Blow Up Movie Screen and Inflatable Projector Screen 2019
When it comes to watching movies outside you have two different kind of screens to choose from. First, we have standard movie screens with products like Elite Screens being the cream of the crop. Second, we have inflatable screens that are usually used for bigger venues.
If you're looking to watch a movie/play video games outside with your family a regular outdoor movie screen is what you want. However, if you're planning on hosting an outdoor movie night with more than 10+ people that an inflatable screen is a great choice.
We've setup a whole bunch of these in the past so in the next couple of sections I'll run you through my top picks. Thanks for stopping by guys!
Well, as it turns out, the average inflatable projector screen is surprisingly resilient and sturdy, most of them come with support ropes, and they can withstand a wide range of weather conditions. Of course, much like regular metal movie screens, wind and rain can completely ruin your movie watching experience.
On the other hand, most of the models are completely water resistant which makes it very easy to clean the product. Here are a couple we like in order of quality.
Airblown 39121-32 123 x 77-Inch Inflatable Projector Screen
Gemmy 39127-32 Deluxe Outdoor Inflatable Blow Up Movie Screen
This inflatable movie screen is only a little bit more expensive than the previous model we mentioned, but it’s ...
Elite Screens DIY Pro Series Inflatable Projector Screen
LOCH 200″ diagonal 16:9 Inflatable Projection Screen
Open Air Cinema 16-feet Blow Up Movie Screen
These inflatable projector screens come with a built-in air pump that not only inflates the screen but also automatically maintains the air pressure.
That’s one downside to a blow up movie screen; they’re internal air pumps are always on, and that means you’ll hear a slight humming in the background. This can be remedied by simply turning up the volume of your speakers. But if you have to keep the volume low for one reason or another, it’s important to find an inflatable projector screen with a relatively quiet air pump.
What to Look For in an Inflatable Screen
Picking out the right inflatable screen for you can be somewhat confusing if you’ve never looked at them before, so before we dive into the products themselves let’s take a look at some of the qualities you’ll need to keep an eye out for:
Ease of Set Up of Blow Up Movie Screens
How easy is an inflatable projector screen is to setup is likely to be a bit subjective, and it will vary from user to user on what the preferred method is. The good thing about it all is the fact that most inflatable screens are amazingly easy to set up, just drive the stakes into the ground to stabilize them and then turn on the pump.
You may need to pick up some knots in order to get it done properly, but it’s not a hard process to master. After a couple of times of setting it up, you’ll be so familiar with doing it that the whole thing will be almost automatic.
Another thing to keep in mind when looking at the durability is the spikes that come with the projector screen.
Metal spikes are much better, and plastic can break. They’ll also degrade more quickly, and if you end up with a bad set you can end up out of luck. Fortunately, creativity and some tent stakes can usually handle this issue if it crops up.
The average larger blow up movie screen is naturally a little bit harder to setup, but for the most part, they’re more pain-free than any other option you can use.
The Pump - You'll Need This
A good pump is a must, one that goes down or has a problem with regulating the proper pressure to maintain an optimal picture can ruin an otherwise perfect outdoor cinema experience. Most people will also need to make sure that the plug will fit a regular outlet. While a 220V pump will work faster, it’s not suitable for most home applications in the US due to our power grid using 110V for the most part.
How quiet the pump is can also make a huge difference in the viewing experience. A noisy, clanging pump can detract from the experience quite a bit at the end of the day and you’re likely to find it quite distracting. If a model is noted as having a quiet pump, pay special attention to it.
If you’re willing to drop the money, you can end up with a pump that’s almost silent. Honestly, however, all but the noisiest pumps can be overcome with careful placement of your audio systems, however, and depending on your usage a little bit of mechanical humming might not be as big of a distraction as you’d think.
Having a quality air pump is essential to your blow up movie screen especially if you go big.
Size of Inflatable Projector Screen
Depending on the projector you’re planning on using, the size of the screen is quite important. Try to calculate the distance between the projector and where you plan on placing the blow up movie screen in order to figure out how to optimally place things before you decide on a size.
Remember that moving your screen closer to the projector is always doable, by shortening the distance you can get yourself a smaller picture but if the screen is too large, then you’re going to end up with a lot of visible blank space during your showing.
Inflatable screens get pretty damn big, and after a certain point, you have to be a bit more careful. Since they’re so light, essentially only weighing what the fabric does, the wind can take a big screen and make it a hazard in a hurry. They can also require more than one person to set up after a certain point.
Pairing off the size with the projector you’re using is probably the hardest part of the whole process, including the actual set up of either, but if you do it properly you’re looking at a good time to be had by all present.
Durability and Material
Since they’ll be used outdoors, inflatable projector screens have many of the same kinds of problems as any other inflatable object. A puncture will lead to a collapse as they lose air more quickly than the pump can fill it and result in quite a bit of frustration.
Fortunately, cheap and thick materials are generally the rule. We’re not talking about balloons here, but durability is always something to keep in mind just in case something bad happens.
Since it’ll be outdoors, for the most part, a water-resistant material makes them a lot easier to clean as well. It’s not so much the frame itself that you’ll have to worry about as the screen; dark spots can distract from the image of the movie or show after all.
Most inflatable projector screens can’t be removed from the frame, so you’ll need to set them up to clean them. Most people will be okay with just wiping them down with a rag right before they start the movie, and if you’re careful it might never be an issue at all.
Portability and Storage
Inflatable screens are easily the most portable and easiest to store of the different types. There’s one problem here: most come with a bag or tube that can be a pain to deal with. This is particularly prevalent with budget priced screens, more expensive screens will usually have a good case.
Either way, they’re easy enough to store for the most part, just be aware that in many cases it’s easier to buy a box or plastic tote after the fact than putting them back into the factory casing.
Cost - Cheaper Means Well..... Cheaper
Like anything else, the cost is always going to be a factor when it comes to making the final decision for your screen. Keep it in mind, but try to make it the last priority since better screens will invariably cost more than inferior ones.
With something as simple as an inflatable projector screen, there really isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room in the prices. For the most part, the more you spend, the better off you’ll be although there might be some slight discrepancies here.
Try not to make buying a cheap blow up screen your priority; a higher quality one will show a better picture and be sure to last for a long time without issues, and the cost of having to replace a cheaper screen repeatedly will add up quite quickly.
Why Choose a Blow Up Movie Screen?
If you’re looking at cheap and easy, a good inflatable projector screen is the way to go. They’re highly portable, easy to set up, and you can take them down. They’re probably the best option for a backyard cinema that isn’t in constant use, and they make great screens for outdoor events if that’s your intended use.
They’re also a cheaper option than many of the others which are available.
Basically, if you want something hassle-free and cheap, then they’re the way to go. The ease of setting them up and taking them down is another one of the primary draws since you’ll be able to turn off the pump and roll them up at the end of the night instead of having to move heavy pieces like you would with many other types of screen.
There are some disadvantages of course. They’re not really usable in bad weather, at all. The wind will quickly catch the screen and topple them, rain can cause issues with the air pumps, and you’re just not looking at a good time for using one if the weather is foul at all.
The other disadvantage, alluded to above, is the fact that the pumps will inevitably make noise. It’s not a deal-breaker for most people, but they may be much better as a “background” for a party rather than the focal point of a gathering of people who are serious about their cinema.
That said, if you’re willing to invest some money you can still have a truly cinematic experience while using a blow up screen, just don’t try to do it in inclement weather or with a cheap screen and you’ll be fine.
So, now that you know exactly what you’re looking for let’s take a look at some of my favorite blow up movie screens.
This is one of my favorite models because even though it’s quite cheap, it can still get the job done. The screen area is quite large; the dimensions are 123×77 inches.
This blow up movie screen has an air pump that automatically inflates the device. The only thing that you have to do is find an area to place the screen and then plug it into an electrical outlet and the air-pump will do the rest.
What I liked most about this product is that it’s just a really cheap and quality movie screen that you can take with you anywhere. It can even be used for indoor screenings, but I don’t recommend it for indoor screenings because due to the confined spaces the air pump might sound louder than usual.
One of the best parts about this one is that it lacks the textured background you’ll see on many screens. While it’s not noticeable if you’re using a really high Lumen projector, with less bright options you can end up with tell-tale lines pulling you out of your cinematic experience.
I suggest that you use this screen outdoors. Somewhere you can turn the speaker volume high and watch your favorite movie as it was meant to be watched.
I also like how it’s really easy to pack, and it comes with a storage bag as well.
Let’s also not forget about the deflate feature. When the button is pressed, the air pump will deflate the screen, and you’ll be able to fold the material and store it anywhere.
There’s one problem though it comes with plastic stakes which can break easily. It’s an issue you’ll face with most budget-minded screens, unfortunately, and while they’ll work fine for a few uses, you’ll want to replace them pretty quickly. Try picking up some tent stakes when you pick it up, though, and you’ve got a fantastic outdoor cinema experience right in your hands.
This inflatable movie screen is only a little bit more expensive than the previous model we mentioned, but it’s entirely different. The frame is not only larger but sturdier as well; the wide and thick foundation provides more stability on windy days.
Like the previous model, this product comes with a built-in air pump that inflates and deflates the air inside the screen. The screen on this model has the following dimensions: 123”x70” inches and the shipping weight is only 20 pounds.
It’s not absolutely enormous, but it’s sizeable enough to make for a great backyard party if that’s what you’re looking for.
It also comes with pretty much everything you’re going to need to set it up. Stakes, ropes, and the like. It’s easy enough anyone can do it, and thanks to the super wide base you’ve got a relatively stable setup as long as there isn’t any severe wind around.
What I like most about this model is it’s very stable, the thick frame with support lines make the frame practically unmovable. Still, the wind can ruin the experience because it creates ripples in the screen thus blurring the image. To avoid problems, I suggest that you try to set up the screen, so it’s not directly facing the source of the wind. Otherwise, it might take flight.
There’s one other issue with this screen: it shows wrinkles quite easily. Again, this isn’t a problem if you pick a projector which is really well suited for outdoor usage, but if you’re using something that’s marginal it may affect your viewing experience.
The dual fans on this model also mean that you’ll want to center your sound system around your projector. They’re not super loud, but if you were thinking of doing more of a standard cinema style of surround sound, you might end up having to listen to the motors as well.
I chose this model as the best blow up movie screen because it’s really easy to transport, light, fast to inflate, and extremely stable. In my opinion, it’s the best value inflatable movie screen that you can find on the market at the moment.
Shipping is free within the United States, and the product comes with a 2-year warranty.
If you’ve got the room for it, you can hardly do better than this screen from Holiday Styling.
It comes in at an amazing 175”x125”!
That means you’ll have 10’ of viewing action since the extra-thick frame is a full 24” on each side. A bit misleading on the part of the marketing department, perhaps, but it’s definitely up there in size and more than big enough to enjoy for a backyard party.
In addition to that, the frame is extremely sturdy, and the durability borders on professional grade which is kind of cool considering the price is nowhere near what you’ll find actual professionals screens going for.
It’ll fill up in about two minutes, so you won’t have to wait around for long before you can hit play on your projector and skip right to the main event. It’s an awesome bargain considering the price tag.
They didn’t cheap out on your stakes or rope either; you’ll have some decent rope and high-quality metal stakes right out of the box if you opt to go with this projector.
It all adds up to an excellent way to get an impressive home cinema experience, and it’s small enough to manage in almost any yard since you’ll be able to have it pretty close to the projector as well.
Is the cost worth it? I don’t know; it depends on if you want amazing quality for a low price. If you have a larger yard, you may want to consider a bigger blow up screen, but for the average person, this is one of the best you’ll be able to find.
For example, if you’re camping with a recreational vehicle, simply slip ropes into the holes of the screen and fasten them to either edge of your recreational vehicle and you’ll be able to watch movies on the side of your vehicle. You could also use ropes to tie each edge of the screen between trees or other objects to create a perfect outdoor cinema, the possibilities are endless.
On the other hand, though this blow up movie screen is extremely portable and you can use it anywhere, I recommend purchasing a frame because they’re so much easier to use. You don’t have to scout out the area in search of a flat surface that can be used to create a stable outdoor cinema or objects that you can wrap ropes around. It’s always a good idea to have a frame for the screen. Then again, if you just want the plain cinema screen, this is a perfect choice.
While there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to blow up screens, the ones I’ve explained are the best choices.
See related - Elite Screen Projection Review
If you’re looking for something absolutely enormous and high-quality, give this one a shot. Here’s the cool thing: unlike the option above, we’re talking an actual screen width of 200”. It also already comes with a 16:9 aspect ratio so your widescreen is good to go without having to lose any of the pictures or worry about light bleed.
You know what else is cool? This massive frame builds up in less than a minute. The manufacturer’s claim it’s fifty seconds, which is astonishingly fast and makes set up even quicker and easier than most of the screens on the market.
Are there some disadvantages? Yes. It may simply be too big for most people, and your neighbors may find themselves crawling over the fence with their lawn chairs because it’s big enough people are definitely going to notice it once it’s up.
It also comes with plastic stakes, which is kind of a bummer, but if you’re willing to drop the money on this one, you might just want to pick up some standard tent stakes as well. They’re not the flimsy kind you see with lesser screens, though, and they should hold up to a few uses before you have to replace them if you want to make sure that this is the blow up projector screen you’re looking for.
Overall, this blow up screen is one of the best, but the price point is getting up there a little bit. If you have the right projector to take advantage of it, however, you’re looking at a portable version of the cinematic experience. This is also a great pick for multiplayer FPS gaming.
The only way you’re going to find anything better is to drop some serious money. I dug up the best you’ll find without getting into five figures, though, so let’s take a look at it in the next entry.
Some people want the absolute best, and if you’re dedicated to truly producing an amazing outdoor movie watching experience that means having to drop some extra money. While all of the others are passable, some folks really love their movies, and if you’re one of them, then this is the best inflatable option you’ll be able to find.
What you get for your money is damn impressive, however, and you’re not going to regret the purchase if you’re a movie buff. The screen is 17’x13’ so you’re looking at an absolutely enormous screen at the end of the day.
In addition to that, the blower is about as quiet as things can get. Plus, and this is the cool part, we’re talking about full inflation of the massive screen in about 20 seconds. It’ll be up before your DVD player even reads the disc.
It’s made of high-quality materials and comes with everything you’ll need to get it staked down and steady.
There are two disadvantages here, and they both are owed to the massive size of the screen rather than any inherent flaws in the design.
Let’s get this out of the way: if you’re in a windy area, this isn’t a good buy. The screen is simply too big to be supported in the wind by any kind of inflatable frame and if the breeze is running perpendicular to the way it’s facing you’re looking at some serious trouble.
The second issue is that you’re most likely going to need another person to get it set up. This is due to the size of the screen, of course, and if you’re using it then chances are you’re not just setting yourself up for a couple of brews and watching American Pie for the thousandth time so it’s less of an issue than you’d think.
If you live in a calm area and want an experience that’s on par with a movie theater, however, go for it. This of it like your own little home theater setup outside. It’s a bit of a plunge, but it’s not one you’re going to regret at the end of the day when you have a blow up projector screen that rivals most remaining drive-ins.