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Best cheap soundbars in 2022

TCL Alto 6 soundbar
(Image credit: TCL)

The best cheap soundbars can upgrade your TV's audio without taking up a ton of room, and without the mess of wiring an entire home theater system. While you don't get the same surround effect as a true home theater, a good soundbar will deliver great audio clarity and higher volumes without distortion. If you want the most power, a soundbar with a subwoofer is a must, whether it's built-in or a separate unit. Luckily, there are plenty of options under $100 to get you started.

These are the best cheap soundbars for your TV

TCL Alto 6+ soundbar

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 channel soundbar

The best powerful cheap soundbar

Reasons to buy

+
240W of total power
+
Included wireless subwoofer
+
HDMI ARC support
+
Bluetooth

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger than most

The Alto 6+ is the most impressive package on this list, packing in all of the tech you would expect on a soundbar twice its price, while still delivering a massive 240W of total power. That’s two stereo drivers kicking out a combined 120W of power, and a wireless subwoofer adding another 120W. While a more expensive soundbar may deliver a more balanced audio experience with more customization, it’s hard to argue the sheer power you get at this price.

Input is handled via HDMI ARC, optical, or auxiliary, so just about any TV can get connected in a matter of moments. The subwoofer should pair automatically, but if it doesn’t, there is a button to pair it on the back. One thing to remember about a subwoofer is that it doesn’t need to be in front of you, you can place it in the corner of the room or even beside your couch and still get the benefits. If you feel like you’re not getting enough bass, or perhaps it's too much, relocating this subwoofer can help you find a sweet spot. That is, if the three sound modes don’t quite work for you.

Hisense HS205 stereo soundbar

(Image credit: Hisense)

Hisense HS205 2.0 channel soundbar

Best value cheap soundbar

Reasons to buy

+
60W of total power
+
HDMI ARC support
+
Bluetooth
+
Roku TV ready

Reasons to avoid

-
No subwoofer option

The Hisense S205 hits all the marks for a cheap soundbar with a decent amount of power and both wired and wireless input. With a 2.0 channel speaker layout, this soundbar isn’t set up to deliver home theater audio, but will be a significant upgrade from the speakers built into your TV. With 60W of total power, this is a good soundbar for a bedroom or a smaller room. Even so, its width gives it good stereo separation, which will really shine with music.

Input is handled primarily with HDMI ARC, but if you have an older set that doesn’t support ARC, there’s an optical and analog auxiliary port on the back. This soundbar also supports Bluetooth, so you don’t need a separate Bluetooth speaker. This soundbar is also certified to work with a Roku TV, so you can adjust the volume with a single remote.

In the box, you also get a mounting kit, so you can hang the soundbar right below your TV for optimal sound. If you’re looking to extend the life of an older TV or just want a little extra volume without distortion, this soundbar is a good pick without going overboard.

Hisense Hs214 2.1 soundbar

(Image credit: Hisense)

Hisense HS214 2.1 channel soundbar

Best all-in-one soundbar

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in subwoofer
+
HDMI ARC support
+
108W total power
+
Roku TV ready

Reasons to avoid

-
No external subwoofer option

If you need a bit more power, but don’t want the mess of running additional wires for a subwoofer, the Hisense HS214 comes with one built-in. While it’s nothing crazy, the 54W subwoofer can give your audio greater depth and bass response without sacrificing the quality of mid and highs from your 27W stereo speakers. That means you crank the volume without distortion when the bass rumbles.

For connectivity, you get HDMI ARC, optical, and an auxiliary port, so no matter how old your TV is, there’s a good chance you can get connected. You also get Bluetooth, so you can play music straight from your phone without powering on the TV. Like many other Hisense soundbars, it’s Roku-TV-ready, so you can get everything done with a single remote. With 108W in total power, the HS214 should be enough for clear audio in a living room space.

Sony S100F 2.0 soundbar

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony HT-S100F

Works anywhere and with any TV

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in Bluetooth
+
HDMI ARC support
+
Multiple input/output methods
+
Slim and compact

Reasons to avoid

-
No subwoofer option

Soundbars usually sport a sleek design, but some of them end up looking too large or sticking out like a sore thumb. That's not the case with the Sony HT-S100F. You'll find a sleek and slim design that is sure to fit with the layout of just about any room in the house.

There are touch controls on the top to turn on the speaker, activate Bluetooth, and adjust the volume. With Bluetooth built-in to go along with the USB Port, you can pair up your smartphone, tablet, or even computer with your soundbar. Plus, with HDMI ARC support, you'll be able to cut down on the number of cables needed for your living room setup, and can use just a single remote to control everything.

The biggest pitfall with the HT-S100F is the inability to pair this with other wireless speakers to create a wireless surround sound system. While Sony packed a slew of features to help improve the audio quality without sacrificing size, the company stopped short of providing a subwoofer to go along with the HT-S100F.

Vizio SB3620n-H6 2.0ch soundbar

(Image credit: Vizio)

Vizio SB3620n-H6

Pair it with a subwoofer

Reasons to buy

+
Wide 2.0ch soundbar
+
Compatible with a wired subwoofer
+
Bluetooth audio

Reasons to avoid

-
No HDMI ARC

This 36-inch soundbar from Vizio keeps it simple with a 2.0 channel speaker layout and a handful of inputs. You get Bluetooth for wireless audio, as well as an analog auxiliary port and a digital optical port. The stereo separation is strong and should deliver a sound stage that matches even a large TV. A simple remote is included to control your volume, as this soundbar does not have an HDMI ARC port.

One thing that sets this soundbar apart is the inclusion of a subwoofer out port. While most soundbars only support wireless subwoofers or don’t support one at all, the Vizio SB3620n-H6 will work with just about any off-the-shelf powered subwoofer. That means that down the road, you can upgrade this kit with more bass or even utilize a subwoofer you may already own. With subwoofers often going on sale, it’s good to know that you can upgrade when the time is right.

LG SK1 2.0ch soundbar

(Image credit: LG)

LG SK1 2.0 channel soundbar

A compact boost

Reasons to buy

+
Compact design
+
Premium look
+
Suitable for smaller TVs

Reasons to avoid

-
No subwoofer option
-
No HDMI ARC
-
Not much power at 40W

Sometimes with a TV, you just want to keep it simple and compact. The LG SK1 soundbar stays focused on this goal with a total width of just 25.6 inches. Power is similarly humble with 20W per speaker, for a total of 40W. This isn’t going to shake your couch, but it will give your TV enough of a boost to clearly hear dialog and standard TV programs. Many flat panel TVs just don’t have room for a ton of power, so this soundbar can take your audio up a notch without taking up a bunch of space.

You get optical audio input as well as auxiliary input, so just about any TV should be able to get connected with ease. A remote is included to adjust your audio. The grill on the front of the soundbar wraps around either side, giving it a clean look that should blend right in beneath your TV, even a smaller TV.

Find a soundbar that fits your room

Soundbars come in all different shapes and sizes, and there are ways to use soundbars that one may not have thought of before. Plus, you don't need to throw cash at the problem of improving your home stereo system anymore, with picks under $100 like the TCL Alto 6+. This soundbar has plenty of power to give movies an extra kick and plenty of bass with its powerful subwoofer.

When you dive into the budget market, there are corners to be cut, and it's evidenced by issues like lack of HDMI ARC support or an external subwoofer. Other omissions include the lack of smart home integration, which could leave you looking elsewhere for a soundbar. Of course, if you're willing to spend more, the best soundbars offer a wider range of features including better surround sound. You may even find a soundbar that's tuned specifically to your needs such as the Creative Sound Blaster Katana gaming soundbar.