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 35 soundbars so far, 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 best soundbar under $200 we've tested to date is the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 soundbar. This 2.1 system comes with a wireless subwoofer that packs a lot of bass. It's also decently well-built and isn't too long, so it could fit between the legs of your 55" TV stand.
It has a fairly well-balanced sound stereo audio reproduction that has a V-shaped sound profile, with an exciting amount of bass and treble. It has a fairly large stereo soundstage for a soundbar of this size, which is nice. The bar can also get quite loud and there are a night mode and a dialogue enhancement feature for an overall better listening experience.
Unfortunately, the bar is covered by fabric, which can get quite dusty or rip with time. It also doesn't support DTS content and its center channel performance isn't the best. For an affordable option with a better-simulated center channel performance, check out the TCL Alto 7+, which also happens to feel better-built. On the upside, it also supports Bluetooth for easy music streaming and provides good value overall.
If you're looking for a soundbar that can support DTS, then the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 is a better choice than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. While the Yamaha isn't as sleek looking, it supports both DTS and Dolby Digital through its HDMI In input, allowing you to listen to surround sound from sources such as Blu-ray DVDs. It also has a few more inputs and an app that lets you control some settings from the soundbar without having the remote. Unfortunately, it sounds a bit dark and lacks sound enhancement features.
If you prefer an excited, V-shaped sound, get the Polk Audio, but if DTS support is a must for your movie nights, 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 one of the smallest footprints we've seen to date, which makes it great for smaller TVs or in tighter setups like under 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 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 this one 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 provide a deeper bass response. It also has a sharp drop-off in treble which negatively impacts vocals, though luckily it has a voice-enhance mode which helps bring out the dialogue, 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+. Its bass-heavy sound will please fans of action movies and EDM lovers alike. Just like the TCL Alto 7+, it's rather well-built, especially for its affordable price point. Also, thanks to its smaller size, it can easily fit between the legs of most 55" TVs. The added accessories and wireless sub are also a nice touch.
Packing more of a punch than other soundbars on this recommendations list, this soundbar 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.
However, some may find this sound profile to be a little bass-heavy. While it doesn't get as loud as the other soundbars we've tested so far, 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 you want to get a fuller, more thumpy bass experience, then this isn't a bad choice overall.
05/19/2020: Replaced the TCL Alto 7+ with the Polk Audio Signa S2. Minor text updates.
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.