Facebook Pixel Code
 

Best Projection Screens

Updated December 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 69 Models Considered
  • 35 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 238 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best projection screens

    Last Updated December 2018

    Depending on when you attended grade school, you may remember having “filmstrip day.” Students would be subjected to filmstrip after filmstrip, usually in the name of science. And you always knew it would be a filmstrip day when the teacher grabbed the rope at the top of the chalkboard and pulled down the telltale white projector screen.

    Today’s projection screens have come a long way from those squarish screens that usually were held together with transparent tape. The best projection screens offer the ability to not just show the projected image, but to enhance it. Newer screens will work in a darkened room or in one with some ambient light, too.

    At BestReviews, we pride ourselves on the detailed research we perform in each product category. Our goal is to provide readers with the trustworthy information they need to make a wise purchase. Because we never accept free samples from manufacturers, our selections and product reviews are free of bias.

    Please continue reading this shopping guide to understand how different projection screens work, and how you can pick the best one for your needs.

    If you’re building a new house, consider designing around a screen that can lower from the ceiling or rise from the floor.

    Projection screen designs

    Projection screens are available in many different styles and designs. Screens have different setup and assembly options, some of which may fit your needs better than others.

    • Ceiling Screen: Some screens retract into the ceiling when not in use, saving space in the room. They drop down when you’re ready to use them. Some automatically retract with a motorized system, while others use the simple pull string system your teacher used to use in the classroom.

    • Floor Screen: Like the motorized screen that drops from the ceiling, screens that rise out of the floor are available, too. This setup is best in a home theater room. However, this design has dropped in popularity with so many other easy-to-use options available.

    • Portable Screen: Portable screens offer a lot of flexibility, as they’re able to go with you to the location of the presentation. A portable screen usually rolls up for transportation. Once you’re at the location, the screen may fit on a tripod frame. Another option is a screen that uses grommets in the edges, which you fasten to an H-style or triangular frame to stretch the screen tightly. These frames collapse or come apart to simplify transporting them.

    • Wall Screen: A fixed frame screen is the most common type that you’ll find mounted to a wall. This type of screen really only works when the presentation always occurs in the same room, as wall screens aren’t portable. Places like churches or meeting rooms where presentations are common may use a wall screen. Or, if you have a home theater room, a wall mounted screen will work well, as it’s out of the way when not in use.

    A Sturdy Kit

    The STR-169150 Silver Ticket Projector Screen comes as a kit. Owners tell us it's not difficult to assemble, but the process does take about 30 to 40 minutes, and patience is required. The components are of excellent quality, and once it's put together, you have a sturdy projector screen with a diagonal viewing area of 150 inches and a 16:9 aspect ratio. A fixing kit is supplied for wall mounting which, according to Silver Ticket, is "much like hanging a picture frame."

    Aspect ratio options

    Projector screens come with a few different aspect ratio measurements. Finding the screen that can meet your needs in this area marks another important choice.

    • A 1:1 aspect ratio is a square screen, often used in locations where a variety of projected images will be shown, such as an education setting.

    • The 4:3 aspect ratio in a projection screen was common in the past, but hasn’t been a “current” standard for at least a decade. Standard definition video content appeared in a 4:3 aspect ratio, but with so much high definition content today, this type of screen is not sold regularly anymore.

    • HD and 4K video resolution use a 16:9 aspect ratio, so pick this size if you plan to use a protection screen in a home theater. Some computers use a 16:10 display ratio; the 16:9 screen will accommodate those displays as well. For home theaters, most people will pick a 16:9 aspect ratio projection screen, as it also can handle 1:1 and 4:3 images and video, although at a small size.

    • The Cinemascope format uses a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Although this screen size works well for particular applications, it’s probably too specific in size to work well for many people using screens at home.

    If you have a room where people viewing the screen will be sitting at a wide angle, pick a screen that excels with its wide viewing angle clarity. This probably means a slightly lower gain rating.

    Gain vs. viewing angle

    When selecting a projection screen, you need to understand a couple of other measurements. Gain and viewing angle play a key role in your enjoyment of the projector screen.

    • Gain: The gain factor measures the reflectivity of a particular screen. A screen that has a gain factor of 1.0 will provide an average reflectivity. Screens rated higher than 1.0 have a higher than average reflectivity.

    • Viewing Angle: The viewing angle determines the angle at which someone can sit in relation to the screen and still see a clear image. This measurement becomes especially important in a really wide room.

    As you increase the gain factor, you’ll lose some viewing angle. A gain factor greater than 1.0 results in a higher reflectivity, but it also means the middle of the screen is brighter than the edges. As you lose some brightness at the edges of the screen, the viewing angle suffers.

    Look for a projection screen that has a gain factor between 0.8 and 1.2 to avoid sacrificing viewing angle. You may see some screens with a gain factor of 1.3, but this limits viewing angle. Only pick this type of screen when you have a room where all of the seats are directly in front of the screen, negating the importance of viewing angle.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Gain is a measurement of the reflectivity of light off the screen. High reflectivity yields a bright image.

    How to pick the best screen size

    Personal preference plays a big role in determining the projection screen size you'll want to buy. Some people just want to buy the biggest screen they can afford. However, if you’re looking for a screen that will fit your room size well, you can use a couple of simple formulas.

    • Diagonal Measurement: This formula helps you select a screen that won’t be too large. Pick a screen size that has a diagonal measurement equal to or less than the distance from the screen to the closest seating area. If your closest chairs are eight feet from the projection screen, select a screen that measures up to 96 inches diagonally. Select a smaller screen if the room has limited space front to back. For a wide room, pick a screen closer to 96 inches diagonally.

    • Horizontal Measurement: You also can measure the closest seating location and then select a screen width that is equal to 2/3 the distance from the seats. If the closest chair is eight feet away, the screen should be about 5.33 feet horizontally (around 64 inches). This formula doesn’t work as well for a room that has a lot of space from front to back.

    • Online Calculator: If you’re looking for a more specific screen size recommendation, several online screen size calculators are available on the internet.

    Easily Portable Screen

    Because the JaielPLM screen weighs about 15 pounds, you’ll be able to carry this screen anywhere you need to create a projected image. But don’t mistake this lightweight screen as one that will not hold up in tough conditions. The screen uses a triangular base frame that ensures stability for perfect viewing conditions. It provides a 160-degree viewing angle, making it a great option for audiences that are spread out horizontally.

    FAQ

    Q. Why wouldn’t I save some money and just project on a white wall?
    A.
    For some people, displaying the projection on a white wall will work well. However, some distinct disadvantages exist to using a wall as the projection area. A high-quality projector screen contains materials that will emphasize the image quality and brightness of the projected image, which a wall cannot do. Portability is another advantage for projection screens over walls. You can carry these screens anywhere you need to project an image, but you cannot carry your white wall anywhere.

    Q. How do I clean a projector screen?
    A.
    Cleaning a projection screen requires some care, as you don’t want to damage the screen in the process. Remember, a projection screen has special coatings to create the best looking projected image. Harsh cleaners may damage these coatings. You can use a feather duster or a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust. Read through your screen’s user guide for a list of approved cleaning materials. Never use a rubbing motion on the screen to clean it. Use a light sweeping motion like you’d use when dusting furniture.

    Q. Should I consider a gray screen instead of a white screen?
    A.
    The debate between white and gray projection screens seems to be never ending. Some people just prefer one type of screen over another. However, there are a couple of good reasons to pick one screen color. If your room has light from windows that could interfere with the projected image, a gray screen should give you better results. Darker rooms, including those with darker carpet and furniture, will work better with white screens.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

    BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
    and give us feedback about your visit today.

    Take Survey