When it comes to creating the best immersive home theater experience you can at home, there are two very important components: the projector and the screen. Consumers tend to spend most of their budget on the projector but the final image quality is only as good as the screen that it is projected on. The reality is that sorting through the best home theater projector screens is not that easy; there are a number of variables to consider aside from price and don’t assume that the most expensive one will work the best in your particular room.
What to Look For
Home theater projector screens have evolved enormously over the past decade to cope with changes in projection technology, the use of projectors in rooms with variable ambient lighting, and the emergence of 4K and 8K content.
There are even special ambient light rejection (ALR) screens designed specifically for ultra-short throw (UST) projectors. You can read more about these new types of UST projectors and UST screens in our 2021 buying guides.
Size and aspect ratio are all also important considerations. Don’t be seduced by the idea of having the largest screen you can possibly afford. It has to make sense in the context of the room where you will be watching, the throw distance of the projector you selected, and the image brightness, contrast, color accuracy, and resolution of the image you are trying to achieve at home.
Do you want a fixed, retractable, motorized, or variable aspect ratio adjustable screen?
This is where a dealer really earns their money.
We’ve seen $20,000 projectors on the wrong type of screen look almost unwatchable in the context of the wrong room (no control over ambient light).
If you want to fully appreciate the 4K or 8K resolution and image quality of your brand new home theater projector you’ll want to invest in an equally astonishing, high quality projection screen for your cinema room.
An inexperienced shopper might think, “I can just buy a cheap projector screen on Amazon,” but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. And if you pay for a cheap screen, you’ll get an inferior looking picture.
When you pair the right home theater projection screen with your projector you will elevate your movie watching experience from good to truly cinematic.
Here are our recommendations for the best home theater projector screens that work with a wide range of projectors.
Best Overall Projector Screen
Stewart Balon Edge with FireHawk Surface
Price: Starting at $3,108
Screen Size: 100” – 200”
There are a lot of screens out there, but when it comes to selecting the best overall home cinema screen, the Stewart Balon Edge with the FireHawk surface wins the title as our top pick. This fantastic screen from Stewart Filmscreen provides an excellent balance of quality, style and affordability. You might scoff at the “affordability” comment but this is one of the best home theater screens available and from the company who created the category. Stewart Filmscreen has a lot more competition in 2021 than ever before but you’re buying the screen that Hollywood studios consider their reference.
The sleek stylish border fits the aesthetics of just about any cinema room while the screen material is the ideal choice for movie watching.
Balon Edge Series
The Stewart Balon Edge line offers a thin, black border that frames the picture beautifully. The half-inch black, Velux light absorbing border gives you just a touch of projector overscan protection while still providing maximum on-screen image. With a thin edge, this screen allows you to go up to 4 inches bigger with your display size.
One of the coolest features of this series is that it can even come with an LED light kit built-in to give you a modern backlit screen.
FireHawk Screen Surface
The FireHawk screen surface is in its fifth generation. This textureless screen material supports up to a 16K resolution image. The gray coloring offers superb black levels, shadow detailing, and overall color saturation.
It is a versatile, front projection, screen surface designed to be used with modern high-powered projectors in rooms with some ambient light.
Many other screens designed to reject ambient light work well in bright rooms, but the downside is there are often unwanted artifacts such as color shift, hotspotting, and narrow viewing angle.
The Stewart FireHawk surface was engineered to provide the best possible trade-off between image quality and ambient light resistance. The newest iteration of this screen provides improvements to screen uniformity and off-axis viewing, allowing the FireHawk screen surface to give you an absolutely incredible image.
Best Home Theater Projection Screen Surface
Stewart WallScreen 2.5 with StudioTek 130 Surface
Price: Starting at $3,395
Screen Size: 94” – 200”
We chose this Stewart screen because it features the absolute best home theater projector screen surface; the Stewart StudioTek 130. This Hollywood level screen was engineered specifically for home cinemas and features a 1.3 gain surface to better pair with the highly calibrated cinema projectors that have a lower lumen output. This impressive film screen is THX certified and has pretty much become the standard projection surface for professional Hollywood screening rooms and editing studios.
WallScreen 2.5 Series
This stylish movie room projection screen features a 2.5 inch black border around the display giving it a sleek low profile modern look. It’s also thick enough to allow the border of the home theater screen to soak up any extra light that spills outside of the display area if you can’t quite perfectly line up your projector and screen. This border also enhances the image since the black border tricks the viewers eyes into believing that the projected image is brighter.
The WallScreen 2.5 line is easy to assemble and mount which is always a nice bonus.
StudioTek 130 Screen Surface
The Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 is without a doubt the best home cinema screen material in the industry. It provides a completely smooth surface allowing it to show off the resolution of existing 4K, 8K, and 16K projectors when they are released.
So you not only have a perfectly flat surface for your current 4K projector, but you also future-proof your investment when 16k resolution projectors are released in the not too distant future.
A StudioTek 130 projector screen gives you a high dynamic range (HDR) of luminosity thanks to 100% accurate color reproduction and full brightness uniformity. This surface features a proprietary optical coating, giving you a crisp, sharp image as well as superb color accuracy and white uniformity across the entire surface.
Best Ambient Light Rejecting Projector Screen
Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro with Black Diamond Surface
Price: Starting at $3,395
Screen Size: 80” – 189”
We picked this Screen Innovations screen as the #1 ambient light rejecting screen because it has the award-winning Black Diamond screen surface. The Black Diamond surface offers incredible black levels and features unparalleled ambient light rejecting properties to give you the opportunity to watch movies and shows with the lights on or off. If you’re the more social watching type, this is definitely for you.
Zero Edge Pro Series
This fixed frame home theater screen series is truly customizable. The Zero Edge Pro Series from Screen Innovations, offers fun design choices, so you can make your home theater a fully unique space.
With a variety of options to choose from, the Zero Edge Pro frame can be customized for a perfect fit in your space. You can choose between a .5”, 1.5” and 2” thick frame around the screen. You also have the option of selecting a colored border. You can even order it with a built-in backlighting kit to really make your screen really pop.
This model screen is perfect for the design oriented home theater enthusiast.
Black Diamond Screen Surface
Not everyone wants to enjoy watching in a darkened theater room. Some people want to be social with friends and family while they watch the game, or play video games.
Screen Innovations solved this problem in 2008 with the release of the Black Diamond screen surface, the first (and only) optical screen that rejects light from above, below, and both sides.
This screen surface utilizes 9 layers of optical filters to reject 85% of ambient light in the room. They don’t just help with ambient light, Black Diamond screen surfaces are found to provide a 900% increase in contrast compared to matte white or even grey screens.
The same optical filters that reject ambient light from above, below and on the sides of Black Diamond also eliminate light that is reflected off the screen onto the walls, ceiling, and floor. Not only does this create a more encompassing dark room experience, but it eliminates the need for blacking out your walls.
Best Acoustically Transparent Projector Screen
Stewart WallScreen Deluxe with StudioTek 130 Perf
Price: Starting at $3,474
Screen Size: 100” – 200”
For an optimal surround sound system setup, you want to have your LCR and subwoofer channels in front of you. Depending on the height of your screen and width of your front wall, you might want to consider another type of screen material to maximize the performance of your loudspeaker setup.
When you have a projector screen covering up most of the wall it can cover the sound and the soundwaves can cause ripples in your screen surface. The solution is to buy a home cinema screen that is acoustically transparent. This means it is perforated to allow the soundwaves to pass through the screen without disruption. The Stewart WallScreen with the StudioTek 130 Perf surface is the best acoustically transparent projector screen out there.
Wall Screen Deluxe Series
The 1.5-inch by 3.25-inch inch profile is engineered to excel in its primary function — perfect image surface support. The cinema screen frame is ideal for absorption of stray projection light overscan and also provides a crisp, sharp edge to give the images on the screen their full due. Many reviewers love the thoughtful packaging of this screen for its intuitive and straightforward assembly, excellent bracketing for mounting, and for its exemplary fit and finish.
StudioTek 130 Perf
The StudioTek 130 Perf is a perforated flexible, front projection, screen material that is formulated to provide optimized white field uniformity unmatched by competing gain screens. This screen material has less sparkle and offers amazing high dynamic range (HDR) of luminosity. The StudioTek 130 Perf surface also provides optimized white field uniformity — unmatched by competing higher gain screens. This screen offers a wide 160 degree viewing angle, and is certified by THX and ISF.
Best Budget 4K Home Cinema Projector Screen
EluneVision Studio 4K Fixed Frame Projector Screen
Price: Starting at $1,240
Screen Size: 92” – 150”
The superb video performance of the EluneVision Reference Studio 4K series projector screen comes from their R&D department’s efforts to create a material that is 100% transparent to the viewer, and is engineered for maximum detail clarity when you watch content on it with a 4K projector.
EluneVision spent much effort designing a textureless projection surface. The result is the Reference Studio 4K 100 family of screens that have an extremely smooth surface, perfect for 4K projection.
The Reference Studio projection screen surface is made for both 2D and 3D projection making it ideal for watching movies in 3D.
While the white surface doesn’t provide the deep black levels and contrast of a grey or black screen, the wide viewing angle and neutral color make it a great home movie screen.
Best 1080p Cinema Screen
Draper Cineperm with Pure White XT1300V
Price: Starting at $506
Screen Size: 65” – 300”
In order to get a 4K resolution image from your 4K projector you need a projector screen that has a textureless surface that supports 4K. If on the other hand, you don’t care as much about the resolution, a 1080p projector screen could be the way to go to save a few dollars. The best 1080p projector screen is the Draper Cineperm with a Pure White XT1300V surface.
The Draper Cineperm series features an economical, fixed screen design that’s perfect for home theater use.
The value of a fixed screen is the method used to attach the viewing surface to the frame. This flexible cinema screen easily snaps onto the perimeter frame without tools to create a perfectly flat viewing surface for better image quality.
A 2-inch black vinyl border provides a contemporary, theater-like appearance for Draper’s most economical fixed frame movie theater screen.
Pure White XT1300V Surface
This white 1080p ready projection surface is a solid choice for home cinema enthusiasts. With a gain of 1.3, Pure White XT1300V offers a 30% boost in brightness over a traditional matt white surface, while still maintaining an extremely wide 180 degree viewing cone with half gain angle over 90 degrees. This screen surface boasts no color shift at any angle and provides excellent white field uniformity. While it has a relatively smooth surface its texture is visible with a 4K projector and content.