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4K is here to stay, and you’re likely looking to update your current home theater setup with one of the best 4k projectors on the market today. Why is that, you might ask? It’s because there is a wide range of projector screens, screen sizes, built-in speakers, and features available on many of the top-rated projectors with 4K.
However, buying a new 4K projector can be a little intimidating, especially considering the average price tag, but here at Gadget Review, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. For something a bit more budget-friendly, consider the best cheap projector. We purchased the top 15 4K ultra HD projectors to put them through the movie and gaming test to see which is best for you and your home theater.
We tested specifically for image quality, HDR compatibility, color ranges, and more during our testing. We watched countless movies and played our share of video games to find the best projector. Plus, one of these projectors will completely eliminate the need for a big screen in your home. Be sure to plan ahead and determine what throw distance you’ll need for your projector, from the best model with long throws to the best short throw projector. And, you’ll want to look at the brands with these features, like the leading NEC projectors, the best BenQ projectors, and the top-rated Sony projectors.
After over 100 hours of testing and eliminating the 5 projectors that didn’t meet our expectations, we can confidently say that the Optoma UHD60 is the best 4K projector of 2020. With its ultra-high contrast ratio, brightness, and long-lasting bulb, this 4K projector will run strong in any kind of lighting and entertainment scenario. Keep reading to learn more about the UHD60 and the other 9 4K projectors on our list. By the end of this list of best projectors on the market, you’ll have the perfect fit for your home.
Award: Best 4K Projector
Features: Native 4K resolution, 15,000-hour lamp life, HDR10 compatible
WHY WE LIKE IT: When writing this list, we were on the lookout for the best 4K projector that struck a nice balance between cost, features, portability and performance.
Even though the UHD60 may not have all the bells and whistles of super high-end projectors, it’s able to pack in most of what we love all while coming in at around $1,600 at the time of this review. This is definitely one of the best home theater projectors on our list.
Related: Check our list of the best 3D projectors.
The Optoma UHD60 packs in all the features you could want out of a 4K projector. This 4K ultra HD projector features an awesome 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, which keeps bright scenes clear and dark scenes detailed while boasting an impressive 3000-lumen brightness rating. This is plenty of brightness for both dark and light viewing environments, ensuring you’ll have the best experience no matter what time of day. Plus, it also makes for a great projector for artists, especially with the high-quality detail you get. Moreover, set this projector up in your living room, or set it up in your bedroom. Either way, you’ll have a high-quality image. Although, for an even higher-quality image, you’ll want to check out the leading laser projectors.
For these reasons and so many more, we’re naming this our best 4K projector of 2020. Your living room will rival any movie theater in no time.
Award: Best 4K Projector for the Money
Features: Native 4K resolution, HDR content support, 3500 lumens | Read Full Review: ViewSonic 4K Projector
WHY WE LIKE IT: The ViewSonic 4K projector beats the lumen rating of the Optoma UHD60 at 3500. However, the blacks were shown to come off just a bit lighter than we liked in tests due to their weaker contrast ratio.
All that aside, when you consider its sub-$1000 price tag, it’s easy to forgive those slight missteps to make this the best budget 4K projector you’ll find on shelves. The ViewSonic projector is the perfect entry point for the budding 4K projector enthusiast on a budget. This could also make a fairly good portable projector as well, just like the Sony MP CD1 projector.
Related: Discover key features of the best business projectors.
Sure, the ViewSonic may not have the best contrast ratios or deepest blacks, but when you consider the price, all those minor sins are easily forgiven. This ultra-high definition projector is a solid all-arounder for the beginner in 4K projection, someone who isn’t sure that they’re ready to drop an arm and a leg but still wants to become a part of the 4K projector elite.
Features: 2200 lumen rating, 30,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a 2200-lumen rating, HDR compatibility for true color representation, and a 30,000:1 contrast ratio, the BenQ HT3550 is a great choice for gamers and home theater enthusiasts alike.
The HT3550 is a sleek-looking projector with a performance to match. With a super-wide color gamut, native 4K resolution, and a high contrast ratio, this projector is perfect for playing video games.
Unfortunately, like the BenQ EP5920 digital projector, the HT3550 projector isn’t as bright as others on our list, which is why the HT3550 takes the third spot on this list. However, you’ll likely play games in the dark, eliminating this problem. The fan also gets quite noisy during intense gaming sessions, but if you’re rocking your gaming headset, you won’t even hear it. For all these reasons, the BenQ HT3550 takes the #3 spot for the best-performing 4K projector.
While we wished there were more models out there that we could use to crown the best 4K projector, there’s no denying that everything Sony is offering today can still project an image that’s off the charts in terms of quality, color richness, and the overall experience of seeing 4K blown up to real home theater proportions. And, while 4K is the best, 1080p can also provide excellent quality, as you’ll find in our DR. J Professional HI-04 1080p review.
Whatever projector you choose on this list, you’re guaranteed to have a movie-watching experience unlike anything else out there today. If you’re on a budget, the ViewSonic 4K projector will get the job done, and if you want to splurge on the best of the best, the Sony VPLVW385ES is lying in wait. No matter what, the 4K revolution is here, and these are the projectors that will keep you prepared no matter what movies, games, or TV shows you throw their way. If none of the projectors on this list look right for you, take a look at the LG Cinebeam to compare. Or, visit our LG HU80KA 4K UHD review for another great option.
What about 4K Content and 4K devices?
One of the biggest problems that many 4K consumers run into is jumping the gun on buying their projector (or flatscreen) before finding out whether or not they actually have a system that’s capable of displaying 4K in the first place. The more pixels an image has, the more processing power it takes to get it to play smoothly. You’ll need either a 4K media player or a high-powered PC/laptop with a beefy GPU to handle anything you want to pipe into the projector itself.
There are a few ways to watch 4K content right now: Netflix and Amazon streaming, YouTube (any video with the “4K” option under resolution settings), DirecTV or DISH, and UHD 4K Blu-Ray players. Before you get a 4K projector, be sure you have at least one of the devices mentioned above that can be hooked up to the projector so you can enjoy your content at its absolute best.
What about Throw Distance?
As we mention in the next section, currently, no 4K projectors on the market use a short-throw lens. This means that if you want to project your image larger than at least 80″ across, be certain to double-check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the amount of space you’ll need between where you plan to mount or house your device and the placement of the screen in your home theater.
With 4K, every little detail of your media that might otherwise be obscured by 1080p resolution becomes a lot more vivid when you up the ante. This means you’ll want a device that’s at least capable of displaying at 30fps (frames per second), but optimally you’ll want to shoot for 60fps if you can get it. You can read about one with similar frame rates in our Epson Home Cinema 5050UB review.
This is measured in a metric known as “lumens,” and it’s important to note that most 4K projectors are still struggling in this department (the brightest we have currently is 1800 lumens). If you plan on putting your 4K projector in a room that has a lot of ambient light coming in through the windows during the day, you’d be better off sticking with a 1080p option (like the Epson Home Cinema 1440 or the TMY V08 720p native projector) that can handle it. But this point is moot if you only plan to watch it at night.
Last, there are now a handful of “true” 4K projectors – it was just Sony for years. JVC and Epson 4K projectors used to be “pseudo” 4K projectors, which is to say they could not accept 4K content, and the signal has to jump through a lot of hoops to be upscaled, and even then, what you get isn’t an actual 4K image like you’d see on a similar flatscreen. But now that’s changed in the last few years with a number of the big brands (and small) offering affordable 4k capable projectors.