Remember that geeky kid in high school, the one that ran the projector, or sat in the dark controlling the lighting for the school play?
Best Paint for Projector Wall (Updated January, 2020)
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Best Projector Screen Paint Reviews
1. Paint on Screen – Best 4k Projector Screen Paint
Supporting up to 4K high-density resolution, this paint is specifically formulated for areas with high ambient lighting and projection from high-end entertainment systems. The high gain performance reduces reflection rates, resulting in a bigger, brighter image.
Installation and technical details
Easy to apply on drywall and other surfaces, there are minimal special preparations needed, and the gallon covers 170 square feet. Paint can be applied by roller, brush, or spray. Two coats are necessary for the final finish. The paint is water-based for easy clean-up and has a low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) rating.
This paint is part of a large family of complementary products, including primer, frames, and special application tools. While it is a fairly simple process, professional application is also available through Amazon. With its special formulation of binders and particle size, it provides graphic detail within the realm of 4K resolution.
If you want to project high-quality 4K images, this is a top-quality paint for that purpose. It reduces the effect of high ambient lighting, even to the point where some reviewers say you can watch with the lights on. If you have ultra-HD capabilities in Blu-ray or other video devices and want 4K clarity reflected throughout, you can have a commercial quality projection screen with this paint.
2. Digital Image HD – Best Washable Projector Screen Paint
This paint, from Digital Image, is designed for use in both commercial applications and in-home theater. Advertised as providing 40 square feet of two-coat coverage, it’s also 50% brighter than a normal white wall, and can be rolled on or sprayed.
Installation and technical details:
This is a one-step product, with no mixing of chemicals required. It’s a water-based acrylic paint, completely VOC free. The paint claims a 1.5 gain and works with a high-density resolution at up to 1080 pixels. No indication is given with how well it works with 4K imagery.
This paint is the clear winner in the category of washable. If you have children and can envision sticky fingerprints on your screen, then this is the right paint for you. It has comparable specifications to other similar products. Expert installation is also available.
Given the no-VOC environmental friendliness of this paint, and the capability to clean it, the Digital Image product is very well suited to a family surrounding. You’ll get no odors during installation, the ability to remove small marks and spots as needed, and all the while enjoying 1080-pixel clarity.
3. Digital Image Ultra HD – Best Overall Projector Screen Paint
This screen paint, also from Digital Image, moves up the price ladder a little bit, but it also delivers very solid quality ratings from user reviews. The “Optiperfect” reflection gives a 1.5 gain, and provides high-level brightness without hot spots or reflections, and gives the user a great view from virtually any angle.
Installation and technical details
This is a water-based acrylic latex paint, with no mixing of compounds required, and provides two coats of coverage over a forty square feet area. It can be installed with either roller or spray gun, and professional installation is also available through Amazon.
This product gets very strong customer reviews on the 1.5 gain improvement over standard white paint. With an ultra-high-definition 4k projection system, you’ll get great viewing at 1080-pixel detail. The paint is also washable, but with mild detergent and no scrubbing.
If you are a believer in “you get what you pay for,” then this is probably the paint for you. Yes, you are paying somewhat more than for other brands and qualities, but you will also see a real difference in your application. Markedly improved clarity, detailed 4K imagery, each combined with all the standard features of other paints included here, make this the Best Overall Projector Screen Paint.
4. Pro Screen Projector Screen Paint – Best Budget Projector Screen Paint
With this Pro Screen brand screen paint, we move from the highest end of the price spectrum to the lower end. This paint is a two-part system, with components that must be mixed together. It is also a gray-scale, where all the others reviewed here are white or even ultra-white. Reviewers feel this gives clean contrast, especially to very light colors when compared to white screens.
Installation and technical details
Even with the gray color, this paint offers a 2.0 gain value, double the brightness of a standard flat white paint. The added is a powdered glass, which helps reduce ambient lighting to provide a clearer picture, even when viewed from an angle. The result is a 1080-pixel, 4K ultra-high-definition picture, and the paint is even compatible with 3D viewing.
The 3D compatibility is a nice touch, not specifically detailed by any of the other paints in this review. While there is an extra step involved in mixing in the additive, the resulting clarity makes this incidental to the total package. A one-quart can cover up to 80 square feet of coverage; most users say a single coat is sufficient.
Don’t get hung up on the gray color of this paint, when all the others run from white to ultra-white. It offers clear results for a projection system, with good clarity and light tolerance. The one-coat coverage offsets the time to mix the components. If you are looking for a high-performance, budget-priced projector screen paint, this is one of the best.
In this section, we’ll present some of the key terms, specifications, and features of the best paints for projector screens. Having a little extra knowledge in these areas will give you a leg up in making the best buying decision based on your individual needs.
Gain is a measure of the reflection of light off the projector screen. A gain of 1.0 is neutral – gain is measured against a standard of a white (magnesium oxide) coated board. Therefore, a gain of 2.0 will reflect twice as much light as the standard; a gain of .8 would be 80% of the standard. Gain is measured at the brightest spot of the screen – directly in front of it, and perfectly perpendicular. So, is more gain then better than lower gain? Not necessarily. See the next section.
Gain vs. viewing angle
The higher gain will give you a better look from directly in the front of the screen, but viewing from angles will not give the same clarity. Conversely, a lower gain will not look as good from directly in front as a higher gain, but you will have better views from an angle. This is because lower gain screens (around 1.0) will diffuse light much more evenly over a wider angle of view.
Restated, a high gain screen will be clearest directly in front of you, but not so clear from an angle, where the opposite is true of a lower gain screen. So, to summarize, the gain should be thought of in the context of the seating arrangement in your home theater. More seats off to the sides – try to stay with gains of 1.0 to 1.5. Seats centered on the screen, such as tiered seating – higher gains for you. The three pictures below represent the impact of the gain on the best seating:
Matte White Screen 1.0 Gain
Angular Reflective Screen 1.3 Gain
Angular Reflective or Retro Reflective 2.0+ Gain
A pixel, or picture element, is the smallest visible unit that can be displayed on a display screen. Large numbers of pixels are joined together to form a complete image on the screen. An example of a pixel is below (courtesy computerhope.com). This image is zoomed in at 1600%, and you can see the individual color squares within it. Each of these blocks represents 1 pixel.
4K vs. 1080P
Each of these terms is used to define the quality of the resolution on a viewing screen. Both are expressed as the number of pixels, which we defined above. First, let’s think of these two numbers verbally; consider 1080P as high definition and 4K as the ultra-high definition. In terms of pixels, 1080P resolution consists of 1920 pixels X 1080 pixels. 4K is 3840 X 2160 pixels, and the 4K refers to the almost 4000 horizontal pixels, and 2160 refers to the vertical pixels.
All of the paints reviewed here are water-based, meaning that the colors, fillers, and binders are all contained within a water mixture. Water-based paints offer two main advantages over oil-based. First, they give off little to no volatile organic compounds (VOC), meaning less odor. Second, clean up is much easier, complete with soap and water rather than the special solvents required to clean oil-based paints.
Ambient light refers to any light in the theater that is not directly coming from the projector, or the images coming off of the projector. Ambient light will reflect off the screen, and wash out, or reduce the clarity, or the projected image. Ambient light can be countered by having a brighter projecting device or using a darker projector screen.
The projection capabilities of equipment on the market today are amazing. What’s more amazing is that a can of paint can turn any room in your house into a home theater. Simple enough that anyone with a modicum of handyman talent can install, it can take what you are viewing on an iPad screen and project it into a 5’x8’ screen.
These paints are relatively inexpensive, almost foolproof in their simplicity, and give great results for your viewing. By selecting one appropriate for your particular requirements, you’ll have a home theater to rival the professional ones. We hope this review has been helpful in giving you some projector screen paint options, and the additional knowledge needed to select the one perfect for you. Happy viewing!