The 7 Best Short Throw Projectors for Dream Entertainment Setup

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The 7 Best Short Throw Projectors for Dream Entertainment Setup

Best Short Throw Projectors
If you’re in a hurry, check out our top pick Epson Home Cinema LS100.
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Maybe you’ve searched television options and the only screens large enough cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If you’re serious about a home theater, you need a short throw projector.

A short throw projector will typically produce a brighter, more vibrant picture than the projectors that are not listed as “short throw.”

However, in the world of projectors, you may feel a bit out of your element.

With projectors, the visual specs are slightly different from what you’d look for in a television, and since you’re not shopping around for a new projector frequently you may wonder what to look for.

When it comes to the world of short throw projectors, we have you covered.

Here is our list of the very best short throw projectors on the market.

Things to Consider

As we mentioned, short throw projectors are not exactly the same in terms of specs to your television. Because you’re dealing with a single bulb of light verses small pixels of a display, there are different variables to consider with a projector.

To help you out with what to look for when buying a short throw projector, make sure to keep these different points of interest in mind.

1. Brightness
Have you ever been in a room with a projector running but light coming in from neighboring windows? The outside light can distort the projector’s image unless the projector is especially bright.

If your projector is designed for a windowless theater room the amount of light produced isn’t as important, although it still plays a role in the quality of your picture (even with televisions, a brighter TV often produces a more vibrant picture).

Brightness is measured in lumens on a projector. Basically the larger the number the brighter the projector. For a home theater projector, you want the lumens to be at least several thousand in range if not more.

2. “Resolution”
To make it easier for a consumer to understand, most projectors have a resolution listed.

However, the resolution is a bit different on a projector than it is on a physical screen. With a physical screen you actually have pixels and lines, so you can measure the exact number of lines of resolution.

With a projector, it’s a bulb, so you don’t have these pixels (which is great as you won’t have dots burning out on the screen). However, to make it easier to quantify, you’ll see the equivalent resolution. This way, it’s easier to compare it with that of a television.

3. Contrast Ratio
A low contrast ratio will result in a muddied appearance. This is where mid towns start to look like shadows or highlights. You can still tell what’s going on but it just looks bland on the screen. A higher contrast ratio ensures improved picture quality.

When shopping for the best throw projectors, you want a contrast ratio that is well into the tens of thousands (if not higher).

4. Inputs
If you’re using a projector for your home theater system chances are you only need an HDMI cable connection. This will likely run form your audio receiver. However, there might be times where you want a different kind of cable connection. Perhaps you’d like to connect directly from a computer or a monitor.

With the inputs, it is more of a personal needs preference. So make sure to know what you need with your current hardware and compare this accordingly.

5. Price
Projectors can become pretty pricey if you’re not careful. You can easily spend the same, if not more on a projector than a large television. However, we’ve identified the best short throw projectors that cover a wide price range, beginning at under $1,500 and moving up to around $7,000.

You’ll see noticeable differences between the low and high ends, but before you start shopping for such a projector just make sure you know how much you’re comfortable with spending. It’s easy to be wowed by some of the tech specs on these more expensive devices, although we do promise even the projectors on the lower end of the price spectrum to have some solid features to consider.

oa3-table__imageEDITOR'S PICKEpson Home Cinema LS100 CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
oa3-table__imageBEST UNDER $1500Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
oa3-table__imageBEST UNDER $2000Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
oa3-table__imageBEST UNDER $2500LG HU80KA 4K UHD Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
oa3-table__imageBEST UNDER $3000ViewSonic LS810 5200 Lumens CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
oa3-table__imageBEST UNDER $7000Hisense 100-inch 4K HD Smart Laser TV CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Editor’s Pick

As you scroll through the different projectors, you’ll find the prices shift from under $1,500 to around $7,000. That’s a pretty big price jump. However, when it comes to visual technology there often is a sizable leap as well.

When selecting our Editor’s Pick we try to keep in mind both the specs customers like you are interested in and the bang for the buck you get. Sometimes that means going with the most expensive option, other times it’s the least when the specs are packed into a quality product.

For the best short throw projectors, we went with the Epson Home Cinema LS100, which is right in the middle of the price spectrum. We just found the projector gives you more picture quality for what you’re paying than anything else.

Now, if you’re looking at resolution alone you might see that it is a 1080 HD equivalent, while there are other projectors on the list that are 4K Ultra HD. So why would we give the title of Editor’s Pick to something with a lower perceived resolution?

The contrast ratio.

There’s nothing else on this list that comes close to what the contrast ratio is able to provide. At 2.5 million to 1, you’ll see detail in darks and shadows that you’ve never seen before, even if you’ve watched the same Blu-ray dozens of times.

In fact, if you were to compare an HD video with 2.5 million to 1 contrast ratio to a 4K Ultra HD screen with 200,000 to 1 resolution, you’d swear the lower resolution video was better. That’s because you see more detail. It doesn’t matter the resolution if the “pixels” are all the same shade.

Of course, there are plenty of other features on the Epson Home Cinema LS100 that we like. Some of these include:

  • 4,000 lumens of brightness
  • 1080 HD resolution
  • Included remote
  • A number of connection ports including 3 HDMI and 3 USB
  • Wireless screen sharing
  • Projects up to 120-inch display

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Best Short Throw Projectors Under $1,500

1. Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw

We’ll start the best short throw projectors off with a bang. The Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw gives you a number of great specs for the price.

With 3,600 lumens, you’ll have a projector you can use to play your favorite games, even when the windows are open.

It also has a very solid 20,000:1 contrast ratio, which gives you exceptional picture quality with your game as well.

There are a number of connection inputs on the Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw so you can hook up your favorite gaming system. There is HDMI support but also USB and screen mirroring (which you can do from not only a computer but your favorite iOS and Android device).

The Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw gives you a 1080 HD equivalent resolution and can produce a projected image of up to 100 inches. It does have a built-in 16-watt speaker, although typically we recommend connecting your device to a secondary audio system (when possible).

Some features on the Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw to consider include:

  • 3,600 lumens
  • 20,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 80 to 100-inch projection size
  • HDMI, USB, and other cable connections
  • 16 Watt speaker
  • 1920 by 1200 native resolution for HD picture quality

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Best Short Throw Projectors Under $2,000

2. Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector

The Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is an option when you want a number of connection options on a device.

The projector produces 2,500 lumens, so it is still capable of producing a quality picture when some ambient light is in the room (although generally, we like the lumens to be at least 3,000 for playing during the day and the blinds up).

The contrast ration on the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is 2,500:1 while it has a projected image of 1280 by 800 (which would classify it as a 720 HD picture, which is on the lower end of high definition).

One of the benefits of the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is you only need to have it about four feet from the projection surface, which is good when you don’t have much space to work with.

The number of connection options on the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector is excellent, as it comes with a VGA 15 pin connector, a video RCA composite cable connection (the yellow connector, you’ll need to plug the red and white into a secondary audio device), a USB type-miniB, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio headphone jack.

Some of the features to consider on the Ricoh PJ WX4130 Ultra Short Throw Projector include:

  • A wide range of inputs including USB, RCA, VGA, and HDMI
  • 2,500:1 contrast ratio
  • 2,500 lumens
  • 1280 by 800 resolution
  • 48 to 80-inch projection size
  • Sturdy and easy to set up

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3. LG HF85JA Ultra Short Throw Laser Smart Home Theater Projector

You’ll take your overall picture quality up a notch with the LG HF85JA Ultra Short Throw Laser Smart Home Theater Projector.

This projector comes with the capability of producing a contrast ratio of 150,000:1. At this price range that is an exceptional contrast ratio.

You also need very little in the way of space to use the LG HF85JA Ultra Short Throw Laser Smart Home Theater Projector. In fact, you can project a clear 100-inch screen from just 4.7 inches away. Optimal placement is 17 inches from the wall for a 100 inch projected screen.

Lumens is at 1,500, so you’ll want to avoid using this projector in sunlight. To fully take advantage of the high contrast ratio you’ll want to be in near, if not complete darkness.

One of the best features on the LG HF85JA Ultra Short Throw Laser Smart Home Theater Projector is it runs LG’s Smart TV platform. This way with an available Wi-Fi connection you can stream your favorite apps without connecting any secondary devices.

This also allows you to wirelessly share content from a computer or phone, without dealing with all the wires.

Some of the main features on the LG HF85JA Ultra Short Throw Laser Smart Home Theater Projector include:

  • 150,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 1,500 lumens
  • Connects via Bluetooth and wireless
  • A number of cable connections, including 2 USB and 2 HDMI ports,
  • LAN connection, optical digital audio out, and a coaxial connection for connecting your antenna/cable receiver
  • LG Smart TV functions
  • 20,000 lamp life
  • 1920 by 1080 resolution
  • Up to a 120 picture
  • Extreme short throw (under five inches)

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Best Short Throw Projectors Under $2,500

4. LG HU80KA 4K UHD Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector

Yes, the LG HU80KA 4K UHD Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector is a mouthful, but for just a few hundred dollars more than the previous LG device, you’ll seriously up your resolution potential.

With this projector, which looks more like an elongated brick with a mirror attachment, you’ll receive an impressive 3840 by 2160 resolution for an Ultra HD 4K picture experience.

The projector also comes with 2,500 lumens of brightness. This allows you to watch some content with ambient light and you shouldn’t experience too much in the loss of visual quality at this level (although to fully take in the exceptional resolution you’ll want to block out as much of the ambient light as possible.

The LG projector is LG Smart TV enabled, so you can pair your favorite viewing apps with the projector, all without the need for a secondary device.

The projector also uses HDR 10, which a high dynamic range technology. This helps to support a more vibrant picture experience that will be brighter and more pure nearly any non-HDR projector.

As for the cable connections you are a bit more limited with this option. The LG projector comes with a wireless share screen option, an HDMI port, and a USB port.

Surprisingly, this is a fantastic projector to travel with. While you probably don’t want to toss around a $2,500 projector in a suitcase, it is perfect for heading over to a friend’s house or to set up a movie night at a significant other’s place. It’s sturdy, portable, and hooks up in just a few moments.

Some of the features on this LG projector to consider include:

  • Projects up to a 150-inch screen size
  • HDR 10 compatible
  • 3840 by 2160 Ultra HD resolution
  • 2,500 lumens
  • Bluetooth sound out for pairing with a Bluetooth speaker system
  • Easy to travel with an adjustable stand built into the case

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Best Short Throw Projectors Under $3,000

5. ViewSonic LS810 5200 Lumens WXGA HDMI Short Throw Projector

When you want a projector that can handle an extremely short throw setup while remaining as bright and vibrant as ever, the ViewSonic LS810 is the way to go.

The ViewSonic LS810 produces 5200 lumens, so you’ll have a bright display even in full daylight.

Additionally, you’ll have a solid contrast ratio of 100,000:1. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy a solid array of colors and tones, regardless of if you’re playing your favorite video games during the day or watching your favorite movie at night.

When you don’t have much space for a projector, the ViewSonic LS810 is possible the best option out there. This is because it only needs 0.23 inches to throw the picture.

As you’ll be spending a good amount of money on a projector you’ll want something that can last before you need to start considering a new bulb. The ViewSonic LS810 has an extremely long lamp life of up to 30,000 hours. You’ll likely need to upgrade your hardware long before the bulb runs out.

The ViewSonic LS810 also has more connections than you’ll ever need. This way, you won’t be forced to unplug devices to make room for secondary devices. This includes two VGA connections, an HDMI port, USB type-A, USB mini-B, an audio out, LAN connection and several other ports. There is even an HDMI connection on the front of the projector, for when you don’t have room to connect to the rear.

While we always recommend connecting your projectors to an external audio setup the ViewSonic LS810 does have dual 10-watt speakers, which is fine when you’re in a pinch and need good sound but don’t have any available speakers.

Some of the features on the ViewSonic LS810 to consider include:

  • Super bright 5,200 lumens
  • 100,000:1 contrast ratio
  • 1280 by 800 viewing resolution (low-end HD)
  • An assortment of cable connections, including HDMI, USB, and audio out
  • Wireless streaming for sharing screens with computers and mobile phones
  • Dual 10W speakers
  • Long-lasting lamp with 30,000-hour life expectancy

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6. Epson Home Cinema LS100 3LCD Ultra Short-Throw Projector

You might know Epson for its quality printers, but it produces a large number of projectors and audio/video components. This includes the Epson Home Cinema LS100.

The Epson Home Cinema LS100 gives you a solid 4,000 lumens, allowing you to enjoy your movies, sports, video games, or professional presentations in any lighting configuration.

Probably the most impressive features of the Epson Home Cinema LS100 though is the contrast ratio. At 2,500,000:1 you won’t find anything else on the market that can compete with this. While the projector is not 4K Ultra HD the contrast ratio is better than most of these higher “resolution” projectors, which gives you much more clarity (often times greater depth is far better than muted higher resolution).

In fact, you’ll likely have better dark ranges on the Epson Home Cinema LS100 than you have with any television you currently own (including 4K TVs).

The Epson Home Cinema LS100 comes with a number of cable connections as well, allowing you to pair it up with just about any device you might have. This includes three HDMI (plus one MHL) port, two audio-in stereo mini connections, one audio out (stereo mini) connection, a VGA connection, a monitor out (which is great if you’re teaching a class and you’re facing the class while students are watching the screen), two USB Type A connections, 1 USB Type B and a LAN connection. Basically, if you want to connect it to the projector you can.

If you want a giant viewing display the Epson Home Cinema LS100 is a great purchase as well. You can create a viewing area of up to 10 feet (120 inches) with the ultra-short throw projector.

Some of the main features of the Epson Home Cinema LS100 to consider include:

  • 4,000 lumens of brightness
  • Incredibly 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Included remote control
  • Connection ports including 3 HDMI, 3 USB, audio out, 2 audio in, LAN, and other connectors
  • Compatible with tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles,
  • Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Blu-ray or DVD player, satellite and cable box, Roku, Apple TV, and digital cameras
  • Epson is voted the #1 Image Quality projector by the U.S. Projector Brand Customer Perception Preference Study (2017)
  • Viewing size of 120 inches
  • 1080 HD resolution
  • Weighs 24 pounds

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Best Short Throw Projector Under $7,000

7. Hisense 100-inch 4K HD Smart Laser TV

When it comes to high-end video technology, few brands out there can compete with Hisense. This is a top-tier audio/video company so when you buy something from them you know you’re getting the very best.

If you don’t want to compromise on the picture quality this is the way to go. The 4K Ultra HD projector creates a 100-inch projection that looks beautiful in any lighting environment.

The device is so impressive it even functions as a soundbar system as well. When you buy the Hisense projector it comes with a stand-alone subwoofer. While if you’re spending nearly $7,000 on a projector we feel pretty confident that you also have a surround sound system on hand, but if you just don’t have space, or need to set up your room quickly, this is a fantastic way to go.

The speaker isn’t any cheap either. It is a powerful, 110W Harman Kardon speaker.

The laser projector creates 3,000 lumens of brightness and is a Smart projector. This way, you can stream content from your favorite services like Netflix and Amazon, all without connecting a secondary device.

The projector can pair with Amazon Alexa as well, so you can voice command your projector without the aid of a remote (although it comes with a remote as well).

You’ll find the projector also comes with a number of desirable connection ports, including 2 HDMI, 1 digital audio out (optical), 1 analog out (RCA), 2 USB, 1 Ethernet (LAN) and 1 RS-232.

Comes with the 100-inch projector display surface to ensure you have the highest quality visual experience possible.

Some of the features on the Hisense Laser TV include:

  • 100-inch display
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • 180-degree viewing angle
  • Built-in Harman Kardon speaker and wireless subwoofer
  • Included projector screen
  • Dual-band WiFi
  • Smart projector
  • Connects with Amazon Alexa
  • 3,000 lumens of brightness

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In Conclusion

There is no shortage to available projectors on the market. If you don’t have a ton of room to throw your image, or if you don’t want a bulky projector hanging from the ceiling, you should consider a short throw projector.

Many of the projectors on this list can throw an image just inches from the projector lens. And as you can tell, you’ll find varying projectors at all kinds of price points. If you just want a basic projector that’s easy to set up you’ll find plenty of those. Or if you want projectors with improved display specs you can go with that as well.

We went with the Epson Home Cinema LS100 as the Editor’s Pick because we believe it has the best bang for your buck. In terms of price, it’s right in the middle. And while it doesn’t produce a 4K Ultra HD level of resolution, the contrast ratio is a mind-numbing 2.5 million to 1. You’ll pick up more detail in shadows and dark areas of an image than you ever have before with any other television set.

Hafiz Muhammad Ali
Hafiz Muhammad Ali
Hafiz Muhammad Ali is Founder of Omnicore Group, Serial Entrepreneur, 5x, Author, Digital Marketing Leadership and Career Coach. He is well attuned and passionate about books and investing in education. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn and on Google+ for tweets and rants about latest news, tips and advice.
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