Ever thought about what it would be like to play video games in a movie theater? Or how about on a screen the size of your wall? Picture this: a room full of your friends playing an 8 player Super Smash Bros game and not having to squint at the screen. Pretty cool right?
Talk about a cinematic experience. 🎥 ✨
The 5 Best Gaming Projectors
The aforementioned size of a TV screen seems pretty out of reach for most gamers out there. Cost is one thing, but most people also don’t even have the space for a TV larger than 60 inches. It becomes a more logical and affordable possibility when entering the realm of projectors.
Now you might be thinking, “Gaming on a projector? Other than the big screen, that sounds like a gamer’s nightmare.” Well now, consider that many projectors today have many of the same specifications as high-end TVs out there: 1440p gaming monitors (sometimes more), high contrast ratios, and fast refresh rates – the recipe for a great gaming experience.
While most projectors can be a little expensive, there are still many more affordable options out there that can give gamers the “home theater” experience they are looking for. Take a look at this guide to the best gaming projectors and find your beginning of whole new gaming experience.
Best Choice: BenQ HT2150 Gaming Projector
Pros & Cons
- Low input lag
- Good contrast ratio
- Short throw distance: project a 100-inch screen just 3 feet away
- A little expensive
- Built-in 10W speakers
- Game Picture Mode & Fast Mode
- 2200 lumens
- 1080p resolution
- 15,000:1 contrast ratio
- Input Lag: 16ms
BenQ HT2150 1080p Home Theater Projector Review
For those looking for projectors in the “Goldilocks Zone” of price, picture quality, and performance: look no further than the BenQ HT2150. This projector boasts a full 1080p resolution and a 15,000:1 contrast ratio, making for deep and rich colors. Its input lag is very low, especially when turn on “Game Mode”, so the gaming experience should be smooth.
Another great aspect of the BenQ HT2150 is that it only needs 3 feet to create a 100-inch screen, which should save a lot of room if you have a small living space. Such a short throw distance means you also don’t have to worry about casting a shadow by sitting in front of it.
If you want to get really crazy, this projector even has the potential to create up to a 300-inch screen (great for outdoor movies).
Now let’s get to the last aspect: the price. The BenQ HT2150 sits at about the middle of the competition (right now it’s around $800). It’s not incredibly cheap, but you certainly get a lot of value for that price. The combination of great performance and picture quality is why GameGavel has chosen the HT2150 as our “Best Choice” for gaming projectors.
Premium Pick: Optoma GT5600 Short Throw Gaming Projector
Pros & Cons
- Incredibly short throw distance
- Easy to setup
- Great quality screen
- The projector is pretty big
- The screen only optimized for 100”
- Potential for 100” screen size
- Projection distance: 6-9 inches
- 3600 lumens
- 1080p resolution
- Contrast: 20,000:1
- Weight: 8.7 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.2 x 13.5 x 4.8 in
Optoma GT5600 Ultra Short Throw Gaming Projector Review
For those that are short on space, it doesn’t get much better than the Optoma GT5600. This projector is able to project up to a 100-inch screen with a 1080p resolution just a mere 9 inches away from the wall. That makes setup of this projector incredibly easy since you basically just set it up like a TV by setting it right next to the wall you want to watch on.
The picture quality of the Optoma GT5600 provides a great home theater and gaming experience. The 20,000:1 contrast ratio produces some sharp, highly detailed visuals with deep shadows and vibrant colors. The 3600-lumen bulb allows the Optoma GT5600 to be used in most levels of light.
The Optoma GT5600 has two HDMI ports, so you can connect both your console and your PC for gaming. This project also has audio in and out ports if you want to boost its sound with some great gaming speakers.
Sounds pretty great right? So should you go out and buy the Optoma GT5600? Well if you live in a small room or dormitory, then this would be a great option for you since it only needs a max of 9-inches to get up to the 100-inch screen.
However, if space isn’t an issue for you, you can easily find a projector that has the same picture quality and an even bigger screen size for much less money (like Optoma GT1080).
Best Value: EUG LCD LED Multimedia Home Projector
Pros & Cons
- Great value
- Built-in speaker
- Compact, lightweight
- Needs 21ft to create its max screen size of 200”
- Picture quality is pretty “meh”
- WebOS Smart TV functionality
- Wireless and Bluetooth connectivity
- Screen size from 40” to 200”
- Projection distance: 4ft to 21ft
- 3200 lumens
- 2,000:1 contrast ratio
- 1920×1080 resolution
- Resolution: Supports 480p, 720p, 1080p
- Weight: 2.87 lbs
Vankyo Leisure 420 Mini Projector Review
Wouldn’t it be great to take a 200” screen with you? Well, that would be pretty tough to do with a TV, but with the Vankyo Leisure 420, it’s incredibly easy. Weighing just 2.87 pounds, this small and very affordable projector allows you to take a great looking screen with you to wherever you need it. It even comes with a carrying case.
Besides just being exceptionally portable, those looking for good picture quality and a low price can find a great deal in the Vankyo Leisure 420. Is the picture quality going to be mind-blowingly good? No, but it’s great for the price.
Those looking for the sharpest, most detailed picture quality should look at something more expensive, but the Leisure 420 still has a good enough picture quality to let you feel the magic of watching on a large projector screen. Fortnite or Apex Legends would still look great on this projector, especially playing it at a full 200-inches.
For those looking for a good entry-level projector to experience movies and gaming on the big screen, then the Vankyo Leisure 420 Mini Projector is a great option. Its portability and screen size potential would make this projector exceptional for outdoor movies.
Best 3D: Sony VPLHW45ES 1080p SXRD Gaming Projector
Pros & Cons
- Support for 3D Display
- Easy setup
- Only good in dark rooms
- Input lag is too high for gaming, except when Game Mode is on
- 3D display
- Advanced Reality Creation
- Integrated cooling
- 1800 lumens
- 1080p HD resolution
- Lag time: 22ms
Sony VPLHW45ES 1080p SXRD Gaming Projector Review
Looking for a deeper gaming and home theater experience? Take a look at the Sony VPLHW45ES, which has support for 3D. Weighing at 23.5 pounds, this behemoth of a projector gives you a resolution of 1920×1080 for an “Enhanced Full HD Picture”. The VPLHW45ES also has what Sony calls, “Advanced Reality Creation”, for a deep, immersive 3D picture.
Normally this Sony projector would have an input lag that would be too slow for even casual gamers. Thankfully, though, the VPLHW45ES has a “Game Mode” that kicks its refresh rate into high gear. This is not an experience that hardcore gamers would find usable, but casual gamers who also want a good movie projector will be satisfied with the input lag.
I hope you have a dark room because another downside of the Sony VPLHW45ES is its performance in anything but a dark setting. With only 1800 lumens, the beautiful 1080p picture quality is pretty much lost in light rooms.
Overall, the Sony VPLHW45ES is a great option for both a 3D movie and gaming projector. While it may be expensive, there aren’t too many other projectors out there that can do 3D like this one.
3D Displays can create a very immersive experience. For another type of immersive experience, especially for gaming, check out our article on the best curved gaming monitors.
Best Refresh Rate: Optoma GT1080 Darbee Gaming Projector
Pros & Cons
- Short throw distance. Great for small spaces
- Contrast ratio creates deep blacks and stunning pictures
- Quick refresh rate makes it good for gaming
- A little expensive
- Enhanced Gaming Mode
- 3D support
- .49 throw ratio = 100-inch screen just four feet away
- 3000 lumens
- 1080p resolution
- 30,000:1 contrast ratio
Optoma GT1080 Darbee Gaming Projector Review
The Optoma GT1080 Darbee Gaming Projector has a lot of great features packed into it along with its great price. Running at just under $700, the Darbee has full HD 1080p and 3000 lumens to create bright and colorful visuals. The throw distance of this projector is very short, so you only need four feet to create a 100-inch screen. That’s pretty impressive.
This Optoma projector has an “Enhanced Gaming Mode” which, when enabled, makes this projector have a refresh rate of 16ms. That’s as fast as many many TVs on the market, which is pretty impressive for a projector. Be prepared for some smooth gaming with the Optoma GT1080 Darbee.
If you want to measure how this projector will perform compared to your current gaming display, make sure to check its refresh rate.
Gaming Projectors: Buying Guide
Buying a projector is very similar to buying a TV. You still need to consider the usual things like resolution, contrast ratio, and, of course, price. However, projectors have some additional aspects that are important to pay attention to in order to make sure you buy the correct projector for your space. Additionally, if you aren’t that interested in projectors, take a look at whether TVs are better than monitors for gaming.
Here is a list of some key stats that you should pay attention to when searching for a projector.
How bright is your room? Do you think that you will be able to keep your room dark when you use your projector? If you think light coming into your room will be a problem, then you should consider buying a projector with a higher lumen count.
The lumen count essentially measures how bright of a projection the projector’s bulb is putting on the wall. If your projector has a lumen count of around 1000, which is pretty low, then the picture will look faint on the wall when the room is lighter.
That can be really frustrating when trying to watching during the day. However, a lumen count of up around 4000 means that you will have a bright visual quality no matter how bright your room is.
One other aspect that you need to keep in mind when buying a projector is the color of the wall that you are planning to project. One important tip, try to avoid projecting on white walls if you can. A projection on a white wall can significantly hurt your picture quality since white tends to bleed throw the picture.
Your Room Size
Pay attention to the amount of space that is available in the space that you will put your new projector. The reason why this is important is that, unlike TVs, projectors need space to project their image onto your wall. This is called “throw distance”.
Most projectors will need at least 6 feet to throw up a 100-inch screen, but there are many options for “short throw” options that can project a 100-inch screen onto your wall in as little as 3 feet.
If you don’t think you have enough room in your place for a projector, make sure to also check out our articles the best gaming monitors for more good options.
Probably the most important aspect for gamers is a screen’s response time. The faster the response time, the smoother visuals look on the screen. Slow response times can spell disaster for your gaming experience, especially if you are in a fast-paced game like Apex Legends or Call of Duty, where even being a second behind can make a big difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions that people have when buying a gaming projector.
Can You Play Video Games on a Projector?
Projectors allow you to plug in gaming consoles and PCs just like any TV would. Many projectors today have multiple HDMI ports, so setting them up can be pretty easy.
Can You Play TV Through a Projector?
In order to get live TV, you’ll have to connect the project to your TV via an HDMI cable. Many projectors today are also Smart TV-enabled, so you can stream services like Netflix or Hulu straight from the projector.
Where Do You Place a Projector?
You will need to place the projector where it has an unobstructed path to the wall you are projecting on. How far you need it away from the wall depends on the projector’s “throw distance”, which determines how much space it needs to create an effective picture. Most projectors will need at least 6 feet, but there are many who can project a 100 inch just 3 feet from your wall.
Trying to purchase the absolute best projector for gaming is no easy task. There are tons of decisions to be made and someone who isn’t into tech might make some mistakes. That’s why we’ve put up this list for you:
Our top picks are great options for sure, but if you want to make a decision all by yourself, scroll down to the buying guide and the FAQ sections. There, you’ll find all the info you need on what makes a great gaming projector.