Struggling to find a cheap soundbar under $200/£200 that sounds great? You're not alone, unfortunately.
No matter how good of a TV you buy, sound quality is always going to be a big concern. Whether you shell out for an OLED TV or buy something cheaper like a TCL or Vizio, few TVs will be able to output enough high-quality sound to fill the room. That’s where soundbars come in.
While some soundbars can cost thousands of dollars - like the Creative X-Fi Sonic Carrier and Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar - there are a ton of options that sound great and cost a tenth of the price. That’s what this guide is all about.
Over the years we’ve tested hundreds of ‘bars, giving us a pretty good idea of which ones cut through the noise and offer a great sound at a good price. What you’ll find below are the best soundbars under $200/£200 that upgrade your entertainment center’s sound without breaking the bank.
We're expecting to see a number of great soundbar deals during Prime Day 2021. Stay tuned for any upcoming deals as there's a very good chance that at least one of the soundbars on the list below will see a substantial price cut.
The best soundbars under $200/£200
The Vizio V-Series 2.1-Channel Soundbar is living proof that you don't have to pay more than $200 for a great-sounding soundbar. But at such a low price, it’s almost unthinkable that Vizio wouldn’t have to cut some major corners. The result is a soundbar that may not come loaded with features, but delivers in the one area that really counts: sound quality.
The Vizio V-Series 2.1-Channel soundbar comes with a subwoofer that connects to the bar wirelessly, and it’s relatively sleek and stylish too. It’s another black box, with a power button and bass port on the back. There’s little you have to do with the subwoofer except find a place to put it and plug it in - after which it’ll automatically connect to the bar, and you can pretty much forget about it.
The soundbar sounds great in a variety of different settings, both for watching TV shows and movies, and simply for listening to music. Whether we were watching something explosive and action-packed, like Avengers: Endgame, or something a bit toned-back, like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the soundbar delivered well-separated audio with enough detail to keep things interesting.
Vizio has been a budget and mid range champion for more than a few years now, and the V-Series 2.1-Channel soundbar is a perfect example of why. The soundbar is relatively no-nonsense, but if you have a budget of under $200 and want a step up from your TV’s built-in speakers, you can’t do better than this.
Read the full review: Vizio V-Series 2.1-Channel Soundbar
Most people just want a soundbar that works and sounds great and Sony’s entry level HT-MT300 soundbar does just that. For $200 / £200, you get a compact soundbar that will fit just about any home theater and a wireless sub that you can place under your sofa to really feel the bass.
The Sony HT-MT300 soundbar comes in two parts: There’s a compact soundbar that measures 50 x 5.4 x 10.3cm (W x H x D) and a slim subwoofer that you can slip under your couch to feel every punch and explosion.
The Sony HT-MT300 soundbar punches well above its weight with both movies and music – especially when watching movies with action scenes and even at moderately low levels. With the subwoofer turned up to 75%, the HT-MT300 managed to rattle our living room during the rocket launch in Interstellar.
Music also sounds good coming from the Sony HT-MT300, though we wished for a wider and more immersive sound stage. The two woofers in the soundbar are quite close to each other so physics is working against the soundbar when it comes to stereo separation. For most, the Sony HT-MT300 is a winner, keeping it simple and concentrating on the things that matter: sound and ease of use.
Read the full review: Sony HT-MT300
The Roku Smart Soundbar is an attempt to to fix two of the biggest problems that have long plagued TV owners – awful audio and outdated smart TV interfaces – with one elegant solution. These are problems other manufacturers like JBL and Anker are trying to solve with products like the JBL Link Bar and Nebula Soundbar, but Roku’s model is the only one to offer Roku TV, which is a definite plus considering how the strengths of the platform.
Pulling it out of the box, the Roku Smart Soundbar is a pretty basic 2.0 soundbar. There’s a front mesh that hides the drivers and wraps around the front face of the soundbar, and a plastic matte-black top with a Roku insignia.
For its price and its design, we think the soundbar performs decently well. It has no issues with getting loud and filling small and medium-sized rooms, and the volume doesn’t really crackle or distort at any point. It has a workman-like performance that's a clear step-up from 10W TV speakers, but it lacks the clarity and dimensionality of soundbars that are just a few hundred dollars more. You can add some of that in by combining the Smart Soundbar with the Roku Smart Subwoofer ($179.99) and Roku TV Wireless Speakers ($199.99), but that's a pretty big investment for a system that doesn't have Dolby Atmos.
Read the full review: Roku Smart Soundbar
The key feature of the SB362An-F6 – also referred to more helpfully as the “36-inch 2.1 Sound Bar” on most retailer's websites – is really its sheer value for money, costing just £149 in the UK and an even more competitive $99 in the US, where it was launched at the end of last year.
Despite the bargain-basement price, the SB362An-F6 is neatly designed, measuring 36 inches wide, and a streamlined 2 inches high, and 5.2 inches deep (914xx52x133mm). It will sit comfortably underneath the screen of most TVs, and Vizio also includes a pair of wall-mount brackets as well.
Inside the main unit, the soundbar houses four main drivers, with a pair of 2.6-inch (67.8mm) full-range woofers and two 3.0-inch (76.2mm) sub-woofers, although the sub-woofers get extra backup from two passive radiators that help to add even more bass rumble. Some people might prefer separate tweeters to handle voices and higher frequencies – especially if you want to use the soundbar for listening to music as well – but the low cost of the SB362An-F6 means there has to be a trade-off here.
Those passive radiators sometimes get a little carried away, exaggerating the bass rumble rather than keeping it taut and precise. And, switching to Bluetooth to stream some music from a Tidal account, the lack of tweeters reveals a weakness on some of those high-pitched Queen harmonies on Somebody To Love. It’s handy to have that Bluetooth option, though, and the SB362An-F6 will be fine for just listening to a few tunes when you’re collapsed on the sofa during the summer heatwave.
Read the full review: Vizio SB362An-F6
While it's a bit basic, the Yamaha YAS-108 is a solid option for folks looking for a basic two-channel soundbar with good sound quality - especially in the mids.
Why people love it is that it's surprisingly compact and yet still offers great clarity. Add in Bluetooth support and Alexa integration, and the result is a solid entry-level bar for most folks. Of course, if it had an external subwoofer for a meatier bass response and multicast like the rest of the Yamaha lineup that'd be better, but for under $200/£200 we'll take what we can get.
For anyone who’s in the market for a soundbar for their small studio space or even a college dorm room, the Creative Stage v2 is an excellent choice. It’s fairly compact, comes with a subwoofer, and is a definite improvement over your TV’s speakers. Plus, for a little over $100, it’s an affordable upgrade to your viewing experience.
So why isn't it higher? Unfortunately, it’s too small to properly fill a medium-sized room, and it really is best suited for watching TV shows with lots of dialogue. Bluetooth connectivity makes it easy to pair with a smartphone for some music listening, but the audio quality you get is far less impressive.
Then there’s the notion that the Creative Stage v2 could be used as a desktop speaker system, which to some extent can work. But it’s quite a large thing to have sitting on your desk, compared with two satellite speakers that could be positioned beside your monitor instead. In short, there are many things that the Creative Stage v2 gets right, and a few things that need improvement.
Read the full review: Creative Stage v2
Combining 4K streaming, clear dialogue, sound leveling for commercials and the ability to stream music with Spotify Connect or your phone via Bluetooth and more, the Roku Streambar tries to be the affordable upgrade your TV speakers have been searching for.
So does it deliver? Well, mostly. The sound quality on offer here was a huge upgrade on our TV's built-in speakers and while we felt it lacked solid bass response, that can be remedied by connecting the Streambar to Roku’s subwoofer and rear speaker kits, which are all connected wirelessly. That adds to the total cost, but if you want a piecemeal solution that sounds pretty good right out of the box, the Streambar is it.
Read the full review: Roku Streambar
- Don't mind spending more? Here's our list of the best soundbars at any price