- Best Soundbar Under 200
- Buyers Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Soundbars have become increasingly popular in recent years, largely due to the fact that the speaker systems included with modern televisions are usually quite low quality.
This often creates an unpleasant experience while using your TV, as audio can sound fuzzy, tinny, or very limited which can totally spoil your entertainment experience.
After all, when watching TV or a movie, audio is a whole 50% of the experience. If the audio equipment you’re using isn’t good enough, half of that entertainment experience is being sabotaged.
You wouldn’t find it acceptable for a cinema to use low-quality sound systems, so why should you accept it in your own home?
This desire for a much better audio quality at home has led to the rise of the soundbar as the go-to choice for home entertainment systems and this is the case for several reasons.
The first is that soundbars are very convenient and fit into a neat package often below or behind your TV, taking up very little space in your existing entertainment setup when compared to other systems such as surround sound setups.
The soundbar looks good and is far easier to set up than other systems, but it also provides a far superior audio experience than built-in speakers, giving you the ability to fully enjoy your entertainment without having to try and ignore the rattling and interference of your TV speakers.
Soundbars are great value, easy to set up, and can be moved around very easily if you rearrange your space. They can also be taken to different TVs in other parts of the house very easily unlike other larger or fixed speaker systems.
While soundbars at the 200 dollar price point are not the most expensive sound bars available, they are a little more powerful and feature-rich than entry-level options making them a great choice for a sweet spot sound system that gives excellent audio quality and flexibility while not breaking the budget entirely.
In this article we are going to check out some of the best soundbars available at the 200 dollar price point, looking at the features they offer and their performance, while also highlighting any drawbacks or concerns about each of the speakers we review.
Below the soundbars we’ve selected we’re also going to include a buyers guide which will provide some guidelines and helpful tips on how to find the right soundbar for you, as well as important features to look out for to ensure that you get the best soundbar for your space and needs.
We’ve also included an FAQ to answer some common questions about soundbars so if there’s something you’re unsure about feel free to check this out also.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the soundbars we’ve selected.
Best Soundbar Under 200
Yamaha is one of the biggest brands in the audio world, so it’s no surprise that their soundbars are some of the best value and best performing options available.
The SR-B20A comes packed with features including built-in subwoofers for a rich and deep pass profile without the need to worry about finding space for a large separate sub.
It also has excellent sound quality and uses DTS Virtual to create a 3D surround sound experience that is very easy to set up and versatile, working in conjunction with many different speakers easily and effectively.
The Bluetooth capabilities make it easy to link up with compatible devices for seamless, wireless connection on the go or in different rooms, however, there are also HDMI and optical connectors for simple and efficient setup with non-Bluetooth devices also.
The included remote control works well and is simple but effective.
Overall this is one of the best soundbars at this price point with all the features you’d expect from a much more expensive product and excellent audio quality that far outperforms built-in speakers and holds its own with much more expensive and more elaborate speaker systems.
- Included subwoofer inside the main bar
- DTS virtual 3D surround sound
- Bluetooth capable
- HDMI and optical connectors
- Multiple sound modes optimized for various forms of entertainment
- Quite large
- Built-in subwoofers for deep bass in one slim sound bar
- Clear Voice for enhanced dialogue clarity
- DTS Virtual: X virtual 3D surround sound
- Bluetooth streaming that allows easy switching between two devices
- Simple setup with HDMI or optical
The Signa S2 from Polk Audio is another very competitive soundbar at this price point in terms of features and performance, offering a lot of capabilities that will attract audiophiles in particular.
Polk Audio has been making audio devices for decades and their deep experience has been poured into the S2, as evidenced by the extensive feature list.
The main bar itself has 5 separate full-range drivers for amazing clarity and sound quality from the bar itself, while the addition and included wireless subwoofer offers excellent lows and rich bass which allows the bar to focus on delivering the rest of the audio.
It has HDMI and optical cables for quick and effective connection to almost all devices and also has Bluetooth wireless connectivity for easy setup with other compatible devices. The nice touch with this bar, in particular, is that it actually includes the various cables you’ll require such as HDMI and optical cables should you need them, which allows for total convenience and setup as well as great value for money.
- Great sound quality
- Bluetooth capable
- HDMI and Optical connectivity
- Cables included
- Separate wireless subwoofer included
- Separate subwoofer may not suit those who want a smaller all in one package
- A PREMIUM ULTRA-SLIM SOUND BAR WITH INCLUDED WIRELESS SUBWOOFER – 5 powerful full-range drivers deliver BEAUTFUL RICH SOUND WITH DEEP BASS. POLK’S EXCLUSIVE VOICE ADJUST TECHNOLOGY & Dolby Digital Decoding maximizes sound clarity & reduces voice delays
- EXCELLENT SOUND AND VALUE on par with any mid- to high-range sound bars available in the market. At just over 2" tall, it fits most spaces — easily wall-mount it or place in front of your TV. It won’t block your TV’s bottom edge or IR remote sensor
- UPGRADE YOUR HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE – Watch your favorite shows on your 4K HD Smart TV with exceptional picture quality & crystal clear sound. With numerous connection possibilities, plug in any audio source via HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX
- WIRELESSLY STREAM MUSIC from your favorite streaming apps like Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and others directly from your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device through the built-in Bluetooth technology
- SET UP YOUR SOUND BAR IN MINUTES — With the included subwoofer, HDMI and optical cables quickly connect your TV to the sound bar. Get set up and listening in minutes
BOSE has one of the best reputations among audio brands, and are known to produce some of the best speakers and headphones in the world, commonly used by professional musicians and entertainers to ensure the quality of their performances are the very best they can be.
BOSE has utilized all its expertise to produce the Solo 5, an excellent, sleek Bluetooth-capable soundbar that has amazing all-in-one sound quality in a very convenient package.
This soundbar can be easily positioned due to its sleek design and small size and looks great mounted to the wall or positioned in front of the TV. The audio quality is far superior to built-in TV speakers, however, due to its small size, the Solo 5 doesn’t have quite the same bunch as some other soundbars in this price range.
The benefit of the small size is that it’s easy to move around where you need it and is very easy to set up using Bluetooth or optical cables, however, the lack of an HDMI slot is a bit of a shame from such a prestigious brand.
- Sleek design
- Decent audio quality
- Cables included
- Universal remote control
- No HDMI input
- This Amazon Renewed product is professionally inspected and tested by an Amazon qualified supplier. Box and accessories may be generic.
- Single sound bar provides better sound quality compared to your TV. The Solo 5 TV sound system is an easy solution, with advanced technologies that deliver the clear audio your TV can’t.
- Dialogue mode to make every word and detail stand out
- Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly stream music from any of your devices
- One connection to your TV. Optical audio input (digital); Coaxial audio input (digital); 3.5 mm aux input (analog)
Sony is another ubiquitous name in the audio world, and the HT-S200F 2.1 is a great example of this company’s pedigree in terms of audio quality and performance.
Featuring 2.1 surround sound this speaker delivers an amazing audio experience when configured correctly, and this is quite easy to do thanks to the various connectors, including traditional optical sockets, HDMI connectors, and Bluetooth compatibility.
The built-in subwoofer gives plenty of bite and depth to the audio which also benefits from clear, dialogue-focused mids which come through brilliantly.
The included cables are a nice touch and the included bracket allows this sleek design to be mounted proudly to your wall or positioned in front of the TV depending on your preference.
- Built-in subwoofer
- HDMI and Optical connections
- Bluetooth compatible
- Cables included
- 2.1 surround sound
- 2.1 surround sound is a little dated and not as advanced as 7.1 or Atmos
- SONY 2.1 CHANNEL SOUNDBAR: Give your favorite shows and movies the sound they deserve with a 2.1ch soundbar and built-in subwoofer.
- SURROUND SOUND: This space-saving solution is designed to match the decor of your home, and puts you in the middle of the action with S-Force Pro Front Surround.
- CONNECTIVITY: HDMI ARC and Bluetooth technology ensure a seamless connection with your TV without all the wires. Stream wirelessly or from your own music devices through Bluetooth or the integrated USB port.
- BUILT-IN SUBWOOFER: The built-in subwoofer allows you to get deep bass with without more boxes and cables.
- BUNDLE INCLUDES: Sony HT-S200F 2.1 Channel Soundbar with Integrated Subwoofer with Universal Soundbar Bracket 23" - 55" and 6 Feet HDMI Cable
Finally, the Samsung HW-A450 is another great alternative that comes with an external but included subwoofer, amazing bass boost, and variable audio modes depending on the entertainment you’re looking for.
The speaker is Bluetooth capable and also uses optical connectors for a wired connection, but unfortunately doesn’t include an HDMI slot which is a bit of a shame.
Overall however the sound quality of the is speaker is excellent particularly when used for surround sound, and the external subwoofer is great for deep bass in movies and games,
- Various audio profiles
- Bluetooth capable
- External subwoofer
- Good Audio quality
- The external sub takes up more space
- No HDMI connector
- SUBWOOFER INCLUDED - Wireless subwoofer is included so you can enjoy deep bass right out of the box All-in-one
- BASS BOOST - Give your bass an instant boost with the push of a button on the soundbar
- ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE - Enhanced audio tracking for your content in real time, with technology that equalizes background music and consistent volume control
- BLUETOOTH TV CONNECTION - Set up is a breeze. Easily connect your soundbar to your TV by connecting wirelessly
- GAME MODE - Boost your gaming experience with perfectly synced directional audio that moves with the action on-screen and crosstalk cancellation that minimizes distractions
As you can see, there are a lot of features to keep track of when it comes to soundbars, so it wouldn’t be surprising if you were a bit unsure which soundbar is right for you.
In this buyers guide we’re going to look at the key features to look for when purchasing that first soundbar, to make sure you’re able to get a product that delivers everything you need from a performance point of view.
The number one most important characteristic of a soundbar is its sound quality. Regardless of whatever other great features it may provide, a soundbar, as the name suggests, needs to be focussed on providing you with the best audio experience possible, allowing you to forget the awful speakers included with your television.
The type of speakers your soundbar uses is one of the key things to keep in mind. Some soundbars will simply be a series of standard speakers, while others will include more powerful subwoofers in the main body or separately for richer bass notes.
Other soundbars may have dedicated tweeters for crisper mids and pristine highs. Make sure to try and find out what speakers your soundbar comes with in order to gauge how capable it is of providing a good range of sounds.
Besides this, pay attention to the technology the system uses also. Some speakers use Dolby Atmos or standard 5.1 or 7.1 audio, while others may use DTS Virtual X. These codecs and channel arrangements will have a huge impact on how your audio performs and what options you have for different setups.
Some of these are built for surround sound systems while some are standard audio setups, and others try to balance these different types of audio.
This is a topic that could have a whole article of its own but generally look for Dolby, DTS, or another reputable codec to ensure your speakers will be able to take advantage of their configuration.
Ensuring that your soundbar has the right connections is really important to ensure you can actually use it with your particular television.
While it somewhat depends on the connections you have available on your TV, generally, most soundbars come with a few standard connectors you can rely on having available, such as an HDMI slot, an optical audio input, a coaxial audio input or even a 3.5mm audio jack.
Each of these slots has its own benefits and drawbacks, but generally, you should have at least a couple of options on your soundbar to give you a little flexibility in where or how you connect it to your television or other systems.
It’s important to check this because it can be really disappointing to not have the right connectors available.
Another popular mode of connectivity is Bluetooth, and many televisions and devices are capable of using this technology to seamlessly connect to each other and create a very convenient, wireless connection which is high quality and easy to use.
Bluetooth may be a little unreliable at times, but if your speaker is close to the TV you shouldn’t have any issues with stuttering or drop out. Again, it’s important to make sure your TV is Bluetooth capable because if it isn’t you won’t be able to use a Bluetooth connection between your speaker and TV, and will have to use a wired connection such as an HDMI if the speaker has one available.
A convenient setup is one of the biggest selling points for soundbars. They are usually self-contained and easy to connect, and work pretty much straight out of the box without complex positioning or linking up many different devices.
Some speakers may come with additional, separate subwoofers or accessories, however, so be aware of this if you’re looking for a speaker which is easy to set up and relatively portable.
Moving a self-contained soundbar from room to room or repositioning it as required is much easier than using multiple speakers and a central controller.
Quite often soundbars are optimized to work with televisions, delivering audio, particularly speech clearly and effectively and don’t require additional setup. However, for audiophiles, some soundbars do come with options to tailor and customize your sound profile to get it exactly how you want it in relation to your taste and the acoustics of the space you intend to use it in.
Soundbars have become something of a status symbol in living spaces as people realize just how inadequate built-in speakers are.
Soundbars need to look relatively sleek and appealing as they are frequently displayed in a very central and prominent location in the home, and are often directly in the eye line of viewers.
They should never really stand out, so as not to distract from the actual entertainment they’re designed to be delivering, but at the same time, a thoughtful design aesthetic will look good and add to your space rather than crowd it or interfere with it.
Soundbars are, as their name suggests, quite low profile and are typically placed below the television and in front of it so that the audio is unimpeded, however, some soundbars come in various shapes and even have additional subwoofers which can be hard to conceal.
If this is a concern for you make sure to get a fully self-enclosed soundbar without additional accessories.
The size of the soundbar will affect many aspects of the product, from where you’re able to fit it on your entertainment setup to how effectively the speakers are able to perform. Soundbars are typically fairly wide but don’t take up much space and are fairly versatile.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is HDMI better than optical connection?
In terms of raw performance, HDMI is technically capable of processing higher-resolution audio than optical connectors and can process this audio in direct conjunction with high-resolution audio.
HDMI connectors are one of the best and most convenient ways to set up your audio, with a soundbar or other devices, however, using optical connections still delivers great audio quality if the speakers themselves have good performance.
Does Bluetooth affect the sound quality of a soundbar?
As with many things audio-related, the honest answer is that this depends on a variety of factors.
However most Bluetooth connectors don’t have the ability to process as much raw data at high quality as wired connections, so it’s strictly true that most wired connections will give a better audio quality and performance than Bluetooth.
That being said, Bluetooth is being constantly improved and some newer versions are delivering superior data transfer which can process in near CD quality levels, which is a step in the right direction.
It’s also true that the difference between Bluetooth and wired is almost unnoticeable to the average listener, and only keen audiophiles could detect much difference between the two.
Where should I place my soundbar?
Generally speaking, soundbars are best placed in a central location below and in front of the television or device they’re connected to.
This allows for easy connection to the device, and the soundbar won’t block the visual picture at all in this way.
Last update on 2021-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API