It’s become a fabulous way to entertain large crowds, especially when there’s a championship sports event being broadcast, and nobody wants to miss a minute of the action. Oversized movie screens turn yards into hospitable, fun places to gather for people of all ages. They work miracles if you’ve got a pack of kids on your hands, each of whom is eager to see “Frozen” for the third time. The best inflatable movie screen is easy to inflate and deflate on the fly–and even easier to store.
Coming up with reasons not to buy one could be a challenge. Prices have dropped thanks to friendly competition, so your budget won’t take a hit, either. Popcorn? Check. Projector? Check. Let’s get that movie started!
Best Inflatable Movie Screen Buying Guide
Reasons to choose inflatables over fixed screen models
Even if you’re the most knowledgeable movie-goer on the block, you’ll still need a tutorial on movie screens, so you get the most bang for your buck. These products come in two styles: fixed frame and inflatable. Hands down, folks prefer inflatables for all of the right reasons, just a few of which should convince you, too:
- Inflatables are the acknowledged big boys on the screen scene, some so large, they could compete with drive-in movie theater screens.
- You can find so many sizes on the market (up to 18-feet across), only your yard size limits your choices!
- Inflatable screens cost less than fixed products and they’re so light and portable, you can take them on the road.
- Most inflatable screens support both rear and front projection electronics.
- No frames or time-consuming set up required; just pump and show.
- Inflatables are safer than fixed screens because there are no metal frames that can be knocked down by wind.
- There are deals to be had! Paying full price for your inflatable can be avoided if you shop around—especially at the end of the summer when companies are introducing new models for the spring market.
What to look for when you shop For The Best Inflatable Movie Screen
Inflatable movie screens have quite the romantic history based on the advent of drive-in movie theaters that have been around for more than 80 years. While there are still a small number of these nostalgic venues scattered across the U.S., you’re the beneficiary of the concept’s legacy the moment you invest in one.
1. Size matters.
A good way to make a product choice is by estimating your viewing audience.
- Plan to have around 50 movie goers, max? A 10- x 6-foot screen should be sufficient.
- For 100 movie watchers, a 16- x 9-foot model gives everyone a clear view of the show.
- Do you expect 200? Wow. A 20- x 11.25-foot screen will do the job.
- Go for a 24- x 13.5-foot inflatable screen if you’re planning to invite 400 of your closest friends!
2. Location matters.
Not everyone has a backyard sized to hold a crowd, a projector and a giant inflatable screen, so walk off your viewing area before you shop. You’ll need access to power for your air pump and your projector. If you’ve got a long driveway or your front yard is huge, these areas can be used—just as long as interference from street lights, passing cars and neighbor’s porches don’t emit so much light, they ruin the film.
3. Accessories matter.
Power strips. Extension cords. Speakers and amps. There’s a lot to decide when establishing your outdoor movie theater, which is why it’s important to project future use. If this is to be a year-round entertainment hub—or most of the year—you may wish to follow the lead of innovators by digging a discreet trench and lining it with 4-inch PVC pipe to protect extension cords, HDMI cable and other accessories from the weather or a mid-film power outage!
10 Best Inflatable Movie Screen Reviews
Looking for a 144-inch screen and a great portable product that comes with a storage bag? Consider this Gemmy inflatable model that can be purchased for less if you shop around for a deal. Gemmy has been manufacturing these products for years, so it’s no fly-by-night fabricator, and since the screen is raised, more movie watchers can enjoy the show from the back row. The screen measures 123- x 70-inches and it’s 12-feet high.
The upgraded air-blown fabric used to craft this screen self-inflates in seconds and there are two built-in fans to maintain the unit’s air fill. In addition to that storage bag, this Gemmy comes with stakes and tethers to anchor the screen to the ground, so a little wind won’t ruin the show. That said, purchaser complaints about the noise and operation of those fans have been registered and the occasional seam/air leak has prompted returns. Nevertheless, this highly-rated movie screen remains a to consumer pick.
If you like comparing apples to apples, this affordably-priced EasyGo inflatable screen retails at a comfortable price and it also comes with an inflation fan, storage bag and tie-downs. Expect to spend just two minutes—maybe less—inflating this mega-screen plus a little more time tethering it to the ground where it will stay put. The 600D white canvas display is a popular feature: it offers high contrast when images are projected, and you can even remove the canvas to clean it.
At 96-inches wide by 58-inches tall, this EasyGo screen is secured by tie-down strings with D-ring attachments for an extra measure of stability and grounding. Take it on the road by deflating it, packing it into an easy-to-carry and storage bag and you’ll only be toting around 9 pounds worth of equipment. Favorably reviewed by shoppers, the EasyGo fan has on occasion received low marks for deflating in mid-movie and a few that complain about the quality of the unit’s tie-downs, but for most, the price and quality shoppers found in this product was sufficient to earn high review marks.
If you don’t mind opening your wallet a little wider, this Holiday Styling inflatable may be just what your inner movie critic desires. This screen is fabricated of strong, thick, triple-grade 600DD material and it comes with add-ons you need to start the show: blower, ropes and stakes. This deluxe screen accommodates both rear and front projection and the central area is removable for cleaning. Fans of this product insist that due to the screen’s material composition, daytime viewing is possible if the screen is placed in the shade.
At 125-inches (wide) x 75-inches (high), this unit weighs a substantial 38-pounds, so it may anchor more solidly to the ground than lighter-weight models featured in this review. Purchasers applaud the electric blower driving this inflatable, saying its quieter than competitor products. On the other hand, you’ll pay aroud an extra $23 if you want the storage bag. While this highly-rated screen gets kudos from most shoppers, the occasional owner refutes the company’s insistence that this screen can be used during the day and not every owner has gotten good results with a rear-projection system, but most had no intention of returning their screens, so keep this in mind.
If you don’t mind spending a little more to get the product you crave for your own movie festival, this 16-foot (diagonal) lightweight, portable Nozzco comes “fully equipped with blower” so it’s ready to be pumped up in a relatively short amount of time—an average of just 2 minutes from start to finish. Highly-rated by consumers and fabricated of tough fabric, you won’t have to buy a storage bag because this screen comes with one. Rope, tent and stakes are included, too, and the easy-to-follow manual gets you up to speed fast.
It’s up to you to provide the popcorn, candy and soft drinks, but to turn you into the neighborhood’s most creative movie host, Nozzco provides 10 bonus movie ticket invitation templates so you can turn your escapade into a respectable film festival. Owners of this Nozzco screen don’t all recommend setting this product up when winds kick in, but if you like the brand, want to spend a little less and are convinced of its merits after reading enthusiastic reviews, you can step it down and get the 14-foot (diagonal) version for a cheaper price.
Want your yard to be the envy of the neighborhood? Tell your kids that you’re getting them an inflatable movie screen manufactured by Gemmy that’s designed to remind you of that big-eared mouse in his red shorts and you’ll get lots of respect. You’re not required to keep your productions to Disney movies, either. The thick, upgraded fabric plus accessories (stakes, tethers and storage bag) necessary to get this screen up fast makes this an efficient choice.
Disappointed purchasers have complained about the fan system, despite the manufacturer’s claim that the unit self-inflates in minutes courtesy of two built-in fans. And a couple of product returns have been made after winds sent screens aloft, so perhaps they weren’t properly tied down. Keep this in mind: this inflatable screen has passed muster with Disney; the picky company approved both it’s design and integrity, so that’s a big plus. Make sure you purchase this from a vendor offering a return policy so if you’re not satisfied, you can send it back.
Make sure you snag a “free shipping” deal when you order this inflatable screen because you’ll be spending a pretty penny on this one! But since you can treat huge audiences to your showings (250 on the grass; 400 in chairs and another 1000 standing), you may not blink at the price. The diagonal measurement of the screening area is over 18-feet, and it features a white, wrinkle-free projection area that’s self-tensioning, so it stays taut even when the unit moves in a wind. A storage bag, twist stakes and cinch straps are included.
Wind rated at 20 mph, this inflatable screen is unlike others featured in this review because it gets such high marks for construction excellence, hence the price. Count on tightly-zippered air vents that retain air for the duration of use, but once you’re ready to stow it away, deflation is fast. That stated, don’t risk injuring yourself by trying to erect this screen on your own–and understand up front that cleaning this screen, due size and material, isn’t easy. But the 1/2hp blower doesn’t mess around when it inflates this 42-pound product in around 20 seconds!
Showtime Outdoor Projector Screen
It’s so new to the market, you’d be the first in your neighborhood to show off this 12.5-foot diagonal air-blown screen, but you’re probably not going to be the last. Priced at a mid-range, you don’t have to land on a wait list for back-ordered product because there’s plenty of inventory to go around. The folks at Showtime Outdoor have done their homework: the inflatable frame features a crease-proof screen area and if you’ve complained about noisy blowers associated with outdoor screens in the past, you could be pleasantly surprised.
Set up this movie screen in a flash by attaching the electric blower to the port and expect the screen to blossom into a full-size screen in minutes. Deflate and fold for fast storage once you’ve bid your last guest goodnight. Showtime prides itself on manufacturing pegs and providing ropes engineered for extra stability and since that non-wrinkle frame attaches with sturdy Velcro, it’s removable for fast cleaning so your next get-together is equally successful.
This mega-screen gets solid reviews in a niche that’s quickly dwindling because “flat-screen” outdoor movie screens are solidly trending. But if you need a screen that can be seen from a great distance and you’re willing to pay a little more to enjoy the view, this 18-foot (diagonal) screen could be just what you’re looking for. Get all of the equipment you need to throw your viewing party—blower, storage bag, ropes and stakes. All you need is a dark night, bug spray and refreshments.
Reasons purchasers cite when they register their dissatisfaction are almost always due to fulfillment issues rather than the integrity of this product, so if warehouses picking and packing these products up the ante on including the auxiliary items promised by the manufacturer, those complaints could disappear. This screen—with its proven track record of inflating in just 50-seconds–is likely to become a hot seller sooner rather than later if sales continue at current pace and reviews stay consistently high.
If you’re not quite ready to broadcast films that can be seen by the folks down the block, this Holiday Styling mini has your family’s name written all over it. The 9-foot diagonal screen is big enough for a gang of kids to get front seats to any movie you’re running, but it’s not so huge that your neighbors start complaining! Accessories are “big kid” worthy: you get a proper blower, rope and tent-stakes, and because this product is smaller than other screens you may be considering, it could tolerate wind better than taller units.
At a price point at the lower end of products on the list, this screen accommodates both front and rear projectors and while it’s smaller and lighter than most, the triple-grade, 600DD fabric thickness means it’s one of the most durable products profiled in this review. Extra touches—the hallmark of Holiday Styling—like strong, reinforced corner loops that help batten down the hatch when the wind kicks up mean a lot. You’ll have to pay extra for a storage bag and there have been reports of missing accessories requiring contacting the company, but this remains a great starter product for those new to the outdoor neighborhood movie scene.
Gemmy also produces a small inflatable screen for folks just getting into the yard movie scene, so if you want to save money and like the idea of a 91-inch screen size, you’ll want to know that this product is made specifically for wide-screen projection. The Gemmy Original has been around a long time and earns decent ratings by consumers. Further, if you want a self-inflating screen with a built-in fan that doesn’t have to be attached and detached repeatedly, this could check off all of your boxes.
While small and affordable, you get proper accessories like stakes and tethers, so you don’t have to shop for extras, but you need to know that because this unit is so popular and affordable, it sells out fast and can be hard to find. We didn’t say impossible, however. A fast search does the trick and you could find this product for a snip of the price of some of the others on this list. So as long as you purchase it from a reputable retailer and retain your sales receipt, you may get lots of fun and satisfaction at a price that allows you to spring for premium popcorn.