How Much Do Soundbars Cost? Soundbar Price Ranges Explained

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Soundbars have become a popular audio upgrade for flatscreen TVs, but if you’re shopping for one the wide range of prices can be confusing.

Soundbar costs range from just $100 to well over $1,000 depending on size, sound quality, features and branding.

Let’s break down the pricing spectrum to demystify what goes into soundbar costs across low, middle and high price tiers.

How Much Do Soundbars Cost On Average?

The average price for a soundbar falls within the mid-range at around $400.

More affordable bars can be purchased between $100 to $300.

High-end audiophile models range from $700 up to $1,500+.

We’ll explore what goes into soundbar costs more below.

What Is A Soundbar?

A soundbar is a long, slim speaker that is designed to improve the audio quality from a television.

Soundbars are an alternative to the small, low quality built-in speakers that come standard in most televisions today.

They produce better sound quality by incorporating separate tweeters, woofers and amplifiers into an all-in-one enclosure.

Soundbars are placed directly under a wall-mounted TV or can sit on a credenza under a TV that is placed on a stand.

They upgrade the TV viewing experience by offering richer bass, clearer dialogue and more dynamic sound.

Soundbars connect to a TV through either HDMI cables or optical/analog audio cables.

The sleek, compact shape of a soundbar makes it an attractive alternative to bulkier home theater speaker systems with separate components and wires.

They offer a simpler setup while still providing elevated audio quality over the TV’s default speakers.

Most soundbars are just a few inches tall but run over three feet wide to create right/left stereo separation.

Higher-end models may incorporate a wireless subwoofer for deep bass response.

Some soundbars also include added height speakers or wireless surround speakers to create immersive Dolby Atmos/DTS:X surround effects.

This transforms the single-box soundbar into a complete home cinema system.

Typical Soundbar Prices 

There is a wide range of soundbar models available at different price points.

Budget soundbars can cost as little as $100 while high-end models aimed at home theater enthusiasts can cost over $1,000.

In general, soundbars fall into three pricing tiers:

– Budget/Entry-Level Models: $100 – $300

– Mid-Range Models: $300 – $700   

– Premium Models: $700+

The price is largely determined by factors like the sound quality, number and size of speakers, connectivity options and extra features:

– Audio Components (tweeters, woofers, amplifiers)

– Number of Integrated Speakers

– Added Subwoofer/Surrounds

– Ports & Connectivity (HDMI, Bluetooth, WiFi)   

– Smart Features (voice control, EQ tuning app)

Brand name also plays a role, with models from leading electronics companies like Samsung, Sony, LG, Bose and Sonos demanding higher prices thanks to reputation and better-quality components.

Lesser-known brands can offer similar features for lower cost.

Budget Soundbars ($100-$300)

Budget or entry-level soundbars priced between $100 and $300 offer an affordable way to upgrade from plain TV speakers.

While these economy models do not offer the most premium construction or components, they still provide markedly better and louder audio than built-in TV speakers.

Some benefits of choosing a cheaper soundbar include fewer speakers and simpler connections.

Most budget bars have just two or three mid-range drivers rather than dedicated tweeters and woofers which increases costs.

Most connectivity is via optical, RCA or HDMI ARC ports rather than the latest HDMI standards.

There are some drawbacks associated with the lowest-cost soundbar models.

Audio quality can suffer from muted dialogue, boxy frequency response, limited bass response without a sub and narrow soundstages.

Cheaper amps also mean lower maximum volumes and less dynamic playback.

Lesser-known brands found in the budget category may cut corners in materials, construction or quality control.

Features like wireless streaming or voice assistants are rare at this low price point.

However, budget models from respectable companies like Yamaha, JBL and Polk still provide decent starter soundbars.

This tier is ideal for those looking to slightly elevate TV audio on a budget.

While not the richest, loudest or most cinematic experience, budget soundbars still outpace built-in TV speakers in all areas at an affordable price point for most buyers.

Mid-Range Soundbars ($300-$700)

Stepping up to the mid-range tier of $300 to $700 provides better audio components that deliver clearer sound with deeper bass and simulated surround effects.

Soundbars in this class incorporate more advanced speaker drivers, amplifiers and wireless connectivity absent in cheaper models.

Mid-range models include soundbars with five or more built-in speakers, including dedicated tweeters for crisp highs and mid/bass woofers for fuller low ends.

This improves frequency response across highs, mids, and lows compared to budget models.

Almost all mid-tier soundbars now add an external wireless subwoofer for expanded bass performance that the main bar cannot achieve alone due to its slim size.

Upgraded HDMI inputs with HDMI ARC or eARC allow mid-range bars to pass through higher fidelity Dolby and DTS audio from TVs and streaming devices.

Popular features like built-in Bluetooth and WiFi provide wireless music streaming from your phone or tablet.

Some bars now also enable Spotify Connect for direct WiFi streaming from the service’s app.

Voice assistant integration through far-field mics on the bar turns the TV into a smart speaker via Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

HDMI-CEC support lets you control soundbar and TV functions together with one remote.

Companion apps open up EQ tuning, surround profiles and other audio tweaks not available on budget models lacking wireless software connectivity.

While more expensive than budget tier, mid-range soundbars offer greater value through noticeably higher sound quality, voice clarity and bass performance courtesy of their wider range of drivers and wireless sub pairing.

Their wider, taller shapes increase stereo separation for a more cinematic experience.

Leading models in the price range come from Sony, Polk, Klipsch, Yamaha, LG, JBL and Vizio.

Overall, the mid-range segment delivers a premium mix of audio performance and features for the money.

Premium Soundbars ($700+)

At the top tier of soundbars are high-end models aimed at home theater enthusiasts and audiophiles seeking superb acoustic engineering and premium build.

Costing over $700, some bars sell for $2,000+! High-end leaders include Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Sonos, Sennheiser and high-end TV brand subs like LG, Samsung and Sony.

These prestige bars integrate exotic speaker components like titanium dome tweeters and carbon fiber/Kevlar woven woofers.

Discrete amp channels for each driver enable meticulous sound tuning calibrated by audio engineers for accuracy across bass, mids and treble.

Wireless connectivity gets the latest standards like Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast and high fidelity Bluetooth codecs.

Included wireless subwoofers use large diameter drivers, powerful digital amps and complex porting to plumb deep bass levels lacking in lesser models.

Flagship soundbars add wireless surround speakers or special height speakers to create immersive Dolby Atmos/DTS:X audio with object-based precision volume and panning across 3D space.

Sophisticated room tuning includes standing wave/reflection cancellation and automatic EQ adjustment.

Some models also analyze the acoustic environment using integrated mics, tuning output to maximize the sonic profile.

Voice mic arrays facilitate precision dialogue boosting for clear vocals, while other presets optimize music or cinema audio.

Premium soundbars feature metal grilles, glass/wooden enclosures and attractive industrial design absent from cheaper plastic-clad models.

Some integrate into accompany TV stands or wall mounts for an elegant, hidden look.

Companion apps enable wireless audio tuning like many mid-tier bars.

But they take calibration to new levels via high resolution room equalization and surround optimization.

At the prices asked, there are absolutely diminishing returns on pure audio fidelity versus mid-range models.

However, the acoustic and build quality gains are clear, from the weighty heft of their premium construction to the tuned precision of their drivers.

Premium bars deliver a truly high-end home theater experience befitting their elevated cost for buyers prioritizing absolute audio performance and gorgeous aesthetics in their soundbar purchase.

Conclusion

Soundbars offer a wide range of prices from affordable $100 models to premium home theater bars costing over $1,000.

Factors like audio components, number of speakers, connectivity and brand determine where a model sits on the spectrum.

While high-end soundbars deliver unmatched acoustic performance, even budget and mid-range models can elevate your TV’s flat audio for an improved viewing experience.

Dominic

Dominic is the chief editor of the Burton Acoustix blog which writes about acoustics and soundproofing to help readers with their queries and questions they might have with regard to improving any sound or noise issues that they faced in their life.