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Best budget soundbars in 2022: Boost your listening for less

Published May 1st, 2022 6:12PM EDT

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Make your viewing experience elite when you’re streaming a show, watching a movie, or rooting on your favorite team. Everybody knows you want to be immersed in your TV when you’re trying to watch something engrossing. But how can you do that on a budget? It can be difficult, as you might have spent a lot on your TV but now realize you want more in terms of sound. That’s why budget soundbars are something you should keep an eye on.

A soundbar will enhance your listening experience by delivering more bass and treble to wherever you’re using it. They are long speakers that deliver upgraded sound. Finding the right one for your home and, more importantly, your budget shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We’ve taken a look at some of the best budget soundbars on the market (ones under $200) and highlighted them below. See our picks and upgrade your entertainment unit.

VIZIO 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth, Voice Assistant Compatible, Includes Remote Control – SB2021n-J6

Rating: 4.5 Stars
A look at the setup together
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Best budget soundbar overall: Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System

A look at the Bose Solo 5 under a TV
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Image source: Bose/Amazon

Pros: Universal remote control, dialogue mode makes the words pop

Cons: Updated version costs a lot more, no AirPlay or Cast

If you’re looking for a soundbar that provides great sound quality and won’t cost you too much, the Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar is a smart choice. This is a single soundbar that can fit almost anywhere in your home, even if you want to mount it. It is the best option in our opinion because you’ll notice a distinct improvement in the sound quality compared to your TV speakers alone. There is a setting for Dialogue mode that makes every word and detail of a scene stand out. You can plug this into your TV using an optical coaxial or analog audio cable.

You’ll be able to connect your music wirelessly, thanks to the Bluetooth capabilities, though unfortunately there’s no Google Cast or AirPlay 2 connectivity. The universal remote allows you to control the TV, bass, Bluetooth connections, and more. There isn’t a USB connection and if you want the upgraded version, it’ll cost you even more. Even for this option, it is a bit pricey. But this couldn’t be easier to set up and it weighs less than four pounds. It’s worth your money.

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Best soundbar with a subwoofer: VIZIO 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X

Showing what the two speakers look like
Vizio 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X Image source: Vizio/Amazon

Pros: 2.1-channel sound experience fills the room, works great for movies, music, or gaming

Cons: Set up can be tricky, no AirPlay or Google Cast

Enriching your sound even further with a subwoofer makes a lot of sense, which is why the Vizio 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X made our best budget soundbars list. This delivers an ultra-compact design experience that delivers the performance of a much larger set. The two speakers can blend easily into your entertainment setup. You’ll love the deep bass and enhanced sound quality combined with the Dolby Audio support. The 2.1-channel sound experience will fill the room, so people in the back can hear just as well as those in front.

The two speakers offer full-range sound and the subwoofer delivers more bass than you’d expect for the price. The included cables make the setup simple. Also, you can use Bluetooth connectivity for music, podcasts, and more. The speakers will need to be near each other, so you will have to find the best ways to place them in your home. Unfortunately, like the Bose soundbar, this option does not support Google Cast or Apple AirPlay.

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Best soundbar with built-in streaming: Roku Streambar

Seeing a setup with a Roku Streambar
The Roku Streambar Image source: Roku

Pros: Built-in 4K Roku streaming device, unique sound settings to boost the quality

Cons: Getting sound to match up perfectly may take adding more equipment

The Roku Streambar can take care of a lot of entertainment for you. This has a built-in 4K Roku streaming device in it, allowing you to turn your TV into a smart one. You have access to apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, as well as 200 channels with The Roku Channel. You can stream in HD, 4K, and HDR pictures with color optimized for your TV. What makes it awesome is: did we mention it’s also a soundbar?

This has four internal speakers that fill your room with sound featuring Dolby Audio. There are sound settings that allow you to lower the sound during commercials, boost the volume of voices, and optimize it for night listening. The advanced audio engineering in the Roku OS adds rich depth to the music you listen to and makes your TV easier to hear. Control your TV and the Streambar from the Roku Voice Remote. It may take some time to get your audio to sync up exactly how you want it.

Perhaps even more helpful than the audio features is the smart home compatibility. This soundbar supports AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit — so it’s a great option for those within Apple’s ecosystem.

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Best value soundbar: TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel Dolby Audio Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

TCL Alto Soundbar
The TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel soundbar set up with a 4K smart TV. Image source: TCL/Amazon

Pros: Wireless subwoofer, specialized sound modes

Cons: Have to upgrade for Dolby Atmos, no AirPlay or Cast

It’s hard not to like how much you get for the price with the TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel Dolby Audio Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer. This features Dolby Digital decoding to maximize sound clarity and create enough sound to fill the room. The wireless subwoofer can be placed where you need it in order to increase the bass and sound in your room. You can hook the soundbar up via HDMI, optical, or Bluetooth connections. It doesn’t take long to set up.

There are specialized sound modes, such as Movies, Music, and News that let you get the most out of our specific listening experience. You can stream music wirelessly with your Bluetooth-enabled device, but not through AirPlay 2 or Google Cast. The soundbar has a low profile that is easy to place on an entertainment unit or mount. It’s simple to connect this with a Roku TV. This even has a discount right now to make it even more of a great deal.

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Best budget soundbar for your desk: Redragon GS560 Adiemus RGB Desktop Soundbar

A look at it with a computer
Redragon GS560 Adiemus RGB Desktop Soundbar

Pros: Upgraded driver, space-saving design

Cons: Doesn’t come with a remote

For esports gamers, the Redragon GS560 Adiemus RGB Desktop Soundbar is a great addition to their desk. This is the first Redragon RGB soundbar and delivers an upgraded driver for clear sound quality. You’ll enjoy the rich bass and there are four different backlit modes that include both dynamic and static glowing LED illumination. The lights sync up to the sounds playing, ranging from wave, disco, and rain.

It only measures 16″, so it’s very easy to keep on your desktop. No matter the setup, you should be able to fit it. This features touch controls, including a volume knob. There is no remote control, so you will have to go to the soundbar to control it. It offers broad compatibility, thanks to the plug-and-play USB functionality. It’s great for watching movies and TV or gaming. Your wallet will thank you as well, as this will not hit your bank account hard.

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Check out our picks for the best soundbars!

Chris Hachey Commerce Editor

Chris Hachey is Senior Commerce Editor for BGR. With over a decade of editing and journalism experience, plus thousands of hours of product testing and research, he has helped millions of consumers find the best products and deals to fit their lifestyles.

When he's not searching for top deals, he's likely watching his favorite sports teams or walking around his hometown with his wife and his dog.