Who doesn’t want better sound quality from their TV?
But a surround sound system or a multi speaker setup is too expensive for most. A soundbar presents the perfect in-between in terms of price and sound quality.
Not only are most soundbars affordable and easy to use, but they’re also simple to set up. And that’s not to mention the excellent sound quality you can get, even when you spend less than $300.
If you want better sound for gaming, television, movies, and music without breaking the bank, a soundbar is more than worth your consideration.
Here’s how to find the best soundbar under $300.
Soundbar Buying Guide
Soundbars are a dime a dozen these days.
So, it pays off to do your research to find the best one on your budget. If you’re hoping to spend less than $300, there are a number of factors you should keep in mind during your hunt.
Keep the following information in mind when buying your next soundbar.
You have a lot of different options when it comes to improving the sound of your TV.
In addition to soundbars, popular devices include surround sound systems and multi speaker setups.
So, what makes soundbar such a popular choice?
Here are the top benefits of a soundbar:
Of course, you must consider your own personal needs and preferences when thinking about these soundbar benefits.
Problems with a Soundbar
Though soundbars undoubtedly have some seriously great benefits, they’re certainly not for everyone.
There are a few areas in which soundbars fall short, especially when you stack them up against surround sound systems and multi-speaker setups.
Here are a few of the negatives of a soundbar:
Even though a soundbar can’t compete with a speaker in terms of overall sound quality, they do the job much better than normal television speakers for TV shows, movies, and games.
The only real area in which they fall short is with music. They simply don’t have the full range of sound that a speaker can provide for a musical experience.
That said, pairing your soundbar with a separate subwoofer is an affordable way to increase your sound quality to get that rich, deep, full effect that you crave.
How to Choose the Right Soundbar
Not all soundbars are created equal.In fact, some are much better than others. Even when you’re looking at the sub-$300 price range, there can be a lot of variation in quality.
Fortunately, there are a few key factors you can look at that will help you sort out the winners from the losers.
Here are the most important factors to keep in mind:
What Do the Numbers Mean?
Each soundbar includes a set of numbers in its product specifications.
As a shopper, these numbers might be confusing at first, but they’re actually very important to understand.
The numbers that each soundbar is labeled with relate to the number of channels it has as well as whether or not it includes a subwoofer.
For instance, you might see a number like “2.0” on a soundbar’s packaging or specifications.
The first number here relates to the number of channels. So, it has two channels (or drivers).
The second number relates to whether or not there’s a subwoofer. So, this particular soundbar has a 0 which means it doesn’t have a speaker.
A soundbar with a “5.1,” on the other, has 5 channels and a subwoofer.
Knowing what this number means will help you better understand which specific soundbar under $300 is right for you.
What Size Soundbar to Buy
Size is another one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a soundbar.
Though size can correlate to sound quality, even today’s smallest soundbars provide high quality sound output.
The reason that size matters is more for placement and style.
If you hope to locate your soundbar under your television, such as between its legs, then you’ll need to measure the space available before making a purchase.
The same goes for mounting a soundbar on the walls. You’ll want a soundbar that fits well where you plan to place it.
What to Expect in a $300 Soundbar
The options for soundbars range from under $100 to well over $1,000.
The key is to find a happy medium. In terms of affordability and sound quality, this sweet spot is right around $300.
Not only do these soundbars have excellent sound quality, but they are long-lasting and come with all of the features that you’ll need.
You can expect a soundbar that sounds great for television, movies, and gaming when you dish out $300.
The only area in which this price range falls short is for music. More expensive soundbars excel when it comes to music quality.
Sound Quality in a $300 Soundbar
The sound quality of your soundbar depends on a number of factors, not just price.
First and foremost is whether you buy an active or passive soundbar. An active soundbar has a built-in amplifier for an all-inclusive sound. A passive soundbar requires an outside speaker.
Another consideration is the setup. It’s important to properly set up your soundbar, especially by placing it in the correct location, to get the most from the sound.
You must also pay some attention to brand name. Some brands are known for producing soundbars with much higher quality than others.
Finally, there’s price. For $300, you’ll get a quality soundbar that provides great sound for all of your movies, television, and gaming needs.
Where to Place a Soundbar for the Best Sound
Even the best soundbar will provide lackluster sound quality if it’s improperly placed.
The best place to locate your soundbar is directly underneath your TV. If your TV is on a shelf or stand, it often works for the soundbar to fit right beneath its legs.
This location provides optimal quality because the sound actually comes from the direction where you expect it to come.
Of course, you must make sure that your soundbar fits between the TV’s legs and also doesn’t block the screen at all.
Many soundbars now come with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or DTS Virtual:X. These technological features require the ability to also project sound vertically.
This means that you shouldn’t locate anywhere that will obstruct the vertical sound, such as inside a cabinet shelf or directly underneath a television.
Most soundbars come with mounting hardware. If your specific model does not, it’s easy to buy mounting hardware separately.
The mounting hardware gives you the option to mount the soundbar on a wall. Not only does this method help save space, but it also promotes superior sound quality.
Once again, it’s important to position your soundbar below the television (rather than above or on the sides) for the best performance possible.
How to Set up Your Soundbar
After placing your soundbar, it’s time to set up the connection.
The exact way that you set up a soundbar connection depends on both your soundbar model and your television model.
However, the majority of soundbars are set up the same way. For special connections, check your user’s manual or Lifewire’s detailed guide on how to set up a soundbar.
Most of the time you will be able to use a standard digital optical, digital coaxial, or analog stereo connection.
The digital optical connection is typically the easiest and most effective connection type. Try this connection first if your television supports it.
Soundbar vs Sound Base
A sound base is similar to a soundbar in many ways.
In fact, the two audio devices are often lumped together. Many people actually consider a sound base a sub-type of a soundbar.
Unlike a soundbar which must be mounted to a wall, a sound base actually supports your television.
It accomplishes much the same tasks as a soundbar by providing superior audio but does it by supporting the entire weight of your television (of course, there are some weight limitations).
There are plenty of quality sound bases under $300 that might be worth considering if you’re not yet completely sold on the soundbar.
Soundbar vs Surround Sound
One of the most popular alternatives to a soundbar is surround sound.
The main difference between the two are price and sound quality. Surround sound costs much more than most soundbars, but does provide better performance.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of surround sound is the ability to place speakers in multiple locations to create a full range of sound.
In addition to their high cost, other negatives to surround sound are that it takes up more space and requires a more intensive setup process.
A soundbar is a much more simple, affordable option. They provide very good sound quality for the price, but can’t compete with surround sound.
Soundbar vs Multi-Speaker Setup
Another alternative to a soundbar is a multi-speaker setup.
Though this type of system is similar to surround sound, it differs in that the speakers don’t surround the listener. Instead, there are several speakers in front of the listener.
A soundbar and multi-speaker setup are more similar in sound performance than a soundbar and a surround sound system.
However, the multi-speaker setup still edges out a soundbar slightly in terms of overall sound quality.
That said, a soundbar is much more affordable than most multi-speaker setups. Better yet, some soundbars actually come with a separate subwoofer for even better overall quality.
Best Soundbar Under $300 Reviews
Now you know a little bit more about what to look for in the best soundbar under $300.
The next step is to narrow down your options even more by comparing the top soundbars in this price range.
We’ve taken some of the guesswork out of the picture for you by reviewing the top soundbars on the market. These are the best of the best in terms of performance and sound quality.
Here are the best soundbars under $300.
1. Best Overall Soundbar Under $300
About: Klipsch is well known for the top-quality of their audio and sound equipment over the years.
And their R-10B Bluetooth Soundbar is no different. It brings to the table the legendary quality and performance that the company is known for.
This Klipsch soundbar boasts 250-watt peak output, Bluetooth combability, and a separate subwoofer.
Not only does it improve the overall volume of sound for television and movies, but it also improves the quality, particularly the midrange sonic details.
Beyond this, the R-10B is stylish. It will look great in any room you place it in. It’s also easy to setup up and install on just about any modern television.
Unlike many soundbars, there’s nothing flimsy about this Klipsch product. Despite its small profile, it’s incredibly durable and will last for years on end.
2. Best Soundbar Under $250
About: Spend $300 on a soundbar and you know you’ll get a top-quality product – but there are great soundbars for under $250 as well.
Perhaps the very best of these is the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System. A top-of-the-line soundbar, this product is built with the same quality you can expect from all Bose products.
Not only does it provide far better sound quality than your TV, but it also is incredibly easy to use and to set up on just about any television model.
Of particular interest is how this soundbar increases midrange sonic details. It makes them crisper, clearer, and louder. This enables the device to make dialogue as crisp and clear as possible.
In fact, the Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System has several different audio modes. You can select the one that works best for whatever you’re currently doing, whether that’s watching television or listening to music.
Other notable features include the Bluetooth connectivity, multiple included connection types, and universal remote.
3. Best Soundbar With Subwoofer Under $300
About: ZVOX has done it yet again with their SB380 Soundbar.
With a built-in subwoofer that utilizes digital algorithms to create outstanding quality bass performance, anyone interested in a soundbar with included subwoofer should make sure to check out this device.
The soundbar itself produces excellent sound quality and the subwoofer compliments this with rich bass for a fuller effect.
The SB380 is also notable for its AccuVoice feature. It actually utilizes hearing aid technology to deliver extremely clear, crisp sound during the dialogue in television shows and movies.
As far as durability goes, this soundbar can’t be beat. It’s all aluminum construction stands up to all the wear and tear you can throw at it. You can rest assured it will last for several years.
Several additional features make this ZVOX soundbar shine even more. For instance, the Output Leveling (OL) feature minimizes loud sounds while maximizing low sounds to create a more optimized viewing and listening experience.
4. Best Soundbar for Gaming Under $300
About: Gamers require their own specific set of features and characteristics from a soundbar.
The Yamaha YAS-105 Soundbar checks off the box for all of the gaming-specific features that you need while gaming with a soundbar.
Most importantly, it features excellent overall sound quality as well as Output Leveling (OL). The Output Leveling actually serves to decrease the volume of loud sounds and increase the volume of low sounds for a more even all-around sound experience.
The YAS-105 comes included with wall mounting hardware so that you can easily mount this soundbar below your television for direct sound output.
Another notable benefit is the simple setup and installation. All that it takes to use this soundbar is to connect one end of a cable to the device and the other end of the cable to your television.
This Yamaha Soundbar boasts Bluetooth technology as well as built-in subwoofers for a deep, rich bass.
5. Best Bluetooth Soundbar Under $300
About: Soundbars with Bluetooth are now a dime a dozen, even though they were once relatively rare.
That said, the quality of the Bluetooth connection varies greatly.
If you plan to frequently use Bluetooth with your soundbar, then it’s very important to do your research in this specific area.
Out of all of your many options, few Bluetooth soundbars perform better than the Sony HT-MT300 Mini Soundbar.
Its Bluetooth connection is among the best of the best. Not only is it easy to connect new devices, but the connection is solid and reliable. The quality is top-notch. The range is wide so your smartphone or other device be far away from the soundbar and still connect seamlessly.
Other notable features are the two-piece design with a separate subwoofer, the stylish and durable construction, and the S-Force Pro Front Surround Sound.
At the same time that this Sony soundbar is excellent for Bluetooth applications, it’s still just as good for watching television and movies as well as gaming.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Soundbar under $300
The most important feature of any soundbar under $300 is that it improves the sound quality of your television.
Though all of the soundbars on our list do just that, the Klipsch R-10B manages to come out on the top.
It boasts superior sound quality, including deep, rich bass thanks to its separate wireless subwoofer. It’s also notable for its two-piece design, Bluetooth compatibility, and aptX audio coding technology.
Coming in close behind this Klipsch model is the Yamaha YAS-105. It has slightly inferior (and, we mean, slightly) sound quality but has an all-in-one design with a quality subwoofer actually built into the soundbar body.
Additional highlights of this Yamaha model are its ultra slim design, extremely simple setup, Bluetooth compatibility, single-cable connection, and functional remote control.
Though these are our two favorite soundbars in this price range, any of the top 5 best soundbars under $300 on this list will be a huge improvement over your television’s built-in speakers.
You’re sure to be happy with the improvement in sound quality for television, movies, and gaming that a soundbar provides.