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Soundbars are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to upgrade the sound setup of your home. Despite the spectacular image quality of TVs, they are lacking when it comes to audio performance. This is simply because they limited space for quality built-in speakers. Soundbars can turn even the most mundane of sounds into a fantastic audio experience. They are compact, portable, and easy to set up. Even some inexpensive ones come with external subwoofers as well as wireless connectivity. So, if you’re in the market for the best soundbar under $300, you should have no trouble finding one that delivers thrilling sound quality.
In this in-depth review, we considered feedbacks from actual users and looked at several important product features based on advice from manufacturers. Some of the features we considered are design, connectivity methods, sound quality, brand, size and practicality. Other features such as wireless subwoofers, mounting kits, technology, audio modes, and remotes increased the rank of these products against others.
Our research led us into several hours of contacting experts from manufacturers, talking to real customers, comparing and selecting the best soundbars among multiple brands. We have prepared a comparison table of the best designs based on cumulative results of our research, and comprehensive reviews outlining both the benefits and drawbacks of each product. In addition, we have created a buying guide that covers important features to consider when selecting the best soundbar under $300. There is also a FAQs section where we have answered some questions you may have. And lastly, our final verdict where we select and discuss the best three soundbars under $300.
The VIZIO SB3651-F6 is one of the best inexpensive Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars in the market. The soundbar has a minimalist design and features two upward-firing speakers that enhance sound immersion by creating height effects. So, instead of the sound waves coming directly to you linearly, it bounces off your ceiling towards you. It also features DTS Virtual:X which allows the system to simulate surround sound and create height effects without using the soundbar’s height channels. This is especially useful if you don’t have the required ceiling height/configuration to use the soundbar’s height speakers.
The SB36512-F6 also comes with two dedicated surround speakers, one wireless subwoofer, and a small dimly lit LED display remote control. The soundbar has a 3.5mm analog input, digital audio input, HDMI IN, and HDMI Out (ARC) as sound input options. It also has an Ethernet port and a USB port. On the top of the soundbar, there are buttons for power, volume control, input selection, and Bluetooth pairing. You’ll find a set of LED indicators on the left front edge that flash to signal changes to different functions.
The VIZIO SB3651-F6 soundbar also has Chromecast features and can be connected to your mobile device if you have Chromecast-enabled apps like Google Play Music, Spotify and Pandora. With the SmartCast app, you can access iHeartRadio stations and setup an audio group with other devices. It is also Google assistant compatible and setting it up is easy.
With so many built-in features at an affordable price, the VIZIO SB36512-F6 is one of the best Dolby Atmos audio solutions.
Why is it special?
Easy to set up, and includes mount brackets and screws.
Wireless rear surround speakers and subwoofer
Decent Dolby Atmos performance
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
Chromecast and Google Assistant compatibility
HDMI 4K, HDR10/Dolby Vision HDR pass-through
What are the flaws?
Poorly lit LED remote and small display
No Bluetooth AptX/AptX HD support
Connectivity issues when pairing with SmartCast and Wi-Fi
The Yamaha YAS-207 is the first soundbar to use the cutting edge DTS Virtual:X and DTS Virtual Surround technology. The soundbar makes it easier to immerse oneself in crisp and lifelike sound without the need to spend thousands of dollars on a full surround sound system. With DTS Virtual:X, the YAS-207 virtualizes sound in different dimensions, adding depth and height and offering a better experience of sonic realism and sound immersion. Unlike the Vizio SB36512-F6, there are no upward-firing speakers. Instead, it features six speaker drivers that are slightly angled, but placed such that they simulate highly-detailed sound effects above and around you.
In terms of design, it has a long and slim rectangular shape with touch controls for different inputs and functions placed in front of the soundbar. Also on the front are LED indicator lights that indicate different stats and system selections. Accompanying the YAS-207 is a slim wireless subwoofer and a nice little remote that lets you perform a range of functions including switching inputs and toggling between sound modes. As for inputs, the YAS 207 includes HDMI (ARC), HDMI in, an optical connection, a 3.5mm analog jack, and a single USB input. The HDMI connectivity supports 4K UHD and HDR pass-through. The soundbar does have built-in Bluetooth, but it doesn’t support MusicCast, Airplay, or Chromecast. Its installation is unbelievably easy and it comes with a mounting template and built-in keyholes.
For the crazy-low price, rich built-in features, and impressive sound quality, the Yamaha YAS-207 is one the best soundbars, if not the best soundbar under $300.
The Polk Audio Signa S2 is easily one of the best soundbars with wireless subwoofer under $300. It has a minimalist design and comes with a built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding that delivers an immersive surround sound experience. It also features the company’s Exclusive Voice Adjust technology that allows you to hear dialogue with incredible clarity. The included wireless subwoofer provides an enhanced deep bass impact and a precise output.
The Signa S2 is about 2.2 inches tall, 35.4 inches wide and is compact enough that it can easily fit beneath most TVs without blocking the TV’s IR port. The soundbar can also be wall mounted with screws as it comes with built-in key holes. Like most soundbars in our research, the Signa S2 comes with an optical port, an HDMI ARC port compatible with 4K and HD TVs, a 3.5mm AUX input, and built-in Bluetooth connectivity that lets you stream music from your smartphone or PC.
In addition, the soundbar features a set of one-button EQ settings that allow you to adjust the sound output for music, movies and night mode which optimizes sound for a fuss-free listening experience. An infrared (IR) remote control also comes with the device as well as an optical cable that allows for a quick and easy setup.
For over four decades now, Polk Audio has been manufacturing high quality home audio products, and the Signa S2 is no exception. The soundbar delivers superb value at a price that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
What stands out?
Immersive, room-filling surround sound
Voice Adjust technology for crystal clear dialogue
Just like the Yamaha YAS-207, the YAS-108 also features the DTS Virtual:X technology that creates a more expansive and immersive surround sound field. The 35-inch soundbar has a capsule-like shape as opposed to the common hard rectangle shape. Its intelligent design makes it easy to place on a countertop or slide beneath a TV. If you wish to mount it on a wall, there is a wall mounting template included as well as keyhole mounts on the back of the soundbar.
While there is no separate subwoofer, the soundbar has two in-built 3-inch subwoofers. There’s also a subwoofer output port on the soundbar where you can easily add an external subwoofer for a deeper bass. Additionally, it features Yamaha’s Clear Voice dialogue-enhancement technology which makes dialogue more intelligible.
The YAS-108 supports Bluetooth connectivity and has strong 4K Ultra HD compatibility. Its input options are HDMI in and out plus ARC, 3.5mm analog, and Toslink optical. However, there’s no Wi-Fi option available. The soundbar seemingly makes up for this with its ability to connect to two Bluetooth devices at once, though it supports playback from only one of the connected devices. This means that you can connect a device like an Echo Dot or Google Assistant speaker and voice-control your soundbar.
The remote provides another means of control for the soundbar with its well-laid out buttons, but you can also use the Yamaha HT Controller app. Even without an external subwoofer, the YAS-108 delivers impressive sound for a fraction of the price of expensive models. It is explicitly one of the best Yamaha soundbars under $300 and is definitely worth considering.
What are its best features?
Rich and superior bass output
DTS Virtual:X technology support
HDMI connectivity with 4K UHD compatibility
Easy installation, with built-in keyholes and a mounting pattern
What could be improved?
Can’t connect through Wi-Fi
There is no on-screen display
No external subwoofer included
LED indicator lights difficult to see from distance
If you’re tired of always missing dialogue in your movies and music, the ZVOX AccuVoice AV203 is your answer. The AV203 is a dialogue enhancement speaker that features six levels of audio enhancement using the company’s patented sound algorithms. The soundbar uses Dialogue Boost technology, an integrated DAC and three full-range speakers to isolate voices from background noise and amplify them for better clarity. This makes it easier for you to hear and understand what the people on screen are saying.
The AV203 has an attractive design with a dimension of 17 x 3.1 x 2.9 inches. It is comparably smaller to other soundbars and can easily hang beneath a wall-hung TV thanks to the keyholes on the back of the enclosure. You can also place it on a cabinet in front of your TV without impinging on your screen or TV’s infrared receiver. The connectivity features of the soundbar are mostly wired. It has a 3.5mm analog/digital stereo input and comes with an optical cable and a RCA cable. However, it has no support for HDMI, USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Also, the soundbar has no subwoofer, though it can be used with an externally powered subwoofer or headphone.
The soundbar also comes with an infrared remote that is conveniently sized and easy to hold. The remote has dedicated buttons that can perform different functions including turning on/off the soundbar and adjusting its volume. For a soundbar of this price and size, the AV203 is surprisingly powerful. It may not be feature-rich like other soundbars, but is great for delivering ultra-clear dialogue.
What are its best features?
Ultra-clear dialogues with Dialogue Boost technology
Compact industrial design and construction
Good quality infrared remote
PhaseCue virtual surround processing
What could be improved?
No support for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity
No HDMI or USB feature
No wireless subwoofer
Remote buttons aren’t backlit
Too many wired connections
Things to Consider
To enjoy the sublimity of a soundbar, you have to pick the right one for your needs. This buying guide section will provide you with all the necessary information you need in order to make a clear decision. When it comes to soundbars, there are lots of options to choose from. Thus, we have put together a comprehensive explanation of features you should consider when choosing your soundbar. We have also covered some common questions that leave most buyers confused about soundbars.
Is buying a soundbar worth it?
Recent technological advancements have seen TVs become ridiculously thinner. Sure, they produce crystal clear picture. But even the best of them don’t sound nearly as good as their picture quality. An obvious solution is to splash out on a home theatre sound system. However, a full home theatre package will cost you thousands of dollars, and in addition to the complexity of setting them up, they occupy a lot of space.
Soundbars offer a solution to these problems. With a soundbar, you get a sonic experience that closely matches the lifelike picture on your TV screen. Soundbars add amazing depth, power and clarity to your entertainment. Other obvious benefits include affordability, easy setup, and convenience of use. Succinctly, a soundbar is the best way to make your money work for you without having to endure the shoddy sound quality from your TV.
What to expect from a soundbar under $300?
While some soundbars can rival the sound output associated with expensive speakers and amplifier systems, their sound quality and features often depend on their price. The cheaper the model you choose, the more basic its features will likely be. For a soundbar in the $300 price range, you can expect high fidelity sound, clearer dialogue, and enhanced bass output. Most soundbars under $300 also come with more speakers, mid-range drivers and a more complex configuration. Soundbars like the Vizio SB3651-F6, Yamaha YAS-207BL and YAS-108 come with the latest audio processing technologies such as Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual:X. A few models, such as the SB36512-F6, have rear surround speakers that create a genuine surround-sound system.
Most of the soundbars under $300 come with a dedicated external subwoofer, usually wireless, that adds a deeper bass impact to your music and movies. Other features you can expect are Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi connectivity, RCA/HDMI, and 4K/HDR pass-through.
Features to consider when choosing a soundbar
Not all soundbars are made equal. So, if you don’t choose the right one, you can end up with a soundbar that doesn’t suit your needs or one that barely improves your TV sound. Luckily, we’ve done all the hardwork for you. Read on to discover the most import things to consider before purchasing a soundbar.
Soundbar type and configuration
You’ve probably noticed numbers such as 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1 on soundbars. These numbers are usually used to indicate the number of channels your soundbar has, and if it is accompanied by a subwoofer. For example, a 2.1-channel soundbar has two front speaker channels and an external subwoofer. Similarly, a soundbar with a 5.1 configuration will have five speakers plus a separate subwoofer.
If you simply want to improve the sound of your TV, you could opt for a soundbar with 2.1 channels. However, for a true surround sound experience, you’ll need a soundbar with at least 3.1 or 5.1 channels.
You may also come across three numbers instead of two. For instance, a 5.1.4 configuration means that the soundbar uses the Dolby Atmos surround sound technology, with the number “4” indicating four upward-firing speakers. A soundbar with a similar configuration is the Vizio SB3651-F6 with 5.1.2 channels.
It’s worth noting that the sound quality of your soundbar is what defines your audio experience. Ideally, your soundbar should have a wide frequency range between 50 Hz and 20 KHz. For a deeper and more intense bass, you’ll want to purchase a unit that comes with a separate subwoofer. A subwoofer reproduces low-frequency sound effects from your movies and video games to create a fuller sonic experience. You’ll find the Vizio SB36512-F6 to be the best soundbar with wireless subwoofer under $300 on our list.
Also, the sound quality of your soundbar can depend on its configuration and audio processing technology. Some models use multi-channel speakers and object-based audio technologies that overcome the limitations of stereo in basic soundbars. You can experience spectacular 3D surround sound with the Vizio SB3651-F6 or Polk Audio Signa S2 that uses Dolby Digital processing, or Yamaha’s YAS-207BL and YAS-108 models that use DTS:X to add the element of depth and height.
When you’re in the market for a soundbar, be sure to choose one that has the necessary connections for your TV and other devices. Any good model will have all or either one digital connector (coaxial, optical, and HDMI), as well as analog stereo RCA or mini-jack inputs. Most new soundbars support the HDMI ARC feature that lets your TV transmit audio back to your soundbar. This allows you to connect your cable box, Blu-ray player, game console and other devices directly to your TV, and then send audio out through your TV’s HDMI ARC to the soundbar.
Note that you’ll need a soundbar that supports 4K and HDR pass-through if you plan to connect a Blu-ray player.
Apart from wired connections, many soundbars now support Bluetooth making it easy to play music from your mobile devices. In this review, the YAS-207 is the best soundbar under $300 with Bluetooth. Some models also come with built-in Wi-Fi which allows you to stream online from music sites such as Pandora, Spotify, etc. Wi-Fi connectivity also allows you to create a multi-room music connection or control your soundbar with Alexa or Google Assistant.
Dimensions and installation
Soundbars come in different shapes and dimensions. If you’ll be placing the soundbar on a cabinet beneath your TV, ensure that it is designed such that it doesn’t block your TV’s remote sensor, otherwise you can mount on a wall for a neater and uncluttered look. Whichever route you plan to go, be sure to check out dimensions such as length, width and depth of both your soundbar and TV. There’s nothing worse than unboxing your favorite soundbar only to discover that it doesn’t fit with your existing TV setup.
Your soundbar should also be easy to use and setup. In most soundbars, you’ll only need to connect a power cable, and an optical or HDMI cable to your TV. Your soundbar should also have a mounting kit and template that makes it simple and effortless to get on a wall. Ideally, your soundbar should come with its own remote to seamlessly control your unit. In this review, all our five soundbars have remote controls, but the AccuVoice AV203 is the best TV soundbar under $300 with the most solid remote.
Most manufacturers will give you warranties that cover up to 13 months. This gives you security and peace of mind in case something goes wrong with your soundbar or it doesn’t function properly. And speaking of security, Yamaha’s YAS-207 and YAS-108 give you the best deal with a warranty of 2 years each.
Soundbars can be placed almost anywhere in your home depending on your setup or personal preference. Its sound quality won’t be affected if placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall, both provides a similar listening experience. However, placing improperly can lead to lackluster sound quality. If your soundbar features Dolby Atmos or DTS Virtual:X, it should not be placed where the vertical sound is obstructed, such as directly under your TV or within a cabinet shelf.
Some soundbars give you a certain level of flexibility and room to expand. If you have a 5.1 package set, you expand to a 7.1 surround sound system. If you have a lower configuration, you can also add surround speakers and a wireless subwoofer to expand to a 5.1 surround sound system. It may be more convenient to buy a full set at once, such as the Vizio SB3651-F6 which is the best 5.1 home theater soundbar system under $300. You can also choose to expand 2.1-channel soundbars like Yamaha YAS-207BL, YAS-108, and Signa S2 with additional surround speakers.
When it comes to size, you need to take necessary measurements of your room and TV dimensions before settling on a size. A larger soundbar doesn’t necessarily mean better sound quality, so ensure you choose one that suits your space and installation requirements. If you have a small room and only plan to wall-mount, you can opt for a single unit soundbar like Yamaha YAS-108 with built-in subwoofer, or AccuVoice AV203. Otherwise, you can go for models with a separate subwoofer or surround speakers.
After a careful evaluation, we’ve concluded that the models below are the three best soundbars under $300. Whether you want to get immersed in your favorite video games, or are seeking an immersive Dolby Atmos soundbar to enjoy the latest Netflix TV shows, you can’t wrong with one of these three soundbars.
The Vizio SB3651-F6 soundbar has to be the on the list of anyone looking for spectacular 3D surround sound field for home entertainment. The soundbar is very easy to use and setup, and comes with several impressive features.
Another contender for the best sounding soundbar under $300 is the Yamaha YAS-207. The soundbar offers unbelievably great surround sound using DTS Virtual:X technology. It also comes equipped with rich features and is straightforward to set up.
For those on a budget, the YAS-108 offers an immersive and precise surround sound for a soundbar without an external subwoofer, though it has two 3-inch subwoofers built inside the unit. It also has tons of features and niceties. Honestly, unless you’re looking for a soundbar in the $500 price range, the YAS-108 needs to be at the top of your shortlist.