It’s a pretty universal truth that the stereos integrated into TVs aren’t exactly built with the needs of audiophiles in mind. As TVs becoming thinner and lighter and their visual resolutions become more impressive, the speakers integrated only become lower quality.
But building out a great sounding home theater system doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or take up a lot of space. While most budget soundbars aren’t going to provide you with a true surround sound system, they can offer great sound quality for a modest price and serve as a great starting point for a more dynamic stereo setup.
We’ve picked 10 of the best soundbars under 100 dollars for your scrutiny. Any one of these models can improve your TV’s sound quality immensely.
- 10 Best Soundbars under $100
- 1. Best Overall: Wohome 32″ 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar with Subwoofer
- 2. Best Features:VIZIO SB3820-C6 38″ 2.0 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar
- 3. Best Value: MEGACRA TV Soundbar Home Theater System
- 4. TaoTronics 32″ 4.2 Stereo Bluetooth Soundbar
- 5. Best Performer: VIZIO SB3220n-F6 32″ 2.0 Channel Sound Bar
- 6. TCL Alto 5 32″ 2.0 Channel Home Theater Sound Bar
- 7. Sanwo Black Wired & Wireless Bluetooth Home Theater Speaker
- 8. BYL Sound bar Wired and Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for TV
- 9. AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Sound Bar with Subwoofer
- 10. Sony S100F 2.0ch Bluetooth Sound Bar with Bass Reflex Speaker
- Budget Soundbar Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Soundbars under $100
1. Best Overall: Wohome 32″ 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar with Subwoofer
The WoHome S05 is a large and versatile soundbar that can work equally as well as a computer soundbar or soundbar for TV. While it may only employ a 2.1 channel setup, it's a big model, and that allows it to provide loud and relatively in depth sonics. It can reach thunderous decibel levels of 97, and despite being 32 inches in width, it sports a relatively compact design that allows it to fit even in smaller spaces and is wall mountable.
And that versatility allows you to get the experience you need regardless of what you're watching. Four different audio modes let you swap easily between different profiles, and they can even be customized to suit your specific preferences. This is a wireless soundbar that can still be connected physically using aux or optical cables, and it includes both a remote and inline controls for ease of use.
2. Best Features:VIZIO SB3820-C6 38″ 2.0 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar
This model by Vizio may test the limits of our price ceiling, but we'd be remiss to not include it. Vizio is well regarded for providing an incredible listening experience and quality for the price. That's why we had to include the SB3820-C6 whilst finding the best soundbar under 100 bucks. The 2.75" full range drivers are pretty impressive for this price range, but Vizio has made an interesting choice by opting out of a subwoofer in lieu of a deep bass module. That provides some strong performance on the low range while also allowing Vizio to better invest their innovations elsewhere.
Case in point is the inclusion of DTS TruSound, Dolby Digital, and DTS TruVolume. That's exceedingly rare in budget a soundbar under a 100 dollars, and it allows you to get much closer to an authentic surround sound experience than arguably any other soundbar under 100 bucks.
3. Best Value: MEGACRA TV Soundbar Home Theater System
If you're looking for a soundbar that's a little more petite and suited for your bedroom, Megacra has you covered. Their 28" soundbar may be small in stature, but it offers a lot of heft beneath its modest exterior. Three inch drivers offer some powerful performance, and this model is ready to be upgraded as a core part of a surround sound 5.1 system. The inclusion of dual bass ports ensures that the lows sound as meaningful as the mids and treble.
The Megacra can work in both wired and wireless mode, and three separate equalizer modes provide you with an easy way to swap between dialogue, music, and movies. While it's not the biggest or most booming soundbar on the market, it certainly has enough juice to suit the needs of a small apartment or a TV situated in your bedroom.
4. TaoTronics 32″ 4.2 Stereo Bluetooth Soundbar
TaoTronics has built a pretty respectable reputation for themselves for their ability to set new standards for the best budget sound bars. The TT-SK15UD is a sensible addition to any cheap home theater system. This is a sleek black and aesthetically pleasing Bluetooth soundbar that also offers some of the best sound performance in the price range of under $100. The fact that you can pick it up for under $70 only makes it an even more enticing choice.
The build is quality all around. It feels sturdy and smooth to the touch and makes use of a clever touch cluster instead of traditional buttons. But that wouldn't mean much if the TT-SK15UD couldn't keep pace in terms of performance. And while there's no subwoofer built in, it does its job well. Three independent equalizer modes help you make the most out of its relatively powerful four speaker configuration.
5. Best Performer: VIZIO SB3220n-F6 32″ 2.0 Channel Sound Bar
Halfway through our best soundbar under $100 list we have the Vizio SB3220n-F6. This is the successor to the Vizio sb2920-c6 29 inch model. It's a serious soundbar that pushes up against our under $100 limit but delivers performance in spades. It's easily one of the best sounding sound bars on our list, and if you aren't concerned about hitting the ceiling of the budget listed, it's well worth your attention. You couldn't tell it by looking at it. The build itself is unremarkable and borderline cheap on first glance, but it sounds so good that you probably won't even notice.
This 2.1 channel system makes use of two micro-sized subwoofers that offer a surrounding amount of bass balance to the overall sound quality. That bass is phenomenal, but it's just one part of a bigger picture. The Virtual:X sound processing ensures a sonic landscape that actually fills the room, and there's a richness delivered by the drivers that actually makes this sound bar competitive with models twice the price.
6. TCL Alto 5 32″ 2.0 Channel Home Theater Sound Bar
The Alto 5 is the baseline sound bar in TCL's line of sound bars and other home theater stereo equipment. It's small enough to fit comfortably under most TVs and operate as a dedicated gaming soundbar, and it's unobtrusive design means it won't stand out in your home theater system. But if you decide that you want a little more flexibility with its arrangement, it comes with all the tools you need to mount it over your television too. A dedicated remote control gives you access to all of its capabilities.
This sound bar offers a deceptively hefty amount of performance that belies its modest exterior. While the bass is a little thin, the highs are bright and chirpy, and there's a crispness to the sound quality that extends throughout the entire register. Whether you're listening to music or watching dialogue heavy television, you can count on it to perform.
7. Sanwo Black Wired & Wireless Bluetooth Home Theater Speaker
Chances that you haven't heard of manufacturer Sanwo, but they offer one of the most cheap soundbars available anywhere. The price tag of under $40 is an incredible deal, and while you can't expect it to keep pace with some of the more expensive options on our list, this is no flimsily produced piece of sound equipment. It can offer you modest quality sound that's still head and shoulders above what you'd get from the speakers built in to modern TVs.
This is also one of the most compact soundbars available. This soundbar under 100 dollars measures less than 16 inches in length, meaning it's small enough to take with you while you travel. If you're looking for something to use for watching movies on a business trip or to attach to your dedicated gaming laptop, it can fit comfortably in your bag and suit your needs.
8. BYL Sound bar Wired and Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for TV
BYL is another company that manages to produce some quality products despite a lack of popular international recognition. This budget soundbar under 100 dollars even comes with some cool and innovative features you'd be hard pressed to find for a speaker in this price range. The digital signal processing supports news, music, and movie modes, and the learning remote makes use of cutting edge IR functionality so you can use your existing television remote to control your sound bar as well.
And any settings that you save will remain that way so that you can put in place listening preferences and not have to worry about continually adjusting them. The sound quality is pretty solid across the board here. The bass comes in strong, and both it and the treble can be adjusted manually to achieve a level that's perfect for your specific listening needs.
9. AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Sound Bar with Subwoofer
The AmazonBasics line of products is generally devoted to stripped down products that offer quality but bare bones functionality at a dirt cheap price. The AmazonBasics soundbar bucks that trend by both being one of the more expensive items on our list and one of the most impressive. A sound bar with subwoofer for under 100 dollars is rare, but this model also manages to be sleek and beautiful while managing a truly impactful sound that's suitable for any home.
The specs here aren't exactly going to blow your mind, but you'd be surprised at how they outperform what you might expect from them. There's a fullness to the sound that will benefit audiophiles, cinephiles, and serious gamers alike, and while the Bluetooth technology inclusion is a little dated, it still manages to get the job done. All told, it's a solid sound bar that earns its price tag.
10. Sony S100F 2.0ch Bluetooth Sound Bar with Bass Reflex Speaker
The S100F may not come with a subwoofer built in like the AmazonBasics does, but it undoubtedly earns its comparable price tag. in lieu of a proper subwoofer is a dedicated tweeter. So while it may suffer a little in terms of bass response, there's a distinct clarity to the highs that wouldn't be present otherwise. And unlike most of the sound bars in this price range, it offers support for HDMI-ARC so you can get clearer and more distinct sound than you would through most physical connections.
If you'd prefer to go wireless, Bluetooth pairing is simple. In either case, the S-Force Pro technology built in produces a truly phenomenal level of aural clarity, and the bass reflex speaker replicates many of the advantages of a subwoofer without having to take up any extra space. This is actually one of the smaller and more stylish models we've featured.
Budget Soundbar Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve worked your way through our soundbar reviews, you should have a decent understanding of what you can find for under $100, but you may still have some questions. This guide will provide you with answers to some of the most common concerns customers have when shopping for the best soundbar under $100.
How Many Channels Do You Need?
You unfortunately aren’t going to find a 3.0 much less a 5.1 soundbar on our list. You may have noticed that all of our models are either listed as 2.0 or 2.1. So what does that actually mean in practical terms?
The number of channels refers to the number of components built into the speaker that produce sound. The number before the decimal point is a reference to the speakers. In a 2.0 or 2.1 sound bar, that means that there will be two speakers on either side of the bar. While that won’t manage to naturally create something replicating surround sound naturally, even some of the sound bars we have listed offer digital processing technologies that can mimic something in the ball park of surround sound. It obviously won’t come close to the real thing, but it’s a nice budget alternative.
The 0 or 1 after the decimal point refers to whether or not the sound bar comes with a subwoofer. The subwoofer traditionally sits in the middle of the sound bar. It’s a speaker that’s dedicated exclusively to low bass frequencies. Since this speaker can be built from the ground up to focus on lower frequencies, that allows you to get more authentic bass, and manufacturers can devote the construction of their standard speakers and drivers to better suit the mids and the highs.
Ideally, that means that 2.1 speakers are going to offer universally better sound than 2.0 speakers, but that’s not always true in practice. A pair of high enough quality speakers can outperform two mediocre speakers and a matching subwoofer. While you can treat the 2.1 models on our list as universally worth their price, exercise caution when looking at models outside of our reviews.
What is Digital Signal Processing?
DSP is a term used to describe the process of converting analog sound into digital signals. It’s a common feature even in inexpensive sound bars, but many manufacturers use their own unique terminology to describe it. If your sound bar offers separate equalizer settings, you can trust that they’re probably managed by DSP.
When a speaker makes use of DSP, it’s not just taking the music that comes from your TV and broadcasting it as is. It makes use of algorithms and processes them to simulate the desired experience. This can vary from equalizer setting to equalizer setting. If you have your soundbar set to a news setting, that likely means that the DSP will take sounds that resemble the human voice and fine tune them to sound as distinct and listenable as possible. Gaming settings might emphasize the bass and rumble of explosions, while music settings will typically seek to find something more balanced.
DSP is absolutely something you should look for in a sound bar, but just keep in mind that the quality of it can vary from model to model, and most companies make use of distinct EQ settings each with their own unique quirks. You may want to look for a sound bar with equalizer settings that accommodate the kind of listening experiences that you’re specifically looking for.
Is Size a Big Deal?
One of the biggest advantages of a soundbar over a traditional speaker system is how compact they are. Sound bars are traditionally capable of sitting underneath your TV comfortably, but the variety of different TV models means that it can be hard to create a sound bar that’s guaranteed to go underneath a television. You should never place a sound bar under a TV if the weight of the TV will be pressing on the bar.
If you intend to position your sound bar traditionally, you should measure the space underneath your television stand as a precautionary measure and compare it to the dimensions of the bar itself. It’s better to make sure that the speaker fits your needs before making a serious investment.
But if you have your mind set on a specific model, there’s no need to concern yourself just because the dimensions don’t accommodate your TV. Most bars come with the necessary accessories to mount a soundbar above your TV as well.
Whilst even the best soundbar under $100 isn’t going to miraculously transform your TV into a home theater, it can provide you with a much more immersive sonic experience and do so without crowding out the space in your room. A soundbar is as sensible a choice for your bedroom TV as it is for your gaming PC, and a rare few models can even go with you as you travel. And if you decide you want something a little more serious, be sure to check out our guide to the best gaming speakers of 2020.