Our team took the time to do the research comparing many different models and ultimately we decided that the best soundbar under $100 is the VIZIO SB3820-C6. This was our Editor's Choice due to the high-quality build, multitude of connection options, Bluetooth streaming and stellar performance for the price.
As for the runner-up within this budget, the lesser-known MEGACRA S9620 is a decent buy offering more integrated speakers than the VIZIO. However, the lack of support for DTS and Dolby Audio as well a lesser-known brand brings concerns for longterm reliability and potential issues with warranty claims.
If you are looking for a soundbar that offers 2.1 channels versus the usual 2.0, the AmazonBasics 2.1 will be the only available option while staying within a 100 dollar budget. With the addition of an integrated subwoofer in the design, this soundbar allows you to achieve better bass than the competition but falls short when comparing build quality and its overall feature-set.
Lastly, our best cheap soundbar under 100 dollars is VIZIO's SB2920-C6 which is similar to our Editor's Choice in overall quality. The significant differences include a shorter length, lack of Dolby Audio support and a slightly lower overall loudness.
A high-quality and solid performing 2.0 soundbar from a reputable brand.
For the past five years, VIZIO has been one of the top manufacturer's for consumer soundbars and digital surround sound systems. Their SB3820-C6 packs just the right amount of features and high craftsmanship while remaining within this budget.
*Pricing as of 7/24/18
A off-brand model that packs solid specs without breaking the bank.
The MEGACRA is a lesser-known audio brand that offers a soundbar with six integrated speakers for enhanced performance although the lack of support for DTS and Dolby make it less desirable than VIZIO's models.
Best 2.1 Channel Soundbar Under $100
An Amazon-branded sidebar and the only soundbar model that utilizes 2.1 channel under $100.
AmazonBasics is the company's generic in-house brand that often utilizes similar technology and manufacturing as some of the more high-end brands at a more affordable cost. This model is the only soundbar under 100 dollars that includes support for 2.1 channel audio.
Best Cheap Soundbar (Under $80)
A smaller, budget version of VIZIO's soundbar with less features & performance.
Falling well under the 100 dollar budget, VIZIO's SB2920-C6 is a shorter model than our Editor's Choice thus taking up less room on your wall or TV stand. The features are still impressive, but the lack of Dolby support isn't ideal for consumers who want to be able to utilize this advanced technology.
*Pricing as of 7/24/18
For most of you, you'll have stumbled upon this guide coming from Google or another source in your search for the best sound bar under 100 dollars. We think that this buyer's guide will help refer you in the right direction with several recommended models fitting different sizes and budgets.
There is a lot of different variables to consider before investing in a soundbar so we will cover the basics of what you need to know before buying and give you a brief overview of the aspects/components that you should keep in mind before choosing the best soundbar for your needs.
Keep in mind, this guide took several days worth of work to research, test, compile and publish. Therefore, we are using a mixture of display advertising and embedded affiliate links to retail partners (which may earn us a small commission for referred purchases).
This form of monetization helps us keep the lights on and to be able to continue to produce more great contact like this for free without any deceptive or bias recommendations ruining your consumer experience or leading you in the wrong direction (many other competing articles do this).
For those of you who have a lingering question or concern that may arise and is not answered in this guide, feel free to leave us a comment below this article. Someone from our team will do our best to aid or address your needs as soon as possible.
Why Should You Invest In A Soundbar?
For some consumers, this may be your first time purchasing a soundbar or any form of aftermarket speakers for your TV or entertainment system. There are many benefits to owning a soundbar, and we will cover the top few reasons below:
Improved Sound Quality & Content Immersion
By adding a TV soundbar, in most cases, you'll immediately hear crisper, more appealing audio to go alongside your visual experience. This will help to enjoy your TV shows, movies or video games better as you'll find yourself more immersed in the content's audio.
In this day and age, television manufacturers are making their newest models to be ultra sleek looking, but this doesn't leave a lot of room for high-quality speakers to be integrated within the slim designs.
This means that as the models become more cosmetically appealing over time, the actual sound quality and performance found within even the most high-end models are becoming hindered by the industry's efforts to create thinner models each year.
Added Visual Appeal & Essence Of A True Home Theater System
While a soundbar isn't a necessity to everyone, adding one to your TV can make your living room, game room or home theater look that much more complete and high-tech to impress your guests or family.
Most soundbars (including all of the models that we recommend in this guide) can either be mounted to your wall or placed on an entertainment or TV stand. This allows you to reap the benefits of such an audio accessory without taking away from the elegance of the room.
Useful For Listening To eBooks, Music or Podcasts Via Bluetooth
If you like to listen to your favorite audio content in your home via a Bluetooth speaker then purchasing a soundbar can achieve this without the need to invest in a separate speaker.
All of the models that we recommend within this guide offer support for Bluetooth which means that you will be able to wirelessly connect via a compatible mobile device and play your music, ebook or podcast out of your soundbar at your convenience.
This results in dramatically improved the sound quality and loudness of this content compared to your traditional mobile device's native speaker.
Things To Consider When Buying A Cheap Soundbar
If this is the first time that you've ever been in the market for a soundbar or home audio accessory for your TV or entertainment system, then there is likely a lot of questions and buzzwords that you are hearing which may be foreign to you.
In this section, we will introduce you to several important criteria that we evaluate sound bars with and give you an overview of what these terms mean and what to keep in mind within this low price range.
Keep in mind, not all of you reading this article will have the same needs regarding features, compatibility, performance, size, and budget. Due to this, our general recommendations won't always match your specific needs.
While we consider them are accurate for the majority of our visitors, it is essential to evaluate your own situation before deciding which soundbar features is right for your needs through the following attributes:
- Brand/Model - the brand which manufacturers the soundbar does matter in some regard although you'll likely pay more for a name brand over a generic or foreign brand. In most cases, you'll receive better build quality, higher performance, more compatibility and a better, more dependable warranty by choosing a name brand although there are exceptions to this rule.
- Price - a factor that can be hardly overlooked for most consumers. As a general rule of thumb, you'll see a better quality performance, features, design, and compatibility as you rise in the price of a soundbar.
- Size - this attribute refers to the overall length of the soundbar which is often correlated with the size of your TV (here's a good article discussing this). In most cases, the bigger the soundbar length, the higher the loudness and performance.
- Channels - this refers to the number of channels found within a soundbar or home theater system. At this price-point, you'll almost entirely see a 2.0 channel stereo speaker within these soundbars which means that there are two channels: a left and a right. The exception is the AmazonBasics 2.1 soundbar which offers both a left, right and dedicated subwoofer for providing strong bass.
- Loudness - measured in decibels (dB), this determines the maximum sound output that the soundbar is capable. The higher the dB value, the louder the audio will be that the speakers are capable of emitting.
- Dedicated Subwoofer - you'll see this attribute only possible in a 2.1 channel sound bar (most of these will just be 2.0). A dedicated subwoofer will always improve the bass performance, significantly more than the integrated bass modules found in 2.0 systems. Certain 2.0 soundbars like the ones from VIZIO will be able to plug in an external subwoofer if you wish to improve bass performance at a later time.
- Bluetooth - All of these models are both wired and wireless in the sense that you must connect them via wires to your TV and power source, but they offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to bluetooth enabled devices such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop to the speakers for playback.
- Optical - refers to an optical audio connection, optical cables of the most common cables used for transmitting digital audio at this price-point.
- Digital Coaxial - refers to a digital coaxial connection which has an RCA interconnection at the end of the cable and gets plugged into the orange digital coaxial outputs on the receiver and source devices.
- USB - you should be familiar with USB ports if you are living in the modern digital age, but keep in mind the USB ports found on these soundbars are not always available for transferring audio, and some may be used for supplying power/software updates only.
- 3.5mm - one of the most common connections used with audio accessories and the same one that you'll find on most smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- RCA - a traditional connection commonly used to carry audio and video signals with three connections (white, yellow, red).
- Wall Mountable - refers to whether or not you'll be able to use the soundbar on a table-top or entertainment stand as well as mount on the wall. At this price-point, all of the models recommended within this guide compatible with wall mounting. They will all include some sort of remote controls for making volume or setting adjustments while mounted.
- DTS Support - stands for Dedicated To Sound which are multichannel audio technologies owned by Xperi Corp (formerly Digital Theater Systems Inc.) which are commonly licensed for use in consumer and commercial audio components.
- Dolby Support - referred to as Dolby Audio, which are the audio compression technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories. These are a licensable technology used for improving sound quality through multi-channel use.
Comparing The Top Soundbars Under $100
Best Soundbar Under 100 Dollars
VIZIO came onto the scene about 15 years ago, and it wasn't before long before their products gained popularity from consumers due to their high quality and competitive features while remaining at an affordable price.
Their SB3820-C6 is the company's best $100 soundbar that they offer. Measuring in at 38-inches, this model is tied for the longest design on this list which allows for larger more powerful speakers to be used within. This is in exchange for more tabletop or wall height required for usage.
This model utilizes a two-speaker design that is capable of producing up to 100dB of sound with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion. There is no built-in subwoofer, but there are integrated deep bass modules which help to offer strong bass performance without the use of a dedicated sub.
If you really want a dedicated subwoofer, this model does support the use of an external sub as long as it falls within the compatible connections. This is also an option for an add-on purchase once down the road if you want to improve your listening experience while remaining on a tight budget for now.
Concerning audio compatibility, VIZIO packed the SB3820-C6 to be compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS StudioSound, DIS TruVolume and DTS TruSurround. This makes this model the most widely supported of all the surround sound formats available at this price-point.
The sleek silver and black appeal follows the high build quality that VIZIO's known for. Each unit comes with its own dedicated remote (you can program your existing remove in some cases such as with DirecTV or DISH), and there are integrated buttons for things like power, input, Bluetooth and volume levels found on the top center of the unit.
MEGACRA is a foreign brand that isn't all that well-known, but that doesn't mean that their soundbar isn't one to consider. At just under 100 dollars, the S2620 looks rather impressive on paper touting six high-quality speakers versus the two used in most of the models within this guide.
As we stated earlier, more speakers does not necessarily mean that the quality is better although it does allow them to segregate individual speakers to specific frequencies to better suit a broader spectrum of sound. Loudness matches the VIZIO above with 100dB of sound output with the same 1% total harmonic distortion.
Similar to the VIZIO above, this model doesn't offer an integrated subwoofer although it does utilize two bass reflex tubes to improve bass performance. Unlike the SB3820-C6, it doesn't provide any sort of support for an external subwoofer so keep this in mind if you were thinking of leaning towards this route down the road.
As expected, this model supports Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless audio playback from compatible devices up to 33 away. Additionally, There are bass and treble adjustment buttons that allow you to increase or decrease these levels based on your own specific taste.
MEGACRA offers an 18-month warranty on their S9620, yet like any product from a lesser-known, foreign brand, you do run a risk of issues with support or warranty claims should anything go wrong.
We are unsure how easy it will be to get in contact and a replacement so be okay with the potential to lose out on the $100 investment if things go wrong at some point after purchase.
AmazonBasics is the e-commerce giant's native brand which allows them to sell similar products to those manufactured by a brand name at a lower price-point. In this case, this model is the only 2.1 channel bluetooth sound bar that fits within this sub-$100 price range.
This means that beyond the two speakers with separate channels, there is a dedicated subwoofer. The benefit of this is improved bass performance over the bass reflex tubes found in the other models listed in this guide.
However, there are some downsides to this model. First off, it doesn't support any DTS or Dolby formats which may not be an issue for some, whereas others it could be a dealbreaker.
Secondly, Amazon states on the product page that "this product is NOT compatible with universal remotes" so you won't be able to utilize a single remote to control your soundbar fully and you will have to use the included remote to make adjustments.
The overall Amazon reviews are very mixed for this model with an overall rating of 3.5/5 stars over nearly 1,600 reviews. This makes us believe that due to the low cost for the specs, the quality control is likely an issue.
By this, we mean that it could be a gamble whether you get a perfect, fully-working unit or a dud. While you won't find another 2.1 channel sound bar at a price-point of under $100, you must be willing to take the risk of getting a defective or mediocre performing unit at this price-point.
Our second VIZIO soundbar model on this list with a lower price and less impressive specifications than our Editor's Choice. The main difference with the SB3220N-F6 is the drop from 38 to 32 inches thus making it more manageable for smaller TV, walls or entertainment stands.
This is technically the newest 2.0 soundbar under $100 from VIZIO as it is their 2018 model. While the difference in size is present, the resulting loudness isn't affected by all that much dropping from 100dB to 97dB while maintaining less than 1% total harmonic distortion.
Internally, there are two speaker drivers and no dedicated subwoofer. You are able to connect an after-market subwoofer to this soundbar for use in tandem as long as it supports the same connections that this model offers.
Just like the higher-end VIZIO soundbar mentioned within this guide, the SB3220N-F6 supports Dolby Audio as well as DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume. Also, it offers support for one of the newest formats DTS Virtual: X which was just released in the past year.
The only soundbar recommended in this guide from LG is the SK1 which retails for just under 100 dollars. Unlike most of the other models on this list, this soundbar measured in at only 28 inches which makes it ideal for compact spaces.
Performance wise, the LG SK1 has 40W of total output power and a 2.0 channel setup. There is support for Bluetooth, but no compatibility for Dolby Atomos, Hi-Res audio or DTS formats.
Cosmetically, the SK1 is a sleek and elegant piece of audio equipment. With the matte black finish and short length, it looks excellent alongside TV with a display of 32" or larger.
Our top budget choice for someone looking to save as much money as possible while still getting a decent soundbar for a low price. The SB2920-C6 from VIZIO is their lowest-end 2.0 model that is also the smallest measuring in at just 29" in length.
Due to the smaller size, it does have a lesser volume output than its older siblings, at 95dB with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion. There is full Bluetooth support for wireless listening with your compatible devices.
With two integrated speaker drivers, there is no dedicated subwoofer, but there is a subwoofer out port thus allowing you to connect an aftermarket sub for increased bass performance.
From a cosmetic standpoint, this looks just like the other VIZIO models just in a smaller package with the same integrated center buttons, logo-branded silver end caps and front left LED indicators.
Support for surround-sound formats is limited to DTS StudioSound, DTS TrueVolume, and DTS TruSurround. There is no Dolby support on this budget model so plan accordingly if you plan to purchase it for this reason.
Our second model from Amazon's in-house branding, this model is cheaper than the 2.1 model since it drops the dedicated subwoofer and remains a 2.0 channel system. Measuring in at 31 inches, it is only a half an inch shorter than its more expensive sibling.
From a cosmetic standpoint, the 2.0 version is less sleek than the 2.1 model with a more square design that is thicker in depth. This model includes a dedicated remote as well as integrated buttons on the top center of the soundbar.
As we stated earlier, this 2.0 channel Bluetooth model does not have a dedicated subwoofer, and it lacks any support for connecting an aftermarket sub. The two internal speakers offer up to 90dB of loudness which is plenty for most consumers' needs yet there is no support for DTS or Dolby formats.
We've come to the end of this guide and have shared all of our knowledge and recommendations concerning the budget soundbar market. If you've made it this far, we hope that you have found this article to be helpful and learned some valuable knowledge to help you determine the right model.
If you have read the entirety of this guide and still find yourself confused or unsure of which model is best for your needs, then you can always leave a comment below to get in touch with one of our staff members who will give you advice or a more detailed recommendation based on your needs.
To sum it all up, we took a look at dozens of different products and ultimately determined that the best soundbar under 100 dollars is VIZIO's SB3820-C6 and the best cheap soundbar is VIZIO's SB2920-C6 model.
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We hope this guide helped you find the best soundbar under $100!