Our best budget surround sound system reviews and 2017 buying guide
These home theater products are a fantastic buy for any home that values quality entertainment. The enhancement even small surround sound speakers gives to movies, television shows and music is wonderful and it brings you one step closer to a cinema experience inside the comfort of your own home. On the menu above our company has put together both US reviews and UK reviews where you can see our best budget surround sound system reviews.
Below you can see our recommended product and 2017 buying guide to learn exactly what to look for before making a decision on what the best budget products are for the money. We’ve outlined the top home cinema items available on the web, shown on the right side if you’re on a computer or at the bottom of this page if you’re on a mobile.
We hope to help you find the best cheap speakers without having to waste hours of your free time looking around the internet! You can read our reviews on the top cheap home theater systems in 2017 on the menu at the top of this page. Here’s our quick and clear recommended product and buying guide.
Our top pick – The $150 best seller and a $200 receiver to complete the system
This is the number 1 best seller when it comes to the best cheap surround sound systems under $150 for a reason. It has 5 channels plus a subwoofer that all have protective magnetic shielding, and mini woofers for the center channel. The subwoofer is 100 Watts and 8 inches, which is powerful enough to add an intense bass effect to any movie. The speakers are very clear and will give your home the cinema atmosphere you’re likely looking for. To power these speakers you’ll need a separate receiver, which we have also recommended below.
Note: If you don’t already own a receiver (also known as an amplifier) then we have recommended a great budget one below to complete this system. There’s some reviews outlining the lacking bluetooth functionality of the receiver, but this won’t be an issue for you as the recommended speakers are wired, so won’t require a bluetooth feature.
If you don’t decide to go for this one, we recommend that you stay above $200 to be sure that the receiver is of lasting, functional quality. It must support 5.1 channels to work with the speakers we have recommended too. This complete package should total near $350, which we feel is a cheap price for a 2017 home audio system.
How to buy a top cheap surround sound system
A 5.1 set-up
This is the most common set-up for a budget system in 2017 and consists of 5 speakers (A central one for dialogue, 2 left and right front speakers and 2 left and right rear speakers) and also 1 subwoofer for low bass audio like explosions. You’ll most likely want an inexpensive product that has a 5.1 set-up like this as it supports all standard media such as DVD and blu-ray, streaming services like Netflix and modern games consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox one.
We thoroughly recommend going with this for your first purchase before thinking about going for a more expensive 7.1 home theater set-up or one without a subwoofer. This will allow you to gain the most balanced first experience for cheap before making a further decision from there, if necessary.
Correct wattage for your room size
You’ll want to make sure the budget speakers have decent power in relation to your room size. We recommend going no lower than 50 watts RMS per speaker for a small to medium (average) sized room, and no lower than 70 watts RMS per speaker for a very large sized room to get great value from your purchase.
Receivers are the devices that connect all of the speakers together and connect them as one unit to your other devices such as your television. You’ll want to make sure the receiver you get with your home cinema purchase includes digital connection options such as optical or HDMI to get the most out of your speakers.
Your existing connections
You should make sure that whatever you’ll be connecting with the home cinema (e.g. a DVD / Blu-ray player, games console etc.) is compatible using the same connectors. You can use inexpensive non-digital connectors (RCA cables) or better quality digital connectors (these are typically optical, coaxial or HDMI cables). We recommend using digital connectors in 2017 for the best audio experience.
You can find what connections you need by checking the ‘Out’ section on the back of your devices and the ‘In’ section on the back of the speakers you’re looking at (you can usually see this or find this out on the product page). For example, a high definition TV may have a ‘Digital out (optical)’ slot on the back of it, and a home audio system may have an ‘(Optical in)’ slot on the back of the receiver. In this case an optical cable can be used to connect the two devices together with high quality audio.
Wireless or wired?
You should decide if you want to go for a wireless or wired set-up. These inexpensive systems are rarely battery powered in 2017 though, so most wireless set-ups will still have power cords. This will still reduce the number of wires though, making for a tidier room. There is a price to pay here however, literally and figuratively. Wireless ones tend to cost more and there is usually a drop in quality when compared to wired speakers, so you should decide if having less wires is worth these downsides.
Some speakers may come with pre-existing stands while others may be intended for wall mounting. If you don’t wish to wall mount them and the package doesn’t come with stands, you can typically buy speaker stands online for a low-cost.
Recommended minimum price
Going by our research, we recommend going no lower than $120 or £100 in 2017 as products below these prices tend to be of low quality or are lacking a main unit and aren’t built to last. At this price it can be used well for gaming and for watching TV. Going above this ensures long lasting quality audio while still being affordable, as long as you follow our advice and look at the products shown on our affordable surround sound reviews pages. Thanks for viewing our guide.