Boy, do I have a treat for you fellow music lovers today! I was recently given the chance to check out some of the best budget priced stereo receivers of 2017. I have a huge music collection of CD’s and vinyl so I know first hand how important a good stereo receiver is so you can be sure that I have put each one that I tried through its paces to see how it measures up! So keep on reading so you can find out what are the best stereo receivers under $100
What About A Home Theatre Receiver?
This is the common thing most people will ask. Should I just get a home theatre receiver instead of a stereo one? Well if you are all about your music and only your turntable, hi-fi or whatever is going to be plugged into it then I would say no. A stereo receiver is made with two built in amplifiers (most of the time) so that you get true stereo sound, a home theatre receiver will most of the time have at least five, for surround sound.
I do not know about you, but music never sounds right when it is pumped through a surround sound system. So if you are all about your music, avoid a home theatre receiver and get a stereo one. Some home theater systems do offer a “stereo mode” where only the two main channels will be engaged, but this can change from model to model.
Not All Stereo Receivers Are The Same
I am not just talking about design here. Many companies will put their own little bells and whistles on a stereo receiver to make them stand out from the crowd. This can be something like having A/B speaker connections. This allows you to connect four speakers, but the sound is still in stereo, not surround. Some might have a subwoofer preamp output, which is something that is becoming more and more common.
You might find that some only have a couple of basic inputs and others have a ton for all kinds of devices. The point I am making is that there are no set guidelines for what a stereo receiver needs to be so make sure you do your research to make sure you are getting as much bang for your buck as possible.
Check For Cables
You know back in the 80’s and 90’s when you bought a piece of stereo equipment, 99/100 it would come with all the cables you need to get started. These days you are lucky if they even give you batteries for your remote control! So always assume that there are no cables included unless they clearly say there is. I would still recommend getting some speaker cable and AUX cables though just in case, you can never have too many of these things laying around.
The 7 Best Stereo Receivers Under $100
- Sony STRDH130 2 Channel Stereo Receiver (Black)
- PYLE PT260A 200-Watt Digital AM/FM Stereo Receiver
- Pyle Home PT270AIU 300-Watt Stereo Receiver AM-FM Tuner, USB/SD, iPod Docking Station and Subwoofer Control
- Pyle Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier Receiver
- Premium Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier
- Pyle 2X120 Watt Home Audio Power Amplifier
- Pyle PT390AU Digital Home Theater Stereo Receiver
Welcome to the main event where I put some of the most popular stereo receivers through their paces! The first five of these I have actually tested, but I have picked another couple from Amazon, that I feel look quite promising. One thing I want to tell you before you dive into the reviews is that when you are looking for the best stereo receivers under $100, you have to know that these are what are classed as budget priced stereo receivers so they are not going to offer sound like you are at an actual concert, but for a person looking for a way to bring their stereo to life on a budget, these are the ones you want to take a closer look at.
1. Sony STRDH130 2 Channel Stereo Receiver (Black)
- Price is very reasonable
- Has that Sony high quality
- Design is cool
- Can be connected to five devices
- Lots of settings you can tinker with
The first one I tested was from Sony and seeing a Sony stereo receiver for under 100 bucks actually blew my mind. This for me is exactly what I needed for my set up. It offers some great stereo sound and it has inputs for five different devices. I connected my monster of a hi-fi to it and also my trusty turntable and then connected my large Sony speakers and I was good to go.
Getting this up and running out of the box was very simple. I prefer a wired connection so the fact there is no Bluetooth connectivity here did not bother me at all, but if you have Bluetooth speakers and no speaker cable, you will be out of luck. In terms of the design, I really like it. The remote control has a ton of different options for you so you can fine tune the bass, have the treble just how you want it and add some special effects if that is your thing.
Overall the sound quality is actually very good. I was a little skeptical of how good a budget priced stereo receiver would be. However, I was very pleased with the sound quality that this one here offers. You may have to fine tune the settings a little bit to get the sound just the way you want it, but for me, that is a huge part of the fun of having something like this.
You could connect your DVD player if you want or you can even tune in the built in radio, but that is not really my thing if I am honest, but it is nice that it is there for the people who would want to connect a DVD player or have the radio playing through it.
- No Bluetooth
- You will have to tinker with settings to get the best sound
In all, I was very impressed and actually, I was so impressed that I currently have this connected to my stereo that I have in the upstairs chill out room of my house. I highly recommend this and really do not think anyone will be disappointed.
2. PYLE PT260A 200-Watt Digital AM/FM Stereo Receiver
- The price is very reasonable
- You can really tweak the settings just how you like them
- Easy to set up
- Can connect four speakers if you want
- Has inputs for different devices
Pyle is a name you want to get used to as they have a major hold on the budget priced stereo receiver market. This one here is currently available for around 80 – 90 bucks and that is a fair price. To start with the design of this is very interesting. I think that this has a rather retro design and the reason I say that is because instead of buttons to change the treble, bass and so on, Pyle has used dials.
I can see how some people in 2017 may not like this, but it does give you a very precise control over them so you can really fine tune the settings just the way you want. It can have different devices connected to it and you can connect four speakers to it, it is not surround sound so do not worry. If you do not want to fiddle with the dials, you can still mess around with the settings on the remote control.
Setting this budget priced stereo receiver up was nice and easy so I do not see you having any issues. There are some blue LED lights along the front that are way too bright if you ask me and in a dark room I found this very annoying. Sound wise, it gets the job done, there is very little background noise and when you connect four speakers, I would not say that the sound is any worse, but at the same time, it was not any better either so I would probably just connect two speakers and leave it at that.
- Some may not like all the dials
- The LED lights are way too bright
To be honest, this is a good stereo receiver under $100, but I just feel that the Sony does all that this one does and does it with more style.
3. Pyle Home PT270AIU 300-Watt Stereo Receiver AM-FM Tuner, USB/SD, iPod Docking Station and Subwoofer Control
- Price is fantastic
- Works with wired and Bluetooth speakers
- Has an iPod dock
- You can use a USB stick and SD card with it
- Lots of features
When I took this one out of the box, I was very impressed by the size and the weight. I love some heft to my stereo equipment and this one certainly has that. There are two versions of this and the one I got has more features, the most notable is the fact you can plug an SD card or memory stick into and play music right off that! Sure the sound quality is not the best when you do this, but it is a very interesting feature.
This has Bluetooth connectivity which is ideal if you have wireless speakers, which I do, but as I am more of a direct kind of guy I like my speakers directly plugged in. Which thankfully you can do as there are inputs in the back for old souls like myself. This has that A/B system where you can have four speakers connected if you want and it even has a dock on the top so you can plug in your iPod or iPhone if you have one, which is another great feature. Considering all the bells and whistles this has the fact that it is just over 90 bucks is incredible.
There is a nice large graphic equalizer on the front as well as all your dials so you can have the sound that you like. It is very easy to set up and playing around to get the right amount of bass and treble is something I had a lot of fun with. You can use the included remote, but you can apparently pair this with a phone as well, but that was not something which interested me.
I did try out my Bluetooth speakers and they connected very easily so I can say that it is good for wired and Bluetooth. I did have to mess around with it to get the sound just the way I wanted, but once I did I was impressed with the power this produced.
- Graphic equalizer is pretty bright
- You will have to fine tune the settings
It passed the Poison test which is when I blast Nothing But A Good Time until my wife yells at me. In all a great budget priced stereo receiver that is ideal if you like to play around with your stereo equipment.
4. Pyle Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier Receiver
- Very affordable
- Lots of inputs
- Easy to connect speakers and devices via Bluetooth
- Compact design may be ideal for some
- Simple to set up
Here is another Pyle one and this one is only going to cost you $75. I found out that this is one of the most popular stereo receivers under $100. One thing I have to say is that this is one of the smallest stereo receivers I have seen. They have done a great job in making this compact and I am sure that is what some people will really like about it.
For me the compact design makes it look rather boxy and all of the dials and buttons on the front are really close together. As well as allowing you to connect up to four speakers directly this is compatible with Bluetooth speakers. With a few different direct inputs on the back and with the Bluetooth connectivity, any device would be great with this.
I had no trouble setting this up, but all of the buttons on the front (and the dials) are a bit too close together for my liking. You can also use a USB stick and SD card with it if you like and while it is not a feature I would like, it is nice for people who would get use out of it. The digital radio sounds good and was easy to set up and in general, the sound quality was exactly what you would expect from a stereo receiver at this price range.
- Box design is not for me at all
- Buttons and dials are really close together
Honestly, it does what it does very well, I personally just have a hard time getting past the design, but I am sure some people will like it.
5. Premium Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier
- Has a pretty smart look
- Easy to use
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Inputs for plenty of devices
- Setting up is very quick
The last budget priced stereo receiver that I tested was once again from Pyle. First of all, I love the design of this. It is very clean looking and there are no dials on the front at all, which means you have to play with the settings via the remote and I think this was a cost cutting measure, but it does give it a very smart design. It has Bluetooth connectivity, but there are also different inputs on the back for those like me who want to connect their turntable directly to it.
One cool feature is on the front there is a jack for an older MP3 player as well as USB memory card slot. The LED lights they have used here are once again very bright blue, but you can turn them off which I recommend you do, but the unit I tested had to have the button pressed each time I turned the unit on.
Sound wise, I feel that this gets the job done and at 90 bucks the sound is what you would expect. I only connected two speakers to this, but you can connect another two if you want. While dials give you more precise control over your settings, I had no trouble using the remote to get the right sound for me. I must say I like the old school input on the front as I have an older MP3 player with a ton of music on it that I can quickly connect to it.
- LED lights are very bright
- Some may not like the lack of dials
In all this has clearly been designed so that they can keep the asking price under 100 bucks, but in general, I think this is a pretty decent stereo receiver.
6. Pyle 2X120 Watt Home Audio Power Amplifier
- One of the cheaper stereo receivers
- You can fine tune the sound
- Has a USB stick slot
- Can handle multiple devices
- Proper stereo sound
Now I was not sent this one to test out, but at just over 60 bucks it is one of the cheapest stereo receivers Pyle offer so I thought it was worth taking a look at. Keeping the cost down was clearly the aim of this as there is no graphic equalizer or any kind of display, LED lights or anything like that. Although the power light is brighter than the sun!
Changing the settings is all done via dials and that is fine by me, but incredibly there is no remote control included with this, so you have to get up off your butt if your wife is shouting at you for it being too loud. The overall design is very busy thanks to the compact size and the way the dials are all together.
I read many reviews in regards to the sound and some people seem to have very unrealistic expectations in regards to the sound you are going to get from a stereo receiver under $100. Many people say that it gets the job done and that connecting two speakers is nice and easy. I would say that this is the kind of stereo receiver that is aimed at people who want that extra bit of control over their stereo or turntable and do not want to spend a lot of money doing so.
- That LED light is way too bright!
- No remote control
The lack of a remote may bother some, but if you want something that is cheap and easy to use, you may want to take a closer look at this one here.
7. Pyle PT390AU Digital Home Theater Stereo Receiver
- Price is fair for all it does
- Gives you a lot of control
- Ideal for a home entertainment center
- Nice design
- Easy to set up and use
Ok so this last one is priced at just over 100 bucks, but I think that it could still be classed as a budget priced stereo receiver. I really want to get my hands on this as it has a very smart look. One of the cooler looking stereo receivers from Pyle if you ask me. It has a nice large graphic equalizer and all the dials you could possibly need to make sure that the bass, treble, echo and all that is in between is perfect for you.
Now what I like about this is that it is classed as a home theatre receiver, but there are also inputs on the back for just two stereo speakers so this is the kind of receiver that would be ideal if you have a home theater, but you want your stereo to have its own input.
Sound wise, people seem to be happy with it, although there are some who seem a little bit picky, but again at this price, you cannot expect sound like you get at a concert or a movie theater. I really think this could be a great stereo receiver and I would love to have a play around with it to test out the different settings and see how they make my records and CD’s sound.
- Costs a little over 100 bucks
- Not just a stereo receiver
While we are looking at stereo receivers today, for someone who wants to connect a Blu-Ray player, video game system and a stereo all in the one place, this does have all the connections that you need to do that. Plus it even has mic inputs so if you fancy annoying the neighbors with some karaoke, you can do that.
What Is The Best Stereo Receiver Under $100?
I was very happy with the majority of the budget priced stereo receivers that I tested. I have two that really stand out those are the Sony STRDH130 2 Channel Stereo Receiver and the Pyle Home PT270AIU 300-Watt Stereo Receiver AM-FM Tuner, USB/SD, iPod Docking Station and Subwoofer Control. Both of these offered me what I needed. The Sony from a pure sound point of view was the best out of the five that I tested, but the Pyle offered so many input options and had all you need to fine tune the sound to your exact specifications.
I am honestly having a really hard time picking between the two and I think I have to say this is a tie. I liked the Sony for the pure sound that it offered and the Pyle as it offers all that you need out of a stereo receiver. When it comes to the best stereo receivers under $100, you really could not go wrong with either one of them.