7 Best Home Theater Receivers Under $300 (Reviewed)

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AV receivers are the foundation of any home theatre system. If it is faulty then the whole theatre system will be faulty. 

That’s why I pay so much attention to selecting a good AV receiver for my system.

I will consider that AV receiver to be the best under 300 if it provides a maximum of 4 HDMI input ports, is not discontinued by the manufacturer, and supports at least a 5.1 surround sound system.

Our Top Tested & Reviewed Products At A Glance

AV Receiver

Video Quality

Audio Format

Condition

Editor's Ratings

Today's Best Deal

YAMAHA RX-V385

N/A

4K Ultra HD

5.1 Surround Sound

New

5/4.9

Denon AVR-S540BT

N/A

4K Ultra HD

5.2 Surround Sound

Used

5/4.8

Sony STRDH770

N/A

4K Ultra HD

7.2 Surround Sound

Used

5/4.5

Note
Remember: These ratings are highly influenced by discontinuance and usage conditions. 

Note: The price of used products fluctuates mostly.

I kept these three criteria because finding the best quality under 300 is very difficult.

After that, I clarified these points with you of choosing a receiver in this price range then let’s deep dive into the reviews.

All Products At A Glance – Review Of Each Product Is Below This Table

AV ReceiverVideoAudio FormatUsageStatusRatings
YAMAHA RX-V3854K Ultra HD5.1NewUp-To-Date5/4.8
Denon AVR-S540BT4K Ultra HD5.2UsedUp-To-Date5/4.8
Sony STRDH7704K Ultra HD7.2UsedUp-To-Date5/4.5
Yamaha RX-V3734K5.1UsedDiscontinued5/4.3
Sony STRDH820HD7.2UsedDiscontinued5/4.2
Sony STRDH520HD7.1UsedDiscontinued5/4
Yamaha RX-V367BLHD5.1UsedDiscontinued5/3

1. YAMAHA RX-V385 – Best 5.1 Receiver 

Specifications

Video support: 4K Ultra HD | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 4 inputs | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Audio channels: 5.1

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Bluetooth connectivity
  2. 5 HDMI ports
  3. 4K/60 Hz passthrough for videos with Dolby Vision
  4. Dolby TrueHD audio quality for 5.1 system
  5. Easy on-screen setup guide
  6. Builtin FM radio

Reasons To Avoid

  1. It can’t be used for Dolby Atmos if you want to expand. It supports only 5.1 channels.
  2. Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t work in a few circumstances.

Is It For You?

For those who want the best AV receiver under $300 and that too in new condition.

Build Quality

The build quality is good but always keep it in a well-ventilated area and don’t place anything on the top of it. The top of it is not strong enough to hold onto large-weight objects.

Sound Quality

The sound is Dolby TrueHD and after Rainbow 4, I played the Speed movie. The bus really felt like it traveled by my side and from one end to another end of the room.

To have the perfect sound you must soundproof your theater room. Read the sound section for my other tips.

Video Quality

The Dolby Vision with 4K/60 Hz passthrough was good and on point. But always use HDMI 2.1 for distortion-free and flashing-free image quality.

Unique Features

  1. The seamless Bluetooth connectivity. 
  2. It is not discontinued by the manufacturers.

Detail Review Of YAMAHA RX-V385

This is the best receiver to introduce you to the 5.1 surround system. Because it sounds the best with Dolby TrueHD and can deliver 4K Dolby Vision video with 4K/60 Hertz passthrough.

It comes with YPAO technology. It is a technology developed by Yamaha. 

I just plugged in a mic to the receiver that comes with it and that mic automatically adjusted the sound of all the speakers according to the environment of my client’s theatre room. The syncing of all the speakers was completed fast and without any lagging.

I was able to connect my mobile with the Bluetooth of this receiver. 

The connectivity was fast and without lagging. 

There is a functionality provided by the receiver with which you can adjust the syncing.  But I never used it because the Bluetooth connectivity was Swift and seamless already. It was a hundred percent better than Bluetooth transmitters. These transmitters always possess these lagging issues.

Apart from Bluetooth the best thing that I liked about this receiver is that I can stream high-quality music directly from my USB device and for convenience, I was able to see my albums artists on the TV screen for easy navigation.

When I connected all the speakers of the 5.1 system to this AV receiver and played the Rainbow 4 movie.

I felt like I was in between the scenes when the machine gun was firing. This receiver gives a realistic touch to the shooting sounds.

It was good in showing the 4K frames on the screen but if you faced any issue with the 4K image distortion or flashing then I will recommend always using HDMI 2.1 for 4K experience.

I was able to change the speaker volume individually and it was even more convenient for me by naming each HDMI input.

The On-screen guide was very convenient for the setup of the receiver.

With the best affordable speakers, you need the best affordable speakers for home theater to go with it. I have reviewed the best ones in this guide.


2. Denon AVR-S540BT – Best For 5.2

Specifications

Video support: 4K Ultra HD | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 5 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Streaming services: Pandora, Spotify, Napster, etc | Audio channels: 5.2

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Good numbers HDMI ports
  2. Nice Bluetooth and good quality radio
  3. Streaming services for music
  4. Dolby TrueHD audio and 4K with HDR video
  5. All HDMI ports are HDCP 2.2 enabled

Reasons To Avoid

  1. Not so good customer support
  2. Can’t label the inputs
  3. It can’t stream USB content on 24 bits

Is It For You?

Those who want to get a good quality 5.2 surround sound receiver on a budget with good music streaming and radio streaming.

Build Quality

The overall build quality is good but I will not recommend placing anything on the top of any Denon AVR. They usually create a very thin cover on the top.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is good and the radio and music streaming services felt really good on the surround sound. 

The movie’s sound felt realistic, I was feeling like I was in the middle of the action.

Don’t make these home theater mistakes, otherwise, you will lose on video and sound quality.

Video Quality

The colors on the 4K display look vivid and the black and white is well defined. 

Unique Features

The radio and music streaming services are the best.

Detail Review Of Denon AVR-S540BT

This is the best receiver for a 5.2 surround sound system that provides Dolby TrueHD audio and Dolby vision video with a 4K/60Hz  passthrough. 

It consists of 6 HDMI ports. One is output and the other 5 are inputs. Among the 5 inputs, there are three 4K HDMI ports and 2 HD.

This one is superior in Sound and video then YAMAHA RX-V385, but you can find this receiver only used under 300, that’s why I give it second position.

The setup looks difficult at the glance but when I connected my client’s TV to this AV receiver.  The setup guide shown on the TV screen was pretty easy to follow and I was able to connect the whole surround sound system within an hour.

It too comes with the mic calibration technology that optimizes the sound of each speaker according to the environment of the theatre room.

It also provides music streaming features from any streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, Napster, etc.

I played FM radio on this receiver. The radio was capable of streaming hundreds of channels both from AM and FM.

Another thing that I liked about this receiver is that it can be controlled by its mobile app.


3. Sony STRDH770 – Best 7.2 Receiver

Specifications

Video support: 4K HDR | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 4 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Streaming services: Yes, Via Bluetooth connectivity of phones | Audio channels: 7.2

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Reasons To Buy

  1. HDR 4K video
  2. HD-cinema sound-enabled Dolby TrueHD audio
  3. 4 HDMI inputs
  4. Setup is breeze
  5. Design is stunning
  6. Buzz free sound

Reasons To Avoid

Made up of cheap plastic

Is It For You?

For those who want the best 7.2 receivers under $300 with 4K HDR video and Dolby TrueHD audio.

Build Quality

The receiver is fairly large and professionally designed. But cheap plastic is used.

Sound Quality

The sound is buzzing and hiss free and it is crisp and clear.

Video Quality

 The 4k video with 60 Hz passthrough is on point and even games can be played on 4k.

To improve video and sound, you must follow my these 13 tips for improving the home theater experience.

Unique Features

The 4K with 7.2 surround sound channels support is the feature to keep it apart.

Detail Review Of Sony STRDH770

This is the best 7.2 surround sound receiver with Dolby TrueHD sound and 4K HDR quality video. 

It consists of four HDMI inputs that are 4K capable and one ARC HDMI output. 

It also provides Bluetooth connectivity to connect mobile phones and stream favorite music from Pandora and many more apps.

There is also a USB connectivity port at the front of the receiver to connect USB devices.

 It is HD cinema sound enabled. I can feel a waterfall-like it is falling in my theatre room.

It has a technology through which it can fire surround sound from front speakers. But I won’t recommend this to experience surround sound. Because you must have a complete 7.2  speaker system physically present there to experience its magic. 

But if you are good to go with the two front speakers then this is a nice feature to use.

The setup is easy and I was able to set up the whole theatre system with this receiver within an hour.

The onscreen setup guide was easy and it prompted me to use the microphone to calibrate each speaker sound automatically. 

The 4K video quality is amazing and it allows games to be played on 4K too.

The ARC HDMI output port is very smart. When I turn on the input source it also turns on the receiver and TV.

It is better than the above two receivers but a lot of units come with some annoying faults.


4. Yamaha RX-V373 – Best Entry Level For 4K

Specifications

Video support: 4K | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 4 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Streaming services: None | Audio channels: 5.1

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Reasons To Buy

  1. 4K video
  2. 3D capabilities
  3. Dolby TrueHD audio
  4. 4 HDMI inputs
  5. Nice features
  6. ARC enabled HDMI out

Reasons To Avoid

  1. Doesn’t have a pass-through for the TV
  2. No A/B system feature for speakers

Is It For You?

For those who want an outdated entry-level receiver for 4K with a good audio experience.

Build Quality

It heats up quickly. It needs a well-ventilated area to be placed in. Don’t keep anything on top of it.

Sound Quality

The sound is Dolby TrueHD and it is crisp and clear. The dynamic range controller feature is a great help to have.

Video Quality

The 4K video with 3D capabilities is really delivering but can’t play games on 4K. Games can be played on 1080p.

Unique Features

The dynamic range control is a cool feature.

Detail Review Yamaha RX-V373

This is a 5.1 surround sound system with Dolby TrueHD audio and a 4K video.

It provides 4 HDMI inputs and they all are 4K  and 3D capable.

This receiver too comes with the YPAO technology. It comes with a mic that will calibrate the sound of each speaker according to the environment of your room.

This receiver also has Eco mode. In echo mode, it will consume less power and hence it does justice with electric bills.

Another feature that I like is that there are scene buttons in front of this receiver.  Those buttons are reprogrammable for favorite inputs. And when I press the BluRay input button for 3 seconds it will turn on the receiver as well as the Blu-Ray player.

Another feature that is beneficial for night owls like me Is dynamic range control. It will keep the explosion, dialogues, and music all balanced.

Don’t need to up the volume to hear dialogues and then down the volume to not disturb others from the explosion sounds.  Due to this feature, I don’t need to up and down the volume and the volume is well adjusted so others cannot be disturbed by the explosion and I also hear the dialogues clearly.

For the best quality of dialogues, you must have the best center speaker for your home theater. Click on the blue words to know more about it. I have analyzed the best ones only.

The remote is good and pretty equipped with many options. So I don’t need to go back and forth from my bed to the receiver during the movie to change something.  Because the remote has many options.

The receiver heats up quickly and that’s why it should be placed in a well-ventilated area and there should be nothing on top of it.


5. Sony STRDH820 – Best For Second Zone Music Streaming

Specifications

Video support: HD | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 4 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Streaming services: None | Audio channels: 7.2

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Good Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, and Dolby plus audio
  2. Second zone music streaming feature
  3. 4 HDMI inputs with the 3D capability
  4. Audio auto-calibration
  5. Distortion-free sound

Reasons To Avoid

Outdated but still a good bargain, if you can manage with 4 HDMI inputs

Is It For You?

For those who can manage without updated features and can just go with 1080p and 4 HDMI inputs.

Build Quality

The build quality is good but the auto-calibration may face difficulties in small theater rooms. The complete 7.2 channel will not work in one room if you want to add a second zone.

Sound Quality

The sound of this AVR can add a realistic touch to the audio of the movie. The audio is hiss and distortion-free.

To stop the sound reverberation inside the theater room. You must install acoustic panels to have a flawless sound.

Video Quality

This is 1080p HD and the picture quality is crisp.

Unique Features

  1. The distortion-free sound. 
  2. The 7.2 channel capabilities with a high power per channel.
  3. The second zone feature

Detail review of Sony STRDH820

This is the second-best for 7.2 channels and also provides a second zone feature.  

But if you use the second zone feature then you can not use 7.2 channels simultaneously.  When the second zone is active then you will be restricted to use 5.2 only.  So remember this point while using it.

It provides 4 HDMI inputs and three-component inputs for HD videos.  While all 4 HDMI inputs are 3D compatible.  You can play games and watch movies in 3D.

This AVR too comes with auto-calibration Technology.  I connected the mic and placed it near my sitting area and the calibration was done within a minute. 

When I set it up the sound was amazing. When I closed my eyes I was feeling like I am in the middle of the Gladiators Arena and the fight is happening in my theatre room.

I heard many more voices in the Gladiator movie that I have never heard before while watching it on my non 4K TV back in the days when Gladiator was newly released on DVD.

It comes with the special Bravia sync Technology. Due to this technology, the receiver will turn on when the Bravia TV is turned on.


6. Sony STRDH520 – Best For 7.1

Specifications

Video support: HD | Surround formats: Dolby TrueHD | HDMI ports: 4 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Streaming services: None | Audio channels: 7.1

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Reasons To Buy

  1. 3D capable
  2. It can give you a Dolby Atmos setup facility
  3. HD video
  4. TrueHD audio
  5. Number of connectivity options

Reasons To Avoid

  1. No Bluetooth connectivity
  2. The user interface is minimalist 
  3. To adjust sound there is little setup required but to make the sound top-notch then there are no user manual instructions provided

Is It For You?

For those who want 3D functionalities 1080p HD video and TrueHD audio.

Build Quality

The build quality is good and provides several connectivity options and it is a good facility to have at this price.

Sound Quality

The sound is good and amazing. The in-ceiling Dolby Atmos speakers are good and I really felt the waterfalls on-screen falling into my theater rooms.

You must calibrate home theater sound by SPL meter for a truly immersive sound experience.

Video Quality

The 3D video is good and I really enjoyed it. The games can also be played in 3D.

Unique Features

The 3D capability is keeping it apart.

Detail Review Of Sony STRDH520

This AVR provides 7.1 channel support.  You can get Dolby Atmos quality from this receiver by installing 5.1 on the ground and two additional speakers in the ceiling.  This will complete the Dolby Atmos setup and the audio will be showered over you from the ceiling.

Apart from that, it can give Dolby true HD audio quality for the surround sound.

It has six input options out of which 4 are HDMI and 2 are components.

All 4 HDMI inputs are 3D enabled.  And the 3D experience is really good but you will need 3D glasses separately as it doesn’t come with it.

The TV or a projector can be connected with this receiver through an ARC output HDMI port.

The best thing that I like about this HDMI connectivity is that when I turn on the TV the AVR turns on automatically.

I connected the blu-ray player and when I inserted the disc the receiver & TV turned on and selected the right inputs automatically. Walllaaah!!!!!

In the box, you get a remote control with batteries, a user manual, and 2 years warranty.

I was able to set this receiver within an hour.


7. Yamaha RX-V367BL – Best For High Bit Rate HD Video

Specifications

Video support: HD | Surround formats: Dolby Digital | HDMI ports: 4 input ports | Built-in Radio: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Streaming services: None | Audio channels: 5.1

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Reasons To Buy

  1. The 32-bit color depth of 1080p video
  2. The sound is accurate with booming bass
  3. There are 4 HDMI inputs

Reasons To Avoid

Outdated technology

Is It For You?

For those who are 1080p freaks and can ditch 4K for that. Otherwise, the sound quality is good.

Build Quality

The build quality is the same as all other Yamaha receivers. It looks stunning in the room.

Sound Quality

The sound from all speakers is accurate and crisp. The bass from the subwoofer feels amazing.

Video Quality

The video with 32-bit color depth looks really sharp. The 3D video effects are enjoyable.

Unique Features

The 32-bit color depth HD video.

Detail Review Of Yamaha RX-V367BL

It is a 5.1 channel receiver with 32 bit HD video and Dolby Digital audio.

It provides 4 HDMI inputs, also coaxial and optical. All HDMI inputs are 3D capable. 

My client is a veteran and he had this in his theatre room.  He wanted to replace his speaker system.

I replaced the speaker system with a new one.  The sound was pretty good with accuracy and crispness. 

All of the speakers sounded great and the subwoofer bass was booming with this AV receiver.

The 32-bit color depth really showed itself and the video quality was sharp.

White, black, and grey colors were present. The difference was visible between the black and grey.

The 3D video experience was good with the Dolby Digital surround sound.

There is an audio jack at the front of the receiver to plug in the headphone if you want to not disturb your family. 


FAQs

The answers are highly influenced by the price range.

Is 7.1 better than Atmos?

No, never. The 5.1 surrounds me from all sides on the ground and then I add two ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos. These speakers shower audio on me from above and this combination creates a virtual bubble of sound around me. 

After installing the Atmos speakers and closed my eyes. The pouring rain on the screen feels like it is raining in my room.

This 3D sound-field magic can’t be obtained from 7.1

Do receivers affect sound quality?

Yes, receivers do affect the sound. My RCA receiver was running strong even after 8 years but I want to adopt new technology with HDMI and stuff. The same speakers were stunningly good and felt many more new tunes in my favorite music. The subwoofer bass was booming more than before.

What's more important, speakers or receivers?

Both are the two leaves on the same branch. You need both of them to be top-notch to get the most out of the surround sound system. They both work in harmony to serve their users.

Is it better to upgrade speakers or receivers?

Look like this. If your speakers are 75 RMS then choose 75 RMS power output receivers.

You need top-notch speakers and receivers capable of delivering the power needed.

That’s why I will recommend upgrading your receiver with a more powerful one that can deliver enough power to squeeze the most of the quality out of speakers.

How long do AV receivers last?

Look AV receiver is a machine and no one can expect how long it will last.

I have seen receivers that lasted more than 10 years and they were still going strong. Their owners just replaced them with more updated ones and I have seen many that were faulty after days and weeks of usage.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. Read more about it from the home theater enthusiasts’ discussion on AV Forums. (Resource for the second answer)
  2. This is my opinion, read here more on Reddit. (Resource for the fourth answer)
  3. This is my opinion, read here more on Piston Heads. (Resource for the sixth answer)
This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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