have much space to work with.
- A wide range of inputs including USB, RCA, VGA, and HDMI
- 2,500:1 contrast ratio
- 48 to 80-inch projection size
- Sturdy and easy to set up
- Black detail could be better
The GT1080 Darbee short throw projector delivers stunning Full HD performance, deceptively simple operation, and incredible value. What a truly amazing experience! GT1080 Darbee short throw projector features bright to enhance your presentations. This projector also features native 1080p resolution and XGA (1024 x 768) capability. It is an ideal choice for those looking for a superior image in a more compact space.
GT1080 Darbee offers a screen ratio of 1.09, a native contrast ratio of 10000:1, 10 watts lamp output, correlated color temperature 2700k-6500k, zoom lens 1.1-1.8:1 autofocus variable with 2 x HDMI/MHL input.
The GT1080 Darbee from Epson is a full 1080p 3LCD projector with a feature list that promises to be first-class. The GT1080 operates in 2D and 3D modes with a contrast ratio of 30,000:1. Picture-in-Picture technology creates the illusion of an HDTV connected to your projector.
Stereoscopic 3D images appear crisp and clear as an active shutter glasses bar sends one image to the left eye, and the other to the right eye.
Whether you’re hosting a party or watching movies with friends, the GT1080D shows it in high definition on your wall or screen.
It’s very bright, the picture is clear and crisp, and the sound is plenty loud (though not super high quality). My only complaint is the short length cord that attaches to the computer and projects the image.
- Punchy colours
- Insightful detail
- Smooth motion
- Noisy at full power
ViewSonic PJD7828HDL is undoubtedly a widely popular device that transforms every room into a mini-theater with the help of DLP technology and 1080p native resolution. This short distance projector is backed by SuperColor technology that ensures accurate color production in not only all the images but also an extensive color coverage.
Experience breathtaking sharpness and brightness while watching movies or playing games, and the credit goes to the blend of 3200lumens and 22000:1 contrast ratio. With full HD 3D support, you can also explore many top-notch 3D movies like Avatar, Tron, Madagascar, and many more. While playing any multiplayer games, you will get an edge over other players because it comes with 16ms fast input latency that negates any delay.
By keeping in mind the need for users living in small apartments, ViewSonic has engineered with a throw ratio of 1.15-1.5:1, allowing you to achieve a large screen. Despite having a short throw distance, you can easily toggle between a 30inch and 300inch screen size to cater to different crowds.
The availability of wider zoom, 40-degree keystone correction, and flexible mounting facility make the setup and mounting process totally straightforward. If you are watching a movie alone or with your wife, then the inbuilt 10-watt speaker with Sonic expert will give you an exclusive audio experience.
- Top-notch image quality with excellent brightness
- It is ideal for multiplayer games
- Short throw lens
- Light black levels
- It doesn’t get full calibration
9. JVC DLA-N5
JVC’s D-ILA devices are some of the best home cinema projectors in the business. They offer exceptionally good contrast handling, effortless smooth colour blending and the best black levels around. The N5 may be the baby of this famed native 4K family but it’s still an absolute belter.
Its bigger, pricier siblings are better and blacker but there’s easily enough shading skill and depth of darkness even here to produce an incredibly involving and three-dimensional feel whether at 4K or Full HD. What’s more, JVCs ongoing upgrades to its HDR capabilities just make that picture better and better as time goes on.
The motorised lens, simple menu system and excellent choice of usable preset picture modes make it surprisingly easy to set up. It might not compete with the others here for value but it’s the best performing projector on this list.
- Deep blacks
- Excellent HDR handling
- Brilliant colour control
- Add-on required for 3D
- No full-screen SD upscaling
10. LG HF65LA
Compact yet competent, the LG HF65LA packs quite a punch. The short throw LED home theatre CineBeam projector features full 1080p resolution and 1000 ANSI lumens. LG bundles its Smart TV platform for a self-contained home theatre experience. As 4.3 inches, the LG HF65LA produces a 60-inch image while 15 inches from the screen results in a 100-inch picture.
Its LED lighting allows for up to 30,000 lamp life hours. There’s built-in Bluetooth for audio output to speakers or headphones. And wireless screen sharing lets you easily cast content from phones, tablets, and PCs.
The 1000 ANSI lumens is respectable, but could definitely be a bit brighter. It should be fine for dark room viewing and handles small amounts of ambient lighting. However, the picture will degrade under bright settings.
Still, the LG H65LA is a tiny yet mighty UST projector. LG’s webOS remains one of the best smart TV experiences on the market, and the H65LA sports an array of connectors including an RF antenna input for connecting an over-the-air (OTA) antenna for live television.
- Small form factor
- 1080p HD
- 1000 ANSI lumens
- 60-inch image from 4.3 inches, 100-inch image from 15 inches
- 30,000 hour lamp life
- Not ideal for viewing with lots of ambient lighting
How to choose the best short throw projectors
There are a few things you want to keep in mind when you’re choosing which short-throw projector is best for your needs. Here’s a break down of a few technical details to keep in mind while shopping.
- Throw distance: Throw distance is the minimum/maximum distance the projector can be from a surface to cast a desirable image. Short-throw projectors are nice because they don’t need as much space to display a large image as standard projectors. The average throw distance for a short-throw projector is around 4 feet or 1 meter, though some of the best can cast large images at much shorter distances. Our overall pick, for instance, can cast an image from just over 7 inches away.
- Lumens: Brightness is critical for projectors, determining how clear the image will be and how dark the room needs to be to properly see it. Brightness is measured in lumens, though ANSI lumens is a common measure in DLP (digital light processing) projectors.
- Resolution: Resolution naturally determines the clarity of the image. This is measured the same way it is on televisions and monitors. It’s important to read the fine print when shopping for projectors, however. Many will boast 4K or 1080p resolutions but are referring to the content the projector supports — different than the projector’s native resolution.
What Kind of Images Do You Plan to Show?
There are four basic kinds of images you can show on a projector: data, video, photos, and games. Any projector can show any kind of image, of course, but it’s important to understand that a given projector might handle one kind of image well without necessarily doing a good job with the others. Naturally, you’ll want a projector that does a good job with the kind of images you plan to throw.
Most models are sold either as data or business projectors, or as home theater, home entertainment, or video projectors. In addition, a small but growing number are sold as models for gameplay.
We hope our guide will pave the path for you to the most appropriate short throw projectors that you can easily install in your room. A short-throw device serves as the perfect option for entertainment in an apartment where space is a huge issue. Not only do they give you a top-of-the-line image quality, but also make sure you get the super-size viewing from a few feet away.