Whether you’re a cinephile, sports addict, gamer extraordinaire or just want to optimize your home viewing and gaming experience, one of the most important moves you can make is installing a high-quality projector. The difference between a middling TV and stereo and a projector is the difference between squinting at a 10-inch black and white TV with fuzzy reception and experiencing Star Wars as though you’re making the Death Star trench run yourself.
Before we go any further, let’s lay out some of the tangible benefits of opting for quiet projectors such as these. After all, how can you evaluate which projectors are best if you don’t know what you’re looking for?
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Quiet Projectors Buying Guide
The Authentic Cinematic Experience and Other Benefits
One of the main benefits of using a projector is being able to view a film as you would in the theatre. Whether you thrill to adventure and sci-fi films like Star Wars or are a cinephile in love with everything from the Golden Age of Hollywood to the Franco-Italian New Wave to Bollywood and beyond, you’ll want the most cinematic experience possible.
Even if your TV is practically a household Jumbotron, however, there’s still something about being able to view a film on a projector screen that you can’t capture with a traditional TV screen. If you’re skeptical about that, try comparing viewing the paintings of Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso on a screen versus at a museum with the canvas-viewing experience. In the same way that certain tricks and effects with paint can’t be fully captured with a flat screen, for the most ardent cinephiles, the full breadth of the cinematic experience makes a projector indispensable.
Other benefits include the following:
- Screen Size: A TV screen gives you fixed screen size. By contrast, with a projector, you can view it on a larger viewing surface than most TVs can provide.
- Eye Health: Staring at a screen for too long can be harmful to your eyes. Viewing a film screen with a projector can be a lot easier on the long-term health of your eyes.
- Small Size: While you may be able to get a bigger projected image size, projectors themselves are far smaller than big-screen TVs, thus allowing you to spare precious space for other purposes in your interior décor scheme.
- Increased Portability: Moving around a big-screen TV is next to impossible. By contrast, projectors are much easier to move and take with you, allowing you to set up a prime viewing experience wherever you choose.
A projector thus allows for the most authentic cinematic experience possible.
Fans and Minimizing Noise
That said, one advantage that TVs can have over projectors is the fact that the former don’t emit sound, while the latter often do. While you may associate the sound projectors make with the melodious clicking that classic film projectors emit, modern digital projectors don’t do that. Instead, they feature cooling fans, and as with any electronics that feature these, those fans can get loud. You don’t want your movie night to be accompanied by the constant dull droning hum of your projector, which is why searching for a quiet projector is so important.
It also provides us with an opening to talk about what makes a quiet projector “quiet” in the first place.
The key to minimizing sound output is thus largely contingent on finding units which have quiet fans and cooling systems. That said, finding out the fan noise of a projector can take some digging. While allusions to the overall noise level of a projector are easier to come by, specific mentions of sound levels in decibels for digital projectors is typically rare.
In addition, you’ll also want to consider the type of projector itself. The mechanisms necessary for projecting the film may also emit noise, so you’ll want to look for quiet versions of these as well. There are three main types of digital projectors most commonly used for domestic use today, which are as follows:
- DLP: This stands for “dual light projector,” and uses mirrors, light, and rotating color wheels to project the image. While these options are popular and are sometimes used in the movies, lower-end units can sometimes experience some oddities with color, although this is usually mild.
- 3LCD: As you might expect, this type of projector involves three LCD panels projecting in an RGB color scheme. On the one hand, this can offer superior color quality, but on the other hand, the contrast often lags behind DLP options.
- LCoS: These are “liquid crystal on silicone” options, and are usually among the most expensive digital home projectors on the market. However, there’s an argument to be made that you get what you pay for, as these units often offer top of the line color, contrast, and resolution.
Finally, there are a few other factors you’ll want to consider when selecting among the projectors on our list, including the following:
- Room Size: Different projectors are calibrated to “throw” their image onto the screen at different distances, and while you can adjust that with most models, the degree to which you can do so is limited. You’ll thus want to make sure that the distance at which these units operate at their optimal levels pairs well with the size of the room in which you wish to place them.
- Resolution: Then there’s the resolution of the image itself. You don’t want to sacrifice a larger screen size for a lower quality resolution. As such, you should look for resolution levels of 1920x1080p.
- Brightness: This one should be obvious. You want to make sure that the image isn’t so bright as to blind guests or wash out the image, but also isn’t so dim as to make it hard to see. Brightness is typically measured in lumens, with higher numbers equating to more brightness. You’ll also want to pay attention to how much those brightness levels can be adjusted.
- Contrast Ratio: Lord Byron compares an idealized woman to “all that’s best of dark and bright” in his classic poem “She Walks in Beauty.” While you’re looking into projectors and not poetry, when it comes to the ideal projector, you still want to maintain a good contrast ratio between dark and light colors and shapes on screen.
Best Quiet Projectors on the Market
Now that we’ve established the baseline of what we’re looking for, let’s take a look at some of the best quiet home projectors for home theatre uses, and what each of them has to offer.
1. Artlii Full HD 1080P Home Theater Projector
Let’s start off with a smaller, more versatile unit. This offering from Artlii is geared towards those looking for an affordable home theatre experience as well as gamers looking to connect a projector for use with their Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4. Also, it’s easily one of the most affordable options on this list.
Among the boasting points of this 1080p home projector are the following:
- Great brightness: If you’re looking for a go-to option in terms of brightness, you’ve just found it. This unit boasts 4000 lumens, one of the highest outputs on this list.
- Great stereo: This unit also boasts a built-in stereo system for those looking for that feature in their home projector unit.
- Low noise level: This unit comes equipped with a noise reduction system, making it one of the quietest options on our list.
That said, this unit can project a screen size of 44 to 200 inches – good, but smaller than some of the other options here. Still, that’s a respectable size, and it remains a great choice if you’re looking to connect to those consoles or want a unit on the quieter side.
2. BenQ HT2050A 1080P Home Theater Projector
When it comes to the home theatre experience, size matters. That’s one of the main reasons to get a home theatre system in the first place, after all. This offering from BenQ banks on size big-time, being able to project a screen size of up to 300 inches. If you’re looking to show movies or give a presentation in an auditorium in which hundreds or thousands may be in attendance, this might just be your pick for a projector that can create an image size large enough to suit that audience.
Among the other key tech specs to consider with this offering are as follows:
- Highly responsive: This is another unit that might be good for gamers looking to cut down on lag from projectors, as it offers 16ms and a special game mode designed to cut down on lag while gaming.
- Good connectivity: Like other options on this list, this model can connect to PCs, Macs, and most other mobile devices, gaming consoles, and media players with HDMI and USB connectivity options.
- DLP: This unit features DLP technology, making it a great choice if that’s the type of projecting technology you prefer.
- Fantastic picture quality: This is another projector that features 709 color accuracy calibration, which combined with the DLP technology makes for a great viewing experience. Its 2200 lumens are lower than a few other options on this list, but as noted below, BenQ does offer alternative models which boast extra brightness.
It is worth noting that you can purchase three different varieties of this unit in Amazon, each of which boasts its own advantages. One unit features a normal throw range and great color accuracy, one offers a shorter throw range and superb color accuracy, and a third one specializes in pairing a short throw range with a higher brightness rate.
3. Optoma HD143X 3D DLP Home Theater Projector
This is one of the most popular options on the market, and for good reason.
For one thing, it features a relatively small projector, measuring only 12×9”. That’s good news for anyone who isn’t thrilled about having to fit a bulky projector into their home or take one on the road with them for a showing elsewhere.
Among the best features of this offering from Optoma are the following:
- Great brightness: With 3300 lumens of brightness, you certainly won’t have to worry about this unit being too dim. This is just about the perfect amount of overall brightness for most home viewing experiences.
- High picture quality: This unit ticks several boxes right away when it comes to overall picture quality. It features great contrast, and a reference display mode paired with RGB to provide colors which are bright, crisp, and aligned via a REC 709 and 709B color space.
- HD display: This unit boasts a 0. 47″ DMD DLP chip that allows for high resolution and high definition displays.
- Gamer-friendly: Few things get gamers more riled up than lag getting in the way of their gaming sessions. That said, while we’re used to talking about gaming for things like online connectivity, we far too often overlook the lag that can come from receiving and projecting an image via a projector. Thankfully, with these units, that’s not a problem, as they boast input response times of 16ms while receiving 1080p input.
- Ease of connectivity: Finally, this unit offers great connectivity with two HDMI inputs and a USB connector as well.
All in all, this is a quiet unit that’s especially good for gamers looking to get their game on without interference from loud fans or lag.
4. VANKYO Leisure 510 HD Projector
This is one of the least expensive options on our list. In addition, it’s one of the most user-friendly projectors on this list. Those two facts combined make it a perfect projector for those with basic needs or those who are buying a home projector for the first time.
Among the features you’ll get with this projector are the following:
- HD support: This projector does provide support for HD images with good picture quality overall. It should be noted that, unlike other options on this list, it does not have 1080p as its native resolution quality, but rather 1280x780p. That said, it does still support 1080p.
- Large screen: While not as big as other screen images on this list, this offering from VANKO still produces a comfortable projection size of 44 to 230 inches from a distance of five to 18 feet away.
- Ease of connectivity: This is one of the easiest units to hook up. It’s also compatible with quite a few technologies, including HDMI and VGA, as well as traditional USB hookups and Micro SD. In addition, this is also one of the easiest options for connecting to a smartphone, though if you are connecting to an Android, you’ll need to buy an adapter (sold separately) in order to connect to the Micro USB/Type C slot.
- Stereo performance: While we’re focused on reducing unwanted noise with these models, this is nevertheless a model that offers good stereo sound from two 3W speakers built into the unit.
All of this makes this option a great one to choose if you are looking for a starter home projector that covers many of the necessary bases for quality projecting while still remaining affordable.
5. VANKYO LEISURE 3 Mini Projector
Looking for a unit on the smaller side? This mini projector from VANKYO is where it’s at, measuring just 8×6”, the smallest size on our list. It also projects the smallest screen size of any unit on this list, projecting a screen size of between 32 to 170 inches. That said, it also boasts the smallest price tag of any option on this list, costing just around $80 on Amazon.
Among the features offered here are as follows:
- Great resolution: You can expect screen crispness with 1080p and great screen resolution overall.
- Gamer-friendly: This projector can connect to a wide range of different gaming consoles, including the PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo consoles.
- Quiet fans: This is one unit that boasts a noise reduction system, making it one of the quietest options on this list.
6. ViewSonic High Brightness Projector for Home and Office
As stated, few projectors go to the trouble of actually listing their emitted noise, so it’s worthwhile to praise a unit that actually does. According to ViewSonic, this offering emits a measly 27 decibels. For context, 40 decibels is the most you probably want to tolerate when searching for a quiet home projector, and 30 is quite quiet. That this unit can boast as few as 27 decibels of noise while operating might well make it the Quietness King of our home projector competition.
Of course, that’s just one event in this decathlon-esque evaluation of different units. How does it stack up to other options on this list as far as image quality and other vital measurements go? Quite well, in fact. Besides the quietness, among the biggest boasting points for this unit are the following:
- Big screen: This is a unit that can cast a large image from a decent distance, giving you a screen size of anywhere from 30 to 300 inches from a distance of fifteen feet and eight inches away.
- Great brightness: The unit is very bright as well, boasting lumens.
- Ease of use: Compared to other offerings, this one is plug-and-play easy in terms of setup.
- Good connectivity: This unit offers a wide range of connectivity, working with PCs, Macs, and various mobile devices, and it offers many input options, including HDMI and VGA.
What’s more, it while this unit offers high-end performance in terms of brightness and picture quality on big screens, it’s also at the lower end in terms of price.
So, Which Quiet Projector Is Best for You?
That will naturally depend on your needs and tastes.
If a quiet home projector is your top concern, the offerings from VANKO and ViewSonic are among the quietest. The Arlii and Optoma offer features specifically tailored to gamers, making them great choices in that regard. BenQ is a very versatile brand, and its different variations on the unit listed here offer added choices for those who care most about long- or short-range throws or brightness.
That said, home viewing is a personal experience, and ultimately choosing the right home projector is a personal choice.