Best soundbars of 2020 under $200

Best soundbars of 2020 under $200

The built-in speakers on your TV are terrible. You want better sound for movies and TV shows, and maybe something that can Bluetooth from your phone to play Spotify too. But you’re on a tight budget.

Plenty of dirt-cheap options exist from no-name brands, and they probably sound better than your TV speakers. But if you are looking for a the best soundbar under $200 for TV, for just $80 and up, you can grab a ‘bar that performed well in CNET’s hands-on tests.

All three of the affordable soundbars on this list of our picks for the best soundbar under $200 have Bluetooth (for wireless music streaming from your phone and bluetooth-enabled devices) and an optical connection (for hooking to a TV), plus a remote control. The Creative Stage also includes HDMI input, which makes connectivity even easier. Meanwhile, the Vizio SB3621n-e8 offers more authority and is a better soundbar for music than most soundbars at any price, making it our favorite overall.

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.    

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have a bit more to spend, this Vizio is worth it. Thanks to the included wireless subwoofer, the Vizio SB3621n-e8 is an absolute movie machine, and is an impressive soundbar speaker to use to stream music through Bluetooth connectivity as well. This soundbar will also decode both Dolby and DTS. This Vizio is our favorite budget soundbar, and earns our Editors’ Choice in the category.

Read our VIZIO SB3621N-E8 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If your budget is a Franklin and no more, the best option is this Vizio. With a larger-than-most cabinet the SB362An-F6 offers levels of bass that even the $200 Yamaha YAS-108 can’t touch. The Vizio SB362An-F6 doesn’t boast as many features as some of the bars below, but it does have Bluetooth connectivity and a remote control for controlling volume and three bands of EQ. If you just want the best sound quality for the lowest price, this sounder with bluetooth is it, but if you can spend a bit more, keep scrolling.

Read our VIZIO SB362AN-F6 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Soundbars are able to make a lot of noise from a tiny box, but nothing can compare with the bass that a dedicated subwoofer can bring. The Creative Stage offers a lot for just $80, including HDMI cable connectivity, but it’s the wired subwoofer which makes the system really sing. This soundbar also offers bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for playing MP3s from an external drive.

Read our Creative Stage review.

Can you spend a bit more?

At $250, for example, not only will you get better audio experience and sound, but a better assortment of features, including a subwoofer as standard and a greater number of inputs. Some of these soundbars, such as the Sonos Beam, even have Amazon Alexa built-in. While the sky’s the limit to how much you can spend, the real sweet spot is between $300 and $400. See our list of best soundbars here, which includes models that offer state of the art Dolby Atmos audio effects.

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This article was originally published two years ago and is regularly updated with new products and advice.

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