X

Best Budget Soundbars for 2024: Vizio, Roku and More

Upgrade your TV's audio for less than $200 with one of the best budget-friendly soundbars around.

Updated Jan. 1, 2024 2:00 a.m. PT

Ty_Pendlebury.jpg
Written by  Ty Pendlebury
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Ty_Pendlebury.jpg
Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET
16171819202122232425+
Years of Experience
14151617181920212223
Hands-on Product Reviewers
6,0007,0008,0009,00010,00011,00012,00013,00014,00015,000
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

CNET’s expert staff reviews and rates dozens of new products and services each month, building on more than a quarter century of expertise. Read how we test products and services.

$160 at Target
sound bar and subwoofer in front of TV
Best cheap soundbar
Vizio V21
View details
View details
$130 at Roku
roku streambar
Best smart soundbar
Roku Streambar
View details
View details
$180 at Amazon
sr-20a-5
Best for dialogue
Yamaha SR-C20A
View details
View details
$80 at Amazon
03-the-creative-stage-soundbar
Best sound under $100
Creative Stage
View details
View details

The built-in sound quality on TVs has gotten a lot better over the years, but not even the best TVs can compete with dedicated soundbars. If you want better sound quality at home, you'll want to pick up a soundbar. Buying a soundbar no longer means you need to spend a lot of money, especially after you've already dropped a ton on your newest entertainment system. A cheap soundbar is the perfect solution for getting better dialogue quality out of your TV. Whether it's for watching movies and TV shows or even streaming music over Bluetooth, you can make your TV sound better for less than $200 with the best budget soundbars. 

The budget models highlighted here are ones that performed well in CNET's hands-on tests, including one that costs under $100. All of the affordable soundbars on this list have Bluetooth, HDMI and an optical connection, making hooking up to a TV easy. It's time to abandon poor TV sound and turn up the volume on a better binging experience.

Show less
$160 at Target

Best cheap soundbar

Vizio V21

For $190 MSRP, the V21 includes a wireless subwoofer, HDMI connectivity and both Dolby and DTS decoding. Like many of its stablemates this is an absolute movie machine and an impressive speaker to stream music via Bluetooth as well.

Show expert take Show less
Editors' choice
$130 at Roku

Best smart soundbar

Roku Streambar

The compact Roku Streambar offers a lot for its low price tag. This is a fully-fledged 4K HDR streamer with hundreds of supported services, plus the ability to connect via Bluetooth. It's an instant upgrade on your TV speaker too, with excellent vocal clarity.

Show expert take Show less
$180 at Amazon

Best for dialogue

Yamaha SR-C20A

If you're after a compact soundbar that offers Bluetooth, HDMI and really clean dialogue, the Yamaha SR-C20A has you covered. It also includes DTS Virtual:X for excellent simulated surround from a single box. 

Show expert take Show less
$80 at Amazon

Best sound under $100

Creative Stage

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 $90, including HDMI cable connectivity, but it's the wired subwoofer that makes the system really sing. This soundbar also offers Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port for playing MP3s from an external drive. Though the Stage V2 now exists -- which adds USB audio, digital coaxial and a clear sound mode for $109 -- the original is still current. 

Show expert take Show less
See at

Can a cheap soundbar sound any good?

TV speakers traditionally perform very poorly, so spending even just a little can improve your shows immeasurably. For around $100 you can buy something that doubles as a Bluetooth music streamer and a TV sound system. The quality of cheap soundbars has increased significantly in the past few years, and the addition of subwoofers at this level has also helped boost performance. Bass is something that no onboard TV speaker can offer. 

Show expert take Show less
See at

Is it worth spending more than $200?

All of the above soundbars will sound great and do so for a minimal amount of money, but there are advantages to increasing your budget. At $280, for example, the Sonos Ray not only will get you better audio experience and sound, but a better assortment of features, including multiroom music. While the sky's the limit to how much you can spend on upgrading your sound, the real sweet spot is between $300 and $400. See our list of best soundbars here, which includes models that offer state of the art Dolby Atmos audio effects.

Show expert take Show less