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The 6 Best Soundbars Under $500 - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars Under $500
128 Soundbars Tested
  • Store-bought soundbars; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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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, there’s a lot of options available at a decent price point.

We’ve tested over 125 soundbars. Below, you'll find our recommendations for the best soundbars under $500 to buy. Also, check out our recommendations 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: Vizio M Series M512a-H6

    8.2
    Mixed Usage
    8.4
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    8.1
    Music
    8.1
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1.2

    The Vizio M Series M512a-H6 is the best soundbar under $500 that we've tested. This well-built 5.1.2 setup has a pretty neutral sound profile out-of-the-box that makes it suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. Thanks to its dedicated subwoofer, there's also a little extra punch in the bass range.

    This setup comes with two discrete satellites that offer a good surrounds performance. It supports Dolby Atmos content, too, using two up-firing drivers in the bar to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you to simulate height. There are even some sound enhancement features available, like EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't have premium enhancement features like room correction. It also doesn't have built-in voice assistant capabilities. However, if you own a third-party voice assistant device like an Amazon Echo, you can plug it into the bar's AUX VA port to control it with your voice, according to the manufacturer.

    See our review

  2. Best 3.1 Soundbar Under $500: LG SP8YA

    7.9
    Mixed Usage
    8.3
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    8.0
    Music
    7.6
    Movies
    Channels
    3.1.2

    The best soundbar under $500 with a 3.1 setup that we've tested is the LG SP8YA. This well-built 3.1.2 setup is a solid option for users who don't have space for rear speakers in their setup. It also supports Dolby Atmos content with two up-firing drivers built into the bar to create the illusion of height.

    Its AI Room Calibration feature automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of your room. Its sound profile is a bit bass-heavy, so there's some extra thump and punch in your audio. Vocals and lead instruments are still reproduced clearly, though, and you can even use its bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive as a setup with discrete surround speakers like the Vizio M Series M512a-H6. That said, it's still a very good choice for listeners who want a versatile soundbar.

    See our review

  3. Best Small Soundbar Under $500: Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

    7.4
    Mixed Usage
    7.7
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.4
    Music
    7.1
    Movies
    Channels
    5.0

    The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is the best soundbar under $500 with a compact design that we've tested. This small bar has an excellent build quality, and it uses side-firing drivers in the bar to offer a wide soundstage that rivals home theater tower speakers. Unlike the first generation Sonos Beam, it also supports Dolby Atmos content.

    This soundbar has a pretty neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, although vocals and lead instruments may be a bit muddy due to the extra boom in the bass range. That said, you can use its bass and treble adjustments to customize a more neutral sound profile if you want. It also has a Trueplay room correction feature, although you can only access it on compatible iOS devices.

    Unfortunately, this setup isn't Bluetooth-compatible, which can be limiting for some users. It also struggles to reproduce the deep thump and rumble in the low-bass. However, you can purchase a subwoofer and satellites from the manufacturer separately if you want to upgrade down the line.

    See our review

  4. Best Standalone Soundbar Under $500: Samsung HW-S60A

    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.8
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.3
    Music
    6.6
    Movies
    Channels
    5.0

    The best soundbar under $500 with a standalone design that we've tested is the Samsung HW-S60A. Its unique Side Horn Speakers on the side of the bar beam sound throughout your space, resulting in a wide and immersive soundstage. It also has a pretty solid performance with surround sound.

    This soundbar has a pretty neutral and balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to many different types of audio content. It has lots of sound customization features, including bass and treble adjustments as well as a graphic EQ. You can use its 'Voice Enhancement' feature to make dialogue more clear, and its 'Night Mode' to balance out the volume level when watching TV at night.

    Unfortunately, this setup doesn't support Dolby Atmos content. If you're looking for a standalone bar under $500 that supports Dolby Atmos content, you can check out the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam or the smaller Sonos Beam (Gen 2). It's still a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers, especially for users who usually watch TV or listen to music.

    See our review

  5. Best 2.1 Soundbar Under $500: Samsung HW-A550

    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.6
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.6
    Music
    6.5
    Movies
    Channels
    2.1

    If you're looking for a 2.1 setup, the best soundbar under $500 that we've tested is the Samsung HW-A550. This premium setup offers a neutral, balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, making it suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. It gets pretty loud, too, so you can crank up the volume when hosting parties or movie nights.

    This soundbar comes with lots of different sound enhancement features. If you prefer a different sound, you can use its graphic EQ and presets as well as its bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound profile. Its 'Adaptive Sound' preset is a dialogue enhancement feature that can make voices sound more clear and crisp.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and its surround performance isn't very impressive. It also struggles to reproduce some low-bass, so you may not feel a lot of thump and rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. That said, it's still a solid choice for listeners who prefer a 2.1 setup.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Soundbar: Vizio V Series V51-H6

    7.6
    Mixed Usage
    8.3
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.8
    Music
    7.0
    Movies
    Channels
    5.1

    The best budget soundbar we've tested is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. This 5.1 setup has two discrete satellites and a dedicated subwoofer that helps reproduce a thumpy, punchy bass. Its default sound profile is pretty neutral, so it's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content.

    This soundbar offers a solid selection of sound enhancement features, including bass and treble adjustments and EQ presets like 'Movie' and 'Music'. You can also use its dialogue enhancement feature to make voices more clear and crisp. It also gets pretty loud without much compression, so you can crank up the volume when listening at parties.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos content. Its soundstage performance is decent, but it isn't as impressive as other bars like the Vizio M Series M512a-H6. That said, it has good focus, so sound objects seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location in the soundstage.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Vizio SB36512-F6: The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a very versatile setup that supports Dolby Atmos content. Its build quality and its soundstage performance aren't quite as impressive as some of Vizio's newer models, though. See our review
  • Vizio M Series M51ax-J6: The Vizio M Series M51ax-J6 is a 5.1 setup with a decent surround sound performance that supports Atmos content. However, its soundstage performance isn't as impressive as some of the other models we've tested. See our review
  • Yamaha YAS-209: The Yamaha YAS-209 is a great option if you don't mind fabric and don't need Apple AirPlay. See our review
  • Samsung HW-Q600A: The Samsung HW-Q600A is a 3.1.2 setup with versatile overall performance and many sound customization features. However, it doesn't have room correction. See our review
  • Klipsch Bar 48: The Klipsch Bar 48 is a 3.1 setup that's a great choice for dialogue-centric content like TV shows. It isn't very well-built, though, and its surround performance isn't ideal for movie fans. See our review
  • Bose Smart Soundbar 300: The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a small soundbar that offers more wireless playback options than the Sonos Beam. However, it lacks a room correction feature, so it may sound differently depending on the room you use it in. See our review
  • JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam: The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is a small 5.0 soundbar that can easily fit into your existing setup. It offers better Atmos and surround performances than the Sonos Beam, but its soundstage performance isn't as impressive. See our review
  • Vizio V Series V21-H8: The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is a pretty versatile 2.1 soundbar that offers a bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box. However, it lacks a Full HDMI In port, and it isn't as customizable as some of the other soundbars we've tested. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 04, 2022: Restructured article for greater clarity.

  2. Nov 05, 2021: Replaced the Vizio M Series M51a-H6 with the next-generation Vizio M Series M512a-H6 and added the LG SP8YA as an alternative. Added the Samsung HW-Q700A as 'Best Customizable'. Replaced the Sonos Beam with the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) as 'Best Small'. Added the Vizio V Series V51-H6 as 'Best Budget'. Added the Vizio SB46514-F6 to Notable Mentions.

  3. Sep 07, 2021: Replaced the Samsung HW-T650 with the Samsung HW-A650 in Notable Mentions.

  4. Jul 09, 2021: Removed the Vizio SB36512-F6 as its price rose above $500. Added the Samsung HW-Q600A as 'Customizable Alternative'. Replaced the Yamaha YAS-408 with the Samsung HW-A550 as 'Best 2.1' since the Yamaha's price rose above $500. Added the Samsung HW-S60A, the Vizio V Series V21-H8, and the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam to Notable Mentions.

  5. May 11, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 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 soundbar 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.

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