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 130 soundbars, and below you'll find the best soundbars under $300 to buy. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.
The best soundbar under $300 we've tested is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's a budget-friendly 5.1 setup with a pretty versatile performance, especially compared to other models at this price point. With two discrete satellites included, it's a solid choice for surround sound content found on lots of streaming platforms and Blu-rays like Dolby Digital and DTS.
With its neutral sound profile, this bar is suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Its balanced mids mean that voices and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, and its dedicated sub accurately reproduces the thump and rumble in the bass. Of course, it doesn't have as many features as more premium setups, but you'll still find a standard array of sound enhancement features like bass and treble adjustments as well as a dialogue enhancement mode.
Unfortunately, without a graphic EQ, you can't control frequencies across the range, so you have less ability to customize its sound. Compared to pricier models, there's no Dolby Atmos support, which is disappointing if you watch newer movies on streaming platforms a lot. Still, it's the best available at this price point.
If you don't have space in your setup for discrete satellites, there are still options available that let you listen to surround sound content without crowding up your living room. The LG SN6Y is a 3.1 setup, meaning that it comes with two fewer channels than the Vizio V Series V51-H6. Still, it's a versatile pick, especially if you watch a lot of Dolby Digital and DTS content.
With its dedicated subwoofer, there's a lot of extra punch and boom in the bass range that's ideal for listening to bass-heavy music and action movies. Still, its mids are quite neutral, so voices and lead instruments are still clear in the mix. If you prefer a more neutral sound, there are still bass and treble adjustments on hand to change up its sound.
Unfortunately, its surround sound performance isn't as good as the Vizio's. It has to downmix surround sound into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. You don't get the sense that the action on screen is happening all around you, and instead, sound effects seem like they're coming from a speaker placed in front of you. However, if you're low on space or if you don't watch a lot of movies, it's still a good option.
The best 2.1 soundbar under $300 we've tested is the Samsung HW-A550. Compared to 3.1 setups like the LG SN6Y, 2.1 soundbars only come with two built-in channels - the left and right stereo channels. They're designed for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows, so they're a good choice if you don't watch a lot of movies.
Its sound profile is neutral and balanced right out of the box, especially in the mid-range, where voices and lead instruments reproduce. Want a different sound? There are lots of sound customization features available, including a full graphic EQ as well as bass and treble adjustments. Its dialogue enhancement feature is handy for watching TV, and its night mode feature can reduce the dynamic range to balance the volume level when you watch programs at night.
Unfortunately, without a discrete center channel, this soundbar can't reproduce dialogue with as much accuracy as 3.1 setups like the LG. It's also not the best choice for multi-channel surround sound formats since it also has to downmix them into stereo to play them. That said, it's still a simple bar that can improve your listening experience with both music and TV shows.
Low on space? Check out the Bose TV Speaker, which is the best small soundbar under $300 that we've tested. It's a 2.0 setup that's less than 24 inches in width, and 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 up the average living room.
Overall, this bar is ideal if you mostly listen to music and dialogue-heavy content like podcasts and TV shows. It has a pretty neutral sound out-of-the-box with a little extra boom in the bass range. Vocals and lead instruments reproduce very clearly, and there's a bass adjustment feature on hand so you can customize its sound.
Unfortunately, like most standalone setups, this bar struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass, so it's not ideal for listening to bass-heavy music genres like hip-hop and EDM. Its sound enhancement features are pretty limited, too - while there's a dialogue enhancement feature and a bass adjustment feature, you won't find an EQ. However, it's still a fair choice for vocal-centric content, especially if you don't have a lot of space in your room.
If you're shopping on a tighter budget, check out the Vizio V Series V51x-J6, the best soundbar we've tested under $200. It's the next generation of the Vizio V Series V51-H6, but it doesn't reproduce quite as much low-bass as its predecessor. Still, it's a versatile pick that's available at a more affordable price.
Right out of the box, this soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile with a balanced mid-range, so voices in movies and TV shows are clear and present in the mix. The subwoofer adds some boom in the high-bass - so while you don't feel the rumble in the low-bass, bass-centric instruments like drums are still audible. With its two included satellites, it can provide a solid surround sound for its price point.
Unfortunately, this setup takes up more room than other picks that come without satellites. Also, it isn't ideal if you love to feel the rumble in bass-heavy audio - if that's important for you, opt for the V51-H6 instead. However, if you listen to a lot of audio without much bass mixed in, like TV shows and music, it's a more affordable choice.
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'.
Mar 15, 2022: Replaced the Vizio V Series V51-H6 with the Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 as the M Series' price dropped. Added the Samsung HW-A550 as 'Best 2.1' and the Vizio V Series V51-H6 as 'Best Under $200'. Added the Samsung HW-A450, the Vizio V Series V21-H8, the TCL Alto 8i, and the Hisense HS218 to Notable Mentions.
Jan 14, 2022: Replaced the Samsung HW-S60A with the Bose TV Speaker as 'Best Small' since the Samsung's price rose above $300. Added the Samsung HW-A650 as 'Best Customizable' and the TCL Alto 8i as 'Best For Atmos'.
Nov 16, 2021: Replaced the 3.1 Samsung HW-A650 with the 5.1 Samsung HW-Q65T as 'Better-Built Alternative' since it has a better surrounds performance. Replaced the Bose TV Speaker with the Samsung HW-S60A as 'Best Small'. Added the Samsung HW-A650 to Notable Mentions.
Sep 17, 2021: No changes to product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
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.