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 Polk Audio SIGNA S2 is the best soundbar under $200 that we've tested so far. This decently well-built 2.1 setup supports Bluetooth so it's easy to stream your favorite audio to the bar, and it has a wireless subwoofer, which can deliver a lot of bass. The bar itself isn't that long either, so it should be able to fit between the legs of most 55" TVs.
This soundbar has a v-shaped sound signature which gives it an exciting sound. It's still balanced enough for most audio genres, making it easy to enjoy podcasts and audiobooks as well as rock or pop music. It also has a night mode as well as a dialogue enhancement feature to further improve your audio experience. For a soundbar of its size, it has a stereo soundstage that's slightly larger than itself and it has a decent focus, which helps you to feel immersed in your audio. It can get loud enough for a large room or crowded environment, which is also great if you're having a house party.
On the downside, the bar's speakers are covered in a fabric that could collect dust or rip with time. It doesn't have the best center channel performance either, and it can't support DTS content. If you're looking for an affordable soundbar with a better-simulated center channel performance that also feels a bit better built, check out the TCL Alto 7+. That being said, the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 still provides good bang for your buck and can be a welcome improvement over your computer or TV speakers.
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-rays. 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, and it has one of the smallest footprints we've seen to date, 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 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 prefer to connect your soundbar to your TV using an HDMI cable, then 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 less 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, 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. It also comes with additional accessories like an optical and IR passthrough cable, which is a nice touch. It's fairly small, too, which means it should easily fit between the legs of most 55" TVs.
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.
07/17/2020: Replaced the Samsung HW-R550 with the Samsung HW-T550. Minor text updates.
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 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.