Best Budget Soundbar 2021: Our Top Picks For November

If you’re looking for the best soundbars and want to stick to a budget, then we have you covered right here.

There’s plenty of great soundbars out there such as those that feature on our list of the best soundbars, but good performance can actually be had for a fraction of the outlay.

The good news is that a good amount don’t just offer great performance but also come with plenty of added features such as Amazon Alexa support, an additional subwoofer, and even a streaming stick added in, and we’ve selected the ones that stood out based on the spec sheet, features, and reviews.

Whether you’re wanting a cracking all-rounder with the Sonos Beam 2 or a brilliant pick with Alexa like the Polk React, here’s a few options to help you with your quest for better audio at a pocket-friendly price.

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Let's get into it!

Best Budget Soundbars

Best Budget Soundbar – Sonos Beam 2

Best Budget Soundbar Sonos
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Image Credit: Sonos

Brand: Sonos | Connections: 1x HDMI-eARC, 1x Optical (with adapter), 1x Ethernet | Wireless: AirPlay 2, Wifi through Sonos App | Remote control: No | Dimensions (HWD): 69 x 651 x 100mm | Weight: 2.8kg

If you’re wanting the best budget soundbar on the market today, then look no further than the Sonos Beam 2.

Sonos have become regarded as one of the best manufacturers for audio devices over their tenure, with their products making our list of the best speakers, for example.

As for improvements over the previous generation, you'll most notably find faster processing and an HDMI eARC port on the back that allows for high-res audio formats, including Dolby Atmos.

This comes alongside some more cosmetic improvements including a new plastic grille, colour-coordinated cable and monochrome finish.

Speaking of Atmos, the Beam 2 supports it, albeit virtually, through an extra two speaker arrays created thanks to the newer processor. It utilises what Sonos calls 'psychoacoustic' tech to give the impression of upwards firing audio and height.

What this translates to by rights should be some incredible audio with Atmos offering an extra dimension, alongside convenient creature comforts like smart assistant support.

We think that the Sonos Beam 2 might just make it as one of the best soundbars out there!

Best Budget Soundbar With Alexa – Polk React

Image Credit: Polk
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Image Credit: Polk

Brand: Polk | Connections: HDMI 2.0a (ARC), optical, USB 2.0 | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0 | Dimensions (HWD): 6 x 35.5 x 10.7cm | Remote control: Yes | Weight: 1.1kg

The honour for packing Alexa into a soundbar first doesn’t actually go to Sonos, but Polk, whose React soundbar offers an ideal middle ground between price and performance.

Want to change the volume with your voice? No problem. Looking for a film recommendation? Amazon’s vocal friend has you covered.

It also sounds great thanks to three separate modes for different occasions: Music Mode, Movie Mode and Sports Mode. These all help to adjust the sound of the React to suit every eventuality.

The React is also quite a compact soundbar at 940mm wide meaning it can be placed under nearly every TV.

Polk’s offering certainly ticks the right boxes, and for under £300, it’s hard to argue.

Best Budget Soundbar With Subwoofer - Yamaha YAS-209BL

Image Credit: Yamaha
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Image Credit: Yamaha

Brand: Yamaha | Connections: HDMI, optical, 3.5mm headphone jack | Wireless: Bluetooth, Wifi, App Control, Spotify Connect | Dimensions (HWD): 6.2 x 9.3 x 10.9 cm | Remote control: Yes | Weight: 790g

The Yamaha YAS-209BL looks to be a great option if you want both a capable soundbar, and the benefits of some extra low-end grunt thanks to the bundled subwoofer.

By adding a sub to your set-up, you instantly add another channel of audio, which can provide a much-needed lift if you're engrossed in the latest action blockbuster and want to hear every bang and explosion.

In addition, the YAS-209BL is also quite the smart candidate too, working over both Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as offering a passthrough for 4K. You'll also find Amazon's Alexa built-in, too.

There's plenty of different wired connectivity options available as well including both optical and HDMI, so Yamaha have you covered for both eventualities.

Best Budget Soundbar For Gaming – Panasonic Soundslayer

Image Credit: Panasonic
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Image Credit: Panasonic

Brand: Panasonic | Connections: 2x HDMI (1x HDMI-ARC), 1x optical | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0 | Dimensions (HWD): 5.08 x 43.18 x 13.335 cm | Remote control: Yes | Weight: 1.8kg

The world of gaming-grade accessories is one that’s becoming wackier by the day – gaming desks, gaming chairs and now, a gaming soundbar?

Well, Panasonic’s Soundslayer does actually have a lot going for it, and even holds its place firmly as one of the best soundbars for gaming we've come across.

It’s got a built-in subwoofer to provide some extra bass and three separate audio modes based on different genres: RPGs, FPS, and general voice for dialogue-heavy pieces.

What’s more, you’ll also find support for 4K passthrough, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound, making this little guy pack plenty of power.

You could go and invest in a set of the best speakers for PC and console gaming, but for a proper all in one solution, the Soundslayer is an ideal option for gamers looking to take their sound game up a notch or two.

Best Budget Soundbar For 4K Streaming – Roku Streambar

Image Credit: Roku
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Image Credit: Roku

Brand: Roku | Connections: 1x HDMI 2.0a (ARC), 1x optical, 1x USB 2.0 | Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0 | Dimensions (HWD): 6 x 35.5 x 10.7cm | Remote control: Yes | Weight: 1.1kg

You don’t actually need to spend a mint in order to get the combo of good performance and clever features, as Roku’s Streambar proves.

As well as providing some remarkably decent audio, it also has an entire streaming stick built-in. This makes it perfect for those long binging sessions.

The fact the Streambar runs Roku OS is also a big plus, given that you get immediate access to a plethora of platforms including Netflix, Disney Plus and any catch-up service you could wish for.

The biggest thing with Roku’s clever bar though is the price: it’s the most affordable on our list at £130 or so.

If you’re making your first purchase after picking up one of our best 4K TVs, this is a standout choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Budget Soundbars

Are soundbars an overall good choice?

Most certainly. If you're looking for an all in one solution instead of going for separate speakers and a sub initially, then a soundbar can be an ideal choice.

It's also worth noting that they also carry a lot of versatility. None of the best TVs or best monitors will carry the same sound like even a budget soundbar such as the Sonos Beam 2, for instance.

Such devices also have the ability to be used as standalone speakers thanks to Bluetooth connectivity or playing music over Wifi, too.

How much should you spend on a soundbar?

Such a question is usually considered to be circumstantial to the person buying - £500 could be considered budget if they've got millions to spend.

However, as a general rule of thumb, anything from $200-$400 hits the traditional budget mark, as you'll see from our picks - the world of soundbars and audio, in general, is one that can go into four figures easily, after all.

Do you have to use a subwoofer with a soundbar?

If you get a sub bundled with your soundbar, such as the Yamaha YAS-209BL then, that's fantastic, as you'll be getting a little bit more bass than just with the standalone bar.

It's not a requirement to have one with it by any means. For example. plenty of people will find the soundbar such a considerable upgrade over their in-TV speakers that purchasing a sub isn't an immediate need.

However, if you do have a little bit more of a budget, then they are worth a pickup. They add a greater depth to the sound from the bar, and most pertinently, provide that great thump of bass that can add more atmosphere to action films, for instance.

Do be wary though - some standalone ones aren't cheap - for instance, the companion to Sonos' Beam, the Sonos Sub is double the price of the soundbar, at $699 or so.

What is a smart soundbar?

A smart soundbar, simply put, is one that offers smart features such as access to smart assistants alongside being a standard soundbar.

The likes of the Polk React offer Alexa capabilities for instance, whilst others like the Sonos Beam 2 also has the ability to work as a WiFi speaker through the Sonos app.

Others such as the Roku Streambar can take the meaning of smart differently and even bundle a streaming stick in, too.

Read More: Best TV 2021: Top Picks For TVs From Budget To Premium

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