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As TVs have gotten thinner, the need for quality soundbars has become increasingly common. Now, just like with any electronic, you could spend a fortune on your next soundbar. However, you might not have that kind of cash laying around to spend on it. The good news is that you don’t need to have a lot of money to purchase a quality one. Today, it’s easier than ever to find the best soundbar under $200 and we’re here to help you achieve that goal.
Today, we will be showing you the most important features to be looking for in a soundbar. Make sure to read this guide to the end to find out all about the different types of soundbar installation methods, their dimensions, and whether they’re Bluetooth-enabled or not. We’re your trusted source for finding the best soundbar under $200. And our Editor’s Choice nomination was won by the Samsung HW-J355.
Read on to view our comparison table – complete with product nominations and ratings – of soundbars, in-detail product reviews, and a buying guide. Our guide is your insight into finding the best soundbar under $200 for you. In mere minutes, you’ll be more informed than you would ever be by just heading to the store and talking to the store salesperson or shopping online. We won’t keep you waiting anymore, let’s get you started.
Connections: stereo RCA, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA jack for digital input, optical, USB
Dimensions: 28 x 3 x 3 inches (soundbar), 7.67 x 7.67 x 7.67 inches (subwoofer)
Installation: table top and wall-mountable
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth compatible, DTS TruVolume, DTS TruSurround, free lifetime technical support
Our favorite soundbar is the VIZIO SB2821-D6. Despite measuring in at only 28 inches long, this soundbar will provide a rich, clear and spacious sound. You can experience this while you’re watching a movie or TV, or listening to music. In addition to its beautiful sound, this soundbar is very easy to set up. All you need to do is to connect it to the TV with an optical cable, plug in the subwoofer, and plug in the soundbar and you’re set to go.
There are a variety of different sound effects that come with this soundbar. These sound effects enhance both your listening and watching experience. One of the top sound effects is the TruSurround HD option, which gives you a very realistic sound. The TruVolume setting also makes sure the sound level remains consistent at all times. Another sound effect is Dolby Digital sound, the set standard for cinema, DVD, streaming and Blu-ray, which gives you a superb listening experience and special effects dimension. The soundbar also pairs with Bluetooth devices within a range of 20 feet.
This soundbar is ideal to pair with TVs that are larger than 42 inches. It will fill your room with sound and you can use it to enjoy your favorite playlist, audiobook or podcast from your mobile device or any other device that’s Bluetooth-enabled. To make matters even easier, it comes with a remote control, wireless subwoofer, audio cables, and a wall mount bracket.
More features: Bluetooth connectivity, TV SoundConnect, Samsung Audio Remote app
Samsung is a household brand that’s trusted among consumers to deliver quality home goods and electronics. This soundbar is no exception. The Samsung HW-J355 is a best-selling soundbar, and for a good reason. It offers good sound quality, a wired subwoofer and an amazing asking price.
In addition, the Samsung HW-J355 comes with Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can use the soundbar for devices and other purposes beyond enhancing your movies, games or TV shows. Any device that has Bluetooth capabilities can be used to connect to your soundbar. So, not only are you getting a soundbar, you’re getting a speaker as well.
Samsung has a very cool feature that they call 3D Sound Plus. This is all about giving the surround sound effect without requiring you to spend a ton of money on a home theater sound system. While this sounds all fancy, you’re probably not going to notice any difference in sound. The only thing you may notice is its “clear voice technology” which enhances human voices and is designed to render them accurately. If you’re someone who constantly has to have the subtitles on to understand what everyone else is saying, this feature may be good for you.
Overall though, this is a very basic soundbar. It is not going to feel like you are sitting in a full-on theater or experiencing an expensive sound system. It’s just a cheap and cheerful speaker which will improve the sound of almost any flat screen TV.
Connections: 3.5 mm jack, RCA, USB, optical, coaxial
Dimensions: 39.7 x 4.0 x4.1 inches
Installation: table top and wall-mountable
More features: Bluetooth compatible, 45-day money back guarantee, lifetime technical support
If you’re looking for an affordable soundbar that’s great for small- and medium-sized living rooms, the Wohome S9920 is a solid option! If you have a large living area, the speaker will definitely boost the sound from your TV, but it may be best to opt for a different speaker or add more elements to your audio kit, like one of our picks for the best subwoofers under $500.
The Wohome S9920 has six different speaker drivers that pump out 80W and up to 105 dBs. This amount of power is decent as the rest of the soundbars in this price range top out at 60W of power.
The main downside to this soundbar is that it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable. No HDMI cable means that you won’t have virtual surround sound. If this is a feature that’s important to you, you should continue shopping. The Wohome S9920 speaker is the best option for someone who is looking to upgrade their standard TV speakers in a small- or medium-sized rooms. This speaker will provide its users with more character, bass, and volume. This soundbar will enhance games, movies, sports, and your general favorite TV shows will definitely sound better with this soundbar.
Why are we impressed?
Multiple installation methods
Higher power watt output than others on the market
More features: DTS Virtual:X Virtual 3D surround sound, dual built-in subwoofers, Bluetooth compatible
Yamaha is a well-known name in the electronics business. The YAS-108 is its latest low-price model, and it includes HDMI, several sound modes, Bluetooth capabilities, and 4K passthrough.
Despite its smallish size, this soundbar is powerful enough to fill a medium-sized room. It comes with two woofers and two tweeters. There’s also subwoofers within the soundbar unit, saving you space but not compromising on power. This soundbar is powerful enough to produce bass that will resonate the dialogue. If that’s not enough for you, there’s also a wired connection that you can use to add a separate subwoofer.
In addition to the wired connection, this soundbar has an HDMI input and output, and it can passthrough 4K video. There’s also an optical digital audio or analog connection on the soundbar. Finally, there are also dual Bluetooth connection capabilities, meaning that you can have an Amazon Echo and your mobile device connected at the same time.
The remote that comes with this soundbar allows you to switch inputs and adjust volumes, change bass levels and choose different sound modes. The different sound modes to choose from include Surround, Clear Voice and 3D Surround. One downside of this soundbar is that its indicator lights are set up on the top of the soundbar, which makes it difficult to see if you’re sitting down. Despite this minor setback, the soundbar delivers an impressive sound overall, especially given its size and cost.
Connections: stereo RCA, 3.5mm stereo mini jack, coaxial, optical, USB
Dimensions: 29 x 3 x 3 inches
Installation: table top and wall-mountable
Warranty: 1-year limited
More features: Bluetooth compatible, DTS Tru Volume TM, DTS Studio SoundTM, DTS TruSurroundTM
This soundbar is small but mighty. Its compact design is aesthetically pleasing and a welcome addition to any minimalistically designed home. This versatile design allows you to make this soundbar the centerpiece of your home theater. This Vizio has a low-key style that makes it fit into just about any style of house or home theater. They are good-looking without being flashy and afford you the opportunity to make as much of them as a visual centerpiece of your audio kit as you would like to. And if you don’t have a home theater yet, check out our budget picks for the best home theater system under $500!
This soundbar is all about giving you the best bang for your buck so don’t expect to find a ton of extra bells and whistles included. This is a lean, mean audio machine, basic and straightforward. You’ll find decent audio quality with it, but you won’t get a lot of extra capabilities. You will get a remote control with similar capabilities to those of other similarly priced models. What you lack in capabilities, you gain with the design. If you’re someone who’s worried that a bulky soundbar will ruin the aesthetics you have in your home, this is the best soundbar for you. If you’re someone who values capabilities over design, you should keep shopping.
What are its best features?
Multiple sound options
Multiple mounting methods
What could be improved?
Only 1-year limited warranty
Not many extra features
Doesn’t come with subwoofe
Things to Consider
For those who are not sure what to look for in a soundbar, and especially in a budget one, we’ve put together this handy buying guide to help you pick out the perfect soundbar for under $200 that will give you an awesome home theater experience.
Why do you need a soundbar?
It’s just one of those hard, painful truths of life – a paper thin TV is just not able to produce the kind of sound that you want from a TV. That is why soundbars have become a must-have product for your home entertainment set-up.
Thankfully, you know longer have to be a member of the Geek Squad to be able to install a soundbar either. The set-up has gotten easier and easier to where today, you generally only have to plug a couple of wires and you are good to go.
As TVs have gotten thinner, more and more companies have started making their own version of the perfect soundbar. There are tons of options now, however as awesome as having options is, it can make choosing a bit of a chore.
What to expect from a soundbar under $200?
While these soundbars definitely won’t win awards in comparison to more expensive models, they will improve your TV-watching experience. This is particularly true in the quiet dialogue scenes where hearing what characters are saying is especially important.
Soundbars in this range come with a host of wireless connectivity options, including Bluetooth. One of the handiest features, Bluetooth-enabled devices allow you to connect your devices (phone, tablet, laptop, TV) to your soundbar with the tap of a button. Boosting the sound of your favorite music or YouTube video has never been easier.
Remember that we are talking about products under $200. This means that they are not necessarily going to be top of the line kind of products. Still, at less than $200, you can expect much clearer and louder sound than your TV set is capable of producing.
Important features to consider before making a purchase
There are many different features to consider before making your soundbar purchase. The following are a few to prioritize when shopping.
Sound quality is not about how loud a soundbar can be, but how loud it can be and still produce clear, distinct, accurate sound. Since TVs are so thin these days, that means that their speakers have had to become thinner and smaller too. This means that most TVs are not able to keep up with quality sound as you up the volume.
A soundbar is a solution to this problem. They are designed with one purpose – producing sound. As a result, even relatively inexpensive soundbars are going to provide a marked improvement in sound over your normal TV speakers.
There is nothing worse than being all excited about your brand new soundbar/TV set-up only to get home from the store or finally get your package in the mail, only to find out that you are missing a vital piece of connecting hardware. Since TVs and soundbars are made by different manufacturers at different times, they do not always have the same connector cables or ports. This means that you might have to procure adapter cables or plugs in order for your TV and your soundbar to communicate.
The vast majority of the cables used between TVs and soundbars are pretty standardized. Just make sure beforehand that you check to make sure that you have the correct connections and that everything will plug together as needed.
There are many different types and dimensions of speakers. However, remember that a big sized soundbar does not necessarily mean that it will produce a lot (or high quality) sound. When looking at different soundbars, keep in mind where you are planning on placing the bar. Will you put it under your TV? Will it be in an entertainment stand or mounted on the wall? Wherever you plan on having it, measure first to make sure it will fit. From the compact VIZIO SB2821-D6 to the long Wohome S9920, there are plenty of options for you to choose from evet in this price range.
Types of installation
Your soundbar will come with specific installation instructions. Some bare-bones models can be installed and set up within 10 minutes. Others require more attention to detail and care. Some will require some tools and maybe even some drilling. Be sure to read the instructions to avoid any confusion with your specific model.
There are a few things to consider in general when installing soundbars. In many cases, the soundbar’s best location is going to be right beneath the TV itself. Since your attention is already in that direction, it will be the most natural place for the sound to come from. If your TV is sitting on a table or cabinet, make sure that either your soundbar will fit underneath it or that there is room for your soundbar to sit in front of the TV slightly.
Some soundbars, like the Yamaha YAS-108, are designed to be mounted on the wall. If your TV is already mounted, then this is a logical choice for placing your soundbar. In this case, too, the prime location for the bar is underneath the TV to provide the best sound.
If you have ever hung a TV or a shelf, then you know the basic drill when it comes to wall mounting thing. Generally, the product will come with some kind of template to assist you as you mark and drill the holes. Just remember – measure twice, drill once!
With many things in life, it pays to read the fine print. The same is true when it comes to soundbars and other similar electronic equipment. Often they will come from the manufacturer with a 2-year warranty for speakers. Depending on where you buy it from, many sellers will offer their own additional protection plans in addition to the manufacturer warranty. Before you buy anything, make sure that you check carefully to see what is covered and what you may have to pay for (shipping, handling, etc.) in order to get your warranty fulfilled.
A soundbar is pretty basic in its function. For this reason, there are not a ton of different extra features available on most models. However, one extra feature that is extremely nice to have is Bluetooth. If you like to be able to control things with your phone (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t!) then having a Bluetooth enabled soundbar is definitely for you.
With Bluetooth, your soundbar doesn’t have to be only for your TV. You will be able to effortlessly connect all your different devices to your soundbar with a few touches of a button. A soundbar without Bluetooth will require hardwired connections that can be cumbersome and difficult to mess with.
If your soundbar does not have Bluetooth, there are options out there that can act as adapters. Basically, they plug into the soundbar like a normal device, but then when they are plugged in, they allow you to connect to the soundbar as if it did have Bluetooth capabilities.
As previously mentioned, the installation and usage of your soundbar will depend on your specific model. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your soundbar.
Make sure that your soundbar is about the same width as your TV. This will camouflage the soundbar a bit and allow it to seamlessly integrate into your set-up.
Follow the mounting instructions carefully to make sure your soundbar isn’t going anywhere after you have installed it! Plus, a solidly mounted piece will actually provide better sound too.
Remember that low and low-mid frequencies are not covered very well by most soundbars (especially in this price range). Consider getting yourself a subwoofer to go along with your soundbar. This will cover those lower ranges and provide you with a fuller, richer sound.
Before you buy, give it a try. Even if you are ordering online, most mainline models are available in a local store. Swing by and try out whatever model you are looking at before you purchase. When it comes to sound, this is the only surefire way to make sure you are getting what you are hoping for.
In order for this function to work, your soundbar and TV will need to become synced, and this function is only available if your model has it built-in. It’s often more cost-effective and simple to deal with having two different remotes.
Not necessarily. Make sure to leave enough room around the soundbar to ensure that the speakers aren’t covered. As long as it’s clear space in front of the speakers, there won’t be a sound difference between having the soundbar sit on a shelf or cabinet versus being mounted on the wall.
The answer is both yes and no. It depends on your soundbar model. Surround sound is all about delivering the sound from the TV in the location that is appears on the TV. For instance, with surround sound, when a bullet sound on the TV whips by from left to right, the sound would follow that same direction. You will need to check your particular soundbar model to see if it is set up and designed to be able to integrate in a surround sound system.
As far as soundbars go, there are many different options at many different price points. Buying soundbar for your TV has various advantages. Soundbars do not cost much like that of stereo speakers. In particular, some of the best soundbars under $200 that we discussed here are known for their reliable performances.
The top picks, however, are as follows: the Samsung HW-J355 is our next pick, as it delivers a lot of punch for its price but is a bit too minimalistic to earn our top pick spot. The third pick of ours is the Wohome S9920, as it delivers everything you could need in a quality budget soundbar, but it’s nothing extraordinarily special.
Having a flat screen TV is awesome, there is no doubt about that. However, it does not mean that you should have to sacrifice awesome sound. The soundbars we have reviewed today will give you the kind of sound you want at a price you can afford.