If you want to upgrade your dad's entertainment system without breaking the bank, we’ve hand-picked six awesome soundbars under $300 to consider for Father’s Day that’ll work with your budget.
From stereo soundbars that are also great for music listening, to entry-level Atmos systems to add some extra immersion to movie night, here are the very best that will tell dad “I love you” and “You're the best dad in the world” without you literally having to utter the words.
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Don’t let its stereo-only specs mislead you because the Sonos Ray is one hell of a soundbar. The Ray is the perfect starter soundbar for dads with older TVs who don’t need all the bells and whistles of pricier Atmos systems. Its biggest drawback is that it uses an optical cable instead of HDMI eARC (again: good for old TVs). Sound is phenomenal for the price; it's powerful and loud enough to fill a room.
Since it’s a Sonos product, it supports music streaming, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect. If your dad ever wants to upgrade to surround sound, they can add two Sonos One SL speakers as rears, or a One SL and a mic-enabled Sonos One if they want to add voice control to the system. Its flexibility as a great music listening experience is what sets it apart from other straightforward-focused systems.
TV setups can be a bit of a mess with myriad devices plugged in. The Roku Streambar Pro declutters things as a 2-in-1 soundbar/streaming media player. It packs in four drivers for a stereo setup, but can also pair with up to four of Roku’s Wireless Speakers and a Wireless Subwoofer for a proper surround setup down the line.
In our review of the Vizio M-series soundbar system, we found it to be a very compelling budget option for anyone dipping their toes in the world of Atmos soundbars. The virtual height effects that this soundbar and its accompanying rear speakers kick out are very convincing and provide the extra sense of immersion that Atmos is known for. It doesn’t have the strongest bass and you do need to deal with messy wires, but this is a good starter system if dad is new to a home theater.
Note: This soundbar lists for $330 MSRP (just a little bit over $300) but it’s frequently on sale for $300 or less (like when we reviewed it). We’re gonna give this the smallest of passes.
TCL’s Alto soundbars also provide a decent entry point to the world of Atmos. The Alto 8+ 3.1.2 includes analog height drivers for real Atmos height effects and a dedicated center channel for clear voices. Best suited for smaller spaces like a den, this soundbar provides a hassle-free experience without the need to bother with wires for the rear speakers.
Both of our no-frills picks focus solely on delivering loud and clear sound, with limited virtualization options. From Samsung and LG, respectively, both of these 3.1 channel soundbars include fairly powerful wireless subwoofers in the box (LG’s promises 220W of power), and dedicated center channels for clear dialogue. Aside from Bluetooth connectivity, smart features are limited on both models, but that may be more of a feature depending on how tech-savvy your dad is.
These soundbars are best suited for older TVs that just desperately need a sound boost. While these systems can be expanded with wireless rear speakers (sold separately), lacking a true ecosystem or the ability to stream music directly puts them a step behind the Sonos Ray in our book.