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Updated

The 5 Best Soundbars Under $200 - Spring 2020
Reviews

Best Soundbars Under $200
36 Soundbars Tested
  • Store-bought soundbars; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
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Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

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 2020. See our recommendations for the best small soundbars, the best budget soundbars, and the best soundbars under $300.


  1. Best Soundbar Under $200: TCL Alto 7+

    Test Methodology v0.8
    6.3
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    6.2
    Music
    5.8
    Movies
    Channels
    2.1

    The TCL Alto 7+ is the best soundbar under $200 that we've tested so far. With its 2.1 setup and its wireless dedicated subwoofer, you'll get a sturdy soundbar for an affordable price.

    Well-built for its price point, this soundbar has a slightly bright but still decently neutral sound profile. While it lacks bass, voices and dialogue will be heard clearly, making it great for those who watch a lot of TV or listen to audiobooks. You can also stream audio from your phone or other wireless device using Bluetooth. It even supports Dolby Digital content via its HDMI ARC port too, although it'll be downmixed.

    This soundbar only comes with a few EQ presets, so you're limited in fine-tuning your listening experience. At max volume, this soundbar also has noticeable pumping and compression artifacts in the bass range. However, its overall decent performance makes this a good choice for those trying to save a buck or two.

    See our review

  2. DTS Support Alternative: Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080

    Channels
    2.2

    If you're looking for a soundbar that can support DTS, then the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 is a better choice than the TCL Alto 7+. While the Yamaha isn't as well built as the TCL, 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. The Yamaha's mid-range is also fairly balanced, although its sound signature leans darker due to the lack of details in the treble. However, unlike the TCL, the Yahama lacks an EQ to easily tweak it. 

    If you want slightly more freedom to customize your audio, go with the TCL, but if DTS support is a must for your movie nights, go with the Yamaha.

    See our review

  3. Best Small Soundbar Under $200: Bose Solo 5

    Test Methodology v0.8
    6.2
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    6.4
    Music
    5.4
    Movies
    Channels
    2.0

    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 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 the Bose is a solid choice.

    See our review

  4. Alternative With HDMI: Sony HT-S200F

    Channels
    2.1

    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.

    See our review

  5. Best Soundbar Under $200 For Bass: TCL Alto 5+

    Test Methodology v0.8
    5.7
    Mixed Usage
    5.8
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    6.4
    Music
    5.1
    Movies
    Channels
    2.1

    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.

    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. Just like the TCL Alto 7+, it's rather well-built. Thanks to its smaller size, it can easily fit between the legs of most 55 inch TVs. The added accessories and separate sub are also a nice touch.

    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.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Sony HT-S350: The Sony HT-S350 is a disappointing budget soundbar. It comes with a separate subwoofer with its own controllable level, but has a dark, muddy sound. See our review
  • Samsung HW-R550: The Samsung HW-R550 is a decent 2.1 soundbar but its price slightly fluctuates above the $200 mark. It's bass-heavy and doesn't have the best surround sound. See our review

Recent Updates

03/20/2020: Replaced Samsung HW-R550 with TCL Alto 7+, made Yamaha YAS-108 DTS Support Alternative; minor updates to the text.

01/28/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.

11/28/2019: Added Samsung HW-R550 as top recommendation, minor text changes.

11/01/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.

All Reviews

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.

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