The 4 Best Short Throw Projectors

Steve Scott

Updated on

Short throw projectors. What are they and why would you want one? 🤔

Short throw projectors differ from conventional, otherwise known as long throw, projectors because of the distance it has to be from the screen. While long throw projectors need to be at least six feet away to create a nice, sizable image, short throw projectors can be four or five feet away and cast a 100” image.

Whether you’re a gamer or just someone looking to create a home theater, short throw projectors will work perfectly for you. Delivering bigger images from a shorter distance is great if you have a smaller room; whether that be a bedroom, classroom, meeting room, or any other. Some people even prefer short throw over long throw because it requires less space, making it less likely for others to get in the way of the projector.

So, now that you guys know this, let’s get onto the list of the best short throw projectors out there:

Short Throw Projector Reviews - Our Top 4 Picks

BenQ HT2150ST

Specifications:

  • L X W X H → 4.79 X 14.98 X 10.91in 
  • Weight → 7.93lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI x 2 (MHL)
  • Image Brightness → 2200 lumen
  • Contrast Ratio → 15,000:1
  • Resolution → 1080p
  • Throw-Ratio → 0.69 - 0.83

Key Features:

  • CinematicColor
  • Throw of 100” from 4.9ft away
  • Very Fast Response rate for Gaming
  • Hollywood-Like Sounds

PROS

  • Amazing for Gaming
  • Great connectivity
  • Good contrast ratio

CONS

  • Annoying to adjust keystone

Overall Performance:

Equipped with 1080 HD resolution, a throw of 100” from 4.9ft away, CinematicColor, and Hollywood-like sounds from its built-in speakers, the BenQ HT2150ST is a great projector known for its ability to make your home feel like the movie theaters.

The HT2150ST isn’t only seen as the best home theater projectors, but also an amazing projector for video games. With a very fast response rate and little lag on top of everything else it has to offer, the HT2150ST revolutionizes gaming experiences.

While it has the lowest lumens on the list, the color and brightness that it brings are amazing even compared to those with higher lumens. 

BenQ HT2150ST

Picking up the BenQ HT2150ST will not be a mistake. With its only drawback being the annoyance of adjusting the keystone, this projector is not one to miss out on.

Optoma GT1080Darbee

Specifications:

  • L X W X H → 8.8 X 12.37 X 4in
  • Weight → 5.5lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → USB, HDMI
  • Image Brightness → 3000 lumen
  • Contrast Ratio → 28,000:1
  • Resolution → 1920x1080p (Full 1080 HD)
  • Throw-Ratio → 0.49

Key Features:

  • Full HD 1080p
  • Full 3D
  • Astounding Color
  • Enhanced Gaming Mode
  • 8000hr Eco Lamp Life
  • ​​​​100” image from 4’ Away

PROS

  • Best for Gaming
  • Amazing 3D Support
  • Astounding Picture Quality

CONS

  • High pitch fan noise
  • Bulb failure

Overall Performance:

Designed for the player and recognized as the best short-throw projector for gaming, the Optoma GT1080Darbee is a long-lasting projector equipped with astounding picture quality, marvelous response time, and an enhanced gaming mode.

But this projector isn’t only for gaming. With vivid colors, amazing contrast of 28,000:1, an eco mode that allows up to 8,000 hours of lamp life, and a great throw of 100” from 4’ away, the GT1080Darbee is a great projector for your home theater. 

Optoma GT1080Darbee

Bringing in 1080 Full HD and Full 3D compatibility, watching movies like Avatar, Annihilation, Alien, and any other movie that start with the letter A, will pop out through this projector and suck you in.

But the GT1080Darbee is not perfect. People don’t seem to enjoy its high pitch fan noise, and its common bulb failures.

Regardless, this is still an amazing option to choose, especially if you are a gamer. 

Optoma GT1080Darbee
BenQ MW632ST

Specifications:

  • L X W X H → 11.3 X 9.15 X 4.5in
  • Weight → 5.7lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI
  • Image Brightness → 3200 lumen
  • Contrast Ratio → 13,000:1
  • Resolution → 1280x800p (WxGA)
  • Throw-Ratio → 0.72 - 0.87

Key Features:

  • Full HD 3D
  • 10,000hr Eco Lamp
  • Powerful, built-in speakers
  • Amazing image performance

PROS

  • Great for Gaming
  • Amazing Picture Quality
  • Terrific Brightness and Sharpness

CONS

  • 1200x800 Native Resolution
  • Can’t adjust image size

Overall Performance:

Designed for any environment, the BenQ MW632ST is our choice for best value. This projector has a 10,000 hour SmartEco Lamp which will hold out for ten years even if you use it every day.

Another great gaming projector, the MW632ST has little input lag and even rivals the GT1080Darbee’s abilities. Not only does the MW632ST pack killer gaming abilities, but it also brings terrific picture quality, brightness, and sharpness to the screen from its 3200 lumens - the brightest on this list! 

The cheapest projector on this list, movies and meetings go immaculately with the MW632ST’s full HD 3D, great speakers, and amazing image performance.

The problems with the BenQ MW632ST is its 1200x800 Native Resolution and that you cannot adjust its image size. With its resolution in WxGA instead of HD, this projector does not deliver a 1080p image as great as the others on this list.

And while most people like its image size, there has been a common complaint that the image is too large if the projector is brought 10+ feet from the screen. Being unable to adjust this makes it a hard sell for anyone who wants to put their projectors that far from their screen.

BenQ MW632ST Projector

Regardless, the BenQ MW632ST is still a great projector. Even with some nuances that make it not as strong as its counterparts, it is almost just as favored as the Optoma GT1080Darbee.

Honorable Mention:

Viewsonic PX706HD

Specifications:

  • L X W X H → 4.53 X 11.53 X 8.66in
  • Weight → 5.95lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → USB
  • Image Brightness → 3000 lumen
  • Contrast Ratio → 22,000:1
  • Resolution → 1920x1080p
  • Throw-Ratio → 0.69 - 0.83

Key Features:

  • Full HD 1080p Resolution
  • Immersive Sound
  • Image projection up to 100” from 5’
  • Reduced Input Latency
  • 15,000hr Eco Mode
  • USB Type-C for video and power
  • 3D

PROS

  • Easy to Use
  • Great Bright Picture Quality
  • Great for Gaming
  • 15,000hr Eco Mode

CONS

  • Possible Rainbow Effect
  • Large
  • No horizontal keystone

Overall Performance:

If you want an immersive cinematic machine that can last for 15,000 hours, then you will want to check out the ViewSonic PX706HD. The PX706HD makes your movie experience amazing with mesmeric sound and full HD 1080p resolution.

This projector is known for being easy to use and setup and, like all of the others on this list, it is also great for gaming. With a reduced input latency of 16ms delay in its gaming mode and a bright picture quality from its 3000 lumens, the PX706HD is also one of the best projectors for gaming. Its astounding contrast ratio of 22,000:1 only adds to a great gaming experience to top it all off!

Gamers only need to check out this review to understand that this projector means business: 

The PX706HD’s Eco Mode allows for the longest lamp life on this list of 15,000 hours. While Eco Modes usually diminish the brightness that a projector has to offer, the PX706HD’s Eco Mode is still bright enough to light up any environment.

Even its simple use of the USB Type-C for both video and power revolutionizes this model. This allows you to charge the projector and stream from anything that uses USB Type-C, including some smart devices.

The downfalls of the PX706HD is that it has been noticed to display the DLP rainbow effect, that it is larger and less portable than other short-throw projectors, and that it lacks a horizontal keystone.

But that doesn’t bring down the PX706HD’s value nor how much it is regaled for being a great projector for both gaming and home theater.

viewsonic

The Buyer’s Guide to Short Throw Projectors

Buying a projector isn’t known for its ease, and one of these might not fit you. Here are a few pointers to help you before you go out and spend a handful of cash on a short throw projector: 

Brightness: Seeing is Believing

A projector’s brightness is measured in ANSI Lumens, where one lumen is equivalent to the light a birthday candle emits in a square-foot. You need to know a projector’s brightness if you want to display images without a muddy look.

Your viewing environment will determine how many lumens your projector needs. The sizes of the room and projector screen, how far the projector is from the screen, and how much ambient light the room has will all affect how many lumens you need.

Generally, a dedicated home theater, which lacks ambient light and has controlled lighting, needs a projector with 1000 lumens or more. Having some ambient light brings the need up to 1500 lumens, and having a high amount up to 3000. 

brightness

Throw-Ratio: Throwing Your Video onto the Screen

Throw-ratio is the relationship between the distance from the lens to the screen, otherwise known as throw, to the screen width. 

The larger the throw-ratio, the more tightly focused the lens is. This is very important to pay attention to because it decides how big the projection will be from a distance away. 

Each throw-ratio varies per projector, so this is something to be wary of, especially if you need your projector to cover a certain-sized screen. If you want to know more about calculating your throw-ratio, look no further than here.

Contrast-Ratio: Creating the Best Picture

The contrast-ratio tells you the relationship between the darkest and brightest parts of an image.

Though a higher contrast-ratio doesn’t always mean the picture will be better, a higher ratio delivers whiter whites, blacker blacks and better details; while a lower ratio can make your picture look muddled and washed out. In a darkened room, a contrast-ratio of 2,000:1 or more is excellent; though having a ratio of at least 1,500:1 is good enough.

Factors like ambient light, throw, your screen, and much more will affect how your picture looks overall, so this is one more thing to look out for. 

Contrast Ratio

FAQ

There are common questions that continue to pop up over and over again with short-throw projectors. We answer them here. 

How far away should you sit from the screen?

There is no definite answer to this because it depends on many factors, such as the resolution of the picture and the length of your room, but we do have some formulas here to help you find out how far your seats should generally be from the screen:

Width of the screen (not the diagonal) x 2 = minimum distance
Width of the screen (not the diagonal) x 5 = maximum distance

This works great if you are using many seats because it will tell you where the first and last seats should be from the screen. 

What is an ultra short throw projector? 

While short throw projectors have throw ratios of less than 1 to ~0.4, the ultra short throws have ratios of less than 0.4. Due to their throw, they can be positioned even closer to the screen than the regular short throw, and put in even smaller rooms. 

Are short throw projectors brighter?

Not necessarily. Many conventional projectors have more lumens than short-throws and are brighter, but it’s the distance of the projector to the screen that makes the short-throw projector image bright. If you are looking for bright and you have a small room, then short-throw may be perfect for you, but if your room is large enough, you can also choose one of the best 1080p projectors. If you want to look into those, we list the best ones here.

Are DLP projectors better than LCD?

Though all four projectors on this list are DLP, there’s no correct answer here. Both DLP and LCD have pros and cons to them.

Where the DLP has better contrast and gives off a better cinematic vibe, LCD has sharper and brighter images and lacks the DLP rainbow effect.

There are various opinions in the DLP versus LCD projectors 'battle'. However, you would have to research and test them both out to see which one fits your needs better.

What screen is good for a short throw projector?

There isn’t a singular “good” screen for short throw projectors, but the best screens are those that are perfectly flat, which happens when they are made from either thick rigid fabric or thin elastic fabric.

When buying any screen, make sure you get a warranty just in case you need a replacement. Sometimes, it’s better to just build your own screens, especially if you want to have an outside theater. You can see more about that here.

What is a short throw projector lens?

The short throw lens is what separates it from other projectors. The lens allows for the projector to create a bigger image from a shorter distance, such as the BenQ HT2150ST’s 100” from 4.9ft.

Conclusion

No matter which of the above you choose, you won’t be disappointed. All of these projectors are great for constructing your home theater. Each of these rivals the other, for they are all excellent.

Make sure to go over your options carefully to find the right one for you. Though pricy, they are all long-lasting, immersive, and high performing projectors that are definitely worth the price.

With additional information from the Buyer’s Guide and FAQ, there’s no way you won’t be able to use this guide to help create your short throw home theater.

Sources

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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