If you think your TV speakers don’t sound good at all and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, a cheap soundbar is the perfect solution. Whether it’s for watching movies and TV shows or streaming music Bluetoothyou can make your TV better for less than $200.
The budget soundbar models highlighted here are the ones that performed well in CNET’s hands-on tests, and there’s also one that costs under $100. All available sound tapes on this list have Bluetooth, HDMI, and optical connectivity, making connecting to a TV easy. It’s time to let go bad TV sound and turn up the volume for better binge eating.
For a $190 MSRP, the V21 includes a wireless subwoofer, HDMI connectivity, and Dolby and DTS decoding. Like many of its stablemates, it’s an absolute machine for movies and an impressive speaker for streaming music and Bluetooth.
Read our Vizio V21 review.
The compact Roku Streambar offers a lot for your $130 (or even cheaper on sale). It’s a fully-fledged 4K HDR streamer with hundreds of supported services, plus Bluetooth connectivity. It’s an instant upgrade to your TV speaker too with excellent voice clarity.
Read our Roku Streambar review.
If you’re looking for a compact soundbar that offers Bluetooth, HDMI and really clean dialogue, the Yamaha SR-C20A has you covered. It also includes DTS Virtual:X for excellent simulated surround from a single box.
Read our Yamaha SR-C20A review.
Soundbars are capable of producing a lot of noise from a small box, but nothing compares to the bass that a dedicated subwoofer can deliver. Creative Stage offers a lot for just $90, including HDMI cable connectivity, but the wired subwoofer is what makes the system really sing. This soundbar also offers Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for MP3 playback from an external device. It is nearing the end of its availability after being replaced by the Stage V2, but The creative site lists the original as it is still in stock.
Read our Creative Stage review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a cheap soundbar sound good?
TV speakers have traditionally performed very poorly, so even a little bit can improve your shows immeasurably. For around $100, you can buy something that doubles as a Bluetooth music streamer and TV sound system. The quality of inexpensive soundbars has improved significantly over the past few years, and the addition of subwoofers at this level has also helped boost performance. Bass is something that no built-in TV speaker can offer.
Is it worth spending more than $200?
All of the above soundbars will sound great and do so for a minimal amount of money, but there are advantages to stretching your budget. At $280, for example, the Sonos Ray will not only give you a better audio experience and sound, but also a better assortment of features, including multiroom music. While the sky’s the limit on how much you can spend to upgrade your sound, the real sweet spot is between $300 and $400. Check out our list of the best soundbars here, which includes models that offer state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos audio effects.
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