Top Picks Projectors

< $1,999
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 LCD Projector, $850
The PowerLite 2045 is a godsend for anyone who wants to get into the video projection game without having to drop a fortune. For less than a grand, you get a super bright, accurate image from a projector that is not only shockingly small but supports wireless streaming from WiDi-compatible Android phones and Windows laptops. As reviewer Kris Deering noted, the Epson delivers serious bang for the buck and is a great projector for all-around family use. (May 2016, Read Full Review)
ViewSonic LightStream Pro7827HD 3D DLP Projector, $890
Okay, ViewSonic’s Pro7827HD is not perfect nor should you expect it to be for 900 bucks ($800 with online discounts). What it does bring to the table is excellent brightness, compatibility with Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, a remote control, and—get this—ISF certification with Day and Night modes. Who’d a thought you’d get ISF at this price? Here’s how video guru Al Griffin summed up his experience: “In the end I found myself surprised by how well the Pro7827HD performed. It delivered ample brightness, decent contrast, and good detail.” (September 2016, Read Full Review)
BenQ HT4050 3D DLP Projector, $1,399
At $1,399, you’ll have a better chance of finding Waldo than another projector that equals the HT4050’s package of color accuracy, image clarity, and overall fidelity. High-grade optics provide edge-to-edge sharpness and precision calibration controls and ISF modes are guaranteed to wow enthusiasts. Summing up, reviewer Michael Hamilton wrote: “The BenQ HT4050 provides a stable platform of stellar performance for novice users as well as for experienced hobbyists.” (April 2016, Read Full Review)
Epson 5030UBe 3D LCD: $2,899
The 5030Ube offers several enhancements over its predecessor, the 5020Ube: Contrast has been improved and the projector comes with a wireless HD transmitter offering five HDMI inputs, one of which is MHL-enabled for sharing content from smartphones and adding streaming capability. Reviewer Al Griffin summed things up in a word: Wow. In addition to “series light output” and “impressive 3D depth,” shadows showed plenty of near-black detail. As Al put it: “I didn’t think I’d ever see blacks this deep come from an LCD projector.” (May 2014, Read Full Review)
Mitsubishi HC7800D 3D DLP: $2,995
This Mits will be a tricky install with anything but a ceiling mount, and there were some minor nitpicky issues with the 2D image that reviewer Tom Norton identified. “But when I fed it a quality source,” he wrote, “the Mitsubishi continually surprised me in ways I didn’t expect, and its picture truly floored me more than once. There are other projectors that cost a bit more that offer additional features and somewhat better black levels. But the HC7800D is definitely in the hunt, and I enjoyed every minute I spent with it. For me, that’s Top Pick territory, and highly recommended.” (September 2012,, Read Full Review)
BenQ W7000 3D DLP: $2,999
Although this budget 3D model from BenQ suffers the somewhat weak contrast and less-than-steallar blacks typical of DLP projectors, it makes up for it in good color and excellent brightness, especially on 3D, where it set a high bar for front projection. Reviewer Kris Deering noted that the W7000 “delivered the best 3D experience I’ve had in my home… If you’re seeking out a bright projector with superb 3D performance and sharp images, this is one that should be on your short list. I don’t think you’ll find a better 3D image anywhere near this price.” (August 2012, Read Full Review)
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe 3D LCD: $3,000
The 5020Ube can light up a big room with bright sharp images, which makes it ideal for daytime viewing. What’s more, the projector delivers superior 2D color rendition, crisp resolution, and a full complement of adjustments, all of which led reviewer Tom Norton to dub the Epson a “genuine bargain.” Commenting on picture quality, Norton wrote: “Titanic looked gorgeous in its new 2D Blu-ray transfer, with natural detail and near perfect color, including natural fleshtones.” (June 2013, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X30 3D LCOS: $3,500
This is scheduled for replacement in the coming months by the DLA-X35 at the same price (so check availability and for our review), but for now the DLA-X30 is a staff favorite recommendation for it’s stellar performance (at least in 2D) at a great price. Kris Deering observed its “class-leading black levels” and “outstanding pixel sharpness,” and though he was “disappointed with the 3D performance” thanks to visible ghosting artifacts, “the 2D picture is truly without peer among the immediate competitors we’ve seen.” (May 2012, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D LCOS: $3,700
The VPL-HW30ES, which is being replaced by the VPL-HW50ES, was one of the strongest under-$4k projectors of 2012. Deep blacks (common to LCOS projectors), accurate color, and powerful brightness that lent itself well to 3D were among its great attributes, said reviewer Tom Norton, who gutsily tried it out on a large 101 inch-wide, 2.35 aspect ratio screen. “Frankly,” he wrote “the quality of the Sony’s 2D performance on this large, 1.1-gain screen shocked me.” (December 2011, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X550R 3D D-ILA Projector, $3,999
With four-star ratings across the board, JVC’s DLA-X550R continues the company’s streak of producing high-value projectors that deliver high-contrast images and, in this case, one that accepts 4K Ultra HD and high-dynamic range content. “This is a projector I could get used to living with,” wrote veteran reviewer Al Griffin. “Among its benefits are sufficient brightness to make pictures look good in both dim and dark rooms, satisfying contrast, accurate out-of-box color…and a Multi Pixel Control menu that helps to improve image clarity, particularly with streamed content.” (April 2016, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-HW65ES 3D SXRD Projector, $3,999
Thanks to its dynamic iris, Sony’s 1080p projector beams bright images with great contrast and delivers performance so good on 2D and 3D material that you may not care it’s not 4K. Reviewer Al Griffin put things in perspective: “It used to be you had to pay big bucks for a projector capable of beaming bright enough images that you didn’t feel the need to watch in a completely dark room. But those days are gone. The VPL-HW65ES can deliver ample enough light output that it can be used in a mixed-use room.” (April 2016, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-HW50ES 3D LCOS: $4,000
If you’re looking for a thrilling home theater experience, the VPL-HW50ES could well be your projector. Building on the VPL-W30ES, a 2012 favorite of ours, it offers a series of fine picture adjustments that will delight videophiles and delivers superb color, impeccable video processing, and exceptional black levels and shadow detail. Add to that a remarkably bright picture that will light up the largest of screens, 3D performance that wowed veteran reviewer Tom Norton, and you have a winning projector that offers serious bang for the buck. (, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X55R D-ILA: $4,500
JVC has brought significant improvements to the big screen with the DLA-X55R, resulting in excellent 3D performance and 2D quality that reviewer Kris Deering called “second to none.” Praising its exemplary brightness, shadow detail and deep blacks, he wrote: “I can say without hesitation that this was the best 2D picture I’ve seen from any projector in my room to date.” In addition to providing precise lens control, the X55R has a full color-management system and offers wide range of picture modes so you can dial in the best picture possible. (, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X500R 3D D-ILA, $5,000
The X500R delivers solid bang for the buck with performance that comes very close to models costing thousands more. As veteran video reviewer Tom Norton put it: “The folks at JVC may not like me much for this, but I feel the DLA-X500R is the projector to beat in their current lineup. I can’t think of anything at this price point (and only a few projectors at higher prices) that I’d recommend more for overall performance.” (July/August 2015, Read Full Review)
Digital Projection M-Vision Cine 230-HC: $6,995
Digital Projection’s “budget” projector model is strictly a 2D affair and suffers from the usual caveats attendant to DLP projection, primarily so-so blacks and contrast. But it delivers the DPI hallmark of a bright, bold picture with excellent color and ultra-sharp detail. This projector threw a powerful, addictive image on reviewer Tom Norton’s 101-inch wide 2.35 aspect ratio, 1.1 gain screen. “I ransacked my Blu-ray collection looking for all the titles that would profit from a really good big-screen presentation,” he wrote, “and a few that I wanted to watch just because I could.” (November 2011, Read Full Review)
JVC Procision DLA-X750R 3D D-ILA Projector: $7,000
With nearly twice the brightness of its predecessor (the DLA-X700R), big improvements to 3D and 4K playback, and a healthy dose of UHD future-proofing, the DLA-X750R represents a significant upgrade. Granted, it’s not a true 4K projector but it supports HDR10 high dynamic range and is capable of stunning performance. As reviewer Kris Deering put it, “Nearly every area of performance has taken a big step forward. If you want to make the most of the content we have now and what is promised shortly, I can’t think of a better projector on the market today.” (June 2016, Read Full Review)
Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema LS10000 3D LCD Projector, $8,000
The technologically advanced LS10000 puts up images with excellent blacks, contrast, and color in addition to delivering the stability and long life of lampless, laser-driven projection. (November 2015, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X700R 3D LCOS, $8,000
The DLA-X700R may look like its predecessor, the DLA-X75R, but inside everything is new, including a dynamic iris system that produces jaw-dropping black levels and shadow detail without the brightness compression you get with other projectors. As reviewer Kris Deering put it: “The new Intelligent Aperture takes the projector’s contrast to a place I’ve never seen from any display, short of OLED or Dolby’s infinite black prototype LED panel.” Beyond the stellar black-level performance, the X700R also delivers an extremely sharp picture. (June 2014, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D LCOS: $8,000
Reviewer Kris Deering found a few nitpicks with his sample’s focus and contrast, but they were just that — nitpicks that wouldn’t be noticed or bother most viewers. On the other side, the VPL-VW95ES’s default calibration was “second to none, and Sony’s outstanding dynamic iris implementation and built-in 3D emitter make this one of the best projector experiences I’ve had right out of the box.” (March 2012, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X70R 3D LCOS: $8,000
Set for replacement in late 2012 by the DLA-X75 at the same price with enhanced e-Shift2 4K upscaling; watch for availability and our review. The X70, while it remains available, was the first to feature e-Shift, which uses an interpolation method to deliver twice as many pixels to the screen (with 1080p content) as a standard 1080p projector. Regardless, reviewer Tom Norton noted its “superb black level and shadow detail,” and accurate 2D color. “The DLA-X70R is ready to compete with anything else out there at a similar price—let’s make that double the price,” he wrote. (April 2012, Read Full Review)
$10,000 >
Sony VPL-VW350ES 4K LCOS, $10,000
If you’re intent on having a massive screen with no worries about being able to detect individual pixels, a 4K/Ultra HD projector should be high on your list. The VPL-VW350ES is exceptionally quiet, loaded with useful features like power focus, and delivers a bright, beautiful picture—even with upscaled 1080p material. Reviewer Al Griffin concluded: “At $5,000 less than Sony’s next-least-expensive 4K projector, the VPL-VW350ES is a seriously good value. Properly set up, it delivers a stunning picture, with accurate color, good contrast.” (May 2015, Read Full Review)
Runco QuantumColor Q-650i LED DLP: $10,000
Runco’s Q-650i was the first projector we tested with an LED light engine, which requires no lamp replacement and remains stable for the life of the projector, and it remains one of the most affordable of its type. As with many DLP projectors, reviewer Tom Norton found it lacked the last word in black level and shadow detail compared to its LCOS competitors, and like other LED-driven projectors, it can’t achieve the brightness of a good lamp-based projector. Nor does it offer 3D playback. Still, it’s color and detail were second to none, and if you like the idea of a maintenance-free projector, this is a recommendable option. (May 2012, Read Full Review)
JVC DLA-X95R D-ILA: $12,000
As you move up through JVC’s projector line performance goes from “spectacular” with the $4,500 DLA-X55R) until you reach the summit where the flagship X95R resides. Noting that the X95R represents the best value in the over $10,000 projector club, reviewer Kris Deering said it delivers the “best contrast performance I’ve seen or measured to date” and raved about its “spectacular pixel focus and uniformity.” If you’re in the market for a topnotch projector, this one is well worthy of consideration—and its covered by a three-year warranty. (, Read Full Review)
Digital Projection M-Vision Cine LED DLP: $13,995
A long-lasting light source—as in 60,000 hours long—is just one of the benefits of LED illumination over a conventional lamp. The LEDs used in the M-Vision Cine LED consume less power and their light output and color won’t change over time. And although light output is such that you’ll want a darkened room, this projector delivers impeccable detail, rich yet natural color, lifelike shadow detail, and flawless video processing, proving that LED illumination is, indeed, a viable alternative to traditional lamps. (April 2010, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW600ES 4K 3D LCOS, $15,000
With its compelling reproduction of smooth detail, fine color, and impressive brightness with 2D content, the VPL-VW600ES offers a tantalizing taste of 4K/Ultra HD at a price that is considerably less than it’s predecessor. Projector maven Tom Norton was impressed with its performance: “I had no complaints whatsoever about the VPL-VW600ES’s resolution, 2D brightness, or color. The best Blu-rays in my collection looked as good as I’ve ever seen them—or better.” And native 4K material looked clean, smooth and, in a word, “spectacular.” (May 2014, Read Full Review)
Sony VPL-VW1000ES 4K 3D LCOS: $25,000
A one-of-a-kind discrete 4K-resolution projector for the consumer market, it’s ahead of its time in our world of 1080p/2K-resolution content. But with good quality Blu-ray transfers upscaled with the projector’s own built-in processing, the VPL-VW1000ES produced perhaps the best, brightest, and most silky and film-like 2D images we’ve ever seen in a home theater. Even standing just a foot away from our 118-inch wide test screen, it was virtually impossible to see any pixel structure in the image. On 3D…not so good, where it (surprisingly) lacked suitable brightness without the use of a separate high-gain screen. But if you’re going big, big, big with your screen size and plan to sit close, this is the projector for you. (February 2012, Read Full Review; April 2012, 3D Performance Addendum)
Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K 3D LCOS, $27,999
Prepare to enter into a world of cinematic nirvana with the VPL-VW1100ES, a flagship projector in every sense—from its second-to-none lens to the phenomenally accurate 4K image it projects. Reviewer Kris Deering, wrote: “I was absolutely taken aback by its ease of operation, bright and punchy image, and stunning clarity…If you want the best of what is offered in front projection today and are fortunate enough to be able to afford the price of entry, this one should definitely be on your shopping list. Highly recommended.” (December 2014, Read Full Review)
Digital Projection HighLite Cine 260 HC DLP: $29,995
This 2D projector, rated for an uber-bright light output of 2,000 lumens, features a 3-chip DLP design that eliminates the color-wheel required with single-chip DLPs and delivers better color fidelity along with the elimination of so-called “rainbow” artifacts endemic to those projectors. For average size theater screens, there are less costly options out there that offer better blacks and 3D capability, but for really big screen installations, Tom Norton found “the Digital Projection HIGHlite Cine 260 HC’s strengths—brightness, resolution, color, and an off-the-charts wow factor—are so good that it would be churlish to give it anything less than a strong recommendation and a Top Pick.” (April 2011, Read Full Review)

johnny_y_mac's picture

Any thoughts on the X2000, 3000, or 4000?

HALO's picture

I spent a few thousand this year upgrading my home AV system. I bought the Denon AVR-S700W. So so happy, until the blue-tooth function died. No worries, I just bought a new I-pad too, so the AirPlay saved the day. THen the display died. OK, no worries, long as I can get my audio and video through. Then Wi-Fi connectivity died, so I can't use AirPlay. All this in less than six months. So so unhappy, especially since I learned that Denon's customer support is pretty much worthless, though still under warranty. I do not have time to figure out stuff on my own, so I am reaching out for a little help in what brand to trust for replacing this Denon POS. Not a rich guy, but willing to spend the bucks to get my music back. FYI, I mostly play music from my selection stored on I-Cloud in conjunction with I-Tunes. I really like the AirPlay streaming function. What I ned is kproduct reliability and decent support. What to buy?? HELP!!!

Julie Matz's picture
saadbaba's picture
best av receiver under 1000's picture

I personally have owned the NAD T 787: $4,000 and it is just not up to scratch. I would recommend something much cheaper. I found an AV Receiver Under $1000 and it was so much better than its $4000 counterpart. I bought the number 5 on that articles list from Yamaha and I would recommend it to anyone looking to buy an AV Receiver!

best av receiver under 1000's picture

Sorry, forgot to add link, here it is: