I’ll just get this thought out there—finding the right sound system isn’t easy. Am I right? Well, if you are an audiophile who tends to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to anything related to sound delivery, there would come a time that you’d be stumped with what system to buy. With hundreds of speakers in the market today, you’d be surprised at all the choices you will come across. From the small, tidy bookshelf speakers to the giant, hulking floor loudspeakers you’d see mostly at concert venues, you have a wide variety of speaker systems that you can choose from, depending on what purpose you want to use it, of course.
Not just any speaker!
Now, due to all the innovations when it comes to television, majority of the HDTVs in the market today lack the audio power that can match the clarity of the video signal that they deliver. To solve this problem, external speakers can be hooked up to the television itself and thus produce clearer and richer sounds. Of course, not everyone would want a huge sound system to clutter their room just to improve the HDTV’s sound delivery. And so, a more compact and slimmer speaker systems were created that could easily be placed in front of or under the television, placed on the table or even mounted against the wall under a mounted flat-screen TV. These systems conveniently add style to your home theater system while transforming the way you listen to your favorite music or the way you watch movies. These nifty audio systems are what we call soundbars.
Conveniently shaped like a bar (hence the name), these gems also have varieties in terms of specifications, as well as sizes. So whether you have a small room or a spacious living area, there is always a soundbar that would suit you just fine. Prices are also to be considered since these audio beauties come with different price tags—ranging from those that cost hundreds of dollars (click for a list of sound bars under $500) to those that go for less than a few hundred dollars.
Everybody loves Bluetooth. This is a simple fact that all manufacturers are aware of. And that makes it no surprise how most gadgets today are equipped with the same kind of connectivity. Heck, even sound bars have it! The VIZIO SB3820-C6 2.0 Channel Sound Bar takes this convenient feature to a whole new level by providing you with a crystal clear audio quality that will leave you astounded. Sure, the model looks plain and boring – but once you ink this up with your smart phone or any other compatible device, that wouldn’t even be an issue! This is one conveniently design model that you wouldn’t want to miss.
A gem of a sound system considering the low price that it is offered at. Boasting a compact frame of 28.82” in length, 3.2” in height and 2.76” in depth, it can easily be placed on top of a table or even against the wall underneath your television for a more seamless look. There are plenty of specifications that make this bar stand out from all the rest. For one, it has plenty of options when it comes to connecting your media devices, wired inputs as well as Bluetooth gadgets. It is equipped with 2.75” full-range drivers that are more than capable of delivering 95 dB of rich sound with low-to-nil distortions. DTS TruSurround and DTS TruVolume also play a significant role in making sure that you hear only the clearest, most dynamic sound in a surround-like listening environment. Oh, and by the way, if you still want to have more bass, you’re given the option of connecting a separate subwoofer via an external subwoofer port, which is a definite plus unlike the others on the list.
This solid-looking soundbar rocks a stylish black exterior at 33.3” in length, 3.6” in height and 2.8” in depth, making it compact enough to be placed in multiple positions like on a table or mounted on the wall, and stylish enough to blend well with the environment. It is also fitted with a built-in subwoofer for powerful bass sound without any help from another external devices. However, this is not the only feature that helped this soundbar to be present in our chart. It has multiple inputs for all the media devices you want to connect. Speaking of connectivity, it also allows wireless music streaming via Bluetooth for endless music playing right within your home. But what makes this one special is that it effectively reproduces a realistic, surround-sound listening environment despite being a single unit system, all thanks to the state-of-the-art Philips Virtual Surround Sound Technology.
This slim speaker bar comes in a luxurious piano-black exterior that allows it to blend well with other components of your home entertainment system. Unlike other box-type sound bars in the market, it actually features soft curves with dimensions of 32” in length, 4” in height and 3.1” in depth. Features include Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to stream and play your favorite music wirelessly from a distance up to 33 feet away. It also boasts an Enhanced Data Rate and an Advanced Audio Distribution Profile giving it the ability to produce punchy bass sound and full-bodied, dynamic audio without any additional external sound devices. Various inputs are also fitted into this slim system making it highly versatile in terms of connectivity.
This slim speaker comes in a smooth black exterior with LCD Display in the middle of the front panel of the bar. It is rather compact at 40.2” long, 9.96” in height and 6.5” in depth, allowing it to be placed on a table top or against a wall. There are plenty of features galore with this system, helping it seal its spot at 4th place. It boasts a 2.1 Channel Output with dual 10-watt speakers and a powerful built-in subwoofer, which is more than capable of producing decent, dynamic sound only on its own. Bluetooth technology is also present in this audio device together with an FM tuner, enabling you to listen to your favorite music either wirelessly via BT or through the radio. It has also been equipped with a removable SD media card slot that allows you to directly play your music from the soundbar itself, easily filling your room with amazingly clear sound unlike any other.
Coming in a stylish, piano-black finish, this attractive sound bar is pretty compact, judging from its length of 33.2”, its height of 5.2” and its depth of 6.5”. It is also very lightweight at 4.3 pounds. It comes equipped with removable stands that can also function as wall mounts, should you decide to put it gainst the wall for space conservation. Despite not having any Bluetooth connectivity, this system will still provide you with the option of connecting your portable media devices, like your smartphones and tablet, via a line-in jack. It is also easy to connect to your television since all it needs are 2 sets of analog audio inputs. Easy to set up and easy to use, this beauty can give you epic, dynamic sound without hassle.
This system measures 37” in length, 4.6” in height, 2.5” in width, making it compact enough to be versatile when it comes placement—you can easily put it on a table top or even mount it on the wall. It has been fitted with 4 superb, full-range speakers and a powerful subwoofer, offering you rich sounds with dynamic quality. There are several features that help land this gem on the 6th spot. For one, it has Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to stream your favorite music wirelessly to the soundbar system. Another feature that is somewhat different from all the others in this list is the FM Stereo Radio with 30 preset stations, enabling you to listen to your favorite radio stations in high definition.
Polk Audio did exceptionally well in creating this fine piece of equipment to the delight of sound lovers everywhere. Due to its shallow-depth design of 2.25” deep, it is designed to blend well with your HDTV. It also has a length of 32” and its height of 3.8”, making it well suitable for medium-sized rooms. Placement is not a problem, since you can easily put it on a tabletop or mount it on a wall due to its built-in keyhole slots. This simple system is easy to operate and quite frankly, this gem is more than capable of producing the clear, rich sound quality you demand without any of those complicated features that doesn’t really help with the sound production. Polk’s exclusive Dynamic Balance technology works to remove or minimize any unwanted distortions and resonances, allowing you hear realistic sounds in their purest form. The only downside that I have seen with this otherwise amazing system is its lack of Bluetooth connectivity. However, all other awesome features more than make up for this minor con.
A sound bar is supposed to be visually stunning. It’s not just your regular old pair of speakers that can look understandably dull. It is supposed to be one of the highlights of your home entertainment system. And so, when it comes to aesthetic quality, manufacturing companies go the extra mile just to make their products stand out. Such is true for the Coby CSMP95 Super-Slim Sound Bar. It looks great, thanks to the high gloss piano black finish on the sleek, sophisticated cabinet. The only thing you should be wary of when buying this model is that it’s not exactly audiophile quality when it comes to sound delivery. It seems like the manufacturers got so focused on making a streamlined sound bar that they forgot to give a lot of attention to its main function. If you’re picky when it comes to audio performance, this might not be the best option for you. Still, this is good for casual listening, and for impressing your house guests.
Ok, so that ends my list for the top soundbars for less than $100. However, if you still want to have a system that is sold together with an external subwoofer that still costs under $100, you might want to check this out:
This awesome soundbar-subwoofer combo (it’s not wireless, unfortunately) is designed to offer you a theater-like listening environment, all thanks to the Philips Virtual Surround Sound technology that faithfully reproduce the audio delivery to be expected from a 5.1-channel environment. The soundbar itself is fully equipped with a mylar tweeter and a woofer on each side, and in coordination with the 6.5” subwoofer, you can enjoy punchy, dynamic sounds right within the comfort of your home. It is easy to connect to the television, but if you just want to use the system to fill your room with high-definition music, you have 2 options: you can go for the wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology, or you can also connect your media device to the speaker system using an Audio in jack.
What to expect from a budget soundbar:
We tend to associate amazing sound delivery with overpriced sound systems. Of course, it stands to reason that when an audio system is expensive, it is usually fitted with plenty of features that would make any audiophile giggle with delight. These top rated soundbars offer the latest treats in terms of sound delivery, but the downside is that they cost more than the average music and movie fan can handle. So, what about music and movie enthusiasts who are tight on a budget?
It is all about progress
With the rise of technology, especially with regard to high-quality sound, there are now numerous companies (well-known or just starting) that cater to the audio needs of those who are a bit strapped for cash. After all, epic sound delivery doesn’t always have to come with a hefty price tag. The good thing about this is that even if the soundbar is rather inexpensive, it is still equipped with the latest sound techs that would give even the stingiest audiophile the chance to fill the room with exciting beats and punchy bass sound. At times, these systems are even able to compete with their more expensive counterparts. Affordable bars, usually cost less than $300, and are suitable for those individuals that want to improve their HDTV’s sound output without breaking the bank. However there are even cheaper options (click for soundbars below $200), some can easily offer features such as Bluetooth connectivity and wireless subwoofers for that additional depth in your listening experience.
So, for your reading and informative pleasure, I have come up with this list of soundbar gems that can give you all these amazing specifications for no more than a hundred dollars. Hopefully, after readin, you’d have an idea on what to get for your next speaker purchase. If however you are not satisfied with what you see here and got the cash for a very very good system, check out our list with top soundbards around the $1000 mark.
As you can see, in terms of size, the Seiki SB102N has the largest dimensions from those included in the list, while the VIZIO S2920w-C0 has the most compact design and the Polk Audio offers thinnest soundbar. Price is also a factor to consider wherein the iLive Horizontal Sound Bar with 2.0 Channel Stereo Speaker has the most affordable price from all the others while our 7th placer has the highest selling price from the list.