When you’re looking for a projector, you’re going to have a lot of questions. You’ll also run into so much projector jargon that it might give you a headache. Undoubtedly, one of the first things you’ll try to answer for yourself is: “is my room big enough for a projector?”
To determine if your room is big enough for a projector, you have to consider a few factors. The first is the size of your room. Next, you have to decide on which projector you’ll purchase. The projector you purchase will come with a distinct throw ratio (sometimes referred to as throw distance.)
The throw ratio will let you know if your room is big enough for a projector. However, knowing how to calculate these numbers is essential. You do so with this formula:
(Throw Ratio) × (screen size you want in inches) = (Distance in inches)
So let’s look at some real-world examples of throw ratio and determine if your room is big enough.
What is the Throw Ratio?
The throw ratio is the relationship between the distance of the projector compared to the size of the screen.
Each projector has a different throw ratio. But don’t worry, we’ll go over real examples below.
When you’re purchasing a projector, you’ll need to determine its throw ratio. This throw ratio will allow you to calculate how far your projector should be from your screen.
Here’s an easy example. A throw ratio of 1 directly correlates to how far you should have your projector away from your screen. In this case, we should have our projector one foot away from our screen to create a screen size that’s one foot long, diagonally.
However, considering things are not always as easy, we’ll need to do a little math.
For example, if you have a throw ratio of 0.5 and you want to create an image that’s 12 inches long diagonally (one foot long), you can calculate how far away the projector needs to be away from that screen.
Here is the formula: (Throw Ratio) × (screen size you want in inches) = (Distance in inches).
In our above example, 0.5 × 12 = 6. In other words, our projector needs to be six inches from our screen if we want a one-foot image projected on our screen.
We can take our formula and create a real-world example. Let’s say the throw ratio of your projector is 0.5, and you want a projected image that is 130 inches long. How far away does your projector need to be in order to achieve this?
Plugging in our formula with the above numbers, we get 65 inches away from your screen.
With all of this information presented, let’s answer a few more vital questions you might have.
Can You Use a Projector in a Small Room?
As we saw in our last section, having a small room is not a bad thing. You can use a projector in rooms of any size. It all depends on the throw ratio of your projector and the image size you are trying to achieve.
If you’re worried, you can always purchase a short throw projector. Short throw projectors give you a massive screen inches away from your screen.
Short Throw Projectors
If you’re worried about your room size, you can always purchase a short throw projector. A short-throw projector generally has a throw ratio of 0.4 to 1.
Short throw projectors are great because you can place your projector inches to a few feet away from your screen to cast a big picture.
How to Calculate Throw Ratio?
Normally, every projector you purchase will have the throw ratio included in the specifications. However, let’s say you forget what it is or throw away the manual. How do you find out what your throw ratio is?
We take the above formula and invert it. In other words, we are going to need your projector’s distance (in inches) and divide that by how big your image is, also in inches.
The formula: (Projectors distance in inches) ÷ (How big your screen is in inches) = Throw Ratio
If we take our above numbers and plug them in, we get 65 inches away ÷ 130-inch screen size = 0.5.
Sometimes you’re given a throw ratio range. That means your projector has a zoom feature, and you can adjust your screen size a little bit. If that’s the case, you can always calculate by using the smallest and largest throw ratio to determine how big your screen can get at a certain distance from your wall.
Some Real-World Examples
If we take a random short throw projector, like the BenQ HT2150ST , you’ll notice it has a throw ratio of 0.69–0.83.
Using the formula above to calculate how far it should be from your wall will determine if your room is big enough for this projector.
Let’s say you want a 50-inch image projected onto your wall. In this case, our formula will look like this:
(0.69) × (50) = (Distance in inches)
When we do the math, we see that we need to place our projector 34.5 inches away from our wall, or slightly over three feet. In other words, your room is big enough for this projector.
If we look at a regular (non-short throw) projector like the Optoma HD28HDR , we’ll notice that it has a standard throw ratio.
The Optoma has a throw ratio of 1.3. Now, let’s use our formula.
(1.3) × (50) = (Distance in inches)
Doing the math, we see our proctor should be 65 inches (or five feet four inches) away from our wall.
Even with a standard throw ratio, it appears this projector is not suited to smaller rooms.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
As you can see, you can determine whether or not your room is big enough for your projector by using the throw ratio with a simple formula.
If you don’t know the throw ratio, you can use the formula we provided above to calculate it and then see how big a room you need.
We hope this article has helped you figure out if your room is big enough for a projector.
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.