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Researching Home Theater Soundbars in the $200-$300 Range on

I recently had a $200 credit from my American Express credit card that I needed to spend on the website. My wife and I decided that we should buy new speakers for our TV. 

Why did I choose a Soundbar?

I’ve been pushing this off for a while, not wanting to settle on a soundbar. I’ve been pushing it off to buy a nice speaker set instead. However, with a $200 credit, I figured why not.

My Budget:

My budget was $200 to spend the entire Dell credit that I had. Did not want to spend more than needed as I have never owned a soundbar and did not want to splurge too heavily.

My Home Theatre Needs:

  • Used in Living room with hardwood flooring.
  • Primarily used for watching movies, tv shows and Youtube videos.

What am I upgrading from?

A pair of old Bose Speaker Sets. It was not a necessity to upgrade this.

My Buying Process:

On the website, there isn’t too much selection to choose from. There’s only 4 brands to choose from which are Bose, JBL, Samsung and Sony.

Immediately, I filtered the results down to under $500 and left me with 13 choices to choose from and sorted from lowest to highest.

Initially I was drawn to the “Bose TV Speaker – Bluetooth Soundbar with HDMI-ARC Connectivity – Black” which was $219 and I would be able to spend the entire credit and only pay $19 out of pocket. I went on to read reviews, read Reddit posts, and Youtube review videos about the product and discovered that I might be able to spend my money better elsewhere. The bass is not heavy enough and it seems the biggest selling point of this was the dialogue enhancements. 

Bose TV Speaker Pros:

Dialogue Enhancements

Still has the Bose “sound” that most people like

Includes Remote Control

Bose TV Speaker Cons:

Not enough bass

Good build quality

Then I looked at the next product, which was the “JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass – Sound bar system – 2.1-channel – wireless – Bluetooth – black” which was on sale for $249.95. Went on with the same process as the Bose. Read reviews, read Reddit posts, and watch Youtube review videos. Discovered that this was a great bang for your buck as the bass is strong, and comes with a subwoofer. Reviews say that it is great for watching movies and television shows but bad for music. Bass is powerful and comes with 3 settings but there is no equalizer which is why reviews say it’s bad for music. But I’m a simpleton and I don’t really mess with equalizers much anyway so that wasn’t much of a problem. The soundbar would also be only for watching tv and movies.

One thing I’m pretty annoyed about is it seems to have LED lights that say “hello” and other messages. I 100% don’t care about this and it has annoyed me that I was hoping to find something better. Ultimately decided to bear with it and order it anyway.

JBL Bar 2.1 Pros:

Bass great for TV and Movies

Good build quality

Subwoofer is wireless which makes room placement very flexible.

Includes Remote Control

JBL Bar 2.1 Cons:

No Equalizer for music

There seems to be an LED that lights up with words on the front.

What about the Sony, Yamaha, Samsung Soundbar Selection?

I was interested in the Sony and Yamaha but unfortunately, they were too close to the $300+ range and I was not interested. So my choices cut down down to the JBL and the Bose soundbars. I normally go into a hole of looking into the higher options of products but this time I was much stricter about keeping the cost as low as possible.


Ended up ordering the JBL 2.1 Soundbar. The reviews of the weak bass sound from the Bose was a major turn off. I’ll update this review once I’ve received the product and gave it a test run.

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