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.
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.
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.
The best small soundbar under $100 that we've tested is the LG SK1. This 2.0 model has a compact design so you can fit it between the legs of your TV without taking up too much space. It also gets decently loud, and there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume.
It has a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile that reproduces clear and accurate dialogue, making it suitable for vocal-centric content like podcasts and TV shows. There's even a Bass Blast EQ that can help you adjust the bar's sound more to your liking. Since it's Bluetooth-compatible, you can easily stream audio from your phone or tablet to the bar wirelessly, which is handy.
Unfortunately, this small soundbar doesn't come with a dedicated subwoofer, so it really struggles to reproduce a thumpy, punchy low-bass. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. That said, if you don't have a lot of space in your setup, it's a solid choice.
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 doesn't support surround content like the LG SK1, it has a more extended low-bass that helps add a bit more punch to your audio. With its Music preset, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly dark sound profile, so it's well-suited for vocal-centric content and most music genres. That said, fans of bass-heavy music may be a bit disappointed that it lacks some low-bass, though that's typical for soundbars that don't have a dedicated subwoofer. Fortunately, you can use the bass and treble adjustments, as well as the EQ presets, to tweak its sound more to your liking. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can stream audio from your mobile device to the bar wirelessly.
If you're looking for a better-built soundbar that can be wall-mounted, check out the LG, but if you prefer a bar with a more extended bass, consider the Vizio instead.
Mar 30, 2021: Minor updates to the text; no changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability. Added the TCL Alto 5 to Notable Mentions.
Jan 29, 2021: No changes to product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Jan 04, 2021: Removed the Vmai 2.1 Channel Soundbar due to lack of availability.
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.
Nov 18, 2020: Minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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.