How Do Short Throw Projectors Work?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated February 8, 2023

If you’ve ever asked, “How do short throw projectors work?” then you’re in the right place. Short throw projectors at a short distance to project an image onto a screen or surface. They’re meant to be put close to the screen, usually only a few feet. They can produce large images without casting shadows or requiring lots of space. Designed with a special lense that reduces the distance and still produce a high-quality image, the lens allows the projector to create an image at a wider angle than a traditional projector.

Projector technology has advanced to the point where some models require minimal distance to provide bright images. A short-throw model is an excellent option for those with small spaces who are still looking for a larger picture.


  • Short throw models allow you to project a higher image quality even when you’re stuck with a small room and little distance between the projector to screen.
  • Understanding how short-throw models work means understanding the relationship of the projector to screen distance and image size.
  • These models are best suited to be cinema projectors in apartments or anywhere else where space is an issue.

Multiple components determine the best projectors, from screen sizes to the type of projector lens used. Look that allows for a high-quality lens for a sharper image at a shorter distance.

Insider Tip

Ensure that your projector is the dominant light source in the room; otherwise, you may struggle to see the actual projection.

With short-throw projection, you can have the model far closer to the screen than you could with a regular throw projector. For more info on throw ratio projection, check out our resource article about what’s the difference between short-throw vs long-throw projectors. Various projectors have different strong points. To learn more, read our article comparing a 3D vs 3D ready projector.

Understanding Throw Distance in Projectors

To understand how short throw projectors work, you need to understand throw affects all projectors. Most models you look at will likely be standard throw projectors. This means the feet of throw distance is average, and the projector must be away from the screen to work. Basically, you should know what distance the projector should be from the screen


When changing the lamp in regular projectors, make sure you do not touch inner components, or the oil from your fingers could ruin them.

The throw is simply the distance between the projector lens and the screen. You’ll need to understand a few other components, like the definition of throw ratio. These combine into a bigger picture. Next, try asking, “How does a wifi projector work?” for a more comprehensive understanding.

Why Throw Ratio Matters

The throw ratio is found using a little bit of math. How far away the type of lens your projector uses can be away from the screen. There are a ton of different factors that come into play, however. Ambient light is still a concern, regardless of the throw ratio.

STAT: Most viewers do not notice differences as large as 30% in the image luminosity unless presented with a test image and asked to look for variations in brightness. (source)

Reasons for Owning Short Throw Models

There are a few reasons why owning a short-throw model is so desirable. Most people do not live in places that can host a traditional projector. For this reason alone, a short-throw model may be your only choice. The benefits of owning these projector models are extensive:

  • Ability to use your projector in small rooms
  • Minimal chance of obstructions from shadows
  • Allows for projection at a steep angle


How do I achieve a brighter image with high ambient light?

Ambient lighting presents a challenge for all types of projectors. The best way to beat ambient light is to dim or turn off every light source in the room. A standard projector may not have a high enough lumen count, so try to invest in an excellent laser projector.

What screens will short throw projectors work with?

Any projection screen should work just fine. The screen materials matter, but it’s more important to make sure the aspect ratio will fit the type of projectors you use.

How much do ultra-short-throw projectors typically cost?

While you can get a normal projector at a reasonable price, models with an ultra-short throw are expensive. They range between around a thousand dollars and a few thousand dollars.

What projector is best for me?

That depends on what usage you have in mind. There are a few different types of projectors out there. Here’s a list of projector types to give you an idea of what projectors are used for:

  • Business projector
  • Theater projectors
  • Gaming projector

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