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The 5 Best Soundbars Under $500 - Winter 2024 Reviews

Best Soundbars Under $500

Soundbars can be a decent option when you don't have the room for a full home theater setup. You also don't have to spend thousands to get a good-performing product that'll do a better job than most TV speakers. Whether you need a full Atmos setup or a good 2.1 system, many options are available at a decent price point.

We've tested over 185 soundbars. Below are our recommendations for the top soundbars under $500. Also, check out our picks for the overall best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars if you watch a lot of movies, and the best budget soundbars if you're on an even tighter budget.

  1. Best Soundbar Under $500

    The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is the best soundbar under $500 we've tested. It's a great choice for everything from music to movies to TV shows, offering a versatile overall performance at a more affordable price than more premium models. This setup comes with two rear speakers that help position sound effects to pinpoint locations in the soundstage. Whether you're watching 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital or object-based formats like Dolby Atmos, you feel like the action is taking place all around your living room. Its sub also brings the rumble in the bass during intense scenes for a real cinematic feel.

    Out-of-the-box, this soundbar has a balanced and even sound that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Vocals and instruments in your favorite tunes are present and detailed in the mix, and dialogue is reproduced with great clarity. Of course, this bar doesn't offer as many sound enhancement features as more premium setups, so you won't find a room correction feature, meaning that it sounds a bit different depending on your room's unique acoustics. That said, its bass and treble adjustments still give you some ability to control its sound, which is nice. Overall, it offers great value for the price.

    See our review

  2. Best Soundbar Without Speakers Under $500

    Depending on the setup of your living room, you might not have enough space for a soundbar with dedicated satellite speakers. In that case, you'll want to look at the LG SP8YA. This 3.1.2 setup consists of a soundbar and a subwoofer, and that's it. Still, it can bring a clear and accurate sound, making it suitable for listening to all sorts of different audio content. Plus, the sub brings the rumble in the bass range, which is great for action-packed movies and bass-heavy music. If you want a different sound, there are some customization tools on hand, too, including bass and treble adjustments.

    This soundbar supports many audio formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays. For example, it supports Dolby Atmos, with two up-firing drivers built into the bar to create the illusion of height with this content. Without dedicated satellites, it doesn't bring the same immersive feel with multi-channel content that you get with the Vizio M Series M512a-H6. Instead, audio seems concentrated in the space in front of your couch, and it doesn't stretch around you for a more life-like feel. If you don't watch much surround sound, it's not a big deal, though, and if you're low on space, you may find it's the better deal overall.

    See our review

  3. Best Small Soundbar Under $500

    If you don't have a lot of room in your setup, you can always opt for a small standalone bar like the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). Since it doesn't come with a subwoofer like the LG SP8YA, it takes up even less space in your living room. The bar is less than 25 inches wide, so it easily fits underneath your TV stand or monitor. You don't have to sacrifice on sound quality with a small bar, either. This bar brings a wide and immersive soundstage performance that actually rivals that of some home theater speakers. Audio formats like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital are more immersive and life-like as a result.

    This soundbar has many of the same features as Sonos's more premium offerings. For example, it's compatible with the Sonos S2 app, which you can use to connect the bar with other Sonos products to spread audio throughout your room. Also, the TruePlay room correction tool automatically calibrates the bar's output based on your room's unique acoustics. It's only available with iOS devices at this time, but Android users can still manually adjust the bar's sound with its bass and treble adjustments. Of course, without a sub, you don't get as much rumble in the bass. Still, it's a solid choice if you're low on space and mostly listen to content without a lot of bass mixed in.

    See our review

  4. Best Customizable Soundbar Under $500

    Lots of soundbars on the market come with sound customization tools so you can switch up their sound to your liking—and the best we've tested under $500 is the Samsung HW-Q600C/Q60CC. This versatile 3.1.2 setup comes with more traditional bass and treble adjustments as well as a graphic EQ so you can customize its output across the range. There are lots of EQ presets on hand, like Standard, Surround, and Adaptive Sound. If you want a lot of control over how your bar sounds, it's worth a look.

    This soundbar also supports lots of audio formats that you're likely to find on both streaming services and Blu-rays, like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. The manufacturer's unique "Acoustic Beam" technology uses side-firing drivers inside the bar to send audio through a "beam" and out a series of up-firing drivers for a more immersive sound. You won't find a room correction feature like with the LG SP8YA, but thanks to its wide array of customization tools, you can manually make up for any adjustments in the sound based on the acoustics of your room.

    See our review

  5. Best Soundbar Without Atmos Under $500

    Dolby Atmos is a popular object-based audio format found on many different streaming platforms, especially with newer releases. However, not everyone needs a soundbar that can decode this format. If you prefer to watch stereo content, like most music and TV shows, or 5.1 surround formats like Dolby Digital, you can save a lot on a bar without Atmos capabilities. The best we've tested under $500 is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. For a budget-friendly price, you get a bar with a subwoofer and two satellites that are great for 5.1 content.

    From the jump, this bar offers a great sound quality that makes it suitable for listening to many different audio formats—besides Atmos. The sub brings the rumble in action-packed movie scenes while the satellites spread sound effects into the space around your couch for a more immersive feel. Naturally, though, you don't find as many features as with the top-of-the-line offerings—there's no room correction, for example, so the bar sounds a little different depending on your room's acoustics. Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments, you can still make up for this and control the bar's sound to get it more to your liking. Overall, this bar is a solid value pick.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio M Series M51a-H6: The Vizio M Series M51a-H6 is a slightly more affordable alternative to the Vizio M Series M512a-H6. However, it's only a 5.1 setup, meaning it lacks up-firing drivers for Atmos content like the M512a and isn't as well-built. If you don't watch a lot of Atmos content, though, it's a fair alternative. See our review
  • Hisense AX5125H: The Hisense AX5125H is another 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar that's more affordable. It comes with a subwoofer and two satellite speakers. Its stereo soundstage isn't quite as impressive as the Vizio M Series M512a-H6, and it has fewer sound enhancement features. See our review
  • Klipsch Cinema 700: The Klipsch Cinema 700 is a 3.1 setup that's a good alternative to the LG SP8YA, especially if you want a lot of extra thump and rumble in the bass range right out of the box. The Atmos performance isn't impressive since it doesn't come with up-firing drivers. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 25, 2024: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q60C/Q6CC with the Samsung HW-Q600C/Q60CC since the latter model offers better Atmos support. Added the Hisense AX5125H as a Notable Mention. Removed the Vizio SB36512-F6 from Notable Mentions as it's no longer widely available.

  2. Nov 27, 2023: Confirmed product picks. Minor text edits for clarity.

  3. Oct 03, 2023: Confirmed picks. No updates.

  4. Aug 09, 2023: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q60B with the next-generation Samsung HW-Q60C. The LG SP9YA's price is above our threshold, so we replaced it with the LG SP8YA.

  5. Jun 14, 2023: With the release of LG's 2023 lineup, the price of the LG SP9YA dropped within the range. It replaces the LG SP8YA as 'Best Without Speakers'.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the top soundbars under $500 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 soundbars for under $500 reviews. 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.