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Last updated: 02/20/2020

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Since 4k projectors have hit the market they’ve skyrocketed in popularity, and with reason. With increased resolution, a wide color gamut and HDR, one can have the same ultra HD viewing that 4K TVs offer, but with a home theatre experience. From video games to TV series as well as movies and home videos, you’ll be able to see the finest of details and color resolution on surfaces larger than your largest big screen.

There is a noticeable positive difference in image quality between 4K projectors and TVs. Companies are using the latest technology to enhance viewing experiences, and not only in professional settings but right in the home. However, all the models on the market today can vary slightly, affecting their overall quality and purpose. They can vary in price, size, lamp life and more. Keep reading to better understand what 4K projectors are all about!

Key Facts

  • With 4K projectors you can enjoy significantly higher image quality on a larger screen, giving greater feelings of immersion.
  • In recent years, more and more platforms such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime have begun producing content capable of being reproduced in 4K resolution. This now allows you to enjoy a variety of entertainment in Ultra HD.
  • The two main 4K resolutions are DCI 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels with a 17:9 format) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels with a 16:9 format). Of these, the UHD standard is the most widespread format, as it is the standard used in television.
  • After figuring out where and for what you will use your 4K projector, you can narrow your search based on specific brightness and contrast levels, as well as other individualized features in order to find the one that best suits your needs.

Our Selection of he Best 4K Projectors on the U.S. Market

Below is a ranking of the 4 best 4K projectors we’ve found currently available in the U.S. This list offers a variety of models and styles; giving you an idea of the different characteristics and advantages that each can offer, all while providing you with the best value for the best price.

Best 4K Projector for the Best Price

The advanced visual features on this projector are ideal for use in education and small business environments. It projects 120” from 15 ft and 8” in 3600 lumens. It supports most media players like PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. As Amazon’s Top choice, this 4K projector has a simple setup and control, just plug in your media device and play. The SuperEco Mode allows the lamp to shine bright for up to 15,000 hours, the whole unit for under $400.

Best 4K Projector for Sport Viewing

Enjoy an immersive sports experience with this 3D enabled UHD 4K projector with dedicated football and sports modes. You can see more true-to-life colors with 96% rec. 709 color gamut and a brightness of 3000 lumens. It has an all-glass 4K-optimized lens array with greater light penetration to increase image clarity and sharpness. It boasts a high native contrast ratio that provides the best black levels in its class.

Best 4K Projector for Home Theatres

The true 4K HDR projector has 3 million individual pixels that give awe-inspiring image quality to deliver crisply defined details in every single frame. The 10 elements all-glass lens grouping provides the right level of light penetration to produce the best sharpness, quality, and clarity. This color-accurate projector is equipped with DCI-p3 color space, one of the latest forms of technology, to produce a full cinematic color experience. Although a bit pricier, it is one of Amazon’s Top Choice Products.

Best 4K Projector for Brightness

Enjoy an incredible 1350 ANSI lumens of brightness in any room in your home or office with this compact 4K projector. It’s the perfect projector for home theatres and outdoor movie nights. XGIMI has partnered with Harman Kardon to provide reverberating, theatre-quality sound. By adopting the dual passive bass diaphragm, the sound system delivers accurate treble, stable mid and deep bass. You can stream all your favorites like Youtube 4K, Netflix and more.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About 4K Projectors.

When buying a 4K projector, it’s important to keep in mind that every different model and brand offers varying features, characteristics and individual advantages. Depending on what you’re looking for, these products can easily climb above $1,000 and even $2,000. Check out the shopping guide below to see the most frequently asked questions from users, the differences between the varying models and most important factors when it comes to purchasing your own.

Family watching a soccer

4K projectors will allow you to enjoy an immersive viewing experience at home.
(Source: dolgachov: 101264254/ 123rf.com)

What are 4K projectors?

A 4K projector is an electronic device that – by way of computer chips, pixels, light projection and a system of lenses – is able to reproduce images on a surface. Today, standard 4K projectors models have the ability to reproduce images in higher quality that prevent “pixel shifting”. This creates clear and sharp images on large screens or other flat surfaces. These high technology projectors are built with 4K panels, or chips, that offer image resolutions two times higher than Full HD, with around 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution.

Alex de la IglesiaFilm Director

“Cinema experiences can bring you to the most impossible places.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 4K projectors?

With a 4K projector, you can enjoy the most superior picture quality possible outside that of a cinema. They allow the average homeowner to experience live pictures on a screen much larger than any television you can find today on the market, for less money. Right in at home, you have the ability to immerse yourself completely in your favorite movies, shows, home videos and more.

Because most of these projectors are small and lightweight, one can easily transport them from place to place whether that be inside, outside, in the basement or to and from the workplace. Many of these projectors, although exceptional in providing quality images, must be connected to an outside sound system to produce an equally exceptional sound.

Keep in mind these things end up adding to the overall cost of your investment. Furthermore, unlike a TV, buying a projector also requires that from time to time you replace the bulb within in it. Often times, the bulbs alone can be quite costly. Below, we’ve created a table laying out all the main advantages and disadvantages of owning your own 4K projector.

Advantages
  • Greater immersion sensation
  • You can choose and vary the size of the screen
  • They take up less space than TVs
  • Installation and use are easy
  • You can easily transport them from one room to another
  • They have many applications
Disadvantages
  • From time to time it is necessary to replace the bulbs
  • They take longer to turn on than a TV or monitor
  • You will need an independent sound system

Who should buy a 4K projector?

Without a doubt, the multiple functions of 4K projectors make them an excellent alternative to televisions or computer monitors. Movie fanatics, gamers, sports fans and business professionals who frequently give presentations, are just a few examples of those who would benefit from the outstanding image quality that 4K projectors can provide on such a large scale.

They’re also ideal for bars, cafes, clubs and exhibition halls where you can present material and entertainment to large amounts of people without diminishing the quality of the image. Those who work in the fields of graphic design, engineering and architecture can take their work to a whole new level, able to study, create and present their material better than ever.

businessman using a proyector

Your specific needs will determine which 4K projector suits you best.
(Source: Dean Drobot: 52193258/123rf.com)

What types of 4K projectors are there?

As of now, there are three distinct, general categories of the types of 4K projectors available. There are LCD projectors, (liquid crystal display), LED projectors (light-emitting diode), and DLP technology projectors (Digital Light Processing). Take a look at the table below for a breakdown of the different types of projectors and their individual characteristics.

Characteristics LCD LED DLP
Design They are usually bulkier. They are almost always smaller and very compact. Always small and compact design.
Technology The screens built for LCD technology are composed of three separate glass panels, which break down the light into the three fundamental colors: red, blue and green. LED projectors use LEDs, which are light-emitting diodes (semiconductors as the light source). DLP projectors consist of a chip called DMD, composed of more than 2,000,000 very small mirrors. The light source is usually an LED.
Image quality Good color saturation. The image is sharp and precise. No image or color degradation occurs. Offers high-quality images Offers bright, colorful and clear images.
Bright Are more powerful when it comes to brightness. Offers lower brightness levels, but the perception of clarity is increased by the increase in brightness due to saturation. Does not offer the brightness levels of LCD technology.
Negative points May break down more easily and their spare parts are expensive. They lose image quality over time. Higher price. Rainbow effect may occur.

Is a screen required for a 4K projector?

One can easily project an image from a 4K projector on a white or gray wall, both inside and outside. However, this always opens up the possibility of undesired reflection or distortion due to the material of the wall and the reflection of light onto it.

The more matt-like the surface, the better the image will be reproduced. That being said, it’s best to just purchase a screen that is made to be used with your specific 4K projector to produce the best results and best image quality. If you’re going to invest money in a 4K projector, it’s best to just buy the appropriate screen to go with it.

proyector inside a classroom

4K projectors usually require other technology to provide a full experience.
(Source: Mr.Smith Chetanachan: 56460728/ 123rf.com)

Purchase Criteria

When it comes to buying a 4K projector, there are a number of features to take into consideration to find the perfect one. To help, we’ve created a short checklist of purchase criteria we find to be the most important. You can use this to analyze the quality-price ratio and choose the one that will best suit your needs.

Use

As usual, the first thing you should ask yourself before buying a projector is what you will be using it for and where you will be using it. The best projector used to create a home cinema system will not be the same as a projector needed to broadcast sports in a bar or plaza square. To be even more precise, it’s best to consider which specific room it will be in and the lighting of that room.

Usually, the two main uses for 4K projectors in the home are for playing video games or watching movies or TV series. For gaming purposes, investing in a 4K projector that has as little pixel shifting and image delay as possible is more than worth it; especially for those who play online. If you’ll be watching movies outside, finding a projector with high luminosity and brightness settings will be more necessary than projectors used for indoor movie nights.

Format

Within the different resolutions offered in 4K projectors, you can find several options. Possibly the two most widespread are DCI 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels with a 17:9 format) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels with a 16:9 format). The latter is the most widespread, as all standard television content is in this format.

Brightness

The brightness of a projector is measured in units called ANSI lumens and determines the amount of light the projector is capable of emitting. The darker the room where you use the projector, the better. In the case of an LCD projector, those with 2,000 or 2,500 lumens is plenty. For a DLP, it’s best to have a projector that emits around 3,000 lumens.

However, if you’re going to use the projector in a space where natural light can enter, you’ll need a model that is capable of producing high-intensity light. The brightness of the projector will also be affected by the distance your project the image from and the size of the image you want.

Contrast

The contrast of a projector relates to the differentiation between the brightest colors and the darkest colors within the image. The contrast and relationship between the light and dark within the images subsequently affects the clarity and quality of the image. There are two aspects of contrast ratio. They’re almost always referred to as “native” and “dynamic” ratios.

The native ratio is what the display technology itself can do, focusing on how dark the dark parts of the image are. The dynamic contrast ratio refers to what the projector can reproduce and how it can adapt according to the clarity of the frame. Ideally, the native contrast should be at least 2,000:1. The higher it is, the better the image quality.

Connectivity

Most projectors still have a VGA input connection, as it is widely used in the business world. Likewise, 4K projectors almost always have an HDMI connection as well. It’s important to check that your projector of interest has USB ports, audio output jack, Internet connection by cable Ethernet Bluetooth and/or WiFi capabilities if these are features you desire.

Other Characteristics

Other important features to consider when buying a projector are: optical zoom, lens shift, and Keystoncorrection. The zoom is essential when there’s not enough distance between the equipment and the screen to produce a clear image. Lens shifting allows the image to be shifted vertically and horizontally. Keystone correction helps avoids trapezoidal deformations.

It’s important to take into account whether you want to mount your 4K projector onto the wall, ceiling or other surface and if the model of interest comes with built-in fixtures or accessories to be able to do so. Lastly, it’s important to consider if you’d like extra accessories like carrying cases, remote controls or rechargeable batteries.

Brand

These days, one can find a wide variety of companies and manufacturers producing 4K projectors. We advise looking for renowned brands or those with excellent reviews and customer satisfaction. This way you’ll almost guarantee high levels of quality and customer service.

Some of the most prestigious manufacturers are: BenQ, Epson, Sony, Panasonic, and LG. Especially BenQ offers products of great value at an extremely affordable price. Another renowned brand that deserves special mention is Optoma. This company stands out for creating and gearing their products towards gamers, both professional and amateur.

Summary

Not long ago, the high prices of projectors made them almost completely inaccessible to the general population. However, in recent years, their prices have fallen considerably: making many varieties available to anyone and everyone. With increasing amounts of 4K content coming out from a number of different media platforms, they’re quickly becoming the best option for superb viewing experiences.

Today you can find a wide variety of projectors, even 3D projectors! With such a large variety of even 4K projectors now available on the market, it’s important to do proper research to ensure you select one that will provide you with exactly what you need. Where you use it, when you use it, what you use it for and all the special features you desire will all play an important role in helping you select the perfect projector.

Finally, if this guide has been useful to you in your selection process, you can either leave us a comment or share it with your family and friends on social media!

(Featured image source: Brian Jackson: 61386070/123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.