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What is the best 4K projector for 2021?

Cinephiles and big screen addicts yearn for that immersive experience you can only find on the silver screen at their local cinema. But with movie theaters closed down because of the pandemic in 2020, many movie lovers turned to the power of projection with the prestige of a 4K home theater projector.

2021 looks to bring more of the same crushed feelings. With epic movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and Godzilla Vs. King Kong being released directly to streaming, the time has come to buy an equally epic new projector to keep that profound big screen experience alive in our homes.

So what is the best 4K Projector for 2021?

We’ve reviewed dozens of the most exciting UHD projectors, judging them based on price, brightness, color and contrast, usage and a few other criteria to help us pick our favorite projectors. As new projectors in 2021 are released we’ll update our list to give you the most up to date top choices

We chose our choices for various categories like the #1 Ultra Short Throw and top rated gaming projector to give you our picks going into the year for the best 4k projectors of 2021.


Best 4k Projector 2021

We looked at dozens of ultra high definition projectors, comparing their specs, their visuals, their price and several other attributes to give you our top recommendations. These were our choices for the best overall 4K projectors for 2021:

JVC NX7

JVC DLA-NX7 D-ILA 4k Projector with 1900 Lumens and HDR10

SALE
JVC
Item #: JVC-DLA-NX7
Average Review Rating:
5

Starting at
Was: $8,999.95
Price: $8,999.95
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
JVC
Product Status:
Contact Us to Place Order
Native Resolution:
4096x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
1900
Chipset:
LCoS
Contrast Ratio:
80,000:1
Light Source:
Bulb
Resolution Type:
Native
Throw Type:
Regular
Lens Shift:
Horizontal & Vertical
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • The projected picture can best be described as “wow!”
  • All glass lens for sharpest image quality.
  • Industry leading black levels with a bold native contrast ratio better than most other projectors.
  • Mesmerizing color gamut and near perfect color accuracy.
  • Extensive picture adjustment menus with a wide range of lens shift and zoom.
  • 3D video support

Reasons to Avoid

  • Poorly designed remote control.
  • Large, heavy chassis.
  • Relatively low brightness, so it works best in a dedicated theater room.
  • Bulb based instead of laser.

Describing the NX7 as the Ferrari of the home theater world, would not be undue.  Despite being released in 2019, the JVC DLA-NX7 still ranks supreme. That’s how astounding it is! 

With dedicated home theater conditions, this 4K projector will blow you away with strikingly powerful sharpness, vivid colors and incredible contrast. Competing head to head against a similarly priced projector like the Sony VPL-VW695ES, the JVC NX7 beats it in just about every category, while still costing $1,000 less.

With a relatively modest lumen output, this projector spits out more than enough light for use in a dedicated cinema room and maintains close to its full level of brightness when engaged in HDR or other calibrated picture modes.

While the input lag of 33.8 ms is good enough for most video gamers, it definitely doesn’t meet the sought after 16 ms lag for serious competitive gaming. This projector is a true masterpiece of a 4k home theater projector well worth the large price tag.

Buying a JVC DLA-NX7 will come down to your budget, your viewing conditions, and your desire for the very best image quality. But if you’re looking for the best 2021 4K projector, it’s the JVC DLA-NX7.

Runner up: Epson 6050UB

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6050UB Projector Bundle with 2600 Lumens

SALE
Epson
Item #: Epson-6050UB
Average Review Rating:
3

Starting at
Was: $3,999.00
Price: $3,999.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
EPSON
Product Status:
Contact Us to Place Order
Native Resolution:
1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
2600
Chipset:
LCD
Contrast Ratio:
1,200,000:1
Light Source:
Bulb
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Regular
Lens Shift:
Horizontal & Vertical
Standard Lens Focus:
Powered
Throw Distance (ft.):
10.3 - 29.4
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • Deep black levels
  • Jaw-dropping colors with high color brightness
  • Excellent price to picture quality ratio
  • Moderate lumen output makes it suitable for moderate to low light environments
  • Very versatile installation to to generous lens shift and zoom

Reasons to Avoid

  • Out-of-the-box colors need adjustment
  • Shorter bulb life than laser light source
  • The remote has an overwhelming number of buttons

If you want a projector that looks good, the Epson 6050UB isn’t for you. If you want a projector that looks AMAZING get the Epson 6050UB. This UHD projector far exceeds expectations with fantastic black levels, breathtaking sharpness and a dazzling color palate.

This 5 star projector easily pays for itself when you stop going to the movie theaters and just buy the blu rays to watch on your own theater. If you’re thinking about buying the 6050UB, do it - you won’t regret it.


Best entry level

If you’re buying your first projector, these 4K options are the way to go. For this category we looked at affordable 4K projectors that still offer very good visuals and provide overall value for your purchase.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3800

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3800 4K PRO-UHD LCD Projector with 3000 Lumens

SALE
Epson
Item #: Epson-HC3800
Average Review Rating:
0

Starting at
Was: $1,699.99
Price: $1,599.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
EPSON
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
3000
Chipset:
LCD
Contrast Ratio:
100,000:1
Light Source:
Bulb
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Regular
Lens Shift:
Horizontal & Vertical
Standard Lens Focus:
Manual
Throw Distance (ft.):
6.2 - 28.8
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • Phenomenal value for the price
  • Excellent setup flexibility with 1.62x zoom and wide lens shift
  • Low 20ms input lag for 4K gaming
  • Inexpensive, quality 4K projector with HDR support

Reasons to Avoid

  • Black levels and contrast leave something to be desired
  • While it has great visuals, it can’t compete with the visuals offered by higher end projectors

When it comes to bang for your buck, nothing beats the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3800. Which is why we chose it as the 2021 4K projector that offers the most value.

This ultra high def projector from Epson gives you vivid colors and provides enough lumens to work in a moderately lit living room. (Though like all cinema beamers, it works even better in the dark.)

With a low input lag for 4K gaming, it is a great choice for gamers looking to play on a significantly larger screen.

When put head to head against other projectors like the Epson 5050UB, it’s easy to understand why the 3800 is the more affordable option; particularly when it comes to the contrast ratio. That being said, in a vacuum the Epson 3800 still offers fantastic visuals and is a great choice for anyone looking to buy their first in-home theater projector.


4K Projector with the best image quality

For this category we only looked for the best picture and did not take into account cost or any other factor. This is purely based on image.If you're a cinophile who wants the most cinematic picture this is the projector you should get in 2021.

JVC DLA-NX9

JVC DLA-NX9 D-ILA 8k Projector with 2200 Lumens and HDR10

SALE
JVC
Item #: JVC-DLA-NX9
Average Review Rating:
0

Starting at
Was: $17,999.95
Price: $17,999.95
Projector Resolution:
8K
Brand:
JVC
Product Status:
Contact Us to Place Order
Native Resolution:
8192x4320
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
2200
Chipset:
LCoS
Contrast Ratio:
100,000:1
Light Source:
Bulb
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Regular
Lens Shift:
Horizontal & Vertical
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • The absolute best image on a consumer projector
  • Offers 8K resolution by upscaling a 4k source
  • Otherworldly, best-in-class black levels and contrast ratio
  • Maintains brightness in a calibrated picture mode

Reasons to Avoid

  • High price point
  • Size is rather bulky
  • Brightness levels ideal for a dedicated theater room
  • Bulb based instead of laser

The picture quality of the NX9 will 100% blow you away. The image is so crisp thanks to its native 4k resolution that can upscale to 8K. The color gamut and color accuracy are the best in the industry. The most impressive thing about the NX9 are the black levels. They’re on par if not better than OLED flatscreens.

The high price tag will likely scare away most casual consumers. But if you want the absolutely best image in your home theater there is no better projector in 2021 than the JVC DLA-NX9.


Best UST

Ultra short throw projectors were the hottest trend in projection in 2020 several companies like Samsung, Epson, LG, Optoma and Hisense released new laser TVs this past year. Going into 2021 these are the best:

LG HU85LA CineBeam

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Projectors

LG HU85LA 4K UHD Laser Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector

SALE
LG
Item #: LG-HU85LA
Average Review Rating:
2

Starting at
Was: $4,999.00
Price: $4,999.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
LG
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
2700
Chipset:
DLP
Contrast Ratio:
2,000,000:1
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Lens Shift:
No
Standard Lens Focus:
Fixed
Throw Distance (ft.):
0.2 - 0.6
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • Very short throw distance and offset
  • Super bright and looks great in a well lit room
  • Fantastic color accuracy
  • Triple laser light source
  • User interface is very easy to navigate

Reasons to Avoid

  • Price is on the higher side
  • It takes a bit longer to align the picture
  • Remote control is kinda bulky
  • Projector footprint is rather large



LG's laser-driven UST is a serious home theater projector that’s meant for your living room. The LG HU85LA provides tremendously vibrant yet comfortingly accurate colors.

The simple design allows this living room projector to fit in with practically any interior design aesthetic. While the built in speaker could be more powerful, the sound it does produce is crystal clear and superior to many other USTs.

Pictures and videos of the projector in action just don’t fully capture the absolute grandeur of the LG HU85LA CineBeam on a 120 inch UST screen. You must see it for yourself in person. And when you do you’ll exclaim, “I need this!”

Runner Up: Samsung LSP9T

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Projectors

Samsung LSP9T Premiere 4K Ultra Short Throw Laser Projector

SALE
Samsung
Item #: Samsung-LSP9T
Average Review Rating:
2

Starting at
Was: $6,497.99
Price: $6,497.99
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Samsung
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
2800
Chipset:
DLP
Contrast Ratio:
1,500:1
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Native
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Lens Shift:
No
Standard Lens Focus:
Fixed
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

  • Very short throw distance
  • Can produce an image upto 130” inches
  • Triple laser light source produces some of the most stunning and vivid colors
  • Superior motion handling
  • Great black levels and contrast
  • Uses the Samsung TV interface that many people are accustomed to

Reasons to Avoid

  • Some people report seeing the rainbow effect (we did not) due to triple laser firing
  • Some laser speckling noticeable
  • There is a bit of Red tinting
  • High price might scare away some people

When the Samsung LSP9T launched there was a tremendous amount of interest in this 4K UST. This was Samsung’s first foray into the world of projection (along with the LSP7T). Their goal was to release an ultra short throw that set the standard for incredible visuals. And oh boy did they deliver!

The Samsung Premiere LSP9T is absolutely one of the best UHD UST projectors available right now in just about every regard. Its triple laser technology delivers revolutionary contrast detail and provides a super bright image with incredibly radiant colors.

An excellent choice for any movie lover.


Best 4K gaming projector

With the release of the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, 4K gaming is going to be huge in 2021. So, now is the time to get a UHD gaming projector, so you can take full advantage of the ultra high resolution gaming revolution. Here are our two top choices:

Epson LS500

Epson EpiqVision LS500 UST 4K 120" Laser TV Projection System - Black Projector

SALE
Epson
Item #: Epson-LS500-120-Black
Average Review Rating:
1

Starting at
Was: $5,999.00
Price: $5,999.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
EPSON
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lumens:
4000
Case Color:
Black
Product Line:
EpiqVision
Chipset:
LCD
Contrast Ratio:
2,500,000:1
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

        • Comes bundled with the screen
        • Works fantastically in well lit room
        • 16.7ms lag time is incredible for gamers and the lowest of any UST projector.
        • Brightest 4k Laser UST currently available.
        • 3 LCD Chipset is “Rainbow Effect” proof

Reasons to Avoid

        • Longer than average throw distance
        • Internal speakers are the worst in class
        • Fan was a kind of loud in a quiet room
        • Poor app interface

Many video game enthusiasts want to play in a well lit environment. Most projectors just aren’t bright enough to allow you to do that. As an ultra short throw, The Epson LS500 EpiqVision lets you game in beautiful 4K, even in a well lit living room.

We tested it with the Playstation 5 and it was phenomenal! The vibrancy of the colors, the razor sharp details and the huge 120 inch screen that comes bundled gave us an extra edge for fast paced shooters and other games.

If you’re looking for a giant screen to play video games on, the Epson LS500 is definitely the way to go.

Runner Up: Optoma UHD50X

Optoma UHD50X 4K UHD HDR 240Hz Cinema Gaming Projector with 3400 Lumen

SALE
Optoma
Item #: Optoma-UHD50X
Average Review Rating:
4

Starting at
Was: $1,599.00
Price: $1,599.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Optoma
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
3400
Contrast Ratio:
500,000:1
Light Source:
Bulb
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Regular
Lens Shift:
Vertical
Standard Lens Focus:
Manual
Throw Distance (ft.):
4.0' - 26.6'
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

        • Ultra fast 240Hz refresh rate
        • 15.7ms Lag time is the best in the industry
        • 3400 lumen output makes it capable of performing in moderately lit rooms
        • One of the most affordable 4K projectors

Reasons to Avoid

        • Black levels leave something to be desired
        • Color gamut is lacking compared to higher end projectors

The Optoma UHD50X was built to be the ultimate gaming projector. And it certainly delivers. While the black levels and color gamut were lacking, this ultra high definition projector still delivers outstanding visuals to anyone without a discerning eye for detail. The low price for the UHD50X makes it an excellent choice not just as a gaming projector but as a home theater beamer as well.


Best 2021 projector for an apartment

As apartment living becomes more prominent in 2021, big screen enthusiasts are going to need a projector that fits in with the limited amount of space available. Here are our top picks for 2021 4K projectors for apartment living:

Hisense 100L5F

Hisense 100L5F 4K UST 100" LaserTV Projector System

SALE
Hisense
Item #: Hisense-100L5F
Average Review Rating:
0

Starting at
Was: $3,999.00
Price: $3,999.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Hisense
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Lumens:
2700
Chipset:
DLP
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Lens Shift:
No
Standard Lens Focus:
Manual
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

        • Sits directly under the screen so it takes up less space 
        • Solid built in soundbar
        • UST Screen comes bundled 
        • Very bright vibrant colors

Reasons to Avoid

        • Limited to a 100 inch screen size
        • Takes longer to warm up when you turn it on

When we first set up the Hisense 100L5F we were a bit surprised at how good the visuals were. (Though given Hisense’s track record of producing incredible UST projectors we really shouldn’t have been). The colors were incredibly vibrant and popped more than other ultra short throws.

The 100L5F comes bundled with a 100 inch UST projection screen that rejects ambient light and helps make this laser TV perfect for an apartment living, even in a well lit space.

Because of its extra short throw distance and more compact chassis, the Hisense 100L5F stands out as a great choice for anyone looking for the big screen experience in their apartment in 2021.

Runner Up: Optoma CinemaX P2

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Projectors

Optoma P2 CinemaX 4K UHD 3000 Lumen Ultra Short Throw Home Cinema Laser Projector with Soundbar

SALE
Optoma
Item #: Optoma-CinemaX-P2
Average Review Rating:
7

Starting at
Was: $3,299.00
Price: $3,299.00
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Optoma
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
3000
Chipset:
DLP
Contrast Ratio:
2,000,000:1
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Shift
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

        • Sits directly under the screen so it takes up less space
        • Excellent built in soundbar
        • Easy to align the picture with the SmartFIT app
        • Fantastic contrast and vibrant colors

Reasons to Avoid

        • Needs to sit lower below the screen than other ultra short throws
        • To achieve a 120 inch picture, it needs to sit a bit further out than other UST

As the follow up to the Cinemax P1, this 2nd generation Optoma UST projector sells at a lower price without sacrificing the picture quality.

If you want an overall great projector for your apartment look no further than the Optoma P2. The P2 has such a better image - sharper, brighter, better colors and better contrast than other laser TVs at a similar price point.

Optoma spent extra effort on the built in soundbar and it definitely shows. We found the sound quality of the P2 better than some higher priced laser TVs

The stylish white chassis looks fantastic in any apartment.

While we wouldn’t call this a cinephile grade projetor, it offers an outstanding picture and is a great option to replace your flatscreen for everyday use.

Honorable Mention: Samsung LSP7T Premiere

Stack and Save
Projectors

Samsung LSP7T Premiere 4K Ultra Short Throw Laser Projector

SALE
Samsung
Item #: Samsung-LSP7T
Average Review Rating:
3

Starting at
Was: $3,497.99
Price: $3,497.99
Projector Resolution:
4K
Brand:
Samsung
Product Status:
In Stock
Native Resolution:
3840x2160
Aspect Ratio:
16:9 [HD]
Lumens:
2200
Chipset:
DLP
Contrast Ratio:
1,000:1
Light Source:
Laser
Resolution Type:
Native
Throw Type:
Ultra Short Throw
Lens Shift:
No
Standard Lens Focus:
Fixed
Digital Inputs:
HDMI
View Product

Reasons to Buy

        • Sits directly under the screen so it takes up less space
        • Very intuitive user interface
        • Solid built in soundbar

Reasons to Avoid

        • While it offers ample lumens for most apartments, it’s not the best option for very well let rooms
        • Black levels could be a bit better

The LSP7T checks the boxes most users look for in an everyday media player, thanks to its native 4K resolution, extra short throw distance, and fantastic built-in smart features. 

While lacking the fantastic color gamut of the triple laser LSP9T, the picture is still outstanding, perfect for any modern high-end TV and movie enthusiast.

While the price may put it outside the budget range for some apartment dwellers, it’s definitely worth the investment considering the features and picture quality you get.


How we picked our top 2021 4K projectors

To be called a top rated projector it must deliver outstanding picture quality, while balancing the cost. It needs to perform in different lighting conditions and situational usages. Of course it also needs to be easy to use and points for style.

We chose our favorite 2021 4k projectors based on these criteria:

  • Picture Quality
    • Contrast Ratio
    • Brightness
    • Color Accuracy
    • Color Gamut
  • Price
  • Light Source
  • What the projector is built for
  • Other Features
    • Size
    • Chassis
    • Connectivity
    • User interface

What is meant by Picture Quality?

Picture quality is without a doubt the most important factor  when choosing a projector. There are four aspects to a phenomenal-looking video image. They are the contrast ratio, brightness, color accuracy and color gamut.

Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest part of the projected image and the lightest part. It is possibly the most important aspect when comparing projectors. A projector with a low contrast ratio will appear flat and boring. It can also make it harder to decipher what’s happening in a darker scene.

Brightness

A projector’s brightness is often considered the second most important factor that makes up the image quality. The light output of a projector determines how bright the image is. If you don’t have enough brightness your image will appear washed out. A cinema room projector doesn’t need to output as many lumens as a regular TV because the light in the room is much more controlled. However in a more well lit environment like a living room, the brightness of the projector becomes very important. Higher brightness also helps with HDR content.

Color Accuracy

The color accuracy of a UHD projector is how true to the source content the colors on the screen appear. If you want to see the image as the director intended you need to get a projector with a high level of color accuracy.

Color Gamut

Color gamut is defined as how many colors a projector can show on a screen. Ultra High Definition content has a much wider color gamut than standard high def, which is a big part of why 4K looks so much better than 1080P. Many cheap 4K projectors lack the ability to fully display the vividness of the reds, greens and blues. Higher end projectors however are completely capable of showing all these different shades of color.


FAQ

What is 4K resolution?

The  resolution of a screen tells you just how dense are the tiny dots (aka the pixels) that collectively make up the image you see you. The higher the pixel count the higher the resolution. 4K resolution refers to a horizontal display resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels. With the “K” standing for “kilo” (thousand)

The majority of 4K displays come with a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. This is referred to as 4K UHD and is the 4k standard. You can also find 4K media that uses 4096 x 2160 in the movie projection industry. This is called DCI 4k.

What is a UHD Projector?

A UHD projector is the same as a 4K projector. It’s a projector with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. UHD stands for ultra high definition. You can use these terms interchangeably.

How much is a 4K projector?

Most 4K projectors cost between $1,500 to $6,000. There are some higher end ultra high definition projectors that are priced at $9,000 and above. The variation in price is a result of a number of factors including throw distance, picture quality, bulb type, chipset and other features included with projector such as built in sound.

Is it worth getting a 4K projector?

If you want superior picture quality it is definitely worth getting a 4K projector. When you put a UHD image next to a 1080P it’s very easy to see the difference. This is particularly true in 2021 as more media is being broadcast and created in 4K, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Videos.

Do you need a 4K screen for a 4K projector?

Yes, in order to get a 4K image from a UHD projector you’re going to need to buy a 4K projector screen or better. If you’re paying for a 2021 projector that’s ultra high definition you want to see the picture in 4K. Using a wall, even a white one, is going to have bumps and imperfections that won’t resolve to the proper number of pictures. Cheap movie screens also do not have a smooth enough surface and will distort your image.

Beware of screens that advertise themselves as “4K Ready” as these cinema screens lack the smoothness to display UHD quality video.

We recommend future proofing your investment in your display surface by getting an 8K or even 16K projection screen. This way, as more and more media content is put out in 8K and 16K you can be ready to upgrade your projector without needing to get a new screen to go along with it.



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