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Best projector screens - make your projected games and movies shine

Best projector screen
(Image credit: Elite Screens)

The best projector screen is something a lot of folks overlook - when talking about projectors, it's often the case that a white wall will do. Which is true. I used one for years. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I liked having the wall space there when the projector was off. 

However, adding the best projector screen to the setup changes things straight away: the pictures are clearer, sharper, more vibrant. The contrast is better. It reflects more light, so it is easier to watch when there is ambient sunlight outside.  And while I'll still find myself saying that a white wall will do the job, I’d have to be incredibly stubborn to not say that there’s a big difference between doing a job fine and doing it brilliantly.  

Simply put the best projector screen is the best companion for the best projectors. Clear enough? They really are the easiest way to get the most out of your projector. Plus, if you’re dropping serious money on a contender for best 4K projector, or best projector for PS5 then you probably already know that won’t get the perfect picture if you’re projecting on a wall - it’s not designed to reflect everything and will always have a few bumps, no matter perfectly plastered or painted it is. And if you’re picking up a budget projector, a screen will reflect more light and give extra colour contrast – ensuring you get the most out of it and maybe hiding some of its limitations.

You don’t have to break the bank on your screen, as there are great options to suit every budget. There are a few practical things to look out for, however. First is calculating the image size: you can do this before you buy a projector and screen by checking the unit’s throw ratio and multiplying it by how far away from the projection surface you’ll be placing it. Or of course, you can get the projector in place first and simply measure the image size to make sure. Crucially, ensure you’re certain whether the screen size is given as diagonal or horizontal size.  Most TVs state this as diagonal, but for some reason screen sizes flip between the two in projector listings and it can catch you out if you’re not careful (speaking from a bit of personal experience!).

You’ll also need to consider the aspect ratio; although 16:9 is very much the standard for projectors and screens, so that’s what we’re covering here. However, 2.35:1 is an option for super widescreen formats, and 4:3 is more of a business presentation and TV format. Gain is the amount of light reflected off the screen from the best viewing angle, so a gain of 1.0 reflects back 100% of the light shined onto it, while 0.8 will reflect back 80%, and 1.2 gain will reflect 120% brightness and so on.  But be aware that higher gain screens will have a narrower optimum viewing angle.

Remember, with the summer just around the corner, it's prime time to also check out the best outdoor projector screens, as well as the best outdoor projectors and best portable projectors. And with that, here's our take on the best projector screens going.

The best projector screens 2021

Best projector screen: Elite Screens Sable Frame B2

(Image credit: Elite Screens)

Elite Screens Sable Frame B2

The best projector screen

Gain: 1.1 | Weight: 29lb (13.1kg) | Viewing angle: 180

Solid build
Installation kit included
Installation can be tricky
Permanent logo on frame

Elite Screens tend to live up to their name, offering the best projector screens going - across the price spectrum.

The Sable Frame B2 is a really solid frame, which is permanently in place. The black velvet frame around the edge not only helps to absorb any projector overshoot and increase picture contrast but helps it to look a little less industrial and stark than the bare black metal frame. And of course, it stops any light hitting it from the projector being reflected back at you.

Everything is included for set up, including anchors for the wall and screws.  Installation is more complicated than the manufacturers claim, however, and is definitely a two-person job taking a couple of hours, but the advantage of a fixed screen is you really only have to do this once. The springs around the edge of the frame help to stretch out the material to keep it taught. A minor quibble is that the logo on the bottom right is not removable, although since it’s quite rare to see a bit of kit without a brand logo (and black material or even gaffa tape to go over it is readily available if it’s really annoying you) it’s hardly a dealbreaker.

This is a great fixed screen that will help you get the best from your projector, from a brand that delivers the elite quality it promises.

Best projector screens: Homegear Electric Motorised Projector Screen

(Image credit: Homegear)

Homegear Electric Motorised Projector Screen

A great, affordable motorised screen

Gain: 1.3 | Weight: 22lb (10kg) | Viewing angle: 160

Great value
Remote control included
Folds away simply and is non-obtrusive
Office-chic look
Requires power supply

As someone who has precariously installed a pull-down screen and is afraid to try to make it retract in case the force pulls it away from the wall, I am very aware of the appeal of a motorized solution and option in the search for the best projector screen. No need to pull down, just hit the remote and wait for it to drop down while the projector loads. 

This is a good value motorized screen with a solid black border and backing to aid image contrast and brightness, with good gain levels and viewing angle. It’s got a thick layer of black PVC at the back, with crease-resistant terylene and matt white PVC on top for the image. It is a slight drop off from the most expensive projector screens, but one which you’d have to nitpick to really notice. The remote does feel budget, but this isn’t a problem when you’re just using it twice per watch: at the beginning and end. 

On the downside, it’ll need to be connected up to a power supply which does slightly take away from the idea of a screen being unobtrusive when it’s folded away and not in use. It also suffers from a frequent problem with projector hardware: looking slightly uninspiring and sterile: more office PowerPoint than comfortable home cinema. But with the lights out and a good film on, you won’t notice this, just the great picture on the screen.

Best projector screens: VANKYO StayTrue Projector Screen

(Image credit: Vankyo)

VANKYO StayTrue Projector Screen

Great budget screen with added portability

Gain: 1.1 | Weight: | Viewing angle: 160

Portability and outdoor use too
Supports back projection
Great for occasional usage
Needs dark environment
Connections on side

This is a great budget option for those who might want to take the projector into the garden for outdoor cinema, but don’t want to shell out for two screens. You can set this up inside or out and enjoy your favourite films or games gathered in the living room or outside (and there’s a great range of outdoor projectors available if you’re thinking of taking this further afield). The picture quality is good and you’d need to be a real videophile to spot big differences between this and more expensive surfaces, although if you’re using a top-end 4K projector you’re probably going to be spending more than this on the best projector screen for your setup. It’s more than good for casual viewing, however.

It supports back projection, which can be good for outside cinema-style viewing after dark, but this does mean that it lacks a black backing that blocks out light from behind. That means it really does need a dark environment to get the best out of it, especially when outside. You can buy specific material separately to attach to the back of screens to reduce this if you want, though.

The Vankyo StayTrue isn't the most elegant unit, with the bungee cords connecting the outer frame to the screen. The lack of wall fixings means it’s more for those who have the projector as a novelty for big matches or movie night rather than a main everyday media source. But if you do want something for occasional use and don’t want to shell out for something which isn’t getting constant use then this more than fits the bill. Plus the ease and speed of set up, especially once you’ve done it a couple of times, means you can have the luxury of big-screen viewing without needing to have a permanent screen fixed to your wall.

Best projector screens: Stewart Filmscreen Cima Neve White Projector Screen

(Image credit: Stewart)

Stewart Filmscreen Cima Neve White Projector Screen

Boutique excellence for the cinephile

Gain: 1.1 | Weight: 60 lb (27.21kg) | Viewing angle: Unspecified but all angles catered for

 Options to reject ambient light
Amazing picture quality
Very pricey

If you’re dropping serious money on the best projector screen you enter the realms of the boutique. Stewart Filmscreen is a maker of excellent high-end screens which are clearly for the full-on home cinema room, with a top-of-the-line projector. While we’re looking at the Cima FF Neve White, once you are into this kind of territory you are at the point of discussing options with the company and selecting the size and material which works for you.

Neve White refers to the material of the surface, which is the option for when the room lighting can be controlled.  For rooms with some ambient light, the Tiburon G4 variant is recommended, which rejects 40% of ambient light. The Neve White can be ordered with optional sound transparency perforation to ensure the screen doesn’t alter the sound of your presumably expensive and crystal clear audio system.

The surround of the screen has an adjustable snap attachment system and a 2.5-inch frame covered in Velux to help the contrast of the screen and prevent reflection.  

Which is a lot of technical specifications to get to the key point: it looks stunning. It won’t make a $200 projector look like 4K, but it will make 4K look unbelievable. There is a minor niggle that 3D doesn’t look so good on it, but that will only be a concern for a minority who regularly watch 3D. It’s a high price tag but you’re paying for the best.

Note: This is a US-market projector screen only at this time, and is hard to find in the UK, and elsewhere.

Best projector screen: Elite Screens Manual B Projector Screen

(Image credit: Elite Screens)

Elite Screens Manual B Projector Screen

Best value pulldown projector screen

Gain: 1.0 | Weight: 15lb (6.8kg) | Viewing angle: 180

Simple to use
Low price means good value
Not good for extreme short throw

If you just want a low-fuss pull-down projector screen from a reliable manufacturer, this is your option. Especially if the price is a factor; it’s great value. This is one of the top reviewed contenders for best projector screen, in this price range, on Amazon with thousands giving it five stars – and that goes a long way to telling you how happy people are with it. The material of the casing is a little thin, which helps with the price, but also means it’s lightweight. If you’ve got any concerns about your wall supporting a heavy projector screen this could be a good way to go. It’s a simple unit – no bells and whistles, just a good quality screen at a reasonable price.

There is an issue with short-throw projectors: there may be slight ripples or creases from when it moves into the housing which won’t be notable from a standard throw projector but very short throw projectors will reveal. However, since most of the extremely short throw projectors are at high price points, you’re more likely to be looking at a pricier screen to compliment it. Some users have reported adding small weights to the bar to stretch out any minor blemishes, which is great if your wall can support it!

Note: This is a US-market projector screen only at this time, and is hard to find in the UK, and elsewhere.


Remember if you do prefer your screens for the interior and TV-shaped then check out our guides to the best gaming TVs, best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X, best 120Hz 4K TV, and best OLED TV, and best QLED TV too.