Best Projection Screen
When you're in the market to buy a projection screen, there are a few things you'll need to decide before you buy. Do you want a screen that you can mount to your wall or ceiling, or do you want something that is portable and can carry with you? Once you know what you're looking for there, then you have the option of a manual or electric screen. These are pretty self-explanatory, and while a manual screen is your only option if you're looking for something portable; the mounted screen gives you options of a pull-down spring loaded manual option or an electric screen that lowers and rises with the use of a remote control or wall switch.
After you've figured that out, you'll want to consider the fabric material of your screen and the two most important things to think about are Gain and Viewing Angle. These two items are related to one another; the higher the gain of your screen, the more your viewing angle is minimized. Gain measures the brightness of your screen and how much it reflects or absorbs the light coming from your projector. Most screens are rated around 1.0-1.3 Gain but there are screens that are rated lower and are best for use in rooms where ambient light can be controlled or shut off altogether. The brightness of your screen affects your Viewing Angle, in that depending upon where you sit in front of the screen, the image can be darker or brighter. The image can be much brighter in the middle of the projection and darker on the edges, so if you're seated to the side you'll be seeing a dimmer picture.
Finally, you'll need to decide what size screen you need. A square screen of 1:1 ratio is good for projected presentations, while a 4:3 video format ratio is great for projecting television and computer monitors. Then there's 16:9, which is the accepted ratio for letterbox and widescreen. HDTV's are the same ratio and best for high-def TV and motion pictures.
Best Projection Screen Overall:
With the high costs of owning a large HDTV, some people turn to a projector and screen setup for their home theater which can allow for a much larger screen for considerably less money; as well as the appeal of having a “movie theater” setup. Buying a good quality projector is only one part of the equation with the screen also being extremely important to get the most out of your viewing experience.
We chose the following projection screens based on their outright performance in even less-than-ideal light conditions; although most setups require a dark room to perform their best, in most home theaters it isn’t realistic to have complete darkness all the time. We’ve focused on screens available in a 16:9 aspect ratio, as this matches most currently available content.
Although specific sizes are mentioned, most of our review content can be applied to the same screens in different versions. The following screens were chosen for their performance regardless of price, but we have included screens demonstrating it’s not always necessary to spend thousands of dollars for high end performance and premium manufacturing quality.
With picture quality comparable to screens costing substantially more, this Silver Ticket projector screen is an excellent overall choice. Although it might not match the outright performance of some high-end models, it offers an ideal combination of performance and price perfect for the average home theater. Read Full Review
If you’re looking for reference-level performance, look no further than Stewart’s StudioTek 130 G3. Both this brand and this particular screen material have established an excellent reputation allowing them to be some of the best-selling amongst custom installers. Although you’ll pay a premium, this projector screen is an excellent choice for those for whom budget is no object. Read Full Review
As one of the only screens that can truly be used both in the family room and in a dedicated home theater alike, the Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge easily justifies its high price tag. Offering a solid viewing experience, this screen is even more impressive for its slim bezel and sleek TV-like appearance when not in use. Read Full Review
The Seymour-Screen Excellence Reference Series Enlightor-4K is one of the best acoustically transparent screens currently available. It’s expensive but manages to mostly overcome many of the issues commonly seen with acoustically transparent screens. That being said, this screen won’t be for everyone but it’s an excellent choice for those willing to pay money for an experience close to a real movie theater. Read Full Review
This affordable portable projection screen is an excellent choice for business or classroom presentations, outdoor movie screenings, and even for casual home theater use. The Epson Duet Ultra Portable allows for choosing between a 4:3 or a 16:9 setup, and comes with an included tripod and wall bracket. Read Full Review
Best Budget Projection Screen:
For well under $500, you can find a durable projection screen which is easy to set up with good picture quality. Although not every budget-friendly screen will produce a theater-quality image, it’s not impossible to find screens suitable for casual home theaters and business presentations. We’ve included a mix of options, ranging from fixed screens meant for the home theater to portable and retractable screens used for a variety of applications.
The following projection screens all offer crisp, detailed images and accurate colors with textures. We’ve placed importance on ease of assembly as well, with all picks being easy to put together and install; this saves time, headaches, and minimizes damaging the screen material while setting it up.
Other than their obvious value for money, each of the following picks offers performance and durability comparable to screens costing considerably more. This is thanks to quality materials and solid construction to prevent your screen from wearing out prematurely.
If you’re looking for top value for your home theater, this projector screen from Silver Ticket is an excellent choice. With performance comparable to screens running thousands of dollars, this entry-level screen is a bargain at around $200. Read Full Review
The versatile Elite Screens Sable Frame in CineWhite offers a combination of excellent performance and a budget-friendly price. Assembly is a bit more of a chore than with the Silver Ticket projection screen we have recommended, but performance is comparable. Read Full Review
If you’re looking for an affordable projection screen that can be used both for business or classroom presentations and for spontaneous entertainment viewing, the Epson Duet Ultra Portable is an excellent choice. This portable screen offers the versatility of being able to choose between a 4:3 or a 16:9 setup, making it suitable for a variety of content. Read Full Review
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly screen that’s both versatile and retractable, the Elite Screens M85UWS1 is a good option. This 85-inch screen offers solid image quality and can be used for everything from the home theater to business and classroom presentations. Read Full Review
The image quality of the Goo Systems GooToob arguably has the potential to be better than simpler budget-friendly projection screens, but the effort required to install it and the difficulty associated with moving it make it difficult to recommend to a wider audience. However, if you’re interested in a DIY option which provides excellent surface to use with your projector, this is an affordable choice. Read Full Review