We’re straight up living in the future, people. Where it used to cost half your salary and half your time to set up a theater sound system in your home, these days you can do it for a couple hundred bucks and about 5 minutes of setup (including cutting the box open). These days, sound bars are nearly all Bluetooth enabled and deliver unbelievable sound in slim packages. This is the time to invest in a quality sound bar, and we’ve put together a list of some of the best budget sound bars you can buy without breaking $200.
1. VIZIO SB3821-C6 (Editor’s Pick)
Best for Big Screens
This top-rated sound bar really has it all. At 38” across, it’s best suited for TVs 42” or bigger. This is by far the least expensive option we’ve found for setting up a large-screen home theater experience. With rich, clear sounds up to 100 dB, the VIZIO sound bar also features DTS TruSurround for a realistic sounding virtual surround sound, and DTS TruVolume so you only have to set your volume once and the sound bar automatically learns your preferences. It comes with wall mounts so you can set up your theater how you like, and it’s Bluetooth enabled with a wireless subwoofer. We can’t believe how much value the VIZIO packs in for only $139!
Best for Easy Setup
This is definitely one of the best options if you’re looking for excellent soundbars on a budget. The built-in subwoofer simplifies setup and looks snappy. We love the blue backlight display and integrated controls. This is a 5.1 sound bar that fills any room with crisp, clear sound and can be used with or without turning on the TV. You can even listen to the radio on this bad boy. Pyle is bringing back the old-school boom box feel with a cutting-edge flair.
Best for Simple Surround Sound Setup
We are loving this sound bar! Gone are the days of running wires through your walls and boring holes where nobody should be boring holes, amiright? This sound bar and included wireless subwoofer sound fabulous on their own, but the system is also pre-programmed to automatically connect to the Samsung wireless surround kit. So, if you find you’d really like to ramp up your sound levels, you can always purchase the kit and set up is an absolute breeze. The future is here.
Best for Budget Customization
Amazon is done getting its feet wet in the tech game—it’s doing cannon balls in the deep end nowadays. This latest product is a powerful Bluetooth soundbar with virtual surround sound, powerful volumes of up to 100 dB, and three sound mod options. Choose Standard for watching TV shows, News for anything with a lot of dialogue, and Movie for excellent, rich music (perfect for movies or games with great soundtracks). A great soundbar for just under $100.
Best for Immersive Sound for Gaming
The Razer Liviathan is a 5.1 soundbar designed with hardcore gamers and audiophiles in mind. With the latest sound tech and drivers, this soundbar delivers dynamic, pure sounds and even has a 5.25-in subwoofer for thumping, distortion-free bass. It also comes with three preset equalizer modes for the best sound whether you’re watching a movie, hacking and slashing in the video game world, or rocking out to Handel’s Messiah… or whatever the kids are listening to these days.
Best for Never Missing a Moment
Samsung totally killed it with this sound bar. It’s got virtual surround sound on a budget, effortless connectivity to devices and other speakers, and easy control with the Samsung remote app. The sound bar is also armed with Samsung Clear Voice for crisp and intelligible dialogue, so even when your three-year-old is yelling in the background, you’ll still know whether that was a win for the Celtics or the Spurs. Swoosh.
Best for the Ultimate Setup
Hear everything loud and clear, including the fact that this sound bar is only $91! We love it for its vast array of connection ports so you can hook everything in your dang house to this fabulous Bluetooth sound bar. You can even use it as a white noise machine for sleeping. And the sound is consistent and rich, with three different settings for music, movies, and nighttime.
Best for “Wait, That’s Not Surround Sound?”
It’s surprising to sit down in a room with this speaker and realize all that rich, pure sound is coming from one single sound bar. It employs double subwoofers and 7.1 channel AIR SURROUND XTREME technology for virtual surround sound that you won’t believe! Another cool feature: remote control learning technology lets you control the sound bar with your TV’s remote, so there’s one less thing to lose in the couch cushions.
Best for Keeping a Low Profile
If you live in an Ikea-sized apartment and think you don’t have room for an in-house sound system, this sound bar is for you. The super skinny design is made to fit anywhere and be clutter-free. You’ll barely notice it’s there until you turn on your TV or music and get spoiled by crystal clear sound and adjustable bass to avoid annoying your neighbors (unless that’s what you’re into). We also love that it’s battery-powered, making it totally portable!
10. Samsung HW-J250
Best for Wire-phobia
Do you have nightmares about tripping over wires? Samsung has engineered this sound bar to connect and sync wirelessly with Samsung TVs. Control it easily with the Samsung Audio Remote app and understand every line of that movie with Clear Voice technology.
Best for Super Accurate Sound and Bass
We had to include this sweet soundbar, even though the price is a bit above the rest on the list, and here’s why. Let’s picture a moment we’ve all had: You’re piled on the couch with your squad, watching the latest Marvel flick. Sexy green scaled lady is whispering super important plot points and everybody yells at you to turn it up. Okay, okay! Volume up to 75. Something about bounty hunters and 4th dimensions. Cut scene and—HUGE EXPLOSION! Everybody in the room falls backward, deafened and straight up done with this movie. Your next step should be scheduling a raincheck and ordering the Bose Solo 5 Soundbar. It has the miraculous ability to keep volume levels equal throughout the movie, so you won’t miss dialogue OR lose your hearing whenever the action turns up. We know you’ll thank us later.
12. Yamaha YAS-106
Best for On-Trend Techies
This Yamaha sound bar is compatible with those cool 4k TVs we’re seeing everywhere. Even without a 4k TV, this sound bar is easy to set up and use with a home theater control app or your TV remote. The sound is exceptional, and Yamaha included Clear Voice technology for intelligible dialogue. And we love the look of this sleek, trendy budget sound bar.