The Best Projector Screens for Indoor and Outdoor Entertainment

The best projector screens offer a smooth surface for displaying high-quality, detailed, and true-to-color images for indoor or outdoor viewing pleasure.

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The Best Projector Screen Option

Photo: amazon.com

While you may be able to use a sheet or a blank wall to project movies or content from a media streaming device, the benefits of using a projector screen to achieve quality viewing are numerous. Projector screens offer a perfectly smooth and imperfection-free surface that is very difficult to find with a wall. With a screen’s smooth surface, images offer greater clarity and detail for an enhanced viewing experience. Projector screens also can display a brighter image that is much truer to natural colors.

Ready to find the best projector screen to pair with your projector and Wi-Fi speakers for an indoor or outdoor theater? This guide shares key considerations to help you select the right projector screen for your needs. It also includes some of the top projector screens currently on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Silver Ticket STR-169120 120” 16:9 4K HD Projector
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ZUEDA 100 inch 16:9 HD Motorized Projector Screen
  3. BEST MIDRANGE: Elite Screens Sable Frame B2 120-INCH Screen
  4. BEST PULL-DOWN: VIVO 100 inch HD Manual Pull Down Projector Screen
  5. BEST MOTORIZED: Elite Screens Spectrum2 110-inch Motorized Screen
  6. BEST WITH STAND: TaoTronics 4K HD 100″ Projector Screen with Stand
  7. BEST OUTDOOR: VIVOHOME Indoor and Outdoor Blow up Projector Screen
  8. BEST PORTABLE: P-JING 120 inch 16:9 HD Foldable Projector Screen
The Best Projector Screen Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Projector Screen

Each projector screen on the market is different. From the overall size to the screen resolution, there are benefits to each screen, depending on the situation. Keep the features outlined below in mind to help select the best projector screen for an indoor or outdoor home theater or entertainment space.

Dimensions

Determining which screen size is right is important before getting too deep into the search for the best projector screen. Start by measuring the area where the screen will be placed to see the amount of space that is available. Keep in mind that the base of the screen is usually 3 to 4 feet off the ground so those sitting in a back row will still be able to see the entire picture. Additionally, when setting up indoors, the top of the screen should be at least 1 foot down from the ceiling to keep individuals from straining to look up too high to see the images.

Another key consideration related to the size of the screen is the size of the indoor or outdoor seating area. The size of the audience area should generally be between two and eight times the height of the screen. When setting up the screen, aim to have the first row about twice as far from the screen as its height and the last row up to eight times as far as the screen’s height. For example, if a screen is 10 feet high, the front row should be located about 20 feet from the screen, and the last row can be as far as 80 feet away.

Once the amount of available space is determined, the next step is to find out which screen sizes are compatible with the projector. Some projectors won’t be able to project a clear image onto a large screen and a smaller image will end up on a large screen, which could look out of place.

Keep in mind that screen measurements represent the diagonal length of the screen, so be sure to look up the length and width of the screen to confirm it will fit on a wall.

Projector Screen Type

There are a variety of screen types available, including wall-mounted, foldable, pull-down, floor-standing, inflatable, and rear. Below, learn more about each type to determine which projector screen type is preferred.

  • Wall-mounted: Wall-mounted projector screens are designed to be installed and stay on a wall. Most wall-mounted screens have a fixed-frame design and are hung on the wall.
  • Foldable: Foldable projector screens offer a solution for spaces where the screen will not be used on a regular basis. They can be folded and stored away when not in use, and because of their anti-crease technology, they’ll be ready to use once they are opened.
  • Pull-down: Pull-down, or retractable, projector screens can roll up into an upper housing when not in use and pull back down for use. Some pull-down models are operated manually, while others are electric.
  • Floor-standing: Floor-standing projector screens are a more portable option. They feature a tripod base to hold the screen. Most floor-standing models also come with a carrying case that will hold the rolled screen and collapsed tripod for easy transport or storage.
  • Inflatable: Inflatable projector screens are available in a range of sizes and can be set up in just a few minutes. They offer a good solution for projecting movies and other media outdoors and offer a much higher video quality that could be achieved by trying to project onto a white sheet.
  • Rear: Some screens are specially designed for rear projection, which is when the projector is placed behind the screen rather than in front of it. However, since rear projection screens require a larger space (with enough space behind the screen to put the projector), they are not often chosen for a home entertainment room.

Outdoor vs. Indoor Use

The best projector screen will vary depending on whether it will be used indoors or outdoors. If a projector screen is needed for indoor use, consider the lighting in the space and the room setup to help choose the best option. Also consider how the screen will be used and if it will be primarily used for entertainment or if it will be used to share professional presentations with colleagues. A white screen is typically the best choice for viewing movies and presentations, as they display the most vibrant colors and offer a better background for office presentations. However, if the projector screen will be used in a room with a lot of ambient light, a gray or black screen may be preferred.

Outdoor screens are designed to resist greater changes in temperature or humidity levels than screens intended for indoor use. If a screen is needed for use with an outdoor projector, there are a few options to consider. These include more permanent (typically retractable) setups that will stay in place in a patio or beneath an awning, outdoor portable and folding screens, and inflatable projector screens. Think about how frequently an outdoor screen will be used and where it will be placed to choose the best screen to pair with outdoor Bluetooth speakers and other equipment.

Manual vs. Motorized

Many projector screens have a retractable design. These retract when not in use to stay out of sight. When choosing a retractable projector screen, there’s a choice between a manual or a motorized option. Each has its own pros and cons to consider.

  • Manual projector screens are less expensive than motorized options. They also weigh less, which can make them easier to securely mount to a wall. However, manual screens can become a nuisance to pull down and retract if they are used regularly. They are also more likely to develop ripples or creases than motorized screens. Choosing a tensioned manual projector screen with wires or rods to keep the screen material taut or one featuring anti-crease technology can help reduce the chance of creases or wrinkles.
  • Motorized projector screens are easier to operate and can be pulled down or retracted into their case with just the push of a button. These models also make it easier to control exactly where the base of the screen will stop, which can be a benefit if there are items on the wall under the screen. The rolling mechanism on a motorized screen typically lasts longer than the mechanism on a manual model due to less stress being placed by not pulling the screen. Tensioned motorized projector screens are available to help ensure the screen stays completely flat. A downside of motorized projector screens is that they are more expensive than manual models.

Material

Projector screens may be made using a variety of materials. These include plastic, rubber, vinyl, spandex, or polyester fiber. Vinyl and spandex are considered the best materials to use because of their durability and ability to stretch to create a fully taut viewing surface. Some materials may offer resistance against wrinkles or staining. For outdoor inflatable screens, a high-quality Oxford polyester fabric is an optimal choice because of its durability and water-resistance capabilities.

Projector screens also can be coated with titanium dioxide, magnesium carbonate, or barium sulfate. These materials help make the light on the screen easier to view, which results in a clearer image. Some projector screens may include a backing on the screen. These backings, which may be made from fiberglass or a thick fabric, help prevent light from penetrating the screen from the rear. This can improve the image quality on the screen.

Some projector screens also have a frame around the screen. In these models, the frame may be wrapped with a black material, such as velvet. This black border helps to absorb light that is overprojected and frame the image.

Screen Gain and Viewing Angle

Gain is a unit that measures the brightness of the image that is reflected off of the projector screen. Gain is the ratio of the light reflected back from the projector, which is the light source. Screens that offer a gain measurement that is more than 1.0 yield a brighter image than what is being projected. As an example, projector screens with a 2.0 gain would yield an image that is perceived as 2,000 lumens from a 1,000-lumens projector.

While screens with a high gain are brighter, they aren’t ideal for areas where a wider viewing angle is needed. The higher the gain, the narrower the viewing angle. This means a projector screen with a lower gain would be best for spaces with a wide row of seats. A lower-gain screen is also better for displaying vivid black colors.

Screen Color and Resolution

The color and resolution of a projector screen affect how the images display. Projector screens are available in three color options: white, gray, and black.

  • White: White projector screens are the best choice for displaying more vivid colors. However, if a room isn’t fully dark and has ambient light, it can be challenging to view the image on a white screen. White screens generally cost less than gray or black screens. They usually are a better choice for an office environment or other uses where slides and other text will be displayed.
  • Gray: Gray screens offer a better option for rooms where more ambient light is present. Unlike white screens, they are able to reject ambient light, which makes it easier to see images in rooms that aren’t completely dark. However, compared to white screens, the viewing cone of a gray screen is often narrower than that of a white screen. Gray screens are often the best choice for an outdoor projector screen since it will absorb more light than white screens but still allow other colors to be displayed properly.
  • Black: Black projector screens are also able to reject ambient light. Dark colors and blacks appear really deep on a black screen, but whites and lighter colors may not look as accurate.

Resolution also is important to consider when shopping for the best projector screen. If using a 4K or high-resolution projector, a high-resolution projector screen will help get the benefits of the projector. Without the ultrasmooth surface of a 4K screen, the images from the 4K projector won’t reach their full potential.

Pay close attention to the aspect ratio of each screen as well. A 16:9 aspect ratio, also referred to as HDTV format, is the best choice for watching television or streaming videos from streaming services. A 16:10 aspect ratio is best for projecting information from a computer for office applications, conference rooms, or trade shows. A 2.34:1 aspect ratio is ideal for enjoying a vintage movie-viewing experience, while a 2.40:1 aspect ratio would offer a more contemporary movie-viewing experience.

Portability

Finally, determine if a portable projector screen would be beneficial. Portable screens allow for more flexible use and may be desired if the screen will be used at multiple locations for on-the-go entertainment or work presentations.

Some portable options to consider include pullup screens, foldable screens, tripod projector screens, and inflatable screens. Many portable screens also come with a case to allow for easier transport. Before purchasing a portable projector screen, also consider its weight and how easy it will be to move from place to place.

Our Top Picks

Keep reading to explore some of the best projector screen options on the market. These products, which were selected using the aforementioned criteria, come from a variety of manufacturers and satisfy a range of budgets.

Best Overall

The Best Projector Screen Option: Silver Ticket STR-169120 120” 16:9 4K HD Projector
Photo: amazon.com

Silver Ticket’s 120-inch HD screen has a 1:1 gain that provides a wide viewing angle of 160 degrees. This wider angle helps ensure that all individuals, regardless of where they sit, will be entertained and able to enjoy movies, television shows, videos, and more without compromising picture quality or resolution. This is a white screen made using a quality vinyl material, the same material used for professional projection screens. It has a 16:9 HD aspect ratio.

This fixed-frame screen can be mounted to a wall in a home entertainment room, and it is designed to offer a quick and easy assembly with pockets to slide the rods for framing the screen. The tension rod design also helps ensure that the screen material will be taut, perfectly squared, and free of wrinkles. The aluminum frame is wrapped with black velvet to absorb any light that is overprojected. This feature helps with properly aligning the image from the projector within the screen.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Projector Screen Option: ZUEDA 100 inch 16:9 HD Motorized Projector Screen
Photo: amazon.com

This 100-inch projector screen from Zueda is a budget-friendly option that offers a lot of great benefits. A pre-wired power cord is integrated into the design of the screen and allows for motorized operation using the control panel or remote control. The screen has a 1:1 gain with a wide 160-degree viewing angle. It offers top-quality image reproduction due to the yellow-staining- and wrinkle-free matte white finish.

This projector screen offers a 16:9 aspect ratio. It can be used with a variety of projector types including LCD, LED, and DHP models. The screen retracts into a solid metal silver casing when not in use. The casing is designed for both wall or ceiling installation options to provide flexibility with room layout and planning.

Best Midrange

The Best Projector Screen Option: Elite Screens Sable Frame B2 120-INCH Screen
Photo: amazon.com

Individuals looking for a projector screen that will deliver vibrant images with excellent color reproduction may want to consider the 120-inch Sable Frame projector screen from Elite Screens. This screen has a high-quality CineWhite screen that is 4K Ultra HD and Active 3D ready. The screen has a 1.3 gain with a 160-degree viewing angle. Regardless of the seat viewers choose, they’ll enjoy a bright image with high resolution. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

This wall-mounted projector screen is designed to be easy to install. It features a tension rod and spring system to ensure the CineWhite material remains wrinkle-free for first-class viewing experiences. The screen material is framed with a black-velvet-covered aluminum to absorb overshoot and help frame each image. Sliding wall brackets, drywall anchors, and screws are included for mounting the screen to a wall.

Best Pull-Down

The Best Projector Screen Option: VIVO 100 inch HD Manual Pull Down Projector Screen
Photo: amazon.com

Vivo’s 100-inch projector screen offers a simple pull-down design that allows the screen to retract out of the way when it is not in use. Simply tug on the small handle at the base of the screen to pull it down for use or to send it back into its casing. The design features a self-locking height adjustment to help set the screen to the desired location.

The projector screen is made from a multilayer matte white material that diffuses light in all directions to display high-quality images. The black backing works to prevent light from penetrating the screen to further enhance image quality. The screen has a 1:1 gain and a 120-degree viewing angle. It has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and is compatible with most DLP, LCD, or LED projectors.

Best Motorized

The Best Projector Screen Option: Elite Screens Spectrum2 110-inch Motorized Screen
Photo: amazon.com

Enjoy the simplicity that comes with having a motorized projector screen with the Spectrum2 110-inch screen from Elite Screens. Individuals can easily raise or lower the screen using the three-way integrated control switch or purchase the optional remote control kit.

This screen features a MaxWhite finish with a fiberglass backing for optimal image resolution with a 1:1 gain. It is 4D Ultra HD and Active 3D-projection ready and offers an impressive 180-degree viewing angle to ensure each member of the audience has the best seat in the house. The screen material is GreenGuard Gold Certified. The screen’s casing is constructed from a durable and sleek steel material. Each purchase includes an installation kit and floating mount brackets for mounting it to a wall.

Best with Stand

The Best Projector Screen Option: TaoTronics 4K HD 100" Projector Screen with Stand
Photo: amazon.com

The TaoTronics projector screen comes with a tripod support stand and carrying bag for easy transport, storage, and setup. The screen can be set up and ready to use or rolled up and put back in the case in as little as 2 minutes. Individuals can adjust the height of the screen using the knobs and controls on the back.

This projector screen features three-layer construction. The top layer is a PVC matte white material that is wrinkle-free and resists yellow staining to ensure crisp and clear images. A polyester layer and black back layer also are included to enhance the image quality and keep light from penetrating the screen. This low reflective screen offers a 1:1 gain and 160-degree viewing angle.

Best Outdoor

The Best Projector Screen Option: VIVOHOME Indoor and Outdoor Blow up Projector Screen
Photo: amazon.com

VIVOHOME’s blowup projector screen offers an ideal solution for individuals looking to host outdoor movie nights or other outdoor events. This 17-foot screen comes with a fan pump to blow up the screen and keep it inflated while in use. The fan operates quietly so as not to distract from the viewing experience. A storage bag, 250-watt air blower, and yard stakes are included with each set.

This inflatable projector screen is made from a high-quality 210D Oxford cloth that is durable and weather resistant. It features wide feet to ensure stability and straps that can be adjusted to flatten the screen for a smooth projection surface. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and can be used with either front or rear projection.

Best Portable

The Best Projector Screen Option: P-JING 120 inch 16:9 HD Foldable Projector Screen
Photo: amazon.com

This 120-inch projector screen can be an optimal choice for those looking for a portable option. The 2.2-pound screen can fold when not in use, so it is compact and lightweight for easy storage or transport. Once ready to use, simply hang it up using the metal grommets along the reinforced border. The wrinkle-free material ensures a smooth screen without any creases, even after folding.

This projector screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and can be used both indoors and outdoors with front or rear projectors. It offers a 160-degree viewing angle with a low gain and a thick matte white surface to help all viewers enjoy clear images without light penetration. Each purchase includes a 16-pack of peel-and-stick hooks and two 5-meter ropes. This projector screen is compatible with most LCD, LED, or DLP projectors.

FAQs About Projector Screens

The frequently asked questions below contain additional information that may be helpful as you shop for the best projector screen. Continue reading for additional information that may help you make a final decision about which projector screen would be best for indoor or outdoor viewing.

Q. How do I know what size projector screen I need?

There are two main factors that can help determine which projector screen size is right for you. First, measure the wall or area where you plan to place the screen. Aim to leave 3 to 4 feet of space below the screen and 1 foot of space above it. However, in some cases, the maximum-size screen that fits the space may not work with the projector you have. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to confirm which screen sizes are compatible with the projector.

Q. Do I need a special screen for a 4K projector?

If you want to take full advantage of the advanced technology and sharp images possible with a 4K projector, purchasing a 4K screen is a good idea. These screens will feature a completely smooth texture, as opposed to a matte texture, which will allow 4K images to show up more clearly and with less distortion.

Q. What makes a good projector screen?

A “good” projector screen may be different for each user. The right projector screen for you will be appropriately sized for the space, offer the right amount of gain for your seating arrangement, and have a color that works with the lighting characteristics of the space. Whether you prefer a fixed frame screen or one that is retractable also will affect which screen is best.

Q. Is black or white better for a projector screen?

Black and white screens each have different applications. White screens are ideal for rooms with little to no ambient light. Since white screens are brighter, they are better able to display more vivid colors. Black screens are an optimal choice for rooms where there is more ambient light and individuals can’t create a true theater room. Since they don’t reflect as much light as a white screen, images are easier to view with more background light. However, in some cases, a more powerful projector may be necessary with a black screen.

Q. Do you need a dark room for a projector?

No, you don’t need a completely dark room for a projector. However, darker rooms will yield higher-quality images.