12 Best Cheap Surround Sound Systems

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12 Best Cheap Surround Sound Systems

If you’re looking for a cheap surround sound system, you’re in luck. In 1941 when Disney produced the first ‘surround sound’ system so theater houses could play their latest film, ‘Fantasia’ in all its glory, it cost $85,000! Now you can have decent surround sound in your home for under $100. Even if you want something a little more sophisticated you don’t have to pay more than $500 unless you’re a serious audiophile.

In fact, the problem nowadays is knowing what system to buy. On Amazon alone, the term ‘cheap surround sound’ throws up over 10,000 results. So, to save you time and money I’ve researched the very best cheap surround sound systems of 2021.

#1 Best cheap 5.1 surround sound system overall: Monoprice 133831

Monoprice 133831

Monoprice has established itself as one of the leading brands in the budget home theatre space, making some of the best 5.1 surround sound systems on the market for the price.

And the 133831 is no exception.

Just including a dedicated center channel speaker as well as 4 satellites and a sub would make it ridiculous value. But two of the surround sound speakers have upward-firing drivers for height channels, meaning it’s compatible with Dolby Atmos-enabled receivers and soundtracks.

Not only that, the subwoofer is an 8-inch downward-firing beast with both line and speaker level stereo inputs, making it compatible with any amplifier or receiver. Normally for a system at this price, you’d have expected Monoprice to have skimped and made the sub passive, but no. The sub is powered by a hefty 200-watt amplifier. 

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center Channel, 2 x Satellite, 2 x Satellite with upward-firing immersive driver.

Subwoofer: 8-inch, powered.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Full 5.1 system with a dedicated center channel, compatible with Dolby Atmos, upward-firing drivers, powered subwoofer.

Cons: At the price, nothing!

Buy the Monoprice 133831 on Amazon.

#2 Best cheap surround sound system for under $100: Monoprice 108247

Monoprice 108247

Not surprisingly Monoprice makes another appearance on the list with a system that belies its sub $100 price ticket.

Again, rather than skimping on extras, they include more than many systems at twice the price. As well as a dedicated center channel speaker, the system includes 4 satellites with 3-inch mid-range cones capable of handling 125 watts.

Even at this rock-bottom price, the 60-watt powered sub is still a proper 8-inch downward-firing unit with line and speaker-level inputs, so it can be used with any amplifier, even older amps without dedicated subwoofer outputs. You get brackets for mounting the satellite speakers to the wall and you can even buy the speaker wire and banana plugs with the package.

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center Channel, 4 x Satellite.

Subwoofer: 8-inch, down-firing, powered

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Full 5.1 system with a dedicated center channel, powered subwoofer.

Cons: At under $100, you’ve got to be kidding.

Buy the Monoprice 108247 on Amazon.

#3 Best cheap surround sound system for under $250: Logitech Z506

Logitech has made a name for itself as one of the go-to brands for computer and gaming setups. And the Z506 is firmly aimed at those wanting to use their pc in their setup, although it can also be used as a surround sound system for TV. The Z506 supports multiple connections and you can use your computer sound card to connect via six-channel direct inputs for true surround sound or connect other devices via the 3.5mm or RCA inputs for 3D stereo surround sound. You can even connect two devices simultaneously with no need to disconnect when switching between them. The Z506 puts out 150 watts and includes a downward-firing sub.

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers:  1 x Center Channel, 4 x Satellite.

Subwoofer: Downward-firing, 27 watts.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Excellent sound for the price, great for gaming or pc use.

Cons: Can really only get true surround sound if you have a dedicated 5.1 sound card.

Buy the Logitech Z506 on Amazon.

#4 Best cheap surround sound system for under $500: Onkyo HT-S3900

Onkyo HT-S3900

If you’re willing to pay up to $500 for a surround sound system, the HT-S3900 is a steal as it includes an amplifier in the package.

The construction feels solid and its high-gloss finish looks expensive. The front, center, and surround speakers feature full-range drivers and despite being passive, the sub still kicks out decent bass.

The receiver supports the latest Ultra HD 4K, video formats with HDR and HDCP 2.2 content protection, and decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. And best of all, it’s Bluetooth enabled.

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center Channel, 2 x Front, 2 x Surround.

Subwoofer: Passive.

Receiver: Included. Decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio

Bluetooth: Yes.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Includes receiver, Bluetooth enabled.

Cons: Passive subwoofer.

Buy the Onkyo HT-S3900 on Amazon.

#5 Best cheap 7.1 surround sound system:  Onkyo SKS-HT540

Onkyo SKS-HT540

It’s difficult to find a cheap surround sound system that is a true 7.1 setup.

The SKS-HT540, however, is just that. And it provides a great cinematic experience. It includes not only a dedicated center speaker but also 2 front and 4 satellites, capable of putting out 130 watts each.

All the speakers feature 2-way bass-reflex and include 5-inch diaphragm woofers and 1-inch balanced floating tweeters. The sub is powered by a massive 230-watt amplifier and incorporates a 10-inch cone for serious low end.

Channels: 7.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center, 2 x Front, 4 x Surround.

Subwoofer: 10-inch.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Sony STR-DH790.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: True 7.1 setup, powered subwoofer.

Cons: No Bluetooth.

Buy the Onkyo SKS-HT540 on Amazon.

#6 Best cheap surround sound system with Bluetooth: Logitech Z606

Logitech Z606

Like Monoprice, Logitech makes several entries on this list. The Z606 builds on their excellent Z506 5.1 system.

Again, it’s best suited to those using a pc but still sounds great in any setup.

The system puts out 80 watts RMS/160 watts peak and includes a 5.25-inch sub that can go down to 50 Hz. The rear satellite speakers have extra-long 20-foot cables so you can position them anywhere you need. As well as Bluetooth, you can connect via a 3.5mm audio jack or RCA cable. 

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center, 2 x Front, 2 x Rear.

Subwoofer: 5.25-inch.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: Yes.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Bluetooth enabled. Great sound. 

Cons: Passive sub. 

Buy the Logitech Z606 on Amazon.

#7 Best cheap Dolby Atmos surround sound system: Vizio SB36512-F6 36-inch

Vizio SB36512-F6 36-inch

Finding a Dolby Atmos surround sound system for under $500 a few years ago was difficult enough. Finding one that sounded great as well, was impossible.

Now, however, the SB36512-F6 makes cheap immersive home cinema possible. It includes a 36-inch 5.1.2 soundbar with Dolby Atmos and 5 speakers including 2 upward-firing.

There are also two separate rear speakers and a powered, wireless subwoofer with a 6-inch cone.

You can use Bluetooth or Chromecast and control the soundbar with your voice as it works with Google Assistant. It also has Wi-Fi, HDMI inputs as well as ARC, digital coaxial, and optical connections.

Channels: 5.1.2.

Speakers: Soundbar with Dolby Atmos. 2 x Rear. 

Subwoofer: Powered, 6-inch.

Receiver: Not required. 

Bluetooth: Yes.

Wireless: Subwoofer.

Pros: Dolby Atmos, separate rear speakers, wireless sub, Bluetooth.

Cons: Some users have problems with wireless subwoofer (and connected rear speakers) dropping out occasionally.

Buy the Vizio SB36512-F6 on Amazon.

#8 Best cheap surround sound system with the most powerful subwoofer: Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ

Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have room-rumbling bass. The HKTS 16BQ is a 5.1 channel home theater surround sound system with a dedicated center speaker, two front and two surround speakers putting out 120 watts.

And of course, it includes a sub. A powered, 200-watt downward-firing subwoofer with an 8-inch cone and separate phase and bass-boost controls. 

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center, 2 x Front, 2 x Surround.

Subwoofer: Powered 8-inch, 200 Watts, downward-firing.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Huge 200 Watt powered subwoofer. Superb Harman Kardon sound. Upgradable to 7.1 channels.

Cons: No Bluetooth.

Buy the Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ on Amazon.

#9 Best compact cheap surround sound system: Monoprice HT-35

Monoprice HT-35

If space and money are at a premium, you can still enjoy superb surround sound with the HT-35.

This is Monoprice’s third entry on this list and for good reason.

They are the king of cheap surround sound systems. The setup includes a dedicated center channel, 4 satellite speakers, and a 200 watt, 8-inch subwoofer.

Even though the satellite speakers measure only 7.5 x 4.3 inches and the center channel speaker measures only 10.2 x 4.3 x 6.3 inches, they don’t sound tinny and put out 100 watts. The same goes for the sub which is a 12-inch cube that pumps out impressive bass for its size. 

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: 1 x Center, 4 x Satellite.

Subwoofer: 200 watts, 8-inch.

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros:  Compact but powerful. Excellent bass.

Cons: No Bluetooth.

Buy the Monoprice HT-35 on Amazon.

#10 Best cheap surround sound system with a soundbar: Vizio V51-H6 36-inch

Vizio V51-H6 36-inch

Soundbars have become increasingly popular with people with limited space or tolerance for speaker cables festooned around their living rooms.

One of the best cheap soundbar systems is the V51-H6. The package includes a 36-inch soundbar with 3 full-range speakers, one being a dedicated center speaker.

There are also 2 low-profile surround speakers and a 5-inch wireless subwoofer. The system is optimized for 4K TVs with Dolby Audio 5.1 and HDMI and all cables are included making it a cinch to set up. 

Channels: 5.1.

Speakers: Soundbar, 2 x Surround.

Subwoofer: 5-inch.

Receiver: Not required.

Bluetooth: Yes.

Wireless: Subwoofer.

Pros: DTS Virtual:X sound enhancements, soundbar, and wireless sub so few cables, Bluetooth enabled.

Cons: None. It really is a great package for the price.

Buy the Vizio V51-H6 on Amazon.

#11 Best cheap wireless surround sound system: Polk Audio Signa S2

Polk Audio Signa S2

If you want to go completely wireless, it’s hard to find a full 5.1 surround sound system under $500 that actually sounds decent.

The better option is to go for a soundbar with a wireless sub.

The Signa S2 includes a soundbar with 5 full-range drivers that uses Dolby Digital Decoding to enhance sound clarity.

You can connect your 4K TV or anything else as it includes HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX. You can also stream via Bluetooth. 

Channels: 5.1

Speakers: Soundbar.

Subwoofer: 5.25-inch.

Receiver: Not required.

Bluetooth: Yes.

Wireless: Subwoofer.

Pros: Minimal cabling, soundbar includes 5 drivers and uses Dolby Digital Decoding, Bluetooth enabled.

Cons: Doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. 

Buy the Polk Audio Signa S2 on Amazon.

#12 Best cheap in-wall surround sound system: Acoustic Audio HT-85 in-Wall in-Ceiling 1500W 8-inch

Acoustic Audio HT-85 in-Wall in-Ceiling

If space is at a real premium or you simply hate the idea of speakers littering your living area, an in-wall and in-ceiling cheap surround sound system could be the answer.

The HT-85 is an amazing speaker package for the price, featuring 3 MT8 in-wall speakers and 2 SP8c in-ceiling speakers.

All the speakers employ 8-inch woofers with high rigidity polypropylene cones and extended throw drive assemblies, while the MT8s also incorporates 12mm soft dome tweeters. The whole speaker system can pump out 1500 watts.

Channels: 5.

Speakers: 3 x MT8 In-wall (Front L&R, Center), 2 x SP8c In-ceiling (Rear L&R).

Subwoofer: Not included. 

Receiver: Not included. I recommend the Yamaha RX-V385 or the Denon AVR-S540BT, both excellent cheap surround sound receivers.

Bluetooth: No.

Wireless: No.

Pros: Includes in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, 1500 watts.

Cons: No subwoofer.

Buy the Acoustic Audio HT-85 on Amazon.

FAQs

What is the best affordable surround sound system?

Overall the Monoprice 133831 is hard to beat in terms of value for money. If your budget is sub $100, then check out the Monoprice 108247. If you’ve around $250 to spend, the Logitech Z506 is amazing value, while if you can go all the way up to $500, the Onkyo HT-S3900 is the one to go for.

Is 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound better?

If you want a detailed comparison of the two, check out this article. For most people on a budget, 5.1 is the best option. It’s hard to find a decent 7.1 system under $500 and a 5.1 setup for the same price is likely to actually sound better.

What is the best home theater system for the money?

This article is about cheap home theater systems. If after reading it, you decide you want to spend a few more bucks then check here for the best 7.1 surround sound system available and the best home theater speakers.

Is there a completely wireless surround sound system?

For under $500 there are fully wireless systems I would recommend. The Polk Audio Signa S2 is largely wireless. For a completely wireless system, check out the fantastic Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System.

Are soundbars as good as surround sound?

If you’re talking about cheap setups, then often soundbars can be as good as their equivalent 5.1 surround sound systems. The Vizio V51-H6 36-inch is a great example.

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