Did Brad Pitt’s head get really wrinkly or is that just your crown molding? If you have a projector but no projector screen, you’re getting subpar picture quality and are wasting a great machine. Even if your wall is a crisp, spotless white, any imperfection will be obvious when the Death Star looks more like a football than a moon. So. yeah, you need a screen, and there are a number of choices you'll need to make: wall-mounted screen or freestanding? Which size and aspect ratio? Manual or motorized? Two companies dominate the market in 2015—Elite Screens and Silver Ticket—but there are a number of other good options to choose from as well. You can expect to spend anywhere from $60 up to $400 or more on a projector screen, with more expensive models using fabrics that produce crisper, superior imagery—particularly when you have a projector to match. Below are the best projector screens of 2015 from budget to high-end.
 

How We Choose

When it comes to projector screens, we look at everything: size, ease-of-use, portability, the works. It can often be difficult to choose a decent model, especially given how expensive they can be, but we think you’ll agree with our picks here. Worth noting: almost all screens come in a variety of sizes and prices. In all cases, we’ve chosen the one we feel represents the best value-for-money.


Our Projector Screen Picks

1. Visual Apex VAPEX 9110SE ($418)

Visual Apex VAPEXSize: 100”
Useable Area: 96” x 54”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: Yes
What We Like: Fully automated
What We Don’t: Quite expensive
Best For: Hassle-free viewing

This electric screen is a great example of the features you can get at the high end of the market. The Visual Apex VAPEX 9106SE can be synced to roll up and down in line with your projector's power cycles, provided you have a compatible unit. In other words, when you turn your projector on, the screen automatically will descend, adding a serious touch of class to your home theater setup (it also saves you from having to put the screen back up if you want to use the room for something other than watching Netflix). The screen itself is 106 inches across and has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and installation is straightforward despite the electronics involved. The only real downside here is price, but it comes in multiple sizes, if do you want to spend less, like the 120” version.
See the Visual Apex VAPEX 9110SE
 

2. Silver Ticket STR-169120-WAB ($370)

Silver Ticket STR-169120-WAB projector screenSize: 120”
Useable Area: 105” x 59”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: No
What We Like: HD/3D support
What We Don’t: Maybe a little large for some
Best For: 3D viewing

Like other Silver Ticket screens, the STR-169120-WAB has an aluminum frame and velvet edging, though there are notable differences in the screen material. Stretching 120 inches across and with a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the STR-169120-WAB uses woven acoustic material for the display, helping to improve the quality of the image when using high-quality projectors. High-definition video and Active 3D sources are supported, so you can get truly great quality picture with this setup. The viewing angles are as impressive as well, so if you're a serious cinephile who wants to see your shows and movies at their best, then the STR-169120-WAB is a great choice.
See the Silver Ticket STR-169120-WAB
 

3. Giant Gemmy Airblown ($400)

Giant Gemmy Airblown Inflatable Movie ScreenSize: 150”
Useable Area: 123” x 70” 
Aspect Ratio: Unknown
Gain: Unknown
Automated: No
What We Like: Innovative approach
What We Don’t: No stats available
Best For: Outdoor use

Now here's something a bit different in an outdoor screen: this Giant Gemmy model inflates like a bouncy castle, so you won't need to mess around with pegs and guy ropes. It’s 151 inches wide and 85 inches tall, and even though the picture isn’t the sharpest on this list, you're still guaranteed lots of fun at the next barbeque. This screen includes a power adapter and self-inflates—no need to put your lungs to the test—and comes with a large carrying case to help cart it around. The Giant Gemmy is perfect for an outdoor movie night or sporting event with a crowd of people, but keep in mind that picture quality can’t be expected to match an indoor screen.
See the Giant Gemmy Airblown Inflatable
 

4. Elite Screens SableFrame ($468)

Elite Screen SableSize: 120”
Useable Area: 105” x 59”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1.1
Automated: No
What We Like: Customization options
What We Don’t: Expensive for what you get
Best For: Doing it how you want

With the SableFrame from Elite Screens, you get seemingly endless options in customizing your screen. To start, you can choose a size from 85 inches all the up to a whopping 200 inches, and many of these sizes come in one or two aspect rations (16:9 and 2.35:1). In addition, there are five different screen finishes from CineWhite to AcoustiPro, the latter designed to allow sound to flow from speakers behind the screen. The screens themselves handle colors and blacks well, offer good viewing angles, and are relatively simple to install (the slide-on mounts can be adjusted horizontally so you can reposition the screen as you go). All in all, images are crisp and well balanced and both 720p and 1080p sources look great.
See the Elite Screens SableFrame
 

5. Silver Ticket STR-169110 ($230)

Silver Ticket STR-169112 projector screenSize: 110”
Useable Area: 96” x 54”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: No
What We Like: Tough construction
What We Don’t: Can’t roll it up
Best For: Value-for-money

Silver Ticket is a big name in this home projector market, and if you don't find the STR-169110 to your tastes, there are plenty of other sizes and specifications to choose from. However, with a 110-inch screen, 16:9 aspect ratio, and high-quality build components, this model is tough to beat. Silver Ticket screens use top-quality materials — this one is mildew and flame resistant and washable with mild soap and water. The STR-169110 has a heavy-duty beveled aluminum frame wrapped in black velvet to make your projected image the best it can be. That does mean it’s a permanent fixture in your room; there’s no rolling this one up. But this option if ideal if you don’t want to worry about bending or uneven picture. The viewing angles are very impressive too, and the STR-169112 supports Full HD projections and even 3D. With simple setup, excellent image quality, and a good price, this is one of our favorite projector screens.
See the Silver Ticket STR-169110
 

6. Antra Electric Motorized ($269)

Antra Electric Motorized projector screenSize: 135”
Useable Area: 118” x 66”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: Yes
What We Like: Cheap for a motorized screen
What We Don’t: Need two people to install! 
Best For: Big rooms

Antra makes motorized projector screens in a variety of sizes, and they are among the cheapest motorized screens on the market. Clicking a button and seeing your screen roll down is much easier than having to drag it into position yourself, and you don't run the risk of tugging too hard and causing tears. The picture itself is respectable — depending on the quality of your projector and source material, of course — and we'd recommend this (or another Antra model if 135 inch is too big) for anyone who wants a good balance of price and performance for their home theater setup. Installation is straightforward (it’s a bit easier if you have someone to help you with the job) and two mounting brackets are included in the bundle.
See the Antra Electric Motorized
 

7. Elite Screens Spectrum Electric ($214)

Elite Screens SpectrumSize: 100”
Useable Area: 87” x 49”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: Yes
What We Like: Feature set, warranty
What We Don’t: Not a lot
Best For: Small spaces

If you need a motorized screen at a great price, the Elite Screens Spectrum has you covered. With the flick of an included remote or inline switch, you get a screen with excellent picture reproduction and a 1.1 gain. A 2-year warranty for home use and a 3-year warranty for government, education, military, and religious use means you’ll be covered for any issues that may come up, especially if you convince the Elite Screens folk that you are, in fact, a very religious government minister with a service record. The Spectrum is available in sizes ranging from 100 inches to 180 inches. And if you’re setting up a theater room with speakers mounted behind the screen, you can opt for the 1.0 screen gain AcousticPro screen surface, which is acoustically transparent.
See the Elite Screens Spectrum Electric
 

8. Epson Duet ELPSC80 ($141)

Epson Duet ELPSC80 projector screenSize: 80”
Useable Area: 65” x 40”
Aspect Ratio: 4:3/16:9
Gain: 1:1
Automated: No
What We Like: Ease of use, multiple aspect ratios
What We Don’t: Small size
Best For: Offices, basic home theaters

Another big player: Epson. They've got a nice lineup of projectors for the home and office, so you would expect the company to offer numerous screens as well. Surprisingly there aren't that many, but the Duet ELPSC80 is a popular choice among those who want a reasonably priced projector screen that can be packed up and moved. The ELPSC80 works well in either the office or with a home theater system, and it has an easy setup process that is much less fiddly than some other screens. The ELPSC80 can expand horizontally and vertically—you can set it to a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio—and the image quality are impressive. As long as you don't mind the business-centric design, you should like the ELPSC80. It comes with a tripod but a handy wall mount for your home is included.
See the Epson Duet ELPSC80


9. Best Choice Products Manual Projector Screen ($65)

Best Choice ProductsSize: 119"
Useable Area: 84" x 84"
Aspect Ratio: 1:1
Gain: 1:1
Automated: No
What We Like: Square shape
What We Don’t: ...Square shape
Best For: Squares

Occasionally, you have a need for a screen that isn't a rectangle - a rare occurence, but one that still happens. In that case, the Best Choice model, with its 1:1 aspect ratio, is the perfect choice. This might sound like a disadvantage, but if you can deal with the shape, you get an awful lot of bang for your buck, including a good-sized useable area and a decent overall size. A simple, functional screen which fulfils a niche.
See the Best Choice Products Manual Projector Screen
 

10. Pyle PRJSM7206 ($46)

Pyle PRJSM7206 projector screenSize: 72”
Useable Area: 59” x 39”
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Gain: Unknown
Automated: No
What We Like: Cheapest option, simple operation
What We Don’t: At this price? Not a lot!
Best For: Basic projection needs

At this end of the market, price trumps image quality. That's not to say the Pyle PRJSM7206 offers up a bad picture, but you're spending less than $60 for this wall-mounted screen so top-rate image quality may not happen. You get a matte white projector screen with a black masking border, and once wall mounting is out of the way, operation is simple — pull down the screen and it locks into place. This screen is easy to set up and durable in use, but bear in mind that the overall feel is more schoolroom than home theater. But if price is an important consideration, the PRJSM7206 is a great value. The screen comes in a range of sizes as well as standing and tripod versions.
See the Pyle PRJSM7206


When you want something completely different…

11. Goo Systems Gootube ($269)

GootubeSize: 119”
Useable Area: 112” x 63”
Aspect Ratio: Unknown
Gain: Unknown
Automated: Hell no
What We Like: Sleek and slim
What We Don’t: DIY aspect may turn people off
Best For: DIY

Why hang a screen when you can stick it straight onto the wall? That's what the Goo Systems Gootube is all about. Instead of a standard rollout, you get a rolled-up piece of fabric with enough included glue to stick it to the wall. It will work perfectly well with most projectors, and its decent size and slim profile make it workable for small spaces, but you are almost certainly going to need more than one person to mount it. And if you move house? Good luck getting this thing off the wall. Not quite deserving of a place on our list, but still worth highlighting. Also: price and availability fluctuates, so don't be surprised to see this swing around a bit.
See the Goo Systems Gootube


When money is no object...

12. Stewart Studiotek 130 ($2145)

StudiotekSize: 106”
Useable Area: 90” x 40
Aspect Ratio: Unknown
Gain: Unknown
Automated: Yes
What We Like: Probably the best on the market
What We Don’t: Probably the most expensive
Best For: Deep pockets

Occasionally, there is a media room that requires one mother of a screen to go with it. Assuming you're not actually dipping into cinema territory, then this might be the one to go for. The Stewart Studiotek 130 is an absolute beast, with a high level construction and design that brings out the color and life in whatever you throw at it. While every one of the picks on our list will get the job done, none will get the job done quite as well as this one. Just remember: you will pay a lot of money for it. Hunt around, however, and you might come across a used model that will retail for substantially less.
See the Stewart Studiotek 130


Breaking Down The Specs:

Screen Price Size Useable Area A.Ratio Gain Automated?
Pyle PRJSM7206 $46 72" 59" x 39" 16:9 Unknown No
Best Choice Manual Screen $65 119" 84" x 84" 1:1 1:1 No
Epson Duet ELPSC80 $141 80" 65" x 40" 4:3/16:9 1:1 No
Elite Screens Spectrum Electric $214 100" 87" x 49" 16:9 1:1 Yes
Antra Electric Motorized $269 135" 118" x 66" 16:9 1:1 Yes
Silver Ticket STR-169110 $230 110" 96" x 54" 16:9 1:1 No
Elite Screens SableFrame $468 120" 105" x 69" 16:9 1:1 No
Giant Gemmy Airblown $400 150" 123" x 70" Unknown Unknown No
Silver Ticket STR-169120-WAB $370 120" 105" x 59" 16:9 1:1 No
Visual Apex VAPEX 9110SE $418 100" 96" x 54" 16:9 1:1 Yes
Goo Systems Gootube $299 119" 112" x 63" Unknown Unknown No
Stewart Studiotek 130 $2145 106" 90" x 40"  Unknown Unknown Yes

Projector Screen

Buying Advice

Why Should I Buy A Home Projector System?

A TV is all well and good, but it's a little limited by the fact that if you want the really big ones, you'll need to pay for them. A home projector system is a viable alternative, taking the image and throwing it up plus size. It’ll still cost you a few bills, but it’s often a much better option than shelling out for a 4K wonder.

A screen is what you need to hold that image. A good one will display at in all its crisp, verdant glory, while a bad one will just look terrible. Our options in the list above are the best screens on the market right now. 

A warning: home projection is a viable alternative to a big TV, but that doesn't mean the costs can't spiral out of control. You're essentially paying the two pieces of equipment: the projector and screen. Projectors can be quite expensive, so do your research before you buy. Fortunately, we've done some of it for you. You'll find our list of the best projecters available right here.
 

How Should I Set It Up?

Each screen will come with full instructions. If not, have a quiet word with the manufacturer, and tell them to stop being ridiculous.

Many screens are free-standing. Some can be inflated, which is often the easiest option. Others will need to be bolted to the wall, which will require the use of a screwdriver and a cable detector. Please, please, please: use that last one. Don’t go drilling into walls that may hide an electric shock. 

If you’re setting up a theater room, you’ll have seats spread across a wide area and you’ll want to get the same picture everywhere. If you’re getting a screen for a theater room, you may want to dip below 1.0 screen gain - gain is explained below). Some grey screens claim a 0.8 measurement, which would help in wider rooms. (All our screens here have a gain of 1:1 - they should all still be useable in most situations).

However, if you’re setting up a conference room, or putting a projector in your living room, getting a higher-gain screen means you’ll be able to project with some lights on or when the sun is out. In general, a high gain is more helpful in a wider range of environments while a low gain is better at accurate color recreation and producing wide viewing angles.

Projector Screen

Gain And Aspect Ratio Explained

Gain is a measurement of light reflected off the screen to the optimal viewing angle (the “Zero Degrees Viewing Axis”). A screen gain of 1.0 is equivalent to the light reflected off “a standard white (magnesium oxide) board,” according to Projector Central. So a higher screen gain means you’ll get a brighter image. But that can come with some downsides. That “Zero Degrees Viewing Axis” is just one point in a room.

Aspect ratio refers to the shape of the projected image, measured in various sizes.16:9 and 4:3 are common, but there are various options. Although 16:9 has stormed standalone TVs, some movie aficionados prefer 2.35:1. However, the HD standard (and the upcoming Blu-ray Ultra High-Definition standard) are for 16:9. If all your media is 16:9, you’ll want to get a screen to match to maximize your screen real estate. Also consider that larger screen need more support, with many large screens coming in at 35 pounds or more.
 

Do I Need A Motorized Option?

You may have bought a projector because it takes up less space than a TV, so you’d want a screen that hides away too. Or you might be decking out a media room and want a more permanent solution. Above we even suggest portable options that can be taken outside for backyard viewings. If you want something that can be hidden away, consider a ceiling-mounted screen. They can even be pulled down at the push of a button if you opt for a motorized version. However, if you’re setting up a Hollywood theater, get something a little more permanent—these screens are optimized to be perfectly flat and can be attached directly to your wall, mitigating any concerns about the screens getting damaged via wear-and tear.

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