You’ve purchased everything you need for your new home theater. You have an incredible projector. And you also blacked out the windows. Now, you’ve opted for a brilliant white projector screen that’s big enough for everyone to view your incredible movies, but the question remains, what’s the best distance to mount your projector from the screen?
The best distance to mount a projector from a screen is not a straightforward answer. There are several suggestions we can give you. We’ll also look at formulas to help you out.
However, the distance you should mount a projector from the screen is determined by your taste. The one thing we can tell you upfront is that your seats should be placed at a distance that’s double the width of your screen.
With all that in mind, let’s discuss several suggestions and formulas that will help you evaluate how far you should place your projector and the best distances.
What is The Best Throw Distance for a Projector?
Many projectors have a throw distance that’s best for that particular projector. For example, if we look at the Fangor Portable Movie Projector , you’ll notice the manufacturer’s suggested throw distance. They indicate a throw distance of 60 inches to 160 inches is best.
Therefore the best throw distance for a projector depends on the individual projector.
But what if you want to determine the throw distance on your own? How do you go about it? Let’s take a look and find out.
To determine the best distance to mount a projector from your screen, we need to understand your projector’s throw ratio.
The throw ratio might sound confusing, but all it is is the distance a projector is placed (from your screen) that determines the size of your image.
All projectors have different throw ratios.
In other words, the throw ratio is an important specification to look for when purchasing a projector. This throw ratio number will allow you to calculate how far your projector should be from your screen.
For example, if your projector’s throw ratio is “1,” it means we should have our projector one foot away from our screen. This throw ratio creates a screen size that’s one foot long, diagonally.
However, that’s an easy example. So let’s look at a formula that will help you understand it better.
Let’s say you have a new projector, and the throw ratio is 0.4. Your goal is to create a projected image that’s 72 inches long diagonally (or six feet). With a simple formula, you can calculate how far away the projector should be from your screen.
Here is the formula: (Throw Ratio) X (screen size you want in inches) = (Distance in inches).
In our above example, 0.4 X 72 = 28.8. In other words, our projector needs to be about 29 inches away from our screen if we want this particular screen size.
Now, let’s give you a more realistic example. Let’s say the throw ratio of your new projector is 1.5, and you want a projected image of 130 inches long. How far away should your projector be mounted to achieve these dimensions?
Plugging in our formula with the above numbers, we get 195 inches away from your screen.
Now you know precisely the best distance to mount your projector from your screen. But let’s go over a few vital topics.
Short Throw Projectors
Purchasing a short-throw projector is great if you’re worried about your room size. A short-throw projector gives you a smaller distance from your projector to your screen. Generally speaking, a short-throw projector has a throw ratio of 0.4 to 1.
A short-throw allows you to place your projector inches to a few feet away from your screen.
How to Calculate Throw Ratio?
When you purchase a projector, the box and the manual will contain all specifications you need to know, including the throw ratio. But let’s say you threw away the box and you can’t find the manual. How do you find your throw ratio ?
We’ll need to use a few long-forgotten algebra skills. Let’s take the above formula and invert it. In this case, we’ll need your projector’s distance from your screen (in inches) and divide that by the size of your image (or screen) in inches.
The formula: (Projectors distance in inches)/(How big your screen is in inches)= X
If we take our above numbers and plug them in, we get 195 inches away divided by 130-inch screen size equals 1.5.
If you’re given a throw ratio range, this means your new projector contains a zoom feature, which means you can adjust your screen size with a knob. If that’s the case, calculating the smallest and largest throw ratio will give you the proper distances you need.
How Far Does a Projector Have to be From a 120-inch/200-inch Screen?
Now that we know every projector has a different throw ratio determining how far a projector should be from a 120-inch screen or a 200-inch screen, we’ll need a look at a few things.
First, we need to look at our projector. Next, determine the throw ratio for that specific projector.
Finally, we’ll use our formula to determine how far our projectors should be to project onto a screen that’s 120 inches and 200 inches.
Let’s look at specific projectors.
Specific Projectors and Examples
Let’s look at BenQ’s short-throw projector. The BenQ HT2150ST has a throw ratio of 0.69 – 0.83.
Using the formula above, we can calculate any distance to our screen. However, today let’s calculate the distance we need to place our projector from a 120-inch screen and a 200-inch screen. In this case, our formula will look like this:
(Throw Ratio) X (screen size you want in inches) = (Distance in inches).
If we plug in our numbers, we get this: (0.69) X (120) = (Distance in inches).
For our 200-inch screen, our formula looks like so: (0.69) X (200) = (Distance in inches).
As we do the math for our first equation, we see that we need to place our projector 82.8 inches away from our 120-inch screen or about seven feet.
For our 200-inch screen, we get 138 inches. In other words, to project a 200-inch image onto our 200-inch screen, we need to mount our projector 130 inches away from it (or eleven and a half feet.)
Non-short-throw projectors are most common. Therefore, we’ll look at a projector with a standard throw ratio, like the Optoma HD28HDR .
The Optoma has a throw ratio of 1.3. Now, let’s use our formula to get the proper distance for our 120-inch screen and our 200-inch screen.
Let’s plug our numbers for both screen sizes.
(1.3) X (120) = (Distance in inches) and (1.3) X (200) = (Distance in inches)
Using a calculator to get the answer, we get 156 inches (13 feet.) In other words, our projector needs to be mounted 156 inches away from our 120-inch projector.
For our second screen, our answer is 260 inches (21.6 feet). So, our projector needs to be mounted 260 inches away from our 200-inch screen to get an image that big.
The formula is a lifesaver. Use it for all projectors to get the best distance to mount a projector from a screen of any size.
If you’re wondering if there’s an easier way to get the best distance to mount a projector from your screen, keep on reading, we may have a solution for you.
How Far Does a Projector Need to be From a Screen?
Some might consider the information above too complex to determine the best distance to mount a projector from a screen.
If that’s the case, most brands have an easy solution for you. When you purchase a projector, the manual will help you determine how far you should mount your projector.
For instance, most projectors give you a range of best distances. But if we dig a little deeper, some brands will provide a step-by-step guide to your perfect distance from your screen.
Let’s look at the Epson brand.
Epson first breaks it down by aspect screen ratio. So, if your image is 16:10, 4:3, or 16:9, the distances differ slightly.
If we have a screen size of 80 inches and our image aspect ratio is 16:10, Epson directly tells us that the best distance to mount a projector from our screen is 97 to 106 inches.
Epson and many other brands make it very easy by providing these specifications for you.
The information provided sounds a little complex, but I assure you it’s not. Understanding your projector’s throw ratio is key to getting the best distance to mount a projector from a screen.
The formula is handy. Once you have your throw ratio, it becomes second nature.
If all else fails, each brand gives you the best distances for their projectors in their manual. So, don’t feel overwhelmed. We all started somewhere.
James Quintanilla is a technical copywriter. Although his experience allows him to write on many topics, he loves to focus on tech and travel. As a freelancer, James has worked on projects with Pointer Clicker, Lonely Planet, and the Travel Channel. When he’s not writing or planning his next adventure, he’s watching a scary movie.