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Best sound bars under $300

While you can spend as little as $80 on a sound bar (or sound base), the sweet spot for this kind of speaker is around $300. For this price you can expect features such as Bluetooth and even a wireless subwoofer. Dialogue will sound so much clearer than you ever heard from your TV, and most 'bars include a dialogue-boosting mode as well. Here are our current favorites.

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Polk Command Bar ($300)

The Polk Command Bar is part of a new breed of sound bars which include a voice assistant -- in this case it's Alexa. The Command Bar offers excellent performance for the price and with a bundled Amazon Fire Stick the system becomes a hands-free one-stop shop.  

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Polk Command Bar: a remote for a voice-operated product?

While these devices are designed to be operated by voice the addition of a remote for the Command Bar is actually very handy. Many assistants lose their ability to hear you when you crank up the volume, but if you press the Polk's Alexa button it's as if you said "Alexa". No more screaming!

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Vizio SB3621n-E8 ($150)

The Vizio SB3621 delivers stellar performance for an ultra-budget sound bar. The sound bar offers a decent selection of inputs including Bluetooth and will decode both Dolby and DTS processing. The Vizio SB3621n-E8 sells for $150.

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Yamaha YAS-207

The followup to the excellent YAS-203 is a mighty speaker in its own right. With a boosted feature set including HDMI switching, the $299 YAS-207 is one of the best Yamaha sound bars in years.

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Polk MagniFi Mini ($300)

While it's been eclipsed a little by Polk's first Alexa sound bar, the Polk MagniFi Mini still offers a lot for the money, especially if you are tied to Google Assistant . Its "head unit" is compact at about a foot long, but for such a small speaker, it's able to belt out very good sound for both movies and music.

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Polk MagniFi Mini: Wireless sub included

Unlike some of the models here, the Polk MagniFi Mini also comes with a wireless sub. It helps give action movies the kick that sub-free 'bars lack.

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Polk Signa S1 ($179)

The Polk Signa S1 may be a cheap, cheap sound bar but it doesn't act like one. It has Bluetooth and a separate sub and it will destroy anything near the price for music replay.

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Fluance AB40 ($250)

If you have a smaller TV and want to buy a sound base to sit it on, the $250 Fluance AB40 is a solid choice. It offers surprisingly good sound for the money.

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Fluance AB40: Make sure your TV fits on top

The Fluance is sound base designed to support your TV, so you'll need to have a TV with a centralized base or else buy a TV stand like this Sanus to make it fit.

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Klipsch R4-B ($300)

An older model, the Klipsch R4-B is now available for under $300 and offers excellent home theater sound.

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Klipsch R4-B: It has a subwoofer, too

The Klipsch sound bars we've reviewed typically include high-quality subwoofers. The R4-B is no different.

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JBL Cinema SB 350 ($300)

There are better models for music replay, but the JBL Cinema SB 350's punchy subwoofer adds depth to your movie-watching experience. You can find it for $300 online.

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JBL Boost TV ($200)

The affordable Boost TV is a compact speaker that offers Bluetooth connectivity in addition to an optical input. While it's essentially a glorified Bluetooth speaker, it succeeds at its No. 1 aim: making your TV sound better.

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JBL Boost TV: It's tiny

At just 14.8 inches long and 3.3 inches high, the JBL Boost TV is part of a new breed of speakers we like to call "micro sound bars." Subwoofer not included.

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Zvox Accuvoice AV200 ($199)

Here's a new twist: this sound bar is designed specifically to boost dialogue in movie and TV soundtracks. And it does the job very well, making it especially appealing for the hearing impaired. The Accuvoice is also one of the smartest-looking sound bars for the money, with a fully aluminum chassis.

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Zvox Accuvoice mode

The Accuvoice mode mimics the frequency response of modern hearing aids, which is designed to make voices more understandable. It works great.

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Also consider separate speakers

Sure, it might not look as sleek as an integrated soundbar, but a good system made up of separate speakers and an inexpensive receiver can be cheaper than you think.

For example, the Andrew Jones-designed Pioneer SP-BS21-LR bookshelf speakers ($129/pair) reset the bar for what we could expect from budget-priced speakers. Couple these with a Yamaha RS-202 stereo receiver ($149) and you have a tidy, Bluetooth-ready system that can clobber any sound bar in its price range.

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