By: Steve Murano
Last updated: July 2017
Shopping for a soundbar and only have $300 to spare? While you probably won’t find a floor-shaking 7-channel HiFi system for that kind of money, there are quite a few options to dramatically improve your TVs sound quality at this price range. Today we look at 3 best soundbars that you can buy for $300 or less.
Unlike the $100 sound bars we have looked at previously, most of the below models come with a dedicated subwoofer and some even feature rear satellite speakers. Unlike the $500 soundbars, these models probably won’t have HDMI connectors and 150W speakers. Still, for an average-sized room, a $300 soundbar will be a great choice and will definitely improve your TV and sports watching experience.
To learn more about choosing a particular soundbar, what to look for and what to avoid, read our first article in the series.
Our Top Picks in sub-$300 range
1. Samsung HW-M550 is a 2017 model from the famous Korean manufacturer. It’s a 3.1 sound bar, meaning there are three channels, including a dedicated center speaker which helps improve the dialogue clarity in talk shows and movies. It also comes with a 7″ wireless subwoofer and covers the frequency range of 40Hz-20kHz. One of our favorite things about this sound bar is the ability to upgrade it later to a full 5.1 system buy purchasing the rear speakers (look for model SWA-8500S).
Check the current price on Amazon here: Samsung HW-M550 3.1 Channel 340 Watt Wireless Audio Soundbar
2. VIZIO SB3851-C0 was also one of our to picks in the under $500 range. This 5.1 sound bar also comes with a dedicated external subwoofer, a pair of rear speakers and covers the frequency range of 50Hz-19kHz. It’s one of the cheapest hassle-free ways to achieve surround sound effect at home. As we said previously, we wish it could go a bit lower and had an HDMI input, but for the price, it’s still a very tempting offer.
Check the current price on Amazon here: VIZIO SB3851-C0
3. ZVOX SoundBase 570 is a good example of why a soundbase is a great design (sadly becoming less popular nowadays). An all-in-one device, it acts as a pedestal for your TV and allows for a very tidy setup all around. This particular model comes with a built-in subwoofer and utilizes the popular AccuVoice technology which enhances the dialog reproduction in movies, games and TV shows.
Check the current price on Amazon here: Zvox SB500
Here’s how our top picks compare to each other:
- Soundbar model
- Number of channels
- Rear Speakers
- Frequency Range
- Samsung HW-M550
- Wireless, 7"
- HDMI, Optical, HDMI out, Aux In, USB
- 340 Watts
- You can add external speakers to this set up to turn it into a 5.1 system
- VIZIO SB3851-C0
- Wireless, 5.25"
- Optical, Coaxial, Stereo RCA, 3.5mm In, USB
- A great budget-friendly choice for a surround sound system
- ZVOX SoundBase 570
- 5 speakers
- Optical, Coaxial, Analog Stereo
- A sound base can be placed directly underneath your TV
Modern TVs have one major problem. While the picture quality keeps getting better and the design gets slimmer, the audio is having a hard time keeping up. In fact, often it actually deteriorates, since there’s not much room left for speakers on the new ultra-thin TVs. And we’re not talking about house-shaking volume levels – many people complain it’s getting harder to decipher what people are saying in the talk shows or follow the dialogues in the movies.
Manufacturers are always looking for new ways to improve the TV sound quality – some of the latest developments are using the screen itself as a speaker. However, the easiest and most cost-effective way is to have an external audio source hooked up to your TV. And sound bars are hard to beat when it comes to price/quality ratio here.
If you have a budget of around $300, there are a lot of high-quality sound bars and sound bases to choose from.
What is a Soundbar and What To Look For When Choosing a Sound Bar
For information on how to choose a sound bar, what to pay attention to and what to avoid when choosing one head on to our previous article on the topic.
What to expect from a $300 sound bar?
Sound bars in the under $300 range are considered mid-range – you won’t be getting the same quality sound as in the sub-$500 range, but it’s also an improvement over the $100 soundbars we’ve looked at earlier.
Most of these sound bars come with an external subwoofer for better bass reproduction and have enough power to fill a large room with sound. Some models (including the Samsung we recommended earlier) offer HDMI input and output. Most of the sound bars will have wireless/Bluetooth audio capabilities.
We’ve picked 3 distinctively different, but all very high-quality models for this roundup – Samsung is a “sound bar + subwoofer” design with a large 7″ external sub, Vizio is a budget-friendly 5.1 system with a smaller sub and 2 separate satellite speakers, while Zvox comes in a discreet sound base design.
What you probably won’t get at $300 range
HDMI input is still not standard at this price range, as are rear speakers. If these are important to you, consider looking at slightly more expensive range. Other that that, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with any of the choices we’ve laid out above.