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The 3 best cheap soundbars

If your built-in TV speakers aren’t delivering the sound quality you want, an affordable soundbar can easily give your home entertainment system a boost. The best cheap soundbars enhance the volume and clarity of your TV with optional features like subwoofers, surround sound, and different listening modes for movies, music, and news. Plus, many of them cost less than $50.

When shopping for the best budget soundbars, you'll find that many affordable options will be 2.0 channel soundbars that enhance everyday listening with just two speakers — one on the left and one on the right. For a little more money, a 2.1 channel option will give you both those speakers, plus a built-in subwoofer — the driver that delivers low-frequency audio for fuller, louder sound, which is worth considering if you're a big action movie buff or listen to a lot bass-heavy music. And if you're willing to spend a bit more, a 5.1 channel soundbar will deliver surround sound, thanks to five speakers and a subwoofer. Beyond that, consider the number of watts the speaker has; more wattage generally equals louder volume, but of course — that volume comes at a price. Ultimately, it all depends on your budget and how immersive you want your home entertainment system to be.

Beyond that, all of the options below are Bluetooth-enabled, so you can wirelessly stream sound from your smart TV, phone, or computer, and they come with all the necessary cables for easy setup. Plus, several of these options even feature different sound modes that optimize listening for movies, news, and music.

With all that in mind, these are the best cheap soundbars on Amazon to make your TV sound better than ever.

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1. The basic one

  • Size: 32 inches
  • Connectivity: optical, AUX, IR pass-through, USB, Bluetooth

For a basic soundbar at an affordable price, the 30-watt TCL Alto 5 is a popular choice with Amazon reviewers. The 2.0 channel soundbar has left and right speakers and two full-range drivers to boost TV volume. Plus, you can toggle between three modes — music, movies, and news — to optimize the sound of whatever you're watching or listening to.

This soundbar doesn’t have a subwoofer, so it’s not the best choice if you want fuller sound during action movies, but it’s a still a fantastic option that’ll improve your everyday TV watching. A mounting kit and remote control are included for streamlined installation and operation, and for a little more money (up to twice the price), you can opt for upgraded listening features and an accompanying (although not built-in) subwoofer.

One reviewer says: “This is a surprisingly good soundbar. It sounds a lot better than my TV speakers. I like the crisp sound it provides, and installing it was pretty easy by using the optical cable it came with. You can’t beat it for the price."

2. The one with two built-in subwoofers

  • Size: 38 inches
  • Connectivity: HDMI, RCA, AUX, Bluetooth, USB

For better low-frequency audio, it’s worth spending a bit more for this 2.1 soundbar, which boasts 90 watts, four speakers and two subwoofers to deliver fuller, richer, louder sound. Like the first option, this speaker lets you toggle between movie, music, and news modes, but it also has a bonus 3-D listening mode that enhances dialogue, instrumentation, and other detailed soundscapes. A mounting kit is included, along with an RCA and optical cable, but you can also sync this to your your smart TV or devices via Bluetooth.

One reviewer says: “For the price, you get a great sound, it's crisp, it's clear, it has great bass with the 2 subwoofers in it. If someone were to ask me what's the best sound for the money, I would definitely recommend this soundbar!”

3. The one with surround sound

  • Size: 36 inches
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Optical, AUX, Bluetooth, USB

For truly immersive audio on a budget, opt for this 5.1 channel soundbar system from Vizio. The soundbar has three full-range speakers, including one in the center for enhanced dialogue clarity, and the system also comes with two small surround sound speakers and a wireless 5-inch subwoofer. In short, it’ll deliver the most cinematic experience out of all the options on this list. Plus, this option lets you integrate your Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands and play music right through the soundbar itself. This system is newly released on Amazon so it doesn’t have many reviews yet, but Vizio soundbars are often top picks for quality sound at an affordable price. A remote control and HDMI cable are included.

One reviewer says: "We bought this system to use with the projector we recently installed. Setup was incredibly easy, it was up and running in under 10 minutes. The system itself looks very sleek, and the remote is much nicer than others I’ve used. The sound quality is fantastic, and the Supporting back speakers add a lot of depth to the sound."