Calculate Projection Distance: How Far Should a Projector Be?

Calculate Projection Distance

Let’s be honest; we all have wanted the luxury of watching a video or movie through a projector screen. It’s super entertaining to watch media on a big screen, and with projectors, you can even watch it in 3D. 

But to get the best experience out of your projector, you’ll need the perfect distance between the screen and the projector. So if you use a projector, you’re probably wondering how to calculate projection distance.

The distance depends on the throw ratio, but it’s different on each projector. But you don’t need to worry much since it’ll usually be noted on the website of the projector.

But in this article, we’ll cover all about projectors and calculating projection distance. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What Is Projector Throw Distance?

Projection throw distance is incredibly important for calculating the projection distance. To put it simply, it’s the distance between the lens of the projector and the projected image.

What Is Projector Throw Distance

The throw distance along with the size of an image displayed on the screen are proportionate to each other, and the lens’s optics calculates them. So if you increase the projector throw distance, the image will also increase in size. 

What Is Throw Ratio For A Projector?

The throw ratio for your projector is the most critical aspect of calculating the projection distance.

In short, it’s the relation of the throw distance with the width of the image. However, it’s much more complicated in scientific terms. 

What Is Throw Ratio For A Projector

The easiest way to calculate the throw ratio is by dividing the throw distance by the width of the image. So the formula is-


To make it more accurate, you should consider using a throw ratio calculator instead. Because they generally consider diagonal and height along with the width.

How Far Away Does The Projector Need To Be From The Screen?

As mentioned earlier, the distance between your projector and the screen depends on its throw capability. With the throw ratio, you can find out the ideal distance.

Now, you can always eyeball it to the point where it looks good. Short throw projectors are generally good between 3 to 5 ratios and higher ratios can be as much as 13 feet. But if you want to geek it out a bit, this is what you have to do-

So, first, you have to find your throw ratio. It should be written somewhere in the box or on the product manual. You can also check the company website or contact their customer support.

How Far Away Does The Projector Need To Be From The Screen

This could either be expressed in a ratio (such as 1:1) or it could tell you what is the ideal distance for a certain image width.

We know the throw ratio is the ratio of distance to width. So, if you have a ratio like 1:1, then it means that you have to have a foot of distance for every foot of projection width. The manufacturers can also say the throw ratio is 1. This will also mean the same thing. And a throw ratio of 1.5 will mean the ratio is 1.5:1.

If the manufacturers have provided an ideal distance for certain screen width, you can divide the distance by the screen width to get the throw ratio. The throw ratio can also be a range if your projector has zoom functionality.

How To Measure An Ideal Screen Size & Distance By Projection Calculator

If you are not a professional, you probably don’t want to do all that math I just showed you. To make it easier, you can use a projection calculator. 

In my opinion, the Epson throw distance calculator and BenQ projector calculator are the easiest.

How To Measure An Ideal Screen Size

You just need to go to the page, input your variable, and have your answer about the screen size and distance. Make sure you have all the information you have to input, such as the aspect ratio.

What Throw Distances Are The Best?

Although there is no best throw distance in general, there are certain ranges for certain categories of throw distances.

What Throw Distances Are The Best

Long Throw

A long throw distance is usually seen in cinema halls, and they can produce huge images on big screens. These are most commonly placed on the ceiling of a large room, being within 10-30 feet away. 

Long Throw

Short Throw

Short throws are usually the most preferred throw for a projector since they can provide relatively large images without any glare or shadows. These projectors are mostly placed near the screen between 3 to 8 feet on a wall or ceiling.

Short Throw

Super-Short Throw

And lastly, ultra-short or super-short throws are for creating medium-sized images with no shadows or glare. These are most commonly seen on a table between 2 to 4 feet from the projector screen. 

Super-Short Throw

How Far Should A Projector Be From An 80-Inch Screen?

To find the perfect distance where your projector needs to be from the screen, you can read the manual of your projector. But on 80-inch screens, most projectors will need to be placed through 95 inches and 110 inches, or around 8 feet. 

How Far Should A Projector Be From An 80-Inch Screen

But if you’re willing to use a projector, an 80-inch screen won’t give you the best experience. Try to get a screen that is at least 100 inches.

How Far Should A Projector Be From A 100-Inch Screen?

100-inch projector screens are by far the most popular, considering they’re ideally big for most people to see and they don’t cost too much. But since they’re bigger, you’ll need to put your projector at least 120 inches away.

Most people put it between 122 inches and 133 inches or 10 feet, but you should see what suits you the best since it’s all about personal preference. 

How Far Does A Projector Have To Be From A 120-Inch Screen?

Although 120-inch screens don’t sound much bigger than a 100-inch, the difference is quite big. But before you calculate how far it should be, make sure to check the aspect ratio first.

How Far Does A Projector Have To Be From A 120-Inch Screen

And as a rule of thumb, you should place your projector between 145 and 160 inches of a 120-inch projector screen, or around 12.5 foot. But once again, it depends on the throw ratio, aspect ratio, and other aspects of your projector. 

How Far Back Does A Projector Need To Be For A 150 Inch Screen?

Try to check the projector’s manual or website since it’ll likely have the perfect distance of how far it should be. But generally, a distance between 190 inches and 205 inches will work for most people with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Make sure to get a big room with good lighting as it’ll make your experience better. Also, consider lighting, zoom, room size, and model of your projector.

How Far Back Does A Projector Need To Be For A 150 Inch Screen

But if you’re using an ultra-short throw or a short-throw projector, you should place the projector 8 feet away from the screen. 


Hopefully, now you know all the ways how to calculate projection distance. It’s relatively simple, and you’ll only need to know the basics of math to calculate it. 

However, most projection distance sizes and other specifications are written on the projector’s manual or website, so look out for those. But as a final tip, I’d recommend you put your projector between 4 and 8 inches. 

This distance will usually work for most projectors, and you’ll likely find the perfect distance using it quickly. But with all that being said, good luck and cheers!

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