Your home theater isn’t complete until the perfect projector screen graces the wall. The projector screen makes more of a difference in your viewing experience than you may realize. The screen’s material, thickness, gain (reflective ability), and coatings affect the contrast, color, and clarity of the image. The best projector screen will fit your space, budget, and provide any extra features you might need, like portability, motorized roll down (and up), or a permanent mounting fixture.
Projector screens don’t have to be expensive, but there are circumstances and setups where you might want to invest a little more in your viewing surface. If you’ve put some money into your projector and sound system, it’s only right that the screen is of equal quality. We’ve made our top picks and put together a guide to help you decide on the right model for your next movie night.
– Best Overall: Silver Ticket Productions STR Series Fixed Frame Projector Screen
– Best for Outdoors: Abdtech Portable Outdoor Movie Screen
– Best Roll-Up: Elite Screens 128-Inch Spectrum Motorized Projector Screen
– Best Portable: GT GETCO TECH Projector Screen
– Best Budget: Mdbebbron 120 Inch Projection Screen
How We Chose the Best Projector Screens
Projector screens were evaluated based on their gain, fabric color, acoustic transparency, and ease of use.
Gain: A projector screen’s gain indicates how much they reflect light. So, a projector screen with 1.0 gain reflects 100 percent of the light that a white board does, according to Projector Central. We looked for screens with gains around 1.0 to create bright images. However, we also considered screens that came in different colors that could affect the gain.
Fabric Color (and Options): White has been the standard for decades, but in some conditions, another color like silver or gray produces a better viewing experience. Screens that came in more than one color got higher marks because they allowed users to buy the screen that best suits their projector and viewing setup.
Acoustic Transparency: An acoustically transparent screen allows sound to pass through the screen, so you can place speakers behind it. A screen that’s not acoustically transparent requires speakers to be placed next to, underneath, above, and around the screen.
Ease of Use: Every feature from the frame design to the screen thickness affects the ease of use. We also considered the ease of assembly and installation. The remote control, motor, and mounting features factored in as well, depending on the style of the screen.
The Best Projector Screens: Reviews & Recommendations
Why It Made The Cut: A heavy-duty aluminum frame and a 1.15-gain white screen that works with ultra-short, short, and long-throw projectors create the ultimate home theater experience.
– Screen Size: 100 inches
– Aspect Ratio: 16:9
– Mount: Wall mount
– Works for full HD, 4K, and active 3D
– Comes in four screen material options (grey, silver, white, and woven acoustic)
– Comes in different sizes and aspect ratios
– Excellent assembly instructions
– Installation leaves a gap between the wall and the screen
The Silver Ticket projector screen provides a premium viewing experience with a sturdy fixed-frame design, making it our pick for the best projector screen overall. The screen comes in four material/color options to better match the screen to the projector. There’s an acoustic transparent material, a matte white, gray for low-light rooms or ultra-bright projectors, and silver for rooms that have light that could compromise the image.
You can also choose different sizes and aspect ratios to match the screen to the projector specifications. For example, the 16:9 model will work best with a projector with a native 16:9 ratio. This screen is also designed to work with the latest technology, including 4K and active 3D projectors.
Assembly is required, but the Silver Ticket comes with excellent directions. However, expect assembly and installation to take about one to two hours. One of the (very) few drawbacks is that once the screen is installed, there’s a gap between the wall and screen.
Best for Outdoors: Abdtech Portable Outdoor Movie Screen
Why It Made The Cut: Abdtech's lightweight aluminum frame is sturdy and lets you set up a high-quality screen to view full HD, 4K, or 3D images.
– Screen Size: 120 inches
– Aspect Ratio: 16:9
– Mount: Freestanding aluminum frame
– Sturdy but lightweight aluminum frame
– Thick but foldable screen material
– Flat, sturdy feet with anchor holes
– Quick frame and screen assembly
– Inadequate stakes for the screen’s size
The Abdtech Portable Outdoor Movie Screen provides quality and combines it with portability thanks to a lightweight but sturdy aluminum frame. The frame’s fast assembly and the screen’s ease of installation make this the best outdoor projector screen.
It also gets big points for the size. Outdoor screens are often smaller to keep them lightweight and portable, but this model’s 120 inches make for an impressive outdoor viewing experience. The screen has a good balance of thickness and weight without becoming cumbersome. It’s also designed for viewing full HD, 4K, and 3D.
The frame’s flat feet create a sturdy foundation when compared to a less sturdy tripod. The feet have holes in them for the included ground stakes. However, the stakes don’t hold up to the quality of the rest of the design. Many users buy sturdier tent stakes instead.
Why It Made The Cut: This is the best roll-up projector screen because of the screen's size, remote technology, and unobtrusive mount make it excellent for office or home use.
– Screen Size: 128 inches
– Aspect Ratio: 16:10
– Mount: Permanent wall or ceiling mount
– Includes remote control (IR and RF)
– Available in seven colors
– Simple mounting system (though some hardware issues)
– Included mounting screws are poor quality
– Reports of poor customer service
The Elite Screens projector screen provides a large retractable viewing surface that’s appropriate for use with a projector capable of full HD, 4K, 3D, and RDF. The all-steel casing, which comes in two colors, mounts to either the ceiling or the wall and includes all of the necessary hardware. However, the screws designed for drywall are of poorer quality than the rest of the screen and may need replacing.
A high-quality 1.1 gain material reflects light beautifully to maintain color and contrast accuracy. However, it’s the remote and motor that make this the best roll-up projector screen. The remote runs on both infrared and radio frequency technology. Together, those technologies make it controllable from a variety of angles (no need to get on your tiptoes to reach the sensor). We like the motor because it’s quiet (not silent, but quiet).
A word of caution, Elite Screens has been known to have some customer service issues. Not everyone has a bad experience, but there is a consistent pattern of discontent among users.
Best Portable: GT GETCO TECH Projector Screen
Why It Made The Cut: Front and back projecting along with a flexing metal frame create a portable screen that’s easy to carry from home to the beach and back again.
– Dimensions: 100 inch
– Aspect Ratio: 16:9
– Mount: Iron frame and fiberglass tension rods
– No tools required for setup
– Breaks down to a portable size
– Large screen that’s viewable from either side
– Setup can be complicated
The GT GETCO TECH projector puts its screen under tension to prevent bowing and wrinkling, making it one of the best portable projector screens. The metal frame combines with fiberglass tension rods that pull the screen into position. A series of ropes and belts further pull the screen taut to remove wrinkles and warping.
You can project onto either side of this screen, adding even more versatility to its use. Additionally, the frame breaks down to a compact 31.5 inches by 7.87 inches by 3.15 inches, and fits in an included bag with carrying handles. You can then take it on a trip, vacation, or to another office to make a presentation.
However, make sure to practice set up before you arrive. The tension required for installation can get tricky.
Best Budget: Mdbebbron 120 Inch Projection Screen
Why It Made The Cut: This screen is the best budget projector screen because it's designed to resist wrinkles and fold down for easier storage, yet it still provides a good viewing experience.
– Screen Size: 120 inch
– Aspect Ratio: 16:9
– Mount: Wall mount
– Polyester material resists wrinkles
– Grommets provide versatile hanging options
– Machine washable
– No stand
The Mdbebbron projector screen keeps things simple with a foldable polyester material and grommets in the surrounding edge. This model doesn’t come with a stand, but it can be hung from hooks, straps, zip ties, and a number of other hanging methods.
The polyester material easily folds down for storage or stuffing into a bag for a trip. It’s wrinkle-resistant, maintaining a smooth viewing surface. The few wrinkles that do appear come out with stretching or cool ironing. The material allows for front or back projection. We also like that it’s machine washable.
The only downside with the Mdbebbron is that it doesn’t come with a frame or stand. You have to figure that part out yourself.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Projector Screen
Electric projector screens have a motor that lowers and raises the screen for you via remote control. They require a permanent mount (though they can often be removed from the mount) but provide more flexibility in the use of the space than a permanent wall mount.
Manual projector screens require some muscle power to pull down. They can be permanent or portable and may come with a frame or tripod if you don’t want to make the screen a permanent fixture in your home.
– Permanent: Permanent mounts can range from a fixed-frame wall mount that stays up all the time in a home theater to a manual or motorized roll-up projector screen that’s mounted to the ceiling of a conference room.
– Folding Frame: Folding frames range from tripods to tabletop models and various tension frame designs. However, some models aren’t as portable as you might think. Instead, they’re designed for easy storage rather than traipsing across town to make a presentation.
– Portable: Portable projector screens are designed to go where you go. They feature tripods or frames that collapse to a small, portable size. These models may also be inflatable or have a popup design that’s intended for outdoor use.
Portable and manual projector screens tend to be smaller and lighter (and less expensive) than permanent fixed-frame or motorized models. Base the size of your screen on the size of the space where it will be used and how you want to use it. A screen that will be moved from room to room or outside should be smaller, lighter, and easier to manage than one that will hang permanently in a home theater.
Also, consider the projector. The screen should be as large as the projector’s maximum image size. A long throw projector has to be further away from the screen to produce the maximum image size. In this case, the maximum size of the screen will depend on the projector and how far away from the wall it can be installed. Short throw or ultra-short throw projectors can be close to the screen and still produce a large image. They’re great for smaller spaces, but you’ll still need to base the screen size on the maximum image size the projector can produce in the allotted space.
Gain is a measurement that describes the fabric’s ability to reflect light. A gain of 1.0 reflects the same amount of light directed at the screen. A gain higher than 1.0 means the fabric increases the brightness, while a gain lower than 1.0 means the image is less bright than the original reflected light.
Many times a higher gain provides a better image, but not always. The projector’s brightness and the amount of light in the room affect the gain needed. A bright projector used in a dark room doesn’t need a 1.15 gain. The image might have better contrast with a gray screen and a 1.0 gain. You have to take into account the projector’s brightness and the viewing conditions to decide on the right gain.
Q: Do I need a special screen for a 4K projector?
You don’t have to have a special screen for a 4K projector, but you could lose some image quality if you don’t. These screens are of higher quality with coatings that create a uniform surface and higher gain to show more of the contrast, clarity, and colors provided by a 4K projector.
Q: What size screen should I buy?
The best projector screen size depends on a few factors. Most of the time, bigger is better, but not always. First, look at the size of the room you’ll be using the projector in. A large screen in a large theater room makes sense for a couple of reasons. The larger the screen, the further you have to sit from the screen to see the picture. A big room lets you sit far enough away from the screen to get a good view interfering with your viewing experience. The other reason is that the projector can be placed far enough away from the screen to project the maximum image size. Also, keep the screen’s aspect ratio in mind. Look for a model in a size with an aspect ratio that corresponds with the projector and media you use.
Q: How much does a good projector screen cost?
Projector screens can cost as little as $25 and more than $2,000 for a premium fixed-frame model. You can get a good quality manual or portable screen for $100 or less. However, the best portable models will fall in the $100 to $200 range. Motorized screens typically start around $150 and can cost several hundred dollars or more. The most expensive models are the fixed-frame models that start around $500 and up. Consider how and where you’ll use the screen to determine an appropriate budget. Also, consider the quality of your projector. If you’ve invested a considerable amount in the projector, invest in a projector screen that will let you enjoy everything the projector offers.
Final Thoughts on the Best Projector Screen
The Silver Ticket Productions STR Series Fixed Frame Projector Screen gets the top spot for the quality of the material, gain, and sturdiness of the frame. It offers the quality and performance needed for a home theater. If you’re on a tight budget and are willing to create your own frame or hanging setup, the Mdbebbron 120 Inch Projection Screen can do it while resisting wrinkles and offering dual-sided projection.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.