Building an awesome entertainment system at home? If you’re using a modern flat screen TV, chances are, the audio’s not really that great. And you can’t enjoy a fantastic film or play video games with crappy audio quality.
A sound bar is an affordable way to enhance the sound quality of your home entertainment system. The device works by boosting the sound clarity of your TV. The sound quality of sound bars is far more superior than your average TV speaker. The built-in speakers deliver crisp, high-quality sound. Sound bars are fitted with volume leveling technology that controls the audio when your favorite TV shows are on.
This way, you can hear the dialogues without turning the volume all the way up. Higher end sound bars offer “simulated surround sound,” which makes film viewing even more enjoyable. And unlike some electronic accessories, sound bars do not come with cords. There’s no need to worry about tangles or cluttering your space with a sound bar.
If your TV speakers are no longer cutting it, try upgrading your system with a soundbar. You get fantastic audio quality, along with other useful features, at an affordable price. On the hunt for a soundbar but working on a limited budget? Here are the best soundbars under $200.
Best Soundbars under $200
Pyle 300 Watt Bluetooth Soundbar
- Excellent audio quality
- 3D feature
- Bulky design
- Poor Bluetooth audio quality
- Aggressive treble
No doubt about it, the Pyle 300 Watt Bluetooth Soundbar is one of the most affordable soundbars on the market. The design of the Pyle 300 Watt is quite robust because it comes with extra features. These features include AM/FM radio, “3D” virtual surround processor, etc.
The design might not please everyone but it should fit retro styled systems. The soundbar sports an all-black paint job with blue backlit. The center of the soundbar is the command center, which houses the USB and SD card slots. There’s also a set of onboard controls you can access from here to adjust the setting. The Pyle 300 Watt is surprisingly easy to use. There are three multifunction buttons, which enhances the user-friendliness of the soundbar.
The Pyle 300 Watt comes with 4 main drivers, including a pair of 2-inch midrange drivers on the center of the console. A 5.25-inch “subwoofer” is framed on the top left of the speaker box. From the back, there is a port for the sub as well as the RCA aux inputs and power cable input. A 3.5 mm input is also available and it doubles as an FM radio antenna.
When hardwired, the Pyle 300 offers excellent music reproduction. The punchy bass and thunderous sub add depth to the audio. This is the kind of sound bar that fares well when hip hop or house music is played but not so much when it comes to rock or acoustic music. The 3D feature is a welcome addition for movie junkies and gamers alike. The audio is lifelike, clear, and broad.
That said, the midrange is on the weak side while the treble is aggressive at times. We also wish the soundbar worked as great using Bluetooth. The audio quality is radically different when the Pyle 300 Watt is hardwired into the system as opposed to using the wireless connection.
Best affordable speaker. Was looking for a great sound bar at an affordable price and I’m really glad I went with Pyle. Sounds great. Lots of bass. Makes watching movies 10x better. Best 110$ I’ve spent.
The Pyle 300 Watt offers excellent audio + a host of practical features at a budget-friendly price point. For the price, you’re getting a solid performing sound bar that will enhance your listening experience.
The VIZIO SB3851 is a thin soundbar with wireless subwoofer. It promises “premium sound experience,” thanks to its powerful drivers. Design-wise, the SB3851 is sleek and razor-thin with distinct minimalist aesthetics. Considering its affordable price tag, it’s one of the best looking soundbars out there. The streamlined design will suit any system, for sure!
The performance is pretty impressive too. The bass performance is fantastic. The virtual surround sound offers life-like audio thanks to its full range drivers. The SB3851’s wireless subwoofer enhances the low bass impact, making movie watching a joy!
The SB3851’s Bluetooth feature allows you to stream audio content with relative ease. The connection is pretty stable, we did not come across major issues with the wireless connection. It’s worth noting that the SB3851 comes with DTS TruSurround technology. This tech delivers detailed, immersive virtual sound without the added speakers. Audio definition is also enhanced thanks to Dolby Digital surround sound. Overall, the listening experience with the SB3821 is amazing. In terms of sound output, you won’t be able to find a better performer than the SB3851.
Now for the downsides, we wish the remote isn’t as problematic. There were certain issues with the range of the remote but this is just a minor issue. We also wish the design function is more intuitive for convenience and user friendliness. But we’re just nitpicking at this point.
Yes, this does make the sound louder, but more importantly for us is it make the sound clearer. I have a family member who is hard of hearing, and the crispness of the sound without distortion helps him understand what is being said.
At under $200, you’re hard pressed to find a better soundbar than the SB3821. It’s a value-for-your-money soundbar that will elevate your listening experience.
- Excellent audio quality
- Powerful bass
- Seamless integration
- Excellent wireless connectivity
- Issues with the optical cable fit
- Reported issues with the subwoofer
The Samsung HW-J450 is a highly acclaimed sound bar that features a slim, sleek design and inky paint job. But don’t let the basic design fool you. This is a fan favorite, one of the best soundbars you can get for $200. The HW-J450 features a host of audio enhancing functions and technologies. These include Surround Sound expansion, wireless active subwoofer, and wireless connectivity. The HW-J450 delivers immersive, incredibly detailed audio. It’s the perfect sound bar for movie junkies because it will take viewing experience to a different level.
Incredibly, the HW-J450 isn’t the kind of sound bar that requires extra subwoofer or speakers in the first place. The audio base offers raw power for extraordinary sound performance. Expect booming bass and detailed vocals with this soundbar.
Setting up the HW-J450 is easy. It’s a plug and plays soundbar so nothing a newbie can’t handle. You can use this soundbar to connect with all types of Bluetooth enabled devices, including your Samsung TV. This soundbar features Plug-In to Sync and Setup technology. It integrates with your Samsung TV wirelessly and effortlessly. Now that’s convenient!
Easily one of the most functional components of the HW-J450 is the Audio Remote, which lets you control your system from afar. For optimal audio quality, you can also connect via HDMI. The HW-J450 comes with high-quality speakers + a subwoofer to amplify natural sound. The speakers deliver rich, powerful bass and high fidelity sound. There are several connection options available at the back. A standard 3.5 mm stereo output is also available.
There weren’t any glaring issues we’ve come across with during testing. We do wish the HW-J450’s optical cable fits more snugly with the output. Some users are having issues with the subwoofer but our test unit worked perfectly.
The HW-J450 Soundbar works flawlessly with my Samsung UN65UH8550 TV. Installation was extremely simple. Both the bar and subwoofer connect via Bluetooth to the TV. When the TV is turned on, the other devices automatically power up and connect. The sound is vastly superior to that of the TV speakers. I could not be happier.
The HW-J450 is a high-performance soundbar that will take your listening experience to a whole new level. It’s the perfect soundbar for music listening, gaming, and film viewing.
Tips and Buying Guide: Best Soundbar Under $200
Should You Get a Sound Bar?
If you’re a movie junkie or a gamer, then you know audio quality can make or break the viewing experience. Because modern flat screen TVs come with weak speakers, they require a much needed boost in the audio department. Back in the day, you need to buy expensive speakers set to enhance the audio quality of your entertainment system. Not anymore.
A soundbar is a slim and compact loudspeaker that delivers stereo-like audio sound. This device is thin because it’s set up above or under a flat screen TV. Different soundbars offer different features and the quality of these products vary greatly! A standard sound bar comes with a sizable speaker and a subwoofer. Higher-end models offer wireless connectivity and advanced features for better audio quality.
If you’re fine with your TV stereo audio then there’s no need to purchase a sound bar. However, unhappy about the crappy TV audio but you don’t want to invest on a speaker system, a basic sound bar will solve your problem!
Unless you are building a sophisticated system, an affordable, no-frills model is enough for pleasant TV viewing. Thankfully, there are so many high quality but affordable soundbars available on the market right now!
When it comes to shopping around for sound bars, it’s important to test the product in person. While you can always check reviews and testimonials, nothing beats testing the actual product in person. That being said, it pays to learn what other customers are saying about the sound bar that you’re eyeing. Also, compare the warranties during your search. On average, manufacturers offer 12 months of coverage.
Sound Bar Types
A traditional soundbar is about 40 inches or longer. It features a thin and lightweight profile because it’s often mountable on the wall. However, you can also set the soundbar on a shelf, above or below your TV set. Most soundbar comes with two to five speakers, depending on the price and the brand. The drivers are usually angled outward the sides for a broader sound field. This gives the impression of surround sound. A wireless subwoofer is also added to boost audio performance. You can set up the subwoofer anywhere in the room.
A sound base is similar to a traditional soundbar but it’s not wall mountable. It’s thicker than a traditional soundbar and most come with built-in subwoofers.Usually, this device is placed directly under the TV. And don’t worry, the sound base is durable enough to support the weight of your TV. This device is meant to save more space. Since it’s easy to set up, you don’t have to worry about the installation or the placement. Soundbases come with different speaker sizes too.
Important Factors To Consider
Active or Passive?
An active soundbar has everything you need for a great sounding system, no add-ons needed. It comes with speakers, amplification and signal processing. All you have to do is to connect the system directly to the soundbar and it ready to use. Some active soundbars are bundled with a subwoofer but newer models come with built-in subwoofer too.
On the other hand, a passive soundbar is just like a similar speaker. It doesn’t come with digital signal processing or external amplifier. Save for speaker wire connectors, a passive soundbar does not offer extra inputs. An active soundbar is best for those who have simple systems who do not want to bother with customization. Passive soundbars have pared down features because they can be customized accordingly.
Basic soundbars have two speaker channels while higher-end soundbars come with three to seven channels. The number of speaker channels will affect the overall cost of the soundbar. Basic soundbars are best for users who need a step up from stereo audio. These products usually come with 2 channels + a subwoofer. Multichannel soundbars are perfect for those who want the audio to be immersive. These sound bars come with added rear speakers and subwoofer for true surround sound.
The flexibility of the soundbar lies at the number of its audio sources. If the audio input is limited, your soundbar won’t work with certain devices. Basic soundbars usually offer two digital audio inputs: optical and coaxial options. More advanced soundbars come with USB ports, Bluetooth, and a microUSB port on top of the basic inputs. Newer soundbars may also come with streaming features, wifi connectivity, and HDMI.
Most sound bars have a front display panel that’s either exposed or hidden. This is where the controls are located. However, there are some sound bars that let you adjust the controls using the TV screen rather than through the console.