If you’re looking for the best soundbar under 200, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll recommend our top picks and tell you what to look for when shopping for a soundbar. We’ve considered factors like audio quality, features, and value to help you find the best soundbar for your needs and budget.
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- Top Rated 9 Best Soundbar Under 200 Of 2023
- How We Selected The Best Soundbars Under $200
- Things To Consider When Buying A Soundbar Under $200
Top Rated 9 Best Soundbar Under 200 Of 2023
Vizio V Series V51x-J6
We’ve found the Vizio V Series V51xJ6 to be the best soundbar under 200 dollars. The Vizio V Series V51x-J6 offers a versatile overall performance comparable to other soundbars in its price range.
This makes it ideal for listening to music, movies, and TV shows. It can provide a more immersive audio experience with Dolby Digital surround content, often found on Blu-rays or streaming services.
This bar is quite neutral in sound, especially in mids. It reproduces dialogue with clarity and detail. The dedicated subwoofer gives it extra bass power, making you feel the thrill in action-packed scenes.
Although it does not offer the same features as premium models, there are standard sound enhancement options, such as bass and treble adjustments, that allow you to customize its sound.
Unfortunately, the budget model doesn’t support Dolby Atmos. This is disappointing for those who watch many higher-quality, object-based formats on streaming sites. It reproduces less low-bass than its predecessor, Vizio V Series V51H6. The V51-H6 is a better choice if you like bass-heavy music. The V51xx-J6 is an option if you prefer a bit less rumble.
Roku Streambar Pro
The Roku Streambar Pro is a standalone soundbar that easily surpasses its price. The 32-inch soundbar houses four 2.5-inch drivers producing rich, clear sound. Dolby Audio supports simulated surround sound effects. It’s easy to set it up via HDMI.
The Streambar Pro’s capabilities go far beyond its standard performance. It includes a fully-featured 4K/HDR Roku streaming media device that can handle all your streaming needs. This device also has access to many apps, including Hulu and Netflix.
It seamlessly integrates with Roku Wireless Subwoofers and Wireless Speakers, allowing you to create a true 3.1 or even 5.1 system in minutes. The Streambar Pro is the best LG soundbar under 200 to start with, and it can be expanded later without worrying about compatibility.
Don’t worry, though. The Roku soundbar doesn’t have to be paired with Roku TVs. It’s compatible with any 4K/1080p TV with HDMI ARC or optical outs. The Streambar Pro is compatible with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. It also supports AirPlay so that you can share photos and videos from your Apple device. Bluetooth 4.2 completes the range of streaming options.
The performance isn’t flawless. The Streambar Pro will deliver more clarity and bass without a sub, but it is still a great choice for affordability and versatility. There are sound modes that can be added to the Streambar Pro to increase Bass Boost and Speech Clarity, as well as a Volume-Leveling Night Mode.
You can also toggle Virtual Surround on/off. The upgraded Roku remote also features voice controls, voice controls, and a headphone jack to allow for single-stream sessions.
- Very affordable
- Built-in 4K/HDR Roku streaming device
- Voice control, AirPlay, and HomeKit compatible
- Expandable with standalone speakers or a subwoofer
- Higher-end models have less clarity in the dialog.
- Subwoofers with just OK bass performance are worth the money.
The Vizio V21H8 is part of Vizio’s new V soundbar range. It comfortably outperforms the Samsung HW550 and has become our preferred best soundbar for 200.
The main improvement over previous Vizio soundbars is not only its new sleek design but also the sound. The V21-H8 produces full-bodied sound, unlike many budget soundbars with a bright sound profile.
Room-shaking bass is an important part of home theater experiences. The subwoofer, which measures 5 inches in height, ensures that the lower frequencies don’t lack power. Although it won’t blow you away, it significantly improves any standalone soundbar.
Vizio has been in soundbar manufacturing for a longer time than others. Their experience shows in their ability to get the details right. It is easy to install, and you can stream music from your phone via Bluetooth and HDMI (ARC).
The EQ preset improves dialogue clarity, which is especially useful for movies with quiet dialogue (cough, Tenet, or cough). You can also enable DTS VirtualX to add 3D sound to the audio.
The V21-H8 also has the added benefit of connecting to your Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri smart speakers through the Aux VA input/USB port. This effectively makes it a voice-controlled smart soundbar.
While this isn’t a premium Dolby Atmos soundbar, it offers exceptional audio quality at a reasonable price. Vizio also has the Vizio V51H6 5.1 soundbar with two satellite speakers. Although the extra speakers won’t be very useful in small spaces, they will add to the audio experience when given sufficient space to maximize their potential.
- Wide soundstage, a subwoofer for immersive bass
- One of the few soundbars that have DTS: Virtual X within this budget
- Compatibility with smart speakers
- Amazing value for money
- None at this price
Best 2.1 Soundbars Under $200
You can also consider a 2.1 setup such as the Samsung HW-555 if you don’t have enough space for additional satellite speakers. Although the bar only has two channels, it can still play surround sound. It just needs to downmix it to stereo. A dedicated subwoofer is also included to give your mix more thump or rumble.
This soundbar is neutral right out of the box and has a bit more punch in the bass range. The soundbar reproduces voices and leads clearly with great detail. You can also use the dialogue enhancement feature to make your dialogue sound crisper. Many sound enhancement options are available for this price, including a graphic equalizer that allows you to customize the sound to your taste.
The surround sound quality of the bar’s surround is not as good as that achieved with 5.1 setups such as the Vizio V Series V51xJ6. Because it must downmix surround content into stereo.
This makes popular formats such as Dolby Digital or DTS not seem as immersive and the feeling that you are watching the action around you. It just feels like the audio comes from speakers in front of your face. It’s still a good choice if you don’t want to watch too many movies on streaming sites or have limited space.
- Powerful sound
- Acoustic Beam technology
- Wireless connectivity
- HDMI input and output
- No Dolby Atmos support
- Limited number of channels
- No voice assistant support
- No HDMI 2.1
TCL Alto 8i
TCL Alto 8i, a 2.1-channel system, features dual subwoofers, bass/treble calibration, and front-firing drivers for powerful, immersive sound. The Alto 8i’s tested frequency response range is 50Hz to 20kHz. This, combined with the adjustable bass/treble, will make you happy with the sound quality.
You can enhance your listening experience with different programs by using the three EQ presets Music, movies, or TV. You can turn on Night mode to adjust the volume for quiet, controlled viewing. The bass response of these presets isn’t as loud as one with an extra subwoofer, but it’s still a worthwhile upgrade for your TV’s speakers.
The 8i technology allows Dolby Atmos content to be processed via HDMI ARC. This is the 8i’s claim of fame. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the soundbar can deliver spatialized audio with hyper-detailed detail from just 2.1 channels. However, it can process Atmos content using Dolby Virtual Surround mode.
You can also use HDMI ARC and optical audio. It can also connect to Bluetooth, Full HDMI In, Aux Out, USB, HDMI Out, Bluetooth, and all relevant 4K bandwidth signals. Although the remote isn’t universal, it can control EQ presets and inputs and the bass/treble adjusters.
The 8i has a small but powerful gamechanger: wall-mounting holes that allow for power and inputs. This unit is smaller than many budget soundbars and doesn’t need to take up much space on a console or credenza.
- Dolby Atmos support
- Subwoofers with built-in speakers
- Mountable on walls
- No voice assistant support
- Features that enhance sound quality to a minimum
Polk Audio Signa S2
Sound Manual is a big fan of Polk Audio. Their home theater speakers have consistently been rated as having the best sound quality for their price. The Polk soundbar series, the Signa series, is Polk’s signature soundbar line. The S2 is a universal 2.1 soundbar.
It is extremely slim and low profile (2-inches high), so it’s easy to place. It sounds similar to the Samsung HW550 but slightly less powerful. Although the subwoofer is not powerful, it produces a rich sound that’s full of detail.
Polk’s patent-pending voice adjust technology makes it easier to understand dialogue in news, sports, and other television programs.
The Signa S2 comes with all the bells & whistles that you would expect from a soundbar for its price. It also has Bluetooth compatibility and HDMI ARC.
In most cases, we recommend the Vizio V21H8. If you are looking for a slimmer design, the Vizio V21-H8 could be an option.
- For maximum placement flexibility, ultra-slim design
- Impressive dialogue enhancement feature
- Quality budget build
TaoTronics 32-Inch Soundbar
TaoTronics is a Chinese tech company that has captured its domestic market. They are now starting to dominate the US market through their soundbars, noise-canceling headphones, and soundbars.
This 32-inch soundbar can be used to enhance the sound quality of 32 “-48 inch TVs with minimal cost. The soundbar costs less than $200, but it will greatly improve the audio quality of your TV. However, the 40W power output won’t be enough to fill large rooms. It can be used as a soundbar in bedrooms and smaller living spaces.
The soundbar is easy to see, thanks to its wood-grain finish. The soundbar has all the inputs you would expect and Bluetooth connectivity. Although the remote control isn’t very functional, it does its job.
This soundbar is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to upgrade their TV’s poor built-in speakers without spending as much on it. This soundbar is a great piece of equipment. But don’t expect it to blow your mind.
- Attractive, compact design
- A small sound stage and limited dynamic range
- Powerlessness in general
Best small soundbar under $200
Are you tight on space? Another standalone option is the Sony HT-S200F, which has a smaller footprint than the TCL Alto 8i. This compact soundbar measures 23 inches in width and can easily fit between the legs of a standard computer monitor or 55-inch TV stand. It is small enough to be loud enough to fill your living room.
The 2.1 configuration has a balanced mid-range and reproduces the dialogue clearly in podcasts and TV shows. It has many features that enhance your TV-watching experience like most budget soundbars.
It also has a night mode that reduces the overall dynamic range to equalize the volume level. This means you can still hear the quiet parts of your program, like dialogue, without being drowned by louder sounds like explosions.
Its integrated subwoofers are unable to reproduce the deep low-bass thump. It doesn’t have Atmos support, and the soundstage is smaller than the TCL’s. This means you won’t get the illusion of the audio wrapping around you. It’s a good choice if you want a small enhancement to your TV shows.
- Slim design
- Bluetooth connectivity
- S-Force PRO Front Surround technology
- Easy setup
- Limited power
- No HDMI input
- Limited audio formats
- No wireless subwoofer
Yamaha produces everything, from pianos and motorbikes to soundbars.
Audiophiles often criticize Yamaha soundbars. However, they have made great-sounding soundbars that have earned all the praise. After extensive testing, RTings rated YAS207 as the best budget soundbar. Digital Trends rated YAS-209 as the best soundbar 2019 under 200.
Although the YAS-108 has a smaller brother, it does not have a subwoofer like those models. However, it has a similarly balanced and clean sound signature.
You also can add a subwoofer to the best sound system under 200 in the future. It has a non-proprietary subwoofer output port.
Many users recommend pairing the YAS108 with a budget sub such as this Monoprice 8-inch model. This will give you the best sound quality for your money. The subwoofers included with the YAS-209 and YAS-207 aren’t very good.
The YAS108, our top-pick Vizio V21H8, has DTS’s latest codec, DTS Virtual: X. This codec simulates the sound of an 11.1-channel surround sound setup and expands the soundstage on both vertical and horizontal planes. It is not as immersive as the $2000 Dolby Audio soundbars or true surround-sound systems. It is, however, far superior to the virtual surround technologies used in the soundbars that it competes with.
- This budget has the best sound quality and soundest sound.
- DTS: Virtual X
- A subwoofer is not required to produce low-end frequencies that sound thin.
How We Selected The Best Soundbars Under $200
It is important to consider whether the product excels in basic functions when recommending affordable technology. Is the budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker waterproof? Is the gaming monitor able to run at a reasonable refresh rate? Are soundbars that cost less than $200 better than built-in TV speakers?
Yes. The number of channels, frequency response range, connectivity, expandability, and expandability was all considered to help you make informed choices that will enhance your experience without compromising your budget.
We consulted experts and looked at first-hand user impressions to narrow the list of affordable soundbars.
Things To Consider When Buying A Soundbar Under $200
We have some thoughts about how to pick the best soundbar.
Size and space
It is a good rule never to buy a soundbar longer than your TV. You should stick to the screen size even if your TV is smaller. Many soundbars, such as the Roku Streambar, measure less than 18 inches. Your soundbar should be located directly below the screen if it is mountable.
Imagine that you move the soundbar too high or low. You risk confusing directionality, and enjoying the screen in front of you might be difficult while listening to dialogue from another source.
Additional units like subwoofers or satellite speakers offer a bit more flexibility. You can experiment with different placements depending on the room dynamics. However, most listeners place their subwoofers in the center of the room or to the side of a television and face viewers.
You should leave at least 6 inches between the subwoofer and the wall. For enhanced surround sound, you can mount satellite speakers behind viewers. To increase the soundstage, you can mount them near the soundbar if you don’t have enough space or the equipment.
The available audio channels are the first number you will encounter when trying to understand soundbar specs. Stereo soundbars that cost less than $200 usually have stereo sound. This is a system with an independent left channel and right channel. It’s also known as a 2.0-channel system.
Some 2.0 bars use drivers to create what is known as a “phantom center,” which creates the illusion that a sound source is coming from the middle of a pair of stereo speakers. A 2.1-channel soundbar may be available at a reasonable price. The.1 sign means that the speakers will only be dedicated to bass, either passive radiators, woofers within the main bar, or an additional standalone subwoofer.
You can spend more if you are willing to pay more for a 3.1-channel system. This will include a dedicated center channel, left and right channels, and an additional sub.
You will want to get more out of your home system, so choose a soundbar you can add to it, such as the Samsung HW450.
This will allow you to enjoy 5.1 surround sound. It uses the left, right, and center channels, one subwoofer, and two additional speakers. These can be used as surrounds, rears, or front fills. If you want to enjoy Dolby Atmos and DTS audio, this is the best way. It is downmixed with 2.0- or 2.1-channel systems.
To help you find your soundbars, there are some other numbers and phrases that you can use.
This range is measured in hertz or kilohertz. It lets you know the frequency range (lows, middles, and highs) the speakers can support. The range of 20Hz to 20kHz is what you will see most often. This is the human hearing limit for highs and lows. Although this is a great range, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the model won’t experience dips or peaks at certain frequencies.
Budget soundbars lack the power or space to handle frequencies below 30Hz to 40Hz. This is why a 2.1-channel system with a separate sub could make a big difference.
A frequency response graph of the product can be used to gain a deeper understanding of its ability to reproduce audio accurately. This graph is often produced with third-party audio testing. You can also read our primer to learn more about sound waves.
Sound Pressure Level
Sound Pressure Level (SPL), which measures the volume of a soundbar, is measured in decibels. 100 dB is the loudest level you can go. We’re not surprised that you enjoy listening to this volume (it’s similar to watching a jet plane fly overhead).
Soundbars can reach 95 dB, a good volume for music listening, binging TV, or immersing oneself in John Williams’ “Star Wars” score.
Customization is the key to home audio. Each room is unique—furniture, surfaces, and size impact the sound quality. Tuning is crucial to keep things sounding great. High wattage mixed with manufacturer-designed tuning can help you listen to loud volumes without distortion, ringing, or over-compression.
Equalization is necessary for tuning. This allows you to cut and boost certain frequencies to increase clarity and reduce noise. Some soundbars come with “EQ Presets,” which often include specific modes that support certain content like dialogue or music.
A soundbar with graphic EQ, or controllable bass/treble, will be even better. This allows you to make adjustments based on your preferences and space.
There are many options for connectivity available on soundbars today, the most popular being HDMI cables. It is important to know your TV’s connectivity capabilities before buying a soundbar. This will allow you to set up your new soundbar quickly once it arrives.
HDMI (or High Definition Multimedia Interface) ports allow you to send audio and video information from a TV to an external unit like an A/V receiver, soundbar, or soundbar.
HDMI transmission was first introduced in 2009. You needed one HDMI port to transmit video and one HDMI cable to support audio. If your TV were built before 2009, it would most likely require a soundbar that has an optical digital audio port. Televisions built after 2009 can still use optical audio connections if the soundbar doesn’t support HDMI.
HDMI (e-ARC) connections were made possible after 2009. This eliminated the need for a second cable and created a more efficient connection. HDMI ARC transmission is the most common and affordable option for soundbars. It is compatible with many TVs.
HDMI ARC supports Dolby Atmos. However, an eARC connection via an HDMI 2.1 port/compatible Cable is strongly recommended. You will need that eARC support to encode full Atmos audio with uncompressed Dolby TrueHD Audio.
A soundbar below $200 is unlikely to have an eARC port. If you want better surround sound, you will need to get an upgrade. HDMI output ports allow you to connect multiple gaming consoles or Blu-ray players to your TV and soundbar simultaneously.
Many soundbars will offer Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. This allows you to link to your phone or laptop and stream audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many soundbars have built-in Chromecast or AirPlay for greater control and connectivity.
Dolby Digital, an audio codec, produces high-quality sound in a 5.1 channel scheme. It creates surround sound in films and television.
To process Dolby digital, you don’t necessarily need a system with a 5.1 channel. A 2.1 system can process Dolby Digital audio by combining the signal and formatting it to match the soundbar’s channel configuration. Although you won’t get the full effect of Dolby Digital, streaming won’t be an issue.
Dolby Atmos is a step above Dolby Digital. It’s surround sound technology that creates a real-life listening experience.
Atmos can process more than 100 sonic objects, assigning them channels and heights. This makes it sound like bullets are flying past your ears, arrows are falling, bullets are whizzing past, planes fly directly overhead, doors are closing right above your shoulder, and so on.
True immersion can be difficult to achieve with a 2.0-channel or 2.1-channel system. Dolby Atmos soundbars equipped with Dolby Atmos are designed to process audio and create an immersive viewing experience through physical surround speakers, virtualization, or reflections off walls and ceilings.
Dolby Atmos’ rival is DTS: X. It is a multi-dimensional audio codec. Most soundbars below $200 do not support DTS: X. However, DTS Virtual:X may be used. This digital signal processing simulates directionality and creates a bigger, more detailed soundstage that impacts music, dialogue, and SFX.
It can be hard to find a soundbar that supports surround sound technologies such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X without spending more than $500. If you’re looking for an amazing 3D audio experience, you might consider spending more to save money.
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- What Wattage Soundbar Do I Need? Top Full Guide 2023
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What does a soundbar do?
Soundbars are a speaker system that can be connected to a TV and replaces the tinny built-in speakers. They produce high-quality audio to enhance your viewing experience. A soundbar is a rectangular, slim cabinet that houses two speakers.
Advanced soundbars can create immersive surround sound. They also offer the option to physically expand their channel system by adding a subwoofer or two satellite speakers.
Soundbars can be used as hubs or switches to connect Blu-ray players and gaming consoles with the TV. While some models can only pass the audio they receive, others can process digital surround sound technologies such as Dolby or DTS.
Do you need a subwoofer with a soundbar?
To use a soundbar, you will need a subwoofer. Some soundbars with 2.1 channels include passive radiators and bass-dedicated speakers.
A sub is a great idea if you want to hear the best low-end heavy sounds and dramatic rumbling effects. A general rule of thumb is that an all-in-1 model won’t accurately reproduce low frequencies and a dedicated sub. While you could do without one, it can enhance and intensify the listening experience.
Where should a soundbar be placed?
The soundbar should be placed directly below your television. It should rest on top of your credenza. To ensure that the soundbar you choose fits, measure the distance between your TV and any furniture. Mountable soundbars can be placed above or below the TV.
Mountable units with upward-firing speakers must be kept clear of obstructions. They use the room’s architecture, including ceilings, for immersive audio. To avoid audio and image sync problems, soundbars should not be placed on top of or below your TV.
After extensive research and testing, we have concluded that the best soundbar under $200 is the Polk Audio Signa S2. It offers excellent value for the price, with great sound quality and a sleek design. If you’re looking for a soundbar that won’t break the bank, the Polk Audio Signa S2 is the way to go. Thanks for reading.
Last update on 2023-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API