Soundbars provide a simple way to overcome the tinny sound of many TVs. With a single connection, you'll be able to better feel the action and hear what people on-screen are saying, whether you're getting lost in Game of Thrones or bingeing on your favorite Netflix shows.
But you don't have to spend a lot to get much better sound, and most soundbars today include Bluetooth, so you can also connect wirelessly.
How low can you go and still get your money's worth? We tested 11 soundbars that cost less than $100, judging them for sound quality, ease of use and design. Here are the top picks.
Credit: Tom's Guide
The 28 x 3.2 x 2.9-inch YoungBar 7020 is a relatively small soundbar, but that doesn't stop it from producing a large, room-filling sound. For the money, few soundbars can create richer bass than YoungBar 7020. That low end helps make the dialog easier to hear. This soundbar delivers tinny treble, however, which makes it weak for music listening.
If you want better sound, but don't have a good place to put a soundbar, a soundbase — which goes under your TV stand — could be the solution. Pyle's 20.6 x 12 x 3-inch PSBV600BT uses its depth to include a woofer, which results in big, booming bass. It also has enough power to fill a large room with sound. The bass can overwhelm the treble and midrange, though, and dialog and vocals can get lost in the mix.
The slim and attractive TT-SK016 puts out a big sound despite its 36.2 x 2.8 x 2.1-inch frame. With decent bass and volume, it helps makes movies more engaging. However, it lacks midrange, so dialogue can be buried. The soundbar offers only optical digital audio, 3.5 mm analog, or Bluetooth wireless inputs, so make sure your TV supports one of those options.
The 37-inch iLive HD Sound Bar's length helps it create a wide sound field and a more immersive listening experience. Its included remote lets you adjust bass and treble separately to best suit your listening preferences. While dialogue is clear and there's enough volume for medium-size rooms, the bass sounds muddled, and vocals lack oomph when you're listening to music.
The KY-3000 offers respite from the standard rectangle design of most soundbars, instead going with an oval shape and angling the speaker so it aims upward. That, along with its 41-inch length, helps it produce a wide soundfield. The length also makes it a better fit for TVs 50 inches and larger. It delivers decent bass, which gives resonance to dialogue, but the voices can sound muddy because of a lack of treble. The remote had a button to switch sound modes, such as for music and movies, but it didn't work.
With a built-in subwoofer, this AmazonBasics model is for big-bass lovers. You'll enjoy the rumble that it delivers during action sequences, but may wish it offered more midrange and treble when you hear people speak. The unit has plenty of power for large rooms. At 31.5 x 3.5 x 3.2 inches, it's taller and deeper than most of the soundbars we tested, so you'll want to make sure you have room for it.
The 15.8 x 2.3 x 2.1-inch AwesomeWare Surround Sound Bar could be a good match if you watch movies on your computer monitor — and if you're more focused on cost than performance. The unit has a stylish silver grill and a low profile so it doesn't block your view, and it includes a rechargeable battery, so you can move it around. But it lacks bass and treble, so dialogue and music sound tinny. It also doesn't get very loud.