One potential disadvantage of projectors versus televisions is that they require more space to work correctly. If this is a problem for you, consider buying the best ultra short throw projector. It’ll give you the same massive screen with less than half the distance, giving you the option of using a projector in a smaller room.
While you won’t find any ultra-short throw projectors priced in a true budget range, you might be surprised by how affordable some of them can be. You can also get the same array of options and features you’ll find on standard projectors, like gaming modes or 3D capability.
We’ve picked out the best ultra-short throw projectors available today and reviewed them here, along with their stats and strengths. If pressed to pick a favorite, we’d have to go with the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500, which has a high picture quality and low input lag, with an included screen that makes it a great value. (>>> Check on Amazon)
Each of the projectors reviewed below as its strengths, though. No matter what kind of content you’ll use your projector for, there’s a model here to give it the proper treatment.
The stats of most concern when picking an ultra-short throw projector are the throw distance, the lumen rating, and the input latency. Considered together, these three factors will paint the most complete sense of the projector’s overall performance. Let’s take a look at how they stack up!
Best Ultra Short Throw Projectors in 2021:
|Epson LS500||LG HU85LA||VAVA 4K||Samsung LSP9T||Optoma P2|
|Resolution||1920x1080 4K w/pixel shifting||3840x2160||3840x2160||3840x2160||3840x2160|
|Brightness (lumens)||4,000 ANSI||2,700 ANSI||2,500 ANSI||2,800 ANSI||3,000 ANSI|
|Input Lag||21ms||No data||98ms||67ms|
|Throw Distance||0.7' - 1.9'||1.3' - 1.7'||1.4' - 2.5'||0.4' - 0.8'||1.5' - 2.2'|
|Screen size||70" - 130"||90" - 120"||78" - 150"||100" - 130"||85" - 120"|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
The throw distance or throw ratio determines the minimum distance separating the screen and the projector. Any model whose throw ratio is under 1 is considered a short throw projector. Short throw projectors can produce a 100” picture at only 4-5 feet away, as opposed to the 7-9 feet of distance most projectors would require to get the same screen size. With an ultra-short throw projector, that distance can decrease even further.
A short-throw projector is ideal for small spaces, where you only have a few feet to work with. They are also better for well-lit rooms. The less distance separating screen and lamp, the less diffusion the light will experience along the way. This means a brighter-looking picture from a short-throw projector, even if its lumen rating is the same.
Projector with the Shortest Throw Ratio: Samsung Premier LSP9T
Lumens are a measure of brightness. A higher rating gives you a brighter picture. This is especially important for projectors that will go in well-lit rooms, especially if there are a lot of windows or it’s otherwise difficult to control the ambient light level.
For a dark room, a lamp brightness of 1,000-2,000 lumens is ideal. This gives you a clear picture without being so bright that it’s hard on your eyes. Most people don’t watch TV in a completely dark room, though. To compete with the interior lighting of a typical living space, you’ll want a projector that puts out at least 3,000 lumens. In a room with daytime sunlight, kick that up to around 3,500.
The brightness of the lamp is adjustable on most projectors. If you’ll be dealing with a variety of lighting situations, buy a projector that can cope with the brightest. You can always turn the lamp down if it ends up being too powerful.
Projector with the brightest lamp: Epson LS500
Also called the input lag or lag time, this tells you how long it takes to process your content and send it to the screen as an image. This is usually mentioned in the context of gaming. A high input lag means there will be a delay between your actions and what you see. You can see why this is a problem for fast-paced gaming.
A high input lag can be frustrating for non-gamers, too. If you plan to mirror content from a phone or laptop, a long delay will create an echo effect. Even navigating the menu of a streaming service gets more difficult when there’s a screen delay.
Every projector on this list has a low enough lag to use in a home theater. Gamers should keep their eyes out for models with gaming-specific modes and a lag of 60ms or less (30ms or less, for serious or professional gamers).
Projector with the lowest input latency: Epson LS500
Top 5 Ultra Short Throw Projectors Reviewed
Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500
When you buy the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 you get more than just a projector. It comes with a high-contrast ALR screen included, as well as the hardware you need to mount it. Since these screens sell for upwards of $1,000 on their own, that’s a massive value add compared to other projectors on this list.
The projector itself is equally impressive. It has a native 4K resolution and a high contrast ratio, which combine for a remarkably life-like picture with sharp details and rich black levels. This is supported by the 10-bit HDR processing for color, displaying the full gamut of the Rec. 709 spectrum. Best of all, that color is produced by a 3-chip design rather than a color wheel, so you don’t have to worry about image issues like the rainbow effect.
We also appreciate how easy the EpiqVisions Ultra LS500 is to use. Its Android operating system has a simple, intuitive design and supports voice search through Google Assistant. You can also stream content right to the projector through many popular apps. Add in the low input lag for gaming and it’s an all-in-one solution for all your home theater entertainment needs.
- 4K resolution with HDR10 support
- High color accuracy with no rainbow effect
- Low 16.7ms input lag
- Android TV operating system is easy to navigate
- Includes a wide viewing angle ALR screen
- Built in voice search with Google Assistant
- Smart features are more limited than other models
- Few image adjustment and alignment features
If you want the ultimate in picture quality and color accuracy, the LG HU85LA is hard to beat. Its 3-channel color technology reduces color loss compared to other projectors. The color vibrancy is enhanced with Dynamic Tone Mapping, which optimizes the color frame by frame. It’s one of the smoothest projectors, too, thanks to the TruMotion technology that fills in-between frames for more fluid viewing.
The LG HU85LA also comes with good functions for aligning and adjusting the image. It has a 12-point on-screen adjustment for fine-tuning. This means you’ll never have to worry about warping or other issues based on the placement. You can get a massive 120” screen with about 17” of distance, perfect for a table-top installation in any room. Thanks to its smart system, you don’t necessarily even need to connect external content sources. Full compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant makes it easy to integrate into a smart home theater, too.
Our only complaint about the LG HU85LA is that it’s not as all-in-one as other options reviewed here. The built-in speakers are weak and lacking both bass power and mid-range clarity, so most users will find external speakers are necessary. There are also some notable omissions from its onboard app store (it can’t access YouTube, for example) so while it can stream directly you may still need other content sources. >>> Full LG HU85LA Review
- TruMotion technology for smoother frame-to-frame action
- Supports HDR10 with Dynamic Tone Mapping
- Smart LG ThinQ AI with built-in voice control
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 12-point picture adjustment for easy fine-tuning
- Attractive, innovative design
- Smart TV interface is lacking some popular apps
- Built-in sound is on the weak side
The VAVA 4K Home Theater Projector is an all-in-one entertainment package. The Harman Kardon soundbar has far superior sound to most projector speakers. Not only can it get louder than other speakers, it has Dolby Audio to reduce loss and distortion.
For content, the VAVA 4K has a smart Android-based system that lets you watch some content straight through the projector. That said, though, the system is a bit limited. Most users will want to still use a streaming stick, game console, or TV box. You can hook them all up easily—there are 9 inputs on the VAVA 4K, so you can hook up whatever peripherals you need.
As far as performance and picture quality, the VAVA 4K is ideal for dedicated home theaters. It’s not the brightest projector out there. So long as you can limit light levels in the room, though, the picture quality is exceptional. Details are sharp, colors are vivid, and the on-screen motion is fluid. That said, the VAVA 4K isn’t the most versatile option and has a higher input lag than you want for gaming. (It’s also included to out best laser projectors list here)
- Cinema-quality color
- Smart Android navigation system
- Wide variety of input options
- Excellent audio quality with Dolby Audio support
- Easy to instal
- Ultra-short throw, even compared to other short throw projectors
- Built-in navigation system has limited app support
- Input lag is too high for gaming
Samsung Premier LSP9T
The picture quality of the Samsung Premier LSP9T is exceptional. Its 3-laser DLP display technology produces a detailed true 4K image with a high dynamic contrast for rich black levels. The colors are just as impressive, especially in Filmmaker Mode, which optimizes the picture to the content you’re watching.
The 40-watt soundbar system built in to the Samsung LSP9T effectively emulates the surround sound experience, with Acoustic Beam technology that makes the sound more immersive. For content, it has one of the best smart TV interfaces you’ll find on a projector. Not only can you stream content through apps like Prime Video and Apple TV, but it also has apps that enhance your viewing experience and add helpful functions and features, making it a truly smart projector.
We also love how easy it is to set up the Samsung Premier LSP9T. Even a massive 130” screen requires less than 1 foot of distance. This maximizes the lamp brightness, too, and the picture is sharp and clear enough you can use this projector without a screen. The only downside of the LSP9T is that it’s an investment, with a price tag that might be outside some buyers’ budgets. For our more in-depth review of this projector click here.
- Triple laser array with powerful UHD processor
- Purcolor technology for wide, accurate color gamut
- Doesn’t require a screen
- 40-watt 4.2 channel sound system
- User-friendly Tizen Smart TV interface
- Supports Alexa, Google, and Bixby voice control
- Super-short throw distance
- Higher price point
- Input lag is on the high side
Optoma CinemaX P2
The Optoma CinemaX P2 is the best projector for smart home owners. It’s compatible with multiple voice control systems, first of all. Even better, it works with IFTTT, making it easy to integrate with other smart devices and letting you write it into home automation recipes and routines.
The CinemaX P2 is smart in other ways, too. The accompanying SmartFIT app is especially helpful during set-up, with automatic image alignment and geometry correction so you can get right to watching. You’ll still get full manual alignment controls if you need them, something gamers will likely need to take advantage of. Using the SmartFIT system pushes the input lag higher than the acceptable range for even casual play, something to keep in mind if you want to use the projector with your gaming systems.
Most viewers will be impressed by the Optoma P2’s picture quality. It’s sharp and realistic with excellent depth and vibrant colors, covering the entire range of the DCI-P3 color space. It does use a color wheel, however, so those who are sensitive to the rainbow effect may want to consider a different projector.
- Bright, high-contrast true 4K picture
- SmartFIT app for automatic geometry correction
- 6-segment color wheel produces the full DCI-P3 spectrum
- Excellent sound with integrated 40-watt soundbar
- Works with Google and Alexa voice control
- Supports IFTTT
- Using SmartFIT makes input lag too high for gaming
- Color wheel may cause rainbowing
What’s the bottom line?
To a certain extent, you do get what you pay for when it comes to ultra-short-throw projectors. The higher-priced models will generally have a better overall picture. This starts with the resolution, and you should budget at least $2,000 if you want 4K resolution along with an ultra-short throw.
If pressed to pick a favorite, the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS500 is our top choice. (>>> Check on Amazon) It has a low enough latency for gaming as well as an exceptional picture quality. The included screen, streaming and casting support, and voice search capabilities are points in its favor, too.
As we said in the beginning, though, each of these projectors has its strengths. The Samsung Premier LSP9T is the top choice if you want the absolute best picture quality, which also has the shortest throw distance on the list. Smart home owners, meanwhile, will be impressed by the easy smart integration of the Optoma CinemaX P2.
Don’t forget to leave space in your budget for any necessary peripherals and accessories. The screen can also be very important to getting a good picture, so you’ll want to save part of your budget to invest in a good one if you don’t have one already. Of course, you won’t have to worry about that with the Epson LS500 since the screen comes with it.
Hopefully, this article has helped you see the advantages and disadvantages of different projector models. Best of luck in buying the best one for your home! No matter what you need out of an ultra-short throw projector, we know one of the above models will suit your needs.