Looking for the ultimate big-screen thrills? We’ve picked out the best projectors from £300 to £5,999
Big-screen TVs are ten a penny these days, but what if you hanker after something greater, something bigger and better? A projector might be just the box-office ticket.
Modern models are cheaper and better than you’d think and can create huge images far bigger than the equivalently priced LCD or OLED TV. But which one should you buy?
Here you’ll find our selection of the best projectors you can buy in the UK, from portable marvels to home theatre beasts, all tried and tested – and if you’re not sure what features you should be looking for, read on to get the lowdown with our handy buyer’s guide.
Best projectors: At a glance
- Best budget projector: Yaber V7 Pro | £300
- Best budget projector for streaming: Epson CO-FH02 | £525
- Best affordable portable projector: XGIMI Mogo 2 Pro | £529
- Best budget 4K projector: Epson EH-TW6150 | £699
- Best 4K gaming projector: Optoma UHD55 | £1,299
- Best mid-range 4K projector: XGIMI Horizon Ultra | £1,649
How to choose the best projector for you
To the untrained eye, one projector usually looks much like another. However, there’s a whole world of technology inside these often plain-looking boxes.
First, resolution. If you’re looking for a projector to watch movies, then make sure the model you buy is Full HD (with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080). You will come across plenty of cheaper office or portable projectors, but they’ll have limited resolutions of 800 x 600, 800 x 480, 1,280 x 720 or 1,024 x 768. As such, they might be fine for showing PowerPoint slides or streaming Netflix in the garden, but for sports, games and home cinema use, you really need to be able to watch 1080p content at the native resolution. Make Full HD your minimum spec.
If you want a 4K projector, then expect to pay more. True 4K projectors with a native 4K resolution still carry a high price premium, with even the cheaper options coming in somewhere north of £3,000. However, there’s a growing number of “4K-enhanced” projectors, such as the BenQ W2700 or the Optoma UHD38m, which simulate 4K by using pixel-shifting techniques with a 1080p resolution panel. Purists will tell you that these aren’t really 4K, but the technology has reached a point where it’s near impossible to make a distinction – unless you have native and 4K enhanced models running side by side. Even then, you might find it a challenge.
What’s the difference between DLP and LCD projectors?
Most modern home-theatre projectors are based on one of two technologies: DLP and LCD. Of these, DLP projectors are the most common, the most compact and tend to deliver the most bang per buck, while LCD projectors tend to be bulky and slightly more expensive.
DLP projectors do have a downside, though. As most display colours sequentially use a spinning, segmented colour wheel (there’s the odd exception to this rule), they suffer from what’s called the “rainbow effect”, where small areas of the image appear to splinter into small rainbows when you shift your gaze from one side of the screen to the other. Some people are less sensitive to this than others, though, so if you haven’t experienced a DLP projector, make sure you get a demo before spending your money.
If you want the very best quality, however, a laser light source projector is what you want. Laser light source projectors – typically combined with a three-LCD image engine – deliver the best contrast and brightness but cost anywhere upwards of £2000 and often significantly more.
Do I need optical zoom and lens shift?
After resolution and technology, the most important consideration is your room and how you’re going to set up and connect the projector. Here, you need to consider throw distance (how far you place the projector from the screen for a given screen size), optical zoom and lens shift capabilities, all of which will have an impact on projector placement.
Optical zoom allows you to enlarge or reduce the screen without moving the projector, while lens shift lets you move it up, down, left and right without losing quality – or moving the projector physically. The cheaper the projector, the more limited these options will be.
If space is really tight, you might want to consider a short throw or ultra-short throw projector, which can create big images on your screen or wall from incredibly short distances – as little as 10cm for a 50in image in some cases. The downside is the projected image tends to suffer more from geometric distortion.
Other things to consider:
- Lamp life: Most cheaper projectors rely on UHP or metal halide lamps. These have a limited lifespan and their brightness deteriorates over time, so need to be replaced. LED light-sources last the whole lifespan of the projector, but projectors that use them often can’t deliver the same brightness levels as projectors with traditional lamps. Laser projectors give you the best of both worlds, with high brightness levels, excellent contrast and LED-like lifespans.
- Brightness: This is rated in ANSI lumens, with typical home cinema projectors hitting between 2,000 and 4,000 lumens. Projectors are now increasing brightness levels in order to do a better job of covering the wider colour gamuts used in 4K HDR content, and produce more convincing HDR effects. Bear in mind, however, that boosting brightness levels often comes at the expense of black-level response and darker tones, increases energy consumption and decreases lamp lifespan.
- Noise: Most projectors have fans inside and not all are particularly quiet. How quiet a projector is should be a major consideration, especially if you’re going to position it near to where you sit.
- Streaming features: Lots of projectors now ship with built-in media streaming features, allowing you to watch content from the likes of Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon without connecting up a streaming stick or box. However, the hardware and software isn’t always as powerful or up-to-date.
- Gaming features: Projectors are embracing the latest gaming consoles in a big way, with support for 4K resolutions, high 120fps or 240fps refresh rates, low latency gaming modes and more. If you’re massively into gaming, playing through a projector can make the experience incredibly immersive.
How we test projectors
We test all projectors by setting them up from scratch in a darkened room with an 80 to 100in screen. Where a projector has built-in streaming features, we install a range of Android apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Disney+. Where projectors lack such features, we plug in a Roku 4K Streaming Stick already set up with those apps. We then use the projector to watch a range of test material, including blockbuster movies, popular streaming series, and drama or documentary shows, to see how well the projector handles them. We’ll also use any built-in Chromecast features to cast 1080p or 4K video directly from a tablet or smartphone. We also run additional tests with premium 1080p and 4K projectors, using 4K Blu-ray discs to see how they handle high-quality sources, then a PS5 console to check any high-refresh modes or gaming features.
We also test any built-in speakers at low, medium, and high volume levels, and run the projector on battery power, where available, to see how long the battery lasts. Finally, we use a colorimeter mounted on a tripod, 30cm from the screen, to check the brightness and contrast levels, along with colour accuracy and colour depth.
READ NEXT: Best cheap projector
The best HD and 4K projectors you can buy in 2024
1. Sony VPL-XW5000ES: Best 4K Projector
Price when reviewed: £5,999 | Check price at AV.com You will note that, at nearly £6,000, the VPL-XW5000ES is at least twice the price of any other 4K projector on this list. The reason why is its superlative image quality and native 4K resolution. When other similarly-equipped projectors can cost north of £10,000, you could even see the Sony as a bargain.
The VPL-XW5000ES combines Sony’s 4K SXRD panel and a 2000 Lumens laser phosphor light source, which, along with wide dynamic range optics and its Triluminos Pro colour processing, gives a 4K image so crisp and colour-rich that you could soon forget about the price tag. Throw in the X1 Ultimate Processor, with HDR Remaster and Dynamic HDR Enhancer processing, and you get the kind of picture quality that wouldn’t disgrace your local cinema.
In fact, there’s a good chance that it’s better – the image is exceptionally clean and detailed, with accurate colours, deeper blacks, and better contrast than you will find on any comparable DLP or LCD projector. Brighter HDR content looks particularly punchy, and it’s a fine choice for games as well as movies, with support for 120Hz frame rates at 1080p and impeccable motion handling. If you’re ready to step into the world of serious home cinema, this is the ideal way in.
Read our full Sony VPL-XW5000ES review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: Infinity:1 (dynamic); Throw ratio: 1.38:1–2.21:1; Zoom: 1.6x; Technology: 4K SXRD panel; Colour: N/S; Lamp type and life: Laser diode, 20,000 hours
2. XGIMI Horizon Ultra: Best mid-range 4K projector
Price when reviewed: £1,649 | Check price at Amazon
By combining laser and LED light sources with pixel shifting and a 1080p DLP chip, the XGIMI Horizon Ultra delivers a level of picture quality that’s way above what you might expect from a sub-£2,000 projector. Images are spectacularly crisp and detailed, revealing textures and nuances that other projectors miss, while colours are rich without looking artificially bright and punchy. Even Dolby Vision HDR content looks fantastic, which isn’t a given on other more affordable 4K models. Where some rivals can’t even cover 99% of the sRGB colour gamut, the Horizon Ultra can reproduce 92.4% of the wider DCI-P3 gamut.
And this projector’s talents don’t end there. It has built-in Android TV 11.0 streaming, plus a built-in 2 x 12W Harmon/Kardon speaker system that does a surprisingly good job of dishing out immersive sound. What’s more, XGIMI’s ISA 3.0 auto-setup system can get you a good, well-focused, correctly aligned image in seconds; all you need to do is point the projector at the screen. There are other projectors such as the Sony VPL-XW5000ES above that can give you even better, true 4K video in a custom-built setup, but you won’t find anything else that delivers this kind of image quality, this easily, and for such a comparatively reasonable price.
Read our full XGIMI Horizon Ultra review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,300 lumens; Contrast ratio: N/S; Throw ratio: 1.2:1–1.5:1; Zoom: 1.25x; Technology: 4K DLP panel; Lamp type and life: Dual Light LED + Laser, 25,000 hours
3. Yaber V7 Pro: Best cheap projector
Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re after a cheap and cheerful projector for watching occasional films, sport or TV programmes with the family, the Yaber V7 Pro is an excellent choice. It’s very bright at a claimed 9,000 lumens and outputs a decent 1080p image that you can adjust via the menu. The image correction feature is also handy for households with children: if the projector is moved or knocked slightly, it will automatically adjust the picture.
It certainly doesn’t have the bells, whistles or crispness of other, more expensive projectors on this list, but the Yaber V7 Pro is a good budget option. The free carry bag is a nice bonus too. Bear in mind that it’s not the quietest model around, though, and produces a noticeable fan whirr.
Read our full Yaber V7 Pro review
Key specs – Resolution: 1080p; Brightness: 9,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 12,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.50:1; Technology: BASIC Smart Engine; Lamp type and life: LED, not stated
4. Epson CO-FH02: Best for big-screen streaming on a budget
Price when reviewed: £525 | Check price at Amazon
Priced under £600, the Epson CO-FH02 packs in a lot of specs and features you wouldn’t normally find for this money, including a native Full HD resolution and a traditional lamp that’s capable of putting out 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. This means brighter, sharper images, even if blacks are more grey than inky, with a nicely cinematic colour balance that makes streamed movies and shows look superb. It’s a thoroughly likeable watch.
What’s more, slide the bundled streaming stick into the HDMI socket in the projector’s concealed compartment, and you have everything you need for streaming in one neat unit, complete with genuine Google Android TV software, access to the Google Play store, and all your most-used streaming apps including Disney+, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime. The built-in speaker isn’t brilliant, making a Bluetooth speaker a must; but otherwise, it’s hard to grumble. It’s easy to set up and use, and exceptional value for money.
Read our full Epson CO-FH02 review
Key specs – Resolution: 1080p; Brightness: 3,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: Not stated; Throw ratio: 1.19:1–1.61:1; Zoom: 1.35x (digital); Technology: 3 LCD; Colour: 8-bit LCD panel; Lamp type and life: Lamp, 6,000 to 12,000 hours
5. Yaber Ace K1: Best budget projector for sharp, punchy pictures
Price when reviewed: £439 | Check price at Amazon
Yaber’s newest 1080p projector outdoes the cheaper V7 Pro both on image quality and ease-of-use, thanks to a new single-chip LCD optical system and a sealed, dust-proof assembly. The Ace K1 looks good and feels built-to-last, and while it only has a native 1080p output it does a surprisingly decent job with 4K HDR material. Don’t expect pseudo-4K miracles, but there’s a real step-up in clarity and definition from most £300 to £400 projectors.
What’s more, the auto-focus and auto-keystone correction features mean you don’t need to spend hours tinkering to get a high-quality image; a real plus with a projector that might not be set-up permanently. Meanwhile, the built-in 15W audio system gives you sound that’s good enough for casual entertainment, if a little brash and shouty if you turn the volume up too high.
If the Ace K1 fails anywhere, it’s in its colour reproduction. Subtle shades can get lost and you don’t quite get the full range of tones in a scene. Highlights can look blown out and skin tones weirdly flat. Still, that’s not something you’re going to notice unless you’re used to a higher-end projector or 4K TV. You also need a good-sized room to make the most of this projector, as the throw ratio means you need to position it 3.3m away to fill a 100-inch screen. Still, if you’ve got the space, this is a brilliant projector for the money – especially if you can pick it up on one of Yaber’s frequent £100-off voucher sales.
Key specs – Resolution: 1,920 x1,080; Brightness: 650 ANSI lumens; Speaker: Yes; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI, 2 x USB-A. AV, headphone out; Battery: No; Built-in apps: No; Dimensions: 290 x 250 x 120mm; Weight: 4.72kg
6. XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro: Best affordable portable projector
Price when reviewed: £529 | Check price at Amazon
The XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro is a little more expensive than some portable projectors, but it’s one of the cheapest, with the performance to cut it for entry-level home cinema. It’s incredibly easy to set up: just stick it on a flat surface and point it at a screen or blank wall, and it will handle pretty much everything else on its own. Even if someone bumps the table, it will reconfigure itself almost instantly to get the picture back in shape. With its built-in speakers and streaming features, you can have movies up and running in a matter of minutes. Just be aware that there’s no onboard battery, though it will happily run for a few hours from a 28,000mAh USB power bank, provided it supports 65W USB-PD.
Crucially, both picture and sound are excellent, provided you’re realistic about the 400 ISO lumens brightness levels; there isn’t enough for use during daylight hours. After dark, though, you get a crisp 1080p picture with punchy colours and even a hint of HDR. The DLP chip inside covers 79% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, which is better than some full-sized projectors. Meanwhile, the sound is the best we’ve heard from such a small projector, with plenty of weight at the low end and crystal-clear highs. More conventional home cinema projectors like the Yaber Ace K1 or Epson CO-FH02 give you brighter images to work with, but the MoGo 2 Pro gives you great picture and sound quality for the living room, in a package you can still use anywhere else in or around the house.
Key specs – Brightness: 400 ISO lumens; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Contrast ratio: Not stated; Throw ratio: 1.2:1; Zoom: N/A; Technology: DLP; Colour: Not stated; Lamp type and life: LED, up to 25,500 hours
7. Hisense PX1-Pro: Best projector for a massive 4K screen in your living room
Price when reviewed: £1,799 | Check price at AmazonSometimes, you just want a projector that delivers the biggest screen possible, but with the ease of use and convenience of a conventional TV. Enter the Hisense PX1-Pro. It’s an ultra-short throw projector that can output a 90in or 130in image from just a few inches away from the screen, combined with a built-in Android TV 11 streamer and a 30W Dolby Atmos soundbar. Plug it in, put it up against the wall with the screen on, turn it on and you’re pretty much away. You might need to do a little manual tinkering – the auto-calibration feature can be hit-and-miss – but once you have your projector in place and configured, you shouldn’t need to do it again.
Picture quality is fantastic, delivering beautiful, vibrant colours and excellent handling of HDR material. And while we’ve seen 4K projectors with slightly crisper detail or deeper blacks, the Hisense doesn’t fall short on either count. It can cover not just the whole DCI-P3 colour gamut, but the advanced BT2020 colour space, too, and it’s as great for games and sports as it is for movies. While the built-in audio isn’t as convincing as a dedicated Dolby Atmos soundbar, it’s still streets ahead of the sound you’ll get from most 4K TVs. We would budget an additional £750 extra to get an Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen, but even without it, this is a superb projector that will take your home cinema experience up to the next level.
Read our full Hisense PX1-Pro review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K (1,920 x 1,080 native); Brightness: 2,200 ANSI lumens; Contrast ratio: Not stated; Throw ratio: 0.25:1; Zoom: 1.4x (digital); Technology: Laser; Colour: 3 x RGB lasers; Lamp type and life: Laser, up to 25,000 hours
8. Nebula Mars 3: Best mobile home cinema projector
Price when reviewed: £900 | Check price at Amazon
The Mars 3 is arguably the most practical portable projector ever made. Thanks to a chunky form factor that makes it look a little like an old-fashioned, high-powered torch, a massive 185Wh built-in battery and weatherproofing, it’s good for movie shows both indoors and outdoors. Smart auto-adjusted features can get you a sharp, well-focused image in just about any situation, and it even has integrated streaming and impressive, meaty sound. You can head off-grid and still watch movies for a little over five hours.
Crucially, it also nails the image quality, making the most of the 1,000 ANSI lumens its LED optical system can put out. The DLP chip only has a 1080p resolution, but you get dark blacks and vibrant colours, with only the occasional murkiness and some weird fringing to spoil the picture. It works well for TV, sports and movies, and with 84.5% SRGB and 70.9% DCI-P3 coverage, it’s capable of reproducing a wider range of tones than most LED-based portable projectors. For the same money you could buy a budget 4K projector, but if you want something more versatile, mobile and convenient, then the Mars 3 is the perfect choice.
Read our full Nebula Mars 3 review
Key specs – Resolution: 1080p; Brightness: 1,000 ANSI lumens; Contrast ratio: N/S; Throw ratio: 1.2:1; Zoom: N/A; Technology: 1080p DLP panel; Lamp type and life: LED, 25,000 hours
9. Epson EH-TW6150: Best 4K home cinema projector under £1,000
Price when reviewed: £699 | Check price at Amazon
The EH-TW6150 is Epson’s answer to the budget 4K DLP projectors from Viewsonic, Optoma and BenQ, combining three LCD panels and pixel-shifting techniques to create 4K pictures from a 1080p optical system.
As with the DLP versions it works a treat; in terms of clarity and resolution, the Epson’s images could have come from a native 4K system, while Epson’s superb colour tech gives you rich, cinematic tones. If you’re a gamer or like your pictures punchy, then you might want more contrast, deeper blacks and brighter HDR effects, but if your priority is home cinema the Epson’s more natural presentation wins.
It’s a flexible projector, too, with excellent manual and automatic keystone correction features plus a manual vertical shift, which helps you get a good, distortion-free image even if you have your projector sitting on a coffee table beaming a picture higher up on your wall. You might have to spend a little while tuning to get the best possible image, but the upside is that you’ve got plenty of control.
Spend more and you might get more connectivity – you’re limited to two HDMI ports, a USB Type-A connection and a 3.5mm audio out. The built-in audio is too timid at low volumes and too harsh when you turn things up. Pricier models also deliver better gaming modes, with higher refresh rates and contrast-boosting features. If you’re looking for the best 4K home cinema projector for under £1000, however, then the EH-TW6150 is a real contender.
Read our full Epson EH-TW6150 review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 2,800 lumens; Contrast ratio: 35,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.32–2.15:1; Zoom: 1.6x (digital); Technology: 3 LCD; Colour: 3x 10-bit LCD panels; Lamp type and life: Lamp, 4,500 to 7,500 hours
10. Optoma UHD38x: Best gaming projector for around £1,000
Price when reviewed: £1,000 | Check price at Amazon If you’ve bought yourself one of the latest games consoles, you’re going to want a display that can keep up and that’s exactly what the Optoma UHD38x delivers. Not only can it project your games at huge screen sizes, but it can do so at high refresh rates: up to an incredible 240Hz at 1080p and 120Hz at 4K resolution. Games look epic on this thing.
It’s also an accomplished home cinema projector, with support for HDR10 and HLG and a bright image of 4,000 lumens which means it’s watchable during the day, although black level response isn’t the best. Focus is manual and, as it isn’t a short-throw projector, you’ll also need a fair amount of space to maximise your screen size. There’s also nothing in the way of smart connectivity here, as you get with some of the compact projectors on this page.
However, if you’re a gamer and you want to play on the biggest screen possible, there aren’t many better ways to do it than on this potent projector.
Key specs – Resolution: 4K (1,920 x 1,080 native) HDR10/HLG at 120Hz, 1080p at 240Hz; Brightness: 4,000 lumens; Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1; Throw ratio: 1.5-1.66:1; Zoom: 1.1x; Technology: Single-chip DLP; Lamp life: 4,000-15,000 hours
11. BenQ W4000i: Best mid-priced 4K projector for image quality
Price when reviewed: £2,999 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re after the very best image quality but can’t quite stretch to a native 4K projector, this BenQ W4000i is the next best thing. Yes, it’s still expensive but it can reproduce the whole of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and its image quality is beyond reproach.
4K images look impressively crisp and detailed, but never stray into the artificially sharpened territory. What’s more, enthusiasts can tweak away to their hearts’ content using the W4000i’s comprehensive image settings, while those who just want to set and forget can opt to use the projector’s Filmmaker mode, ensuring what you see is what the director intended.
We do have a couple of small complaints. One is that the projector’s brightness takes a hit when you use Wide Colour mode for full DCI-P3 coverage. There’s no specific gaming mode, either, making this more a projector for watching films than big-screen console thrills. However, for anyone setting up a small cinema at home with a slightly restricted budget, the BenQ W4000i is a brilliant choice.
Read our full BenQ W4000i review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K; Brightness: 3,200 lumens; Contrast ratio: 2 million:1 (dynamic); Throw ratio: 1.15:1–1.5:1; Zoom: 1.3x; Technology: 4K DLP; Colour: four-colour LED light source; Lamp type and life: LED, 20,000 to 30,000 hours
12. Hisense PL1: Best ultra-short-throw projector for convenience
Price when reviewed: £1,495 | Check price at Amazon
If you like the look of the Hisense PX1-Pro but can’t stretch your budget that far, the PL1 is a cheaper yet still excellent alternative. It’s capable of projecting images up to 120in in size in 4K resolution using pixel-shifting technology and the picture quality is very impressive. Setup is a breeze, Hisense’s VIDAA UI is slick and easy to use, while every major UK streaming service is available via the home screen.
You’ll want an Ambient Light Rejecting screen for an optimal viewing experioence and there are only two HDMI ports, but otherwise, this relatively compact projector is an extremely convenient way of enjoying huge-screen entertainment without decimating your bank account.
Read our full Hisense PL1 review
Key specs – Resolution: 4K (1,920 x 1,080 native); Brightness: 2,100 ANSI lumens; Contrast ratio: Not stated; Throw ratio: 0.25:1; Zoom: 1.4x (digital); Technology: Laser; Colour: Single RGB laser; Lamp type and life: Laser, up to 25,000 hours