Weekend Digest: Budget-friendly soundbars to improve the audio quality of your home theater
Soundbars are a perfect addition to any home theater, but some can be expensive. That's why we're looking at budget-friendly soundbars you can buy today. These soundbars are all under a grand and range from Bose to VIZIO and even Razer.
These days, we have a lot of reasons to want a decent sound system in our homes or even our offices. We have so many kinds of media outlets and gadgets, and audio itself seems to have expanded in both quality and capability. There are console gaming systems, high-definition televisions, beastly PC rigs, and a myriad of music streaming gadgets.
Of course, many of us are left unsatisfied with the default speakers built into these devices—yet some don’t wish to set up several different speakers throughout their entertainment rooms nor do they want to spend a lot of money to improve their audio output. Thankfully, soundbars are a solid option.
So what are some budget-friendly soundbars to improve the audio quality of your home theater (or other media setup)? That’s precisely what we’re delving into today. Let’s get started!
Things to keep in mind when soundbar shopping
If you’re new to soundbars, then you may be unsure what features they can have. Well, we’re here to (hopefully) make your life a little easier.
On the audio side of things, you may see different ranges in which sound is delivered. For example, some soundbars provide only standard stereo sound, while others are capable of simulating full-range surround sound.
Some come with a subwoofer for enhanced bass, yet others include 3D spatial audio capabilities. Depending on your needs and expectations for solid audio quality, you’ll want to take these things into consideration.
Other features you may see include connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optical, and HDMI. There can be extra adjustment settings or perhaps additional speakers. Some may even offer low-profile designs or sleeker aesthetics that are more appealing to the eye.
It’s always important to determine ahead of time what features will be most important to you in order to stay within your budget. Oh, and, you know, actually knowing your budget always helps too (yes, I know, Captain Obvious is obvious).
Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX soundbar has Dolby Atmos, a 5-speaker array, and more.
Kicking off our list of budget-friendly soundbars is one that comes with multiple speakers and advanced audio features. It’s not the cheapest soundbar on our list, and it’s not the most expensive. It is, however, one of the latest.
The Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX soundbar features a 5-speaker array and a powerful subwoofer. It has VoiceAdjust technology along with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Polk SDA 3D Audio.
Despite its low-profile 15-inch design, it creates a wide, detailed listening experience. With built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect, it provides plenty of options for connectivity.
You can get the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX soundbar for $499.
Sony HT-S400 2.1ch soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer, Dolby Digital, and S-Force Pro.
What’s a list of entertainment gadgets without Sony, right? This soundbar package throws in a couple of items that will make your movie watching a whole lot nicer.
The Sony HT-S400 2.1ch soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer and an X-Balanced main speaker. It provides S-Force Pro surround sound and cinematic Dolby Digital along with a compact remote control.
There’s also Bluetooth, HDMI ARC, and optical connectivity. Lastly, wall-mounting capabilities add more options for situating it where it will be most impactful.
You can get the Sony HT-S400 2.1ch soundbar here for $299.99.
Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar is gaming-ready with 7.1 surround sound, Bluetooth 5.2, and even RGB lighting.
Fewer brands are more synonymous with gaming than Razer. Let’s face it, it makes all the fun stuff gamers love. That doesn’t mean you have to be a gamer to enjoy Razer products, however. In fact, Razer’s new soundbar is perfectly suitable as part of your home entertainment system—not just PC gaming rigs.
The Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar features multi-driver 7.1 surround sound and a down-firing subwoofer. It has THX Spatial Audio and a strong, low-latency Bluetooth 5.2 connection for super-clear sound.
There’s also built-in 18-zone dynamic Razer Chroma RGB lighting that’s sure to bring a whole new level of immersion to your entertainment experience. Easily one of the newest, coolest, and most budget-friendly soundbars you can buy right now.
You can get the Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar for $249.99.
Porsche Design Soundbar PDB70 features rich, high-res audio plus Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio.
Ever wonder why a Porsche engine sounds so good? It’s because of the soundbar crammed inside. Just kidding. Well, I mean we’re kidding about the engine—not how good the soundbar is.
The Porsche Design Soundbar PDB70 brings incredibly rich, high-res audio to your living room and sends it directly into your ear-holes. This is because it has 4 drivers, 4 tweeters, 2 subwoofers, and a frequency of 60 Hz to 20 kHz.
There are also great connectivity options like Bluetooth (ranging up to 32 feet) and AirPlay 2. Not only that, but the soundbar also includes Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio support. Lastly, though, is the brushed aluminum and silver-finished enclosure that provide a very classy aesthetic.
You can get the Porsche Design Soundbar PDB70 here for $549.
Sonos Beam (Gen 2) smart soundbar brings immersive sound, voice control, and 3D audio.
Ha, did you think we left Sonos off the list? No way would we do a thing like that. In fact, the Sonos Beam is already on its second generation, and it’s not the most expensive item we have today, either.
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) smart soundbar brings the immersive Dolby Atmos to provide a 3D-like surround sound. It offers hands-free voice control using Alexa and Google Assistant. There’s also HDMI eARC along with Apple’s AirPlay 2 connectivity.
The device’s exterior uses an updated polycarbonate grille and comes in 2 colors: black and white. Both look great, though the white is especially sharp. Easily one of our favorite budget-friendly soundbars.
You can get the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) smart soundbar here for $449.
Bose Smart Soundbar 900 features Bose spatial technologies, ADAPTiQ, Voice4Video, and more.
If you aren’t familiar with Bose’s reputation in the audio game, we have to ask, “Where’ve ya been?” When it comes to sound, Bose is one of the biggest names in the biz. While this next soundbar leans more toward a generous budget—like say, under $1,000—it still has a place on our budget-friendly soundbars list.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 features not only Bose spatial technologies but also Dolby Atmos. It’s got killer bass with ADAPTiQ plus Voice4Video capabilities.
The soundbar includes support for Google Assistant and Alexa voice control, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wired connectivity. The gadget is chock full of smart features that intelligently balance your audio and make your home entertainment system shine.
You can get the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 for $899.
VIZIO V-Series 2.1 & 5.1 Sound Bars bring cost-effective surround sound and wireless subwoofers.
Most know VIZIO by its TVs and displays. Sometimes people are unaware that VIZIO also dabbles in audio as well. Just like its TVs, VIZIO keeps the pricing down for true budget competitiveness.
The VIZIO V-Series 2.1 & 5.1 Sound Bars bring cost-effective surround sound, and each version offers a wireless subwoofer. The 2 variants allow you to select between a 2.1ch and 5.1ch setup, each providing DTS support and Dolby Audio.
HDMI ARC cables are included, but the systems overall are plug-and-play, which keeps things simple. It’s a great way to enhance your movie watching without breaking the bank. Certainly among the most budget-friendly soundbars.
You can get the VIZIO V-Series 2.1 & 5.1 Sound Bars for $159.
Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar delivers an audio payload with true right and left speakers and a subwoofer.
As you can see, many soundbars follow a fairly similar approach in their designs. Klipsch, however, has an offering that changes things up a bit. How does it differ from the competition? Check it out.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar delivers an audio payload by adding true right and left speakers. Not only that, but it also includes a wireless subwoofer. The dedicated center channels are able to enhance dialogue through 3 different modes.
There are also Tractrix horns, fiber composite cone woofers, and a linear travel suspension tweeter. HDMI ARC support is also available, and bass enthusiasts will be happy to hear the 600 has 10-inch subwoofers.
You can get the Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar for $549.
Polk Signa S4 soundbar includes VoiceAdjust technology and 360-degree Dolby Atmos audio.
Here’s another one from Polk, folks. Only, this one is a tad less expensive than the previous one on our list. So what’s it hiding under the hood? Let’s see, shall we?
The Polk Signa S4 soundbar includes 360-degree Dolby Atmos audio with VoiceAdjust technology. There’s a wireless subwoofer as well, capable of delivering deep bass.
There’s also a convenient remote control and easy setup. It’s a simple, low-profile soundbar and yet it can provide all the sound quality you need to enhance your cinematic experiences.
The Polk Signa S4 soundbar is available here for $399.
Denon DHT-S517 soundbar is a versatile addition to any home theater with 3 sound modes and more.
If you’re looking for a solid soundbar with a middle-of-the-road price tag and the versatility to match up with all your entertainment needs, this next one is for you. Here’s what it can do.
The Denon DHT-S517 soundbar comes with 3 different sound modes that include Movie, Night, and Music. It has high-quality Dolby Atmos audio and uses an HDMI or Bluetooth connection.
A wireless subwoofer is ready to boost the bass while its built-in dialogue enhancement feature keeps conversations clear. It’s a legitimately well-rounded soundbar worth checking out.
You can get the Denon DHT-S517 soundbar here for $449.
LG QP5 Éclair soundbar has a low-profile and upfiring drivers along with DTS:X.
Did you think we forgot about LG? Nah, how could we do a thing like that? LG has a budget-friendly soundbar of its own, and we’re here to talk about it.
The LG QP5 Éclair soundbar brings a very low profile to your entertainment setup that doesn’t take up a lot of space. It features a 3.1.2 channel design with upfiring drivers and DTS:X support, plus Dolby Atmos.
It offers 320 watts of powerful sound and a wireless subwoofer to bang those bass notes. In fact, the woofer is far larger than the main bar—but don’t worry—it all works hand-in-hand to make some serious noise (the good kind, that is).
You can get the LG QP5 Éclair for $599.99.
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar tests budgets but delivers a killer array of features.
Since everyone’s budget is different, it’s possible some may have a budget cap of a grand. Well, if this is you, it’s worth mentioning the Panorama 3. It pushes the limits of budget-friendliness, but it brings plenty to the table for those with more to spend.
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar features 13 individual drivers, dual subwoofers, and 400 watts of sound amplification. It includes Dolby Atmos spatial audio and surround sound support as well. There’s Bluetooth aptX Adaptive, AirPlay 2, and HDMI eARC connectivity.
You’ll even find that it has a dedicated app to further assist in both setup and operation. If you want to know more about this beastly soundbar, head over to the official website.
You can get the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar for $999.
Many soundbars under $1,000 can hold their own
Everyone’s budget is different, so some may seek to stay beneath a $300 cap while others can’t exceed $1,000. Thankfully, there are a plethora of soundbars under a grand that absolutely slap.
This is because tech only gets better and more affordable with time. With soundbars having been on the market for quite a while now, there’s no shortage of options that deliver the high-quality audio you seek. Hopefully, this list will help you narrow things down.
Have a favorite soundbar you’d like to recommend that doesn’t break the bank? Let us know in the comments below.
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