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“Real Simple” Features Elite Screens in the Best Outdoor Movie Screens of 2024

Enjoy your own at-home drive-in theater with these great options.

Skip the hassle of movie theater tickets and expensive popcorn—you can enjoy the cinema from the comfort of your backyard or patio with an outdoor movie screen.

“Having an outdoor movie screen allows entertainment to be experienced in outdoor living spaces,” says Jaime Abrego, product manager at Elite Screens, a projection screen manufacturing company. “No longer are we confined to indoor movie watching. Outdoor screens come in a variety of types, from permanently installed or portable, so you can take them anywhere.”

To find the best outdoor movie screens, we tested nine options in real-world conditions over three months, evaluating each screen on factors like durability, design, value, and more. We also spoke to Abrego for his expert insight on how to use your screen for optimal viewing.

Best Freestanding Outdoor Movie Screen
Elite Screens Yard Master Plus

Yard Master Plus Series

If you prefer an outdoor movie screen that stands on its own, we recommend the Elite Screens Yard Master Plus Projection Screen. This freestanding screen requires a large area to set up, but once you have it assembled, it provides a fantastic viewing experience. Plus, it comes in nine sizes and three aspect ratios to suit any outdoor space.

This wider-than-average screen allows for an equally bright image quality no matter where you sit or where you place it. During our three-month testing, we used this screen to host small crowds for backyard movie nights. It retained its stellar quality throughout our real-world use and didn’t become dirty or disheveled either.

We noted that setup could be faster—it took us anywhere from 5-10 minutes to set up and disassemble after viewing. We also found that it can be difficult to adjust the height since it requires removing screws. During our initial use, we saw a few wrinkles when we first unfolded the screen, but they weren’t super noticeable or bothersome throughout our long-term tests.

When you’re done watching, you can collapse the frame to place the screen and stand in the included storage bag. Overall, its top-notch picture quality, large size, and portability make it a worthwhile purchase.

Best Portable Outdoor Movie Screen
Elite Screens Yard Master 2

YardMaster2 lifestyle

Want to take your outdoor movie screen on the go? Then consider this highly portable model from Elite Screens. During our three-month testing, we loved how easy this screen was to set up. It only takes five minutes to assemble, though it is a slightly awkward size for one person to manage alone (though still doable). Once it’s up and running, it provides an impressively clear and consistent viewing experience.

The screen comes with everything you need, including stakes, a rigging cord to keep it stable, and a carrying case for storage. We also appreciated the snap-button and lightweight collapsible frame, which makes the screen incredibly portable. The 4K Ultra HD screen offered high-quality, bright white coloring, which is ideal for videos and movies. It comes in nine sizes and three aspect ratios, too.

On the downside, we wish there was a connecting point between the legs to steady it even further. The screen also shows some wrinkles after you set it up, but they go away in time.

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