What is the Best Gain for a Projector Screen? (Answered)

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Are you wondering what is the best gain for a projector screen? If yes, you’ve landed on the right page.

A projector screen gain is an interesting concept and can improve or hamper your viewing experience.

Therefore, I’ve written this detailed guide for you with what is the best projector screen gain. Plus, what you should consider before making a purchase.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What is the Best Gain for a Projector Screen? Quick Answer

0.8 to 1.3 is the best gain for a projector screen. The difference in projector screen gain ensures you get the appropriate projector screen that’s ideal for wider or brighter projection.

Anything lower or higher than that might dull the projection or reduce the viewing angle.

Now that you have the quick answer let’s jump into more details about projector screen gain and what gain value projector screen should you choose.

But, before that:

What is Projector Screen Gain?

Screen gain refers to the measurement of the amount of light reflected from a projection screen.

It is a ratio that compares how bright an image looks when projected on a specific screen material to how bright it would appear on a standard surface that reflects light equally in all directions, for example, a Lambertian surface.

Lambertian Surface diagram
Lambertian Surface, Image Credit: Wikimedia

A screen with a higher gain value makes the image brighter because it reflects more light toward the viewer.

On the other hand, a screen with a lower gain value will cause the image to appear dimmer because it reflects less light.

How Projector Screen Gain Affects Brightness

As you know, a projector screen is rated between 0.8 to 1.5 screen gain values. Anything lower than 1.0 is considered as low screen gain, and higher than 1.0 results in a high screen gain.

For example, suppose you have an Epson EF11 projector that outputs 1000 ANSI lumens brightness and a projector screen with a screen gain of 1.3. In that case, the projector screen will reflect 1300 (1000 x 1.3) lumens brightness.

In comparison, if your projector screen has 0.8 screen gain, then the brightness reduces to 800 lumens.

Thus, a high-gain projector screen works well if you have a projector with low brightness.

How Projector Screen Gain Affects Viewing Angle

A higher gain projector screen increases brightness but also affects viewing angles.

On the other hand, a lower gain projector screen has less brightness, but it increases the viewing angle considerably.

Mathematically, you can say that a high screen gain is inversely proportional to its viewing angle.

A low screen gain works exceptionally well if you have a high-brightness projector but want to use it in a commercial event or view it across a wider audience.

Therefore, if you have an Epson Home Cinema 1080 projector that outputs 3,600 lumens brightness. In such a scenario, you can pick a low-gain projector screen.

Suppose you’re planning for a personal viewing experience or a mini-home theater. In that case, a high-gain projector screen will do wonders.

Why You Shouldn’t Purchase Projector Screen Beyond 1.3 Screen Gain

While you may be tempted to buy a high-gain projector screen to increase your projector’s brightness; however, it might result in hotspotting.

Hotspotting means, when viewing the projector screen from its center position, the middle part of the projector screen will look brighter than its edges. It causes uneven brightness and poor color uniformity across the screen.

Hotspotting isn’t easily visible on a projector screen with a screen gain lower than 1.3; however, it can cause distractions if you purchase a projector screen with a higher screen gain.

3 Factors to Consider When Choosing Projector Screen Gain

1. Projector Brightness

Your projector brightness is a crucial factor when choosing the projector screen gain. If you have a high-brightness projector between 2000-3000 ANSI lumens, it will pair effortlessly with a screen gain of around 0.8

Conversely, a low-brightness projector like the Yaber Pro Y9 produces around 450 ANSI lumens brightness. It will match well with a high-gain screen and increase the overall brightness.

2. Ambient Lighting

Suppose you don’t want to switch off all the lights in your living room when using a projector. In that case, you must consider a high-gain projector screen.

As you know, ambient lighting makes the projection screen look dull. However, in many cases, turning off the lights in your house or living is also not a feasible option.

In such conditions, a high screen gain increases the brightness without turning your room pitch black.

3. Seating Configuration

Planning to set up a home theater? Then, the seating configuration goes hand-in-hand with projector screen gain.

As mentioned above, a high-gain projector screen increases brightness but reduces the viewing angle.

Likewise, a low-gain projector screen has a wider viewing angle at the cost of a marginal reduction in brightness.

home theater with bright projector does not need high gain projector screen

Therefore, if you plan to build a big-size home theater, get a low-gain projector screen. Otherwise, a standard or high-gain projector screen will be best for your requirements.

Pros & Cons of High Gain and Low Gain Projector Screen

Now that you know more about projector screen gain. It’s time to learn about their pros and cons before you decide on your projector screen.

High Gain Projector Screen


  • Improved brightness: Since it reflects more light, a high-gain projector screen offers a brighter and more vibrant image.
  • Improved Contrast in Ambient Light: A high-gain screen offers improved contrast in ambient lighting, making the colors pop and look more vibrant.
  • Energy Efficiency: Since high-gain projector screens are brighter, you can use your projector in Eco mode and still get a brighter image, thereby saving energy.


  • Limited viewing angle: High-gain screens have a narrower viewing angle, which means viewers sitting outside the optimal viewing angle may experience poor image quality.
  • Hotspotting: It causes the center of the screen to look brighter than the edges.

Low Gain Projector Screen


  • Wide viewing angle: Low-gain screens have a wider viewing angle, which ensures consistent image quality.
  • Matte Finish: The matte finish of low-gain screens might offer a more cinematic and aesthetically pleasing projection with less glare and reflections.
  • Higher Durability: Low-gain screens are more durable and less sensitive to touch or cleaning. These qualities make them a suitable choice in classrooms or commercial environments.


  • Dimmer image: Low-gain screens reflect less light to the audience, which results in a slightly dimmer image.
  • Reduced contrast: A low screen gain can affect the contrast ratio. It makes dark scenes less detailed and vibrant.


I hope this article helped you learn more about “What is the Best Gain for a Projector Screen?”

While it isn’t rocket science, a basic understanding of screen gain can help you make an informed decision.

It will also prevent you from being bullied by a retailer into buying a costlier projector screen.

Have any questions? Please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.

Thank You!

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