Finding an AV receiver for less than 300 bucks isn’t difficult as long as you keep realistic expectations. Don’t expect the best 7.2 channel 3D surround, DTS-X, 4K 60Hz, etc. at this price range. You probably will be getting 3-5 HDMI ports for input, and may or may not get a USB port on the front panel.
What can I expect from a $300 AV receiver?
AV receivers in this price range will include 4k upscaling, but finding a good one with 4k pass through and 60Hz Ultra HD playback will be difficult. Impedance and output power will usually vary between 50-150W and 5-8 ohms. That should still be plenty for driving most medium-high end speakers, and 5.1 channel surround sound home theater systems will work fine with your average sub-300 dollar AV receiver.
Try to get features such as Bluetooth, Airplay, WiFi, NFC, etc. so that you can set up wireless surround sound systems. Also, look for receivers that support multi-zone or multi-room operation modes so that you can control speakers in multiple rooms with just one AV receiver, and you can do it wirelessly. Take note of how well the receiver is compatible with various mobile apps. SPOTIFY, Pandora RV, v TUNER, Sirius XM, AM/FM support, etc. are all very useful and the controls should be intuitive and easy to access.
Here are some of the best under 300 dollar AV receivers on the market right now, and we have chosen all of these on the basis of customer reviews and intensive research. We compared the features of the most popular models and chose only the ones that we felt delivered the most performance per dollar. There are some pretty good receivers in there with features that rival those found in receivers which cost twice as much.
Other AV receivers review: UNDER $1000
If you take the Yamaha RX-V379BL and analyze its specs you will be pretty impressed. You will be even more impressed to find out that you’re getting all of this for less than 300 dollars. Here are some of the big features on this ultra-affordable beast of an AV receiver- 4k pass-through, 5.1 channel audio with 130 W per channel via dedicated amplifiers. There is a total of 4 HDMI ports on the back, but unfortunately only one of them supports HDCP 2.2 which means that you won’t be able to string together multiple 4K devices together. Cinema Front technology can come in really handy when you want to set up a true 5.1 surround system but don’t feel like installing speakers in the back, or maybe you just don’t have the space to install rear speakers. Cinema Front will automatically transform the soundstage and audio direction so that even though all 6 of your speakers are mounted in front of you, you will feel as though the sound is coming from around you.
Pro: 5.2 channel, 70 W per channel, 4K ultra HD at 60 Hz (impressive at this price), full-rate pass-through, HDCP 2.2 support, Bluetooth, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD
Con: Small bugs with the software interface, random HDMI handshake errors
For slightly less than 300 dollars, you can get one of these awesome 5.2 channel AV receivers from Denon. The AVR-S510BT comes with a powerful dedicated amplifier assembly that generates 70W per channel, for each of the 7 channels. The most impressive feature of this AV receiver, however, is the fact that it supports full 60 Hz (yes) 4K Ultra HD upscaling and pass-through. For less than 300 bucks, you normally don’t expect stuff like this. Also, it supports HDCP 2.2 on its HDMI ports, and you get 3 of those amazing HDCP 2.2 supporting HDMI inputs to connect up with the 4K device. There is built-in Bluetooth, and you can enjoy the power of 3D surround audio thanks to the DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.
Yamaha R-S202BL AV Receiver
Yamaha never fails to impress with their speakers and AV receivers, even at sub-300 dollar prices. The R-S202BL features one of the best DAC chip and amplifier combos currently available for less than 200 dollars on the market. The circuitry is cooled by extruded aluminum heat sinks to keep the amplifier cool and the transformers, capacitors, etc. on peak efficiency at all times. It needs all of that cooling as well since the high current amplifier inside this beast does get quite hot while producing all of the required 200 W of power for the 2 stereo channels. There is 100 W of power available per channel, and a speaker selector allows you to select between two separate speaker terminals. The frequency range is 40Hz to 20KHz and THD is 0.2%.
Yes, this is just a 2-channel AV receiver and it doesn’t have Bluetooth or WIFI. There is no need to worry, it costs less than 150 bucks and this is what you should buy if you have a single or dual speaker setup in your dorm room, bedroom, or study room. It is best used in small rooms only since the power output is just not enough to power more expensive and high impedance speakers. There is still 135 W of power per channel, since the built-in amp delivers a maximum output of 270 W at 8 ohms, with a THD of 0.05%. There are 5 audio inputs and 2 audio outputs.
If you’ve always thought about the idea of getting a Sherwood AV receiver for your home speaker setup but were turned away by the steep costs, then take a look at this particular model. It is the RX4508 from Sherwood, and lives up to its manufacturer’s legacy by delivering pristine, well-balanced, full-range stereo sound with tons of treble, bass, and does so at a very affordable price. It is equipped with Quartz PLL digital tuning functions for auto scan and preset scan that enables quick searching. With its Discrete Amplifier Stage and 100W of power output per channel, this Sherwood sounds extremely good and is capable of driving speakers rated at 100-150 W at 8 ohms.
Harman Kardon AVR 1510
Pro: 5.1 surrounds with 75 W per channel, 4 3D-ready HDMI ports, a front panel USB, DLNA 1.5, Bluetooth
Con: Menu is extremely unintuitive and bland, spring clips have a cheap feel to them
The Harman Kardon AVR 1510 fulfills your demands for a compact, sleek-looking, wireless capable, 5.1-channel AVR, and it even has 4 3D ready HDMI ports with 4k pass-through and DLNA 1.5 support. The best part is that it actually supports Bluetooth connectivity and comes with surround sound technologies such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. There is a total of 6 audio channels, and each channel gets 75 W of power from the dedicated amps that sport high powered capacitors and gigantic EI transformers. You’ll find that v TUNER internet radio is built-in, and it is also designed with HARMAN Green Edge technology.
Sony STRDH550 AV Receiver
Pro: 5.2 channel (145W x 7 at 6 ohms), great OSD, front USB port with HD playback support, 4K pass-through
Con: Very confusing instruction manual, needs to be connected with a TV for performing most set up functions
Even though this is a very basic AV receiver, it delivers plenty of audio quality for the price. The Sony STRDH550 packs a powerful DAC that faithfully converts both your compressed and uncompressed music. The high current amplifier does a great job since it can deliver 145 W of power through all the 7 channels at 6 ohms with a THD of under 0.1%. Sony boasts an impressive S/N ratio on the sound processing circuits inside this receiver, and even though it does not feature any fancy wireless connectivity features such as Bluetooth or WIFI, Airplay, etc. that is not a big deal-breaker unless you already have a bunch of wireless speakers in your home, or absolutely need to playback stuff from your iPhone or iPod.