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How Many Lumens Do I Need For A Projector?

By XGIMI Tech - 2023-12

Projector Brightness is Key

Projector brightness is measured in various attributes, one of which, being lumens. Therefore, the higher the lumens, the brighter the display. It is important to know how many lumens you need before purchasing a projector. High lumen amounts produce excessive brightness that delivers washed-out images, while lower lumens create dim pictures. How do you know how many lumens you need for your projector?

This article explores lumen measurement and factors to help you determine the right amount for your specific need.

What are Projector Lumens?

Lumens are the standard measurement for light influx (the total amount of visible light from a light source). Regarding a projector, lumens is the amount of visible light a projector lamp emits. While lumen is the general measurement for light influx, it doesn’t precisely determine that of a projector. This is because the projector lamp loses brightness before being projected on the screen.

The ANSI and ISO lumens, standards designed explicitly for projectors, are more accurate measurements and are widely used by projector manufacturers. However, some manufacturers of low-quality projectors may only advertise the lumen output of the light source to mislead customers on how bright the lumen projector is.

●ANSI Lumen

ANSI lumens is the standard for lumen measurement created by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). It uses a 9-point method to measure lumens, and compared to ISO lumen, ANSI has relatively loose measurement requirements. This is because it only measures the image size and ignores the projection distance and likely losses during projection. Nevertheless, ANSI lumens is an internationally recognized standard many projector manufacturers use.

●ISO Lumen

ISO lumen was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as an international standard for measuring lumens for projectors. The ISO lumens specify the production and measurement test standards under the ISO 21118 regulation, which are strict. The ANSI lumen is typically more than the ISO lumen: 1 ANSI lumen = 0.8 ISO lumen. However, the ISO lumen is a better measurement standard than the ANSI lumen because of its strict criteria and measurement that support better accuracy.

How Many Lumens Do You Need?

There is no straight answer on how many lumens you need because it will differ in various situations and environments. However, some factors will help determine the lumen you should go for. These factors are the throw distance and ambient lighting.

1. Throw Distance 

Throw distance is the distance between the projector and the screen. Usually, the throw distance determines the screen size. Long-throw projectors can be placed far from the screen, projecting up to 200 inches of images. However, short-throw projectors are placed 4 to 6 inches from the screen, projecting an average of 100 inches of display.

A farther throw distance will scatter most of the brightness, so you will need more lumen to produce quality images. But a short throw distance will lead to a more focused beam, so you won’t need so many lumens. In such cases, a very high lumen for short-throw projectors can be uncomfortable to the eyes. While there are no hard and fast rules, the lumens for a short-throw projector can start anywhere around 500 to 3000 ANSI lumens or 400 to 2400 ISO lumens, depending on the projector size. On the other hand, long-throw projectors are often higher in brightness.

2. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting can significantly affect the brightness level of your projector. Too much ambient light can overpower your projector’s brightness, so you need a high lumen projector to offset it. Generally, you need less lumen in darker rooms and more lumens in bright rooms. Consider how much light will be in the room before deciding the number of lumens. For low ambient light, consider something within 500 to 1000 ANSI lumens. For intense ambient light, you may need bright room projectors of 2000 to 3000 ANSI lumens. However, medium ambient light falls somewhere between both extremes.

Lumens Needed for Different Scenarios

Sometimes, unique scenarios require a particular lumen level, so it’s always advisable to consider your primary need for a projector before deciding on the lumen. For example, if you intend to use it outdoors at night, without ambient light, the required lumen will differ from watching football in a well-lit room. Here are some lumen measurements for specific scenarios:

1. Home Theaters

If you set up a home theater in the dark, without ambient light or lighting, you will need less brightness than in a lit room. Usually, you will require 800 to 2000 ISO lumens for a 100-inch to 120-inch screen. Since there is no surrounding light to overpower the projector's brightness in a dark room, a lumen output higher than this will be too bright for viewing. Note that the lumen level you choose within this range will depend on the room size.

2. Home Theaters with Lights

If you leave the light on sometimes in your home theater and there’s access to ambient lighting, the external light source will counter that of your projector, making it difficult to watch the screen. So, you need a high lumen projector for a bright room. Usually, you will require a projector of 1800 to 3200 ISO lumens for a screen size of 100 to 150 inches.

3. Gaming

When gaming, the quality of your display matters a lot, and brightness is one of the crucial factors influencing image quality. To see well and catch every detail while gaming, your projector needs about 1600 to 3200 ISO lumens for 100 to 150 inches. The brightness level you choose within this range depends on the ambient lighting in your room. If there is ambient light, you will need a higher lumen. But if you game behind closed doors, with the windows shut and the lights off, you need less.

High ISO Lumens Projector Recommendation

If you want to buy a top-quality projector with a high ISO lumen, XGIMI has the perfect fit from our line of exceptional home projectors: the XGIMI HORIZON Ultra.


The XGIMI HORIZON Ultra boasts a brightness level of 2300 ISO lumens, making it an ultra-bright long-throw projector suitable for bright environments and long-distance displays. Here are the perks of using this projector in a bright room:

1. Brighter Image

Projectors with high lumens reproduce brighter images on the screen, making them good projectors for bright rooms and larger screens. The HORIZON Ultra offers 2300 ISO lumen for an exceptionally bright display, even in ambient light. So, with the XGIMI HORIZON Ultra, you can watch movies, play games, or watch football anytime and in a well-lit room without worrying about the light’s effect.

2. Large Screen Size

As earlier said, more brightness is best for larger screens. Suppose you want to enjoy the big screen experience thoroughly. In that case, you need a high-lumen projector like the HORIZON Ultra, which produces enough brightness to display quality images on a large screen. Whether you want a screen of 100 inches or 200 inches, you don’t have to strain to see, even in well-lit rooms. Experience the immersive effect of the large screen and unmatched viewing comfort with XGIMI HORIZON Ultra.

3. Versatility

High-lumen projectors are very versatile. You don’t have to limit them to indoor use, like theater and cinema rooms. They can serve well in other applications, including presentations, schools, and professional settings. They also perform exceptionally in outdoor events, like movie nights in the backyard. The brightness of the XGIMI HORIZON Ultra makes it up to the task of meeting your extended needs. Enjoy bright images in indoor and outdoor settings, including large spaces with the HORIZON Ultra.

4. Enhanced Image Quality

The brightness of your display influences image quality as the right amount of lumens accentuates the details of the projected image and makes it easy to see. With the HORIZON Ultra, you get enhanced image quality and color accuracy thanks to the high lumen level that ensures that wherever you are, you can enjoy high-quality images for an immersive viewing experience.

5. Longer Throw Distance

The XGIMI HORIZON Ultra is a long-throw projector, and like other long-throw projectors, it projects over six feet away from the screen. These projectors need a high lumen to produce quality images over a long distance. The HORIZON Ultra can conveniently display quality, non-distorted pictures over a distance of 6+ feet, making it suitable for large rooms and venues, like conference halls and large classrooms.

Projector Recommendations


HORIZON Ultra, the world's first 4K long-throw home projector with Dolby Vision. 2300 ISO lumens, Dual Light Technology, Dual 12W Harman Kardon Speakers.



  • 4K with Dolby Vision
  • 2300 ISO Lumens
  • Dual Light Technology
  • Intelligent Screen Adaption 3.0
  • Dual 12W Harman Kardon Speakers
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