The Best Cheap 4K Projectors of 2019

There are many reasons not to get a 4K projector:

  • They're bulky and heavy;

  • Even the "cheap" ones are expensive; and

  • Several accessories are required.

Home theater projectors look best when projected onto a special screen in a totally dark room. Many projectors only have two inputs, so an HDMI switcher or A/V receiver may be necessary to connect multiple video sources. Projectors also have poor internal speakers (or none at all), so they need to be paired with a sound system. All told, it's a big investment.

The best cheap 4K projectors support HDCP 2.2 and have at least one HDMI 2.0 input.

HDMI 2.0 is required for displaying 4K content at 60Hz. This feature is critical for anyone who plays video games or watches fast-moving sports. 

HDCP 2.2 stands for "High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection." A 4K TV or projector that doesn't support HDCP 2.2 won't be able to display a copyrighted 4K video signal.

Crutchfield, a respected electronics retailer, only sells ultra-HD televisions that are HDMI 2.0/ HDCP 2.2 compliant because these two features are so important.

Whether or not a 4K projector is really 4K isn't as important as it would seem

"True 4K" projectors use chips that are sized at 3840x2160 or 4096x2160. These chips have the same native resolution as the video material. However, projectors with smaller chips (like 1920x1080) are still capable of producing 4K video signals using various means and technologies.

The contrast ratio of a projector and its high-dynamic range (HDR) support are the two most important factors in picture quality. These topics are too complicated to summarize here, but you owe it to yourself to learn more before making a large purchase.

If you already know what you're looking for, here are the best-reviewed 4K projectors that have sold for $1,500 or less on Amazon this year:

Good Price: $1,140 | Great Deal: $1,070

This projector has a short throw, great color rendition and is easy to set up, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers note that only one of the HDMI inputs accepts 4K at 60Hz. Another common criticism is that contrast and black levels are merely "OK." The most negative reviews complain about light-bleed around the picture and a loud humming noise from the fan.

Good Price: $1,500 | Great Deal: $1,400

This short throw projector has great sharpness and color rendition, according to several customers. Some reviewers say that fan noise is noticeable at times and that the projector’s auto-iris feature can cause screen flickering depending on the scene.

John DeFeo