The 4 Best Soundbars Under $100 - Winter 2020 Reviews

Best Soundbars Under $100
85 Soundbars Tested
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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 80 soundbars, and here are our recommendations for the best soundbars under $100. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best small soundbars.

  1. Best Soundbar Under $100: TCL Alto 6+

    Mixed Usage
    Dialogue/TV Shows

    The best soundbar under $100 that we've tested is the TCL Alto 6+. This well-built 2.1 setup comes with a dedicated subwoofer, and it's advertised to work seamlessly with TCL Roku TVs. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream audio to the bar from your phone or tablet.

    Overall, it has a decently well-balanced sound profile, especially in the mid-range where vocals and lead instruments are reproduced. It comes with a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound, including a 'TV' preset that doubles as a dialogue enhancement feature. It gets pretty loud, and there aren't a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, so you can use it in large rooms or crowded parties.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has a bad surround performance, so it may not be ideal for watching movies. Also, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and EDM. However, if you're looking for a cheap soundbar, it's a solid choice.

    See our review

  2. Best Soundbar Under $100 For Dialogue: Sony HT-S100F

    Mixed Usage
    Dialogue/TV Shows

    The best soundbar under $100 for dialogue that we've tested is the Sony HT-S100F. This well-built 2.0 setup is great for listening to vocal-centric content like podcasts, audiobooks, and TV shows. Also, it can get loud enough for use in loud rooms or crowded parties without a lot of compression, which is nice.

    While it's lacking a lot of low-bass and a bit of detail in the treble range, its balanced mid-range is suitable for reproducing dialogue-heavy content like TV shows. There's also a 'Voice Mode' dialogue enhancement feature and an auto-volume mode that can balance the volume level between different programs and commercials. If you like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, you can even stream audio from your phone or tablet to the bar wirelessly over a Bluetooth connection.

    Unfortunately, it lacks a deep punchy, thumpy bass, so it may not be ideal for listening to bass-heavy music genres or action-packed movie scenes. It doesn't have height channels, so it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, either. However, it does come with an always-on surround sound feature called S-Force Front Surround, which may help create a more immersive listening experience.

    See our review

  3. Best Small Soundbar Under $100: LG SK1

    Mixed Usage
    Dialogue/TV Shows

    The best small soundbar under $100 that we've tested is the LG SK1. This 2.0 soundbar has a very compact design, so you can easily add it to your existing setup without taking up a lot of space. Like most small soundbars, it doesn't get very loud, but when you play it at max volume, there isn't a lot of compression, which is nice.

    It has a balanced, neutral mid-range that can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly, though it's lacking low-bass. There are two EQ presets to help you customize its sound to your liking: 'Standard' and 'Bass Blast'. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream podcasts and audiobooks from your mobile device to the bar.

    Unfortunately, because it struggles to reproduce low-bass, it isn't really suitable for listening to bass-heavy music genres like EDM and hip-hop. Also, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it. However, if you're looking for a small soundbar as an upgrade over your existing computer speakers, it's still a solid choice.

    See our review

  4. Alternative With Better Bass: Vizio SB2020n-G6


    If you're looking for a small soundbar under $100 with better bass, consider the Vizio SB2020n-G6. While it only supports PCM-format content and can't play Dolby Digital or surround content like the LG SK1, it has a more extended low-bass. As a result, it can better reproduce the thump and punch in bass-heavy genres like EDM. Overall, its sound profile is fairly neutral, though it can sound a bit dark and dull. There are a couple of EQ presets as well as bass and treble adjustments to help you customize its sound. It's Bluetooth-compatible; however, it has fewer inputs than the LG, so you can't really connect it to other devices.

    If you want a small soundbar with a more versatile overall performance for watching movies, check out the LG. However, if you prefer something that reproduces a lower bass, consider the Vizio instead.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0: The Insignia NS-HSB318 2.0 is a very simple 2.0 soundbar that only supports PCM content, but it can get pretty loud. See our review
  • BOMAKER Odine II: The BOMAKER Odine II is a 2.0 setup that's fair for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows, but it struggles to produce low bass. See our review
  • TCL Alto 8+: The TCL Alto 8+ is a 2.1 setup that gives you access to the Amazon Fire TV 4k streaming media player, but it isn't as well-built, and its sound profile isn't as balanced as the TCL Alto 6+. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 29, 2021: No changes to product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.

  2. Jan 04, 2021: Removed the Vmai 2.1 Channel Soundbar due to lack of availability.

  3. Dec 09, 2020: Replaced the Sony HT-S100F with the TCL Alto 6+ as 'Best Under $100'. Added the Sony HT-S100F as 'Best for Dialogue'. Added the TCL Alto 8+ to Notable Mentions.

  4. Nov 18, 2020: Minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 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.



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