If you’re looking to create an excellent movie or gaming experience in your man cave, but you don’t want to deal with excessive equipment and installation, then a short-throw projector will be your best bet. This type of product can create a home theater visual with just a short projection distance, letting you make the most of your space.
To help you find the best fit for you, here’s our guide to the best short throw home theater projector!
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Short Throw Home Theater Projector
Before you start looking at our top short-throw projector picks, it’s essential to know what to look for while shopping. Here are some of our recommendations of what to consider before you make your final purchase!
Naturally, if you’re going to spend the money on a projector, you want the visual quality to be worth it. While resolution works differently on projectors than it does on computers, you’ll still see the specs listed in the same way. Aiming for 1080p will give you high definition, with 4K options also available.
Additionally, you’ll want to pay attention to contrast ratio. This factor helps define different shades of tones from each other, and it can make a big difference with your image quality. Generally, you want to have a value that at least reaches the tens of thousands for best results.
Outside light sources can impact a projector’s image and make the resulting image hard to see. To counter this, the brightness of the product is essential. So you can enjoy your home theater without having to create a pitch-black room, then you’ll want to keep an eye on this factor.
Lumens are the key spec that you want to pay attention to here. Just like with contrast ratio, you’ll be looking for high numbers. The minimum threshold of lumens you should aim for is in the several-thousand range.
Short-range projectors are versatile in that they can potentially hook up to your home entertainment system, your computer, a tablet, or more. However, to do so, they will need the right input ports, whether that be USB, HDMI, or otherwise. Some devices, like phones, may require unique connectivity options, while other projectors will allow wireless connections.
No option is superior to the others, so make sure you have the equipment you need before committing to a purchase to make the setup process as painless as possible.
While cheaper than a large screen television, short-throw projectors can get costly. Because of their capability to provide a quality image from a close distance, they tend to have a bit more of a price tag than a similar resolution long-range projector.
The good news is that there are more affordable options on the market as well. Just stay aware and set your budget before scouting the market.
Best Short Throw Home Theater Projectors
If you want to have a quality home theater experience in your man cave, then the BenQ W1080ST should garner your consideration. This short-throw home theater projector is compatible with HDTV, and the image resolution is overall excellent. There are also multiple picture modes, allowing you to get the best experience no matter what video you watch.
For those who like to have a 3D experience while watching their films, this product can handle that as well, which you don’t always see in short-throw home projectors. We’re also a fan of the power saving mode, which even cuts down on energy output whenever you pause the image. Additionally, the bulb inside the BenQ is long-lasting, so you won’t have to worry about making replacements as often.
Overall, the specs on this projector are impressive—which means it comes at a high price. However, if you want the best, it’s well worth the investment.
Epson Home Cinema LS100
When it comes to projectors, high definition isn’t the only thing that you need to have excellent image quality. Contrast ratio is essential, too—which is where the Epson Home Cinema LS100 projector fits in. This product is most potent in its contrast, which helps give you an excellent image quality, even with a max resolution equivalent of 1080p.
This product has multiple connection ports, including 3 USB connections and 3 HDMI plugins. There’s also a remote included for smooth operation from your lounge spot of choice. Wireless screen sharing is also available, minimizing any challenges you may have with connecting wires, too. The price falls into mid-range for projectors, making it an excellent value worth.
For those of you who want 4K resolution, look elsewhere, but we find 1080p to be plenty for a man cave setup, especially with the total cost.
Quality short-range projectors can easily run-up in the price department, but the ASUS P3B provides a lot of punch for a relatively inexpensive machine, making it great to get started with your home theater setup. Though it’s inexpensive, it has some useful features to it, like the lightweight design that makes it easy to transport.
Accessible transport is excellent because this projector can also run on battery power for up to three hours, letting you enjoy film projection outside your man cave if you so wish. The ASUS P3B can also run a 3D video if that sparks your interest. DLP technology also means that this projector resists image degradation over time.
You’ll need some extra equipment or some upgrades if you want to do more, and the battery is on the short side, but we think this projector makes for a good starting point for building a home theater setup.
Optoma GT 1080
For those who want an optimal projector for gaming, then the Optoma GT 1080 is going to be one of your best bets on this list. The image quality is overall excellent, and the lack of lag means that you don’t have to worry about missing a critical input or reaction. The flicker-free projection is also helpful for always keeping you right in the game without distraction.
The brightness of this model is also impressive, which helps for projecting even in light conditions. While we recommend this projector for gamers, the resolution is also at a level suited for watching sports events as well. For the movie-goers, 3D support is also available. No matter what your interest is, the full range of connection options is also excellent.
On the downside, the casing is plastic, which means it’s not as durable as some other potential options out there, so keep that in mind when you buy.
BenQ ends up taking another spot on our best short-throw home theater projector list. This one is a little cheaper than our first suggestion, but it still has a full scale of features to work with. The short-range projection works well, particularly in the color output and contrast ratio combination. Overall, the specs on this projector keep whatever images you want looking great.
The BenQ HT2150ST is also 3D capable if that matters to you. While you can purchase a model with enhanced color accuracy, there is even one available with high output brightness, which is an excellent option if your man cave has a lot of external light to contend with. For those who like both watching movies and gaming, this short-range projector is versatile to handle both.
A few things to keep in mind are that this product can heat up quickly, so it’s hard to use for extensive amounts of time. You’ll also need external speakers for the best experience, but we’d recommend enhancing your sound system for your man cave anyway.
The Bottom Line
Now that we’ve covered our top products, which one wins the choice for the best short-throw home theater projector?
Our favorite is the BenQ W1080ST. While it is one of the more expensive options on our list, you get your money’s worth. Between the image quality, the bulb lifespan, and the eco-friendly power-saving capabilities, there’s a long life of use waiting for you. The different image options and 3D mode just add to the experience, making it a worthy addition to any man cave home theater setup.