When shopping for a soundbar, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the expensive options. Thankfully, you don't need to spend a fortune to find something that performs reasonably well. For less than $300, you can find a decent soundbar that meets your needs, whether you're watching the latest blockbusters with your friends and family or just listening to your favorite albums by yourself.
The best soundbar under $300 we've tested is the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6. It's a versatile soundbar that's great for everything from movies to music to TV shows. Though it sometimes retails a bit above our $300 price point, it's one of the only models we've tested that truly supports Dolby Atmos at this price. Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio format commonly found on streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix, as well as Blu-ray discs. It's designed to bring a cinematic feel to your home audio, using front-firing channels on the bar's satellite speakers to ricochet sound all around you. As a result, it brings a more lifelike feel to your favorite films, and it's a great feature for any movie lover.
This 5.1 setup is also great for listening to many other types of audio content. Right out of the box, it offers a balanced sound, so everything from dialogue in sitcoms to instruments in music are reproduced with clarity. Plus, the dedicated subwoofer packs a punch in the bass range, so you feel the rumble in more action-heavy scenes. Bass and treble adjustments allow you to switch up the bar's sound to your liking, which is a nice touch. Overall, this bar is a great deal, and its versatile performance makes it suitable for many different types of listeners who don't want to spend as much on a more premium model.
What if you don't watch a lot of Dolby Atmos content? You're in luck—most bars at this price point don't support this audio format, and many are available for a bit less than our top pick. The best we've tested under $300 is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's another 5.1 bar, and just like the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6, it comes with two satellite speakers and a subwoofer to enhance your listening experience. This soundbar offers many of the same features as the M Series, including bass and treble adjustments. It's also Bluetooth-compatible.
Overall, this soundbar has great sound quality right out of the box. Dialogue is clearly reproduced, and instruments and vocals are played out with great accuracy. The sub also brings energy to bass-centric genres like EDM and hip-hop. It's suitable for listening to a wide range of audio content, and thanks to its satellites, it shines with surround sound content like Dolby Digital, too. While this format isn't designed to bring the same immersive feel as with Atmos, it's still common on many different streaming platforms, so you can watch lots of movies and blockbuster TV shows to full effort. The only major difference between these bars is their Atmos support, so if you don't watch a lot of it, the V Series is a more affordable pick.
The Vizio M Series M215aw-K6 is a great alternative for those who don't have space for satellite speakers. Unlike our top picks, it comes without them, so it's more suitable for smaller living spaces. This soundbar offers a neutral sound right out of the box, so everything from voices to lead instruments in your favorite tracks are reproduced with clarity and accuracy. For the price, it has a decent selection of sound enhancement features, like bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound.
This soundbar supports many audio formats commonly found on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays. However, since it lacks dedicated satellites, it has to downmix 5.1 content like Dolby Digital into stereo. The resulting sound is less immersive and lifelike than what you get with setups like the Vizio V Series V51-H6, as sound effects fail to stretch fully into the space around your couch. Similarly, the bar has to downmix height content like Dolby Atmos into stereo, resulting in a less-than-impressive sound. Still, if you watch many movies, you may find that some support is better than no support. For space-conscious shoppers, this affordable bar is worth a look.
Do you love to feel the thump and rumble in the bass? Check out the Klipsch Cinema 400. This soundbar has a dedicated subwoofer that brings out even more punch in the bass range than our top picks, making it a great choice for everything from bass-heavy music genres to action-packed movie scenes. Right out of the box, there's a little extra warmth in the bass range to ensure you feel your favorite tunes' energy. You can even use its bass adjustment tool to add more punch to the mix.
This 2.1 setup is best suited for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. Like the Vizio M Series M215aw-K6, it has to downmix surround sound into stereo to play it back. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, either. However, if you don't watch much of it in the first place, you won't find it to be a huge deal. Ultimately, this soundbar is the right choice for those who want to shake the floor with the bass.
No space for a subwoofer? No problem. Standalone soundbars are a great alternative to our top picks, and the best we've tested in this price range is the Samsung HW-S60B. This 5.0 model has a sleek design with many of the manufacturer's premium sound enhancement tools built in and Amazon Alexa voice assistant support for hands-free control. You can adjust the bar's volume from the comfort of your couch, switch its preset modes, and more. This bar is also available in white as the Samsung HW-S61B, so you have some options based on your interior design.
Thanks to Samsung's SpaceFit Sound room correction tool, the bar's sound is automatically optimized based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room. With a balanced sound out of the box, this bar is suitable for listening to many different types of audio content, and there's even Dolby Atmos support, though it has to downmix this content into surround sound to play it. Those who prefer manually switching up the bar's sound can access a full 7-band graphic EQ and some EQ presets. Of course, without a dedicated sub, you notice much less thump and rumble in the bass, especially with genres like EDM and hip-hop. But if you're low on space, it's a great option.
Standalone soundbars are great for smaller living spaces, and the Bose TV Speaker is especially space-conscious. At less than 24 inches in width, it's smaller and more compact than the Samsung HW-S60B/S61B. You can set it up under your TV stand or computer monitor to enjoy a clean and clear sound. Despite its small size, the bar gets loud enough to fill your living room with sound.
Of course, this 2.0 setup doesn't bring as impressive a surround sound performance as 5.0 models like the Samsung. It lacks some low bass, too, which is typical for bars without a dedicated subwoofer. While a bass adjustment feature is on hand, this bar doesn't offer as many sound enhancement tools as the similarly performing Sonos Ray, another stellar small soundbar available at a similar price. The Sonos' room correction feature automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics, which is a premium feature for its price. It doesn't reproduce as much bass as the Bose, but it's worth a look if you want more customization tools.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the top soundbars under $300 for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews of soundbars under $300. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.