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 105 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 gets pretty loud, and it comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers to help immerse you in your audio. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream music from your mobile devices to the bar.
Out-of-the-box, it offers a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, with a little extra punch in the bass range to help you feel the rumbles in action-packed movie scenes. You can also customize its sound to your liking using the EQ presets and the bass and treble adjustments. There's even a dialogue enhancement feature to help make voices sound clear and crisp, which is handy.
Unfortunately, while this setup is decently built overall, the thin fabric covering the sides of the bar and the satellites seems like it could rip or get dirty easily. Also, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it doesn't come with a Full HDMI In port to help you use the bar as a hub between different devices. However, if you're looking for a versatile 5.1 setup at a more affordable price, it's a solid choice.
If you're looking for a better-built soundbar under $300, consider the Samsung HW-A650 instead. This 3.1 setup from 2021 doesn't get as loud as the Vizio V Series V51-H6, and it doesn't come with dedicated satellite speakers, but its plastic and metal build gives it a more solid, durable feel. It offers a pretty neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, so it's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. It even comes with a graphic EQ and presets and bass and treble adjustments to help you adjust its sound more to your liking. Unfortunately, even though it comes with a dedicated subwoofer, it still struggles to reproduce some low-bass, so you may not feel the deep rumble in bass-heavy music.
If you want a 5.1 setup with dedicated satellite speakers that get louder, check out the Vizio. However, if you prefer a better-built setup with more sound customization features, consider the Samsung instead.
The Bose TV Speaker is the best small soundbar under $300 that we've tested. At less than 24 inches wide, this small soundbar can easily fit into your existing setup. It also has a sleek all-plastic design, with metal grilles to help protect its drivers inside.
This soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. There's also a bass adjustment feature available to help you customize its sound more to your liking. If you like to listen to dialogue-centric content like TV shows, its discrete center channel helps to more accurately localize voices in the sound image, and there's even a dialogue enhancement feature to make them sound more clear and crisp.
Unfortunately, this soundbar struggles to reproduce an extended low-bass, so you don't feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music or action-packed movie scenes. Also, it doesn't get very loud, so it's not really suitable for use at large parties or in crowded rooms. Even if you crank it up to max volume, there's a lot of compression present, which can be disappointing.
If you're looking for an even cheaper small soundbar, consider the Sony HT-S200F instead. While it isn't as well-built as the Bose TV Speaker, this soundbar still offers a fair performance at a more affordable price. Its default sound profile is quite neutral, especially in the mid-range where voices are reproduced, though higher frequencies can sound a bit dark and dull. There are some EQ presets as well as a bass adjustment feature so you can customize its sound. You can make voices in your audio more clear and crisp using its dialogue enhancement feature, and there's also an auto-volume mode available for watching at night.
If you want a better-built soundbar with a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, check out the Bose, but if you want a cheaper option, consider the Sony instead.
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 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 some EQ presets and 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.
Jul 20, 2021: Added the Samsung HW-S60A and the Samsung HW-A550 to Notable Mentions.
May 21, 2021: Replaced the Samsung HW-T550 with the better-built 3.1 Samsung HW-A650. Removed the Yamaha YAS-209 from Notable Mentions as it's over $300, and the Bose Solo 5 as it's not widely available. Added the Klipsch Bar 48 and the Samsung HW-T550 to Notable Mentions.
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.
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.