Are you looking for the cheapest soundbars for TV use or the best budget soundbar to upgrade your audio? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Most flat panel TVs come with tiny speakers that only offer basic audio, making it difficult to clearly hear dialogue or get an immersive sound experience. These built-in TV speakers are also often aimed in the wrong direction, firing sound towards the wall or downwards which results in muffled, quieter audio.
One solution is to buy a home theater system to greatly increase your audio experience. However, they occupy a lot of space and cost a lot.
For those tight on space or on a budget, another great option is a cheap soundbar for your TV or home theatre setup. They deliver much better sound quality, convincing car crashes, explosions and other sounds that make movies and other multimedia content more convincing.
Although soundbars are available in different sizes, shapes and price ranges – even the cheapest soundbar for TVs can produce better sound than the built-in speakers of an average flat-panel TV.
If you’re wanting one of the cheapest soundbars for TV without compromising on features, the VIZIO SB2820n-E0 soundbar is an excellent choice. Boasting up to 95dB of volume, it’s suitable for most rooms whilst Dolby’s advanced audio technology ensures an excellent audio experience.
However, if your budget can stretch further, splurging on something more powerful like the ultra-slim Sony CT290 is a great idea thanks to its improved connectivity options and dedicated subwoofer for punchier bass.
What is a Soundbar?
A soundbar is a long, all-in-one speaker that aims to deliver high-quality audio without costing a fortune. Soundbars typically come with their own amplifiers and are self-powered, meaning they’re easier to setup and require less space.
Many soundbars also feature a built-in subwoofer, producing deeper bass and adds impact to movies, videos, music and soundtracks.
Like any other electronics, the saying “you get what you pay for” is also true for soundbars as they’re available in different price ranges. The more you spend, the more features and power you get, but even the cheaper models produce much better sound compared to the underpowered speakers built into most TVs, making the whole experience more enjoyable.
In addition to serving as an alternative to TV speakers, soundbars can also be used as standalone music players, allowing you to extract more value from your investment.
Soundbars vs Surround Sound
There’s a number of my important differences when comparing soundbars vs surround sound systems.
Surround sound systems offer a more immersive and life-like audio experience by creating a sound “bubble” using multiple speakers. As a result, you can actually hear objects moving in different directions, which isn’t possible with simple soundbars as they are usually mounted under the TV.
However, surround speakers can take up a lot of space, require more complicated wiring and adjusting them can become an issue in smaller rooms.
On the other hand, soundbars are compact, require very little space and are considerably cheaper than surround sound speakers.
They offer some sound separation, thanks to their length. However, as they’re located under the TV, soundbars don’t offer the same degree as immersion as a surround d sound system as they have no way of providing sound behind your head.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Budget Soundbar
When you’re hunting for the best budget soundbar, there’s a number of things you need to consider:
- Budget: The first thing is your budget as it helps determine what features your money can buy. If you’re on a tight budget, basic 2.0 channel stereo soundbars can be the right choice as 5.1 channel soundbars can cost considerably more thanks to their added power and features.
- Power Output/Loudness: The power output of speakers (measured in watts) or loudness (measuring in decibels) represents the oomph a speaker can deliver – the higher the number, the better. Despite the fact that almost all soundbars offer more power than average TV speakers, it’s recommended to go for a soundbar with a higher Watts rating to get the most power per dollar.
- Connectivity: Connectivity options are another important aspect to consider when looking for the best budget soundbar. Many budget soundbars support Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, while others support HDMI, optical audio and traditional audio jacks. Just note that the cheapest soundbars will often omit connectivity options to reduce costs.
- Mounting Options: Wall mountable soundbars help save some space and ensure a clean setup, while standing bars look nicer and are aesthetically more pleasing.
- Subwoofers: Subwoofers enhance the audio experience by producing bass-rich sound and are a big plus if you mostly listen to music videos and watch movies. However, they’re not strictly necessary and those looking for a budget soundbar will likely do fine without them.
Best Cheap Soundbars for TV 2018
To help choose the best budget soundbar, here are our top picks for soundbars that offer great value for the money. If you’re on a budget, it’s definitely possible to get a good budget that sounds much better than your average TV speakers.
Even the best soundbar under $100 can significantly improve your movie-watching experience.
1. VIZIO SB2820n-E
Size: 28 inches | Channels: 2.0 | Loudness: 95db | Connectivity: Optical/3.5mm/USB/Bluetooth | Mounting Options: Tabletop/Wall Mountable | Subwoofer: No
This VIZIO SB2820n-E soundbar comes in a neatly designed package and offers 95dB of room filling and crisp sound, thanks to advanced DTS audio technology.
Bluetooth connectivity makes it easier to setup the soundbar wirelessly, while the package also contains all the required audio cables to get you started.
The soundbar mostly received five stars rating, which indicates the quality it offers at an affordable price.Check Price at Amazon
2. Yamaha YAS-107BL
Size: 35 inches | Channels: 2.0 | Power Output: 120W | Connectivity: HDMI/Optical/3.5mm/Bluetooth | Mounting Options: Tabletop/Wall Mountable | Subwoofer: 2x 30W Built-In
The Yamaha YAS-107BL soundbar costs almost twice as much as cheapest soundbar but don’t let its slightly higher price tag put you off. Whilst its not the cheapest soundbar for TVs, those willing to spend a little more get much more bang for their buck with a number of extra features worth the premium.
It features built-in dual 30W subwoofers without requiring a standalone box for a compact setup. The soundbar is compatible with HDMI, analog connection as well as optical and supports Bluetooth wireless connectivity for wireless music streaming.
This compact, yet powerful soundbar can be controlled with a dedicated remote control, smartphones or through HDMI-CEC interface using your TV’s remote. 120 Watts of total power ensures you hear every sound in great detail and never compromise on loudness.Check Price at Amazon
3. TaoTronics TT-SK15 40 Watt Soundbar
Size: 34 inches | Channels: 2.0 | Power Output: 40W | Connectivity: Optical/Coaxial/3.5mm/Bluetooth | Mounting Options: Tabletop/Wall Mountable | Subwoofer: Built-In Passive Radiators
The TaoTronics TT-SK15 40 Watt soundbar is an incredibly popular option if you’re looking for one of the best cheap soundbars for TVs. It offers a lot of features and decent sound quality at an affordable price.
It comes with both wired and wireless connectivity and features two passive radiators for better bass.
Connectivity options are good too. It can be connected with the audio source via Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio jack, optical, coaxial and the more traditional AUX input.
It can either be placed under the TV or mounted on the wall for a cleaner setup.Check Price at Amazon
4. Sony CT290
Size: 35.4 inches | Channels: 2.1 | Power Output: 300W | Connectivity: HDMI (with ARC)/Optical/USB/Bluetooth | Mounting Options: Tabletop/Wall Mountable | Subwoofer: Separate (Wireless)
The ultra-slim Sony CT290 soundbar is suitable if you need extra power and a dedicated subwoofer. A combined power of 300 watts is more than enough for larger rooms and even halls, while the ultra-slim design allows you to conveniently place the soundbar wherever you need it. Its wall-mountable design helps save space or it can be laid flat in front the TV for easy use.
The soundbar supports Bluetooth and playing music via USB, allowing users to use it as a dedicated music system.Check Price at Amazon
5. VIZIO SB3821-C6
Size: 38 inches | Channels: 2.1 | Loudness: 100dB | Connectivity: Optical/3.5mm/RCA/Coaxial/USB/Bluetooth | Mounting Options: Tabletop/Wall Mountable | Subwoofer: Separate (Wireless)
The 38-inch VIZIO SB3821-C6 2.1 channel soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer and can pump out up to 100db of volume – great for filling a room.
Dolby Digital, DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume are supported for an immersive and enhanced audio experience and the wireless subwoofer produces richer and more powerful bass, making movies and music more enjoyable without needing a massive footprint.Check Price at Amazon
Best Cheapest Soundbars for TVs 2018: Conclusion
Choosing the right budget soundbar depends on how much your can spend, preferences and individual tastes.
The VIZIO SB2820n-E0 soundbar offers great value for the money, making it one of the best soundbars under $100. With up to 95dB of room-filling volume, it’s loud enough for most rooms, while Dolby DTS advanced audio technology ensures a crystal clear, cinema-quality sound. Bluetooth connectivity is also a great addition for wireless music streaming.
It offers the right balance between price, features and sound quality with a sleek design that’s not only practical, but also aesthetically pleasing.