The Best Budget Sound Bar for Under $100

Your TV’s audio could use a little help. Scratch that, it needs a lot of help.   

It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive TV set, or a budget-range TV, most usually don’t have excellent audio, and that’s by design. Because of how today’s manufacturers are racing to put out the best and brightest display in the thinnest package possible, there’s very little room left inside the chassis for quality speakers.   

Thankfully, there’s an affordable way around this.   

Soundbars are an excellent middle-ground between the more expensive home theater systems and your TV’s default speakers. They’re generally affordable and have excellent sound quality. In fact, even the more affordable soundbars are a huge step-up in audio compared to your TV’s default speakers.   

And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about below.  

Yes, more expensive soundbars exist. However, not everyone can afford them. That’s why in this article we’ll be focusing on sound bars that cost below $100.   

If you are looking to update your home stereo system but are on a tight budget, this one’s for you. Below, you’ll find a roundup of the best budget sound bar for under $100. 

TOP 5 BEST SOUNDBAR UNDER 100

There are soundbars that punch above their weight. Then, there are soundbars that deliver what’s expected.  

The VIZIO SB2920-C6 sits on the middle of both lines.  You won’t mistake this sound bar as something that costs two to three times than it should.

Yet, at the same time, it’s surprisingly good for its price. You might even say that it’s the best budget sound bar for under $100.

VIZIO SB2920-C6 Sound Bar

Why? Well, for starters, it delivers 95db of crystal-clear sound with a total harmonic distortion of less than 1%.   

Also, for a 2.0 channel sound bar it consists of left and right sound channels – the soundbar has decent range. You’ll notice a huge improvement in your living room’s audio. This is especially because of the DTS TruVolume and DTS TruSound technology.   

Both technologies work closely together to deliver consistent realistic surround sound.   

Finally, the best part about the VIZIO SB2920-C6 is its Bluetooth capability.   

You can use this soundbar to stream music from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone without much of a hassle. Also, even when used with your TV, all you have to do was to connect it, and voila.   
Plus, thanks to its minimalist body style, it’s like it’s not even there. 

VIZIO SB2920-C6 29-Inch 2.0 Channel...
  • 95 dB of room filling, crystal clear sound with less than 1% total harmonic distortion; Sound Bar Frequency: 70 Hertz – 19 KHertz
  • Built in Bluetooth lets you lose the wires and listen to your music with a tap of a finger
  • Easy upgrade that boosts sound with a powerful punch
  • Premium audio with DTS Studio SoundTM, DTS Tru Volume TM and DTS TruSurroundTM
  • Easy Setup: Connect the Sound Bar to your TV using 1 of the included cables; Refer user manual for troubleshooting steps.

PROS

  • Minimalist design that reduces its blueprint and belies its price 
  • Bluetooth functionality works seamlessly
  • Finely tuned audio that delivers excellent sound despite its small size 
  • Easy setup 

CONS

  • Remote is quite small 

With or without the sub woofer (both priced below $100), the Amazon Basics Bluetooth Sound Bar has a good argument as the best budget sound bar for under $100.

 For one, the .1 in the 2.1 sound bar makes a huge difference. Having a sub woofer at this price point is game-changing, especially when it doesn’t cost you much more than not having a sub woofer.

​Amazon Basics Bluetooth Sound Bar

 That’s why we recommend the more expensive, but still affordable package of this soundbar that comes with a sub woofer.   

As for the actual performance, this soundbar will not disappoint.   

If you want to experience high-quality wall-to-wall audio even in larger rooms, this sound bar packs more than enough of a punch.  

It also takes up little installation space. You can put it behind your TV set and people will be none the wiser. You can also mount it on a wall.  

To further reduce the clutter, this soundbar has Bluetooth capabilities.  

Completing the package is the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) and Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (AADP). Both come in handy in a variety of ways. The former lets you control media playback using Bluetooth devices. Meanwhile, the latter lets you stream one-way stereo signal to your headphones and/or speakers.   

You can also match the sound of the Amazon Basics Bluetooth Sound Bar depending on what you’re watching. It comes with three different sound modes. This includes the Standard mode, News mode, and Movie mode.  

AmazonBasics 2.1 Channel Bluetooth...
  • 31.5-inch sound bar with built-in subwoofer enhances home-audio systems (not compatible with universal or TV remotes)
  • Bluetooth technology v2.1 + EDR with A2DP & AVRCP for seamless streaming from various devices
  • Full-range stereo speakers; up to 92 dB (2.1 channels)
  • 4-piece 2-inch round frame; mid- to high-range drivers; 4-by-2.7-inch sub-range driver; 2-piece passive radiator
  • 3 sound modes: Standard, News, and Movie; remote control and wall-mount hardware included; measures 31.5 by 3.2 by 3.5 inches (W x H x D)

PROS

  • Comes with a built-in subwoofer
  • Features three distinct sound modes: Standard, News, Movie
  • Fairly solid price point 
  • Much, much better than your TV’s on-board speakers, especially the model with the subwoofer 

CONS

  • Audio quality is great but not stellar 
  • Design and build quality could use some improvement 

The Taotronics TT-SK15 combines sleek, metal aesthetics and a touch-sensitive pad, as well as four full range speakers and two passive radiators to create a noticeable upgrade to your living room’s entertainment experience with just enough bass to make the expenditure feel worth it.   


The TT-SK15 also comes with a multitude of input ports. This includes a coaxial digital input, as well as a 35mm audio input, and a RCA AUX input plus an optical input.

Taotronics TT-SK15

The Bluetooth functionality pairs perfectly fine with Bluetooth devices up to 33 feet with little to no lag or distortion. It also comes with dual operation modes, so operating is perfectly easy  .

Plus, thanks to the touch metal controls, you won’t have problems physically changing the settings. Although the remote control is responsive enough that you won’t have any trouble doing it from your couch.   With some surprising heft to its build, you can expect the TT-SK15 to sound good for a long time.  

Sale
Soundbar, TaoTronics Sound Bar...
  • 34-Inch 2.0 Channel AUDIO: Completes your home theatre system with four full range high quality speakers and two passive radiators that bring the bass
  • WIRE OR WIRELESS CONNECTIONS: Modern and traditional devices work with the speaker thanks to Bluetooth (effective distance:10 meters/33 feet) or wired connections that include 3.5mm, Optical, Coaxial, and RCA AUX input
  • TOUCH OR REMOTE CONTROL: Dual operation modes for convenience that feature high grade metal controls and a remote to adjust playback settings including volume and track selection (not compatible with universal remote)
  • PLACE BELOW OR ABOVE: Set it under the television or mount it on the wall for a convenient and elegant set up
  • A MODERN LOOK: Constructed with robust material to last years, the design suits any home adding a modern and high tech touch.

PROS

  • Commendable build quality 
  • Sleek, stylish metal design 
  • Features a multitude of input ports 

CONS

  • No sound modes or ways to adjust sound 
  • Sound quality is so-so 

Is the Creative Stage Air the best budget sound bar for under $100? We don’t know. But what we’re sure of is that it’s definitely the best budget sound bar for under $50.  

The Creative Stage Air is the least expensive sound bar on our list. But then again, it was billed as a soundbar for desktop users to use on their computer desks, so that’s not a huge surprise. But even so, you’d be surprised as to how powerful it is for smaller living rooms and other space-starved spaces.   

Creative Stage Air Budget Sound Bar

The Creative Stage Air comes with passive radiator and dual 5W drivers that can accurately reproduce sound to some degree. It’s not the best on our round-up, but it plays well above its expectations.   

The Creative Stage Air comes with three different input options. It has a USB-A port if you want to play music directly from a flash drive or a portable hard disk. It also has a 3.5mm input and a micro-USB inputs. But keep in mind, both are laughably short at 0.5 meters.  

As for the battery life, the Creative Stage Air is good for around 6.5 hours of playback at full charge.   

This isn’t bad, considering that it was built to teether into a desktop or a TV anyway.   

All in all, the Creative Stage Air is a steal, especially for its price. It’s arguably the best performer in its price range, capable of going toe-to-toe with soundbars twice its size. 

Sale
Creative Stage Air Portable and...
  • Under-monitor sound bar for computer | designed to fit perfectly under your computer monitor, the low-profile speaker is powered by USB that goes into your monitor with a built-in USB hub for a clutter-free desktop set-up
  • Dual-driver with oversized passive radiator | hear crystal-clear highs and groove to the thumping bass at volumes belying its size! Stage air houses dual custom-tuned drivers and oversized passive radiator that deliver impressive audio with big bass for immersive, near-field Audio entertainment in the comfort of your room
  • Wireless and wired connectivity | with its dual connectivity mode, you can enjoy high quality Bluetooth wireless music or access wired connectivity via the 3. 5mm aux-in jack. It also doubles up as a standalone music player via a USB mass storage device without having to switch on the computer or other external inputs
  • Fuss-free controls | the controls are conveniently located at the side of the sound bar for easy reach and hassle-free control
  • Portable with up to 6 hours of battery life | with a playtime of up to 6 hours, Place Creative stage air anywhere around your house without connecting to a power source

PROS

  • Lightweight and portable enough to carry from one room to another or with you on the go 
  • Passive radiator with dual 5W drivers 
  • Hard to beat for the price 
  • Bass-heavy performance 

CONS

  • Short 3.5mm and micro-USB cables 
  • Not for critical listeners 

Last, but definitely not the least, is what we probably consider as the best budget sound bar for under $100.  

For a sound bar under 100, the HT-S100F has everything that you’re looking. Like, for example, a fairly neutral sound profile.

This makes it decent for critical listeners who are on a budget. But at the same time, if you pump up the volume long enough, there’s minimal distortion nor compression.  

Sony HT-S100F

The HT-S100F also comes with dialogue enhancement with support for a Dolby Digital via HDMI ARC for superb surround sound performance.   

Even though the HT-S100F doesn’t come with a subwoofer, it produces frequences in the lower and higher ranges well enough to satisfy the average user. This is thanks mostly to its integrated tweeter.  

Space-saving and wall-mountable, the HT-S100F and its 120W peak power is a no-brainer at its price point. 

Sony S100F 2.0ch Sound Bar with...
  • Built-in tweeter
  • Two channel speaker setup
  • Deep sound with Bass Reflex speaker
  • High power with slim design
  • Send audio to your sound bar wirelessly with a Bluetooth connection

PROS

  • 120W peak power 
  • Easy TV set up with HDMI ARC 
  • Built-in tweeter 
  • Dolby Digital support 
  • Durable plastic and metal build 

CONS

  • No subwoofer 

What is a Soundbar? How Is It Different From Other Speakers?

Sound bars come in all shapes and sizes. However, the general design is that its wide and slim, usually as wide as a typical TV set. A common feature is wireless functionality and wall-mount support, mostly because people love to put soundbars up along with their TV sets.   

Soundbars typically don’t sound as good as full speaker set-ups, but they’re also not as expensive.   

The average sound bar usually comes with a separate set of tweeters and woofers. This lets them handle the high and low frequency sounds properly. Although some come with built-in amplifiers (Active) and Surround Sound capabilities, such sound bars are usually priced well above the $100 price range that we’re aiming for in our round-up.   

The biggest advantage of a sound bar system is that they are affordable. At the same time, the audio quality is a huge step-up compared to the average TV’s built-in speakers.  

If you’re looking to upgrade your TV’s audio but don’t want to spend for a complete 5.1 speaker set (or more), or you simply don’t have the space for a complete home theater surround sound setup, sound bars make for an excellent compromise.

What to Consider Before Buying a Sound Bar

  • Subwoofers and tweeters -- Most sound bars come with either a built-in tweeter and/or a subwoofer. Some only have, usually a tweeter. In general, you’ll want a soundbar that comes with both, because they help the sound bar accurately reproduce high (tweeter) and low (subwoofer) frequency music. However, it’s worth taking note that you can pair a separate subwoofer to a compatible soundbar down the line. 
  •  
  • Bluetooth or Wi-Fi functionality -- These days, people use sound bars to listen to TV audio as much as they use it to listen to music. This is why at least Bluetooth functionality is important. This makes it easy to connect the soundbar to Bluetooth-capable devices, such as your laptop, computer, smartphone, or tablet. Some sound bars also come with Wi-Fi functionality, albeit they are usually priced at a premium.  

  • Virtual surround sound -- Because sound bars can’t directly compete with complete home theater systems, some use tricks to make it seem like they have surround sound capabilities. Although these are mere “impressions”, virtual surround sound is a huge upgrade over other sound bars with no virtual surround sound support. 

  • Size -- While the purpose of a sound bar is to sit nicely under your TV set, there are larger and thicker sound bars. The usual trade-off for speaker size is better audio quality. However, if that means defeating the purpose of a sound bar, you’re better off with something slightly worse but more slim and compact
  •   
  • Wattage -- Generally, wattage or watts determine the loudness and sound field of a speaker. Higher wattage usually signifies better performance, although this isn’t always the case.  

  • Warranty -- The longer the warranty (and the better their customer service is), the better. You don’t want to end up with a $100 paperweight way before you can afford to upgrade or replace your sound bar

Conclusion

Sound bars are the perfect way to upgrade your TV’s built-in audio system when you don’t have the room or budget. Although they were never really intended to replace a true home theater multi-speaker system, you’d be surprised as to just how capable they are.   

With that said, feel free to look at our round-up and find the best sound bar under 100 for you.   

After all, taste and preference are relative.  

Last update on 2020-04-05 at 21:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API