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Best budget computer soundbar

Which budget computer soundbars are best?

Are you sick and tired of having to deal with a laptop or desktop computer whose innate speakers, sound quality and output leave you wishing you could afford a new PC? Fortunately for you, there are several models of budget computer soundbar which offer significant upgrades to your existing audio setup without spending an inordinate amount of money.  In fact, with a Dell Pro Stereo Soundbar AE515M as part of your collection of computer gadgets, you can enjoy amazing multimedia streaming and ensure your business calls remain uninterrupted without breaking the bank.

What to know before you buy a budget computer soundbar

Buying a budget soundbar when buying a new PC

Suppose you have gone through the process of buying a desktop or laptop computer directly from the manufacturer. In that case, there’s an excellent chance that you are familiar with the irresistible allure of the upgrade sections. While it would be wonderful if advanced technology were inexpensive and that PCs could all feature the best components, you likely have to make sacrifices when customizing and audio components are among the most expensive.

That being said, why would you potentially spend hundreds of dollars on increasingly costly and difficult to acquire audio cards when you could purchase a budget computer soundbar for a fraction of the price? Unless you happen to be a genuine audiophile who needs the best components for your gaming, entertainment or business concerns, a soundbar can bridge the gap for almost any audio issues with your PC while allowing you to stick to your budget.

Sound quality is generally more important than maximum volume output

While the wiser among us would hopefully like to retain the quality of our ability to hear over our lives, sometimes you might feel compelled to blast your tunes for motivation, stress relief or simple enjoyment. However, given that your new budget computer soundbar is likely far closer to you than one used for televisions or gaming consoles, you don’t want to accidentally deafen yourself by pumping loud noises directly next to your face.

One of the more important things to consider when purchasing a budget computer soundbar is acquiring one focused on the overall clarity and quality of audio. After all, if your new soundbar doesn’t improve the quality of the audio you are hearing, just providing a louder version of your already inadequate PC speakers isn’t exactly an improvement.

What to look for in a quality budget computer soundbar

Able to connect both wired and wirelessly to a wide range of PCs

If you have ever accidentally purchased a phone charging cable that is powered via USB when you actually needed a USB-C plug, you understand that it’s important to ensure that you purchase technology that is compatible. After all, knowing the numbers, means and types of your PC’s connectivity can be crucial to ensuring proper operations in various setups.

As with most PC accessories, it is always crucial to understand how to connect your budget computer soundbar to your laptop or desktop PC. While it’s always better to have and not need than to need and not have, you should make sure that your new budget computer soundbar can actually connect to your computer in the manner you prefer to use.

Delivers an immersive audio experience connected to your PC or alone

If your personal computer fails to deliver an audio experience that meets or exceeds your needs, purchase a soundbar backed by well-known and reliable audio technology. However, you might be interested in purchasing a budget computer soundbar capable of working in tandem with your existing PC or functioning as a wireless Bluetooth speaker.

Regardless of your particular preferences when it comes to your soundbar’s options for flexibility, one thing that you need to be aware of is the maximum wattage of your soundbar. For those unfamiliar with its significance, a greater amount of wattage refers to the amount of power that the soundbar’s speakers can handle without sustaining damage. Given that you will likely be using these speakers in a relatively contained environment like a single room or office, you likely want to buy a soundbar that’s rated to at least 5 watts but no more than 30 watts.

Plug and play functionality, ease of use and other convenient addons

Now that you’ve purchased your new budget soundbar and gotten your favorite streaming platform or PC game all ready to go, the last thing you want is to have to deal with a complicated setup process before you can hear the improvements. Furthermore, if you want to enjoy the benefit of your new soundbar but prefer to experience it through your favorite pair of wired headphones, not having the ability to plug them in would be something of a disappointment. 

It is very important to consider how easy a particular unit is to use, whether it has clearly defined and simple buttons, the types of audio file format it can playback and much more. Another important point of interest is whether you would prefer a budget computer soundbar that requires a wired power connection or one that offers more freedom of movement.

How much you can expect to spend on a budget computer soundbar

Depending on your desired features and any budgetary considerations, a quality budget computer soundbar can cost anywhere from $48-$200, and sometimes more.

Budget computer soundbar FAQ

Is it OK to leave my budget computer soundbar plugged into power all the time?

A. Unfortunately, no. Much like any other type of speaker technology, soundbars are capable of unnecessarily increasing your power bill, overheating or even posing a potential fire hazard.

Why does my budget computer soundbar randomly turn off and on?

A. This is likely because you have your soundbar plugged into a wired power connection, and when you turn on your PC, the soundbar activates as well. Unless you need a soundbar model capable of independent operation, this will occur every time you cycle your PC’s power.

What are the best budget computer soundbars to buy?

Top budget computer soundbar

Dell Pro Stereo Soundbar AE515M

What you need to know: This is a great budget computer soundbar that offers great audio and video conferencing.

What you’ll love: This unit offers a soundbar that is AE515M certified for Microsoft Skype for Business as well as 5W RMS front-firing speakers with a wide range of frequency responses of between 90Hz to 20kHz, offers exceptional sound quality and deep bass, echo cancellation features, dual-microphone array, front-facing call controls, 3.5mm headphone jack, LED indicators and plug-and-play functionality with no setup required.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as trouble pairing other devices and excessive white noise during calls.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top budget computer soundbar for the money

Creative Stage Air Portable and Compact Under-Monitor USB-Powered Soundbar for Computer

What you need to know: This is an affordable but versatile budget computer soundbar for those who prefer to have options.

What you’ll love: This unit offers dual audio drivers with oversized passive radiators as well as conveniently located controls on the side of the soundbar, up to 6 hours of battery life, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, 3.5mm auxiliary jack, functions as a standalone music player capable of playing music from an inserted thumb drive, a frequency range of 80 Hz to 20 kHz and a maximum output of 20 watts.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as a limit range for using Bluetooth and interference when using the audio jack.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Razer Leviathan PC Gaming and Music Sound Bar - Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound

What you need to know: This is a purpose-built budget computer soundbar ideal for gaming, music and streaming.

What you’ll love: This unit features immersive 5.1 Dolby/Atmos Channel Surround Sound as well as a dedicated subwoofer for deep and immersive bass, Bluetooth V4.0 Aptx to facilitate wireless music streaming with a range of 30 feet, three preset equalizers for music, gaming and movies and a compact design which is up to 30% shorter than the average soundbar.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as the unit dying within a year of purchase and after the warranty expires.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.