Having high-quality speakers can enhance your listening experience not only for music but also to provide that cinema-like experience in the comfort of your own home. Luckily, nowadays you don’t have to rely on those small, tinny speakers of the past thanks to the invention of soundbars.
However, one drawback to soundbars is that in the main, they are a little on the pricey side, especially for those that are of a high spec nature. As always though, there are more budget-conscious options around.
In this article, we’ll take you through the best budget soundbar options around to help you achieve stellar sound without breaking the bank.
In an effort to provide you with the absolute top selections when it comes to budget soundbars, we have chosen these based on a few criteria in which separates the best from the rest.
We obviously looked at the audio quality, but also other factors such as the design of the soundbar, the number, and variety of connections it has, as well as the actual connectivity between the products and the devices in your home. We believe it’s these aspects that really enhance your experience using a soundbar and make the purchase worthwhile, even at a budget price point.
Best Budget Soundbar in 2021
Airplay 2 and Alexa functionality
Sonos sound quality
Different color options
A little chunky
Sonos is a household name when it comes to audio devices so there’s no shock that their soundbars are of top tier quality also.
The audio you’ll receive from the Sonos Beam soundbar is pretty incredible crystal clear, richly detailed, and optimized by software for the best all-around experience. If you needed more of a reason to trust the sound quality of Sonos and the Beam, it was tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers, emphasizing the sound of the human voice and therefore, allowing you to hear every single word from either your movies/TV show as well as any music with pristine clarity.
In terms of connectivity, the Beam is definitely one that’s futureproof boasting a bunch of wireless hook-up options such as Airplay 2 and Alexa built-in. Moreover, if you want to stick to those wires, simply slot in that HDMI cable and receive your audio that way.
The design of the soundbar itself is second to none with sleek rounded edges and lacking the bulkiness that you might see from other soundbars on the market. What’s especially nice about the Beam from Sonos is that it comes in two different colors – black and white which is ideal for those that don’t want the traditional aesthetics and would rather a white variant that’ll fit into modern decor homes.
Roku streaming built in
Bundled in remote
Could be more powerful
You’ve probably heard of Roku because of their streaming stick that slots right into your TV similar to that of the Amazon Fire TV Stick. However, they’ve also expanded into other areas to improve your viewing experience, with one of these being soundbars. Their Streambar is pretty impressive and earns a well-deserved place on our list of best budget soundbars. Here’s why.
Straight away, you’ll be getting more features than the average soundbar thanks to Roku including their streaming platform built into the device itself, removing the need to purchase one separately. This is not only a cost-saving but also useful not having to have a million different devices slotted into your TV.
But what about the sound quality? Does this live up in comparison? We’d like to report that it does indeed. Roku leverages Dolby sound technology in its four internal speakers that allow for boosted volume and excellent speech clarity, providing powerful yet clear overall experience.
In terms of connectivity, you’ll clearly have to utilize the HDMI port on the back if you want to access the Streambar’s full capabilities but you also have the choice of using Optical audio if you so wish. Finally, there’s a handy USB slot if you need to power any other devices or play back any files on a memory card for example.
In the box you’ll get the Roku remote control too which is needed for navigating around the UI of the streaming software and it more than useful for controlling the sound portion of the bar too.
The design of the Streambar doesn’t scream innovation but we’d say it still looks relatively nice and certainly compact in comparison to a number of other budget soundbars on the market.
Spoken word enhancement
No bundled remote
Yamaha has its finger in all sorts of pies when it comes to instruments and other musical equipment so it’s not a shock that their digital audio devices are not only well designed but have the specs to boot. This particular soundbar from them – the YAS-109 boasts some top of the line features while not breaking the bank.
Looking initially at the audio quality, you know you’ll be receiving some pretty powerful sound thanks to the 2 built-in subwoofers providing deep, rich bass and removing the need for an external subwoofer. Additionally, there a clear voice mode if you want to enhance the spoken word, maybe for movies and TV shows when you want full immersion. You can also control all of this via the handy app, allowing you to fine-tune your audio to your specific liking.
Fort ports, you’re looking at the usual HDMI and Optical as well as Ethernet, USB, and a Subwoofer Out if you’re wanting to boost that sound even more. There’s WiFi, Bluetooth, and Alexa control crammed in too, enabling you to connect to a plethora of other devices in a wireless fashion.
The low profile aesthetics of the YAS-109 are certainly welcomed ensuring that it won’t be reaching the threshold at the bottom of your TV coupled with the fact that you could actually wall mount it without it looking cumbersome.
Dolby and DTS sound
Not a named brand
VIZIO is a brand you might not have come across in your general search for audio-related products but just because they’re not a mainstream name doesn’t mean their devices are inferior. This M-Series M21d-H8R in particular is a fantastic option for those on a budget and has a bunch of features you’d typically see from higher-priced alternatives.
It has dual subwoofers built-in similar to that of the Yamaha above coupled with Dolby audio, meaning you know that you’re getting stellar overall quality. It also comes with DTS Virtual:X which creates room-filling, floor-to-ceiling, virtualized 3D sound that allows for any content to be molded into an incredibly immersive experience.
You can connect to wireless devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and even Siri either via Bluetooth or the more traditional AUX port that’s been around for some time now. For connecting to your TV, it leverages HDMI as well as Optical if you so wish.
Finally, the design of the soundbar itself is definitely pleasing. It doesn’t have that ‘boxy’ feel thanks to the more triangular shape and will certainly fit into any sleek, modern home. You can also control it with the handy buttons placed on the side or simply use the remote control that’s bundled in.
Things To Consider
If you’re new to the soundbar world then you might just think that you plug your device straight into what you want it to output, and while you’re not wrong, there are a number of other features that can be accessed if your soundbar has a variety of connectivity options.
Some of these ports may include HDMI, Optical, traditional audio jack, and Bluetooth. Obviously, the more your soundbar has, the more devices you’ll be able to hook it up to so it’s worth keeping in mind if you want to use it for more than an enhanced TV speaker.
While you might think that it’s a given that you’ll receive a remote control in the box to change the volume and other aspects of your soundbar it’s not always the case. Obviously, a remote control gives you a little more freedom for adjusting elements of your soundbar setup but it isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Most soundbars have buttons directly on the body itself which shouldn’t be too difficult for you to do. Additionally, you probably won’t need a remote control at all in some cases as when you connect your soundbar to your device, it should sync up meaning your TV remote for example should also make changes to your soundbar output.
Overall, the Sonos Beam is the definitive best budget soundbar you can buy in our opinion. It is on that higher end of the ‘budget’ bracket but we think it’s more than justified. It has the looks, with multiple colors, as well as a bunch of connectivity to pretty much any device you want. Of course, the audio quality is fantastic and you’ll certainly be feeling the power of those speakers when you put on your next movie and experience a cinema-like feel in your own home.
If you do want to spend a little less, an even more budget soundbar if you wish, the VIZIO is a solid selection. It looks fantastic and provides you with a solid listening experience that you might think would be out of this soundbar’s price range.