The 8 Best Short Throw Projectors for 2021


Best Short Throw Projector

When using a projector, the term “throw” is the distance from the projector lenses to the flat surface you are projecting.

A “short-throw” projector can project a large image to a wall or screen which is quite close. On a budget projector, the image would be too small to be worthwhile. The point of a projector is that you are given an image which is reminiscent of a home cinema.

The ratio of the distance of your projector from the wall to the size of the image used to be 2- 2.5:1 which mean to get a 2m x 2m image, your projector needed to be 4-5 meters away from the wall.

However, with short throws that have now come down to as little as 0.4:1, meaning you have a 2×2 image from as little as 0.8 meters away (depending on the height of the ceiling where short throws are mounted to project down onto the wall).

Why You Need a Short Throw Projector

Having the best short throw projectors is a godsend if, like most mere mortals, you do not have gigantic rooms solely to project onto a wall. Chances are you live in a normal sized house with rooms that’s have limited space.

Short throws mean you don’t need a lot of space to project from, and you increase the number of walls you could possibly project onto. You can also avoid lots of dreaded cables treading on the floor and people are free to come and go as they please.

Short throw projectors are mounted from the ceiling, so you get the maximum picture projected downward. Plus, you don’t lose clarity, color or brightness though you can expect to pay more than a regular projector of the same quality.

Top 8 Recommendations for The Best Short Throw Projector

1. BenQ W1080ST – Best for Home Theater

BenQ W1080ST 1080p 3D Short Throw DLPThe Benq projector is certainly one of the premier models in our line up. With a wide range of HDTV compatibility as well as picture modes from Dynamic and Cinema. Also, this short projector comes 3D ready, one of only two we review here today.

The SmartEco LED lamp and technology means the bulb is not only highly efficient and bound to last at least four times longer than a regular bulb, but also saves on power, cutting 70% of its output when the picture is on pause.

At 2,000 lumens the Benq is not the brightest, but with a projection throw ratio of under 1, it is a cool piece of short throw kit, which can be mounted in almost any size room ceiling and give a large picture — going up to 300” and over 1 billion colors. With resolution support up to WXGA.

  • Eco saving technology
  • WXGA resolution is the highest spec around
  • Projection ratio under 1
  • Power saving mode on pause
  • HD ready
  • The price, you will pay handsomely for this premium model

2. Optoma GT1080Darbee 1080p – Best for Gaming

OPTOMA TECHNOLOGY GT1080DarbeeThis is the first of 2 Optoma’s short projector in our review. This model is more targeted at gamers rather than those wanting a home cinema. Its main selling point is the Darbee Vision Image Processor. The processor offers high performance at an amazing 28,000:1 of contrast ratio, as well as a lamp with an 8,000-hour life.

The Darbee Image Enhancement technology gives a greater depth, detail, lighting and object separation. The 0.49 ratio is the best of any of the projectors, meaning you can get a 100’ image from as little as 1.2m away.

Along with the best in class contrast ratio gives a truly deep and rich picture quality for a gamer or a home cinema for somebody with limited space. The 3,000 lumens bulb is one of the brightest in the range, meaning your picture will hold up well even in bright natural light. Our top pick projector for a hardcore gamer.

  • 28,000:1 of contrast ratio
  • Brighter and clearer images with Darbee Technology
  • 8,000-hour lamp
  • 0.49 throw ratios
  • Many features are best in class
  • The price, another high-end model for those who are budget conscious

3. BenQ HT2050A – Best All Around

BenQ HT2050A 1080P Home Theater ProjectorThis Benq projector can be bought for normal or slighter more for short throw. With an average range of 2200 lumens and 15,000 contrast ratios. The Benq still packs a punch while starting to come down in price compared to our first two premium models.

The low latency speed of 16 milliseconds makes it an ideal choice for gamers, particularly those who are fans of live gaming. Plus, with a projector throw ratio of as little as 0.69, this is a perfect projector for those movie lovers and gamers with limited space to project.

A significant bonus is the two 10W speakers within the short projector. Usually, speakers in projectors are poor and tend to be 2W a piece, so this is five times better.

  • 10W speakers
  • Good contrast and brightness
  • 2016 Award winner
  • Throw ratio under 1
  • Still pricy and close to some much better projectors in terms of price but not in terms of quality or technology
  • Slightly dated

4. Epson Home Cinema 1060 Full HD

Epson Home Cinema 1060 Full HD 1080pThe Epson is designed for those looking for a wide screen home cinema. Giving a viewing range of up to 300’. With a 3,100 lumens bulb, this short projector is one of the brightest in class and capable of projecting on a wall during daylight.

Unlike the previous projectors, this one uses 3 LCD technology so expect a brighter and deeper picture compared to those using DLP systems.

The contrast ratio of 15,000:1 puts I bang in the middle of all the projectors, but still high enough for a deep and rich picture.

  • LCD technology tends to perform better than DLP
  • Viewing of up to 300’ is impressive
  • Good contrast ratio
  • 3,100 lumens bulb is bright
  • No mention of the long-lasting bulb
  • LCD tends to be more likely to break and needs better maintenance

5. Optoma GT1080 3D DLP Projector

Optoma GT1080 1080p 3D DLP Short ThrowThe second of our Optoma’s is a slighter higher end and more expensive model. With a similar throw ratio of 0.5 but a slightly brighter bulb at 3,100 lumens. Meaning you can have a 100’ screen projecting from less than 4 feet away.

The 25,000:1 ratio is the 2nd best in class with the fan guaranteed to be super quiet and not disturb your gaming fun. Most attractive to gamers will be the best in class low latency of just 14ms. As well as being fully 3-D compatible.

  • 3D compatible
  • 3,100 lumens brightness
  • 25,000:1 contrast ratio
  • Expensive and seemingly unnecessarily so, as there are better models which can do more

6. ViewSonic PA503S 3600 Lumens

ViewSonic 3600 Lumens SVGA High BrightnessThe ViewSonic is our top pick for the more budget conscious, coming in at half the price of most of the other models we have reviewed. Though that is reflected in the throw ratio of almost 2, so not suited for those with limited space.

But there are lots to love about this little box. 3600 lumens lamp is best in class for brightness, plus as a SuperEco bulb, it lasts for a whopping 15,000 hours.

Coupled with the fact you can get up to 300’ from the screen and the short projector only comes in at 27dB meaning it will be reasonably quiet while playing. This is our top pick for gamers and movie lovers who are budget conscious.

  • 3600 lumens lamp
  • 15,000-hour eco bulb
  • Quiet at 27dB
  • Great functionality for the price
  • 3-year warranty
  • The longest of the short throws
  • Not for those who are space conscious

7. Epson VS250 – Affordable Short Throw Projector

Epson VS250 SVGA 3,200 lumensThe 2nd of our Epson’s, this one is the more budget-friendly model. This is realistically an entry model which is light on features but still quite functional. SVGA resolution means it packs slightly better than HD and the 3,200 lumens bulb will give a respectable level of brightness.

We suspect that the contrast ratio leaves to be desired, and you will probably expect a picture that lacks some color and contrast compared to more expensive models.

Top pick for those on a budget who may only want to use a short projector every so often.

  • 3,200 lumens bulb
  • Reasonably priced
  • SVGA resolution
  • Lowest contrast ratio
  • The price will compromise some quality
  • Lacks features

8. ASUS S1 – Portable One

ASUS S1 200 lumenThis little pocket rocket projector is truly in a class of its own. Part of a new breed of ultra-small projectors which are easily portable. Weighing less than a pound you can stick this projector in your pocket and take it round to your friend’s house.

The 6000mAh battery gives you a 3-hour projector time, or you can even use it as a power bank to charge your mobile. Understandably the bulb is much smaller a 200 lumens LED bulb, and you can project 41’ up to 1 metre away.

But the bulb will last for 30,000 hours and uses advanced DLP technology to give a good resolution. This is a truly portable and diverse piece of kit. Our top pick projector for those who want a portable projector.

  • Incredibly small and portable
  • 30,000-hour bulb
  • 3-hour projection time and doubles as a power bank
  • Ideal for transporting
  • Much lower resolution and brightness than other projectors
  • Smaller screen
  • No keystone adjustments

The Verdicts

There are a lot of great projectors out there. We have reviewed the large and small. The budget-friendly as well as the bank-busting, but for our money the winner must be the Optoma GT1080Darbee 1080p Short Throw.

One of the most expensive projectors you do get every bit of value for that with most of the features best in class. A 0.49 throw ratio, 28,000:1 contrast ratio, bulb with an8,000-hour life, 3,000 lumens bulb as well as Darbee Vision technology to give you a truly rich and vibrant picture. Ideal for any hardcore gamer or home movie nut. author Richard Bernhardt
Richard is 35-year-old IT and tech enthusiast. He holds a master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering which complements his passion for science, technology and related aspects. Currently, he is initiating various tech-related startup projects including working as the founder of
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