Best Soundbars for any Budget
You might be thinking to buy a soundbar for a complete viewing experience as it can help you to enjoy watching films, dramas and TV without incurring the high costs of a surround system. Some of the best soundbars are indeed cost-effective and within most people’s budget.
Yamaha know sound and the YAS-209 soundbar only celebrates this. While is is a 2.1 I’ve always believed a soundbar excels when paired with a subwoofer.
While the smart assistant line up is limited, most people will find Alexa sufficient. DTS Virtual: X and Spotify Connect seal the deal.
This guide has some of the finest models for all sorts of budgets.
Read this best soundbars review to find out exactly which model is ideal for your budget.
If you’re more interested in adding dolby atmos speakers to your home theatre set up then check out list of recommended speakers for that.
1: Vizio V21 Soundbar (2.1)
Size: 3.2 x 36 x 2.28″
Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI, Aux
Smart Assistant: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant
If you are dissatisfied with the sound quality of your TV set and would like to upgrade, you may want to think of buying the Vizio V21. The V21 is itself a new version of the top class Vizio SB3621n-E8.
A smart speaker connection is available, the aesthetics are splendid, and the soundbar also has HDMI.
The best part is that you get very decent sound quality (although some features may be missing) for under $200.
So this soundbar is a model that you can ponder over if you are targeting low budget sound devices. It’s hard, if not impossible, to find a better deal at such a low budget.
Well done Vizio (again).
Creative Stage V2 – Good for Low Budget
Size: 4.6 x 16.7 x 9.84″
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Auxiliary, USB, Optical
Smart Assistant: No
If you are on a budget and need a soundbar that costs under $100, then the Creative Stage may be a good choice. At this very low price point, you can enjoy features like a subwoofer and HDMI connectivity. Even at its low price, the Creative Stage sounds good enough. Its sound quality is certainly above par when you compare it with other budget soundbars. The wired woofer can fill the entire room with reverberating bass. The separate subwoofer also sounds terrific, and it provides clear audio for desktops and TVs. Thanks to the onboard display, you can identify the input with ease.
You can activate various modes for gaming, music, concerts and more. Movie fans and avid gamers will appreciate the robust sound quality that it provides on a low budget.
The main drawback of this soundbar is that it is not the loudest around. While it may work well for desktop PCs and small TVs in your room, its sound output is not powerful enough for viewing TV in a relatively large living room.
2: Klipsch Cinema 400 – Best Soundbar under $300
Size: 39.9 x 9.5 x 9.5″
Connectivity: HDMI-ARC, Optical
Smart Assistant: No
The Klipsch Cinema 400 is a great improvement over its predecessor, and it now sports a bigger subwoofer plus great aesthetics. Music replays have dynamic sound quality, one of the very best that you will find in today’s soundbars. The Klipsch Cinema 400 is the easiest upgrade to provide almost cinema level sound quality for your TV.
The Klipsch brand has provided superior audio expertise for many decades, and it was only recently that they stepped into the soundbar segment. The previous version had rather small subwoofers. But this latest iteration boasts powerful subwoofers, sleek aesthetics and encompassing sound, making it one of the finest soundbars for your TV at such a low price point.
3: Yamaha YAS-209 Soundbar (Love Yamaha)
Size: 2.44 x 4.29 x 36.6″
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI
Smart Assistant: Alexa
The Yamaha YAS-209 provides superior sound quality in compact dimensions. The slim and slender soundbar also features Amazon Alexa so that you can exercise voice control for streaming and playing music. Its mics also work nicely in noisy environments. The DTS Virtual:X implementation creates profound sound effects that are not unlike surround speaker audio. The wireless subwoofer provides exceptional bass audio, which is at par with the highly capable Polk Commander Bar.
The one major drawback is that the Yamaha MusicCast system is not present in this speaker. So this model cannot sync with Yamaha speakers. Another issue is that there is an onscreen display for you to see and control its features.
That being said, it must be said that Yamaha did a great job with the YAS-209, which is the company’s first-ever smart speaker. The audio quality is good for movies, TV and music.
The YAS-209 is a good choice for the mix of features that it provides at its competitive price point. You might think that the Vizio V21 is just half the price while providing comparable sound quality. Bear in mind that it does not have voice control. The Sonos Beam might appear outstanding at its price tag with Alexa and multiroom chops. However, the sound quality is not at par with the YAS-209.
So the Yamaha indeed provides good value for money at its price point with the right mix of features, smart functionality and audio quality.
4: Vizio Elevate (Vizio get two slots)
Size: 4.45 x 20 x 2.19″
Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI, Chromecast
Smart Assistant: Sold Separately
Vizio has almost always made our soundbar lists as they make great sounding stuff at an affordable price!
The motorized height speakers in the Vizio Elevate are a novel concept that you won’t find in many others. After marvelling over this feature, you won’t fail to notice that the audio is well above par. The height adjusting rears and the subwoofer provide extraordinary sound quality even better than the excellent Sonos Arc.
Thanks to a wide assortment of features like Bluetooth, multiple HDMI ports, Chromecast, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos and others, the Vizio Elevate provides just about everything that one could ask for from a high-end soundbar. That being said, Apple AirPlay support is not included in the model.
Although Dolby Atmos surround capable soundbars have been in production since 2016, they were not particularly good quality. They used small static drivers to direct sound at the ceiling to mimic the height effects. However, the Vizio Elevate rises to the occasion, literally. Its motorized speakers elevate for height effects, hence the name. And no, this is not a fancy hi-fi gimmick to catch attention. Amazingly, this arrangement works quite nicely.
The soundbar looks and feels sophisticated, and truth be told, the setup will prove to be a bit challenging for newbies. Also, you should beware that the wired surround speakers may be difficult to place as the cables are short.
The motorized rotating speakers add punch and depth to Atmos surround soundtracks. Music sounds much more mesmerizing and joyful with these height-adjusted speakers.
The Vizio Elevate works well with both immersive standards: DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. Apart from the speaker itself, the Elevate has a remote, subwoofer and rears to deliver immersive sound. The main speaker itself is formidable with its 13 drivers, five tweeters and a center channel.
The entire speaker unit is a massive 6.5 inches deep and 48 inches wide. The huge unit is able to deliver plenty of immersive audio power, for which it requires a hefty build.
The Vizio Elevate may cost a little above one grand, but the truth is that it provides great value for money with its features and audio quality. For if you want to add 2 Symfonisk (as rear speakers) and the Sonos Sub to the Sonos Arc, then you will have to pay around $1,700, which is well above the price of the Elevate.
5: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar – Best Quality and Features (If Moneys Not an Issue)
Size: 49.8 x 6.73 x 5.31″
Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI, WiFi, Chromecast
Smart Assistant: No
If you want the least number of boxes and units in your room while having Atmos level audio performance, the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is the system you may want to think about. The beauty of the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is that it packs pretty much all that most people need in one unit. There are no separate subs or rears for you to manage.
The monolithic unit is pretty big, though for this very reason, and it does not come cheap. The true surround sound effects are one of the best you will hear. Together with the extremely lifelike overhead sound, you will find that the soundbar boasts amazing audio performance.
Another major built-in convenience is that everything is remote controlled. The price tag is undoubtedly hefty, but the stellar audio performance is more or less at par with some of the best surround speakers minus the size.
The sound quality has to be hands down; the best you will hear from a soundbar and the closest that soundbars can come to surround sound systems.
The only real downside of the Sennheiser has to be the lack of a subwoofer. But if money is not an issue and you are after the best soundbar at all costs, then the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar is a unit to consider for many reasons besides just the stellar sound quality. Bear in mind that you will have to purchase a sub separately.
While you can certainly get great-sounding devices for much lower price tags, you should look at the Sennheiser for unbeatable quality. Almost anyone listening to it will agree that it is probably the best soundbar audio they have heard.
The single-unit soundbar provides the best soundscape for movies. The bass is deep and rich, while the simulated surround is extraordinary and the next best surround systems option. The surprising part is that you get great bass and surround without the need for a sub or rears. Of course, if you add a sub, the sound quality will be even better.
6: Polk Signa S3 – Budget Soundbar That’s Great for Music
Size: 3.22 x 35.43 x 2.15 “
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Auxiliary, Wi-Fi, HDMI
Smart Assistant: Google Assistant (inc. Chromecast)
If you seek to exchange your TV speaker for something much better, then the Polk Audio Signa S3 may be what you are looking for. Not only is this soundbar great for playing music, it works nicely for watching TV films and dramas. With its HDMI input, Bluetooth and Chromecast, it has all that you need for streaming.
While soundbars are a good choice for watching films, dramas and TV, they are also great for listening to music. The Polk Signa S3 is a great example of a soundbar that can play high-quality music without costing a fortune. The high-performance subwoofer that handles bass, music, and tough soundtracks with awesome finesse is key to the audio performance.
And being cheap does not mean skipping on functionality. Unlike cheap rivals, it does not forego Chromecast streaming and Wi-Fi for its low price tag. However, the Signa lacks in DTS Virtual:X, which helps to play surround sound without rear speakers.
If you want clear sound and deep bass from your music, the Polk Signa S3 is a fine allrounder that does justice to both music and movies.
7: Sonos Arc – Premium and yet…mainstream amazing audio
Size: 3.2 x 36 x 2.28″
Connectivity: HDMI (Apple AirPlay 2 and Sonos App)
Smart Assistant: Alexa
This has also made previous lists since its release as a solid performing soundbar.
The Sonos soundbar is still one of the best options for a sound system that extends across multiple rooms. The Arc is the best model that the Sonos brand has to offer. The unit comes complete with Dolby Atmos playback. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are built-in, and you can choose one of them depending on your preferences. The music system itself is simply terrific.
The soundbar is good for listening to music and playing your favorite movies. The premium soundbar also gives good performance for gaming and TV. The high-end sound system brings entertainment to life with Dolby Atmos. Also, the device is highly versatile, meaning that you can control it with remote Apple AirPlay 2, voice or the app.
The Sonos Arc has an uncanny ability to fine-tune the sound according to the ambience for brilliant encompassing sound. It can adjust the sound in tune with the room acoustics so that you get optimal audio.
The slim profile and the elegance are further standout features of this midrange soundbar. It is compact enough to place it discreetly on tables or furniture without it occupying too much space.
Bottom Line on this awesome list of Soundbars
The best soundbars review shown above gives you many details on the best devices for every budget, both big and small. With the Vizio V21, the Yamaha YAS-209 and the Klipsch Cinema 400 at a relatively low budget, you can get very decent quality.
But if you aim for supreme quality, then you may want to consider the Sennheiser, Sonos Arc, and the Vizio Elevate for mesmerizing surround quality sound.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.