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Best Budget Soundbar (2022): Top Picks from Vizio, Creative and More

A budget soundbar is more than just an easy and cheap way to enhance your TV’s audio. After all, there are a slew of options out there that can do more than that, some of which can even go toe-to-toe with their premium counterparts. On one hand, that’s a good thing because consumers are spoiled for choice. On the other hand, it’s hard to pick out which ones can truly deliver a high-quality audio experience. 

We’ve narrowed down our recommendations to the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 for its Dolby Atmos support and Creative Stage V2 for its value for money. Our list also includes the Vizio V-Series V51-H6 for its inclusion of a subwoofer and satellites at its low price point, as well as the Roku Streambar for its functionality and streaming capabilities.

Best Budget Soundbar Comparison Chart

ModelImageHighlightsPrice
Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6Best Budget SoundbarDolby Atmos, satellites and subwoofer includedCheck Price at Vizio.com
Creative Stage V2Best Budget SoundbarSimple soundbar and subwoofer setup, excellent sound qualityCheck Price at Creative.com
Vizio V-Series V51-H6Best Budget SoundbarLow price tag yet includes satellites and subwoofer, Dolby Audio, DTS Digital SurroundCheck Price at Vizio.com
Roku StreambarBest Budget SoundbarStreaming device and soundbar in one, plenty of smart featuresCheck Price at Roku.com

Best Budget Dolby Atmos Soundbar — Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6

The Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 makes Dolby Atmos accessible to a wider audience.

Best Budget Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Here are the ports of the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6.

For a theater-like experience, the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 is likely your best bet. Backed by Dolby Atmos, it consists of a 5.1 soundbar, a subwoofer and two satellites. Also, it comes with a handy remote, and it features Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless streaming.

It doesn’t have up-firing drivers, nor does it have overhead speakers for height effects. However, it does a good job in bouncing sound off the ceiling to recreate something similar to it. Moreover, its satellites effectively isolate sound effects, and assuming they’re placed properly, they help put you right in the middle of the action. Last but not least, the subwoofer packs a lot of bass, adding a floor rumbling effect to the mix.

It features four equalizer presets: Movie, Music, Game and Direct. You can tweak its treble and bass as well. By default, it delivers dialogue with clarity, even when there’s a lot going on, but in case it’s still hard to understand, it has a dialogue enhancement mode to make voices crisper.

If there’s anything to complain about it’s that its soundstage isn’t wide, but considering its low sticker price, it can be chalked up as a minor gripe.

Pros

  • Surround sound that punches above its weight

Cons

  • Soundstage isn’t that wide

Best Budget Soundbar with Subwoofer — Creative Stage V2

The Creative Stage V2 doesn’t just improve audio over your TV speakers—it takes it to the next level.

Best Budget Soundbar with Subwoofer
The Creative Stage V2 features a soundbar and subwoofer combo, which makes for a simple home audio setup.

It’s pretty rare to see a soundbar striking the perfect balance between price and performance, but it’s not impossible. The Creative Stage V2 is living proof of that.

It’s a simple 2.1 setup made up of a soundbar and a subwoofer, but even so, it offers clear sound with thumping bass. All in all, it’s versatile enough for watching movies and listening to music.

Technically, it doesn’t have surround sound, but there’s a Surround mode that widens the soundstage for an immersive effect. Also, it produces dialogue clearly, so it doesn’t get drowned out by sound effects, background music and the like. Even then, it features a Clear Dialog mode to ensure it can be heard loud and clear.

It includes a remote control to let you enable the aforementioned modes, as well as make bass and treble adjustments. You can conveniently turn on Bluetooth connectivity and change the input source on it too.

Pros

  • Clear sound quality
  • Straightforward

Cons

  • Plastic build reminds you it’s cheap at times

Best Budget 5.1 Soundbar — Vizio V-Series V51-H6

Despite its low cost, the Vizio V-Series V51-H6 includes two satellites and a wireless subwoofer out of the box.

Best Budget 5.1 Soundbar
The Vizio V-Series V51-H6 includes two satellites and a wireless subwoofer from the get-go.

There’s a lot to love about the Vizio V-Series V51-H6. First off, it’s a 5.1 setup complete with satellites and a subwoofer, which isn’t common in its price range. Plus, it has support for Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Surround for an immersive virtual surround sound experience.

For watching shows and movies, it’s more than decent: treble is distinct and detailed, bass is punchy and dialogue is clean. With proper placement of its satellites, it can localize sound effects well, and with its wireless subwoofer, it can produce a noticeable rumbling effect on the floor.

It’s a little bare-bones in terms of features, but that’s to be expected considering how much it costs. However, it does have the basics, such as equalizer presets and a dialogue enhancement mode. Also, it allows you to adjust treble and bass.

Pros

  • Incredible value, as it includes a pair of satellites and a subwoofer

Cons

  • Lacking in features

Best Budget Soundbar Under $100 — Roku Streambar

The Roku Streambar may not have the best sound quality, but it makes up for it with smart and streaming features.

Best Budget Soundbar Under $100
A look at the speakers and ports of the Roku Streambar.

As a smart soundbar, the Roku Streambar offers a lot of bang for the buck, as its 4K streaming capabilities practically doubles its value. You get instant access to apps and services such as Netflix, Hulu and, of course, the Roku Channel. Also, you can stream your music from your smartphone via Bluetooth.

It’s a small soundbar with a 2.0 channel, so you’d be better off tempering your expectations. That said, it does deliver voices and treble clearly, and there are a couple of equalizer presets to tune its sound to your liking, as well as dialogue enhancement and night modes. What’s more, it features Dolby Digital.

If you find it lacking in the audio department, Roku sells subwoofers and satellites separately for a more immersive experience. In other words, the setup can localize various sound effects and add rumbling to the floor with more impactful bass. However, getting all that no longer makes it a budget option.

Speaking of, its original price is $129.99, but it’s perpetually on sale at $99.99.

Pros

  • Streaming device and soundbar in one
  • Compact

Cons

  • Not the best audio quality

Verdict

There’s a budget soundbar for every home setup and situation.

Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6

Dolby Atmos soundbar on a budget

Best Budget Soundbar

Roku Streambar

Soundbar that doubles as a streaming device

Best Budget Soundbar

To recap, the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 stands out in the budget soundbar segment with its Dolby Atmos support and the Creative Stage V2 for its relatively lower price and high-quality sound. Meanwhile, the Vizio V-Series V51-H6 is a decent home theater setup that includes a pair of satellites and a wireless subwoofer. Last but not least, the Roku Streambar doesn’t just boost your TV audio, but it also makes “dumb” TVs smart with its streaming features.

FAQs

📌 What is the best soundbar for the price?

We think that the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 and V-Series V51-H6 are among the best soundbars with an excellent price-to-performance ratio. If you’re after something simpler, the Creative Stage V2 is likely your best bet, or if you want streaming capabilities, then the Roku Streambar has got you covered.

📌 Is there a soundbar with surround sound?

Yes, soundbars such as the Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6 have Dolby Atmos support and come with satellites and a subwoofer for an immersive cinema-like experience.

📌 Are soundbars under $100 worth it?

Yes, sub-$100 soundbars can bring a lot to the table. For instance, the Roku Streambar offers a lot of value for money, as it features access to streaming apps and beats run-of-the-mill TV speakers any day.

📌 Should I buy a cheap soundbar?

That depends. If you find that the speakers of your TV sound poor or weak, then most budget soundbars can do the trick and improve audio a lot without breaking the bank.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.