The Best Gaming Projectors 2020: Guide & Reviews

Gaming projectors are all about having fun. You won’t win any major tournaments on them, but you aren’t supposed to. What you will have is loads of fun on the biggest screen possible.

And, with the advancements in technology, many of the features needed for comfortable gaming are available in consumer projectors. Issues like resolution and response time are now mostly resolved and at least similar to what you might expect on a TV or monitor.

Additionally, some aspects are better by default, like the refresh rate and response time. Because the picture is not being formed by diodes but rather blasted through a very powerful lamp, visual artifacts and tearing are technically impossible.

Finally, good gaming projectors in 2020 need to be good projectors in general. You want to have the appropriate lighting and picture quality that can do justice to modern games.

Game developers are often cited saying how they want their games to be ‘cinematic’. For most, this is a cop-out. But, there are some games where this is completely true and where the beauty of the game only comes out once it is on the big screen.

And that is where a gaming projector comes in. There is no better way to become completely immersed when playing story games or RPGs than when you have 100 or more inches of screen.

There are some drawbacks, and you might need to modify your gaming environment a bit to get the most out of the setup. But, if you are willing to go the extra mile you can have tons of fun, either with friends or all to yourself.

What is the Best Gaming Projector 2020?

ProductRefresh RateConnectivityOur Rating
Artlii 2020120HzHDMI4.6
Optoma UHD30240HzHDMI4.8
BenQ TH685120HzHDMI4.7
Optoma HD28HDR120HzHDMI4.6
ZCGIOBN 2020120HzHDMI4.6
QKK (2020 Upgrade 4200Lux)60HzHDMI/WiFi4.4
Anker Nebula Capsule Max120HzHDMI/WiFi4.5

Artlii 2020

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 5500 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 200 Inches
  • Max Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Response Time: ~5ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI

Although this projector lacks some advanced features, it is still a great product for gamers to use instead of a monitor or TV screen.

The maximum resolution is solid at 1080p and will show most games how they were meant to be played. But, while the size of the projection can be enlarged up to 200 inches, the picture will start getting blurry and lose some of its quality.

Ideally, you will want to keep your image to a 120’’ diagonal. This should be more than enough for most game rooms, as with this resolution you should keep at least double the distance from the image than its diagonal length.

The refresh rate and response time are very good and comparable to some of the best gaming monitors. As is expected from gaming projectors, there are no tears or visual artifacts seen on the screen.

Combined with good picture quality, the responsiveness makes this HD projector for gaming a frontrunner, as well as a reasonable choice.

Finally, the input lag is relatively low. You will notice some delay in really fast-pace games and puzzles if you are playing over 150fps, but this issue will largely remain unnoticeable.

Pros

  • Solid refresh rate
  • Low response time
  • Very strong lighting
  • Good cooling options

Cons

  • Low color dynamics
  • Visible difference between screen and wall

Our Rating: 4.6/5

Optoma UHD30

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 3400 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 120 Inches
  • Max Resolution: UHD – 4K
  • Refresh Rate: 240Hz
  • Response Time: 5ms (up to 23ms with IL)
  • Connectivity: HDMI

This is not only a great projector on its own but one of the few 4K projectors that are viable for gaming. It is fast and responsive, as well as easy to configure. The ease of use makes it one of the best 4K projectors for gaming, as well as projectors in general.

The lenses are very good and produce a sharp and vibrant image. This quality does drop if you try to project over the recommended 120 inches but is still adequate up to 180 inches if you need that size.

The refresh rate on the Optoma is very high, standing firmly at 240Hz. This is the rate of the majority of professional-grade gaming monitors, so it will be more than enough for as many FPS as your GPU can muster.

Added power on both the lights and the cooling system makes the picture quality and responsiveness equal to something we would see on the best short throw projector. But, those models are both harder to set up and much less affordable.

Finally, the input lag is severely reduced compared to other projectors. The response time and input lag combined average between 16ms and 23ms depending on the resolution, which is lower than most consumer TV sets.

Pros

  • Excellent refresh rate
  • Reduced response time and input lag
  • Very good resolution
  • Solid color contrast

Cons

  • Relatively low lamp lifespan
  • Short focal range

Our Rating: 4.8/5

BenQ TH685

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 3500 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 100 Inches
  • Max Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Response Time: 9ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI

The new BenQ projector is a serious improvement on their older model, at least when it comes to gaming. It is faster and has improved picture quality, albeit at a slight expense to the lifespan of the components.

Theoretically, this projector can offer a 4K image. But, you will need to sacrifice both the quick response time and color quality for such a thing. Generally, increasing the number of pixels will make this projector not viable for gaming.

But, on 1080p, which is the resolution most gamers play, you will get an excellent picture with advanced features like HDR.

Finally, the reduced latency will come in handy when playing FPS games and anything fast-paced.

Pros

  • Solid refresh rate
  • Reduced response time
  • Good color dynamics
  • Excellent compatibility with consoles

Cons

  • Relatively low max size
  • Relatively low lamp lifespan

Our Rating: 4.7/5

Optoma HD28HDR

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 4000 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 180 Inches
  • Max Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Response Time: 9ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI

This ‘smaller’ Optoma projector might have a lower resolution than its bigger counterpart, but when it comes to gaming it is just as good. As most people don’t play games in 4K due to the GPU requirement, this might be an optimal choice for them.

The refresh rate holds at a steady 120Hz, which is very good and more than enough for any type of high-quality gaming.

Additionally, the colors are bright and sharp, making everything you are supposed to see clear. Combined with low response time, it truly is a pleasure to game with this.

All of this comes with a small sacrifice of lamp strength. You will want to darken your room if you want to see all the details. The lamp lifetime is also lower than average, but it should last at least 4 years. 

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Reduced response time
  • Low input lag
  • Good color dynamic

Cons

  • Relatively low lamp lifespan
  • Sometimes pulls 4K to produce 1080p

Our Rating: 4.6/5

ZCGIOBN 2020

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 5500 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 130 Inches
  • Max Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Response Time: 10ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI

Although it might seem like a ‘budget option’, the ZCGIOBN projector has several features that make it a great choice when it comes to casual gaming. It has a sharp and crisp image and a lamp that is both durable and powerful.

This model is a strong contender to be the best mini projector for gaming, but is slightly over the price range to be considered the best cheap gaming projector.

Additionally, there is a strong cooling system in place to support both the fast response time and the powerful 5500 lux bulb. 

This does make the fan audible, especially after prolonged use. But this noise is no louder than a PC cooling fan and won’t be noticeable during a game. If you have surround sound speakers, you won’t even notice this fact.

Finally, the in-built system allows for plug-n-play connection between the projectors and all gaming devices. The picture will automatically set to your console or computer’s native settings without the need for you to tinker with the system.

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Sold response time
  • Good connectivity options
  • A very good image in medium-lit conditions

Cons

  • Noisy cooler
  • Limited focal range

Our Rating: 4.6/5

QKK (2020 Upgrade 4200Lux)

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: 4200 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 160 Inches
  • Max Resolution: 720p
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Response Time: 10ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI/WiFi

This little device is something newcomers to the world of gaming projectors will not want to miss. It might not have the power of the bigger models, but it is a great way to test if this type of gaming is something you would want.

This model is a strong contender to be labeled the best budget gaming projector, and is definitely a good choice if you are looking for the best gaming projector under $200.

While it supports Full HD resolution, the picture quality deteriorates and you should stay at 720p for a comfortable view. This might not be enough to fully enjoy some newer titles, but if you are a fan of classic console games it will be just up your alley.

It is easy to connect and has a solid response time and refresh rate. And with a projection image size of up to 160 inches, you will quickly start enjoying playing on the really big screen.

Finally, this projector is portable and can be carried along with you. This means that you can even enjoy mobile gaming on a large screen, away from your house.

Pros

  • Acceptable refresh rate
  • Okay response time & input lag
  • Small and portable

Cons

  • Relatively low resolution
  • Average picture quality

Our Rating: 4.4/5

Anker Nebula Capsule Max

  • Lighting Type: LED
  • Lumens: ~2000 LUX
  • Max Diagonal: 100 Inches
  • Max Resolution: UHD – 4K
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Response Time: 9ms
  • Connectivity: HDMI/WiFi

If you like the idea of portable gaming and want to turn your camping trip into a gaming and movie night, the Anker Nebula capsule might be a good choice. If you are looking for the best gaming projector under $500, then you will need to consider this one.

The main advantage of this device is its portability, as you can have up to four hours of undisturbed gaming before you need to recharge the battery. And, it can fit in most pockets as it is the size of a soda can.

If these features are enough to make the Nebula Capsule the best portable gaming projector for your needs, that is yet another benefit. And even if the chassis is too large for your pocket, it will fit into any bag.

The resolution and light capacity is somewhat reduced. You can only play in 720p, which is not ideal for newer titles, and you will need as little light pollution as possible to keep the image sharp.

But, the refresh rate and response time are very good. Even if you are playing mobile games over WiFi, you won’t experience uncomfortable amounts of lag.

Pros

  • Good refresh rate
  • Reduced response time
  • Good connectivity options
  • Very portable

Cons

  • Low resolution
  • Low lamp power

Our Rating: 4.5/5

Quick Buyer’s Guide for Gaming Projectors

The only reason why buying gaming projectors is harder than finding the right monitor is familiarity. Most people have contact with monitors every day and know what to expect when it comes to gaming on them.

With projectors, there is a good chance that you have only witnessed a few being used for gaming purposes. Because of this, you will need to know some of the technical terms and how they apply in real life.

One of the most common issues is the illumination coming from the projector. You won’t always know how visible the projection will be depending on the ambient light. Also, different types of screens can be used to get different results.

In the end, you want something that will be more than just a gimmick to entertain your friends. A good gaming projector should be useful and viable for gaming, even when you have other options.

Multi-Platform Setup

The biggest advantage of a projector is that it can seamlessly use different gaming platforms, all from the single screen. Because the whole setup will be placed behind you, you can attach a gaming PC and all types of consoles, and simply change the source when you need to.

Similarly, the peripherals can also be adjusted to your liking. Because of the size of the screen and the fact that it is not shining on its own, you can be much closer relative to the diagonal of the image. 

This allows you to have a table and use mouse and keyboard as well as wheels, joysticks, pads, and any other type of controller that you please. This versatility is probably the most welcomed feature on gaming projectors.

Common Sense Light Saturation

The best way to assess if there is too much light in the room is to use your common sense. Each human perceives light differently and only you can know how well or badly lit your room is.

In the case of a gaming projector, less is more, meaning that you want as little light to be in the room as possible. And, that isn’t only referred to the light coming into the room or from artificial light, but reflection as well.

If you have your walls painted with pearl white, the rays from the projector will start washing out as it reflects from the walls and back to the screen and your eyes. Some screens can stop this, but they usually cost a pretty penny.

Thankfully, most modern devices can dish out quite a lot of lumens and even be visible in the daytime. But, stronger lamps are more expensive and come with other issues, making it much better to adapt to the room.

How Many Lumens Do You Need?

Lumens are a bit tricky because not all lamps will show the same result with the same amount of lumens. Across the board, having more is always better. But, laser projectors will do more with less because the rays are more concentrated.

If you can make your room very dark, with no ambient light coming from outside or other devices, having 1000 lumens will make the screen very visible and the colors on it true.

Stronger projectors, like those which have 2500 lumens or more can be comfortably played in shaded rooms or outside at night. Light pollution and few artificial sources won’t damage the clarity and still make it very visible on most surfaces.

At the top end, you have ranges of 5000 lumens or more. These devices will be able to project images during the day, provided that there is no direct light coming into the room. Even with constant dimmed lights, you will be able to see everything.

Finally, there are short-cast laser projectors that can be visible even in generally bright conditions. Regretfully, because the input lag on these projectors is abysmal, they can’t be considered gaming projectors, but rather something high-end for the cinema enthusiasts.

How Much Space Do You Need for a Gaming Projector?

When it comes to the diagonal of the picture and the resolution, projectors are very different than any monitor or TV. For one, making the picture larger is very easy, as all you need to do is to move the projector back, even if you don’t have a wider lens.

There are limits at which the focal length is off, but most projectors will easily go to 120 inches.

But, when it comes to the resolution, the issue is the opposite. Because so many pixels need to be filtered inside a very small projector box, it is very hard to put larger resolutions into a commercial projector.

Most devices that have gaming capabilities will be locked at 1080p or Full HD, with only the newest and best might go to 2K and 4K. And, even then it is a question of the chip if those pixels will be as visible as on a regular backlit screen.

There is an inherent benefit to this as well. Namely, because the projector will show black as the absence of light, the contrast for projectors is usually much better than on any regular monitor. This is especially true if you are using a dedicated screen.

How to Deal with Light Pollution?

If you want to use a projector for your gaming, you will always need to consider light pollution. The source of this pollution can be the ambient itself, especially if you are living in a big city, but can be other things as well.

Generally, something small, like a smartphone’s light, won’t affect the quality of the picture to a significant degree. But, if you have monitors, TVs, or multiple devices lighting up at the same time, this can change how well you will see the picture.

Finally, there is reflected light as well. This is why most cinema rooms have black walls, as even a small light can be reflected multiple times and ruin the experience. A high-lumen projector might solve this, but it is always something to consider.

Are All Projectors Good for Gaming?

The best projectors in general won’t always be the best gaming projectors. Aside from the device’s ability to cast a good picture to your wall or screen, you will also want something that will react to your games nicely.

There is no such thing as the best projector for gaming and movies. At least, if you find a product that can do both it will cost much more than two specialized projectors that will offer the same result.

Some genres, especially Grand Strategies and turn-based games won’t be as needy as some others. Regardless, you may not want to lower your gaming capabilities just because of a bad choice of projector.

Generally, there are three main things to consider when buying a gaming projector. The refresh rate, connectivity, and especially input lag are the things that separate just good projectors from those suitable for gaming.

Other aspects, like the focal length and sharpness, are situational and might impact the experience of some players. But, in general, all good projectors have these things adjustable and you should be able to change these features to suit your needs.

Refresh Rate

Because it is easier to cool down diodes in a projector than a monitor, there are quite a lot of good devices when it comes to refresh rate. Projectors going all the way up to 240Hz are generally affordable and are not hard to find.

But, this aspect will depend on the type of lamp used and the size of the projector itself. Older, incandescent bulbs tend to get hotter over time and lose some of their RR, while the new LED sources cool and turn much faster.

Because of this aspect, it is better to make a permanent gaming rig with a large projector than to use something smaller. Portable devices are still viable as many can pass 60Hz easily, but they won’t give those top results.

Connectivity

Connecting a projector to any device is a simple matter. But, some modern devices don’t have good connectivity for gaming, as they were made with wireless controls in mind.

Gaming projectors need to have at least an HDMI slot, with multiple slots giving you the option to connect more gaming devices. Some were made for gaming and have a Display Port, but these models are still relatively rare.

Connecting your PC or console in any other way, such as with Bluetooth or WiFi, will exponentially increase input lag and response time, both detrimental when it comes to gaming.

Input Lag

This lag is the only reason why projectors aren’t used universally for gaming. Even the best gaming projector will have a bigger input lag than a TV, and they can’t compare to a monitor.

Additionally, this lag increases the further you place your projector from the surface it is projecting on to.

The culprit is not the technology, but physics and biology. Your eyes will see every ray that hits them and confuse you about what is on the screen. Because of this, it will seem like the controls are less responsive than they actually are.

Generally, you should expect input lag of at least 20ms on the best gaming projectors, going up to 60ms in some lower-end models.

This is not so much that it is unbearable, and it might even be unnoticeable for certain genres. But, when it comes to professional gaming and tournaments, this lag might cost you an edge you would otherwise have with a good gaming monitor.

What Can You Expect to Find?

There are good models out there and we are seeing a visible improvement every year. You should be focusing on finding something that is viable for as many of the games you play, as well as some titles that might come out in the future.

But, you shouldn’t be focused on top-level results. Gaming on a projector is meant to be fun and to give more immersion to you and your friends. You should look forward to your gaming experience as a whole and not any online tournament won by ease.

Finally, you should invest in some good speakers that will accompany the huge screen. By combining the two, you can get a cinematic gaming experience right in your home.

Conclusion

Gaming projectors might not be the go-to for the top pro player that games for a living, but, for everybody else, they are a lot of fun and the best way to game on a huge screen.

For a long time, the main reason why projectors weren’t a viable option was the price and the low max resolution. But now both of those issues have been resolved, allowing everyone to game on screens over 100 inches.

Finally, even though some games will look nicer when gaming like this than others, every game will provide all the players with a great experience.