What is the best projector throw distance?

by Dangbei Official on January 01, 2024


Dangbei Mars Pro

When setting up a projector, one of the most important factors to consider is the "throw distance" - the distance between the projector lens and the projection screen or surface. The throw distance impacts both the size of the projected image and its focus/quality, so getting it right for your setup is key.

In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know about throw distances - what they are, how they affect your projected image, tips for setup, and ideal ratios for different room sizes. Read on to learn how to best optimize throw distance for your next projector installation!

What is throw distance and why does it matter?

The throw distance refers to the distance between the front of the projector lens and the screen surface. This distance directly correlates to the size of the image that can be displayed. Typically, the further back the projector is positioned, the larger the projected image will be (given the capabilities of the lens zoom). Most projectors have a recommended throw ratio range that provides ideal image focus and quality. Setting a throw distance outside of this range can result in a dimmer or blurrier picture.

Here's a quick overview of how throw distance impacts projector setup:
• Image Size: A longer throw distance equals a larger projected image, while a shorter distance yields a smaller image.
• Focus/Quality: Each projector has an optimal range for throw distance to achieve proper focus and image quality. Straying too far outside this window can degrade visual performance.
• Depends On: Appropriate throw distance varies according to factors like screen size, zoom lens capabilities, mounting position flexibility, and room size constraints.

How to calculate the ideal throw distance?

Understanding a projector’s throw ratio is key to calculating the ideal throw distance for your setup. The throw ratio expresses the relationship between projection distance and image width as a ratio, such as 1.2:1. For example, a throw ratio of 1.2:1 means that for every 1.2 feet of throw distance, the image will be 1 foot wide.

To calculate the throw distance, you'll need the throw ratio of your projector and your desired image width. Here’s the basic formula:

Throw Distance = Throw Ratio × Image Width

For example, let's say you have a 120-inch 16:9 screen with an image width of 8.7 feet and a height of 4.9 feet. If you use the Dangbei Neo smart projector, which has a throw ratio of 1.2:1, you would need a projection distance of 10.4 feet:

Throw Distance = 1.2 × 8.7 feet = 10.4 feet

So with this projector and screen, you would need about 10.4 feet between the projector lens and screen to project a 120-inch image.

Most projectors also have adjustable zoom lenses with a wide range, such as 1.1x to 1.5x. So you’ll have some flexibility for image sizing based on your distance calculation.

There are also many online projector calculators that simplify these computations. You enter information like your planned screen dimensions, projector model, and throw ratio specifications, and they provide target mounting distances for ideal focus and quality.

Tips for setting up throw distance

Leave extra space

If possible during setup, leave some extra lead way distance between the projector position and screen. This allows you to easily tweak and refine the throw distance if needed to optimize picture size and quality. Minor adjustments in positioning over a few test projections can make a significant impact on fine-tuning the visual display. Don't permanently mount the projector until you’ve experimented with the projection surface in the planned position and dialed in picture quality by slightly modifying the distance.

Mount projector first

Mount the projector in your desired location first before finalizing the permanent placement of the screen surface. Projector positioning flexibility is often more limited due to factors like mounting hardware, power outlet locations, and existing ceiling layouts. It’s much simpler to manipulate the screen location to adjust to projector throw limitations. Free standing screens allow quick adjustments as you ensure optimal distance for the best picture production from your projector model.

Consider extension cords or cables

Finally, don't forget that extension cords, power strips, HDMI cables, and extra inputs can extend the reach of projector hardware if the distance capabilities are tight due to room aesthetics. Factor these into positioning considerations if needed to broaden setup possibilities. Carefully hiding cords and inputs behind furniture during a custom install can deliver power and AV connections exactly where desired to better calibrate that ideal throw distance in difficult rooms.

Ideal throw ratios for different room sizes

In general, shorter throw ratios, meaning the projector is positioned closer to the screen, are better suited for smaller media rooms and dedicated home theaters. Longer throw ratios allow for bigger image production, which is ideal for large screened projector setups in larger family rooms and living spaces.

Here are some general guidelines for small, medium, and large rooms:

Of course, there are many factors at play, like screen dimensions, zoom capabilities, mounting limitations, and the existing layout that impact exact positioning parameters. But in general, those throw ratio targets help steer you in the proper direction for appropriately sized image production in rooms of varying sizes.

Dangbei projectors with optimal throw ratios

Dangbei Neo All-in-One Mini Projector with Native Netflix

Officially licensed by Netflix, the Dangbei Neo delivers 1080p FHD visuals on a screen up to 120” and immersive surround sound powered by Dolby Audio™. The Neo also packs advanced features in a sleek, compact design that is sure to impress.

Dangbei Neo

Throw ratio: 1.2:1
Image size: Up to 120 inches (when placed 10.4ft from the screen)
Mini form: Only 3.94” thick and 3.13 lbs
Official Netflix: Easy-to-use interface with built-in apps
Perfect visuals: 540 ISO lumens, 1080p, HDR10, HLG
Perfect sound: Dual 6W speakers supporting Dolby Audio™

Dangbei Mars Pro Best-in-Class 4K Laser Home Projector

As Dangbei’s global flagship product, the Mars Pro equipped with the cutting-edge ALPD laser technology, delivering ultra-high brightness and 4K UHD clarity, ushering in a new era of laser projection for home theaters.

Dangbei Mars Pro

Throw ratio: 1.27:1
Image size: 40-200 inches (200” when placed 18.4ft from the screen)
Premium clarity: 4K UHD and laser-powered brightness
Immersive sound: DTS-HD and Dolby Audio™
Vibrant visuals: HDR10, HLG, MEMC, AI Realistic Pro Image Engine
Game Mode: For Gamers to Dive into the Action
Versatile connectivity: TV Sticks, Game Consoles, and More
Binge-watching: TÜV Low Blue Light Certified for Eye Comfort


In conclusion, mastering throw distance is a crucial step in optimizing your projector setup. By understanding the definition of throw distance, its impact on image size and quality, and how to calculate the ideal throw distance using throw ratio, you can elevate your viewing experience. Practical tips for setup and considerations for different room sizes further enhance your ability to achieve the perfect throw distance.
Remember, the goal is not just a bigger image but a clear, focused, and high-quality projection that enhances your overall enjoyment. By investing time and attention into getting the throw distance right, you ensure that your projector delivers a visual experience that exceeds expectations.


Q: What should I do if my calculated ideal throw distance range doesn’t fit my room layout?
A: Consider adjustments like a shorter throw lens accessory, a smaller screen size that fits room constraints at the minimum recommended distance, or tweaking the screen surface positioning.

Q: Can I calculate image size based on throw distance?
A: Yes, you can use projection calculators or formulas (Image Width = Throw Distance/Throw Ratio) to work backwards from an established throw distance to determine the corresponding projected image dimensions. This helps ensure you purchase a screen size in line with room limitations.

Q: Does throw distance impact picture quality?
A: Yes! Ensure your projector is always positioned within the recommended throw distance range for the specific lens and zoom capabilities. Straying too close or far degrades focus, color, contrast, and projection brightness impacting image quality.

Q: Should I leave extra space behind the projector, if possible?
A: Absolutely. A few extra feet give you an invaluable buffer zone to tweak distance during initial setup for optimizing picture size, focus, and alignment. It also ensures you have expansion room if you upgrade projectors or screens later on.