A soundbar can bring amazing depth and clarity to both dialogue and music. If you own one of the latest slim TV’s with a plasma, LED, or LCD panel, then you know very well that the sound quality of these ultra-thin television sets is often as thin as the TV itself. But hey, it’s not because you chose wrong, in fact, there is only so much that a manufacturer can do with such a slim form factor.
So how do you get the right sound from your TV then? The answer is simple- get a decent soundbar. Yeah, you can also get a dedicated multi-channel surround sound system to experience theater-like sound from the comfort of your home. But those will cost a fortune, and you will have to set up boxes all over the wall and deal with wires stretching across the room.
Besides, the soundbars of today offer impressive sound quality at astonishingly affordable prices. They come in many form factors and often have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth built in so that you can connect them to your smart TV, phone, or mp3 player wirelessly and use them like Bluetooth speakers. What differentiates a soundbar from an ordinary Bluetooth speaker or external speaker is the fact that these often come with many extras such as multiple HDMI, DVI, and audio input jacks, USB ports, as well as built-in multi-channel audio that emulates the effect which you would get from an actually dedicated surround sound system.
Best Soundbars Under $300: What to look for?
While choosing a soundbar, the first thing you must be concerned about is its audio quality and I/O options. Check if it has mono, stereo, or multi-channel sound. If it claims to have multi-channel surround sound, check if it actually has dedicated speakers for multiple channels and frequency ranges, or if it just relies on software simulation. Some good soundbars will come with tons of amplification for producing genuinely powerful sound, and they may also have sub-woofers built in.
Finally, we would like to show you some of our top picks for the best soundbars under 300 bucks. The 300 dollar range is the sweet spot for getting genuinely good soundbars. There are costlier ones out there, but the added gains that you will receive by dumping that extra cash will hardly be worth it. We have featured some of the best sub-$300 soundbars over here on the basis of specifications and customer feedback.
Panasonic Compact TV Sound Board SC-HTE80
Pro: Discrete form factor, 120 W sound output, NFC, dual integrated subwoofers
Con: Slight sound delay when connected in optical mode
The Panasonic SC-HTE80 is an incredibly compact sound board that will fit right underneath your new LCD TV, and it features dual dedicated subwoofers to deliver powerful, deep bass. There is Bluetooth and NFC built-in so that you can connect this sound bar with your smartphone or NFC-enabled media device. Two Aero-ports near the subwoofers offer a wider soundstage and allow the lower frequencies to resonate before leaving the box in order to deliver an amplified bass effect. The SC-HTE80 comes with 6 preset sound modes- Standard, Stadium, Music, Cinema, Stereo, and News.
Bose Solo 5 TV Sound Bar
Pro: Dialogue mode, universal remote control, Bluetooth and optical cable support
Con: No USB support, not suited for large rooms
The Bose Solo 5 is designed to be a “one box audio solution” for your TV. This means that it will provide amazing bass, treble, and mid-tones, all from just one multi-channel speaker system. The form factor and sleek looks make it great for placing right underneath your TV. You can also place it inside the case or TV rack. There is plenty of punchy bass, and it does not overpower or bleed into the mid ranges at all, which is often an issue with lower-end speakers priced at this range. The feature that we liked the most about this Bose speaker however, is its impressive audio clarity during dialogues and treble-heavy music. You may even mistake it for a high-end speaker system while listening to dialogues in shows or movies.
ZVOX SoundBase 570
Pro: Built-in dedicated subwoofer, dialogue mode, powerful midranges and lots of treble
Con: Only 65 W of output power
Designed to be mounted on the wall, underneath your TV, this 30” long sound bar is just 3.5” tall and features both Bluetooth as well as USB connectivity so you can hook it up with your cell phone, laptop, or TV. It is especially good for TV shows and movies, since the bass and dialogue reproduction on this sound bar is absolutely amazing for the price. There is absolutely no delay or distortion while using any of the provided connectivity options, such as optical cable, USB, or Bluetooth. With the software-enhanced ZVOX Phase Cue virtual surround sound effect, this speaker system will deliver life-like 3D surround sound effects in games, so your console gaming experience will never be the same. Inside this incredible sound bar, there are 5 separate speakers, one for each of the channels in 5.1 surround, along with a powerful amplifier circuit and a dedicated subwoofer.
JBL Cinema SB250 Soundbar
Pro: Features Dolby Digital and Harman Display Surround Sound, JBL SoundShift, dedicated subwoofers, multiple audio modes
Con: Limited I/O options
If you have a giant 40” or above wall-mounted flat screen TV, then you need a giant soundbar to go with it. The 40” long JBL Cinema SB250 is a perfect companion for your large TV and will provide theater-like bass performance in a slim form factor. It has dedicated tweeters to deal with different frequency ranges and has Dolby Surround technology integrated into it so that you will get the best surround sound experience possible from a single sound source. The SB250 comes with a secondary module, the subwoofer box. Both the main module and the subwoofer box can be mounted on the wall, and they connect with your TV through Bluetooth. JBL SoundShift will allow you to connect the SB250 with your mobile phone and TV at the same time, and you can seamlessly switch between TV and mobile phone playback with the press of a button on the universal remote control.
Polk Audio MagniFi One Sound Bar
Pro: Ultra low-profile, multiple EQ presets, dedicated subwoofer, instant setup
Con: Bass is great, but certain mid-tones seem slightly lacking
The Audio MagniFi One is the ultimate under 300 dollar soundbar in terms of raw performance figures. It is manufactured by Polk, a company that specializes in manufacturing premium-grade wireless speakers and audio solutions. The MagniFi One is less than 2” tall and features two 3” x 1” full range drivers, along with optical, analog (3.5 mm), and Bluetooth connectivity. Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 decoding ensures a top notch stereo as well as surround audio experience, and there are multiple preset modes such as Movie, Sports, Music, etc. so that you always the most optimized and well-tuned experience no matter what you’re watching (or listening to) on your TV. The dedicated subwoofer delivers deep, powerful bass, and a special night mode improves dialogue clarity at lower volumes so that you can watch your favorite shows and movies at night without waking up the others.
LG Electronics LAS551H
Pro: High clarity sound, wall mountable
Con: No Wi-Fi connectivity, other models connect
Sonic boost: Great for movie nights, this 2.1 channel brings the trill in adventure TV shows and the chill in horror movies. It takes your Music, movies and TV shows past traditional stereo. With a dedicated subwoofer to add a sharp sonic boost to your entertainment, this sound bar truly transforms your listening experience. It complements your 40” or 55” TV, imparting greater bass power for an enhanced viewing experience. It connects wirelessly over Bluetooth and the subwoofer syncs over Wi-Fi – no wires will run all over the bedroom. And the sound bar can be nicely mounted on the wall – just beneath your 40”.
VIZIO SB3821-C6 2.1 channel, 38”
Pro: Premium sound output, sophisticated design, integrated DTS and Dolby Audio tech
Con: Remote malfunctions at times
Enhanced Audio definition: This 38” 2.1 channel Vizio sound bar is a great fit for that 42”, or you can simply stream music from your smartphone or computer. Whether you are one for movies or music, this audio system will take your listening experience to a whole new level. The sound bar promises premium sound quality for movies and when you want to punch it, you have a wireless subwoofer that will deliver a room-filling, thrilling audio experience. With integrated Dolby and DTS audio technology, you can be certain your ears will love the sound that comes from this system.
Pro: Stylish design, air surround extreme
Con: Build in subwoofer doesn’t deliver as an external sub would
Sound clarity: If you have already spoilt yourself to sound surround systems, you wouldn’t want to go back. This Yamaha sound bar offers great sound clarity with air surround xtreme that offers a 7.1 channel sound surround. It’s loved for the clear, natural sound that truly transforms your listening experience – without necessarily blasting out the neighbor. You can stream music from your smartphone or computer wirelessly. Setup and connections are quick and easy. It is wall mountable to complement that nice flat screen LED you mounted on the wall.
Pro: Greater sound output with surround sound expansion
Con: Set up is a pain
Deep bass: This Samsung sound bar is great for everything sound. With its surround sound expansion technology, you can expect to get better, immersive sound depth. The sound bar features built-in woofers and comes with a wireless subwoofer that truly enhance your music, movies and TV shows. Deep bass from the subwoofer seamlessly combines with crisp, balanced lows from the sound bar to produce a dynamic home theater experience. This audio system is perfect for families staying in smaller living areas. It produces the perfect audio output for movies and music, and you’ll not annoy the next person.
Klipsch SB 120 TV Sound System
Pro: Compact, high performance, dynamic
Con: Bass on built in Sub isn’t satisfying enough
Dynamic: For a small audio system, this sound system from Klipsch sure does outperform itself. It features exclusive horn-loaded technology that seamlessly combines with an internal dual sub-woofer to produce exceptional, room-filling sound. Wireless connectivity is great and convenient. You can listen to your favorite playlist from your smartphone, tablet or computer. This Klipsch sound bar is a great complement to any flat screen TV, not in audio performance alone, but also in appeal. You can actually place your flat screen over this sound system – it supports TVs weighing up to 100lbs!
JBL Cinema Base All-In-One
Pro: High performance audio system, Harman volume maintains sound consistency
Con: Wired speaker connections
Sound consistency: Do those loud commercials just get to you? This sound base system offers a relaxed viewing and listening experience thanks to its impressive sound consistency technology. It’s a stunning audio system that complements your flat screen TV, projecting incredible virtual surround sound. Great for movies and TV show. It will certainly transform your listening experience when it comes to music. You can stream your favorite playlist wirelessly form your smart phone or computer. Although speakers are wired, only one wire will run to your TV; optical cable, HDMI or analogue connection.
VIZIO SB3851-C0 with Wireless Subwoofer
Pro: 5.1 channel speaker system puts you at the center of the action
Con: Not good for the bedroom if you have a home theatre already
True sound surround: With a 5 speaker system, and a high performance subwoofer, this audio system truly complements your home entertainment. It offers true surround sound experience that puts you right at the center of an amazing sound output. Wireless connectivity makes it a convenient sound system for streaming music from the smart phone or your computer. Watching movies and TV shows is amazing thanks to its integrated Dolby and DTS audio technology. Immersive bass from the Sub mixes well with deeps lows from the sound bar and crisp, balanced sound from satellite speakers to create a true cinema experience.
Pro: Dynamic sound output, wall mountable
Con: Not quite an easy set up as such
Immersive bass: This 2.1 channel sound bar from Samsung is an improvement from the HW-J450. It offers exceptional sound output for music and Movies. You can easily get immersed into the motions and development of the movie or TV show as the sound takes you deeper and deeper. Its surround sound expansion produces really deep basses and the sound bar complements this with a more crisp sound output. Overall, the sound output is dynamic and creates a balanced atmosphere that’s great for the movies as well as for music. Wireless connectivity makes streaming easy, and it eliminates the prospect of having wires crisscrossing all over your room. Wall mounting is a feature you will certainly appreciate.
Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Built-In Subwoofer
Pro: Elegant design, 3 HDMI ports, high performance system
Con: Not wall mountable
High performance: You can now truly enhance your viewing and listening experience with a sound bar that actually offers great audio output, hold up well in continuous use and offers connectivity convenience. With 3 HDMI ports, you can connect you HD devices and hook up you TV for an enhanced viewing experience. Stream your music wirelessly from your smartphone, tablet or computer and enjoy your playlist from a deep but well balanced sound output. You will love this sound bar for its 3D compatibility. Generally, it’s great for the movie or TV show experience. And you can have your flat screen TV (up to 66lbs) over it!
Sony HTCT260 Sound Bar Home Theater System
Pro: S-force pro front surround for a powerful sound output
Con: Set-up can be tricky
Experience home theater: This stylishly designed sound bar from Sony brings you movie nights to life with excellent audio output marked by clear, natural sound and a rich immersive low bass. Its wireless subwoofer produces incredible heart pounding bass that mixes seamlessly with rich, natural sound from the sound bar creating an incredible sound for whatever you are listening to. Your living room easily converts into a cinema thanks to its incredible surround sound system. If you are big on music, you can quickly and easily set up your smartphone to connect wirelessly with the system and stream your playlist seamlessly.