The Best Budget Soundbars

While soundbars can be pretty expensive, they don’t have to be. This list of soundbars on a budget is designed specifically for those who want to get into the world of soundbars, but don’t want to break the bank on buying on. These selections mostly also come with a subwoofer to give you a great home theater-type experience.


Our Pick: Vizio SB3821-C6 – $149.99

Sure, the Vizio SB3821-C6 doesn’t pack tons of bells and whistles, but you can’t beat the quality you’re getting for this price.

Audiorumble says the Vizio SB3821-C6 “packs a rather balanced performance that justifies its reputation. A budget soundbar system doesn’t really get much better than this” and CNET agrees, concluding the soundbar system “offers excellent performance for an ultra-budget soundbar with great movie sound and toe-tapping music playback/” Amazon reviewers praise the system’s sound, but also ease of setup and use. Or as Amazon reviewer Alphard puts it, “Crisp and clear sound encompasses the room and I can’t wait to watch my favorite movies/shows with this soundbar.”

The Vizio SB3821-C6 is a 38″ 2.1 soundbar system, with two 2.75″ drivers on the left and right and a 5″ wireless subwoofer. The SB3821-C6 features a stereo RCA input, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA coaxial input, optical input and USB input. The system is capable of reaching up to 100dB and can be connected to wirelessly. As an added bonus, the Vizio SB3821-C6 supports Dolby Digital and DTS audio.

 


Fluance AB40 – $249.99

The Fluance AB40 focuses on giving listeners (and TV viewers) a well-imaged soundstage. Its drivers are angled to achieve this effect, and are praised by AVS Forum editor Mark Henninger as “a good job of expanding the soundstage beyond the confines of the enclosure,” while his overall experience was a good one with the soundbar’s overall sound fidelity. Soundguys say the Fluance AB40 is for “listeners who want a home theater audio setup without shelling out insurmountable sums of cash for it,” while CNET points out its “great sound for the money, outperforming many sound bars at the same price or more.”

The Fluance AB40 employs four 3″ aluminum-cone woofers and dual 1″ soft-dome tweeters, and has a sturdy enough wood cabinet to support TVs up to 65” and 150 pounds. Think of the  Fluance AB40 as more of a “soundbase” than a “soundbar” in terms of functionality. The soundbar has an optical digital input and 3.5 mm stereo analog input, perfect for adding on Chromecast Audio or an Amazon Echo Dot, as well as supports Bluetooth. Henninger mentions in his review of the AB40 that Fluance seems to have forgone connectivity options and instead focused on sound quality.


Polk Command Bar – $249.99

If you’re looking at Sonos Beam but aren’t thrilled about the $399 price tag, the Polk Command Bar is for you. Techradar says the Command Bar is “quite a bit cheaper than the Sonos and It has defined and powerful low end, some cool smart features, and looks pretty good, too.” Trusted Reviews has an even more positive take on the Polk Command Bar, saying while you can opt for the Sonos Beam for a more expansive sound, “for refined balance and voice clarity the Command Bar wins out.” CNET adds that the Command Bar’s sound quality better than the Beam, but also offers that the “built-in Alexa control that ‘hears’ your voice more reliably than in competing Sonos speakers.”

The Polk Command Bar is both Amazon Alexa enabled, allows you to play music across multiple rooms via Amazon Music and is compatible with FireTV. The Polk Command Bar lowers its volume to best hear you give commands to Alexa when told to do so via your remote control, which also allows you to switch between inputs. The bar employs two 1.25″ drivers to handle your mids and highs, while an included subwoofer outputs bass frequencies via a 6.5″ woofer. The Polk Command Bar features an HDMI input, an optical input, two 4K HDMI 2.0a for video passthrough, and supports Dolby Digital and DTS audio.


Yamaha YAS-207 – $299.99

The Yamaha YAS-207 is the first soundbar to give its listeners an immersive virtual 3D sound by DTS® Virtual:X, all while still fitting snugly under your TV. This is in addition to its support of both Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS audio, as well as Bluetooth capabilities. You can control the Yamaha YAS-207 via the included remote control, or a mobile app.

Techhive notes the inclusions of DTS Virtual:X helps the soundbar stand apart from its peers, and “delivers lots of punch and excitement to delight those who want a better movie experience at home.” CNET delivers similar praise to the Yamaha YAS-207’s sound, while adding its “surround modes eclipse anything else available at the same price or less.” Digital Trends not only calls the Yamaha YAS-207 “a great soundbar at the $300 line”, but also bumped the soundbar’s score up after deciding “it really does offer what we consider to be the best value at its price point over multiple categories.”

The Yamaha YAS-207 features four 1.75″ drives and a separate subwoofer with a 6.25″ woofer. The soundbar features one HDMI in, one HDMI out, a digital optical port, an analog audio port, and supports both 4K and 3D passthrough.


Polk MagniFi Mini – $299.99

If you’re tight on space but still want a great-sounding soundbar, then the Polk MagniFi Mini is for you. The soundbar is 13” high and 3” wide, and delivers what CNET described as “a much bigger sound than its minuscule size suggests. The package is compact and will fit easily into most living room setups.” Though as Digital Trends will tell you, the MagniFi Mini looks less like a soundbar and more like what they called a “sound stub”. Despite its size, “the Magnifi Mini is a great solution for those seeking no-hassle TV audio enhancement.” Tom’s Guide suggests something similar, saying “without seeing it, you’d imagine you’re hearing a 42-inch soundbar with a full-sized subwoofer.”

The Polk Command Bar features an HDMI input, an optical input, a 3.5mm aux input, and supports Dolby Digital sound, Google Cast and Bluetooth. The Polk Command Bar features two 2.25″ drives to handle your midrange and high end, while a downward-firing subwoofer emplots a 6.5″ woofer to deliver the lows.


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