A soundbar is a simple and affordable all-in-one speaker system used to improve the sound quality of your TV’s speakers. They are compact and affordable, and are a great alternative to the expensive and complex surround sound systems found in many homes today.
Before the emergence of soundbars, sound bases were the most popular TV sound enhancers. Soundbases were generally wider than soundbars, and were also used as TV pedestals. They were simple to use, but they were known to distract the remote control signal. Also, they lacked subwoofers and had subpar sound compared to soundbars. Finally, changes in TV pillar designs from the middle part to the ends of the screen rendered sound bases pretty much obsolete.
Soundbars, on the other hand, are long and thin speakers that come in different combinations. They can be Bluetooth enabled, self-powered, and with or without subwoofers. You can either place them in front of the TV, or mount on the wall below your TV (placing the soundbar in front of the TV might block the signal from the remote).
A soundbar complements the quality of the sound of your TV, especially when you’re watching a movie or listening to music. And while modern TV speakers have undergone remarkable improvements over the years, most remain underpowered. Surround speaker systems, on the other hand, are expensive and clutter the room. This makes soundbars an excellent affordable option as they mount perfectly on TVs and have a remarkable output.
Finally, soundbars are surprisingly affordable, and you can easily find a great one for less than $200. So today, we’re looking at the best soundbar under 200 dollars, and evaluating the options to help you make the right choice for your needs.
So, without much droning around, let’s get right into it!
- 1 Reviews of the Best Soundbars Under 200 Dollars
- 1.1 Best Soundbar under $200: Yamaha YAS-108
- 1.2 Best Budget Soundbar: VIZIO SB2920-C6
- 1.3 Also Worth Mentioning #1: Samsung HW-M360/ZA
- 1.4 Also Worth Mentioning #2: Yamaha YAS107
- 1.5 Also Worth Mentioning #3: Sony CT290
- 1.6 Bonus: Best Soundbar under 150 Dollars: VIZIO SB3821-C6
- 2 Useful Tips When Buying the Best Soundbar Under $200
- 3 Conclusions
Reviews of the Best Soundbars Under 200 Dollars
Now, let’s have a look at the 6 contenders, starting with my top pick from Yamaha:
Best Soundbar under $200: Yamaha YAS-108
Impeccable Design. While Yamaha maintained the size of the predecessor YAS-107, the new YAS-108 model features rounded edges. The case is wrapped in a black mesh, bringing out a modest style that complements the aesthetic value of your room. And despite the size, the soundbar delivers clean sound thanks to the two 3-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters. The integrated 3-inch subwoofers bring out the bass and attitude of a movie or music video.
Strong Compatibility. The YAS107 has an HDMI input and output and can pass through 4K video. Furthermore, the soundbar supports two Bluetooth connections at once meaning you can use your phone or tablet as a music source. You can also use an optical digital audio or 3.5 mm analog to connect.
Performance. With a combination of two subwoofers and two tweeters, the YAS108 generates enough bass to solidify dialogue without rattling the floor. I used the soundbar when playing a car racing game, and I was surprised by how the sound articulation came out accurately- the tires screeching sound was impeccable as well as coins trickling on the floor. Furthermore, the YAS-108 includes Clear Voice dialogue-enhancement technology which lifts dialogue and makes it more articulate. And also support DTS Virtual:X that creates a more spacious, lifelike sound for your movies and games.
Excellent Remote Control Options. For an entry-level soundbar, YAS-108’s remote control is excellent. It features cleanly and logically laid out buttons and a distinctive dimmer button which cycles between bright, dim, and off. This is helpful, especially for soundbars mounted on the wall as it helps minimize any potential distraction from the LED’s. If you enable the HDMI CEC feature on your TV set and the YAS-108, you can use the TV remote to control both.
- Impeccable design will complement the aesthetic value of your room
- The YAS108 supports multiple Bluetooth connections
- Excellent frequency range for an entry-level soundbar
- Clear Voice dialogue-enhancement technology for improved articulation
- DTS Virtual:X creates a more spacious, lifelike sound for your movies and games.
- The indicator lights are located on top making it difficult to tell what mode you’re in, unless the soundbar is mounted on the wall
Best Budget Soundbar: VIZIO SB2920-C6
Impressive Design. With just 29 inches in length, the Vizio C6 is fairly compact and aesthetic. And this great little soundbar goes all out on the real estate aspect with an interesting and original design. Described by many as the minimalist, the C6 features a simple design with a black body and silver accents that add glam to the overall design.
Amazing Features. The sound bar can be mounted on the wall or installed on a table. This ensures you’ll enjoy the device, while not compromising on its aesthetic value on the house. For an entry-point price, you’ll find a fair selection of incredible features that make the C6 convenient.
First and foremost, the Bluetooth worked flawlessly, and I did not experience any lags or audio errors when streaming from multiple devices. The remote control also worked great, and it was not limited by the constraints of a poorly placed sensor (like with other entry-level devices). For the audio, there’s nothing negative to point out from a device that operates up to 95dB. The sound remained crisp and clear even after maxing out to the extreme.
- Enjoy 95dB crisp and clear room-filling sound
- Built-in Bluetooth allows you to control your playlist with the tap of a finger
- The setup is seamless and very easy
- Impeccable, sleek design
- Slightly vibrates on high volume
Also Worth Mentioning #1: Samsung HW-M360/ZA
Multiple Control options. You don’t need several remotes to enjoy the Samsung HW-M360. Through your TV interface, you can control the volume, power, and sound effects. And you can also control your soundbar with the Samsung audio remote app on your mobile device.
Seamless Streaming. Through its powerful Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream and play music wirelessly from your preferred compatible device. With Bluetooth, you can easily connect the soundbar to your Samsung TV, and without having to deal with a clutter of wires. This way, you can enjoy great content, with clearer and impactful sound.
Feel the Action Like Never Before with Wireless Surround Sound. The Surround Expansion feature goes a long way to deliver a realistic and immersive audio experience by adding depth and introducing a new dimension.
- Enjoy a dynamic home Audio experience with 2.1 Channel Surround Sound
- The powerful dynamic bass allows you to feel the action of your favorite movies, games, and music videos.
- Connect wirelessly through Bluetooth and enjoy seamless control on the palm of your hand.
- Multiple control options
- Doesn’t have a subwoofer but a surround speaker.
Also Worth Mentioning #2: Yamaha YAS107
Great Performance. The Yamaha YAS107 is an excellent soundbar, especially for people looking to enjoy improved dialog intelligibility. And I have to say, even without the Clear Voice dialog-enhancement enabled, the sound was crisp and clear.
However, after enabling the Yamaha’s Clear Voice dialog-enhancement, the dialog became clearer and the vocal range louder. Without severe room acoustical anomalies, I suppose many people will find the Clear Voice resourceful, but not a must to use with the Yamaha YAS107.
Multiple Control Options. You can control the YAS107 in three ways; the soundbar remote control, the TV’s remote, and the Home Theater Controller app. The included remote is admirable with large functional buttons, making it ideal for older customers. And the remote is close to full-sized unlike the case with other soundbars in this price range that include horrible, credit-card sized remotes. You can also connect the soundbar to the TV via HDMI cable, and use your TV’s remote to control the power and volume.
Furthermore, the Yamaha’s Home Theater Controller app connects over Bluetooth and gives you control over sound adjustments, input selection, and surround mode with real-time feedback.
DTS Virtual: X. The Yamaha YAS107 is among the first soundbars to add DTS Virtual: X. This is a technology that uses digital signal processing to generate an object-oriented audio experience that accords height characteristics to the sounds. Even in the absence of height or rear speakers.
Cutting edge Simple Style. The Yamaha engineers didn’t leave any stone unturned in their quest to strike a balance between beauty and functionality. The Soundbar features a slim, modest design that complements your TV and adds to the aesthetic look of your room. And the soundboard also offers accessible touch-sensitive buttons, and understated LED indicators that make it easy and fun to operate the device.
- Exceptionally crisp and clean dialog
- Ultra-slim, beautiful design
- Preamp subwoofer output makes it possible to add fun with an external subwoofer
- The DTS Virtual: X technology complements the sound
- Multiple control systems
- Status LED lights are quite small and can only be seen when the soundbar is wall-mounted
Also Worth Mentioning #3: Sony CT290
Great Output Power. Bring life in every song, game, movies, or music video with the 300W rated output. This amazing soundbar allows you to enjoy high volumes of sound with unmatched clarity.
Breathtaking Front Surround Sound. With the 2.1ch front surround sound, the Sony CT290’s sound drivers deliver a clear mid and high range sound quality. While the wireless subwoofer fills in with unmatched clean bass.
Go for A Set-Up That Suits You. The unique Sony CT290 frame blends perfectly with almost any background. And the soundbar amalgams well with your Home Cinema setup, with additional features that make mounting it on the wall very easy.
Bluetooth Wireless streaming and Slot-in Design. Stream your favorite music wirelessly from your favorite mobile device through its powerful Bluetooth wireless technology. The wireless subwoofer has a 2-way design, and you can even place it on the TV rack for the perfect Home Theatre integration. In my opinion, the Sony CT290 is truly one of the best soundbars under 200 dollars.
- Connect and stream music seamlessly via Bluetooth
- Use the 2-way design to get the best bass quality from the subwoofer
- Enjoy breathtaking 2.1ch front surround sound
- Save space with the ultra-slim, mountable soundbar design
- I did experienced audio lag once with this soundbar.
Bonus: Best Soundbar under 150 Dollars: VIZIO SB3821-C6
Superior Sound System. The VIZIO SB3821 sound system consists of two powerful speakers paired with a wireless subwoofer. This combination delivers booming sound and a crisp and clear audio quality, introducing an alluring Home Theatre experience to your home.
Bluetooth Streaming. With built-in Bluetooth, you can wirelessly stream audio from different devices. Be it your mobile phone or tablet; the Bluetooth capability gives the ultra-control over the music and sound of the soundbar with a tap of a finger and from anywhere in the room.
Extra Easy Set up. Getting started with the VIZIO SB3821 was a bliss for me. It was just a matter of plugging the optical digital cable, fine-tuning the soundbar balance, and adjusting the bass and treble controls using the remote. The whole process was child’s play, which is why I don’t think it would be a problem for anyone to assemble the soundbar.
Great Design. The VIZIO SB3821 has a simple and clean design and boasts of being the sleekest among other entry-level soundbars. The design features a black grille and black panels all-round the soundbar. And the side panels of both the device and the subwoofer are brushed with an aluminum texture further complementing the look. Furthermore, the old cuboid design makes it seamless to mount the soundbar on the wall or a piece of furniture.
- The 2.1 soundbar system transforms TV entertainment unit into a Home Theatre System
- Expansive quality audio of up to 100 decibels with below 1% harmonic distortions
- Wireless subwoofer delivers deep bass and high-quality sound while still avoiding cluttering of the wires.
- Seamless streaming, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity
- The soundbar is bulky in size meaning you’ll need large storage space.
Useful Tips When Buying the Best Soundbar Under $200
First and foremost, the audio quality is the principal reason for buying a soundbar. It would thus be irritating to spend money on a soundbar only to receive poor audio quality. Some of the factors to consider about audio quality include;
- Subwoofer; Modern soundbars come with in-built subwoofers that complement the quality of sound by introducing the bass which is extremely important when watching movies, sports, or listening to upbeat music. Others come with separate subwoofers that amplify the audio experience.
- Drivers used; the audio drivers used for the soundbar plays a critical role in the quality of sound. Neodymium is an example of a driver that provides excellent sound and isn’t as expensive as most of the high-end drivers.
The convenience of the soundbar determines how well you enjoy your audio device. Bluetooth technology is a great indicator that you’re going to enjoy the soundbar because you’ll be able to control the music and audio you listen to. The remote control also allows you to regulate the sound quality seamlessly.
Furthermore, the setup time is also extremely important. Check to see how many cables are required before you make the purchase decision. Soundbars with a mount kit are also important as they are easy to set up onto the wall, take little space, and allow you to place more items on the TV counter.
The brand of the soundbar has a great influence on how well the audio device will perform. The big brands have to maintain a high level of quality because they risk facing a bad reputation. In the same way, upcoming brands create a competitive advantage to win over customers. Therefore, research the brands well before buying the soundbar to ensure you buy the one that will offer you quality sound in the long-run.
How conveniently you connect to your soundbar speaker is very important. For instance, Bluetooth connection is excellent because you can easily connect from a distance and control the audio and music from your phone. And some brands also have unique applications that give you control over the music and sound quality.
An AUX cable is another great choice, especially when you don’t have a Bluetooth device or don’t want to use your phone’s battery. However, ensure you use a high-quality cable because cheaper ones wear out easily and provide subpar connections.
Connecting the soundbar to your TV set remains the best part of the whole experience. Watching movies or music videos using a soundbar speaker amplifies the experience by improving the explosions and articulating dialogue thanks to the tweezers.
Durability is another important factor that you’ll need to consider before checking out. I’m sure you don’t want to spend money on a soundbar speaker that will break anytime soon. Prevent chances of the speaker breaking by placing it in an area where it doesn’t get in the way, such as mounting it on the wall. You can also purchase additional years of warranty where it’s possible to be on the safe side.
With so many choices in the market, answering which is the best soundbar can be harder than you’d thought. This is why I’ve put up this guide to help you make the right decision. I have gone out of my way to research and compile this guide for you, meaning you can save time. And I looked into the history of soundbars and most importantly, factors to consider when making the purchase decision which is very important especially for first-time buyers. The soundbars are all good choices but look into the different features they offer and pick the one that meets your needs.
When it comes to buying a good soundbar, the options are endless. This is why I have compiled this guide to help you have a deeper look into some of the best soundbars in this price range. All the soundbars highlighted boast of reliable performances, delivering quality sound without forcing you to break the bank. Soundbars improve the sound quality and articulate dialogue to compliment how well you enjoy watching movies, playing games, and listening to your favorite music.
Through their sleek and ultra-slim design, these soundbars will allow you to enjoy great sound quality without compromising the aesthetic look of your room. Enjoy seamless streaming with wireless connections that allows you to enjoy high-quality music without having to deal with cluttered wires.
These soundbars also give you the ultimate power with multiple control options. Apart from the soundbar remote control, you can also enable the HDMI CEC feature with your TV to enable you to control the sound quality and volume using the TV’s remote control. Most of these soundbars can also be controlled using a mobile application from your phone and tablet with a tap of a finger. Enjoy excellent Bluetooth pairing and have control over your playlist and volume of the soundbar.
PS, I also have another article about soundbars over $300.