Backyard projector screens: Best Outdoor Projector Screens For Movie| Backyard| Open Air

The best outdoor projector screens for 2023

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Written By
Abby Ferguson

Updated Jan 18, 2023 11:50 AM

Outdoor project screens can turn a backyard—or any outside space—into a great spot to hangout with family and friends. With an outdoor projector setup, you can keep the party where the grill is and put on the baseball game so you don’t miss a pitch. It’s also the perfect way to host an epic movie night. Simply put up the screen, pop the popcorn, and get out the lawn chairs and blankets, or maybe even a kiddie pool full of pillows. With so many different streaming options, it is simple to put on your favorite movie through a projector. For photographers, they can also be a great way to show off work by throwing an impromptu exhibition just about anywhere. The best outdoor projector screens will make you the star of the neighborhood and your friends.

  • Best overall: Elite Screens Yard Master 2 120-inch Outdoor Projector Screen
  • Best motorized: Aoxun 100″ Motorized Projector Screen
  • Best inflatable: Insignia™ – 114″ Outdoor Projector Screen
  • Best portable: Vamvo 120 inch Portable Foldable Projection Screen
  • Best budget: Mdbebbron 120 inch Projection Screen

Things to consider before buying an outdoor projector screen

Outdoor projector screens are mostly simple pieces of equipment. They are nothing more than a piece of fabric and frequently a frame of some sort. While there aren’t crazy technical specs to pay attention to when buying a projector screen, there are some things you’ll want to look out for and consider before spending your hard-earned money. Otherwise you may pair a fantastic projector with a less than fantastic screen, resulting in a subpar viewing experience.


Size is perhaps the most obvious thing to think about when buying a projector screen. Like any display device, there will be an optimal viewing distance and viewing angles for projector screens. You don’t want to get the largest screen possible for your tiny backyard and have to sit right in front of it. You want to measure the area in which you plan to put your screen before buying one to be sure it will fit and that you have room to sit back the proper amount.

The other key piece to consider related to size involves your projector. If you already have a projector, you’ll want to check its throw distance and maximum projection size. Throw distance relates to how close the projector needs to be to the projector screen. It will impact how large of an image the projector can create as well. If you buy a 140-inch screen, but the projector can only project an 80-inch image, you’ll have lots of wasted space. On the flip side, if you project larger than your projector is intended to, you won’t get as much brightness and may be able to see prominent pixel structure. Verify that the project you have–or are considering–can match up with the projector screen size you want to ensure a quality viewing experience.  

Aspect ratio

These days, most media content is in a 16:9 aspect ratio, yet not all projector screens will be the same. For some, white space on the top and bottom won’t matter. Or, maybe you stream different types of content with different aspect ratios, so you want something more versatile. But, if you want to fill the entire screen and only play 16:9 content, look for a projector screen with the same aspect ratio. 


The screen material will play a significant role in the quality of your image. While you can, of course, hang a white bedsheet up, the material’s translucent nature will result in a very low-quality image. You’ll lose out on brightness and contrast. Instead, look for a screen that is totally opaque and ideally has a black backing to prevent any light from going through it. PVC is one of the most common materials for quality screens because it blocks light very well. 

PVC is also preferred because it is a smooth surface. A heavily textured surface will reduce the image quality, making your movies and shows less sharp. Be sure to get a screen made of a smooth, low texture surface for better quality. 


Gain is another factor that is extremely important when it comes to quality. The measurement of gain can get a bit complicated and in the weeds. To put it simply, it is a number that represents the ratio of light reflecting off the screen compared to light reflecting off a standard white (magnesium oxide) board. For example, a screen that reflects the same amount of light as the white board will have a gain of 1.0.

High gain may seem like the best option, but that isn’t always the case. Gain also impacts viewing angles and hot-spotting (when the center is brighter than the rest). A high gain screen will be more limited in viewing angles and have a worse hotspot, especially when you get over 1.3. People seated on the edges of the screen will see less brightness than those in the center, which isn’t ideal. However, high gain screens are good in situations where there is some ambient light. A balance is definitely needed when it comes to gain, so look for something between 1.0 and 1.3 for outdoor viewing. 


The last piece of the puzzle with outdoor projector screens is how much assembly you want to do. Some screens are more simple to set up than others. If you plan on taking a screen down after every use but will be using it frequently, you’ll likely want to get something that doesn’t require much setup. A wall-mounted motorized screen may be best for situations like that, provided you don’t mind mounting it to the outside of your house. There are also some stands that are quick and easy to set up, should that be more your cup of tea.

Here are our picks for the best outdoor projector screen in 2022

Best overall: Elite Screens Yard Master 2 120-inch Outdoor Projector Screen

Why it made the cut: The Yard Master 2 comes in a range of sizes from 58 to 135 inches in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, is made of an easy to clean PVC material, and it’s easy to assemble.  

Key features

  • Screen size: 120 inches (also comes in 58, 75, 90, 100, 110, and 135-inch versions)
  • Gain: 1.3
  • Stand material: Aluminum
  • Assembled size: 88.9 x 109.8 x 36.7 inches


  • Lots of size options
  • Great picture quality
  • Black backing for less light penetration
  • 8K ready
  • Screen can be cleaned with soap and water


  • Prone to wrinkles

The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is a well-rounded screen with lots of great features at a reasonable price. This particular model has a 120-inch screen size with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This screen also comes in many different sizes should you want something smaller or larger. It also is available in a 4:3 ratio if that suits your needs better.

The screen is made of a very durable and smooth PVC material. It’s fully waterproof, so if you happen to have it up during an epic water gun fight, you don’t need to panic. And, if it should get dirty, you can wipe it down with soap and water. The legs are lightweight aluminum with stainless steel hinge plates and pins, making them rust and corrosion resistant. It’s plenty sturdy, but it does come with ground stakes and rigging cords just in case the wind picks up. And it’s very easy to assemble, keeping you from spending your afternoon getting it set up.

The screen itself is of great quality with little texture. It has a black backing for better brightness and contrast. The 1.3 gain is an ideal balance between better brightness without losing out on viewing angles. In fact, this screen has a 180-degree viewing angle, though don’t expect perfect performance if you’re sitting way off to the side. You can spread out on the yard while watching and still have an excellent viewing experience. It is ISF certified, meaning it will provide accurate colors. It is a bit prone to wrinkling, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem if you store it carefully. 

Best motorized: Aoxun 100″ Motorized Projector Screen

Why it made the cut: If outdoor viewing parties are a regular thing, this 100-inch motorized screen allows you to mount it to a wall or ceiling and use a remote to tuck it away when not in use. 

Key features

  • Screen size: 100 inches (also available in 110 and 120-inch versions)
  • Gain: 1.2
  • Stand material: Steel 
  • Assembled size: 88.98 x 57.87 inches with the screen down


  • Easy to install
  • Four-layer screen for excellent image quality
  • Quiet motor
  • Wireless remote or control box operated


  • Requires a wall or ceiling for mounting

If you want a more permanent solution for your outdoor projector, the Aoxun 100-inch Motorized Projector Screen is a fantastic option. The steel case easily mounts to either a wall or ceiling, so you won’t have to get it out and set it up every time you want to watch something outside. It’s definitely a great companion to larger covered porches. However, due to the size, the recommended viewing angle is 10 feet, so you won’t want to use this on apartment-sized decks or other similar spaces. 

The screen consists of four layers. It has a black backing layer to prevent light penetration, a glass fiber layer to help with picture clarity, an anti-light layer to improve image quality, and a protective layer that makes it easy to clean. All of this results in exceptional image quality suitable for up to 8K videos. It also has a gain of 1.2 for great contrast but a wide viewing angle of 160 degrees. 

The motor is quiet and provides smooth raising and lowering of the screen. It’s also quiet, less than 42 decibels, so you won’t wake up the neighborhood if you raise the screen after a late night movie. You can control it via a wireless remote or a wall-mountable control pane. An ideal situation in case the remote gets lost. And you can choose how far the screen comes down, so if you want something other than a 16:9 ratio, you can simply lower it less. 

This motorized option does require a wall or ceiling space for mounting, so it’s not going to be portable or able to be set up in the middle of your yard. And there is no tension on the screen, so wind may impact things while watching a movie. But, for a large motorized screen with excellent display qualities at such a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong if you have the space. 

Best inflatable: Insignia™ – 114″ Outdoor Projector Screen



Why it made the cut: This inflatable screen has a large 83 by 115-inch screen size and includes an air pump that fully inflates in seconds and a carrying case for easy transportation. 

Key features

  • Screen size: 114 inches
  • Gain: Not provided
  • Stand material: Not provided
  • Assembled size: 83 × 115 × 25 inches


  • Thick material for better image quality
  • Large screen
  • Fast inflation
  • Air blower is quiet


  • Air blower has to be constantly running when assembled
  • Prone to wrinkles

Inflatable projector screens are excellent options because of how easy they are to assemble. For the most part, you simply start the motorized air pump and let it do its thing. 

This inflatable screen from Insignia is excellent if you want something inflatable. It has a large 114-inch diagonal, resulting in a viewing area of 83 by 115 inches. It comes with ground steaks so that you can tie it down in case the weather turns on you. And it can handle some light rain as well.

The air pump does have to continuously run when you are watching, which introduces some noise. But the motor is quiet, so as long as you have some decent speakers for your projector, you won’t have issues hearing over it. The screen is made of a thick material to improve brightness and contrast. It is prone to showing creases from folding, but those should lessen with repeated use with the screen stretched taut. 

Best portable: Vamvo 120 inch Portable Foldable Projection Screen

Why it made the cut: This projector screen weighs only 6.95 when packed in the small carrying case, making it easy to bring wherever you need your movie night.  

Key features

  • Screen size: 120 inches (also comes in 80 and 100 inch versions)
  • Gain: Not provided
  • Stand material: Aluminum
  • Assembled size: 107 x 70.9 inches


  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with a small carrying case
  • Polyester screen material can be ironed to reduce wrinkles
  • Supports front and rear projection


  • Screen doesn’t have a black backing
  • Stand can be wobbly without tying it down

Sometimes movie night doesn’t happen in your backyard. Maybe you want to go over to a friend’s house, bring a projector to camp, or set up a party in a park. This Vamvo 120-inch Portable Foldable Projection Screen is an ideal solution. The screen folds down to just 22 by 14 inches, and all pieces of the stand and screen fit inside the included carrying case. With all packed up, it weighs only 6. 95 pounds and is only 22 x 12.2 x 4.7 inches, making it easy to throw in your car or even a backpack.

The stand features an elastic cord inside all the posts, sort of like tent poles. It makes it extremely easy and quick to assemble, keeping you from fussing around with it for hours. It also comes with ground stakes to tie it down for added stability when outside. 

The screen is made of polyester material. It is wrinkle-resistant, but you can take an iron to it to smooth everything out should it get wrinkles. There is no backing, and it isn’t fully opaque, so some light from the projector will cut through it, reducing brightness and contrast slightly. But, it does enable you to use either front or rear projection, which is nice to have. It won’t give you the highest picture quality, but it is an excellent choice for the price and portability.

Best budget: Mdbebbron 120 inch Projection Screen

Why it made the cut: This highly affordable option has a 120-inch diagonal size with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s wrinkle-resistant, and machine washable should it need cleaning.

Key features

  • Screen size: 120 inches
  • Gain: 1.1
  • Stand material: Not applicable – no stand provided
  • Assembled size: 104 x 58 inches


  • Comes with ropes and adhesive-based hooks for hanging
  • Large screen size
  • Wrinkle-resistant material
  • Can be machine washed if needed
  • Very affordable


  • Doesn’t include a stand

If you want a simple, straightforward projector screen option for your outdoor watch parties, this Mdbebbron 120-inch Projection Screen is ideal. It provides a large viewing area of 104 by 58 inches for an immersive experience and a 16:9 aspect ratio. 

Part of the reason for the low price of this screen is that it doesn’t come with a stand. However, it does come with ropes and hooks that use double-sided adhesive. You’ll either need to build a stand–PVC pipes are an easy option–or have wall space to mount the screen. 

The screen is made of wrinkle-resistant polyester. As with the portable option, the polyester material means you will lose out on some brightness since there is no backing, and light will seep through. But, it is lightweight and can be machine or hand washed should it get dirty. You can also iron it at a low heat if you want to ensure there are no wrinkles. 

It may not be the fanciest option on the list, but the low price makes it very enticing for those looking to use it occasionally


Q: How much do outdoor projector screens cost?

If you’re looking for the cheapest model, you can get a very basic screen for less than $50. Most stand-along options will set you back $150 or more. If you really want to get fancy with it, there are custom-installed versions out there that can run thousands of dollars. You have to really be committed to watching Shrek outdoors to get one of those, though.  

Q: What color screen is best for an outdoor projector?

A white screen is best for an outdoor projector. It will reflect more light, give you more accurate colors and contrast, and provide better viewing angles compared to a gray screen when used outdoors.

Q: Can projector screens be left outside?

Projector screens can be left outside, depending on the materials they are made from. Many outdoor projector screens are made from PVC materials with metal frames, making them waterproof and resistant to rust. The PVC material also means you can wipe them down should they get dirty. But, of course, if left in direct sunlight or harsh conditions such as cold temperatures, the screen may be at risk of cracking. 

Q: What size outdoor projector screen do I need?

What size outdoor projector screen you need depends on a few things. Your projector will be the main determining factor, as it will have an optimal projection size. Where you intend to put the screen also makes a difference, as there is an ideal seating distance for screen sizes. It’s also a matter of personal preference. If you have room to sit back a ways and your projector can handle it, a 120-inch outdoor projector screen is a nice large size for immersive viewing. 

Q: How many lumens do I need for an outdoor projector?

How many lumens you need for an outdoor projector will depend on how far away the projector will be and how much ambient light you will usually have while watching. Of course, brighter conditions will require more lumens as the projector will have to overpower the ambient light. But, in general, 3,000 ANSI lumens will be an ideal amount for an outdoor setting.

Final Thoughts

Finding an outdoor projector screen that is right for you depends on your space and what projector you will be using. You’ll want to find a screen size that works well with both aspects, and also consider how often you’ll need to assemble the screen to save yourself some headaches down the line.


When selecting the best outdoor projector screens, we aimed to choose a variety of stand types that would suit different setup needs. Whether you have a situation that allows you to leave the screen up permanently or you need to be able to travel with it, we made sure to include something that would work. The quality of the screen, in part controlled by materials and screen layers, was one of the primary considerations. And as always, choosing products at different price points was important. 

The 8 Best Outdoor Movie Screens of 2023

Outdoor movie nights just got a whole lot better


Jeremy Laukkonen

Jeremy Laukkonen

Jeremy Laukkonen is a freelance writer with 10+ years of experience explaining and reviewing smart home technology, home entertainment gear, and other consumer electronics. His own home is full of smart tech, from the lights to the vacuum cleaner.

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Editorial Process

Updated on 04/28/23

Fact checked by

Yoona Wagener

Fact checked by
Yoona Wagener

Yoona is a smart home and home tech commerce editor for The Spruce. She has contributed product reviews and how-tos for Lifewire and has prior experience in knowledge-base technical writing, technical customer support, and academic publishing.

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The Spruce / Lecia Landis

While a king-sized white bedsheet works great in a pinch for an outdoor movie night, an actual outdoor movie screen will take your home cinema experience to new heights of image quality and clarity. While outdoor movie screens can be quite an investment, there are thankfully many styles available aside from a permanent fixture. Pop-up screens, pull-down projector screens, and even inflatable movie screens are all great ways to transform your space for birthday parties, events, or even just family nights.

Aside from the style of screen, you need to consider the size that’s best for your space. While your space might determine what screen size feels realistic, Asher Weinstein of recommends you don’t go too small. “You’ll want to get a screen that’s at least 100 inches diagonal,” says Weinstein. “This will give you the cinematic feel that you’re hoping for.” With Weinstein’s advice in mind, we looked at dozens of outdoor movie screens and considered factors like durability, materials, and available sizes to offer you the best options. Get ready to make your family movie night so much better!

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:

Elite Screens Yard Master 2 at Amazon

Best Budget:

Mdbebbron 120-inch Projection Screen at Amazon

Best Splurge:

Elite Screens Yard Master Plus at Amazon

Best for Wind:

Khomo Gear Folding Projection Screen at Wayfair

Best Large:

Khomo Gear Jumbo at Amazon

Best Portable:

Elite Screens Pop-Up Cinema at Amazon

Best Pull-Down Projector Screen:

Elite Screens Manual Pull-Down Projector Screen at Amazon

Best Setup:

Vamvo 100 inch Portable Foldable Projection Screen at Amazon

In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • What to Look for

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust The Spruce


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View On Best Buy

What We Like

  • Durable, wrinkle-free screen

  • Screen cleans easily with soap and water

  • Fast setup and teardown

What We Don’t Like

The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is our top overall recommendation thanks to its heavy-duty frame that’s easy to set up and take down. It also has excellent picture quality without sacrificing durability. Every version of the Yard Master 2 comes with a screen made of the same CineWhite UHD-B, a rugged PVC material that’s strong enough to stand up to outdoor use while still displaying fantastic image quality and color accuracy. The 1.3 gain (a measure of reflectivity) even lets you use a bigger screen than you might have expected your projector would be able to handle, as it’s nearly 30 percent more reflective than a standard 1.0 gain screen.

While this screen may only take around 15 minutes to set up, the screen can be difficult to stretch over the frame. Both the frame and screen are durable enough to stay outside, but both pieces will last a lot longer if you take them inside in between viewings. If you have space in your home for the assembled frame, the legs fold up in seconds for flat storage. However, note that you have to remove the screen for safe stowing of the frame.

We recommend the 120-inch Yard Master 2 because it’s an excellent value and sized to fit most yards, but you can also get this screen in sizes that vary between a modest 58 inches—if you’re tight on space—and a massive 135 inches, if you have more room to spread out.

Price at time of publish: $234

Screen Size: 120 inches (also 55, 58, 75, 90, 100, 110, or 135 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 4:3 | Material: CineWhite UHD-B (PVC) | Gain: 1.3 | Dimensions: 109.8 x 36.7 x 89 inches


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What We Like

  • Compact when not in use

  • Strong mounting grommets

  • Front or rear projection

What We Don’t Like

The Mdbebbron Projection Screen is cheaper than buying a king-sized sheet, and it’s also durable enough for outdoor use. This polyester screen works for both front and rear projection and folds easily for storage. It is also machine washable if it gets dirty from excessive water exposure.

While we appreciate how easy this screen is to fold and pack away when not in use, a frame would make mounting it slightly easier and ensure there are no wrinkles in the middle of the projection. This screen has a border of a rugged black material set with heavy-duty metal grommets. It comes with plastic mounting hooks and rope that you can use to mount it to an exterior wall, or you can use nails for a sturdier installation. Getting this screen set up takes a little extra work and ingenuity, but you can’t beat the value. This screen is a great choice for parents looking to set up an outdoor movie night without making a huge investment.

Price at time of publish: $36

Screen Size: 120 inches (also 150 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: Polyester fabric | Gain: Not listed | Dimensions: 104 x 0.2 x 58 inches


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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

The Yard Master Plus, a slight upgrade from our best overall pick, is perfect for movie lovers who aren’t willing to compromise on image fidelity to do enjoy a night under the stars. We recommend the 120-inch model for its wide applications, but this screen is also available in sizes that range from 57 inches for intimate outdoor spaces to 200 inches for those looking to create an immersive backyard cinematic experience.

This screen comes with a durable sealed-edge frame that’s strong enough to withstand the elements, but it’s also heavy, so it’s a bit more difficult to set up and move around compared to Elite Screens’ other Yard Master products. However, this screen’s frame legs are adjustable, allowing you to set up the perfect viewing angle. The CineWhite screen is also suitable for 4K content, so break out your ultra high definition (UHD) Blu-rays and send out invites to all your fellow film enthusiasts.

Price at time of publish: $385

Screen Size: 120 inches (also 100, 110, 135, 145, 150, 180, and 200 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: CineWhite UHD-B (PVC) | Gain: 1. 3 | Dimensions: 110.4 x 48.9 x 127.2 inches

Way Fair

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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

Big outdoor movie screens tend to be heavy and difficult for one person to set up and move around, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a small screen if you don’t have anyone to help. The Khomo Gear Portable Projection Screen is remarkably lightweight at less than 12 pounds, easy to set up, and isn’t difficult to move around at all, even if you’re working by yourself. It’s so lightweight that it’s actually a little unstable, but it comes with stakes and tie-downs you can use to secure it in place even if the wind starts blowing.

This screen features a lightweight freestanding frame that leverages tension rods to stretch the screen tight and remove wrinkles. The screen’s robust nylon material is thin enough to support both front and rear projection. However, it doesn’t do well in front projection situations if there’s any ambient light—such as light from outdoor string lights—shining from behind, so we recommend either using it in a rear projection setup or placing it against a wall to block ambient light.

Price at time of publish: $155

Screen Size: 120 inches (also 100 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: Nylon | Gain: Not listed | Dimensions: ‎102 x 92 inches


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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

The Khomo Gear Jumbo Inflatable Projector Screen is a massive 20-foot inflatable screen, and it’s purpose-built to provide an immersive cinematic experience right in your own backyard. The bright white screen attaches semi-permanently to the frame with Velcro, so setup is even easier than most inflatables: Just plug in the blower, wait for it to inflate, and then secure the tie-downs. Even with the spikes in place, this screen could be unstable, depending on the weather, so be mindful of windy days. The screen remains attached during storage, so it’s ready to go as soon as it finishes inflating.

This screen’s spandex-like material is thin enough to support both front and rear projection. It works best with rear projection due to the thinness of the material, as it isn’t very reflective. The thin material also allows it to work with projectors that aren’t quite up to the task of illuminating a screen this size. If you have the hardware (more substantial spikes) and space to really go all out for your outdoor movie nights, this screen would be a hit.

Price at time of publish: $220

Screen Size: 20 feet (also 16 feet) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: Not listed | Gain: Not listed | Dimensions: 16 x 6.5 x 10.5 feet


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What We Like

  • Quick and easy setup

  • Compact case is easy to carry

  • Front or rear projection

What We Don’t Like

The Elite Screens Pop-Up Cinema is a great screen to pack for camping or to bring to a friend’s backyard. This screen is super lightweight, can be collapsed for easy transport in the included carrying case, and can also be set up very quickly. The screen itself pops open on its own, and then you complete the setup by putting together the base and attaching the screen.

Elite Screens uses a trademarked SilkWhite material for the screen, which is a white synthetic fabric with a 1.0 gain. That base level of reflectivity is pretty good, considering that this screen works with both front and rear projection. We will note the screen tends to wrinkle very easily, and putting it away is an exacting process of twisting and turning the frame. It may take some time to master the ideal storage process. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the process, so you don’t end up fumbling in the dark after a late-night outdoor viewing.

Price at time of publish: $80

Screen Size: 84 inches (also 92 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: SilkWhite synthetic fabric | Gain: 1. 0 | Dimensions: 81.1 x 28.9 x 72.7 inches


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What We Like

What We Don’t Like

If you have a protected outdoor area where you can hang a screen, the Elite Screens M100H Manual 100-inch Pull-Down Projector Screen is an excellent option. It’s manual, so there are no electronics to worry about being exposed to the elements. While the housing protects the screen when it isn’t in use, it feels a bit on the flimsy side—so we recommend mounting it permanently to avoid bending it. It has three mounting options, so you’re sure to find a configuration that works well with your space. You can also feel good about this screen’s MaxWhite 2 material, which has a 1.1 gain that’s great for color clarity and is also mildew-resistant.

In addition to the 100-inch version, the Manual B Series is also available in sizes that range between 80 and 135 inches and in both 1:1 and 4:3 aspect ratios (the ratio of the screen’s width to height). We typically recommend 16:9 projector screens, but it’s worth considering a slightly bigger 4:3 ratio if you watch a mix of 4:3 and 16:9 content. The screen locks at 2- to 4-inch intervals when you pull it down, so you can easily configure a standard screen to display widescreen content when necessary. 

Price at time of publish: $84

Screen Size: 100 inches (also 80, 100, 120, 125, 135 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (also 1:1, 4:3) | Material: MaxWhite 2 | Gain: 1.1 | Dimensions: 89.4 x 59.9 inches


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What We Like

  • Internal elastic rope allows easy assembly

  • Easily portable with included case

  • One person can set it up

What We Don’t Like

The portable and foldable Vamvo 120-inch Projector Screen may look a lot like the other self-supported screens on our list, but its setup process is a game changer. The frame consists of individual sections that have an internal elastic rope running through them, so they look and work a lot like tent poles. There’s no confusion about which piece connects to which because they’re connected by the rope, so the frame automatically takes shape as you snap each piece into its neighbor.

The screen itself is a durable polyester fabric that attaches to the frame with Velcro for easy setup and teardown. The frame stands on two tripod legs that aren’t adjustable, so you can’t set a custom height for the screen, but they do snap into place quickly. The tripod legs aren’t stable in the wind, but four sections of rope and a number of ground stakes are included in this screen’s kit to help secure everything.

Price at time of publish: $101

Screen Size: 120 inches (also 80 and 100 inches) | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Material: Polyester fabric | Gain: Not listed | Dimensions: 107 x 70. 9 inches

Final Verdict

The Elite Screens Yard Master 2 is our top overall recommendation for the best outdoor movie screen because it’s easy to set up, exceedingly durable, and offers great picture quality. It’s the perfect screen for watching sporting events, setting up a backyard movie night, or just about anything else. If you’re after something more cinematic and have a big enough yard, consider the Khomo Gear Jumbo Inflatable Projector Screen. This 20-foot monster is a breeze to set up, thanks to its built-in blower, perfectly suited for inviting the whole neighborhood to movie night.


Most outdoor movie screens use some type of rugged PVC material or a synthetic fabric like polyester for the projection surface. These are both good options, but PVC materials stand up better to the elements, and you can clean them with soap and water if they get dirty or iron them to reduce wrinkles.

Asher Weinstein of warns that the material’s texture can affect the picture quality. “Unless you have a gigantic budget, there are no affordable outdoor projector screens that can resolve a true 4K image,” Weinstein says. “The best you’ll be able to find is a 1080p screen. These near-textureless screens would be good enough for most outdoor movie theaters.”

The color of the screen material is also important because it affects the picture quality. “You’ll likely want to get a white screen that will give you a brighter image while sacrificing the black levels you’d get from a gray projector screen,” says Weinstein.


The American National Standards Institute rates projector brightness in ANSI Lumens. This number and the size of the screen are what determine the brightness of the picture projected on your screen. Smaller screens result in brighter pictures, while a larger screen with the same ANSI Lumens will have to spread it out over a larger area and yield a picture that isn’t as bright.

Aside from its size, a screen’s gain (how reflective it is) also impacts the brightness of the projected image. A standard, highly reflective screen has a gain of 1, while brighter screens have higher numbers. The higher the gain, the brighter the perceived image. For example, a screen with a 1.3 gain will appear 30 percent brighter than a screen with a gain of 1. The catch is that higher-gain screens also have narrower viewing angles.

“There are three aspects you’ll need to know to figure out if your projected image will be bright enough,” says Weinstein. “The projector’s lumens, the size of the screen, and the gain of the screen. Together, these make up the system’s foot-lamberts.”

The calculation works by dividing the lumens of your projector by the area of the screen in square feet. You then multiply that resulting number by the gain of the screen. The formula should be as follows: (Lumens / Screen Area) x Screen Gain = Foot-lamberts.

You can use the foot-lamberts to tell how good the projection will look in varying levels of light. Indoor setups can usually suffice with lower foot-lamberts, but outdoor systems usually have to deal with ambient light even after the sun goes down. “For an outdoor projector setup, you’ll want to have at least 40 foot-lamberts,” advises Weinstein. “However, you ideally want to have over 60 foot-lamberts.”

Screen Size

The best thing about watching movies outdoors is that you don’t have the same screen size constraints that you run into indoors. Outdoor screens range from 80 inches to over 20 feet, but it’s important to remember you’re limited by the brightness of your projector and the size of your outdoor space. There are two key terms you should consider in the realm of a screen’s overall size and picture quality: throw ratio and aspect ratio.

  • Throw Ratio: This ratio determines the distance that your projector should sit away from your screen. Likewise, your screen’s width also determines the throw ratio you need. Each projector model has a different throw ratio. Before purchasing your outdoor movie screen, you should confirm the throw ratio of your projector to ensure you purchase a screen that is large enough. You can use this formula to help determine the distance your project will have to be situated: throw ratio x screen width = distance.
  • Aspect Ratio: This is the ratio of an image’s height compared to its width. When you purchase an outdoor movie screen, it should list the aspect ratio among other purchasing specs. If you don’t have a specific reason to do otherwise, you should select a screen that has a 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s the aspect ratio of high-definition (HD) television, and it’s also pretty close to the aspect ratio of movies, so it’s likely to match most of the content you watch.

You should also think about the size of your backyard or outdoor space before purchasing a large outdoor screen. For a middle-of-the-theater experience, consider picking a screen with about 10 inches of diagonal screen size per foot that you plan on sitting away from the screen—or per foot of space that you have available. So for a 10-foot screen, you’d want to be able to sit 12 feet away. For a 20-foot screen, you’d want to be able to sit about 24 feet away for the best experience.


  • Some projectors are better suited to outdoor use than others, but you can pair any projector with an outdoor movie screen as long as that screen isn’t too big for the projector. That means you can use a projector you already have, but only if you select a screen of a particular size to provide the best viewing experience. As mentioned above, a projector’s throw ratio is going to determine the distance you’ll need to properly project on any given screen size. If you’re looking for the best picture quality possible, be sure to pair an HD or 4K projector with an appropriate screen.

  • You might be tempted to get the biggest screen that will fit in your backyard, but bigger screens require brighter projectors. If you already have your projector, you can use its lumens output to determine the biggest screen that will work, or you can work backward from the size of your ideal screen to figure out what projector you need to buy.

    To determine the size of the largest screen that will work with your projector, divide the projector’s ANSI Lumens by the desired foot-lambert total. It will work if the area of the screen you want, in square feet, is smaller than the number you calculated. If it’s bigger, the picture may not be bright enough.

    For example, let’s say your projector outputs 2000 ANSI Lumens, and you’re aiming for 60 foot-lamberts for a nice bright picture. You would divide 2000 by 60 and see that your screen could be up to 33.33 square feet. A 100-inch screen has an area of 29.6 square feet, so that would be just about the biggest screen you would want. You could select a bigger screen if you’re okay with a picture that isn’t as bright and clear. Alternatively, you could find a more powerful projector.

  • There are a lot of outdoor movie screen designs, and they’re all assembled differently. The most basic screens don’t have frames. They’re lined with grommets instead, and you either mount the screen to a frame you build yourself, or you can tie it to your house, two conveniently placed trees, or any other sturdy object. This type of screen is easiest to install if you have an extra set of hands to hold it in place while you tie it down.

    Most screens come with a frame that you snap or bolt together and then secure in some way to keep it from blowing away. You then attach the screen to the frame using snaps, rope, or Velcro straps. This style isn’t that difficult to assemble, but the bigger ones are much easier to put together with two or more people.

    Mounted outdoor movie screens are either permanently or temporarily mounted or hung on a wall. You can mount the screen permanently if you have a protected outdoor area. Otherwise, you want to install hooks or other mounting hardware on the wall that allows you to hang the screen temporarily and then remove it to store it inside.

    Inflatable screens come with built-in blowers, so assembly is typically just a matter of plugging the blower into power and securing the screen with tie-downs, so it doesn’t blow away. These models are usually the easiest to set up because they tend to stand up independently as they inflate.

This article was written by Jeremy Laukkonen, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. He’s been running backyard movie nights at his own home for years and has over a decade of experience reviewing electronics for outlets like Lifewire and Digital Trends, in addition to the Spruce. To get a better grasp on the latest developments in outdoor movie screens and what to look for, Laukkonen contacted Asher Weinstein of director of e-commerce and marketing at Next Projection/ With Weinstein’s expert insight, Laukkonen looked at factors like screen materials, durability, and portability along with ease of setup and use. Size was another important concern since the size of your outdoor projector screen is limited by the output of your projector.

Emma Phelps, an associate editor for The Spruce, updated this article to review the selected products and provide more purchasing information on outdoor movie screens.

The 7 Best Outdoor Projectors of 2023

Do you need a projector screen in your home theater?

Before buying your first projector, you should have a general idea of ​​where it will go. You will need enough wall space as well as easy access to an electrical outlet. After that, you also need to decide if you want to get a screen. Projector screens don’t have to be very expensive, but it’s worth deciding if you need one before spending money.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a projector screen

The biggest benefit of buying a projector screen is that it gives you more control than with a bare wall. A perfectly smooth wall is great, but any minor imperfections can damage your projected image.

The color of your wall will be the most important factor. If you own your home, this isn’t a problem, but tenants can get stuck with a wall color that makes the projected image look too dark or too bright.

Even if you have a perfectly flat white wall, you may still need a projector screen. Most screens have a black border around them to help frame your movies and TV shows. The screen also gives you more control over how much light is reflected: a screen with a matte finish will make it much easier to shield the image from outside light.

But the screen is at least somewhat constant. A couple of months ago I moved some things around so my projected image could be a little bigger than it was. Since I’m projecting onto a bare wall, I was able to rebuild my projector and be on my merry way. If I were to use a screen, I would have to buy a larger screen, remove the smaller screen to mount the larger one, and then find a home for the smaller one. These are not impossible tasks, and I don’t intend to move my projector to a new location too often. But it’s nice to know that I have more flexibility to try different options since I don’t have to worry about moving the giant box.

Advantages and disadvantages of bare wall projection

The main attraction of simple bare wall projection is that you don’t have to shell out money for the screen. Basic projector screens are not too expensive, especially compared to the price of the projector itself. But you’ll want to get a more expensive screen to make sure your image is color corrected and absorbs some of the ambient light. And a good quality screen can add a few hundred dollars to your home theater.

Wall projection also makes moving the projector a breeze: place it where you want it, make small adjustments as needed, and enjoy a gigantic image. Again, this is not something most people will do on a regular basis, but I enjoy the flexibility. I take my projector to backyard movie parties, weddings, funerals and other events. When I come home and want to play some video games, I don’t want to waste time setting the projector up to 100% perfect. This may be enough for an hour or so while I relax with the game.

I also move to a different apartment every year. There are worse ways to pass the day than removing and remounting a projector screen, but that’s just one more thing to do when I’m worried about moving all my possessions. There is also a non-zero chance that the screen will be damaged while it is in a moving van.

Your projector may also have a setting to correct the color of your wall. This feature varies by manufacturer and model, but it can be one way to get some of the benefits of buying a screen at no additional cost.

None of these problems happen every day, but home theater equipment is a big investment that should last for years and years. It is worth thinking about every part of using and maintaining your home theater over an extended period of time.

Which is right for you?

Don’t overspend on paint.

Whether you buy a projector screen will depend on your specific situation. If you know for sure that your projector will be in the same place while you live in your home, then a projector screen is a great option. You can get by with a cheaper screen, but something like the Silver Ticket line is a treat if you can jump for them. The frame is easy to assemble and the screen is great at absorbing ambient light. The black frame around the screen will help you position the image correctly and make the image even more attractive. They range in price from $175 for 9A 2-inch screen is up to $770 for a 200-inch one, so be sure which size you want before spending money.

The Nierbo range goes from a 100-inch screen for $28 to a 300-inch screen for $178. They don’t have a solid metal frame, but that makes the screen cheaper and easier to move around. You can also make your own screen by cutting a piece of canvas to your desired size and painting it if you want your home theater to be more personal.

If you’re unsure – or if you don’t want to shell out money for a screen right away – don’t try to project the image onto a bare wall. It’s easier to try a bare wall first, and you may find that as soon as you start watching a movie or playing a game, the minor imperfections on your wall disappear.

You may be tempted by the special “ULTRA PREMIUM SUPER AWESOME PROJECTOR SCREEN PAINT”, which claims that your wall works like a projector screen. The paint probably isn’t bad, but it’s way too expensive for what it is. Just go with matte white or light gray paint if you want to spruce up the wall.

Using the projector outdoors – all you need to know

Can I leave the projector outside?

Using the projector during the day – is it possible?

High light output is ideal

Using the projector at night

Where to install the projector

Outdoor TV vs outdoor projector

Outdoor projectors

Outdoor TVs


Have you ever wanted to bring a driveway feel to your backyard? At the open-air cinema, you can watch movies under the stars with some of your favorite chocolates and sodas for a quarter of the price from the comfort of your own backyard with a projector. But what are the details of using the projector outdoors?

The projector provides a cinematic experience with a variety of screen sizes and is a great alternative to outdoor TV. However, unlike an outdoor TV, an outdoor projector should not be stored outdoors.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about using your projector outdoors to find out everything you need to know to get the most out of your projector.

Can the projector be left outside?

Unfortunately, projectors are not designed for extended outdoor use. The projector is a great option for outdoor gatherings such as movie days/nights with friends, family or loved ones. However, the projector must be brought indoors after each use.

Projectors are a technology that should be handled with care. Unless you’re going to leave your phone or laptop outside overnight or all day to succumb to the morning dew or the scorching sun, then it’s not recommended to leave the projector that way.

The projector must be properly stored and protected from extreme cold, heat, weather and moisture to keep it in good working order and give it a long service life.

Using the projector during the day – is it possible?

The projector can be used throughout the day (and in fact we have a separate article discussing this unique use case), but there are some details that need to be clarified. Consider going outside on a very sunny day when there are no clouds in the sky and try to look at your phone. It’s not easy, right? The sun is so bright that it absorbs the light of the screens, as well as the light of the projectors.

A shaded area is required when watching movies or TV shows on a projector screen outdoors. The projector will have to compete with the sun when used in a sunny location, but it won’t have to work as hard if it’s located in a dark place.

High luminous flux is ideal

In order to be able to view the projector during the day, certain characteristics must be met. If you are looking for a new projector, your best bet is to go with a high quality projector with plenty of lumens for optimal outdoor use during the day.

What is lumen? Simply put, lumens are the amount of light emitted, in this case from a light bulb in a projector. The more lumens, the more light will be emitted. The WiMiUS P28 LED projector (on Amazon), for example, sports As many as 7000 lumens, while the Hompow smartphone portable video projector (also on Amazon) has only 3600, so the former would be the best option for outdoor use.

However, even a projector with significant lumens will still provide a hard to see screen viewing experience in direct sunlight. The best option is to place the projector and screen in a dark (or at least partially shaded) area, which could be either under a tree or on a covered patio. If you want to learn more about lumens, what they are, and why they matter, be sure to check out our separate guide on the subject.

Using the projector at night

Projectors are most often used outdoors at night, but you may have questions about the specifics. Unsurprisingly, it’s much more practical to use the projector outdoors at night. The projector won’t have to compete with the sun once it starts to set and twilight starts to take over the night sky.

Projectors are great for watching movies with family, friends or a partner. They provide a bigger screen experience, making your content more impressive. The projectors are flexible to fit any screen size, so you don’t have to worry about fitting your specific viewing area.

Even if you plan to use the projector primarily at night, it is still important to have a high aperture projector. There will almost always be some kind of light that the projector will need to let through, whether it’s light from inside the house, a street light, or a fire nearby to keep insects out.

You can also start your movie night earlier with a better projector with more light output. A bright screen combined with excellent resolution will greatly improve picture and viewing quality. It’s also a good idea to have a candle or insect repellent spray near the projector, as the bright light emitted from the lenses will attract insects.

Where to install the projector

Fortunately, projectors are easy to move due to their relatively compact size, so there is no need to determine a permanent location. However, you do need a screen, and it can be a little more difficult to move and set up.

During the day, it is best to install the projector in a partly or completely shaded area. Some seating ideas include a retractable awning or pergola, a covered patio, or under a large tree. Positioning options get a little easier after dark, but avoid getting the projector too close to home if there are motion sensors or interior lights that need to stay on (as well as other light sources).

Find a comfortable spot with enough space for the projector, screen and seating/viewing and you’re ready to go.

Outdoor TV vs Outdoor Projector

You may ask: what is the difference between outdoor TV and outdoor projector? What are the pros and cons? There are a few things to consider when choosing between a projector and a TV for outdoor entertainment.

Outdoor Projectors

If the viewing experience is important to you, then this projector is the winner. The projector will create the atmosphere of a real autodrome or cinema. The screen size can be any (depending on your projector) and it’s a great choice for a big screen feel.

It’s not a big deal to bring the projector and screen of your choice from storage outside every time you want to use it.