TVs are getting slimmer and slimmer. The only problem is that usually, the slimmer the TV, the worse the sound. What’s the point of having a sleek and modern TV if the sound quality is average at best?
Enter Soundbars. Hear those movie soundtracks & effects, TV shows, music and sports the way they were meant to be heard. Soundbars give you excellent audio and fit in nicely with any living room setup as most of them are incredibly slim and come with wireless speakers, saving you the hassle of setting up an expensive home theater system.
Soundbars with Subwoofers
You need bass. In order to feel the full effect of movies, sports and music, you need a separate subwoofer to deliver full bass to complement the soundbar that will deliver your mids and highs.
Bass needs room. Some soundbars have built in subwoofers, and a few of them are actually good. But many people agree that you need a separate standalone subwoofer because you need big speaker drivers to deliver quality low end sound.
The good thing is that the subwoofer can be placed pretty much anywhere as most bass is non directional and doesn’t require proper acoustics. The subwoofer will automatically sync with your soundbar wirelessly so setup is a breeze – simply plug the subwoofer into a power outlet.
Many soundbars even have Bluetooth, allowing you to sync with your phone or computer for music as well.
Best Soundbar under 200 – Cheap / Inexpensive Soundbars
1. Vizio SB3621 Soundbar & Subwoofer
Vizio is known for making highly affordable electronics and the 2.1 channel SB3621 soundbar is no exception. Sure, you might have to sacrifice a few features that come with higher priced soundbars such as HDMI inputs (to connect to the TV’s sound) and a separate subwoofer.
But it does have 3.5mm and optical cable inputs, and most importantly supports Bluetooth for music playback from your favorite devices and you won’t find a better value soundbar given the solid audio performance of the Vizio.
As for downsides, the side display indicator lights are a bit confusing so he sure to read up on them in the manual, and though the audio is great, it isn’t true surround sound. Still, a great value.
2. Polk Audio Signa S1 Soundbar – Affordable Soundbar
This is another 2.1 channel soundbar that offers Bluetooth connectivity, and a separate wireless subwoofer, but no HDMI support (it does have an optical input however).
It delivers balanced and clean surround sound audio to help deliver a wider sound, and perhaps most importantly, it is the lowest price soundbar we could find so it’s a great value.
Best Soundbar under 300
2. Polk magnify mini Soundbar – Best for Small Spaces
This small soundbar takes up very little space but packs a powerful punch. It conveniently fits into any space, be it a large house or small apartment, and most importantly, it sounds great.
It comes with a separate wireless subwoofer to deliver booming deep bass, and the midrange and highs are crisp as they are powered by four 2.25 drivers and two half in. tweeters.
Not only will movies sound great, but you can of course play music via Bluetooth or use the built-in Google Chromecast for streaming across several rooms as well. Moreover, it comes with Google Home for those who want voice control.
Thanks to its SDA technology, regardless whether you’re listening to pop, hip hop, jazz, or watching the latest Avengers movie, this small soundbar delivers grumbling bass as well as complex sound effects beautifully.
Bottom line, this is an Amazon’s choice and favorite amongst both users and critics due to its great performance at an affordable price point.
2. Polk Audio Command Bar – Popular Choice
This is a popular and good value2.1 channel soundbar with a sleek design that offers a lot of bang for the buck.
It offers voice control via Alexa (it comes with a standard remote as well), accommodates a Firestick, an HDMI input, has Bluetooth connectivity for music playback and a separate wireless 6.5” subwoofer.
It offers well balanced and full crisp sound, but perhaps not quite as good as some of the other soundbars on this list. Moreover, there isn’t support for connectivity to additional speakers.
Bottom line, this is a popular model so we had to include it on this list, but the aforementioned issues and 3.5 star Amazon rating may give some users pause.
Best Soundbar under 500
1. Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400 – Most Versatile
This 2.1 channel soundbar is loaded with features as it offers a wealth of connectivity: Spotify Connect compatibility, wifi, Bluetooth, aux, optical, HDMI, multi-rooming streaming via MusicCast, and Alexa support for voice control.
There’s the option to customize this soundbar by adding additional speakers to make it a 5.1 setup by adding MusicCast 20 or 50 speakers.
More importantly, it sounds great. It comes with a 100 watt wireless subwoofer that is also adjustable to please every listener depending on their preference for bass levels. The mids and the highs are crisp as well. The only slight downside is that the EQ levels can’t be customized precisely as the soundbar only offers various sound modes.
Still, this is an Amazon’s choice and a highly customizable soundbar with the ability to either opt for either the base configuration or one with 2 additional speakers should you so decide further down the line.
2. JBL Bar 3.1 Soundbar – For Bass Lovers
This is a great soundbar for bass lovers. It has a big 10” wireless subwoofer that pumps some serious (adjustable) low end bass, while simultaneously delivering precise and crisp mids and highs.
It has a whopping 3 HDMI inputs (1 HDMI out as well), Bluetooth connectivity for connecting your smart devices, and JBL’s movie-famous Dolby Digital technology.
It also has detachable wireless surround speakers that offer up to 10 hours of rechargeable battery play so though this may not be the complete 5.1 surround sound experience, it’s still pretty good.
3. Q acoustics M4 Soundbar – Best Value
This 2.1 channel soundbar is another surprise performer. It sounds great without breaking the bank. It too can be used for both movies and music and it does an impressive job on both.
Of course, there’s an included wireless subwoofer to help deliver the low end bass we all require from our favorite movies. The difference is that this subwoofer is built in. We prefer standalone subwoofers as they then have more space to accommodate the larger drivers that bass requires.
That said, the Q Acoustics soundbar still did a pretty good job of reproducing the low end and it does support the addition of another wireless subwoofer should you so choose. But it seems a bit redundant.
Downsides: On the design front, it’s pretty…boring looking and clunky, particularly compared to the aforementioned Polk Mini. Another downside, there’s no HDMI input for advanced connections and there’s no wifi support (though you can connect your music via Bluetooth).
Bottom line, music and movies sound really, really good and the price point is not bad either. A worthwhile consideration.