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The 5 Best Soundbars Under $200 - Summer 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Soundbars Under $200

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 130 soundbars, and below you'll find the top soundbars under $200 to buy. See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars under $300.


  1. Best Soundbar Under $200

    The best soundbar under $200 we've tested is the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. It offers versatile overall performance, especially compared to other bars in its price range, making it suitable for listening to everything from music to movies to TV shows. Thanks to its two discrete surround speakers, it can offer a more immersive sound with surround content like Dolby Digital that's often found on Blu-rays and streaming platforms.

    Out-of-the-box, this bar has a pretty neutral sound profile, especially in the mids, meaning that dialogue is reproduced with clarity and detail. Its dedicated subwoofer adds some extra punch in the bass range, so you feel the excitement in action-packed scenes. While it doesn't offer as many features as more premium models on the market, there's a standard selection of sound enhancement features available, including bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound.

    Unfortunately, like most budget models, there's no support for Dolby Atmos, which is disappointing if you watch a lot of higher-quality object-based formats on streaming platforms. It doesn't reproduce as much low-bass as its predecessor, the Vizio V Series V51-H6. If you love bass-heavy music, it's worth springing for the slightly more expensive V51-H6. But if you don't mind a little less rumble, the V51x-J6 is a suitable pick.

    See our review

  2. Best 2.1 Soundbar Under $200

    If you don't have space in your setup for extra satellite speakers, you can check out a 2.1 setup like the Samsung HW-A550. The bar has only two channels, but it can still play surround sound - it just has to downmix it into stereo to play it. There's also a dedicated subwoofer included to add more thump and rumble to your mix.

    Right out of the box, this soundbar has a neutral sound profile with a little extra punch in the bass range. Voices and lead instruments are reproduced clearly and with detail, and you can even use its dialogue enhancement feature to make dialogue sound more crisp. It has a wide selection of sound enhancement features for its price point, including a graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound more to your liking.

    The bar's surround sound isn't as impressive as the result you get with 5.1 setups like the Vizio V Series V51x-J6. Since it has to downmix surround content into stereo, popular formats like Dolby Digital and DTS don't seem as immersive, and you don't get the sense that the action on your screen is happening all around you. Instead, it just seems like audio is coming from speakers placed in front of you. That said, if you don't watch a lot of movies from streaming platforms or if you're low on space, it's a solid pick.

    See our review

  3. Best Standalone Soundbar Under $200

    Standalone soundbars are another option if you don't have a lot of space in your living room. The TCL Alto 8i is a 2.1 setup with dual subwoofers integrated into the bar, so you don't have to find room for a bulky sub in your living room. Despite its compact design, it's still a versatile soundbar, and it's one of the few bars in this price range with Dolby Atmos support.

    You'll find a pretty standard array of sound enhancement features, like an auto-volume mode to balance the volume level when you watch movies at night. With its balanced mids, voices are reproduced clearly and accurately. While its default sound is a bit dark and boomy, you have bass and treble adjustments on hand to customize it to your liking, so higher-pitched frequencies like cymbals are detailed and present in the mix.

    Unfortunately, integrated subwoofers struggle to reproduce the deep rumble in the bass range with action-packed scenes, and that's not something that a bass adjustment feature can fix. It's especially noticeable when you watch movies, and unfortunately, the bar's small soundstage means that its Atmos performance isn't very immersive, either. Still, you won't find a better performance at this price point.

    See our review

  4. Best Small Soundbar Under $200

    Tight on space? The Sony HT-S200F is another standalone option with a much smaller footprint than the TCL Alto 8i. At just under 23 inches wide, this compact soundbar can easily fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV stand or a standard computer monitor. Despite its small size, it can still get loud enough to fill your living room with sound.

    It's a 2.1 setup with a fairly balanced mid-range that reproduces dialogue in your favorite podcasts and TV shows with clarity. Like most other budget soundbars, it has some features to help enhance your TV-watching experience, including a dialogue enhancement feature. Also, its night mode reduces the overall dynamic range to balance the volume level, meaning you can still hear quiet parts of your program, like dialogue, without being overwhelmed by louder sounds, like explosions.

    Unfortunately, its integrated subwoofers can't reproduce the deep thump in the low-bass. There's no Atmos support, either, and its soundstage is much smaller than the TCL's, so you don't get the same illusion of audio wrapping around you. If you just want a small bar to enhance your TV shows, it's a solid pick.

    See our review

  5. Best Soundbar Under $100

    There are also some options available at lower prices. The best setup under $100 that we've tested is the Sony HT-S100F. It's a standalone 2.0 setup best suited for listening to dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. It has a similar performance to the Sony HT-S200F, but without an integrated subwoofer, it doesn't reproduce as much rumble in the low-bass.

    It can reproduce voices pretty clearly, thanks to its balanced mid-range, but there's a slight peak that can muddy dialogue a bit. Like the S200F, it has a basic selection of sound enhancement features, like a dialogue enhancement mode and a night mode. It gets a bit louder, too, so you can crank up the volume to fill up a larger space.

    Unfortunately, this soundbar provides even less of the thump and rumble in the low-bass, so it's not ideal for bass-heavy music or action-packed TV shows. Unlike the S200F, it doesn't even come with a bass adjustment feature to add more punch to your audio. If you're on a tight budget, it's a solid upgrade over your existing TV speakers.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Roku Smart Soundbar: The Roku Smart Soundbar is great for dialogue-heavy content, and it gives you access to Roku's streaming media player. While it can get loud, there are compression artifacts at max volume. Its center and surround performance isn't as good either, and it doesn't feel as well-built. See our review
  • Polk Audio SIGNA S2: The Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is a 2.1 setup that's very good for dialogue and TV shows as it has a fairly well-balanced mid-range. However, it isn't as versatile as our top picks as it has a poor overall center and surrounds performance. See our review
  • Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R: The Vizio M-Series M21d-H8R is a 2.1 setup with a slightly bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box and EQ presets to help you customize its sound. However, it doesn't get as loud and doesn't have as good of a soundstage performance as our top picks. See our review
  • Hisense HS218: The Hisense HS218 is a 2.1 soundbar suitable for listening to dialogue-centric content like TV shows and podcasts. While it comes with a dedicated subwoofer, it still doesn't reproduce a very extended low-bass. See our review
  • Samsung HW-A450: The Samsung HW-A450 is a 2.1 setup ideal for listening to music and dialogue-heavy content. It's not as well-built as the Samsung HW-A550, though, and it doesn't come with any HDMI inputs. See our review
  • Vizio V Series V21-H8: The Vizio V Series V21-H8 is a 2.1 soundbar with a bass-heavy sound right out of the box that's ideal for you if you like to feel the punch and thump in your audio. It doesn't have as many sound customization features as our top picks. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 13, 2022: Replaced the Vizio V Series V51-H6 with the Vizio V Series V51x-J6 as the V51-H6's price rose above our limit. Minor updates to the text for accuracy.

  2. Mar 15, 2022: Replaced the Samsung HW-A450 with the Vizio V Series V51-H6 after the Vizio's price dropped. Added the Samsung HW-A550 as Best 2.1. Added the Samsung HW-A450 and the Vizio V Series V21-H8 to Notable Mentions.

  3. Jan 14, 2022: Replaced the Samsung HW-A550 with the Samsung HW-A450 as the HW-A550's price rose above $200. Added the Sony HT-S100F as 'Best Under $100'.

  4. Nov 16, 2021: Added the Hisense HS218 to Notable Mentions. No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.

  5. Sep 17, 2021: Added the Vizio V Series V51-H6 to Notable Mentions. Minor updates to the text for accuracy.

All Reviews

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

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