Sometimes even the most expensive televisions or laptops lack quality sound. Despite that LCD screen being ultra-thin and having 4K resolution, poor quality sound can ruin the entire experience. This is where soundbars come in – these sleek and stylish speakers can be used beneath television screens, with laptops, PCs, and even in cars.
However, these can rack up quite a bill – some soundbars cost upwards of £1000! However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Many high-quality soundbars are available at budget prices. In this article, we have scoured Amazon’s bestselling list in order to bring you the 5 best soundbars under £100.
We have picked products from Amazon’s best-selling list and have broken them down in terms of outstanding features, pros, and cons. This may help you decide which features to look for when selecting a soundbar.
The soundbar has deep bass and its own JBL Surround Sound, making the sound high-quality as well as immersive. Connection is also not a problem, since the soundbar has a variety of options when it comes to this. To connect surround sound, the classic optical cable option is available and so is the more advanced HDMI ARC method. It also includes a USB option.
JBL Bar 2.0 All-in-One also boasts Bluetooth capabilities, making it easy to stream music from your devices. With in-built Dolby Digital, users can have a great theatre experience in their own homes, especially with the immersive surround sound. Another outstanding feature is the smart sound mode which automatically adjusts volume to the perfect setting.
It also has a very minimalistic design and is sleek to fit in with any kind of decor seamlessly. The compact design is one of its main selling points, since it is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.
- Sleek and aesthetically pleasing
- 80 W output
- Includes a wall mount bracket
- Great bass
- Includes HDMI cable
- Easy setup with no extra wires/speakers
- Has multiple connections including an optical connection, HDMI connection, and Bluetooth
- Surround sound included for an immersive experience
- Inbuilt Dolby Digital
- Smart sound mode
- No option to connect with external subwoofers
- Does not include an optical cable
- USB port for UK versions is service-only (unlike the playable US version)
- No Dolby Atmos
- Only 2 channels
- No voice control
- No WiFi
While this soundbar is of high quality and has a lot of great features, it is recommended for amplifying television volume and not for a home cinema experience. It’s great for those who need simple volume and playback through Bluetooth. However, this will not satisfy those looking for a rich, theatre experience or those who expect features such as WiFi and voice control.
With an output of 120 W, this powerful soundbar is armed with special S-Master Amplifier Technology for great volume. It’s bass reflex speaker boasts a punchy bass and clear dialogue.
It is easy to set up with HDMI ARC and one cable can incorporate everything, effectively allowing the user to use one remote for both the television and the soundbar. It can also be mounted on the wall if needed.
Connectivity is no problem since the soundbar can be connected through optical connection, HDMI ARC, HDMI CEC, USBs, and Bluetooth. USBs can be inserted to play albums, or users can stream songs through Bluetooth. A night mode option is also available.
The S-Force Front Surround Technology also simulates surround sound, providing a richer and more immersive experience with high sound quality that fills the room.
Its compact space-saving design is minimal and sleek. It will fit most spaces with the ability to blend right in. Additionally, if not being used for 20 minutes or more, it switches off automatically to save power.
- Includes optical cable
- 120 W power
- Minimal and sleek design
- Can be mounted on the wall
- Easy to set up with HDMI ARC
- Night mode
- S-Force Front surround sound
- USB and Bluetooth playback
- Variety of connections (Optical, HDMI, USB, Bluetooth)
- Includes AC cord
- Great bass
- Automatic switch off after inactivity
- No Wi-Fi
- Does not include HDMI cable
- No voice control
- Only 2 channels
- No Dolby Atmos
- No external subwoofer options
- No AUX mini-jack
Although this option is fairly expensive, it does come with the additional benefit of Sony’s S-Force Front Surround Sound Technology and 120 W power. Since it also comes with a number of connection options and has features like night mode and automatic switch off, it can be ranked above some of its less expensive counterparts.
This two-channel soundbar is extremely affordable while still remaining stylish and minimal with a black glossy finish.
Boasting both wireless and wired connections, the soundbar can be connected to a variety of devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops through Bluetooth (up to 10m). Other connections include an AUX cable and a RCA cable. The lightweight remote works from a distance of 10m, and the product is easy to set up so you can start enjoying immediately.
It also boasts a playtime of up to 10 hours. Not to mention, it has Fast Charge Technology for recharging the device (which can be done through a power bank or a computer).
- Comes with AUX cable and RCA cable
- Loud and clear sound
- Includes USB data cable
- Easy installation and setup
- Can be used wirelessly or wired
- Extremely affordable
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Large buttons and a remote option
- Lightweight and portable
- Batteries for the remote aren’t included
- 10 W power
- Not suitable for large areas
- No subwoofer
- No surround sound
- No Wi-Fi
While this soundbar may not be powerful enough for a television according to some, it still performs well in the car or with a PC. With its extremely low price tag, it could be expected to have terrible sound and few features. However, this is far from the truth. Although it cannot be used in larger areas because of the 10 W power, it is certainly not weak – this soundbar is loud for its size, and lives up to its high ranking on the best sellers list.
Thus, this is not the ideal soundbar for someone who wants to boost the sound on their television or wants a cinematic experience. However, it is more than sufficient for PCs, cars, laptops, and even radios.
Not only is it slim and aesthetically pleasing, but it also has HD quality sound – with a built-in subwoofer, but the sound it emits is also loud and very clear. Although it maxes out at 50 W, it provides great surround sound and more immersion.
It also supports Bluetooth and allows for wireless Bluetooth connection to pair with devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. As such, it allows for streaming music from Spotify, Tidal etc.
Other connections are also provided with optical, AUX, and RCA connections as well as a USB port. It also comes with a remote for access from a distance. The soundbar is easy to set up and is great for use in spaces such as bedrooms.
- Easy to set up
- RCA cable is included
- Sleek design
- 50 W power
- Great bass
- Customisable settings for bass and treble
- Customisable settings for type of audio
- Surround sound-like experience
- Can be used with the included remote
- Built-in subwoofer
- High-quality, clear sound
- Optical cable is not included
- No HDMI
- No Wi-Fi
- Bass definition is lower than some other soundbars
This is another affordable soundbar that may not have high-tech features but provides a lot of quality for its price. Rated the number one bestseller in soundbar speakers, this device is simple yet effective. Boasting 50 W power, it has customisable settings for music and different types of audio. It also has a built-in subwoofer.
All these features are especially impressive for the price. While it lacks Wi-Fi and doesn’t support HDMI, it makes up for these features by providing high-quality sound at an extremely affordable price. It is also important to note that despite its affordable price tag, it looks sleek and elegant.
The VMAI TV Soundbar is 36 inches long, has 6 dedicated speakers (60 W), and boasts a smooth, slim matte black finish that is very aesthetically pleasing. It is able to be wall-mounted and comes with a mounting bracket.
It excels when it comes to connectivity and includes various options such as optical, AUX, USB, and the coveted HDMI ARC. Because of this, it is compatible with not only smart phones, tablets, and laptops, but also gaming systems like PS4 and XBOX. A long optical cable (5 ft) and RCA cable (5 ft) are included.
Another noteworthy feature is its special Bluetooth 5.0 Technology with DSP that works up to 50 ft away and guarantees speed and stability. A Bluetooth button is also included on the soundbar for easy access and convenience. Volume and power buttons are also in the middle of the soundbar for easy access.
This soundbar also brags high-quality sound with Power Bass Technology and different modes for movies, music, etc. A 3D mode ensures surround sound, providing an immersive, theatre-quality experience. Clarity is also boasted, with improvement in both music and dialogue.
- 60 W power
- Slim and aesthetically pleasing
- Power Bass Technology
- Surround sound experience
- Bluetooth 5.0 Technology with DSP with 50 ft range
- Easy to set up
- Various connectivity options such as AUX, Bluetooth, optic, and HDMI
- Compatible with various devices including laptops, smart phones, and gaming consoles
- Includes optical cable and RCA cable
- Bluetooth, volume, and power buttons for convenience
- Can be controlled via remote
- Wired and wireless connection
- Can be mounted on the wall
- 4 different modes for movies, music, news, and 3D
- On the more expensive end
- No Wi-Fi
- No voice control
This is a must-have if you can afford it – by far the most high-quality item on the list, this soundbar provides better value than some items that have a higher price tag attached to them. This soundbar doesn’t have all the latest technology in terms of voice control etc. However, it provides multiple viewing options, has superb sound quality, and even offers surround sound for a cinema-like experience.
With multiple connections available, the K2 provides a variety of options for users depending on their unique needs. These include optical connection, HDMI ARC, Bluetooth, USB, AUX, and even FM radio. The AUX and USB connection options provide the ability to play music directly from other devices, while Bluetooth makes wireless streaming easy. HDMI ARC also makes it easy to control your television and soundbar from a single remote, making using your devices easier.
Stereo speakers and virtual surround sound make for an immersive experience that does not lack in quality or enjoyability. A special music mode is available, and treble and bass settings can be adjusted
The K2 comes in two colours (black and white) to suit various decor styles, and is slim, effectively blending the soundbar in with its surroundings. However, although the external subwoofer is great for sound quality and bass, it may provide storage issues because of its size.
- 150 W power
- Virtual surround sound
- A variety of connections are available
- HDMI ARC makes a single remote possible
- Wireless connection in the form of Bluetooth
- Includes external subwoofer (wireless)
- Great bass
- Adjustable treble and bass
- Comes with a remote
- Available in 2 colours
- RCA, HDMI, and optical cables are included
- Subwoofer can be bulky and hard to store
- Relatively expensive
- Users have reported that the FM radio signal is weak
- No WiFi or voice control
- No Dolby Atmos
Not only is the K2 great in terms of connectivity, but it also includes a subwoofer, has features like virtual surround sound, it is also affordable for what it offers. Although more expensive than other items on this list, it still offers a lot of features for under £100.
With televisions getting thinner and sleeker, they are now more aesthetically pleasing and take up less space in a room – however, this may come at the cost of sound, in both volume and quality. Soundbars are a great way to overcome this as they are compact, usually thin, and take up very little space in front of a television or computer screen. Quality sound bars can provide sound that is comparable to movie theatres, and they range from under £100 to more than £1000.
However, it is important to do your research before you invest your money in a product, even if it is affordable. It is also important to know what will best suit your space and meet your needs. In order to make a smart and informed decision, you must know what features to look out for as well as what types of soundbars are available. This guide aims to do just that – with the knowledge provided below, we hope to make your purchase easier and provide you with the ability to come to your own conclusions when examining various soundbars and their claims.
Soundbars vs. Sound Bases
While both soundbars and sound bases consist of speakers and aim to improve audio, they are not the same. While soundbars are slim and long rectangles, sound bases are deeper and not as long in terms of width. Additionally, soundbars are usually designed to be mounted on the wall, rest in front of the television, or sit on a shelf below or above the television. On the other hand, sound bases are designed to sit directly under the television or on a shelf right below the television.
Both have advantages and disadvantages which make them suitable for different purposes. Soundbars are better for simulating a home theatre environment since they are wider and can make sure that sound travels around the room. They also make audio more clear. Sound bases, on the other hand, have more space inside the bodies and are equipped with better sound capabilities in terms of amplification. Thus, sound bases don’t need subwoofers whereas soundbars do.
Therefore, it is important to determine the purpose before purchasing a speaker device. Soundbars, for example, are better for stereo since the speakers are wide apart and can ensure separation. However, because of their slim nature, soundbars do not have as high-quality audio as sound bases do. This is why they require subwoofers. These are factors to keep in mind before deciding whether or whether not to invest in a soundbar.
Once you decide to purchase a soundbar, the following are important to consider:
Soundbars come in three main placement settings which provide variety in terms of looks as well as functions. While some soundbars can be mounted on the wall along with your television, others can only be placed on the television stand. Others may serve as a platform for your television to rest upon. The type of soundbar you opt for should take into consideration whether your television is mounted, whether you want it more or less visible, and what aesthetic you are going for.
Soundbars can be placed above the television as well, but this is not ideal for sound quality. Although the soundbar will still serve better quality than television speakers, having the soundbar below the television or in front of it will result in greater sound.
If you want to mount your soundbar, it is important to check whether it has brackets or slots at the back. Another feature to consider is thickness, to make sure that the soundbar does not obstruct your television’s sensor so that the remote can work properly.
Strictly speaking from an aesthetic viewpoint, a soundbar should be as wide or less wide than your television, so it can co-ordinate. However, this is not necessary, and soundbars wider than your screen do not lower quality – they are just less aesthetically pleasing. The more important thing to look out for is whether it is providing all the functions you are looking for and whether it is compatible with your television.
Active vs. Passive Soundbars
The two types of soundbars are active soundbars and passive soundbars. Inactive soundbars, the amplification is built into the product, and there are no additional plug-ins to worry about. Everything needed comes in a single box. Active soundbars are easy to set up with no extra cables and they occupy very little room in your space. However, they lack customisation and cannot be updated or improved upon. For enhancing a television set’s volume, active soundbars are preferred over passive ones.
Passive soundbars, on the other hand, need an amplifier or audio-video receiver (AVR) to function, since these are not already built-in. However, an advantage of these is that they usually have better speakers and can be customised to your specific needs. For example, they are commonly preferred if setting up a home theatre.
They can come with one speaker surround sound or have three speakers combined into one for a centre configuration. However, they are also more expensive than active soundbars and will require a more complicated set-up with various components.
That being said, there are plenty of choices for customisation, and the system can be expanded on in the future. Many prefer an active soundbar over a passive one because of the easier setup, the less complicated functioning, and the smaller footprint.
Poor quality soundbars usually only feature a 3.5mm audio jack and have little to no options for connectivity. Most quality soundbars have a minimum of one connection – this can be through HDMI, optical, or coaxial cables. Unlike 3.5 mm audio jacks, these reduce interference and make for a better listening experience. They also provide for more features such as virtual surround sound.
Most soundbars have optical digital connections which are simple and reliable. However, they have the disadvantage of not being able to carry bandwidth more than a 5.1 signal.
Others may offer 4K-compatible HDMI connections for convenience. An HDMI connection is great for multi-channel soundbars. Many high-quality soundbars have HDMI ARC connections. These are especially easy to set up since the soundbar just has to be connected to the television’s ARC (audio return channel) with an HDMI cable. This offers the advantage of using a single remote to control both the soundbar and the television. HDMI is also recommended for multi-channel soundbars.
Some soundbars also come with USB inputs. However, these are not really required – since they are primarily used for firmware updates, they are unnecessary because most updates are software updates. Although not a necessary feature, this connection may be of use to those wanting to plug in USBs with music on them.
Wireless connections are among the most important connections in soundbars. Modern soundbars almost always come with built-in Bluetooth so that it is easier to stream music from other devices such as cell phones, tablets, and computers. Two-way Bluetooth can also use the soundbar to send music to Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
Wireless soundbars also come with Wi-Fi and use the internet to stream music from anywhere, for example, from Spotify or iTunes. Wireless soundbars can also be used as stereos to stream music.
With the popularity of smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home, soundbars are adding options for voice control. More and more soundbars are compatible with Echo or the Google Assistant. However, some have Google Home and Alexa built in and do not require the separate devices. This is an especially useful feature for those who are visually impaired or have other disabilities which affect motor control. For example, those suffering from arthritis and Parkinson’s will benefit from using voice control instead of physical remotes.
‘Channels’ in soundbars refer to different speakers and are where the sound originates. Soundbars can
range from 2 channels all the way to 7 channels. As a rule of thumb, more channels mean better quality sound. This is what the different channel numbers imply:
A 2-channel soundbar consists of two speakers – one on the left and one on the right.
A 3-channel soundbar consists of three speakers – one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle.
A 5-channel soundbar contains the 3 main speakers (right, left, centre) along with two rear speakers.
A 7-channel soundbar consists of all the speakers in the 5-channel soundbar but includes two more channels in the back, making this a total of 7 speakers.
These are usually evident by a number in the specifications or title. For example, 2.0 would mean that the soundbar has 2 channels. 2.1 would mean that the soundbar has 2 channels and one external subwoofer. Very sophisticated models also have a third digit for the height channels, so 2.1.2 would correspond to a soundbar with 2 channels, 1 external woofer, and 2 height channels.
This is a 5-channel or 7-channel high-quality soundbar that provides surround sound. The sound is bounced up towards the ceiling as well as down to create a more immersive environment. Although this is not a necessity, it does contribute to a more luxurious and immersive experience and is highly sought after. However, it is an expensive feature and may not be available in more affordable soundbars.
Surround sound can be simulated in order to provide a more dynamic and immersive experience especially when watching movies. This is achieved by making sound reflect off of the walls and fill the room which creates the sensation of there being multiple speakers around the room.
These are speaker drivers which are devoted to recreating low-frequency audio like bass and sounds like exploding bombs. They create a fuller sound that projects throughout the room. These would be ideal for those who prefer action movies.
A lot of soundbars come with wireless subwoofers. These are usually used with passive soundbars to improve bass. Some soundbars do not come with subwoofers, and these need to be purchased separately. However, if you do purchase them separately, you should make sure that this is compatible with your soundbar before you buy it – some soundbars don’t allow for any external subwoofers to be connected.
The three different types of subwoofers include a built-in subwoofer, a single external subwoofer, and dual external subwoofers. These result in deeper bass. While built-in subwoofers save space, they compromise on quality, since the size of the driver is limited. While external subwoofers result in deeper
and better sound, they are big, bulky, require tons of space, and are much more expensive.
Our ideal pick from these five bestselling items would have to be the VMAI TV Soundbar. This is because it doesn’t just boast a number of connections but also has a surround sound system with high-quality audio. With 6 dedicated speakers, special Bluetooth Technology, and a polished matte-black finish, this soundbar truly stands out from the rest.
However, it is perfectly understandable that not everyone can spend money on this option since it is relatively expensive. Those who are on a budget do not need to worry. They will be more than happy with the Majority Bowfell Compact 2.1 Soundbar if they are looking for high-quality sound for their television. Alternatively, the Aisung PC Soundbar is an excellent choice for audio on laptops, PCs and cars.
Hopefully, this list of the 5 best soundbars under £100 helped you come to a decision. No matter which option you choose, you can rest assured that all the options here are tried and true favourites – with thousands of Amazon reviews and even more Amazon sales, these soundbars are the cream of the crop for an affordable price. They prove that money is not always essential to buy quality products.