Projectors have been a home theater option for decades. Unfortunately, they weren’t always practical. If you had the massive amount of space required to use a projector in the first place, you’d have to shell out thousands of dollars for a decent model.

Fortunately, times are different. Short throw projectors make it easy for anyone to turn their home into an immersive home theater or gaming experience. Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know about short throw projectors and help you find the best option for your needs.

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Optoma GT1080

Our Rating

Best Overall

Price: See Here

LG  PF1000UW

Our Rating

Best Ultra Short Throw

Price: See Here

THE BEST VALUE

VIVIBRIGHT GP100

Our Rating

Best Budget

Price: See Here

What is a Short Throw Projector?

A short throw projector is a projector that’s capable of projecting the image onto the screen at a much smaller distance.

Traditional long throw projectors require about 12.5 feet of space between the projector and the screen surface to produce a 100-inch image on the screen. That amount of clearance is impractical for many people.

Short throw projectors require much less space to operate. The same 100-inch image from our example above would only need 5 feet or less space between the projector and the screen.

Plus, since they operate at shorter distances, you don’t have to worry about people walking in front of the screen.

Ultra Short Throw Projectors

Shorter still, these projectors are capable of working in even tighter quarters. Ultra short throw projectors only require about 2.5 feet or less to produce a 100-inch image on the screen.

Are Short Throw Projectors Better Than the Alternatives?

While the best projector for you will depend on your needs, short throw and ultra-short throw projectors can be more versatile than long throw projectors. If you’re looking to be able to use the projector virtually anywhere, a short throw projector is your best bet.

But, if you’re looking for the most affordable option, a long throw projector may be a better choice.

Resolution: 1080p or 4K?

The short answer to this question is a 4K projector will provide a superior picture. But, there’s a bit to unpack here.

4K projectors create an image that’s made up of four times as many pixels as a 1080p projector. While that may seem like a massive difference, it can be difficult to spot the difference between these two screen resolutions.

But, the difference in resolution becomes more noticeable on larger screens. If you’re planning on projecting a 60-72-inch image, a 1080p projector will probably be more than sufficient for your needs. On the other hand, if you plan on projecting a 100 inch or larger image, a 4K projector will be noticeably superior.

Setting Up a Short Throw Projector

Once you’ve selected a projector, setting it up correctly is going to be critical to achieving a great looking image on your screen. The first thing you’ll want to do is take advantage of any smart capability, if applicable.

Smart Capability

Many projectors are compatible with a variety of apps from the most popular streaming services. This will allow you to play content from Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV and other applications right from the projector.

Optimizing Image Quality

When setting up the projector, there are some things you’ll need to do to get a great picture. First, you’ll need to calculate the throw distance for your screen size.

Every projector has a different screen ratio you’ll need to account for. Your owner’s manual will give you exact measurements on how far away to place your projector to achieve the desired screen size.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want the height of your projector to be equal to the bottom of your screen, and you’ll want to place the projector directly in the center of the bottom edge of the screen.

Once you’ve placed the projector, you can adjust the focus and zoom of the image to achieve the optimal parameters for your screen.

SmartHomeGearGuide

Short Throw
Projector

Category

Editor's Pick

The Optoma GT1080 delivers incredible picture quality, short throw distance, and incredibly low lag time which makes it a strong choice for the best overall ST projector.

Thanks to Brilliant Color technology, the GT1080 offers incredibly vivid colors, bright whites, and dark blacks. It also features several different picture modes which help you dial in optimal settings for everything from movies and sports to gaming.

The GT1080 produces up to 166-inch picture size, and it generates a 100-inch picture from 3.5 feet, making it a strong choice for people with size constraints.

Best of all, this model is priced affordably, so you’ll be able to enjoy a top-quality projector without breaking the bank.

Pros

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    Short throw distance
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    Crisp and vivid picture
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    Affordable
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    Multiple picture modes - Ideal for cinema and gaming

Cons

  • No lens shift
  • Some discrepancies in picture quality at shorter throw distances

Category

Short Throw
Projector

SmartHomeGearGuide

Best Value

Finding a budget-priced HD projector is easier said than done. With most quality projectors going for well upwards of $500, it’s difficult to find a quality alternative without breaking the bank. Fortunately, the GP100 from Vivibright provides a sharp picture at moderate throw distances, while also packing some high-end features you can’t usually find at this price point.

With its 1.45:1 throw ratio, this projector just squeaks into the short throw category, but it’s still a viable option for most home theater applications. It’s 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and vivid color range provide a sharp picture at 1280x800. While this isn’t a full HD 1080p projector, the resolution and picture quality is still impressive given its sub $200 price point.

Manual focus and lens adjustments allow you to dial in the optimal picture settings for your environment, which makes this a great budget choice for the modest home theater enthusiast.

Pros

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    Affordable
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    3,000-hour lamp
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    Plug and play compatibility with Amazon Fire and other smart devices

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Dolby audio 
  • Noisier than high-end models

If you’re looking for an immersive home theater experience in a small place, the PF1000UW from LG is one of the best choices on the market.

This projector is sure to be a favorite of smart device enthusiasts as it comes loaded with LG’s Smart TV Web 3.0 technology. You’ll be able to access all of your favorite apps directly from the PF1000UW’s remote control. It also features wireless screen sharing technology. Bluetooth audio allows you to connect this projector to most existing home theater systems wirelessly.

As for the picture, the PF1000UW offers 1080p resolution, a 150,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,000 lumens brightness. It produces a 60-inch image from a remarkable 4.3 inches away, and a 100-inch image from 15 inches away. This makes this projector a favorite of people with small spaces, and it virtually eliminates people walking in front of the screen. 

Pros

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    Remarkably small throw distance
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    Sharp, vivid picture
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    LG Smart TV Web 3.0 enabled
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    Bluetooth audio

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Shows some rainbow artifacts

If you’re looking for a top of the line home theater experience, you’ll want to check out the Optoma UHD60, which is one of the best 4k options on the market.

This true 4K projector offers industry-leading picture quality thanks to its HDR10 compatibility. Dynamic Black technology offers an incredible 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Even the most difficult to please home theater enthusiasts are going to be impressed with the image quality and sharpness of the UHD60. The UHD60 is also remarkably quiet compared to most of its competition.

Vertical lens shift and zoom adjustments allow the user to dial in optimal picture settings for their environment.

While most 4K projectors cost upwards of $3,000, this model from Optoma allows you to enjoy 4K quality for a price that’s more in line with a high end 1080p projector.

Pros

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    True 4K resolution 
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    Quiet operation
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    Surprisingly affordable for 4K

Cons

  • Higher than average input lag - not ideal for gaming

Performance gamers are even more demanding than home theater enthusiasts when it comes to picture quality and image lag. Fortunately, the BenQ HT2150ST delivers impressive image quality with virtually no lag, which is a dream scenario for the gaming aficionado.

This projector delivers microsecond DMD response and 16.67ms low input lag speeds, which provides a gaming experience that’s second to none. Multiple game mode settings allow players to dial in the ideal settings for every gaming scenario, making this projector even more well suited for gaming than it’s competition.

The image quality of the HT2150ST is crisp and clear, thanks to CinematicColor technology. This projector covers 96% of the REC.709 color spectrum, for cinema quality color reproduction in every scenario.

Gamers are going to appreciate the high-quality twin 10w speakers inside the projector, which are further improved with the BenQ CinemaMaster Audio Enhancer. The speakers offer crisp highs and dynamic bass and are especially well suited to gaming.

Pros

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    Ultra low lag 
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    Crisp picture and dynamic color reproduction
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    Quality onboard speakers
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    Up to 7,000-hour lamp life

Cons

  • Ambient light effects picture quality
  • No lens shift adjustment

The Overall Winner

While each of these projectors we’ve covered would make a great addition to your home theater or gaming repertoire, we believe that one projector delivers a bit more than the competitors.

The Optoma GT1080 delivers a remarkably sharp picture at an extremely short throw distance, making this projector a strong choice for any room, regardless of size.

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