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 85 soundbars, and below you'll find the best budget soundbars to buy. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.
The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is the best soundbar under $300 that we've tested. This 5.1 setup comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers to help immerse you in your audio. It gets pretty loud, too, so it's a solid choice for listening to music at parties or in large rooms.
Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content, and its subwoofer helps add a little extra thump and punch in the bass range. There are even a few EQ presets, as well as bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound, which is handy. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone or tablet to the bar.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, which can be disappointing if you're a movie fan. It also lacks a Full HDMI In port, so you can't use it as a hub between different devices, either. However, if you're shopping on a budget, this versatile soundbar offers a solid performance that can please lots of different types of listeners.
If you're looking for a better-built soundbar, consider the Samsung HW-T550. While this 2.1 soundbar doesn't come with any dedicated satellites and it lacks a discrete center channel, the metal grille covering its speakers gives it a more premium feel than the fabric on the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It has a neutral sound profile that packs a little extra punch in the bass range, making it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. It also comes with a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize its sound, which is nice, and it has a Full HDMI In port so you can use it as a hub between different devices.
If you're looking for a 5.1 setup with better center and surrounds performances, consider the Vizio, but if you want a more customizable, better-built bar with a Full HDMI In port, consider the Samsung.
The Bose TV Speaker is the best small soundbar under $300 that we've tested. Thanks to its compact design, it doesn't take up a lot of space in your existing setup, and it comes with Optical and HDMI ARC ports so you can connect it to your TV. Overall, it has an impressive build quality, and its materials feel solid and durable.
It has a neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. Though it's lacking a touch of low-bass, there's a bass adjustment feature to help improve its sound. You can even use its dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices sound more clear and crisp.
Unfortunately, this small soundbar struggles to get loud, and there's also a bit of compression when you play it at max volume. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, either, and it lacks an EQ to help you customize its sound. However, if you don't have a lot of space, this can be a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers.
If you're looking for a small soundbar on a very tight budget, consider the Sony HT-S200F. While this 2.1 setup isn't as well-built as the Bose TV Speaker, it still has a fairly versatile overall performance. Its compact design should easily fit between the legs of a 55" TV stand, and it even has a subwoofer integrated into the bar to help you save space. Out-of-the-box, it has a somewhat dark and muddy sound profile that's lacking low-bass. Fortunately, there are a few EQ presets available to help you customize its sound. It can also get a bit louder than the Bose, and with fewer compression artifacts at max volume.
If you want a better-built soundbar with a neutral sound out-of-the-box, check out the Bose, but if you're on a tight budget, consider the Sony.
The best soundbar under $300 for bass is the Vizio V Series V21-H8. This 2.1 model comes with a dedicated subwoofer that reproduces a very extended low-bass, so you really feel the deep thumps and rumbles in bass-heavy music and action-packed shows. It gets pretty loud, though there's a bit of compression at max volume.
Out-of-the-box, it has a boomy, bass-heavy sound profile that adds a lot of thump and punch to your audio. If you prefer a different sound, there are also some EQ presets as well as bass and treble adjustments available. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly play audio from your mobile devices on the bar.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. It also lacks a more comprehensive graphic EQ for sound customization, which can be disappointing for some listeners. That said, if you love a boomy, bass-heavy sound, this soundbar's a solid choice.
Mar 23, 2021: Replaced the Vizio SB36512-F6 with the Vizio V Series V51-H6 and the Samsung HW-T650 with the Samsung HW-T550, as both of our previous picks are now retailing for above our $300 price point. Added the LG SN6Y to Notable Mentions.
Jan 22, 2021: Replaced the Vizio V Series V51-H6 with the Vizio SB36512-F6 as 'Best Soundbar' since the latter's price recently dropped. Added the Samsung HW-T650 as 'Better-Built Alternative'. Added the Vizio V Series V51-H6 and the Yamaha YAS-209 to Notable Mentions. Removed the Samsung HW-R550 from Notable Mentions as it isn't widely available.
Nov 19, 2020: Replaced the Yamaha YAS-209 with the Vizio V Series V51-H6 as 'Best Soundbar'. Replaced the Bose Solo 5 with the Bose TV Speaker as 'Best Small Soundbar'. Updated Notable Mentions.
Sep 21, 2020: Replaced the Samsung HW-T550 with the Samsung HW-R650 as 'More Customizable' alternative. Added the Samsung HW-T550, the Samsung HW-T650, and the TCL Alto 8+ as Notable Mentions.
Jul 23, 2020: Changed some of our recommendations based on availability; added the Yamaha YAS-209 as 'Best Soundbar'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 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.