Most home theater projectors use an LED lamp design to project the image. Laser projectors use a different internal design, however, that allows them to provide a broader range of colors and a sharper image. Generally speaking, the best laser projector will offer a superior picture to a lamp-based projector.
Laser projectors are newer technology than the traditional design, and this does tend to raise the price. That’s the main trade-off when you’re comparing laser projectors to other designs. It’s rare to find one that costs less than $1,000. This is on-part with what you’d expect to pay for a high-quality projector of any design, but you aren’t as likely to find them in the lower end of the budget.
The main advantage of laser projectors is that they’re much brighter on average than they typical lamp-based design. On average, the lamps can produce at least 4,000 lumens, which is definitely bright enough for even well-lit rooms.
Just like with any home theater equipment, there are a few features you want to consider when you’re buying a laser projector. Let’s take a look before we dig into the full product reviews.
Best Laser Projector Options for 2020
|VAVA 4K||LG HU80KS||LG HF80LA||Epson LS100||BUDGET OPTION:Sony VPL-PWZ10|
|Resolution||4K Ultra HD||4K Ultra HD||1080p||1080p||WXGA (1280 X 800)|
|Brightness||6,000 lumens||2,000 lumens||2,000 lumens||4,000 lumens||5,000 lumens|
|Max screen size||150”||150”||120”||120”||300”|
|Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price|
As we mentioned above, laser projectors are typically brighter than their lamp-based counterparts. There’s still some variation from one model to another, though. A quality laser projector can range anywhere from around 3,000-4,000 lumens on the low side to as much as 20,000 lumens or more.
Keep in mind that brighter isn’t always better. A lamp that’s too bright will be hard to watch for long spans of time, and can lead to eye strain and pain. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000-6,000 lumens is the best for home use. Where your space falls in that range depends on how much ambient light there is. (More info about recommended projector brightness here).
Brightest projector: VAVA 4K
Throw Distance and Ratio
Another advantage of laser projectors is that they can often get a shorter throw ratio than most lamp-based projectors. The throw ratio is the measurement of how far away from the screen your projector needs to be to create a large image, so this is especially important if your home theater space is on the smaller side.
Where many lamp-based projectors need several feet of distance, some laser projectors measure their throw distance in inches. Even if you have plenty of space, this can give you more flexibility when you’re setting things up.
Shortest throw ratio: VAVA 4K
The native resolution of a projector determines whether it’s capable of playing HD content with its full detail. As you might expect, a higher resolution typically comes with a higher price tag. Most home theater projectors have a 1080p resolution, though there are many that offer full 4K UHD. (Find out best 4k projectors options for 2020)
It used to be that laser projectors were designed more for presentations and offices than they were for home theaters. Because of this, they don’t as often come with speakers installed, the way many home theater projectors do.
There are exceptions, however—and on the plus side, laser projectors that do include speakers tend to give you a higher sound quality. Most home theater projectors have speakers rated for only 10 to 20 watts of power, but some laser projectors include soundbars that give much better volume and audio quality.
Best projector for sound: VAVA 4K
Best Laser Projector: Full Reviews
Let’s start things off with this VAVA 4K home theater projector. If high picture quality is your main priority, you’ll want to check out this beauty. The native 4K resolution and high lamp brightness provide a sharp picture with excellent color accuracy. Some of the specs even exceed the projectors in movie theaters.
Another strong point of the VAVA 4K projector is its sound. The built-in soundbar far exceeds the wimpy 10-watt speakers you’ll find on many projectors. You don’t need external speakers to use the VAVA 4K Laser TV projector, which is nice if you have a cramped space.
Speaking of space—the ultra-short throw ratio on the VAVA 4K makes it incredibly versatile when it comes to set-up, too. You don’t need a massive room to get a massive picture. Since the lamp is bright, too, it’ll work in basically any space. This VAVA projector is on the pricey side, but if you have the budget for it, it’s the best laser projector out there. (Find more detailed review of VAVA 4K here)
- Contrast ratio and resolution exceed movie theater projector stats
- Bright lamp can compete with any ambient light level
- Short throw ratio for more installation flexibility
- Built-in sound is fantastic
- Lamp life of up to 25,000 hours
- Connects through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or wired connections
- Most expensive option
LG makes an assortment of smart home theater technology, and their HU80KS 4K UHD laser projector is one of the most impressive products in the line. It gives you a lifelike image in sharp true 4K resolution, and allows you to connect and stream content wirelessly with no additional dongles or set-up.
Now our only quibble with this LG laser projector is the lamp brightness. It’s a bit on the low side, especially if your viewing area has lots of ambient light. Otherwise, though, the picture is very detailed and clear, with good color accuracy.
The LG HU80KS also uses a unique design from most home theater projectors. The dimensions and built-in carrying handle make it very portable, but it isn’t as stable once it’s set up as other projectors—something to keep in mind if you’ll be using it around kids and pets.
- Lamp life of up to 20,000 hours
- Smart TV technology built-in
- Picture is detailed and accurate
- Short throw ratio gives you more set-up flexibility
- Portable design with built-in handle
- Not bright enough for rooms with high ambient light
- Is prone to tipping and breaking in certain set-ups
Most laser projectors are on the high side of the price spectrum, as we said above. If you’re on a budget, though, the LG HF80LA is much more affordable than most of the options. The LG HF80LA also has the advantage of being very user-friendly and easy to set up. There’s a keystone adjustment option for perfecting your picture alignment, and you can even stream content or send audio via Bluetooth—an impressive feature for a projector in this price range.
Now the picture quality from the LG HF80LA isn’t as high as you’ll get from other projectors. The brightness of 2,000 lumens can look washed out if there’s ambient light. The 1080p resolution is high enough for standard HD, though it’s not quite as sharp as a 4K projector. Basically, the LG HF80LA isn’t your best choice if you’re looking for the ultimate picture quality, or if you’re using it in a well-lit area.
On the other hand, there are quite a few features here you wouldn’t expect for the price. It’s compatible with LG’s smart TV software, for example, which lets you easily access all your content in one place. It also offers 2 HDMI ports along with wireless connectivity, making it simple to integrate into your home theater set-up.
- Very affordable option
- Lamp is durable with a long life
- Compatible with LG’s smart TV system
- Streams audio through Bluetooth
- Keystone adjustment makes image set-up easier
- Capable of mirroring content from phone or tablet
- Relatively low brightness
- Resolution and contrast not as good as other projectors
The picture quality of the Epson LS100 is one of the best from any laser projector. The full detail resolution and bright 4,000-lumen lamp makes it an ideal way to watch your favorite movies. While it doesn’t provide 4K resolution or 3D, the sharpness and detail exceeds most flat screen TVs, no matter how large you make the picture.
The visual technology inside the Epson LS100 is impressive. It uses a 3LCD design that prevents common projector image problems like rainbow effect, color inconsistencies, and white segments. It also has a high contrast ratio, which gives you deep black levels with high detail.
The Epson LS100 is also very easy to set up and connect to your home theater system. It has three HDMI ports, first of all. It also provides an ultra-short throw ratio—just inches of distance gives you a massive picture, so you don’t have to worry about space constraints. (You can even find the LS100 among best ultra short throw projectors) If you’re looking for a high-quality, versatile laser projector, the Epson LS100 is a good way to go.
- Extremely short throw ratio
- High contrast ratio with deep, detailed blacks
- Equally bright for white and color
- 3-chip design eliminates rainbow effect
- Three HDMI ports increase connection versatility
- Lamp lasts up to 20,000 in Normal Mode
- Doesn’t offer 4K resolution or 3D
While no laser projector could rightfully be called “cheap,” the Sony VPL-PWZ10 is a more affordable option that can stand toe to toe with the more expensive models above. It offers a similar lamp brightness and lifespan, as well as a quality image that you’ll love to watch.
One thing we love about the Sony VPL-PWZ10 is how easy it is to use. It has an automated self-cleaning filter that clears out the accumulated dust every so often. This cuts down on your maintenance time and makes sure the projector always runs efficiently.
The Sony VPL-PWZ10 is smart in other ways, too. It uses innovative software to optimize the projected image. This gives the picture better contrast and color accuracy and makes sure the brightness is consistent across the image. While the native resolution is on the low side, this included software compensates nicely, giving a picture quality on par with most flat screen TVs.
You will need external speakers with the Sony VPL-PWZ10. Other than that omission, though, it’s a solid laser projector for use in presentations or home theaters.
- Detailed, bright, and accurate picture
- Smart software to refine and optimize the picture
- More affordable than other laser projectors
- Lamp life of up to 20,000 hours
- Self-cleaning filter reduces the need for maintenance
- No built-in speakers
- Native resolution is on the low side
Most modern projectors are very easy to use and set-up. The smart features and short-throw ratio offered by these projectors make it even easier. The only complaint from users on this front was from those ceiling mounting the Epson and VAVA models, which are on the heavy side. Given their short throw, though, most users won’t need to mount them before use.
As far as long-term quality, all four of these projectors have a good longevity and good support from their manufacturers. Some customers report the LG HU80KS feeling flimsy so that’s something to keep in mind, especially in high-use situations.
Of the four, the Epson LS100 has the lowest overall ratings. These low marks tend to be for two reasons: the volume of the fan and the native 16:10 aspect ratio. Some users also report occasional crashing, especially after extended use. If you’re looking for the most reliable projector, both the VAVA and the Sony VPL have strong marks in this regard.
So What’s the Best Laser Projector?
If you’re going to spend the money it takes to get a laser projector, you might as well go for the best. In our opinion, that’s the VAVA 4K UHD Laser Projector. It has the highest potential brightness and the shortest throw ratio, first of all. It also comes with a soundbar built in, giving a much higher onboard sound quality than most projectors on the market.
Having said that, all of these are excellent projectors and could be the right choice for your home. We hope the reviews above helped you find the perfect projector for your home theater!