As the weather becomes warmer and it’s time to plan events for friends, family, or customers, it’s common to think about an outdoor movie night. If you have a spacious deck or patio, you may even want to create a permanent spot outdoors for enjoying a movie. Projectors and screens are an excellent fit because they can provide that classic movie theater feeling, one that’s far more difficult to come by indoors. To do so, however, you need the right screen for the job. Here are the best options and where they’d make a perfect fit.
If you’re truly looking to make the most of your indoor or outdoor space, you may also like our guide on how to build a complete outdoor movie theater and our roundups of the best home theater projectors and best portable projectors.
Elite Screens Yard Master 2
The Yard Master 2 is an ideal combination of sturdy and lightweight that makes it great for a summer-long setup that can be dismantled at the end of the season and easily stored away. The 16:9 aspect ratio is a common choice for these screens because it’s well-fitted for the theater experience, and the CineWhite UHD-B screen material helps guarantee more accurate colors and less distortion (and you can clean it safely with soap and water).
The frame is fully tensioned, too, and uses snap-on buttons when set up, which is perfect for resisting breeze-related flapping and other issues. Ground stakes and rigging cords are included for creating extra stability, if necessary. However, you will need to find room to store the aluminum pieces when the screen isn’t in use.
Ranging in size from 58 inches to 135 inches, you’ve got a range of choices to suit your space.
Vivohome Inflatable Projector Screen
Best inflatable outdoor projector screen
Inflatable projector screens are a popular option for outdoor screenings, namely because they are durable, easy to take down, and resistant to wind and rambunctious kids. They can also support both front and rear projectors, allowing for a variety of setup options. This Vivohome Inflatable Projector Screen is one such example. It’s made of weather-resistant 210D Oxford cloth, meaning you merely need to drag it out, zip it up, and use the included air pump to quickly fill it. It’s designed to be freestanding if possible, but tethers and yard stakes are included in case you have to nail it down in windy conditions. You also get a bag to store everything in when it’s not in use.
This model measures 14 feet diagonally — a good size for a backyard screen — but if you have more ambitious plans or need to accommodate a bigger group, larger sizes are available.
TaoTronics Projector Screen with Stand
Best projector with a stand
This smaller, 100-inch screen is ideal for a more intimate setup or a smaller space like a deck. The collapsible tripod is also extra easy to set up and take down depending on your plans, while the durable PVC matte screen material is durable enough for outdoor use. You will, however, have to be careful with the setup for a screen model like this. The tripod will need level ground, and the roll-down design is not conducive to windy conditions, making this pick even more compatible with a comparatively sheltered deck or patio.
Mdbebbron Projection Screen
Best wall-mounted screen
The Mdbebbron screen offers an alternative, highly affordable approach: It comes with a number of plastic hooks that you space out and attach to a wall, like the side of a shed or barn, an unused section of fencing, etc. Attach the durable polyester screen with its 18 eyeholes, and you have an incredibly stable setup that’s largely immune to wind and in no danger of ever toppling over. It takes a bit more setup than some of our picks, but it’s also easy to roll up and store away when not in use.
While it could theoretically support a rear projector, that’s not likely with this particular design, so plan for front projection.
Best Choice Products Projector Screen
Best pull-down screen
This projector is a manual pull-down version, so it’s meant to be a permanent setup. Outdoors, you could construct a frame for it, but it may be easier to find a safe awning or eave you can bolt or hook it onto. Then simply screw in a hook at the base to attach the handle to when the screen is pulled down, and you are ready to go. Setup and disassembly are no longer concerns, and you have an outdoor theater whenever you need one. While the permanent setup is great, this type of model doesn’t react as well to wind, so it’s best to find a more sheltered area for it.
Sewinfla Inflatable Movie Screen
Best for large gatherings
Are you planning for a larger get-together, maybe a social function or park gathering to watch a movie? Then you’ll need a screen that’s up to the task, and this Sewinfla model is a great fit. The 24-foot size is extra-large for big groups (and can go up to 33 feet, albeit at a significant increase in cost). The 210D Oxford fabric is highly durable, supports front or rear projection, and is easy to set up for its size.
A separate white screen is included for better visibility and is attached to the inflated frame with a velcro rim that keeps it securely in place until you’re finished. Nails, ropes, and patch cloth are all included, along with a 350-watt blower that inflates the projector in up to five minutes.