As the name suggests, a soundbar is a bar-shaped device containing several speakers for the audio output from a computer, television set, or MP3 player. The most common use of sound bars is with televisions, which is considered a much-needed upgrade to the default speakers on most TV sets.
In this guide, we look at what makes up a good soundbar and review some of the best soundbars under $300 available in the market today to assist you in making the right choice for your home theater.
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar
The Polk Audio Signa S2 soundbar is designed to be slim and discreet, so it can easily fit in even the tightest of spaces. Polk’s exclusive Voice Adjust technology also allows you to fine-tune the sound to your liking based on the program or movie you’re watching. With Dolby Digital decoding, you can enjoy full, immersive sound while watching your favorite movies and TV shows.
The Polk Audio Signa S2 soundbar offers multiple ways to connect to your TV or other audio source. It has both HDMI ARC and optical input to help you choose the best option for your setup. It also has a 3.5mm AUX input, so you can easily connect it to any device with a headphone jack.
One of the best things about the Polk Audio Signa S2 soundbar is its straightforward setup. With the included subwoofer, HDMI, and optical cables, you can get everything hooked up in just a few minutes. The wireless subwoofer means you don’t have to worry about running extra wires.
VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Sound Bar
The VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Premium Sound Bar is the perfect device for anyone who wants to upgrade their listening experience. This top-of-the-line sound bar offers a robust, room-filling surround sound that will transport you to another world. The M-Series soundbar is designed with a low profile to seamlessly stand on your tabletop or be wall-mounted for a quick, clean installation.
Dolby Atmos and DTS power the Cinematic 3D surround sound :X, so you can enjoy an immersive experience that will leave you shaking with anticipation. With the latest HDMI eARC connectivity, you can even control the sound bar using your TV remote. The M-Series Sound Bar is perfect for any occasion, whether watching a movie, listening to music, or playing a game.
It also features Bluetooth capabilities, so you can easily stream music, podcasts, and more from your favorite apps like Spotify, Pandora, and iHeart Radio. This soundbar is the perfect way to improve your listening experience and upgrade your home entertainment system.
Polk Audio Signa S3 TV Soundbar
Polk Audio has a long history of producing high-quality audio products and the Signa S3 Sound Bar soundbar is designed to deliver high-quality audio for your home theater. The 2.1-channel performance-tuned drivers provide clear, crisp sound, while the Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding brings cinematic quality to your movies and TV shows.
Polk’s exclusive voice adjust technology also allows you to tune the sound to match your preferences to maximize your audio experience. The Signa S3 is also designed to be easy to set up and use. The sound bar can be easily wall-mounted or placed in front of your TV, and it comes with an HDMI cable so you can connect it to any HD, 4K, or 8K TV.
The sound bar also has Bluetooth connectivity so you can wirelessly stream music from your favorite streaming apps and connect to your Google Home speaker; with Google Chromecast, you can listen to music over WiFi.
VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar
The VIZIO V-Series features a 5.1-channel audio system with high-performance drivers for crisp vocal and detailed music reproduction and a wireless subwoofer that delivers deep bass. This sleek sound bar also supports Dolby Audio, which brings out the best in your 4K HDR content by adding dynamic effects to enhance picture quality.
The VIZIO V-Series 5.1 home theater soundbar offers fantastic audio quality that is loud, clear, and immersive. The 96dB sound pressure level delivers dynamic and accurate sound with deep bass and crisp vocal ranges. DTS Virtual:X creates a virtualized 3D soundscape with richly detailed directional surround sound. You’ll notice more depth and realism in your entertainment experience.
VIZIO sound bar offers a simple solution for adding smart home control and immersive audio to your HDTV. With Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, you can play music, check the weather, and control compatible smart home devices by simply using your voice. It also offers a simple solution for adding Bluetooth, Auxiliary, and HDMI connections to your TV.
Bose Solo 5 Soundbar
This incredible standalone device by Bose is considered the best soundbar under the $300 range. The sound bar features a 5.1 configuration with five dedicated speakers and a built-in subwoofer for blowing you away with high-definition, premium-quality audio output. As for the power, the Bose has not disclosed the power rating for this sound bar.
Moving on to connections, this sound bar features all of the necessary input options that you will need, including an HDMI port, Bluetooth connectivity, and digital audio data. Still, sadly, there are no USB ports or wireless connectivity available.
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar with Built-In Subwoofer is a great way to upgrade your home theater system. Its 320 watts of total power output delivers a powerful sound experience that will bring you into action. The wireless subwoofer adds bass for an even more immersive audio experience.
It has built-in Bluetooth and HDMI ARC compatibility to connect easily to your TV and other devices. The Sony HT-S350 soundbar is a perfect companion to your TV. The 6.3″ speaker unit and 6.16-gallon volume deliver rich, deep bass sound for an immersive experience that will make you feel like you are at the movies.
Choose from 7 sound modes, including Auto Sound, Cinema, Music, Game, News, Sports, and Standard Audio Mode, to personalize your listening experience based on what you’re watching or playing.
SAMSUNG 3.1ch A650 A Series Soundbar
Turn your TV into a home theater with the Samsung 3.1ch A650 A Series Soundbar. This soundbar has built-in speakers for enhanced dialogue, so you hear every word. It also features Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Virtual X to create an immersive surround sound simulation that draws you in so you feel like you’re part of the action.
The dedicated center speaker enhances dialogue quality so it sounds as straightforward as possible. At the same time, the wireless subwoofer completes the rich audio experience by adding depth and bass for a full sound from any seat in the room.
The all-new Samsung A650 soundbar features adaptive sound technology, allowing you to optimize your audio volume and tone instantly. The simple touch of a button makes movies and TV shows come alive with clear vocals and powerful bass. With its slim design that fits almost anywhere, the Samsung A650 is an ideal complement to any home theater setup.
Connect your Samsung 3.1ch A650 A Series Soundbar to your TV with one of three connection options: WiFi, Bluetooth, or HDMI. The remote control lets you adjust volume levels easily and switch between audio sources, including streaming services.
Bose TV Speaker
The Bose TV Speaker enhances the sound of your television. It’s a small soundbar that improves speech clarity and overall TV audio quality. The built-in Dolby decoder helps to enhance the audio capabilities of this compact TV speaker, allowing you to enjoy a more realistic and gratifying listening experience.
The Bose TV Speaker is a soundbar that measures only about 2″ tall and may be positioned almost anywhere, making it ideal for small spaces. HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) is a technological feature that allows the connected TV and this tiny soundbar to communicate through an HDMI connection. When you switch on the TV, the speaker automatically turns on.
This soundbar is also a Bluetooth soundbar. Press the Bluetooth button on the remote to connect your device to this TV speaker and play music wirelessly. The compact TV speaker has a remote control with which you may use the dialogue mode to improve speech quality or add a bass boost for greater depth.
ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar
The SB380 is a sleek, brushed-aluminum soundbar that is a smaller version of the SB500 at just over 35 inches. It has a similar design and performs similarly to the similarly priced SB400. The only distinction is that the SB380 does not have Bluetooth.
The ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar perfectly complements your flat-panel TV. This soundbar delivers big, full sound with wall-mount convenience and wireless capabilities. With its built-in AccuVoice feature, dialogue is clear and crisp, making it easy to hear what’s being said on the screen.
The SB380 has a four-digit display behind the speaker grille that displays the current volume, bass, treble, and PhaseCue (virtual surround) settings and also shows when you have engaged the Mute, Output Leveling (OL), or AccuVoice (ACCU) features. The display shuts off automatically after you stop operating your remote (or front panel) controls.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Soundbar
There are numerous features you need to look out for when buying a soundbar, and while some features will be more important to some people, we have highlighted the key factors that make up the ideal soundbar.
If you are an audiophile who loves the bass, then it is essential to look for a sound bar that either has an integrated subwoofer or comes with a subwoofer combo – note that not all good bars have a subwoofer with them, so you will need to pay higher for the ones that do!
If you are looking for a powerful sound bar, the feature you should consider is the device’s wattage. A simple rule of thumb is: The higher the wattage, the louder the sound and the more profound the bass will be.
Look for sound bars with a wattage of over 120 watts (that should be enough to fill up your entire house with high-quality sound).
Another essential aspect to consider when buying a sound bar is how many channels (or speakers) you want in your sound bar. The most common configuration is the 2.1 good bar, which has two dedicated speakers and a separate subwoofer for the bass.
Other channel configurations include 2.0 (two dedicated speakers with no subwoofer) and 5.1 (five dedicated speakers – one center speaker, two front speakers, and two rear speakers with a subwoofer).
The 5.1 configuration is the most powerful and offers the complete surround sound, but it is more expensive, and you will find very few options under the $300 mark.
HDMI is the default connection port for connecting a television set to a soundbar. Most sound bars come with one or more input ports for HDMI connections and may even include an HDMI output to the television set as well (that allows you to switch the video source via the soundbar itself). Most HDMI connections support ARC (audio return channel), allowing the TV to send back audio to the sound bar.
This means a single connection from the sound bar to the TV can be made for outputting the audio and sending the video to the TV. If you want to connect a Blu-ray player to the sound bar, ensure that your good bar can send these signals to your television set before purchasing.
The sound bars of the modern era now even support Bluetooth, which means that you can wirelessly connect your tablet, smartphone, or laptop to the soundbar speaker.
Not only this, but high-end sound bars even have a feature for two-way Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to send music from your device to the soundbar and then from your sound bar to your Bluetooth headphones!
Soundbar models with a built-in WiFi feature allow you to stream music services such as Spotify, Pandora, or SoundCloud directly. Other sound bars may include an Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the internet. Another variety of these good bars allows you to stream TV shows and movies directly from services such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu.
This is quite a handy feature if you do not have a TV with streaming capability. You can stream the video from Soundcloud and send it to the video source, i.e., your television, via an HDMI port.
- Audio Inputs
This is the default input port on almost every sound bar. There will be at least one digital audio input (coaxial or optical) combined with analog mini-jack inputs and RCA inputs for connecting your disc players, smartphones, televisions, portable music players, and cable boxes to the soundbar.
Choosing the right sound bar can be difficult, especially if you have yet to learn what to look for! For this reason, we have compiled a thorough guide that explains all the specifications you need to look out for when choosing the ideal soundbar for your home theater.
We have also reviewed seven of the best soundbars available today for under $300 to make your choice even more straightforward!