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Best sound bars under $200

Three cheap ways to make sure your TV's sound doesn't suck.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The speakers built into your TV are terrible. 

You want better sound for movies and TV shows, and maybe something that can Bluetooth from your phone to play Spotify too. But you're on a tight budget.

Plenty of dirt-cheap options exist from no-name brands, and they probably sound better than your TV. But for just $100 and up, you can grab a bar that performed well in CNET's hands-on tests.

All three of the affordable sound bars on this list have Bluetooth (for wireless music streaming from your phone) and an optical connection (for hooking to a TV), plus a remote control. The Yamaha YAS-108 also includes HDMI, which makes connectivity even easier. And the subwoofer lends the Vizio SB3621n-e8 more authority and musicality -- in other words, bass -- making it our favorite overall.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 

Vizio SB362An-F6 ($100)

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If your budget is a Franklin and no more, the best option is this Vizio. With a larger-than-most cabinet the SB362An-F6 offers levels of bass that even the $200 Yamaha YAS-108 can't touch. It doesn't boast as many features as some of the bars below, but it does have Bluetooth. If you just want the best sound quality for the lowest price, this is it, but if you can spend a bit more, keep scrolling.

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Now playing: Watch this: Vizio's SB362 solo sound bar is great value for money

Vizio SB3621n-e8 ($130)

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If you have a bit more to spend, this Vizio is worth it. Thanks to the included wireless subwoofer, the SB3631 is an absolute movie machine, and it sounds impressive with music over Bluetooth as well. It's our favorite budget soundbar, and earns our Editors' Choice in the category.

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Yamaha YAS-108 ($200)

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Despite the lack of a subwoofer, the sleek Yamaha YAS-108 offers excellent sonic intelligibility and a great mix of features. The included HDMI ports, available on no other bar from this list, ensure optimum soundtrack compatibility with connected devices like Blu-ray players.

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Can you spend a bit more?

For $300 not only will you get better sound, but a better assortment of features including a subwoofer as standard and a greater number of inputs. Some of them even have Alexa built in. Check out the gallery below for our picks.