When you stick to a budget, there are two things that can happen: you get a value-for-your-money product or you get ripped off. Obviously, you want the former, and that’s why we listed some great budget soundbars below. These are some of the best products we’ve tested that are a bang for your buck, so you can expect great quality at an affordable and cheap price.
The 5 Best Cheap Soundbars On A Budget
1. Vizio SB2920-C6 29-Inch 2.0 Channel Soundbar (Bluetooth Model)
A popular budget option, this soundbar comes with a variety of features like DTS Studio Sound ™, Tru Volume ™, and TruSurround ™. This gives you a virtual surround sound system that delivers an immersive experience.
Measuring 29 inches, this sound bar is a good fit for any TV above that size. It can pump out 95 dB (decibels) of room-filling sound, and our tests show that there’s only minimal distortion at top volume.
It also comes with everything you need in the box, so the easy to set up Vizio soundbar takes just a few minutes to assemble. Even tech newbies won’t have a hard time figuring out how everything works.
Bluetooth is also a noteworthy feature. You can take advantage of Bluetooth streaming by connecting your mobile device to the soundbar and playing your favorite tunes. But whether you’re playing content from your TV or your phone, the sound quality remains clear, well-balanced, and loud.
At this price point, this soundbar doesn’t come with a subwoofer or Dolby Atmos. That doesn’t come as a surprise since those come at an additional price.
But overall, if you want an affordable rig that gets the job done, this is the best budget soundbar on our list.
2. TaoTronics Three Equalizer Mode Audio Speaker Soundbar for TV
This TaoTronics rig is another proof that the best soundbars don’t need to cost over three digits. Measuring at just 32 inches, it has quite a slim profile that glides into small spaces so you can easily put it in front of your TV or wherever convenient.
Other than the value of excellent room-filling sound, the soundbar supports many wireless and wired connections. As such, setup is easy-peasy and it won’t take long before you can watch movies or listen to music. There’s also an included remote for you to tweak your settings.
Despite being a budget soundbar, this gadget contains sound modes (game mode, music mode, movie mode) that optimize the sound quality according to the content. So whatever media you’re playing, this soundbar can adjust its settings to the best ones.
On the whole, our audio experts agree that this model produces an impressive full range sound that many soundbars at this price point can’t provide.
3. Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Soundbar (Subwoofer Included)
If you have a larger space and you want more bass, the Polk Audio Signa S2 is one of the best in our list. It’s an affordable TV soundbar that includes a dedicated wireless subwoofer, making the low frequencies pop.
Complete with Polk’s voice adjust technology and Dolby Digital decoding, this sounding bar is capable of producing clearer sound and reducing delays. When we tested this in our listening room, its performance rivals some of the best mid-range soundbars on the market.
When it comes to setup, the available connections aren’t sparse. This soundbar supports HDMI inputs, optical digital, and AUX inputs as well. Just connect the soundbar to your TV through the HDMI and you’re good to go.
As with most new products, expensive or affordable, the Polk Audio Signa S2 also has Bluetooth and the setup is quick. Setup only takes a few minutes, much like other value brands like Yamaha and Samsung.
4. TCL Alto 7+2.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar
From a wide range of TCL models, this is onr of the best budget soundbars from the brand. It features two channels and one wireless sub to give you a satisfyingly punchy and rumbling bass. While the design is unassuming, this soundbar is pretty high-tech.
TCL gives you the freedom of choosing between 3 sound modes (music, movies, news) to make sure you get the best sounds depending on the content. The tweeters also work to balance the bass, giving you the full range of audio.
As with most soundbars, this rig has Bluetooth that allows you to stream your favorite tunes or podcasts from your mobile. It’s not hard to find Bluetooth in soundbars today, so it’s a must-have even in the budget options.
The setup is seamless as well, with the flexibility to connect the soundbar to your TV through multiple connections including IR pass-through, HDMI arc, optical digital, and AUX inputs.
Overall, TCL delivers great quality and excellent performance for the price.
5. BYL Bestisan Soundbar Wired and Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Speaker for TV
The last budget soundbar on our list is the BYL Bestisan. It’s a pretty basic soundbar without all the bells and whistles, but it’s a good upgrade to your normal TV speakers.
Equipped with DSP technology, the dialogue on this soundbar is crystal clear. If you’re someone who loves watching movies or TV shows, you can skip the captions because the voices really pop.
Aside from improving the dialogue, there are also different modes including news, movie, and music. It even has the capability to memorize your preferred settings so you won’t have to input them each time.
In our tests, we found the remote control to be highly sensitive and intuitive, which is bonus points in our book. It makes the soundbar extremely easy to use so you don’t have to stand up and use the side panel buttons for control.
Other features worth mentioning include the dual bass reflex ports, dual 3-inch speakers, and Bluetooth 5.0 for streaming and lossless audio transmission.
While the sound quality is nowhere near surround sound, this is one of the best soundbars for those looking for a basic upgrade.
Cheap & Budget Soundbar Buying Guide
Soundbars are advanced devices that really enhance your TV speakers. Since there are a lot of models available in the market, how can a person guarantee that they’re getting a good product without digging through long reviews?
Even for those on a budget, a soundbar can potentially create a cinematic feel even without having multiple speakers. But you do have to know a couple of things to make sure you’re still getting your money’s worth with a soundbar.
If you’re not sure where to start, read our list of features below to help you find the best budget soundbars that fits your needs.
Design and Size
If you have limited space, a soundbar should be compact and slim enough for you to easily set up. Then again, even if you have a bigger space in your living area, you want your soundbar to look sleek as well.
You should also consider the size of your TV when picking out a soundbar design. Some soundbars are better suited for fifty-five inch sets than others.
But generally speaking, the soundbar should be placed near your TV (below is recommended) either on the wall or on your entertainment unit. If you choose to mount it on the wall, buy something that’s lightweight just to be safe.
Surround sound can be simulated in a number of ways. The best option you can buy is something with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Like our top choice on the list, the Vizio soundbar can generate Studio Sound ™, Tru Volume ™, and TruSurround ™ to give you an almost fully-immersive sound quality.
Even with the absence of Dolby Atmos, there’s another way to achieve surround sound — and that is with the number of channels. Generally, 5 and 7 are the industry standard if you want surrounding sound. The 5 channels are more than enough even for discerning users, but these soundbars have a significantly expensive price tag compared to the ones on this list.
Since the purpose of purchasing a soundbar is to elevate your TV speakers and your overall entertainment, we recommend to at least go for a soundbar with Virtual Surround Sound.
In any review or soundbar label you read, it’s important to look at the available connections a soundbar offers. While even the best budget options may not support all the wired and wireless connections in full, there are a few connections that you should make sure the system has.
You should be looking for something with optical, aux, RCA, and HDMI inputs. This gives you the option and flexibility to link to different devices or components. Although, if you have a really tight budget, it can be tricky to find a cheap soundbar with HDMI capability.
Another way you can use different connections is by building a full audio system from the soundbar. Depending on the model, you may be able to connect a subwoofer or large speakers to expand your soundbar into a full home theater.
Wires can be annoying and get all tangled up, but wireless capabilities will eliminate this problem. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are the two wireless connection options that soundbars have.
Most new soundbars nowadays, high-end or not, support Bluetooth. Bluetooth connection allows soundbars to link to other devices for streaming, which is useful if you want to play music from your phone.
Some quality soundbars can also support Wi-Fi, but you have to read and check the specs if it’s available in the device you choose. Also, keep in mind that the connection stability depends on the signal strength.
With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you can use the soundbar as a loudspeaker for playing music, podcasts, or full audiobooks. They’re both extremely convenient and helps get rid of unsightly wires as well.
Cheap and Smart Soundbar Options
For the best budget options, you might be able to get extra smart home functions aside from excellent sound quality. Voice control features such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can be pretty handy for some users.
Alexa and Google Assistant can be used in a number of ways, such as telling the news or performing a specific action in a smart home network. If you’ve used this tech before, you’ll know how convenient it is to have in a sound system.
While smart technology is a luxury feature, it’s not essential to the functionality of soundbars. For some users, it might actually be a little too much. You’ll see quite a lot of reviews online, so if you want to know how other people use these features, reviews might help.
Sonos speakers like the Sonos Beam are great examples of soundbars with smart functions. The system supports streaming from Airplay 2 as well, making it even better for Apple users.
Sound modes involve a number of settings that the soundbar has preset for different types of content. So aside from surrounding sound, it’s best to include audio modes in your list as well.
Whether you want to play TV shows, movies, music, news, and games, soundbars with various modes can deliver the best audio quality for each content.
Aside from the fixed settings, audio modes also allow the soundbars to automatically analyze the media being played and determine which settings will provide the best sound. Some soundbars even memorize your own custom preferences so you never have to input them next time.
So whether you buy from brands such as Samsung, Yamaha, or Sonos, check if the unit supports different sound modes.
A big reason why TV speakers just don’t cut it is due to the bass. It’s a far cry from what most people want. Many of us want excellent low sounds and a heavy bass that fills the room. While we like a lot of soundbars that have a subwoofer built-in, our audio experts agree that these still don’t measure up to having a larger wireless sub.
To really enjoy a full, thumping bass, find yourself a wireless subwoofer. Though the sub might cost extra, know that it’s money well-spent for the value you get.
The number of channels directly affect the audio quality of soundbars, regardless whether you buy from brands like Yamaha or Samsung. Most budget soundbars come with 2 channels. This means that the sounding bar has left and right speakers which are points of audio emission.
Having 3 channels means the soundbar has left, right and center channels. As you can see, the more your soundbar has, the more immersive it will be.
As mentioned before, 5 is still the industry standard for simulating surround-sound, although soundbars can go up to 7 for full room-filling audio.
Most soundbars come with their own remote control, but there are also models that can operate with a universal remote. If you’re one who doesn’t want the hassle of using multiple remotes, then you may want the latter option.
The soundbars you buy should be easy to set up. Generally, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes out of the box.
For an even easier assembly, the box should also come with everything you need. In some units, they add in a mounting bracket if you choose to mount the sounding bar on your wall.
You should also expect a full set of cables and perhaps a remote as well. But as mentioned, soundbars with HDMI arcs are the best especially for multi-channel soundbars. That because they’re very easy to set up in a plug-and-play fashion.
If everything’s complete, you should be able to get your soundbar up and running in no time.
Need more recommendations? Check out soundbars from iLive that are best known for their versatility.
Are Soundbars Worth the Money?
Yes, soundbars are worth the money even if you find your TV speakers acceptable. For some, TV speakers can be passable or up to standard, but an excellent soundbar, even one for budgeteers, can still elevate the sound experience .
Ones with audio modes (like Yamaha) have the capability of focusing on the right content and making adjustments that best suit your needs. For example, soundbars with gaming mode will make your gaming experience louder and more immersive.
If everything about your soundbar is perfect for you but it lacks expansive audio, the channels might be at fault. Generally speaking, 2 is the most common number of channels in budget products, but you can also have 3, 5, or 7.
What Size Soundbar is Best for Me?
Sound bars come in different sizes, and similar to your TV, a large soundbar usually provides a far better sound quality. However, you shouldn’t exceed the width of your TV when you buy this device.
Smaller sound-bars have more variety and flexibility with the TVs they can complement. If you have a smaller TV or limited space, compact soundbars are best.
Our Top Cheap Soundbar Pick: The SB2920 C6
As far as budget soundbars go, nothing beats the SB2920 C6 29-Inch 2.0 Channel Soundbar. For an affordable product, Vizio comes with top tier tech to give you realistic audio, 3D room-filling entertainment, and focused details which makes it the best cheap soundbar.
It can pump out up to 95 dB of quality audio with minimal distortion. Of course, it also features Bluetooth and a slim profile for ease of use.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best budget soundbar that’s capable of going toe to toe with higher-end models without taking a chunk out of your wallet, then this is the right choice for you.