We did the research comparing dozens of models and determined the best soundbar under 100 dollars is the VIZIO SB3820-C6. This was our Editor's Choice due to the high build quality, multitude of connection options and stellar performance for the price.
As for the runner-up under $100, the lesser-known MEGACRA S9620 is a decent buy. This soundbar offers more integrated speakers than the VIZIO above. However, it lacks DTS and Dolby Audio support. Being from a lesser-known brand it may fall short in long-term reliability and warranty claims.
If you need the best 2.1 channel soundbar under 100 dollars, the AmazonBasics 2.1 is the only available option. By integrating a dedicated subwoofer in the design, this soundbar allows you to achieve better bass reproduction. It falls short when comparing build quality and features.
Our best cheap soundbar is VIZIO's SB2920-C6 which is like our Editor's Choice in quality. The significant difference is a shorter length (resulting in lower loudness) and the lack of DTS/Dolby Audio support.
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 a $100 budget.
A off-brand soundbar 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 soundbars.
Best 2.1 Channel Soundbar Under $100
Amazon-branded side the only soundbar that offers 2.1 channel functionality 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
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 smaller soundbar 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.
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You may have stumbled upon this guide coming from Google in your search for the best sound bar under 100. This buyer's guide will help point you in the right direction. We will cover several recommended soundbars offering different sizes and budgets.
There is a lot of variables to consider before investing in a soundbar. We will cover the basics of what you need to know before buying. This includes a brief overview of the aspects/components that you should keep in mind before choosing the best $100 soundbar for your needs.
For those of you who have a lingering questions and isn't answered in this article, feel free to leave us a comment below this guide. Someone from our team will do our best to aid or address your concerns as soon as possible.
Why Invest In A Soundbar Under $100?
For some, this may be your first time purchasing a soundbar for your television. There are many benefits to owning a soundbar, and we will cover a few of the best reasons below:
1) Improved Sound Quality & Greater Content Immersion
By adding a sound bar, you'll often experience crisper audio that can improve your visual experience. This will help to enjoy TV shows, movies or video games better as you'll become more immersed in the content.
Television manufacturers often design their newest models to offer a thinner, sleek profile. This doesn't leave the ample room needed for high-quality speakers to be integrated within these slim TVs.
What this results in is more appealing TVs that suffer from poor sound quality. For many consumers, they would rather settle for a thicker TV than sacrifice audio capabilities yet a sound bar can solve this dilemma.
2) Added Visual Appeal & Essence Of A True Home Theater System
A soundbar isn't a necessity to everyone. Adding one to your TV can make your home theater look much more complete and impress any guests or family.
Most soundbars (including the best models recommended in this guide) can either be mounted to your wall or placed on a TV stand. This allows you to reap the benefits of a soundbar without taking away from the elegance of the room.
3) Useful For Listening To eBooks, Music or Podcasts Via Bluetooth
Many choose to listen to their favorite audio content via a Bluetooth speaker. Purchasing a soundbar can achieve this without needing to invest in a dedicate Bluetooth speaker.
All of the soundbars recommended within this guide offer support for Bluetooth. This allows you to wirelessly connect via a compatible mobile device. From there you can play your favorite music, eBook or podcast through the soundbar.
This results in better sound quality and loudness when compared to a native speaker found in your mobile device.
Things To Consider When Buying A Cheap Soundbar
For many of you this is the first time that you've ever been in the market for a sound bar or home audio accessory for your TV. There is likely a lot of questions and buzzwords that you are hearing which you may not understand.
Below, we'll introduce you to several criteria that we use to evaluate soundbars. We'll do our best to give you an overview of what these terms mean and what to keep in mind within a 100 dollar price range.
Everyone will not have the same needs for features, compatibility, performance, size and budget. Due to this, our general recommendations won't always match your specific desires.
We think they are accurate for the majority of our visitors. It is still important to determine which soundbar features are relevant to your needs:
- Brand/Model – the brand which manufacturers the sound bar. It does matter in some regard although you'll likely pay more for a name brand over a generic or foreign brand. You'll often receive a better build quality, greater performance and a more dependable warranty by choosing a sound bar from a name brand. There are exceptions to this rule.
- Price – a factor that can be hardly overlooked for most consumers. You'll often see a better performance, features, design, and compatibility as the price of a sound bar rises.
- Size – this attribute refers to the length of the soundbar. This is often correlated with the size of your TV (here's a good article discussing this). In most cases, the greater the soundbar length, the better the performance.
- Channels – this refers to the number of channels found within a sound bar or home theater system. For under $100, the selection will be limited to primarily 2.0 channel soundbars. This means means that there are only two channels: a left and a right. An exception is the AmazonBasics 2.1 soundbar which has both a left and right channel as well as a dedicated subwoofer for improved bass.
- Loudness – measured in decibels (dB). This determines the greatest sound output that the soundbar is capable. The higher the dB value, the louder the audio signal 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 the soundbars on this list feature Bluetooth technology. This means you'll need to connect via wires to your TV and power source, but you can wirelessly pair with supported Bluetooth devices. These devices may include a smartphone, tablet or laptop which can offer audio playback to the soundbar.
- Optical – refers to an optical audio connection. Optical cables are one of the most common connections used for transmitting digital audio at this price-point.
- Digital Coaxial – refers to a digital coaxial connection. This offers an RCA connection at the end of the cable and is thicker than most audio cables. It will need to be plugged into the orange digital coaxial outputs on the soundbar and source device.
- USB – living in the modern digital age, you should be familiar with USB cables and ports. Keep in mind the USB ports found on these soundbars are not always used for transferring audio. Some USB ports on a soundbar may only supply power or be used for software updates.
- 3.5mm – one of the most common connections used with audio accessories. This is the same connection that you'll find on most modern smartphones, tablets and computers. Also, known as an auxiliary jack.
- RCA – a traditional connection used to carry audio and video signals through three separate inputs (white, yellow and red).
- Wall Mountable – refers to whether a soundbar can be mounted on the wall. All of the soundbars under $100 recommended within this guide can be wall mounted. They all include a remote control for making volume adjustments while mounted.
- DTS Support – stands for Dedicated To Sound. DTS is a multichannel audio technology owned by Xperi Corp (formerly Digital Theater Systems Inc.). This technology is often licensed for use in the best consumer and commercial audio components.
- Dolby Support – referred to as Dolby Audio. It is an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. These are licensed to the best sound bar manufacturers to improve audio quality through multi-channel use.
Comparing The Best Soundbars Under $100
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Best Soundbars Under 100 Dollars (2019)
VIZIO came onto the scene about 15 years ago. Their products have become a success due to their high quality, competitive features and affordable price.
Their SB3820-C6 is the company's best soundbar under $100. Measuring in at 38-inches, this model ties for the longest design on this list. The added length allows for larger more powerful speakers to be used within. A downfall is that it'll need more tabletop or wall space for mounting.
This soundbar 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 dedicated subwoofer. Instead it offers deep bass modules which help provide strong bass performance.
If you 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 a nice option for an add-on purchase down the road for those who want to further improve their listening experience.
VIZIO packed the SB3820-C6 to be compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS StudioSound, DTS TruVolume and DTS TruSurround. This makes this model the most widely supported of all the surround sound formats available in soundbars under $100.
The sleek silver and black appeal is part of the high build quality that VIZIO is known for. Each unit comes with a dedicated remote (you may be able to program your existing remove in some cases such as with DISH). There are integrated buttons for power, input source, Bluetooth connectivity 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. Coming in under 100 dollars, the S2620 looks rather impressive on paper. It touts six high-quality speakers versus the two used in most of the soundbars within this guide.
Remember, more speakers does not necessarily mean that the quality is better. In this case, 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.
This soundbar doesn't offer an integrated subwoofer yet it does harness two reflex tubes to improve bass performance. Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't provide any sort of support for an external subwoofer. Keep that in mind if were thinking of taking advantage of this at a later point.
As expected, this soundbar supports Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless audio playback from compatible devices up to 33 away. There are bass and treble 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 soundbar. 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.
AmazonBasics is the e-commerce giant's native brand. This allows them to sell similar products to their brand name competitors at a lower price. In this case, this is the only 2.1 channel bluetooth sound bar that fits under $100 budget.
This means that beyond the two speakers with separate channels, this soundbar offers a dedicated subwoofer. The benefit of this is improved bass performance over the reflex tubes found in the other soundbars listed in this guide.
However, there are some downsides to this sound bar. First off, it doesn't support any DTS or Dolby formats which may not be an issue for some. To others, it may be considered a dealbreaker.
The Amazon reviews are very mixed for this model with an overall rating of 3.5/5 stars over 1,600 reviews. This makes us believe that due to the low cost, the quality control is not the best.
This means that it could be a gamble whether you get a perfect, fully-working unit or a dud. You won't find another 2.1 channel soundbar under 100 dollars so you must be willing to take the risk of getting a defective unit.
Our second VIZIO soundbar model on this list with a lower price and weaker than our best choice. The main difference with the SB3220N-F6 is the drop from 38 to 32 inches. This makes it more manageable for smaller TV, walls or entertainment stands.
This is the newest 2.0 soundbar priced below $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. Their testing shows a drop from 100dB to 97dB while maintaining less than 1% total harmonic distortion.
The internal design offers two speaker drivers and no dedicated subwoofer. You are can connect an after-market subwoofer to this soundbar as long as it supports the same connections types.
The SB3220N-F6 supports Dolby Audio as well as DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume. Unlike competing $100 soundbars, it offers support for one of the newest and best formats, DTS Virtual: X, which was released in the past year.
The only soundbar that made this list from LG is the SK1 which retails for under 100 dollars. Smaller than most of the competing soundbars in this guide, this SK1 measured in at only 28 inches. This makes it ideal for compact spaces.
Performance wise, the LG SK1 has 40W of total output power and offers a 2.0 channel design. There is support for Bluetooth, but no compatibility with Dolby Atomos, Hi-Res audio or DTS formats.
The SK1 is a sleek and elegant sound bar. With the matte black finish and short length, it looks excellent alongside TV with a display of 32″ or larger.
Our best budget choice for someone looking to save as much money as possible while still getting a decent soundbar. The SB2920-C6 from VIZIO is their lowest-end 2.0 model that is also the smallest measuring in at 29″ in length.
Due to the compact size, it does have a lesser volume output than its older siblings offering 95dB with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion. This sound bar offers Bluetooth support for wireless listening with compatible devices.
Internally, you have two integrated speaker drivers, there is no dedicated subwoofer. There is a subwoofer out port thus allowing you to connect a compatible sub for increased bass performance.
From a cosmetic standpoint, this looks like the other VIZIO models on this list in a smaller package. It offers same integrated center buttons, logo-branded silver end caps and front left LED indicators.
Support for surround-sound formats includes DTS StudioSound, DTS TrueVolume, and DTS TruSurround. There is no Dolby support on this budget model.
Our second model from Amazon's in-house brand, this soundbar is cheaper than the 2.1 model. This is because 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.
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 and integrated Bluetooth.
The AmazonBasics 2.0 channel soundbar 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 not the best but plenty for most consumers. Unfortunately, there is no support for DTS or Dolby formats.
Our team researched and evaluated dozens of different soundbars. We ultimately determined that the best soundbar under 100 dollars is VIZIO's SB3820-C6.
We've come to the end of this guide and have shared our knowledge and recommendations soundbar market under $100. We hope that you have found this article to be helpful and learned some valuable knowledge to help you decide on the right sound bar.
Some of you may have read this guide and still find yourself confused or unsure of which sound bar is best for your needs. Leave a comment below to get in touch and we will offer advice or a more detailed soundbar recommendation based for you.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.