Because laser projectors use a different internal design than LED projectors, they are able to deliver a sharp image and a broader range of colors. We’ve put our five favorite laser projectors to the test in order to help you decide which is the best laser projector for your home theater room. VAVA 4K Laser projector is the one we would choose (>>> Check it’s pricing here).
Best Laser Projector Models in 2020
|Optoma CinemaX P1||VAVA 4K||LG HU85LA||Optoma GT1090HDR||Optoma HZ39HDR|
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,000 ANSI||6000 (2,500 ANSI)||2,700 ANSI||4,200 ANSI||4,000 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||1.5' - 2.2'||1.4' - 2.5'||1.3' - 1.7'||1.3' - 10.9'||3.2' - 26.4'|
|3D Modes||YES, Full HD||YES, Full HD||No||YES, Full HD||YES, Full HD|
|Screen size||84”-120”||80”-150”||90.00" - 120.00"||36”-300”||27.70" - 300.00"|
|Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price||Find Best Price|
When putting together a home media room, many people opt for a large-screen TV and an audio system. But to put together a true home theater, skip the big TV and get a laser projector and screen. A truly high-end big screen TV will run you $8,000 and up. A remarkably great performing laser projector and screen will come in under $6,000 at the most, and some of the better projectors will cost considerably less than that.
Because laser projectors are considered a newer technology than LED projectors, for the most part, you can expect to pay a bit more for the higher performance. Although you are buying a laser projector primarily for video projection, they can also serve well as data and photo projectors.
A great thing about laser projectors is the smaller amount of heat that they generate. They do run warm but they don’t run hot. Power up time is shorter that lamp based projectors and when they are turned off it is instantaneous. Because there is less heat buildup, a laser projector’s cooling fan is usually quieter. Another plus is that the laser light source will not degrade over time like a lamp bulb will. As a lamp bulb ages, color balance may be affected. This is not so with a laser projector.
The biggest, and only down side that we see, is that replacing a laser source is not practical. It’s cheaper to replace the entire unit than replace the lasers. However, a laser light source will have a much longer life cycle than a lamp bulb.
Important Projector Features
Contrast and Brightness – The job of a laser projector is to take a small image and cast it onto a much larger screen. A projectors light output is measured in lumens. More lumens equals a brighter image. Contrast in its simplest form is the difference between the whitest whites and the blackest blacks. Contrast is expressed as a ratio; 1000:1, 2000:1, 300:1. etc. For example, a projector having a contrast ratio of 3000:1 means that a white image should be 3000 times brighter than a black image. However, a brighter image does not necessarily mean a sharper image or true colors.
Best Projector for Contrast and Brightness: Optoma CinemaX P1
Color Accuracy – when the colors are off, the image looks unreal. A great projector needs to produce accurate colors and be adjustable so that it can be calibrated to account for room color and ambient light bleed to deliver on its full potential. Looking at the image on your projection screen should be like looking out of a clear glass window on a bright sunny day.
Best Projector for Color Accuracy: VAVA 4K
Low Noise – when a projector is running there will always be a certain amount of noise involved. Obviously the less projector noise the better. When a scene in a movie goes silent, you don’t want to hear the projector fan making a bunch of noise. Because a laser projector runs cooler, the cooling fan doesn’t have to work as hard to reduce heat buildup, thus the projector generally runs quieter.
Best Projector for Low Noise: Optoma HZ39HDR
Resolution – this is simply the number of pixels that are available to create an image on the screen. It is also one of the most important characteristics that need to be considered when purchasing a home theater projector. The typical projector will have a 1080p resolution, but as technology improves, there is a move towards 4K-resolution, which is four times the number of pixels generated by 1080p projectors. Higher resolutions display more detail in their images.
Best Projector for Resolution: Optoma CinemaX P1
The P1 is bright, rated at 3,000 lumens, with a contrast ratio of 1,500,000:1. It is an ultra short throw projector that can produce an image that will fill a 100-inch screen from a distance of just 10 inches away. Because this projector sits so close to the screen, it is recommended that you purchase an ALR/CLR (ambient light rejecting/ceiling light rejecting) screen to use with it. The projector has a built-in Dolby Digital 2.0 soundbar with two speakers and two subwoofers and 40 watts of power that produces a high quality sound that using an external sound system is not required.
The Optoma P1 is HDR compatible and has HDR10 technology. It has two HDMI ports and a USB port on the back of the projector and another HDMI and USB port on the side. The P1 is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. By using the downloadable SmartFit app and your smartphone, you will be able to center the image on your screen within seconds.
- Bright enough to handle low amounts of ambient light
- Excellent sound system
- Battery-free, rechargeable remote control
- Provides great 3D performance
- Setup can be tricky
- Streaming apps don’t work well in 4K
- Upward projection angle will highlight any screen imperfections
- Cannot be ceiling-mounted
The VAVA 4K UHD is another ultra short throw projector. At a distance of just over 7 inches it will project a 100” image. Because it emits 6,000 lumens with a contrast ratio of 1,500,000:1, in will work well in rooms that are somewhat bright. Colors are bold and image detail is sharp. Find it’s detailed comparison vs Optoma P1 here. One of the best features of this ultra short throw projector is that it is easy to set up. You won’t need to pay for professional installation.
The projector comes with a 60 watt Harman Kardon soundbar that offers Dolby compatibility. Although not as great as an external sound system, you can get by without one.
Gamers would do well to avoid the VAVA if they are hoping to play intense video games, especially multiplayer games, because of its higher lag input, over 100ms.
- Audio quality is excellent
- 9 different connection ports including 3 HDMI and a USB
- WIFI and Bluetooth capable
- Works well in brighter rooms
- Longer input lag time (107ms) – not great for gaming
- Brightness can be intense for some applications
- Poor interface for apps
This LG HU85LA is one of the smartest laser projectors on the market, with built-in Bluetooth and Google Assistant compatibility. Its “magic” remote makes navigation a joy. Just wave it in the direction you want the onscreen cursor to move.
With a relatively low input lag, around 55ms, it is suitable for gamers and works quite well on even graphic-intense games. It has true 4K resolution and HDR10. It is on the pricy side, but for the money it is extremely versatile.
Because it is an ultra short throw projector, it doesn’t have to be mounted on a ceiling or a tabletop. It can be set directly below the screen, as close as 7 to 8 inches away and still project a 120-inch image. Because of this, it offers installation possibilities that other projectors can’t offer. It uses a RGB laser with a single DLP chip and no color wheel.
The HU85LA’s price makes it more of a lifestyle choice than other projectors on the market. If it is important to brag about how much you invested in your project, you can’t go wrong with this LG projector.
- Excellent color accuracy
- Ultra short throw (.19 throw ratio)
- Works with Google Assistant
- Easy to set up
- High cost
- No built-in speakers
- Much higher priced than other laser projectors
If you have limited room size the Optoma GT1090HDR may be perfect for you. With a throw ratio of .5:1 and an incredible 4,200 lumens (an upgrade from the GT1080HDR rated at 3800 lumens), it can project an incredibly bright image from only a few feet away from the screen.
With its laser light source Optoma says that the projector is rated to last 15,000 hours and in Eco mode up to 30,000 hours. Input lag time is only 16ms and a 120Hz refresh rate, making the GT1090HDR a great projector for serious gamers. It supports both HDR10 and HLG. It has built-in speakers and will support Blu-ray 3D.
The GT1090HDR has an auto keystone feature and 4-corner correction that makes installation easier. It has a HDMI 2.0 input connector and a HDMI 1.4 input connector. The built-in speakers leave a little to be desired so it is recommended to hook up an external speaker source. A more detailed review of Optoma GT1090HDR projector can be found here.
- Above average brightness
- Supports HDR10 and HLG
- Auto keystone
- Quiet operation
- Flicker problems possible in Eco mode
- Some consumers claimed bulb reliability issues
The HZ39HDR projector is lightweight and compact making it easy to install. And it is an extremely quiet projector, 32db in Eco mode. This projector has vertical keystone correction (plus or minus up to 30 degrees) and with a 1.3x optical zoom it is easy to dial in its image.
The Optoma HZ39HDR claims 4,000 lumens, which makes it one of the brightest projectors we are testing. That means that your room does not have to be totally dark to enjoy great viewing. The laser lamp is rated for 30,000 hours of life, which if true means you will probably replace the projector before you have to replace the light engine.
It will display true 3D content (3D glasses required) from almost any 3D source. Its built-in speakers are adequate but adding a soundbar and a subwoofer will provide better audio performance. For a more detailed review of this projector click here.
- Fire Stick, Chomecast and PS4 compatible
- Amazing 3D performance
- Good video quality, sharp image
- Most affordable projector compared
- Occasional rainbow effects noticeable
- Consumers noted problems with the color wheel
- Full HD, but not true 4K
- Under-saturated colors in HDR mode
It takes a little more money to get a laser projector so that needs to be money well spent. Although it’s not the priciest projector we reviewed, the VAVA 4K Laser projector is the one we would choose (check it’s pricing here). Its Harman Kardon Soundbar delivers high-fidelity sound with 60 watts of power, so you don’t necessarily have to hook it up to external speakers.
Being an ultra-short throw projector, something of a niche product means that you don’t need an overly large room to mount it in nor does it sit very far from the screen. The LG HU85LA has a better short throw ratio but it is nearly double the price of the VAVA. And that brings us back to “money well spent” and why we like the VAVA 4K projector better than the LG HU85LA short throw.