Building out a top-notch home theater can often be insanely expensive, but people sometimes forget that something can still be much, much better than nothing. And when it comes to your living room setup, adding one of the best budget soundbars can be a huge upgrade, even if you don’t have one of the best 65-inch TVs or best OLED TVs hanging on your wall.
You can easily find a quality budget soundbar for under $200 and in most cases, it will offer you a common set of benefits, including:
- Louder, room-filling sound
- Fuller-sounding audio
- More bass
- Bluetooth connectivity
But on top of that, there are many budget soundbars with unique qualities. Some offer virtual surround sound. Others can clarify hard-to-hear dialogue. Others are designed to emphasize bass without needing a subwoofer. And in the case of Roku soundbars, they come with video streamers built-in.
And so with that in mind, we’ve gone and scoured the internet to find eight of the best and most unique budget soundbars that are available in 2021. Keep scrolling to find the right one for you.
1. TCL Alto 6+ Soundbar
BEST BUDGET SOUNDBAR OVERALL
If you have a TV with a Roku interface, such as a TCL 6 Series or a Hisense H9G (which also happen to be two of the best 65-inch TVs you can buy), the TCL Alto 6+ is a perfect budget soundbar to pair with your TV. Not only does the Alto 6+ offer Dolby Digital support and a wireless subwoofer, but its interface integrates seamlessly with that of your television, making it easy to tweak settings on the fly. Even better, you can mount this soundbar to a wall to add some style and save some space.
2. Yamaha SR-B20A Soundbar
The Yamaha SR-B20A is the most expensive soundbar on this list, but you will always get your money’s worth with a Yamaha soundbar. As one of the original soundbar makers, Yamaha has mastered the art of getting these things to produce spacious and detailed audio for movies. Plus, with built-in subwoofers, you can get a little extra oomph in your sound setup without having to make room for an extra 10-inch cube. And if you decide you want even more bass later on, the subwoofer-out connection ensures that you can further upgrade your audio.
3. Roku Streambar
BEST COMPACT SOUNDBAR
If you have an older TV that you’re not quite ready to get rid of yet, the Roku Streambar can not only upgrade your sound, but you can also add an improved smart TV interface. This affordable two-in-one device has a compact footprint to avoid taking up space while producing audio that punches above its specs. Capable of streaming video in 4K HDR, the Streambar also supports Dolby Digital audio for maximum clarity and detail. And for those of you who like to get vocal, the Streambar remote also gives you the ability to search with your voice.
4. Vizio SB3621n-H8 Soundbar
Vizio has been consistently churning out some of the best soundbars under $200 and the SB3621n-H8 is no exception. Consisting of a three-speaker soundbar and a 40-watt subwoofer, this budget soundbar makes use of DTS Virtual:X to simulate surround sound as you watch your favorite shows and movies. And when you’re ready to listen to some music, you can connect directly with your phone via Bluetooth and stream from your favorite music services that might not be on your TV.
5. ZVOX Mini Dialogue Clarifying Soundbar
BEST DIALOGUE-ENHANCING SOUNDBAR
If you’re struggling to hear what your favorite TV characters are saying, don’t fret: You’re (probably) not going deaf. One of the biggest problems with modern TV shows is that their audio is mixed for 5.1 sound, which means that dialogue gets lost in the sauce if you don’t have the right audio setup. And if you’re looking for a budget soundbar that can fix that, the ZVOX Mini Dialogue Clarifying Sound Bar is specifically designed to boost dialogue in any show you’re watching. Small enough to fit on the palm of your hand, ZVOX’s patented technology gives you six different levels of voice enhancement while leveling off the volume of loud commercials.
6. Samsung HW-T450 Soundbar
While many of the best budget soundbars will give you different audio presets that are specifically tuned for different types of viewing or listening (movies, sports, music, etc.), the Samsung HW-T450 can automatically detect what you’re watching and adjust your settings accordingly to deliver optimal audio. On top of that, this soundbar comes with a special game mode that can emphasize the direction of sound relative to what you’re seeing on the screen so that you can have an advantage while playing games such as Call of Duty or Apex Legends. Even better, this soundbar is expandable, so that if you want to add dedicated surround speakers in the future, the HW-T450 soundbar is equipped to handle that.
7. Roku Streambar Pro
GREAT FOR OLD TVS
If you like the idea of having a Roku box built into your soundbar, but want bigger sound than what you might get from the Roku Streambar, you can take a modest step up in price and get yourself the Roku Streambar Pro. This budget soundbar is also capable of connecting to your favorite streaming services and offering video in 4K HDR while offering features such as clear dialogue, volume leveling and night mode. Best of all, this soundbar can connect to the Alexa voice assistant for hands-free control when you’re binging your favorite shows on Hulu.
8. Pyle Wave Base
BEST COMPACT OPTION FOR BASS LOVERS
More of a budget soundbox than a budget soundbar, the form of the Pyle Wave Base comes with a distinct advantage: it can generate more bass than soundbars with a similar size and specs. And if your main reason for upgrading your sound is to feel more of that boom while you’re watching action flicks, there are few options on this list that can deliver at such a low price. In terms of other features, the Pyle is a no-frills option, but in addition to RCA and 3.5mm connections, also provides an optical audio in and Bluetooth for digital sound.