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 65 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 that we've tested is the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. This 2.1 setup comes with a wireless subwoofer and has a fairly versatile performance that can satisfy many different listeners. It also comes with a decent amount of sound enhancement options for its price range, including a dialogue enhancement feature, an auto-volume mode, and several EQ presets.
It has a slightly V-shaped, excited sound profile, so there's an extra boost in the bass and treble ranges that can suit a wide variety of music genres. It's fairly well-balanced in the mid-range, so voices are clear and accurate, making it ideal for listening to dialogue-heavy content like TV shows and podcasts. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, and it can get pretty loud, although there are some compression artifacts at max volume.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo, which doesn't sound quite as immersive. It also lacks an HDMI In port, so you can't use it to play surround content from Blu-ray discs with DTS or Dolby Digital content. That said, if you're looking for an upgrade over your TV speakers on a budget, this soundbar is a solid choice.
If you're a movie fan looking for a soundbar that can support DTS content, consider the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 instead. While it isn't as sleek-looking as the Polk Audio SIGNA S2, 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 discs. It also has a few more inputs and an app that lets you control some settings without having the remote. It also gets loud, and it doesn't have a lot of compression artifacts when it's played at max volume. Unfortunately, its default sound profile is a bit dark, and it lacks a lot of sound enhancement features.
If you prefer an excited, V-shaped sound, check out the Polk Audio, but if DTS support is a must for your movie nights, consider the Yamaha.
The best small soundbar under $200 that we've tested so far 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 soundbars 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 soundbars 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.
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. 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.