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 25 soundbars so far, and below you'll find the best soundbars under $200 to buy in 2019. See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars under $300.
The best soundbar under $200 we've tested so far is the TCL Alto 7+. It comes with a separate subwoofer, sounds decent, and has a fair number of inputs so it can be set up with most home theater systems. It feels surprisingly well-built and even comes with a wall-mounting kit and all the cables you might need, which are quite nice to have included at this price point.
This soundbar setup from TCL has a fairly neutral sound profile, with especially well-balanced mid and treble ranges. Its great high-frequency extension makes it a good choice for movies or TV shows with lots of dialog. It has a few different EQ presets, allowing you to change between 'movies', 'music', and 'news', depending on what you're watching or listening to.
While it supports Dolby Digital over ARC, it doesn't support DTS, so it won't be a good choice if you have some DTS Blu-rays you like to watch. Also, like most budget soundbars we've tested, it lacks quite a bit of bass, so you might find your favorite action films lack some thump and rumble. That said, it still performs alright overall and is a decent choice for under $200.
If you watch a lot of Blu-rays and need a soundbar with DTS support, go for the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080. Its build quality isn't as good as the TCL Alto 7+, but it has much better connectivity and can play DTS content. It has HDMI in and out, meaning you can easily hook up your Blu-ray player or console to your TV through the soundbar. It also supports Dolby Digital and DTS through both HDMI connections and its optical port as well. It's a more compact soundbar, as it doesn't have a separate subwoofer, but unfortunately, the two integrated subwoofers in the soundbar don't produce nearly as much bass as TCL's dedicated sub does.
If you don't need DTS support or want extra bass response, go with the TCL, but if you need more connectivity or prefer not having a stand-alone subwoofer, go with the Yamaha.
The best small soundbar under $200 we've tested so far is the Bose Solo 5. It's quite compact, with the smallest footprint we've seen to date, which makes it great for smaller TVs or in tighter setups. 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 dialog. It's well-suited for TV shows and is also a good choice if you like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks in the house.
Unfortunately, its connectivity options feel a bit outdated compared to what some of the other soundbars under $200 we've tested provide: it has an optical input, standard 3.5mm audio jack, and older digital coaxial connector, but no HDMI. Thankfully, it does support Bluetooth, so you can play media from your phone or laptop wirelessly. If you're looking for a simple, compact soundbar without any bells and whistles, then the Solo 5 is a solid choice.
If you'd rather be able to plug your soundbar into your TV with HDMI, then get the Sony HT-S200F. Its sound profile is less balanced than the Bose Solo 5, and it doesn't have a standard 3.5mm audio jack, but it supports HDMI ARC. While this soundbar has an integrated subwoofer, which the Bose doesn't, unfortunately it doesn't actually provide deeper bass response. It also has a sharp drop-ff in treble which negatively impacts vocals, though luckily it has a voice-enhance mode which helps brings out the dialog, even at lower volumes.
Get the Bose if you want a more balanced-sounding soundbar and don't need HDMI, but if you want HDMI connectivity, go with the Sony.
The best soundbar under $200 for bass that we've tested is the TCL Alto 5+. It has a more bass-heavy sound that fans of action movies are likely to enjoy since it packs a bit more of a punch than some of the other recommendations on this list. Like the TCL Alto 7+, it feels rather well-built and comes with a separate sub along with lots of accessories, so you feel like you're getting your money's worth.
This soundbar setup does a decent job at producing some of the deeper sounds you might expect in an action movie or dubstep music. Its mid and treble ranges are pretty well-balanced too, so even though it tends to sound a bit muddy, vocals and dialog are present and not completely overwhelmed.
That said, some may still find this soundbar a bit too bass-heavy. It also tends to distort in the bass range, especially at higher volumes. It doesn't get as loud as other soundbars we've tested, either, so it might not be the best if you're looking for something that you can really crank the volume up on. If you just want something simple to enjoy some more bass-heavy material with, it's not bad overall.
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.
11/01/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.