Updated

The 6 Best Soundbars Under $200 - Winter 2020
Reviews

Best Soundbars Under $200
32 Soundbars Tested
  • Store-bought soundbars; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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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: Samsung HW-R550

    Test Methodology v0.8
    6.9
    Mixed Usage
    7.7
    Dialogue/TV Shows
    7.1
    Music
    6.2
    Movies
    Channels
    2.1

    The best soundbar under $200 we've tested to date is the Samsung HW-R550. While this soundbar has a regular price closer to $300, it goes on sale quite often and can be found below $200 fairly regularly, so it's worth considering. This 2.1 setup comes with a dedicated wireless subwoofer and looks and feels quite premium, especially considering its price point. Unfortunately, it's a bit wide and may not fit between the legs of most 55" or smaller TVs, but this is somewhat common and luckily, it isn't too tall so it can be placed in front without obstructing your screen.

    The sound quality of this soundbar setup is decent, though due to its overemphasized bass and lack of detail in the treble, the sound profile is quite dark. Thankfully, the soundbar has a few EQ presets, as well as a full 7-band equalizer, so you can fully customize the sound to suit your personal preferences. The bass performance of this soundbar is quite decent, and it can hit lower frequencies than many other soundbars we've tested.

    Unfortunately, since this is a 2.1 setup, there are no side-firing speakers or rear satellites so all surround sound content is downmixed to stereo, giving you a less immersive listening experience. Overall, however, this soundbar offers a decent listening experience that'll be a huge upgrade over your built-in TV speakers without breaking the bank.

    See our review

  2. Cheaper Alternative: TCL Alto 7 Plus

    Channels
    2.1

    If you want something even cheaper, consider the TCL Alto 7+, another 2.1 setup with a wireless dedicated subwoofer. It lacks a lot more bass than the Samsung HW-R550, and you can't manually adjust the bass or treble, but it's regularly available for cheaper. The bar itself is about the same size as the Samsung, and it looks and feels equally as well made. The sound reproduction is decent and is much brighter and less bass-heavy than the HW-R550, but unfortunately, you can only customize it with a few presets and you can't manually adjust the bass or treble frequencies.

    If you find the Samsung on sale, it's a better overall soundbar that gives you a lot more customization options, but if you want something cheaper that still performs decently well for the price, the TCL is an alright option.

    See our review

  3. Alternative For Dialogue: Yamaha ATS1080

    Channels
    2.2

    If you tend to watch content with a lot of dialogue, then the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 is a better choice than the Samsung HW-R550. This is a 2.2 setup with the subwoofers integrated into the soundbar. Like the Samsung, the sound signature also leans towards a darker sound due to the lack of details in the treble, but because the mid-range is well-balanced, dialogue comes across with much more clarity. Unfortunately, it doesn't have as many sound enhancement features as the Samsung, with only options to activate dialogue enhancement, subwoofer level, and virtual surround sound.

    If you want better overall sound and a dedicated subwoofer, go with the Samsung, but for more clarity in dialogue-heavy content, go with the Yamaha.

    See our review

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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+. It has a more bass-heavy sound that fans of action movies are likely to enjoy since it packs a bit more of a punch than some of the other recommendations on this list. Like the TCL Alto 7+, it feels rather well-built and comes with a separate sub along with lots of accessories, so you feel like you're getting your money's worth.

    This soundbar setup does a decent job of producing some of the deeper sounds you might expect in an action movie or dubstep music. Its mid and treble ranges are pretty well-balanced, too, so even though it tends to sound a bit muddy, vocals and dialogue are present and not completely overwhelmed.

    That said, some may still find this soundbar a bit too bass-heavy. It also tends to distort in the bass range, especially at higher volumes. It doesn't get as loud as other soundbars we've tested, either, so it might not be the best if you're looking for something that you can crank the volume up on. If you just want something simple to enjoy some more bass-heavy material with, it's not bad 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

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.

Recent Updates

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.

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