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The 5 Best Soundbars Under $300 - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Soundbars Under $300

When shopping for a soundbar, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the expensive options out there. 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.

We've tested over 160 soundbars, and below you'll find the top soundbars under $300 to buy. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.

  1. Best Soundbar Under $300

    The best soundbar under $300 that we've tested is the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6. For the price, it offers versatile performance, and it's only of the only models available in this price range with Dolby Atmos support. Object-based content like Atmos is more and more common on streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, and it's designed to bring a truly immersive listening experience to your favorite shows. While the bar isn't quite as impressive as top-of-the-line models on the market, it still does a pretty good job representing sound effects in the space around your couch, largely thanks to its included rear speakers.

    This bar isn't only suitable for movies—it's also a solid pick for listening to music, podcasts, and TV shows. Right out of the box, voices and other instruments reproduce with great clarity, and you can follow along with the dialogue in TV and movies with ease. Thanks to its dedicated subwoofer, there's plenty of rumble in the bass to make action-packed scenes come to life, too. Its bass and treble levels are adjustable as well, so you have some ability to customize its sound. You can plug it right into your TV, and you can also stream content from your phone wirelessly via Bluetooth. Overall, it's a solid pick.

    See our review

  2. Best Soundbar Without Dolby Atmos Under $300

    Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio format found on many streaming platforms. However, if you aren't much of an Atmos fan, you can find a more affordable alternative to the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 in the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It doesn't support Atmos content, but it still offers good performance with other types of audio content. It still comes with two rear speakers, so 5.1 surround sound is clear and detailed in the space around you as if your sofa was dropped right in the middle of the action on screen. There's also a dedicated sub, and you can feel your seat rumble during action-packed scenes.

    You'll find that the bar does a really good job with music and more dialogue-focused content like sitcoms and documentaries, too. Its balanced sound ensures you don't have any trouble hearing voices and lead instruments in the mix, and bass-heavy genres come to life thanks to the extended low-bass. You have access to a similar array of sound enhancement features compared to the M Series, too, including bass and treble adjustments and some EQ presets. If you don't plan to watch Atmos content, it's a good choice and even comes at a lower price.

    See our review

  3. Best Soundbar Without Speakers Under $300

    Depending on the size and shape of your living room, you may not have space for a setup with rear satellites. In that case, you'll want to check out the Samsung HW-B650. It's a 3.1 setup with a dedicated subwoofer, but its satellites are sold separately, so you have the option to add them now or at a later date. It's a customizable option, too—in addition to traditional bass and treble adjustments, it has a graphic EQ so you can control its sound across the range.

    With everything from music to movies to TV shows, the bar reproduces a clear and accurate sound. Voices and lead instruments are detailed and present in the mix, and dialogue is easy-to-follow. Thanks to its subwoofer, you feel the excitement in bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. That said, when it comes to surround sound, the bar doesn't perform as well. Without satellites, it has to downmix 5.1 formats like Dolby Digital into stereo to play them. Unfortunately, this doesn't sound as immersive, meaning sound effects are restricted to the space in front of you rather than stretching all around you for a life-like feel. It's fine if you mostly listen to stereo content, but movie lovers will likely want to spring for something with satellites.

    See our review

  4. Best Standalone Soundbar Under $300

    If you have a small living area, you might even prefer a standalone bar, which comes without a subwoofer. The best that we've tested under $300 is the Samsung HW-S60A. It's a 5.0 bar that offers a neutral sound right out of the box, so voices and lead instruments in your content are clear and easy to follow. Like other Samsung models, there are many customization tools, including a graphic EQ that lets you control the bar's sound across the range.

    Since it lacks a subwoofer, you don't feel the same amount of rumble in the bass range as with other models like the Samsung HW-Q60B. It's especially noticeable with bass-heavy music and intense movie scenes, and you don't get the sensation of your seat rumbling beneath you like you would at a movie theater. However, it still does an okay job with 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, using its Side Horn speakers to simulate sound effects in the soundstage around you. It doesn't offer the same immersive feel you get with rear speakers, but you can always add a Wireless Rear Speaker Kit if you want to enhance its sound.

    See our review

  5. Best Small Soundbar Under $300

    There are even smaller standalone soundbars on the market, which are ideal for smaller-sized TVs and computer screens. The Bose TV Speaker is the best of the bunch, and at less than 24 inches in width, it can easily fit under your TV stand without blocking the screen. It may be small, but this premium setup can still get loud enough to fill the average living room. It's ideal for listening to vocal-centric TV shows and music, with balanced mids that ensure voices and lead instruments are clear and detailed in the mix.

    Of course, without a sub, you notice a lack of bass in the mix, and the 2.0 setup doesn't provide a very immersive sound with surround sound formats like the 5.0 Samsung HW-S60A. While there's a bass adjustment feature on hand, this bar doesn't offer as many sound enhancement features as the similarly-performing Sonos Ray, which is another solid, small pick. 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 if you want more customization tools, it's worth a look.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio V Series V51x-J6: The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 is the next generation of the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's a 5.1 bar that isn't very different from its predecessor, but it reproduces less bass and doesn't get as loud, so it doesn't perform as well overall. See our review
  • Vizio V Series V21-H8: The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is a 2.1 setup with a bass-heavy sound right out of the box that makes it ideal for listening to bass-heavy music. However, it doesn't have a discrete center or as many customization tools as the Samsung HW-B650. See our review
  • TCL Alto 8i: The TCL Alto 8i is one of the only soundbars in this price range that offers Dolby Atmos support. That said, it doesn't perform as well as the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6, as it lacks a lot of low bass. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 06, 2023: The Vizio M Series M51a-J6 is no longer widely available, so it was replaced with the next-generation Vizio M Series M51ax-J6. The Samsung HW-Q60B's price rose above $300, so it was replaced with the Samsung HW-B650.

  2. Nov 08, 2022: Replaced the Samsung HW-B650 with the Dolby Atmos-compatible Samsung HW-Q60B.

  3. Sep 09, 2022: Replaced the Vizio V Series V51-H6 with the Vizio M Series M51a-H6 as 'Best Soundbar' now that the M Series' price dropped into the range. Retained the V Series as the 'Best Without Atmos'.

  4. Jul 12, 2022: Added the Samsung HW-Q600A as 'Best Atmos' as its price dropped. Added the Sonos Ray to the Bose TV Speaker text.

  5. May 13, 2022: Replaced the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 with the Vizio V Series V51-H6 as the M Series' price rose. Replaced the LG SN6Y with the Samsung HW-A650 as the Samsung's price rose. Added the Vizio V Series V51x-J6 as 'Best Under $200'.

All Reviews

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.