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What is the best cheap projector to buy for an amazing home golf simulator system?

How to get best projector at an affordable price for a fantastic home golf simulator

Bob Wudeck
How To Get The Best Projector At An Affordable Price For A Fantastic Home Golf Simulator

If you are thinking about adding a golf simulator to your spare bedroom or basement, trying to figure out the right projector can be confusing.  While a nice high brightness 4K laser golf simulator projector is ideal for a high-end setup, this article will look at low-cost projectors that nearly anyone can afford.  There are four things to look for when shopping for an inexpensive golf simulator projector.

  • The correct aspect ratio and resolution to display on your impact screen
  • The right throw ratio so you can place the projector in a safe place 
  • Whether you want a cheaper lamp projector or a brighter laser projector
  • How to save even more with a factory refurbished projector

What is the right aspect ratio for a cheap golf simulator projector?

Less expensive golf simulator setups will use either a square 4:3 impact screen – which is the least expensive and takes up the smallest amount of space in a room, or a widescreen aspect ratio that is also good for using as a home theater. Keep in mind that the larger your screen – the better a higher resolution projector will look when you are playing since it keeps the pixels from being too big.  Here are the common resolutions you should consider for less expensive golf simulator projectors.

4:3 Aspect Ratio - XGA Resolution

XGA projectors are the least expensive projectors suited for golf simulators since they use the traditional square 4:3 format and generate around 800K pixels.   Most of these models are also use lamps, which also keeps the purchase price lower.   Originally designed for the classroom, these projectors are great for golf simulation setups using 4:3 impact screens.  One popular inexpensive model is the MX825ST, which is bright enough for most rooms and has a short throw lens that can easily fill up a larger impact screen for a little more than $600.

16:9 or Widescreen Aspect Ratio - WXGA or 1080p Resolution

The next step up for low-cost golf simulator projectors is to go with a widescreen setup.  This is better if you also want to use the room to watch movies, but you will need a bigger screen than a 4:3 model to ensure you don’t hit the ball over the top.  A WXGA projector has a 16:10 aspect ratio and about 1 million pixels, and a 1080p projector has a 16:9 aspect ratio with 2 million pixels.  If you get a bigger impact screen over 100 inches, the cost difference for the extra 1 million pixels may be worth it.  The TH671ST is a popular 1080p for golf simulators that uses a lamp, while the LW820ST is a brighter short throw WXGA model that uses lasers.

16:9 Aspect Ratio upgrade - 4K or UHD Resolution

Some of the newest golf simulators such as Foresight, and TruGolf, generate a whopping 8.3 million pixels on the screen – creating the most realistic and immersive experience possible – especially on a larger impact screen.  A true UHD 4K projector can display each one of these pixels on the screen, enabling you to see every detail of the course.  The BenQ TK850 4K projector is under $1500 and enables you to play golf in 4K – and watch the Masters in true 4K resolution.

Why is “throw ratio” important for a golf simulator projector?

If you have limited ceiling height and room space, you will want to look at a “short throw” projector to place the projector in a location to keep it away from your driver.  Short throw projectors are slightly more expensive than the cheapest projectors but pay for themselves by making them easy to place in your simulation setup.  The throw ratio specification on these models is usually around or less than “1.”  As you will see by the chart below, the smaller the “throw ratio” number – the closer you can put the projector to the screen, but they are more expensive than models with a higher throw ratio.

Should I buy a Lamp or Laser Projector?

BenQ introduced the first laser projector in 2011, and since then the cost of laser projectors has come down substantially.  While a laser projector isn’t a “cheap golf simulation projector,” you may find it worth the extra cost. Here are the two key differences between a lamp and a laser projector for golf simulators.

Instant On / Off

A laser projector turns on instantly – just like your TV – and doesn’t require a warm-up period like a traditional lamp.   Laser projectors are ideal when you just want to drop in and hit a quick bucket of balls.

Replacement lamp Costs

While projectors with traditional lamps are less expensive to purchase– the cost of replacement lamps – and the hassle of installing them – are something to consider.  Why?  For a 3000-lumen lamp projector like the TK850, the lamp has special modes to extend the life beyond 4000 hours.  But for brighter projectors (such as 4000 lumen or 5000 lumen models), the lamps have a shorter life and are more expensive to replace.   For most golf simulator projectors that are brighter than 3000 lumens, a laser projector like the LH710 is a better – and less expensive approach over time.   

So how much does a cheap golf simulator projector cost?

Compared to other golf simulator parts, a projector is one of the less expensive components – but can make a big difference in how your simulator looks, especially if you want to use it for watching streaming golf content when you are not playing.  Here is a breakdown of the cost and features of models you may want to consider that have the right throw ratios for golf simulation placement and how much they typically cost.  Note that many of these models may have special pricing or promotions, so check with us or your reseller for the latest price.

 

BenQ MX825ST

BenQ TH671ST

BenQ TK850

BenQ LW820ST

BenQ LH710

 

Brightness

BenQ MX825ST

3200 Lumens

BenQ TH671ST

3000 Lumens

BenQ TK850

3000 Lumens

BenQ LW820ST

3600 Lumens

BenQ LH710

4000 Lumens

 

Aspect Ratio /Resolution

BenQ MX825ST

4:3

XGA

BenQ TH671ST

16:9

1080p

BenQ TK850

16:9

4K UHD

BenQ LW820ST

16:10

WXGA

BenQ LH710

16:9

1080p

 

Throw Ratio

BenQ MX825ST

.61

BenQ TH671ST

0.69~0.83 (100"@ 4.5 feet)

BenQ TK850

1.13 - 1.47 (100" @ 8.2 feet)

BenQ LW820ST

.52

BenQ LH710

1.13 ~ 1.46 (100"@ 8.2 feet)


 

# of Pixels

BenQ MX825ST

< 1 Million

BenQ TH671ST

2.1 Million

BenQ TK850

8.3 Million

BenQ LW820ST

1 Million

BenQ LH710

2.1 Million

 

Lamp Type

BenQ MX825ST

Lamp

BenQ TH671ST

Lamp

BenQ TK850

Lamp

BenQ LW820ST

Laser

BenQ LH710

Laser

 

Lamp Life

BenQ MX825ST

Up to 10,000 hours

BenQ TH671ST

Up to 15,000 hours

BenQ TK850

Up to 15,000 hours

BenQ LW820ST

20,000 hours

BenQ LH710

20,000 hours

 

Est. Lamp Cost

BenQ MX825ST

~$200

BenQ TH671ST

~$200

BenQ TK850

~$200

BenQ LW820ST

N/A

BenQ LH710

N/A

 

Est. Street Price

BenQ MX825ST

BenQ TH671ST

BenQ TK850

BenQ LW820ST

BenQ LH710

Save even more with a refurbished golf simulation projector

As the world’s largest brand of projectors using DLP technology, BenQ often has attractive deals on refurbished models that are ideal for a golf simulation setup.  These units have a one-year factory warranty and are certified by our technicians at BenQ before we put them up for sale.  How much can you save?  If you are looking for a short-throw XGA projector, you may be able to find one here for under $500.  Looking for a widescreen model?  When available, you can find a TH671ST here for under $600.   Or just call us to talk to a golf simulation projector expert to see what we have in stock that might work for your setup.

Want to talk to a Golf Simulation Projector expert?

BenQ has trained staff that can provide you the tools you need to find the perfect golf simulator projector – within your room constraints and budget.   Just give us a call – or open the chatbot box to make sure your projector fits in your room – and the latest specials we are running on golf simulator projectors.

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