It can be a little tricky to find the right soundbar for your needs, especially if you're shopping on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are some more affordable options on the market, so you can stay within your budget without sacrificing too much. Most models in this price range might lack more premium features and connectivity options, but they can still be a decent upgrade over your existing TV speakers. Whether you're watching your favorite shows or listening to music, these soundbars can offer a good overall value for their price.
We've tested over 170 soundbars, and here are our recommendations. You can also check out our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.
The best soundbar under $100 we've tested is the TCL Alto 6+. It's a simple 2.1 setup that you can plug into your television to enjoy a better-quality sound. While its price can fluctuate a little above our price point, since it's one of the only bars in the range with a dedicated subwoofer, it's still worth checking out. The sub brings extra thump and rumble in the bass compared to other standalone models, so you feel more emphasis in bass-heavy music genres like hip-hop and EDM.
Despite the extra bass, voices and lead instruments remain clear and present in the mix, and you can even use its 'TV' preset to enhance dialogue. As a result, it's suitable for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and dialogue-focused TV shows like sitcoms. If you watch many movies, the bar can playback 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, which are often found on streaming platforms. Unfortunately, it has to downmix them into stereo to play them since it's a 2.1 setup. The resulting sound isn't quite as immersive as what you get with more premium models, but it still performs pretty well for how much it costs.
The size and space in your living room can certainly make a difference when finding the right bar for your needs. The Sony HT-S100F is a great alternative for those who are short on space since it's a standalone bar that doesn't come with a dedicated subwoofer. For an affordable price, it offers a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers, with HDMI and Optical inputs to make it easy to connect to your devices. It's even Bluetooth-compatible, meaning you can stream audio right from your phone to the bar, too.
Naturally, without a dedicated subwoofer, this bar reproduces less rumble in the bass than the TCL Alto 6+. However, if you don't listen to much bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop, you probably won't notice much difference. This bar is great for vocal-centric content like sitcoms and documentaries, as voices are reproduced clearly right out of the box, and its Voice Mode is an easy way to enhance dialogue. Plus, it gets plenty loud, meaning it can fill up larger and more open spaces in your home with sound.
If you have even less space in your living room, consider the Roku Streambar. It's another standalone soundbar that's smaller in width than the Sony HT-S100F, making it easy to integrate into your existing space. Despite its small size, it has a premium design with a sleek look that doesn't stand out in your home decor. Its built-in access to Roku's media streamer organizes all your streaming platforms and channels into one easy-to-use interface, which is handy. Note that this bar can retail for a little more than our $100 price point from time to time, though. You might find a good deal on it or feel the extra features are worth a few more bucks.
However, if you're on a strict budget, the LG SK1 is another small standalone bar that's more affordable. It has far fewer features than the Roku, so you don't get access to a media streamer, and there's no dialogue enhancement tool. Plus, there's no HDMI ARC port. If you already plan to connect your bar to a TV over Optical, though, it's still a fair choice, with a small and compact design as well as a solid sound quality that makes for a noticeable upgrade over your existing TV speakers.
Mar 14, 2023: Confirmed the accuracy of our picks. Minor text updates for clarity.
Jan 13, 2023: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Nov 15, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Sep 16, 2022: Updated article for clarity. Removed Samsung HW-B450 as it became consistently way above the article's $100 price line.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the top soundbars under $100 for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of soundbars under $100. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no soundbar is perfect, most soundbars are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you look for them.