Short Throw vs Long Throw Projectors — Which is Better?

You’ve decided to add a projector into your home theater setup. There are many factors to consider before buying a product and one of the most overlooked is the projector’s throw distance. Our testers compare the difference between a long throw vs short throw projector to help you determine which type you need.

Defining “Throw” Distances

A projector’s throw is the distance it needs to project or to throw an image on a projection screen or a wall. It is related to the throw ratio. This is the ratio between the size (width) of the projected image and the distance of the projector from the wall. 

The main difference between short vs long throw projectors is in the lens they are using. The quality of glass for the lens of short throw projectors is better, hence it generally has a higher price tag than long throw projectors. 

Our experts suggest looking at the last two letters of the model number to identify the throw distance, ST for short throw projection while LT for the other. 

Short Throw Projector

A short throw projector has specialized lenses that can project larger images from a shorter distance. The throw distance of short throw models has a throw ratio between 0.4 to 1. This means that when you pull back the LCD projector by afoot, the image will increase by about 1 to 1.25 feet. 

As the projector can sit closer to the screen, there is less chance that it will be damaged from accidental bumping. The short distance between the new projector and the screen will also save you more space so you can add more items to your home theater space. 

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Short throws are perfect for your home entertainment system as the projector position will lessen the appearance of shadows from people getting up to go somewhere. 

A short throw projector has a chip installed in its system that helps in converting the image projected on the screen to a normal rectangle. However, the system of producing this image quality is a lot of work for the projector so it generates more heat than other projectors.

Hence, there is a need to install a cooling mechanism in your home cinema to prevent short throws from overheating. 

Ultra Short Throw Projector

The ultra short throw projectors are the go-to choice for many people in improving their home theaters. Albeit its higher cost, this projector is your best bet for smaller rooms. 

The laser projection offers an excellent image quality. It evolved from the short throw projectors, but instead of having the projector mounted a few feet from the screen, this utilizes shorter distances from the screen. 

short throw projectors

It is installed at most 15 inches away from the screen. Hence, this is perfect for a very tiny space since it takes up very limited space. 

This is also perfect for business presentations as you can move anywhere while explaining without casting a shadow over the presentation. Some people even call this a business projector. 



Long Throw Projector

Long throw projectors are best used at least six feet away from the wall. They have a throw ratio of more than one. The screen size of the image being projected has a width that is smaller than the gap between the screen and the long throw.  

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the wall. Hence, people can walk all over that space and cast shadows on the images being projected. This is usually observed in movie theaters. 

Long throw projectors cannot be installed less than six feet away from the screen. This will result in a smaller image projected on the screen. With the longer distance needed, living rooms or home theaters should have enough space to accommodate this in case you will choose it. 

A long throw projector is beneficial when the available power source for it is far from the wall. It is also not as pricey as a short throw projector because it does not need a specialized lens. 

Long throw projectors are not only good for your home theater but also good for an outdoor theater. This will provide less distortion of images being projected.



Differences Between the Two


One of the key differences between short throw vs long throw projectors is their cost. Since a short throw projector needs a specialized lens to overcome the image distortion coming from its space different from the screen, it is more expensive. 

Long throw projectors are generally easier to assemble, hence, cheaper than most projectors that are short throw.

Ideal Placement

The location of short throw and long throw projectors will affect the image size being projected on the screen.

projector placement

Typically, to produce an 80” screen width projection, your short throw projector should be around 92.7cm away from the screen. On the other hand, to achieve the same image width, a long throw projector should be around 240cm away from the screen. 

Ultra short throw projectors can create the same image when installed 52cm or less close to the screen. Remember, the shorter the throw, the lesser chances of someone ruining the projection field, hence better viewing experience.

Other Important Factors to Consider

One of the most confusing decisions you have to come up with when buying a new projector is choosing between short throw vs long throw projectors. Our team of experts explains here the differences between the two. 


The home theater area is an important factor to consider when choosing the right projector. Our experts suggest making sure that the area where the image will be projected is away from light glare so as not to cause viewing problems. 


The projection area should also be directly across the viewing setting so the audience will have a comfortable time watching. Lastly, the floor area is a very important consideration. 

If you have a small room, it is best to use a short throw projector. However, if you have a large space, or are viewing outdoors, a long throw projector is your best choice. 

Screen Size

The ceiling height and viewing area determine your screen size. It should also be about 3 feet from the floor. Our experts suggest following this formula in identifying the best screen size for your room. 

Subtract 3 feet from the total ceiling height (in feet) to get the maximum dimension. For the width, just multiply the aspect ratio [1] of the produced image by your projector, and the projector height. This is the optimum screen size for your room. 

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This also depends on the type of projector and how fair it is to the screen. For instance, to produce the same 80” screen size, a short throw projector needs to be about 92.7 cm away from the wall while a long throw one should be 240cm away. Make sure to bear this in mind when choosing between short throw and long throw models.

Brightness and Resolution

The brightness and resolution of a projector can be adjusted based on how near or far it is from the wall. Other projectors also have to adjust knobs to regulate this. 

The brightness of projectors is measured through ANSI Lumens unit, which is the amount of light produced by a projector. This is a bit different in each brand so choose the brand that offers the highest unit especially if you have plans of using it outdoors. 

Remote Control

Remote control is a convenient way to manage your projector. This is especially important if your projector is installed on your ceiling. Having this device will remove the need for you to reach your projector installed in the ceiling. 

This is also very convenient when you are using long throws as sometimes they are installed far from the viewing area. Turning the power on and off is very easy using the remote control. 

(Got a projector and a laptop? Well, you can check this hack about how you can connect an Epson projector to a laptop easily


Are short throw projectors better?

Short throw projectors are better in some criteria. They are better for tiny rooms as the distance required between the screen and the projector is lower. There are also lower chances of shadow casted on the projection as well as lower chances of damage from accidental bumps. However, room cooling should be good as short throw projectors can get hot. They are also more expensive than the long throw models.


Choosing the right projector is very important to have the best viewing experience in your home theater. Our experts suggest considering factors such as throw distance, projector screen size, and room size when choosing between short throw vs long throw projector. 

For helpful tips about how to use a projector, you can also check the pages below: 

Integrating MacBook Air to a projector right 


Picture of Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.