Elite Screens Yard Master Plus
The rigid frame and highly reflective screen deliver the most movie-like outdoor theater experience.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $271.
If you want to get the best outdoor picture possible from your projector, the Elite Screens Yard Master Plus is the way to go. With a rigid frame and a snap-in-place screen, this high-performance model looks every bit professional and serious, and the image quality is excellent. The smooth, highly reflective surface offers great brightness, while the closely spaced button snaps ensure that the screen stays taut and mostly wrinkle-free. Plus, it’s available in a wide range of sizes, from 100 to 200 inches diagonally. Setup isn’t as easy as for the other options here, especially for one person, but it doesn’t require any tools and can be done fairly quickly. Unlike with the other screens we tested, with the Yard Master Plus a bit of wind won’t derail the movie.
If your top priority is a fast, easy setup, we like the Gemmy Airblown Inflatable Deluxe Movie Screen (model 39127-32). Just plug it in, and it inflates itself. It’s like a bouncy castle, but with a 144-inch-diagonal screen clipped across the front. The screen material itself isn’t as reflective as that of the Yard Master Plus (though it’s close enough), and it’s harder to get as smooth and wrinkle-free. You must stake down this screen, as even the slightest amount of wind will send it rocking. Depending on your yard size and how close you’re sitting, the fan noise can be distracting. It doesn’t come in as many screen sizes as the Yard Master Plus, but you can (usually) get a larger screen for a lower price.
Using a bedsheet is one of the easiest movie-screen options. I’m pretty sure image quality wasn’t what Target was thinking about when naming our budget pick for the best bedsheets, but it turns out the Threshold Performance sheets do offer solid performance as a screen. These white sheets are impressively reflective and produce surprisingly good picture quality, as long as you take the time to secure them and minimize the wrinkles. They’re not as good as either of the actual screens we recommend, but for a fraction of the price they’re a great option for a DIY outdoor theater buff.