No matter how good of a TV you buy, sound quality is always going to be a big concern. Whether you shell out for an OLED TV or buy something cheaper like a TCL or Vizio, few TVs will be able to output enough high-quality sound to fill the room. That’s where soundbars come in.
While some soundbars can cost thousands of dollars – like the Creative X-Fi Sonic Carrier and Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar – there are a ton of options that sound great and cost a tenth of the price. That’s what this guide is all about.
Over the years we’ve tested hundreds of ‘bars, giving us a pretty good idea of which ones cut through the noise and offer a great sound at a good price. What you’ll find below are the best soundbars under $200/£200 that upgrade your entertainment center’s sound without breaking the bank.
Best soundbar for under $200/£200 at a glance
1. Sony HT-MT300
The gold standard in affordable 2.1-channel soundbars
Speaker configuration: 2.1 | Claimed audio power: 25W/20W | Connections: USB, Analog, Optical and Bluetooth
Simple to setup and use
Well balanced sound
Compact form factor
No HDMI ARC
Most people just want a soundbar that works and sounds great and Sony’s entry level HT-MT300 soundbar does just that. For $200 / £200, you get a compact soundbar that will fit just about any home theater and a wireless sub that you can place under your sofa to really feel the bass.
The Sony HT-MT300 soundbar comes in two parts: There’s a compact soundbar that measures 50 x 5.4 x 10.3cm (W x H x D) and a slim subwoofer that you can slip under your couch to feel every punch and explosion.
The Sony HT-MT300 soundbar punches well above its weight with both movies and music – especially when watching movies with action scenes and even at moderately low levels. With the subwoofer turned up to 75%, the HT-MT300 managed to rattle our living room during the rocket launch in Interstellar.
Music also sounds good coming from the Sony HT-MT300, though we wished for a wider and more immersive sound stage. The two woofers in the soundbar are quite close to each other so physics is working against the soundbar when it comes to stereo separation. For most, the Sony HT-MT300 is a winner, keeping it simple and concentrating on the things that matter: sound and ease of use.
Read the full review: Sony HT-MT300
Roku Smart Soundbar
2. Roku Smart Soundbar
The Roku Smart Soundbar will improve your TV’s audio issues and outdated smart platform
Speaker configuration: 2.0 | Claimed audio power: N/A | Connections: USB, HDMI 2.0 Out, Optical and Bluetooth
Built-in 4K Roku player
No HDMI-in ports
The Roku Smart Soundbar is an attempt to to fix two of the biggest problems that have long plagued TV owners – awful audio and outdated smart TV interfaces – with one elegant solution. These are problems other manufacturers like JBL and Anker are trying to solve with products like the JBL Link Bar and Nebula Soundbar, but Roku’s model is the only one to offer Roku TV, which is a definite plus considering how the strengths of the platform.
Pulling it out of the box, the Roku Smart Soundbar is a pretty basic 2.0 soundbar. There’s a front mesh that hides the drivers and wraps around the front face of the soundbar, and a plastic matte-black top with a Roku insignia.
For its price and its design, we think the soundbar performs decently well. It has no issues with getting loud and filling small and medium-sized rooms, and the volume doesn’t really crackle or distort at any point. It has a workman-like performance that’s a clear step-up from 10W TV speakers, but it lacks the clarity and dimensionality of soundbars that are just a few hundred dollars more. You can add some of that in by combining the Smart Soundbar with the Roku Smart Subwoofer ($179.99) and Roku TV Wireless Speakers ($199.99), but that’s a pretty big investment for a system that doesn’t have Dolby Atmos.
Read the full review: Roku Smart Soundbar
3. Vizio SB362An-F6
Impressive sonic upgrade for your TV, at a bargain-basement price
Speaker configuration: 2.0 | Claimed audio power: N/A | Connections: Analog, Optical and Bluetooth
Powerful, dramatic sound
Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual:X
No dedicated tweeters
The key feature of the SB362An-F6 – also referred to more helpfully as the “36-inch 2.1 Sound Bar” on most retailer’s websites – is really its sheer value for money, costing just £149 in the UK and an even more competitive $99 in the US, where it was launched at the end of last year.
Despite the bargain-basement price, the SB362An-F6 is neatly designed, measuring 36 inches wide, and a streamlined 2 inches high, and 5.2 inches deep (914xx52x133mm). It will sit comfortably underneath the screen of most TVs, and Vizio also includes a pair of wall-mount brackets as well.
Inside the main unit, the soundbar houses four main drivers, with a pair of 2.6-inch (67.8mm) full-range woofers and two 3.0-inch (76.2mm) sub-woofers, although the sub-woofers get extra backup from two passive radiators that help to add even more bass rumble. Some people might prefer separate tweeters to handle voices and higher frequencies – especially if you want to use the soundbar for listening to music as well – but the low cost of the SB362An-F6 means there has to be a trade-off here.
Those passive radiators sometimes get a little carried away, exaggerating the bass rumble rather than keeping it taut and precise. And, switching to Bluetooth to stream some music from a Tidal account, the lack of tweeters reveals a weakness on some of those high-pitched Queen harmonies on Somebody To Love. It’s handy to have that Bluetooth option, though, and the SB362An-F6 will be fine for just listening to a few tunes when you’re collapsed on the sofa during the summer heatwave.
Read the full review: Vizio SB362An-F6
4. Razer Leviathan
A solid 2.1-channel soundbar for gamers looking to upgrade their PC’s sound
Speaker configuration: 2.1 | Claimed audio power: 30W | Connections: Analog, Optical and Bluetooth
Includes a subwoofer
Plenty of inputs
Dicey subwoofer connector
Limited surround sound
Just when you think you really know a company, it goes and releases something completely out of left-field. Take Razer: historically, it’s been a peddler of pointers and the king of keyboards. Just look at the venerable Razer BlackWidow Ultimate or Razer DeathAdder Chroma.
The $199 (£159, AU$279) Leviathan is many things for Razer. It’s Razer’s first sound bar, mainly, but also its first step into your living room and the consoles that live there. It’s the first product from Razer that can directly interface with your Xbox One and PS4 via its optical audio-in port, as well as your PC or TV through auxiliary in.
Best described as an all-black, half-size sound bar, the Leviathan measures in at 19.7 x 3 x 2.8 inches (W x H x D) and comes in around 4.5 pounds. Don’t let its dimensions throw you, it’s similarly sized to other entry-level sound bars, and it produces more than enough sound to compensate for its diminutive stature.
Besides a few balancing issues, the overall quality of the Leviathan’s sound is good no matter which input you decide to use. The Dolby Pro Logic II codec will transform any signal (analog, optical or Bluetooth) into simulated 5.1 surround sound. It has to be simulated though, as the unit is one driver shy of true 5.1 sound. The effect is very subdued however, and anyone used to using a true 5.1 surround sound setup will notice a lack of distinct left and right channels.
Read the full review: Razer Leviathan
5. Yamaha YAS-108
Yamaha’s basic soundbar has everything you need at a price that’s hard to beat
Speaker configuration: 2.0 | Claimed audio power: 30W | Connections: HDMI, Analog, Optical and Bluetooth
Slim profile with built-in woofers
No external subwoofer
No multicast capabilities
While it’s a bit basic, the Yamaha YAS-108 is a solid option for folks looking for a basic two-channel soundbar with good sound quality – especially in the mids.
Why people love it is that it’s surprisingly compact and yet still offers great clarity. Add in Bluetooth support and Alexa integration, and the result is a solid entry-level bar for most folks. Of course, if it had an external subwoofer for a meatier bass response and multicast like the rest of the Yamaha lineup that’d be better, but for under $200/£200 we’ll take what we can get.
- Don’t mind spending more? Here’s our list of the best soundbars at any price