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Speakers

Best soundbars of 2019 under $200

If you're on a limited budget, here are three soundbars that sound great, look good and don't cost an arm and a leg.

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 $80 and up, you can grab a 'bar that performed well in CNET's hands-on tests.

All three of the affordable soundbars 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 Creative Stage also includes HDMI, which makes connectivity even easier. Meanwhile, the Vizio SB3621n-e8 offers more authority and musicality than most soundbars at any price, making it our favorite overall.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have a bit more to spend, this Vizio is worth it. Thanks to the included wireless subwoofer, the SB3621n-e8 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. Read VIZIO SB3621N-E8 review

Sarah Tew/CNET

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. Read VIZIO SB362AN-F6 review

Sarah Tew/CNET

Soundbars are able to make a lot of noise from a tiny box, but nothing can compare with the bass that a dedicated subwoofer can bring. The Creative Stage offers a lot for just $80, including HDMI connectivity, but it's the wired subwoofer which makes the system really sing. Read Creative Stage review

Can you spend a bit more?

At $250, for example, 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 these soundbars even have Alexa built-in -- models like the excellent Polk Command Bar. While the sky's the limit to how much you can spend, the real sweet spot is between $300 and $400. See our list of best soundbars here

Now playing: Watch this: Vizio's SB362 solo sound bar is great value for money
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Originally published two years ago. Regularly updated with new products and advice.