TL:DR – These are the Best Gaming Projectors:
1. Optoma UHD60
Best Gaming Projector
The Optoma UHD60 offers the best value available for a 4K projector. For $1,600 you get a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution picture that can be up to 300-inches in size.
With 3,000 lumens of brightness, it’ll also overcome almost any ambient light in your living room. Meanwhile, the projector’s 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio will help dark areas of the image dark. You can’t really ask for a more versatile or value-packed gaming projector for this price.
2. BenQ HT2150ST
Best Budget Gaming Projector
BenQ has been a stalwart in the projector industry for years. The HT2150ST is the updated version of the excellent HT2050, and the ST indicates it is a short-throw model needing only 5 feet to project a 100-inch picture. At that distance, you can have the projector placed in front of you and not worry about any shadows on the screen.
The 2,200 lumens provides plenty of light in a moderately bright room and, paired with its 15000:1 contrast ratio, will look stunning in a dark room. The best thing about the HT2150ST for gamers is its low input lag. When set to Game Picture Mode with Fast Mode enabled, lag is comparable to a television. It has excellent performance for the price, too.
3. JVC DLA-NX5
Best 4K Gaming Projector
The JVC DLA-NX5 is the true 4K projector to get If you’re setting up an epic home theater and you want the biggest and best-looking picture possible. Sporting a native 4,096 x 2,160 resolution, you can make your picture as big as you want without having to worry about losing detail.
You also get one of the highest contrast ratios of 40,000:1 out of any projector from this unit, so you’ll be able to experience darker blacks. It’s 1,800-lumen peak brightness doesn’t make this the brightest projector we’ve ever seen, but it’s more than enough to make flashes of light in games and movies pop.
4. BenQ TK800M
Best Budget 4K Gaming Projector
4K projectors are still pretty pricey compared to 4K TVs, but if you’re trying to go big on a budget the BenQ TK800M (read our review) is your best option. It’s a little more affordable than most 4K units at $1,300, but you still get 10-bit color and HDR support.
What’s more, this budget projector outputs 3,000 lumens so it’ll work in most rooms even ones that are well lit. The BenQ TK800M’s rated contrast ratio of 10,000:1 might be significantly lower than other projectors, but it has the latest a dynamic 0.47-inch DLP chip and a dynamic iris to strike the right balance between brightness and contrast while presenting rich colors.
5. Sony VPL-VW695ES
Best High-End Gaming Projector
There are plenty of 4K projectors on the market now, but Sony is one of the few companies that actually produce a true 4k projector. Most “4K projectors” use a pixel shifting (which involves flashes images multiple times) to simulate a 4K picture). the Sony VPL-VW695ES’ native 4,096 x 2,160 pixels is far more impressive than the blown-up 1080p picture that most “4K units” produce
The 695ES supports HDR10 and HLG (for when the content actually becomes available). For gaming though, the input lag reduction option is only available in SDR. It only has a dynamic contrast ratio of 350,000:1 and a light output of 1800 lumens, so it’s best in a room with minimal ambient lighting. But if you’re spending nearly $10,000 on a projector, chances are your room is a dedicated theater with little to no ambient light bleed.
6. Epson Home Cinema 2040
Another Great Option
The Epson Home Cinema 2040 is very close in image quality to the BenQ HT2150ST but is less expensive and isn’t a short throw projector. You’ll need around 9 feet of space to project a similar-sized image to the BenQ. It also has 2200 lumens of light output making it suitable for most room setups. Its dynamic iris—that adjusts the contrast continually based on the picture on your screen—can get as high as 35000:1. The input lag is higher than the BenQ, sitting in the high 20ms range, but if fast first-person shooters aren’t your cup of tea it might be worth saving a couple of hundred dollars over the BenQ.
7. EUG Multimedia Projector
Best Ultra Cheap Gaming Projector
If the BenQ and Epson are a little too expensive for you, the EUG is a good entry-level option into the world of projection gaming at a price lower than a lot of televisions. It’s very bright at 3600 lumens and you could even bring it outside for movie nights. But the lower price does lead to some compromises, namely its native resolution is 1280×800 and the contrast ratio is only 3500:1.
8. Sony VPL-HW45ES
A Step-up with 3D
The Sony VPL-HW45ES has excellent picture quality with very deep blacks. With its input lag reduction turned on the lag reduces to only 22ms. The drawback is its max light output is only 1800 lumens. If you don’t have a dark gaming room this is not the choice for you. But if you have a room where you can control the ambient light with shades or curtains, and you’re looking for a projector with fantastic picture quality and 3D viewing support, the 45ES is a terrific option.
What to Look for in a Projector for Gaming
When looking to buy any display—be it a computer monitor, a flat-panel television, or a projector—there are basic specifications to keep in mind. Color accuracy, contrast ratio, and resolution combine to create a true-to-life and engaging image.
With gaming, another primary concern is a low input lag on the projector so you can be the frag-er and not the frag-ee. We recommend aiming for something below 35ms. There are of course a few more important necessities to keep in mind when it comes to projectors.
The room you plan to have your projector in, and more specifically the amount of ambient light in that room, can drastically affect image quality. If the projector doesn’t output enough light, measured in lumens, the ambient light in the room can cause the picture to look washed out and dull. You’ll lose definition in the blacks and colors won’t seem as vivid. If your room lets in a lot of light you’ll want a projector that outputs around 2500 lumens or more. A light-controlled room will be fine with a 1500-2000 lumen projector. No matter what avoid any unnecessary direct light on the displayed surface.
That displayed surface is another concern. While it is completely possible to display your projector on to a white wall, color and contrast will be affected. There are fixed (non-retractable) options like the Silver Ticket 100-inch STR-169100, and there are screens that are mounted to a separate stand that sits in front of a wall, or products for painting a screen surface directly onto your wall.
Having the screen sit in front of a wall causes you to lose a couple of feet of space, which is not ideal if space is at a premium. The paint option is a cool alternative for small living rooms but can be messy and finicky to apply. Plus, if you move it’s difficult to take the entire wall with you. If you can afford it, we recommend just using a fixed screen.
Where you put your projector can also drastically affect your gaming experience. If it sits in a low position directly behind your couch you’ll need to sit to one side to avoid any unintentional MST3K shadows. Plenty of ceiling mounts, like the VIVO Universal Mount, are available for under $20, but be aware you’ll need to think about how you’re going to run power and signal cables.
Projectors have a throw range that determines how near or far they need to be from the screen. If your room depth is limited, a short-throw projector needs only around four or five feet of distance to project a 100-inch diagonal image on the screen or wall.