People who want to get the most out of their home video setups often look for a fast, simple soundbar solution. That means they head online and check out as many listings as they can find that fit into the best soundbars under 200 dollars category. There’s good news and bad news, they soon discover. The good: there are plenty of choices in the under $200 segment. The bad: it’s hard to choose from a super-long list without whittling it down and separating out the best candidates first. That’s what we hope to do here.
When you begin your quest for the very best soundbars under 200 dollars, you likely have questions about features, pros, cons, what to look for, etc. Let’s face it, we all love great sound, but every consumer shouldn’t have to be an audiophile just to shop for soundbars.
Sure, you can read hundreds and hundreds of online reviews and begin to get a feel for what people value and avoid in the product niche. But, do you want to spend 10, 20, or more hours of your life shopping for one thing? Probably not. Wouldn’t it be smarter to just read a summary of what kinds of things consumers want in a soundbar, check out succinct reviews of the top seven, and maybe even have a look at a half-dozen extra selections in case the top-ranked soundbars don’t suit you to a tee?
If this is your first soundbar purchase, and you know next to nothing about audio quality and what’s available on the market, get the basics under your belt first. Know what soundbars are, why people use them, and the kinds of questions consumers most often ask. Let’s get started. We’ve arranged the key information into a series of questions and answers.
When you set out to locate the very best soundbars under 200 dollars, size is more a factor of aesthetics than anything else. Most people like to match the length of their bar to the width of their television screen. As far as function, if your TV is an older model, dating back to the pre-2012 era, double-check that it has the right connectivity for the soundbar you end up getting.
Without getting too technical, channels are nothing more than the specific sources of sound within the bar. Once you find the price point you’re comfortable with, aim for as many channels as you can get. Five-channels soundbars do their best to imitate the home theater standard of two front speakers, one center-front, and two rear.
Here’s another point that offers functional and aesthetic choices for buyers. The ideal place for most bars is beneath the TV, whether your TV is wall-mounted or sits on a level surface. And, most of the best soundbars under 200 dollars come with nice little mounting kits to make wall-mounting easy and quick. If you do put the bar in front of a table-resting TV, make sure you have enough room so that the soundbar does not obstruct your monitor.
There are three kinds of connectivity you should know about. The simplest is HDMI ARC, which lets you hook the TV to the bar with a standard HDMI cable. If you choose to buy a multi-channel bar, this is your ideal way to connect the two devices. Next, you can opt for wireless connections, which will either be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Finally, optical ports allow you to connect the pair of devices with an optical patch cord.
It’s your call whether to use a separate remote or not. The best soundbars under 200 dollars offer a wide range of choices when it comes to most of their features, and remotes are no exception. For instance, you can choose a soundbar that comes with its own mobile app. That way, you’ll be able to do everything from a tablet or phone. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to program your current remote so that it operates both devices. But be ready to see a remote in the package with your new soundbar. Feel free to set it aside and use your old, reprogrammed remote if you prefer.
Sort of. That’s because no device, even the best soundbars under 200 can reach the level of quality of a home theater system. When you read specs for the various bars, you’ll see terms like “theater sound,” “cinema sound,” and similar wording. It’s not just advertising because the terms do have actual meaning. However, all it means, in terms of soundbar technology, is that you’ll get a bit of digital delay that mimics full-blown home theater systems.
When you shop in the best soundbars under 200 category, go for the active devices. That way, you won’t have to buy an additional receiver or deal with more wires. Plus, passive bars are designed to go with custom installations in most cases. So, stick to “active” soundbars unless you’re doing a special project.
Soundbars have few downsides, but some people will tell you that there are two possible negatives, both of which (in our opinion) are minor. First, they tend to be wide and demand a good amount of space on your wall or table. Always check product specs before buying so you can accommodate whatever bar you purchase.
Second, there is a sound quality issue with some of the lower-priced bars. That’s one reason, by the way, that we put this list together. None of the 13 soundbars on our review list has a quality problem. In fact, they’re all highly rated in that category. But if you were to venture out without doing any research, you might stumble upon a few inexpensive bars that lack good sound quality.
Here’s the way we did our reviews. The first seven are the best soundbars under 200 dollars, in no particular order. Don’t worry, at the end we’ll tell you what our personal top choice is. But for now, just know that reviews one through seven are the seven best, in no specific order.
Next, we’ve added six additional reviews of excellent soundbars just in case the first seven don’t suit your personal tastes. Then, as promised, we reveal our personal favorite based on the features we like. Here are the top seven best soundbars
The HW-T450 is an upgrade of the company’s 2019 similar product. It features an attractive fabric covering that helps keep the speakers in good shape. The entire unit is primarily composed of thin plastic and has just two modes of connectivity: USB and optical audio, which means this soundbar is strictly an “entry-level” product. However, even with the drawbacks, the bass sounds firm and resolute, while the overall aural effect is quite well-balanced. For users who want an entirely different experience, it’s possible to use the EQ pre-sets.
This unit offers excellent sound balance that comes across as vibrant and exciting. It offers a high-quality subwoofer that is not only wireless but comparable to subs in much pricier soundbars. Sometimes, there’s a bit of distortion and/or compression when you ramp up the volume, but for the most part that’s not an issue with regular use. The SIGNA if fully Bluetooth supportive which means wireless streaming is a simple task for this product. Overall, it is a well-constructed, attractive soundbar ideal for the vast majority of everyday activities, like listening to music and watching TV. The general listening experience is not what you’d refer to as “immersive,” nor does it offer Atmos support.
The well-built design of this 2-channel bar is impressive, as is the compact overall design, even though it lacks some key elements, like a versatile sound profile. In short, the SK023 comes across as a bit dull and cardboard, and does not deliver when it comes to clarity, rumble, or detail. So, you’ll likely not be wanting to use this product for large social gatherings, but it does have its upside. As noted, quality of the build is good, as is the unit’s dynamic stereo capability. And for fans of smallish, compact soundbars that don’t eat up a ton of your wall or table real estate, it’s a suitable, competent entry in this competitive field.
For audio reproduction, the Solo 5 is an adept offering from Bose and it features excellent stereo capability as well as being an ideal unit for buyers who enjoy TV programs, audio-books, and podcasts of all kinds. If you seek out a unit that has the power to deliver crisp, clear, natural dialog, and if the spoken word is at or near the top of your list of priorities, you can’t go wrong with this selection from Bose. Additionally, the soundbar is among the better-built options in this price grouping, bringing top-tier quality for an affordable price. It’s quite small, so you won’t have to create tons of space for it. Finally, even though it has a few non-major drawbacks, it’s a wise choice for budget-minded buyers who want a capable mixed-usage soundbar.
An attractive bar with an impressive lineup of specs, this model from Bomaker is famous for its sleekness and overall good looks, as well as a coating that is highly resistant to nicks and scratches. Plus, it’s a breeze to set up and blends perfectly with all types of home decor. The user-friendly LED on the front makes control simple and understandable. Whether you enjoy games, sporting events, music, or films, this bar is a respectable choice. For consumers who want click-adjustable treble and bass, Bomaker’s bar has that too. Connectivity is excellent but there is no HDMI port.
This Vizio model is ideally sized to match up with the vast majority of TVs on the market. The compactness of its design makes it perfect for mounting or just placing it on any flat surface. The overall performance is better than average but not great. However, the setup couldn’t be easier. It really does crank out a nice amount of sound for a smaller product. A very nice touch is this: you can turn it way up without losing any sound quality. If you’re a fan of a clear, precise audio experience, this bar’s for you.
This TCL offering has excellent frequency-response and can go rather loud without any apparent distortion. It has its own wireless subwoofer and is very well built. Even though it falls down in the category of sub-bass, the Alto 7 more than makes up for it when it comes to reproduction of the human voice. If you enjoy using Bluetooth to stream your favorite content, this unit can meet the demand. On the negative side, Alto 7 displays some visible compression at very high volumes and offers only a quite limited soundstage. There is not a huge amount of customization for those who like to tweak their systems for particular preferences.
For the price, this is one of the better soundbars on the market. The solid construction and feel are high quality all around. The remote offers nice capability to change and adjust just about everything, including treble and bass separately. The sound profile is excellent for a unit in this price range. It’s super-easy to install, delivers crystal-clear sound, and comes with a user-friendly Bluetooth hookup that lets you play music from any device you own.
It’s true for many soundbars in the under $200 category, but especially pertains to this excellent all-around offering from Vizio: You’re getting a high-quality sound system that delivers clarity unmatched in the niche. Because it comes with its own subwoofer, you get surprising depth of sound. And the Bluetooth capability allows for simple, user-friendly enjoyment of music from PCs, tablets, laptops, and phones. The DTS TruVolume is a welcome feature that works to minimize distortion and bring the feel of home theater into your living room.
This 2.1-channel offering from Wohome packs a lot of features into a small package. It delivers 60 watts from an included subwoofer, which delivers precise, clear sound for films, TV, music, and spoken-word media sources. The bass is powerful, and has a true “surround sound” feel, a nice mid-range, and a fully dynamic audio effect. You can choose to go wireless or wired with this versatile unit, and the Bluetooth is built in for an easy, seamless experience. There’s a convenient wall-mount kit for easy placement as well as connectivity for AUX, USB, and optical. Meets or exceeds its competitors in most major criteria categories.
This unit offers a lot for all tastes. It features a high-quality subwoofer that is both wireless and powerful. The remote is more functional than most in this category and the Bluetooth connectivity is a great plus. Overall sound quality is very good. The user can dial back or dial up the very deep lows. Additionally, the highs are ultra-crisp. It’s easy to adjust the various listening modes as well as the bass on this JBL bar and end up with a clean, solid sound. Visually, the design is pleasing and the unit can be easily mounted on the wall or placed on a table. You can even switch between various audio sources via the top panel’s buttons, which also include power and volume.
If you like the idea of two subwoofers built-in to your soundbar, a budget-friendly price, an excellent entry-level unit that delivers audio that is well-balanced, and one that is ideal for spoken word, music, and TV shows, then this offering from Vmai will make you happy. The virtual surround is competent enough for most users, and it features several input methods. Even though this Vmai bar does not support DTS, surround sound, or Atmos, it’s still capable
Full compatibility with all devices is one of the strong points of this versatile bar from BYL. An added plus is that the remote allows for full adjustment of the EQ modes as well as bass. There’s a dialogue mode that works to eliminate all forms of background noise. This is a valuable asset for people who have trouble understanding the spoken word in films and on audio-books. However, when you want to bring those background sounds back into your hearing range, as you would with a film, you can select “movie mode” and instantly enhance the experience of film-watching. As well, there’s also a music mode that optimizes your favorite songs and musical entertainment. Overall quality is excellent and for a basic soundbar, it offers very commendable surround sound quality. The DSP technology is a plus for a unit in this price range.
For a versatile performer that checks all the boxes, we chose the Bose Solo 5. This soundbar offers a nice, neat, compact design that doesn’t eat up real estate on your wall or tabletop. Bluetooth connectivity is a nice touch, so it works perfectly with Apple TV, for instance. There’s a cool voice enhancement mode, which is a welcome extra for film fans. Still, film music and related sound effects are fully audible. For the forgetful among us, the auto-shut-off feature works like a charm to turn the unit off after a short period of non-use. Compared to the other listings, the Bose Solo 5 offered the best all-round value, size, look, and sound quality. What put it over the top for us was the enhanced dialog function, easy connectivity, and sleek aesthetic.