The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Best Gaming Projector in 2022
Every gamer knows that gaming is a very social activity. Whether you’re chatting with your buddies over the headset or hosting a gaming party, gaming is a good way to bond with people and build a sense of teamwork.
If you’re hosting a gaming party, you’ll need the best gaming projector out there.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about gaming projectors into this article, including our picks for the best gaming projectors for 2020. However, if you’re having trouble picking a projector for your group hangouts, we suggest going over our buying guide first.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Best Gaming Projector - The Buying Guide
- Review of the 5 Best Gaming Projector for 2020
- What Features Do the Best Gaming Projectors Have?
- DLC or LCD: Which One is a Good Gaming Projector?
- Choosing the Best Screen for Your Gaming Projector
Best Gaming Projector - The Buying Guide
Confused about buying a projector for gaming? Don't worry, this guide will help you make the best decision.
What Is a Gaming Projector?
Gaming projectors are specifically designed for gamers. They’re optimized to work with gaming consoles and PlayStations. Moreover, they deliver high video and sound quality. In essence, they act as a bigger and better television screen, one you can use to play games with all your friends.
How do they work? Well, they use LED lasers to project images onto a surface. The lasers are measured in Lumens, meaning the higher the Lumens, the brighter and clearer the projected image.
Why Buy a Gaming Projector?
For gamers, there are many perks to buying a gaming projector, including:
Better pictures and graphics (projectors deliver higher resolution HD than TVs or smartphones)
Customizable screen sizes (you can use the zoom in/out options to adjust the screen size)
More affordable than TV/Home theatre sets
- Specifically engineered for gaming (these projectors are designed to deliver fast responses and image qualities, perfect for gaming)
What Features Do the Best Gaming Projectors Have?
If you don’t know what features to look for, here’s our buying guide. We’ve listed all the things for you to consider when buying a gaming projector. However, before you get around to buying a projector, make sure to set up a budget as projectors are generally expensive (though not as much home theatre sets).
We recommend looking for quality products (like the ones on this list). Don’t compromise on quality because of budget constraints as you want something long-lasting rather than something that’ll break/stop working in a few months.
The level of brightness you want depends on your projection room. For example, if you primarily want to use the projector inside, you don’t need a high Lumens count. However, for outdoor use, you want a Lumens count of above 1000.
For darker rooms, projectors between 200 and 800 Lumens are fine. Moreover, for rooms with bright lights/sunlight exposure, 1000 to 1500 Lumens are ideal. Most gamers like to play in their basements (AKA game caves), so a brightness range between 200 and 1000 is recommended.
Don’t settle for anything less than 1080p because 1080p is HD resolution, delivering life-like picture quality. 1080p is more versatile than other resolution levels. You can use it for movies, art projects, presentations, and even outdoor parties.
For video games, in particular, 1080p is ideal for dynamic and vivid pictures. Moreover, projectors with higher resolutions are more expensive. 1080p projectors are more affordable, which is why they’re more common in every household.
● Contrast Ratio
This is a term you’ll hear throughout this review. However, what does it mean? If you understand how projectors work, you know that each image comes in frames. A frame is originally black and white, while the light reflected off the white determines what color the image will be.
A contrast ratio is the level of light reflected from an entirely white or entirely black image sequence. Therefore, if the projector has a contrast ratio of 30000:1, it means the white image is 30000 times brighter than the black, making the image more crisp and vivid.
● Response Rate
A response rate or input lag is the time a projector takes to display an image. Gamers, in particular, want a fast response rate as every second is precious in a game. Most gaming projectors have faster response rates than normal projectors.
Consequently, you don’t have to worry about out-of-order images. Get a projector with an input lag of 50mm. The lower the input lag, the faster the response rate a projector has. In this list, PIQO and Optoma, in particular, have a very fast response rate.
● Refresh Rate
Similarly, a refresh rate is the time a projector takes to display videos. It’s different than images because video also has to sync audio with each frame. We recommend a refresh rate of 120Hz and above.
This is because higher refresh rates are better for the eyes, meaning the image is not as harsh and buffers more smoothly.
Moreover, a pro tip to reduce refresh rates is to send in an image that doesn’t need to be resized. For example, send in a video size of 1080p, 720p, or 1280p, if your projector resolution is 1080p.
● Throw Distance
A gaming projector will give you full screen with responsive movement and detailed resolution. A throw ratio is a distance between the gaming projector and the screen it shines on. The best gaming projector will have a throw ratio of around 1.5:1, meaning you can have a wider screen from a distance of 7.5.
The higher the throw ratio, the better image will be. However, make sure you buy the gaming projector according to the placement. If your projector has fewer lumens, you can have a dull image due to a higher throw ratio.
● HDMI 2.1
Another feature of the best gaming project is the ability to offer HDMI 2.1. Playing and streaming 4k content at 120Hz needs a large amount of bandwidth. Hence, gaming projectors with HDMI 2.1 provide better bandwidth with a high refresh rate and low input lag.
● Audio Performance
Besides better resolution, responsive rate, and input lag, audio performance is a key feature to consider. Not every gaming projector has an ambient audio system. The best gaming projector has an integrated speaker. If you want one device for both the big screen and high-quality sound, you must check the audio performance of a gaming projector.
Unfortunately, the mini projector doesn't have an integrated audio system. If your gaming projector doesn't have an audio system, you can connect output sound speakers for a better experience.
As a standard rule, your gaming projector should have integrated dual 2W speakers or a single 5W speaker.
● Gaming Modes
The best gaming projector is one that offers different image and sound modes. Some models also provide different gaming modes to switch off the projector settings to increase the input lag.
If you want a better and more realistic gaming experience, choose a gaming project that allows you to control audio delivery. Different mode features will let you customize and amplify the deep bass and sounds from the projector. As a result, you can get 50-caliber sniper rounds with more loud and impactful sounds.
Some standard modes to look in a gaming projector include:
- RPG Mode (Cinematic Immersion)
- FPS Mode (Amplifies Nearby Threats)
- SPG Mode (For Realistic Thrills)
● Screen Size
This also depends on your projection room/wall. For example, if you’re planning on projecting the game in your basement, you need to measure the size of the wall and the size of the room.
The screen size you pick will be according to the measurements you gather. However, we recommend getting a projector with a sensitive minimum and maximum scale. For example, a screen size range between 40 and 200 is ideal as it gives you a well-rounded figure.
Consequently, you can use the projector for multiple screens.
There are two types of setups you can do with your gaming projector: a permanent ceiling setup or a portable tabletop one. We recommend the tabletop fixture. If you’ve measured the projection screen and room, you already know the measurements.
Therefore, to set up the projector, you just need to place it on a tabletop with an adequate distance between it and the screen. Moreover, to modify the internal settings of the projector, you can simply use the user manual.
Some projectors like PIQO have touchscreens, meaning the settings are accessible via the menu. However, others work with remote controls, which are also easy to work. Consequently, it’s up to you which one you prefer.
Are Gaming Projectors Better Than TV Screens?
A projector contains excellent gaming features that deliver refresh rates and less input lag. Contrary to TV screens and ordinary projectors, a gaming projector can allow you to play high-end games with heavy visuals.
Whether you have a gaming PC or a console, a gaming projector is a dedicated device that can give you a vibrant, responsive, and bigger screen for gaming.
Here are some reasons you should prefer gaming projectors over TV screens:
Immersive Gaming Experience
Video games are meant to provide an unreal and exciting experience. Game developers and designers invest thousands of efforts in creating realistic and visually-pleasing graphics. An ideal way to get the best experience of this virtual reality, a gaming project is capable of offering a wide screen of up to 350 inches in HD and UHD.
Reduced Eye Strain
Be it your favorite hobby or a professional; gaming includes streaming videos for an extended period. Unfortunately, the vibrant colors, animations, and small screens can cause eyestrain. It reduces the intensity and sharpness of visual graphics.
As a result, there is less and bearable eyestrain farther away from the screen. Thus, projectors are an excellent choice if you are someone who spends your day and night playing video games.
One of the best benefits of a gaming projector is its affordable cost. You can have a high-quality and unique projector with great features at an affordable price. They are inexpensive and are a great alternative to bigger expensive TVs.
Review of the 5 Best Gaming Projectors for 2020
Now that you’ve gone over our buying guide, we can get to our picks for the best gaming projectors in 2022. All these projectors are top quality products, but our top recommendation is the PIQO 1080p Mini Projector. It’s the most versatile and easy-to-use projector on the market today. Moreover, you can take it with you wherever you go!
Here are some of our top recommendations for the best gaming projectors you can buy for 2022.
Screen Range Size
46 to 240 inches
2.25 x 2.25 x 2.25 inches
210 grams (0.5 lbs)
66 to 107 inches
9 x 11.73 x 3.7 inches
2495 grams (5.5 lbs)
100 to 300 inches
4.79 x 14.98 x 10.91 inches
3596 grams (7.93 lbs)
60 to 100 inches
12.2 x 5.2 x 4.5 inches
2236 grams (4.93 lbs)
28 to 90 inches
7.7 x 6.3 x 3.2 inches
907 grams (2 lbs)
PIQO 1080p Mini Projector
PIQO is a relatively new brand, gaining fast popularity in Asia, North America, and Europe. It sells high-quality home entertainment technology, designed for ultra versatility and innovation. The PIQO 1080p Mini Projector is no exception. It’s a great mini projector for movies, art projects, presentations, and of course, gaming.
How so? Well, the PIQO 1080p Mini Projector has a large screen size range (from 46 to 240 inches), making it perfect for both large and small projection spaces. You can call in a few friends or have an entire party using this projector.
It’s very compact and lightweight at 210 grams. Consequently, you can even take it outdoors or to a friend’s house. Moreover, its Hi-Fi speakers are engineered specifically to deliver high-quality, immersive sounds.
It’s compatible with all Android and iOS devices. You can access all kinds of apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Additionally, you can easily access any gaming applications or software.
Also, the projector has 16 GB worth of offline storage. Download your games and access them directly from the projector.
If you’re worried about charging, don’t be. The PIQO projector works on an Android battery and charges similar to any other Android device. It has fast charging capabilities, so you can use it for one hour for every 15 minutes of charging.
- Includes a keystone angle operator
- Very small and portable
- High 1920 x 1080p resolution
- Touchscreen navigation
- The brightness range is a bit small
- A bit pricey
Optoma HD142X Home Theater Projector
A global leader in projection and audio technology, Optoma is a US-based brand. It was founded in 2001 and has expanded its offices to Europe and Asia since then. The Optoma HD242X is a multi-functional home theater projector.
Firstly, it has compatibility with all types of computers, including WXGA, HD, FHD, SXGA, XGA, UXGA, VGA, SVGA, and Mac. It also has dual HDMI support, so you can connect it to two devices at a time.
Moreover, it includes a keystone angle corrector and has a contrast ratio of 23,000:1. This gives you intensely sharp picture quality, which is ideal if you’re playing an immersive video game.
There’s a 3.5 mm audio output with DLP technology, making the projector highly sensitive to sound changes. Consequently, you get incredible sound quality even without the headset.
Also, the projector can easily be used outside. It is operable in temperatures between 5 to 40 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it can tolerate humidity of up to 85% and an altitude of 3000 meters.
- 8000-hour lamp life
- Displays high-resolution, vibrant colors
- MHL connectivity included
- Has 3D capabilities
- Doesn’t have lens shift capability
BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector
Founded in 1984, BenQ is a Taiwanese brand, specializing in projectors, monitors, lighting, and speakers. The company sells high-quality projection equipment all over the world. The BenQ HT2150ST Short Throw Projector is one of their best-sellers.
Why? This micro HD projector gives you amazing video and sound quality. It has a contrast ratio of 15000:1 and a maximum brightness of 2200 Lumens. This means you can easily navigate through dark forests and castles in virtual games without missing a thing.
Moreover, the projector has a low-input tag, meaning it allows gamers to access game modes more easily. It has several game modes for a more immersive gaming experience.
Additionally, the DLP technology gives you sharper and clearer images on the screen. Consequently, you can increase the screen size up to 300 inches without compromising on image quality.
Lastly, the projector also has a 1.2x zoom feature, which allows you to adjust the image more easily. This also means you can easily install the projector anywhere you want.
- Three-year warranty
- Uniform focus (meaning clearer image)
- Adequate black levels
- Good images even on textured/uneven walls
- The brightness wavers in ambient lighting
- The lamp burns out fast
LG PF1000UW Home Projector
If you’re looking for a reliable home entertainment system, you must consider LG. Established in 1958, the company is based in Busan, South Korea. It’s expanded its reach worldwide, with offices in the US, Europe, and other parts of Asia.
Apart from its televisions, smartphones, and home appliances, the company sells state-of-the-art projectors, the LG PF1000UW being one.
The LG PF1000UW is an ultra-short-throw projector, which delivers great image quality. You can set it up to 100 inches from the wall to get a 1080p HD video. Moreover, you can connect it with other LG appliances, including LG SmartTVs and Smartphones.
It’s even compatible with Magic Remotes. Consequently, gamers can easily transfer their game from the TV to the projector. The 1080p portable projector even has a Bluetooth feature for other types of iOS and Android devices.
You can either connect it to Bluetooth speakers or use the in-built ones. The in-built speakers are engineered to minimize sound echoing and enhance sound waves. Therefore, you’ll have no problem listening to your teammates in the game.
Also, the lamp has a battery life of 30,000 hours, so you don’t have to change it as often. This also makes the projector more cost-effective.
- Easy to connect with LG devices
- Decent brightness in ambient lighting
- Good for a medium-sized room
- Crisp, vivid pictures and sound
- Not HDMI compatible
- Have to buy the remote separately
Simplebeam V3 Mini Video Projector
Simplebeam is a US-based company that caters to the home entertainment market. It’s been high-grade home entertainment technology for almost a decade. The Simplebeam V3 Mini is part of their DIY Series.
The projector is highly responsive with a single TFT-LCD, and a high-performance LED light. If you’re looking for sharp images, the Simplebeam V3 delivers a maximum optical resolution, which is ideal for watching movies and playing video games.
Additionally, the Simplebeam V3 projector is compatible with both AV and HDMI cables. You connect it with a DVD player or Playstations, which is also a plus point for gamers. Moreover, the projector is very compact, meaning it’s easy to take to your camping trips, outdoor parties, and friends’ homes.
You can extend the screen up to 120 inches in a medium/large-sized room. Also, the angle is easy to set as long as you’ve aligned the projector with the wall correctly.
- Fast customer service
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Multi-functional (for both outdoor and indoor use)
- Good value for money
- The color display distorts blues and reds
- The controls aren’t very intuitive
DLC or LCD: Which One is a Good Gaming Projector?
Like the TV screen, gaming projectors are also manufactured based on technology. There are two different technologies used in gaming projectors offering different results and quality, such as:
DLP (Digital Light Processing)
DLP is an abbreviation of Digital Light Processing. It’s the first and oldest technology used to build gaming projectors. It runs on reflective technology.
The DLP projector uses one or three chips to project images on a bigger screen. Each chip contains millions of microscopic mirrors reflecting light thousands of times per second. The mirror is adjustable, moving away or closer to the light source to deliver light or dark pixels.
Advantages of DLP
- Smooth video
- Pixel-less visibility
- High contrast
Downsides of DLP
- Produces audible whine
- Poor color saturation
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
Liquid crystal display projectors use the same technology as electronic watches. It displays videos, images, or any other data on a screen. It runs on transmissive technology.
The LCD projector uses liquid-crystal three panels where the transmission of light happens. There is also a fourth-panel present that can be used for modifying the color generation. The primary purpose of the three optical panels is to split the white light from a source into three colors (green, red, and blue)
Advantages of LCD
- Detailed and sharp images
- Rich colors than DLP
- Light efficient
Downsides of LCD
- Visible pixels
- Poorer contrast
Choosing the Best Screen for Your Gaming Projector
When buying a gaming projector, you need to consider the type of screen you’ll view the video game on. Believe it or not, the type and quality of your screen can play a major role in enhancing your gaming experience.
These steps will help you choose the best screen for your gaming mini projector:
Step 1: Pick the Right Mount Type
You may come across different types of frame mounts for screens, but the best one is fixed-frame. These frames hold a screen firmly and can be mounted on any wall or placed on a stand. So if you don’t mind setting up a screen, a fixed-frame mount can be the ideal choice for you.
Step 2: Select an Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio is the width and height of the screen. Many screens come with a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning 16 width units and 9 height units. This ratio complements the HDTV broadcast and gaming content requirements.
Step 3: Choose Screen Material
Similar to the projector, you must buy your screen depending on your viewing habits and the amount of ambient light you usually face. When selecting the screen material, first understand how projectors collaborate with the screen to show you the best picture.
All projectors work amazingly in total darkness as these conditions offer the best contrast. This means the projector doesn’t really project the darkness. Instead, it tries to create blackness on the screen when there is no light. The projector cancels out the light in the room to display black.
Step 4: Find the Right Screen Size
Lastly, determine the exact throw size of the projection and the lumen requirements of your projector. It will help you evaluate how large or small your screen should be according to your seating distance. Once done, enjoy playing your favorite games in crisp and clear graphics.
What other things do I need for gaming parties?
There are many things gamers need, but the basics simply include the projector, PlayStation, and gaming console. Of course, if you’re having a gaming party, you’re going to need multiple gaming consoles and perhaps even headsets.
However, as a pro tip, make sure you have more than one device to connect to the projector. For example, if you’re connecting the projector to your laptop, have another device (with the game installed in it) as a backup.
You never know when one device may fail you (or be incompatible with the projector). Consequently, it’s smarter to have a plan B.
How to set up a gaming projector?
As mentioned above (in the buying guide), there are two main ways of setting up a gaming projector:
- Permanent ceiling fixture
- Tabletop fixture
If you’re looking to make a permanent addition to your gaming room, a permanent ceiling fixture is ideal. However, if you want the option to travel with the projector, tabletop fixtures are the way to go.
We recommend going for the tabletop fixtures as you have more versatility. Instead of just gaming, you can also use the projector for movies, presentations, and projects.
Can I use my art projector for gaming?
As long as the criteria are met, there’s no reason you can’t. Keep in mind, though, art projectors are specifically meant for projects and presentations. Sound quality may not be as sharp as in other projectors.
Moreover, there are many kinds of art projectors, some of which are more traditional. For example, opaque projectors are specifically meant for artists and creative work. Consequently, you can’t play video games on it.
What is a Throw Ratio?
You may have heard this term in your quest for a new gaming projector. However, do you know what it means? Simply put, the throw ratio is the distance between your projector and the wall (on which the image is displayed).
You can calculate the throw ratio by measuring the distance from the tip of the projector lens to the wall. If you have a throw ratio of 3:1, this means the screen is three feet away from the projector.
Note: the throw ratio is very important. Be sure to measure the total width and length of your projection room before you purchase a projector.
When do I change the LED light bulb in my projector?
You’ll know it’s time to change the LED light bulb when it stops working. The image quality will start wavering, as will the brightness of the projector. Changing the LED light bulb is very simple.
All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
Take a lint-free microfiber cloth and a small screwdriver.
Turn off the projector and make sure it’s completely cool before touching it. (Wait at least an hour or so.)
Take out the lamp door using your screwdriver.
Moreover, remove the LED lamp assembly.
Use the cloth to clean the inside of the lamp. Remove dust, debris, and other dirt particles.
Take your new lamp assembly and place it inside the projector (in the same way the old one was placed).
Place the lamp door back on the assembly. However, make sure to fasten it correctly.
- Afterwards, if you want, you can access your management settings and reset your lamp timer if you want.
Do I have to clean my gaming projector?
Yes, you do. This is because all projectors accumulate dirt and debris over time, which distort the image quality. Most gaming projectors have user manuals that specify cleaning and maintenance instructions.
However, as a general rule of thumb, here’s how to clean a gaming projector:
Similar to bulb replacements, make sure the projector is completely cool before you touch it.
Clean the surface with a clean, lint-free cloth.
If there’s any stubborn piece of dirt, you can dampen the cloth very lightly. However, make sure no water goes into the vent. It’ll damage your projector and nullify your warranty/money-back guarantee.
- Use a lens cleaning solution on the lens and wipe gently in circular motions. Don’t press too hard or you’ll damage/scratch the lens surface.
Can I Connect Xbox With the Gaming Projector?
Yes, you can play Xbox with the gaming projector. Your gaming projector must have an HDMI connection. You can use an HDMI adapter if your projector doesn't have it. Xbox needs an S/PDF audio output port.
Here is how you connect your Xbox to a gaming projector.
Through HDMI Cable
If you are connecting your Xbox to a gaming projector through an HDMI cable, refer to these steps:
- First, shut down your gaming projector and the Xbox.
- Then, connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port of the gaming projector.
- Connect the other end of the HDMI cable on the Xbox.
- Switch on the Xbox and projector.
- If you do not have multiple devices connected to your gaming projector, your projector will recognize the Xbox immediately.
- The audio from the Xbox will come from the projector as well. You can also connect an output sound device if you do not like the built-in sound quality of your projector.
Through VGA Connection
You can choose VGA cable if you have an older gaming projector or an older Xbox such as 1st or 2nd generation. The VGA connection is not as responsive and advanced as the HDMI connection. However, it is still compatible with today's video gaming.
Here is a step-by-step instruction:
- Power off your Xbox device and gaming projector.
- Connect the VGA cable's end to your projector's blue-colored port. The blue-colored port on your projector is the VGA port. This port may be labeled as 'D-Sub' in some models.
- Connect another end of the VGA cable to the VGA port of your Xbox.
- Switch on both devices and wait for the projector to recognize your Xbox.
- Since the VGA port is not as advanced as HDMI, you will need an audio output device for sound.
Can I Connect PlayStation With the Gaming Projector?
You can connect PlayStation 2, 3, and 4 to your gaming projector as they are portable consoles. Connecting it with a gaming projector can take your experience to another fascinating level.
If you have the latest PlayStation 5, you will need an HDMI port and cable to connect it to a gaming projector. If you do not have an HDMI cable or have an old projector, you will need special adapters and cables.
Here is how you can connect PlayStation to a gaming projector:
- Choose an HDMI cable (one provided with the PlayStation).
- Connect the cable to the MHL or HDMI port of the gaming projector. (you will need an adapter for the mini projector).
- Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the output port of your PlayStation.
- Turn on the PlayStation and gaming projector.
- Navigate to the Input or Source menu on the projector.
- Set the Input/Source settings to HDMI.
- In the menu, a connection from PlayStation will be visible.