8 Best Cheap Surround Sound Systems In 2020

Looking for a surround sound system that won’t break the bank? You’ve come to the right place. Our article about 8 best cheap surround sound systems in 2020 is here to help you with your search. We will discuss the advantages of surround sound systems over stereo speakers, soundbars, and your TV speakers, give you some tips on what to pay attention to, analyze the prices, and present to you our selection of the best cheap and affordable surround sound and home theater speaker systems


Why Should You Buy a Surround Sound System?

Well, isn’t it obvious? Because it brings the movie-watching experience to a much higher level. You may think that adding a soundbar or a pair of powered stereo speakers to your TV improves the listening experience, but that’s nothing compared to a full surround sound system. Even a small and affordable home theater speaker system can make a huge difference. It adds another dimension to the sound, makes it much more spacious, and creates an amazing cinema-like experience.

Surround Sound System - Fluance Elite Series SX50WC

Great home theater speaker systems are often priced over $5,000 or $10,000. Some are even priced over $50,000. However, an average guy can’t spend that kind of money on speakers and the good news is that you don’t have to. You can get a pretty good surround sound experience for much less. And we are here to help you with that. 

Best Cheap Surround Sound Systems – Comparison Table

Cheap Surround Sound SystemsRatingPriceReview
Monoprice 5.1 HT System4.1Check Amazon
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Read Review
Logitech Z6064.1Check Amazon
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Read Review
Rockville HTS564.2Check Amazon
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Read Review
Logitech Z9064.5Check Amazon
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Read Review
Polk Audio TL16004.5Check Amazon
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Read Review
Fluance Elite Series SX50WC4.9Check Amazon
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Read Review
Polk Audio T Series4.7Check AmazonRead Review
Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ4.6Check Amazon
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Read Review

Our team spent two weeks searching for the most affordable but also great-sounding and reliable surround sound systems. We tested and compared twenty-seven speaker systems within a $100-$500 price range and picked out 8 best cheap surround sound system in 2020.

The systems are divided into several categories and each category represents a specific price range (Under $100, Under $200, etc.). You just have to scroll down, find your price range, and see our recommendation for that range. These are our top picks.

8 Best Cheap Surround Sound Systems in 2020


1. Best 5.1 Speaker System Under $100 – Monoprice 5.1 HT System

Monoprice 5.1 HT System

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Monoprice 5.1 is our top choice under $100. It’s a super-compact and pretty great-performing true surround sound system. Monoprice 5.1 is a great choice for smaller rooms. 

Things we like

The box contains all the speakers, subwoofer, C-brackets for wall mounting, all the other mounting hardware, user manual, and a 1-year warranty. The speaker wire is not included.

The system consists of four identical satellite speakers, one dedicated center channel, and one 8in subwoofer.

Each satellite has one 3in woofer and one .5in tweeter. The center channel has two 3in woofers and one .5in tweeter. The subwoofer houses one down-firing 8in driver and a front-firing bass reflex port.  

All the satellites and the center channel have 8Ω impedance and 85dB sensitivity. Each speaker can handle up to 125W, and their frequency response is 150Hz-20kHz. The subwoofer has a built-in amp with a 60W RMS power output and can go down to 50Hz and up to 250Hz.

Each speaker has a pair of spring-loaded speaker terminals that accept up to the 16-Gauge wire. The subwoofer features both high-level inputs and line-level RCA inputs. The subwoofer also has a volume dial and an adjustable crossover.

Monoprice 5.1 is just perfect for smaller rooms (10x10ft up to 15x15ft). The bass is punchy but not very extended. The midrange is clear and the vocals are quite intelligible. The treble is just slightly brighter but not fatiguing. 

Things we don’t like

Monoprice 5.1 is not a good choice for larger rooms. The speakers are simply too small and not loud enough. Also, the subwoofer can’t deliver the kind of bass necessary for large areas. 

Comparison Table


2. Best HTiB Under $150 – Logitech Z606

Logitech Z606

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Logitech is one of the most popular brands when it comes to budget-friendly surround sound systems. What’s great about Logitech speaker systems is that they are quite feature-rich and that they don’t require a receiver/amplifier (the subwoofer serves as an amplifier). What’s not so great about this specific speaker system (Z606) is that it doesn’t have any digital inputs. 

Things we like

The box contains almost all the equipment you may need. You will get the subwoofer (which doubles as the hub and amplifier), 5 identical satellites, a cheap-looking IR remote, one audio cable (AUX to RCA), a manual, and a warranty card. Each satellite comes with undetachable color-coded speaker wire. 

The subwoofer houses one 5.25in front-firing driver and a bass reflex port on the right panel. The sub is responsible for the frequencies ranging from 50Hz to 120Hz. On the front panel, above the driver, there’s a circular control panel with a display in the middle. You can use the control panel to adjust the volume, control the playback, select the sound mode (2.1 or 5.1), initiate Bluetooth pairing, or turn on/off the system. On the rear panel of the subwoofer, you have a series of inputs and outputs – there’s one stereo RCA input, 6 inputs for the speakers (one for each channel), and 5 speaker terminals/outputs for the satellites. As you can see, this speaker system doesn’t require an external amplification – the subwoofer provides power for all the satellites. Also, you have to connect the audio source to the subwoofer and you can only connect one source that delivers 5.1 sound and has appropriate audio outputs (like a DVD player). 

Aside from the physical connections, this speaker system also features Bluetooth 4.2 so you can stream audio wirelessly from Bluetooth devices (laptops, tablets, phones, etc.).

Z606 delivers pretty good audio performance (considering the price). It’s fairly loud (160W peak) and it creates a nice surround sound experience. The bass is not very deep but it’s punchy and fast. The mids and dialogs are clear. The sound gets distorted at high volumes.

Things we don’t like

The subwoofer doesn’t have any digital audio inputs. The available inputs will allow you to connect only one audio source (DVD player, Blu-ray player, TV) that delivers surround sound. 

The subwoofer doesn’t have an adjustable crossover. Also, the bass output is not very deep and it doesn’t deliver the kind of thump necessary for medium and large rooms.

The included remote works well but looks quite cheap.

Comparison Table


3. Best HTiB Under $200 – Rockville HTS56

Rockville HTS56

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Rockville HTS56 is similar to the previous Logitech Z606 but delivers slightly better performance and has some additional features. Like the Z606, it doesn’t require an external amplification and comes with all the necessary equipment so you don’t have to buy the speaker wire and other accessories. 

Things we like

Inside the packaging, you will find not only the satellites and subwoofer, but also the remote, all the necessary wiring, mounting kit for the satellites, user manual, and a warranty card.

All the speakers have strong MDF cabinets with a black finish and a nice LED lighting. 

The subwoofer is the hub of the system – it’s not only responsible for the bass reproduction but also for the amplification and for receiving the audio signal from all the sources. 

The sub looks like a PC housing. It houses one 8in side-firing driver. On the front side of the subwoofer, there’s a control panel with a tiny LCD display. You can use this control panel for different adjustments, mode and source selection, etc. Below the control panel, you have two inputs – a USB port and an SD card slot. The subwoofer can play audio files from a USB stick or an SD card (max capacity – 16GB). Also, at the bottom, there are two mic inputs (mics are not included) so you can use this system for karaoke parties. 

On the rear panel of the subwoofer, there’s an FM antenna input, one RCA input, and 6 DVD audio inputs (one for each surround sound channel). Below the inputs, you have a set of speaker terminals and a set of LED power outputs. If you don’t like the speaker lighting, you don’t have to use those LED power outputs. 

All the satellites are supposed to be connected to the subwoofer and they all get both the necessary power and the audio signal from it. 

Aside from all the previously mentioned inputs, Rockville HTS56 also has a built-in FM tuner with pretty great reception and it features Bluetooth connectivity.

The speaker system has a 250W RMS power output (1,000W peak). The sound output is quite powerful for such a compact system. The lows are punchy and impactful, the mids are clear, and the highs are articulate. If you want to change the sound signature, you can play with the EQ presets. The remote allows you to adjust the bass levels and to adjust the volume of each channel separately.

Things we don’t like

Rockville HTS56 doesn’t have any digital inputs (no TOSLINK, no optical audio inputs). Only one source that delivers 5.1 surround sound can be connected to the system at a time.

The Bluetooth version is outdated (Bluetooth 2.1) and delivers mediocre performance – you have to stay within a 10ft range to avoid signal loss.

Comparison Table


4. Best HTiB Under $300 – Logitech Z906

Logitech Z906

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As mentioned, Logitech is one of the most popular choices when it comes to cheap surround sound systems. Z906 speaker system is one of the Logitech’s bestsellers and it’s our top choice under $300. It’s a versatile speaker system that doesn’t require external amplification and comes with all the necessary equipment. 

Things we like

All the speakers come nicely protected and packed in two separate boxes (one for the subwoofer and one for the satellites). You will also get a control console (used for source and sound mode selection), an IR remote, all the speaker wire, user manual, and a warranty card. You only have to buy the connection cables (optical, coaxial, etc.).

The subwoofer houses one front-firing 8in bass driver and a side-firing bass reflex port. Each satellite houses one aluminum cone driver. The power output of the subwoofer is rated at 165W and each satellite has 67W power output (500W in total). 

The subwoofer is, again, the hub of the system, and everything gets connected to it. It has 5 inputs – 6-channel PC input, RCA input, two optical inputs, and coaxial input. The sub also houses all the speaker outputs (speaker terminals) and supplies power to all the satellites.  However, the sub is not responsible for signal processing – that part of the job is reserved for the console. The input signal received by the subwoofer is sent to the console. The console then sends separate audio signals for each channel back to the subwoofer and the subwoofer is forwarding the signal to the speakers. 

The speaker system is THX-certified and supports Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The control console can also convert any stereo audio signal to surround sound (3D sound mode).

The speaker system sounds quite impressive. It’s not very large and doesn’t have a huge bass extension but it’s still pretty good. The bass is fast and nicely textured, the midrange is articulate and clear, and the highs are consistent.

Things we don’t like

Z906 is not the best choice for large rooms. Those 1000W claims are definitely false. Z906 is a nice choice for small to medium rooms. 

There’s no way to control the bass and treble levels. Also, you can’t adjust the crossover frequency.

Unlike some cheaper Logitech surround sound systems, this one doesn’t feature Bluetooth connectivity. 

Comparison Table


5. Best 5.1 Speaker System Under $300 – Polk Audio TL1600

Polk Audio TL1600

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Polk is famous for its affordable Bluetooth speakers, soundbars, PA systems, and home theater speakers. It’s one of our top choices when it comes to affordable audio equipment. TL1600 is a compact 5.1 surround sound system offering great performance for the price.

Things we like

The packaging contains one powered subwoofer, one TL1 center channel, and four identical TL1 satellites (front L/R and surround L/R).

The subwoofer houses one 8in driver paired with a down-firing bass reflex port. The center channel has two 2.5in woofers and one .5in silk dome tweeter, while the other satellites have one 2.5in woofer and one .5in tweeter. The recommended amplification for all the satellites is 10W-100W. All the satellites feature 5-way binding posts with plastic caps and they all accept a 12-Gauge wire. 

The subwoofer features both line-level inputs and high-level inputs (+ high-level outputs). It has an adjustable crossover (80-160Hz), adjustable phase, and adjustable bass level. According to the specs, the subwoofer’s lower limit is 45Hz.

TL1600 delivers quite a detailed and balanced reproduction. The bass is there – it’s punchy but not very extended or powerful. The mids are fairly clear and the vocals are perfectly intelligible. The system is very good for smaller rooms.

Things we don’t like

The bass enthusiasts will not be happy with the amount of bass. The included subwoofer matches nicely the sound output of the satellites but it lacks some real oomph. 

TL1600 is not a great choice for large rooms. 

Comparison Table


6. Best Compact 5.0 Speaker System Under $350 – Fluance Elite Series SX50WC

Fluance Elite Series SX50WC

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Fluance is another audio manufacture we love and appreciate. Their speakers and speaker systems are not exactly cheap but they, almost by default, offer more than you expect. SX50WC is a compact 5.0 speaker system (no subwoofer) and it’s our top choice under $350. The only thing it lacks is deep, powerful bass, which is perfectly understandable since there is no subwoofer. 

Things we like

The packaging contains 5 speakers – two SX6-BK front channels, one SXC-BK center channel, and two SXSS-BK surround channels. 

All the speakers have strong MDF cabinets that reduce the resonance and distortion. Also, they all have removable magnetic grilles and they are all magnetically shielded.

The front L/R speakers are 2-way speakers featuring two drivers – one 5in polymer-treated woofer and one 1in soft dome tweeter. The crossover is set at 3.5kHZ, the impedance is 8Ω, the sensitivity is rated at 89dB, the frequency response is 60Hz to 20kHz, and the recommended amplification is 30-100W. The speakers have rear-firing ports. 

The center channel features a 2-way design and houses three drivers – two 4in woofers and one 1in Neodymium tweeter. The crossover is set at 8kHz, the impedance is 8Ω, the sensitivity is 86dB, and the frequency response is 80Hz-20kHz. The recommended amplification is, again, 30-100W. The center channel is also ported. 

Both surround channels have the same woofers and tweeters as the center channel and share the same specs. Unlike front speakers, surround speakers have front-firing bass reflex ports and keyholes on the back for wall mounting (the mounting equipment is sold separately).

This 5.0 system delivers amazing performance. It seems impossible to get such great clarity and precision at this price point – that’s why we love Fluance. 

Things we don’t like

The only downside is the lack of that really deep, powerful, aggressive bass, but you can easily fix that by adding a powered subwoofer to the system. 

Comparison Table


7. Best 5.0 Speaker System Under $450 – Polk Audio T Series

Polk Audio T Series

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You can rarely find a true surround sound system with floorstanding speakers for less than $500. Polk Audio’s T series 5.0 system is one of the rare exceptions and it’s our top choice under $450.

Things we like

The packaging contains two T50 tower speakers, one T30 center channel, two T15 surrounds, a manual, and a 5-year warranty. Each speaker comes with a detachable magnetic grille.

The speakers have strong MDF enclosures with a grayish vinyl finish. All the speakers feature five-way binding posts on the back.

Each T50 tower features a 2-way design and houses one 6.5in dynamic-balance woofer, two 6.5in bass radiators, and one 1in silk-dome tweeter. Their frequency response is 38Hz-24kHz, the impedance is 6Ω, and the sensitivity is 90dB. They can handle 150W max.

The center channel also has a 2-way design. It houses two 5.25in mid-woofers and one 1in tweeter (bass reflex port on the back). T30 has the same frequency response as the towers. The impedance is 6Ω, the sensitivity is 90dB, and the max power input is 100W. T30 is not wall-mountable and it’s not very slim (6.5in tall).

Each T15 surround channel has one 5.25in mid-woofer, one .75in tweeter, and a front-firing bass reflex port. T15 speakers are wall-mountable (the brackets and other mounting equipment are not included in the package). T15’s frequency response spans from 60Hz-24kHz. The impedance is 8Ω and the sensitivity is 89dB. The recommended power input is 20-100W (150W max).

For the price, this Polk Audio’s T series system delivers amazing performance. The sound is full, balanced, and clear. The bass is present and punchy, the mids are sweat, and the treble response is extended and quite consistent. 

Things we don’t like

This kind of system deserves some serious oomph. The towers do a good job of handling the bass frequencies, but they can’t handle those really low lows. Adding a 10 or 12in sub is highly recommended. 

Comparison Table


8. Best Compact 5.1 Speaker System Under $500 – Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ

Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ

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The last device on our list of 8 best cheap surround sound systems in 2020 is reserved for one of the most recognizable names in the audio industry – Harman Kardon. HKTS 16BQ is a very compact but also very powerful and fairly affordable 5.1 speaker system. 

Things we like

Inside the box, you will find the subwoofer (HKTS 210SUB), the center channel (CEN-TS11), four satellite speakers (SAT-TS11), five mounting brackets, all the necessary speaker wire, user manual, and a warranty card. The system is upgradable to 7.1.

The subwoofer has a black MDF enclosure. It houses one 8in down-firing bass driver and it’s sealed. The subwoofer’s RMS power output is 200W. On the rear panel of the sub, there are all the controls (power switch, phase switch, bass boost switch, bass level dial, and input selector) and all the inputs (line-level LFE input and two line-level RCA inputs).

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All the included speakers look the same and have the same driver configuration and specs. The only difference between the center channel and the other four satellites is in the orientation. Each satellite has two 3in woofers and one .5in tweeter. They all have 86dB sensitivity, 8Ω impedance, and their recommended amplification is 20W-120W.

The system delivers very engaging and immersive performance. The sound is quite powerful, balanced, and clear. Considering the size and loudness, this Harman Kardon speaker system is perfect for small to medium rooms. 

Things we don’t like

The system is not loud or powerful enough for larger rooms. Also, if you are looking for floor-shaking bass, you should go for something bigger, something with more oomph. 

Comparison Table


This was our list of 8 best cheap surround sound systems in 2020. Hopefully, our reviews helped you find the perfect speaker system for your setup or at least figure out what to look for in a surround sound system. For additional info, go through our FAQs. If you want to share your opinion or experience, or if you have some more questions, leave us a comment below. 


FAQs

Q: What is the best cheap surround sound system in 2020?

A: The answer to this question depends on many factors and there can’t be only one answer. First, you have to determine the price limit. The number of viable choices grows exponentially as your limit raises. You can find a few pretty great affordable surround sound systems under $500. You can even find a whole HTiB (speakers + AV receiver) for that kind of money. The number of great options is significantly smaller when the limit is $200 or $100. Regardless of your price range, our list of 8 best cheap surround sound systems in 2020 has a suggestion for you. So, our advice is to scroll up and go through our reviews.

Q: What is the best surround sound system under $500?

A: If we would have to pick only one, it would probably be the Polk Audio’s T series, but that’s not the only great choice.  You should also check out Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ, Fluance SXHTBWH, Klipsch Black Reference, or Fluance Elite Series SX50WC.

Q: Are surround sound systems worth it?

A: Well, if you are a cinema fan, you will definitely know to appreciate the surround sound experience. If you are happy with your TV speakers but just need them to be slightly louder, adding a soundbar or a pair of bookshelf speakers could be a better (or at least more cost-efficient) solution for you.   

Q: Is 5.1 better than 2.1?

A: Again, if you are a cinema fan, there’s no discussion here – a 5.1 system is a better option. Compared to a 2.1 system, 5.1 system has a dedicated center channel and two surround speakers. The center channel is responsible for most of the dialogs in movies, which means that you get better dialog clarity with a 5.1 system. Two surround channels will expand the soundstage and add another dimension to the sound making the movie-watching experience more immersive, more life-like.

Q: Which one is better – soundbar or a home theater system?

A: If you just want a louder sound, buying a soundbar is a viable solution. If you’re trying to recreate the experience you get in cinemas, a home theater system is your only option. 

Q: How many speakers do you need for surround sound?

A: The bare minimum for true surround sound is a 5.1 speaker layout (5 speakers + 1 subwoofer). There’s a bunch of soundbar/subwoofer combos that have up-firing and side-firing speakers that can simulate surround sound but their performance is almost never on par with true home theater systems with dedicated speakers for each channel. 

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