First, there was standard definition, then there was HD—and now there’s 4K UltraHD. 4K is quickly becoming the standard resolution option for televisions, especially for higher-end versions from the top companies. Getting that same level of resolution from a projector has historically been a very costly endeavor. As the technology becomes more widely available, though, the price of getting it in your own home has dropped, and you can now find 4K projectors that are actually affordable for your average consumer. But what’s the best 4K projector under 2000 dollars? We’ve sought to answer that question by reviewing six of our favorite choices on the list below. Read on to see which one we think is the overall best—and to find the perfect projector for your home theater. For most users, the Optoma UHD52ALV will be the best all-around choice for a living room or home theater. (>>> Check the price on Amazon.com)
Best 4K Projector Under 2000 – Top Picks for 2021:
|Optoma UHD52ALV||Optoma UHD30||Epson 3800||LG HU70LA||BenQ TK850||BenQ HT3550|
|Resolution||3840x2160||3840x2160||1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting||3840x2160||3840x2160||3840x2160|
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,500 ANSI||3,400 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||1,500 ANSI||3,000 ANSI||2,000 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||3.9' - 26.6'||4.2' - 33.0'||6.2' - 28.8'||6.6' - 12.3'||3.2' - 24.6'||3.2' - 16.4'|
|Screen size||34.00" - 302.00"||34”-300”||40”-300”||60.00" - 140.00"||30.00" - 300.00"||30" - 200"|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
Natural light is the enemy of a projected image. The more light coming from lamps and windows in your viewing area, the harder it is for the projector’s beam to compete. If you have a completely dark home theater, you can use a projector with a brightness as low as 1,000-1,500 lumens without loss of picture quality. For most spaces, though, a projector this dim just won’t cut it.
You can find projectors as bright as 6,000 lumens, but honestly most people don’t need a lamp that bright. If you want to keep the lights on at a normal level while you watch TV or play games, you’ll want a projector in the range of 3,000-4,000 lumens. While you may still need to close the blinds in the daytime, you won’t have to go to extreme measures to darken the space.
Brightest projector under $2,000: Optoma UHD52ALV
Projectors take a bit more planning and space than TVs. Aligning the image can be tricky for new projector users, and the best projectors offer features to help make it easier. If you plan to mount the projector on the ceiling, vertical keystone correction is a necessity. Other options like zoom and lens shift can be very useful in fine-tuning the alignment to the screen.
A projector’s throw distance is a factor here, as well. This is a measure of how much space you need between the lens and the screen to get a given image size. The shorter the throw distance, the easier it will be to install in a wider range of spaces.
Most flexible projector under $2,000: BenQ TK850
There are two main specs a gamer needs to look at: input lag and frame refresh rate. The input lag determines how long it takes commands given to the projector to reach the screen. Anything above about 60ms will be noticeable by the player. That can be incredibly frustrating for any kind of fast-paced gaming. Serious and competitive gamers should look for an input lag of 30ms or lower.
When it comes to frame refresh rate, you want something operating at 60Hz or higher, with a minimum of 60fps (frames per second). This will prevent any choppiness or compression artifacts on-screen, which can be just as annoying for the player as a high lag. A high contrast ratio is also helpful, giving you the most clarity in dark areas of the screen. Check the list of the best 4K projectors for gaming.
Best projector for gaming under $2,000: Optoma UHD30
Smart Home Integration
A smart home theater lets you control your system with your voice, create custom light and sound settings, and more. The option of content streaming through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is another handy feature many smart projectors offer. Both the LG HU70LA and the Optoma UHD52ALV support Alexa and Google voice control systems. The Optoma takes this a step further with IFTTT compatibility, giving it a more robust range of options when it comes to smart home theater integration.
Best smart projector under $2,000: Optoma UHD52ALV
Last but not least, we bring you Optoma’s take on the smart 4K projector, the UHD52ALV. If you like customizing your smart home through IFTTT recipes, you’ll love the IFTTT support of the Optoma UHD52ALV. It also supports both Alexa and Google Home voice control systems, with a wider range of commands than many smart projectors, including playback control for USB content.
The Optoma UHD52ALV offers the same flexibility in the set-up. It can access content through HDMI, USB, or VGA. A bright 3,500 lumen lamp lets you put it in any room. For adjusting the picture, there’s a 1.3x zoom and a 15% vertical lens shift. You can get a clear picture with less than 4 feet of distance, though you’ll need about 10 feet for a 100” screen. It’s bright enough for most spaces, however, so it can easily replace the TV in your living room.
The picture quality on the Optoma UHD52ALV is among the best you’ll find in this price point. It has a wide color gamut, compatible with both HDR10 and HLG systems. The contrast ratio is impressive, too. The color depth is stunning across the screen, even in darker areas. It’s a truly immersive viewing experience, with fast processing from the Texas Instruments chipset that makes all the action on screen smooth and life-like.
- Compatible with voice control
- Supports IFTTT for advanced smart home integration
- Wide connectivity options
- Vibrant, accurate colors with high contrast ratio
- Bright enough to use in any space
- Not suitable for gaming
Gamers will want to look at the Optoma UHD30 when they want the best projector under $2,000. The Enhanced Gaming Mode on this model has a 16ms lag time for near-instant response. With a 240Hz refresh rate, your gameplay will always be smooth and free of blurs or skips.
The Optoma UHD30 is an excellent projector for home theater use, as well. It takes 4K resolution to whole new heights with the UltraDetail technology. An 8-segment color wheel and Dynamic Black technology for a high contrast ratio combine for a picture that’s vivid and sharp in both bright and dark areas of the screen.
We also like the flexibility of the Optoma UHD30. It has both VGA and HDMI inputs, so you can use all your content sources, and includes important image adjustment options like vertical keystone correction and zoom, speeding up the set-up. The throw distance is on the longer side so you will need a decent-sized room to get a big picture. It’s great in a living room or family room, with a high lamp brightness so you won’t need to worry about the room’s ambient light. A more detailed review of Optoma UHD 30 can be found here.
- Low input lag is great for gamers
- 4K resolution with UltraDetail technology
- Dynamic Black enhancement for high contrast ratio
- High brightness for use in any light level
- Easy to install and adjust
- Weak built-in speakers
- Longer throw distance (10-12 feet for 100” screen)
Epson Home Cinema 3800
The approach to 4K on the Epson Cinema 3800 is different than that used by other manufacturers above. The native resolution on this projector is HD (1080p). It then uses a processing system known as pixel shifting to create the Ultra HD resolution. This is paired with a 3LCD chip technology that provides accurate HDR10 color without the image issues that can be caused by color wheels.
The Epson 3800 is another option that’s great for gamers. It uses 12-bit digital video processing and has a frame rate of 60 per second to keep your game smooth. The input lag is low, too, down to 16.7ms with the right settings.
This is a heftier projector and isn’t as portable as some of the other options, though it does have a wide enough range of screen sizes to conceivably use outdoors. With a brightness of 3,000 lumens, it’s not ideal for bright rooms but can cope with moderate levels of ambient light. The only issue of the Epson 3800 is with the sound. Its fan is a bit loud on higher performance levels and can easily overwhelm the 10-watt speakers. Plan to use an external sound source with this projector. A more detailed review of Epson 3800.
- 3 chip projector eliminates rainbow effect and other color issues
- 4K picture through pixel-shifting
- 12-bit digital processing creates smooth transitions
- Low input lag with high frame rate
- Bright enough for most uses
- Loud fan can overwhelm the built-in sound
The LG HU70LA is the best smart projector you can find in this price range. Its ThinQ AI system pairs nicely with the LG Smart TV interface. You can also use it with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control systems, so it’s easy to integrate into an existing smart home theater.
The picture quality on the LG HU85LA is high—if you use it in a dark room. At only 1,500 lumens, the lamp washes out easily. Its best use is in a dedicated home theater where you can take advantage of features like Dynamic Tone Mapping, which provides a full HDR10 color palate with superb depth and accuracy. It’s incredibly smooth, too, with a TruMotion system that prevents blurring in fast action sequences.
Flexible connectivity is another strength of the LG HU70LA. It supports both screen mirroring through Miracast and wireless streaming via Bluetooth, in addition to the standard wired connections. While you can use it for gaming, the input lag is on the higher side and will be frustrating for serious gamers. If your aim is to watch movies just like you’ll see them in the theater, that’s where the LG HU70LA shines. Find the full review of this projector here.
- Smart TV system with voice control compatibility
- Optimized frame-by-frame color with Dynamic Tone Mapping
- Wireless screen mirroring through Miracast
- Bluetooth compatible
- Smooth, sharp picture
- Must be used in a dark room
- Not great for gamers
Another excellent option from BenQ is their True 4K HDR-PRO projector. It’s the best projector if you want to watch sports on the big screen, with a Dedicated Sport mode among its picture options. Its picture is stunning for all kinds of content, though, with a Dynamic Iris lens and bright colors that meet the Rec.709 standard.
The BenQ True 4K is also one of the easiest options on this list to set up. It has a wider zoom and an automatic vertical keystone correction, in addition to a vertical lens shift. These features are a huge help in aligning the picture to the screen. The throw distance and brightness make it ideal for entertainment rooms and living rooms, and it’ll give you a 100” image with about 8 feet of distance.
Now, this is not a gaming projector. The input lag of the BenQ True 4K is high enough even casual players will find it annoying. It’s perfect for watching TV and movies, though, and can integrate into any viewing area with ease. Our more detailed review of BenQ TK850 can be found here.
- 3D capable
- Bright enough for most spaces
- Sports and cinema modes optimize picture for your content
- Zoom and lens shift for easier alignment
- Dynamic Iris lens optimizes brightness to the situation
- Lens shift and auto keystone for easy set-up
- High input lag
BenQ is a leading name in home theater projectors, so it’s no surprise their name comes up a couple of times on this list. The HT3550 is an ideal option for designated home theaters. It’s not the best projector if you have to contend with a lot of ambient light. For dark rooms, though, the picture and performance are both top-notch.
The BenQ HT3550 can work in rooms of any dimension. It has a short-throw ratio, a 1.3x zoom, and a vertical lens shift. They’re calibrated at the factory so the image will be accurate straight out of the box. Setting it up is a breeze, and it comes with an array of different image modes so you can make the picture suit your content.
This is the kind of projector you’ll want to leave in place once you set it up—while it’s quick to adjust, it’s not built for portability. As a designated home theater projector, though, it’s well worth the investment. Click here to learn more about this projector.
- 10-element 4K lens gives a crystal-clear, sharp image
- Multiple picture modes for more viewing options
- Easy out of the box set-up
- Flexible room placement options
- High contrast ratio and color accuracy
- Works best in dim to no light
Best 4K Projector Under 2000 – The verdict
For most users, the Optoma UHD52ALV will be the best all-around choice for a living room or home theater. (>>> Check the price on Amazon.com) It has a high picture quality, is easy to install and use, and supports smart home theater technology. Having said that, gamers will probably want to look at the Epson 3800 or Optoma UHD30. Both still have the picture quality for movies and TV but also give you a low input lag, as well as high processing speeds and contrast ratios.
Hopefully, this breakdown has helped you figure out the big differences between these 5 projectors. They’re all affordable ways to bring Ultra HD quality to your home. Whatever your home theater projector needs, one of the options above will fit the bill!