If your budget is under $200, you might be worried you won't find a good soundbar for your home theater system. While budget soundbars usually don't have the same surround sound options as some of the more expensive soundbars out there, you can still find something decent at this price point.
We've tested over 75 soundbars, and below you'll find the best soundbars under $200 to buy. See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars under $300.
The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is the best soundbar under $200 that we've tested. This 2.1 soundbar comes with a dedicated subwoofer that adds an extra boom and punch to your audio. Overall, it has a fairly versatile performance, and it even has a dedicated AUX port for voice assistant speakers.
It has a bass-heavy sound profile with a balanced mid-range, making it suitable for listening to everything from bass-heavy music genres to audiobooks and podcasts. If you prefer a different sound, there are a few EQ presets available, as well as bass and treble adjustments. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can stream audio wirelessly from your phone or tablet to the bar.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Atmos content, which may be a bit disappointing for movie fans. While it can get pretty loud, there's some distortion at max volume, so it may not be ideal for listening to music at crowded parties. However, if you're looking for a versatile soundbar on a budget, it's a solid choice.
If you're looking for a soundbar that's suitable for listening to dialogue-heavy content like audiobooks and TV shows, consider the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 instead. While it doesn't support DTS content and has fewer connectivity options than the Vizio V Series V21-H8, its somewhat excited sound profile offers a very balanced mid-range that's ideal for dialogue-heavy content. It also has a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices sound more clear and crisp, and an auto-volume mode that balances out the volume level between different programs. Like the Vizio, it's Bluetooth-compatible, so you can stream podcasts and audiobooks from your phone to the bar wirelessly. While it can get loud, there's a bit of compression at max volume, and it also doesn't support Atmos content.
If you're looking for a more versatile soundbar with lots of connectivity options, check out the Vizio. However, if you're looking for something mostly for dialogue-heavy content like TV shows, consider the Polk instead.
The best small soundbar under $200 that we've tested is the Bose Solo 5. It's relatively compact, and it has one of the smallest footprints we've seen, which makes it great for smaller TVs or in tighter setups like underneath a computer monitor. The bar itself feels quite well-built and comes with most of the cables you'll need to get it up and running.
It sounds surprisingly decent, especially considering it doesn't have a subwoofer. Although it can't produce the low-end thump and rumble you'd find in your favorite hip-hop album or action movie, it reproduces vocals and instruments accurately and does a good job at handling dialogue. It's well-suited for TV shows, and it's a good choice if you like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks in the house. For movie lovers, it supports Dolby Digital content found on most Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms via its optical port.
Unfortunately, its connectivity options feel a bit outdated compared to what some of the other models under $200 we've tested provide. It has an optical input, standard 3.5mm audio jack, and an older digital coaxial connector, but no HDMI. Thankfully, it does support Bluetooth so that you can play media from your phone or laptop wirelessly. If you're looking for a simple, compact soundbar without any bells and whistles, this one is a solid choice.
If you prefer to connect your soundbar to your TV using an HDMI cable, go for the Sony HT-S200F. While its sound profile is less balanced than the Bose Solo 5, it has an HDMI ARC port so it can support Dolby Digital content, which is found on many Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. It can get slightly louder with fewer compression artifacts, and it also has a dialogue enhancement feature which can help improve vocal quality. However, while it has an integrated subwoofer, it struggles to deliver a deep bass response. It also lacks an AUX jack for easily connecting devices like older media players or turntables to the bar.
Go for the Bose if you don't really need HDMI connectivity and you're looking for a soundbar with a better-balanced sound profile. However, if you're a movie fan and you need that HDMI ARC port for your favorite movies, get the Sony.
The best soundbar under $200 for bass that we've tested is the TCL Alto 5+. Thanks to its wireless subwoofer, its bass-heavy sound should please fans of action movies and EDM lovers alike. It's rather well-built, especially for its affordable price point.
Packing more of a punch than other models on this list, it does a decent job of producing deep and punchy sounds. While it can sound a little muddy, the mid and treble ranges are fairly well-balanced so that vocals and dialogue aren't lost in the mix. It also comes with additional accessories like an optical and IR passthrough cable, which is a nice touch. It's fairly small, which means it should easily fit between the legs of most 55 inch TVs.
However, some may find this sound profile to be a little bass-heavy. While it doesn't get as loud as other soundbars we've tested, if you like to listen to your audio at higher volumes, you might notice some distortion in the bass range. Still, if you're on a budget and want to get a fuller, more thumpy bass experience, this isn't a bad choice overall.
11/13/2020: Replaced the Polk Audio Signa S2 with the Vizio V Series V21-H8. Added the Polk as an 'Alternative for Dialogue'.
09/15/2020: Added the Roku Smart Soundbar and the Samsung HW-T450 as Notable Mentions.
07/17/2020: Replaced the Samsung HW-R550 with the Samsung HW-T550.
05/19/2020: Replaced the TCL Alto 7+ with the Polk Audio Signa S2.
03/20/2020: Replaced Samsung HW-R550 with TCL Alto 7+, made Yamaha YAS-108 DTS Support Alternative.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best soundbars under $200 for most people to buy. 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 choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews of soundbars under $200. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.