Ultra Short Throw (UST) Projectors have become pretty popular in the past couple of years. A big reason for that is that they are getting better and cheaper. These days, you can pick up a pretty decent UST projector for under $500. Though if you want the best of the best, you’re still going to be paying a pretty decent amount. Around a few thousand or more.
In this guide, we’re going to go over the best UST projectors that you can pick up right now. We’ve tested a good number of these, and have first-hand experience with them. Allowing us to actually recommend these projectors with confidence.
Best Home Theater Projector: Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS800
A bright, 4K projector with gaming features
The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS800 Laser TV projector is the best UST Projector that you can buy right now. And the good thing is, it’s not even the most expensive. Now this one does start at $3,499, so it’s not inexpensive either. At this price, you’re getting a projector that can project up to a 150-inch image on any flat surface in your home. This also provides up to 4,000 lumens of brightness. This makes it really bright, and perfect to use in a room with plenty of natural light.
In our testing with the EpiqVision Ultra LS800 Laser TV we found that the projector ran pretty quite, and was insanely bright. Even if you don’t have a projector screen, this is going to be plenty bright for you. That’s nothing something we typically see, but it is good to see. Epson claims that the lasers can run for about 20,000 hours, which we haven’t been able to test that just yet, but sounds accurate. That’s long enough to last you using this projector on average about five hours per day for ten years.
It’s not all good news for this projector though, as it does not have Dolby Vision. That’s a big thing to leave out here, but at this price, we can kind of forgive it. There’s also no eARC support for Dolby Atmos – it’s only available with the built-in speakers. Meaning you can’t plug in a Dolby Atmos soundbar like a Sonos Arc and have Dolby Atmos coming out of this projector, unfortunately.
The design of the projector itself is pretty stunning. We’re looking at a fabric exterior, which will keep it from picking up a ton of dust, and keep it looking great. The rest of the projector is made of metal, and looks great. It’ll fit in nicely to any home entertainment center.
Best Budget UST Projector: Hisense PX1
For under $2,000 you’re getting a stunning and bright picture, with Android TV built-in
This is the Hisense PX1, which is actually the projector I’ve used for the majority of 2023. It’s such a great projector and comes in a pretty small package surprisingly. It’s still not a cheap projector, but it does come in at about $1,999. You can typically find it on Amazon for even less as it’s almost always on sale.
This projector from Hisense does quite a few things right. For starters, this is a triple-laser projector. What that does is it allows the picture to be more accurate, since it is using pure red, green and blue lasers. And somehow is able to product about 107% of the BT.2020 color space. Which is quite impressive, even more so when you realize this is a projector and not a TV. Many TVs cannot even reach this kind of color.
Hisense lets you use this on a large canvas, up to about 130 inches. I actually have it set at about 110 inches, and it looks great at that size. Keep in mind that the smaller you go, the brighter it’s going to get. So if brightness is a problem for you, push the projector a bit closer to the wall. It is about 2,000 Lumens, so not as bright as some others on this list. However, in my time using it, it’s done quite well in rooms with natural sunlight.
The company did not sacrifice audio for this small form factor either. Included are 30W speakers that are Dolby Atmos compatible. So you’re getting some really good sound out of these speakers. In fact, I did not even plug my Sonos Beam into this projector, because it was really not needed. That’s not something I say often, especially with projectors as they do often times sacrifice the sound quality to provide you with a better visual experience.
Finally, the software. A lot of projectors run Android TV or Google TV on-board, because it’s free to use, and provides hundreds of apps right off the bat to use on the projector. But the only problem here is Netflix. You see Netflix is a bit weird, and will only certify their app to work on certain Android TV products. Basically, those that will sell over a million units, and projectors typically don’t sell that many. Which means you’d need to sideload the mobile version of Netflix onto the Hisense PX1. It’s really not a great experience. Now, how I was able to get around this was plugging in my Chromecast with Google TV 4K into the PX1, or plugging in a Fire TV Stick 4K Max.
Despite the Hisense PX1 being listed here as the “best budget” option, I would not hesitate to recommend this to people. It’s such a good value.
Best Picture Quality: LG Cinebeam HU915QE
If you want the best picture quality, you can’t go wrong with the LG Cinebeam HU915QE
This is a pretty new projector, since LG has mostly stuck with regular projectors instead of moving to Ultra Short Throw. But here we are with one that will cost you a pretty penny – starting at $5,999. It’s not hard to see why the LG Cinebeam HU915QE costs this much, to be quite honest. This is more for those that are looking to set up their own home theater, and are serious about it.
The LG Cinebeam HU915QE will offer you a 90-inch to 120-inch picture, which is also incredibly bright. It’s rated at 3,700 Lumens with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Making it perfect for putting into a basement for a home theater. With that kind of brightness, this projector is able to give you a good picture even with the sunlight coming in from the windows, or having lights on in the room.
Inside the LG Cinebeam HU915QE is the company’s webOS platform that is used on their TVs. This is going to allow you to watch all of your favorite content here, including Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, ESPN+ and much more. It also has support for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, allowing you to control your projector with your voice. That is always a pretty sweet option to be honest.
Best Sound Quality: Samsung The Premiere LSP9T
This triple-laser projector provides 4.2-channel surround sound, making for an incredible viewing experience
Let’s face it, we all know that Samsung makes some incredible displays. Whether that’s on the smartphone or tablet, or even the TV. But you know they also make a stunning picture our of lasers too. This projector from Samsung, which does include “The” in the name, does offer a triple-laser option, making for a really cool and incredible picture quality. That is paired with the 2,800 lumens of brightness, making it plenty bright too. The Premiere will give you up to a 130-inch picture, making it perfect for a home theater.
But what should really impress you is the sound quality. The Premiere comes with a 4.2-channel surround sound option, which offers a really incredible sound experience. This means that you won’t need to plug a soundbar into the projector to get some good sound, thankfully. The sound is really good, with plenty of bass, and crystal clear highs and mids.
Samsung has its Tizen OS on-board The Premiere LSP9T, which is going to give you access to a ton of great apps that you can use. This includes YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and much more. There’s also all of the virtual assistants you’d expect, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Bixby. It’s basically the same software experience you’d get on a Samsung smart TV. So if you own a Samsung Smart TV, you know exactly what to expect here.
This is a pretty pricey UST projector, but given the features and experience of this projector, this is definitely a home run for those that can afford to spend it.
Best for Streaming: BenQ V7050i
The BenQ V7050i is great for streaming, and includes a number of quality of life features
One of my favorite projectors recently has been the BenQ V7050i. In my review of the BenQ V7050i, I called it a Great Value for the Money, and a year later, I still believe that. This projector is about $2,400, as the MSRP has dropped since the review was put out. The V7050i offers an incredible picture, while also giving you an impressive sound experience.
With the V7050i, you’re getting HDR-PRO with HDR10 and HLG supported. That is surprisingly not something we typically see with projectors these days. A lot of the time, HDR is left off for various reasons. So if you watch a lot of content that is HDR, this is going to be a really good option for you. While we’re talking about the picture quality, this projector does cover about 98% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum, and it even has a Filmmaker Mode. This lets you watch content in the way that the director intended.
In my experience with the BenQ V7050i, I found that the picture quality was really impressive, but the brightness wasn’t quite as good as I would have liked. This does boast about 2,500 lumens, so it is lower than most other projectors on this list, which is worth something. If you’re putting this in a home theater in say a basement, where there is not much ambient light, then this will make more sense for you. The one thing I really want BenQ to improve here is the brightness.
The BenQ V7050i isn’t just about the picture quality either. As the company has added some really cool features to this projector, and perhaps my favorite feature on any projector. Which is the Automatic Sunroof. Basically, the projector will slide over the laser when not in use. This keeps dust from accumulating on the lens, and also protects it from anything else that might happen. While this sounds like a gimmick, trust me it is not a gimmick at all. It’s cool and very functional. BenQ also has Eye Protection sensors included, since these lasers are very bright and could cause damage to your eyes.
Overall, this package is not perfect, but I still have no problem recommending it. Especially since it is one of the cheaper options on this list right now. If you are looking for a projector to put into a basement or into a home theater, but don’t want to spend a ton of money, this is a really good option.
How to choose the right Ultra Short Throw Projector for you
Choosing the right Ultra Short Throw Projector for you can be a bit of a difficult task. Do you want the best picture available? The best brightness? The best sound? The cheapest one? There’s so many variables for picking a UST Projector, so we are going to help you choose the right one.
What is a UST Projector?
First off, what is a UST Projector? To put it in the simplest terms, an Ultra Short Throw Projector is a projector that is able to cast a large onto a wall or screen from a very short distance. A lot of these UST Projectors can cast a 100-inch image at less than a foot away from the wall. These are perfect to use in smaller spaces, like an apartment in New York City, where you don’t have a lot of space, but want a big screen. UST Projectors are able to have a very wide angle lens and have a throw ratio of less than 0.4. This is also a great way to get a big screen without having to carry up a 100-inch TV to your second floor, or higher floor in your home.
What are the benefits of a UST Projector?
Some of the benefits of having an Ultra Short Throw Projector over a regular projector include the brightness. Because a UST Projector is naturally closer to where the image is appearing, the picture is often times brighter than regular projectors. In addition to that, they also typically use lasers instead of lamps. Not only providing a brighter picture, but also a better looking picture.
A UST Projector will also provide a higher-resolution picture. This again comes down to the projector being closer to the wall. So not only is it a higher-resolution, but it is also much sharper than a regular projector.
Now unfortunately, UST Projectors are still quite expensive. A big reason for that is because they use lasers, and they aren’t quite at mass-market appeal yet. Once that happens, the price to build these projectors will go down, and thus so will the price you’ll be paying for them.
Are UST Projectors good for watching TV and Gaming?
For watching TV, UST Projectors are really great. Imagine watching the Super Bowl on a 100-inch screen. Sounds like a great experience right? Well it is. I know, because I’ve watched the last few Super Bowls on a 100-inch or larger screen, thanks to different UST Projectors. Some projectors aren’t crazy bright in rooms that have some ambient light. But you can pick up a light reflecting screen for your projector and that will greatly help. Obviously if you’re like me and live in an apartment, that might not be a great option. So you can still use this on a wall without a screen.
For gaming, the answer is a bit different. Typically the refresh rates on UST projectors are listed as the same as a TV, but that’s not always how it looks in real life. So even if you get a 4K120 UST Projector, it might not feel like it’s 4K120. If you’re a gamer that wants the best resolution and refresh rate, then a UST Projector won’t be for you, unfortunately.
Do I need a screen for a UST Projector?
An ALR (Ambient Light Reflecting) screen is not required for a UST projector, but it can be very useful. These screens are great at reflecting light and making the projector easier to watch. So if you plan to put this in a room that has a lot of ambient light, you’ll want to grab a screen. A good ALR screen can be pretty pricey, so it’s good to keep that in mind.
I am not using one myself, but, there’s not a lot o ambient light in the room that my projector is in, so I can kind of get away without having a screen for it.
Are UST Projectors better than a TV?
One of the big questions we get a lot is whether a projector is as good as a TV, or look as good as a TV. And well, that all depends on the projector you are getting, and what TV you are comparing it too. For the most part, it won’t be as bright as a TV. And depending on the TV, it might be a better picture than the TV. Especially when it comes to these laser projectors, which have three lasers – red, green and blue. They are able to cover more of the DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space than most TVs are able to. So it’s kind of a toss up as to whether it’s better. It really depends on what you want more, brightness or picture quality.
Should I get a soundbar with my UST Projector?
You should probably get a soundbar. It’s not needed, but if you want the best sound possible, a soundbar is going to be a good move. A lot of UST Projectors do support Dolby Atmos, so you can get away with not having one. On the flip side, these do all support HDMI e-ARC which is great for soundbars – this allows you to control the soundbar with the remote for your projector. Making things easy and sound really good.