What are the best budget soundbars under £100 availablee in the UK?
1 – KitSound Chorus Soundbar Speaker System and Built-In Subwoofer
2 – Chialstar Newest Wireless 2.0 Channel
3 – Goodmans 60 W 2.1 Bluetooth Soundbar
4 – MEGACRA Bluetooth 4.0 Connectivity
5 – LG LAS160B 2.0Ch 50W BT soundbar
1 - KitSound Chorus Sound Bar Speaker System
The KitSound Chorus sound bar is a sleek fit under the television that is simple in design and function. It sits at a cool 90cm long, 7cm deep, and 5.5cm high, perfect for sliding underneath a TV. It can also be wall mounted for optimal space saving, or you can let it stand on your entertainment unit. The sound quality is excellent and easily fills a medium sized room. It’s a relatively lightweight system, weighing under 2kg, but is sure to boost your television’s existing sound to levels you’ve never heard before. This model also has Bluetooth connectivity, meaning phones and tablets will have no problems connecting to this device to play music.
- Wall mount the soundbox to save space
- Bluetooth connection capabilities allow phones and tablets to stream music from another room.
- Sound quality is great, without being overwhelming.
- This unit does not ship with an optical cable; you must purchase one yourself.
- There is no LED display to indicate settings or volume level.
- A bit on the expensive side
2 - Chialstar SurroundSound Bluetooth SoundBar
Big surprises come in small packages, and that could not be more true for the Chialstar Surround-sound Bluetooth sound bar. This small, lightweight product works wonders for televisions that experience tinny sounds coming from their speakers. It also features a staple addition present in many sound bars of today: Bluetooth. You can hook up your phone or tablet to listen to your favourite music, all from one compact position. The Chialstar Soundbox also includes FM radio, MicroSD card reader, and a USB driver. The battery is rechargeable, which means the soundbar is not beholden to a single spot underneath the television. Just be sure to charge up the battery when not in use! Overall, an exquisite sound bar that’s equal parts affordable and reliable.
- Connection phones wirelessly is available via integrated Bluetooth capabilities
- Great sound for a small package
- Many features that make this soundbar a prime choice against competitors
- Very cost effective; low-end pricing with high-end sound quality
- May be difficult to control volume with given remote control.
- The battery is slow to charge, especially after extended use.
- Installation may be difficult for some.
3 - Goodman's Bluetooth Soundbar
The Goodman’s Bluetooth sound bar is perfect for anyone on a budget. It is marginally taller than some other sound bars, but should still have no problems fitting underneath your television. As far as sound quality, it is certainly not your top of the line, but if you’re only looking for a small sound boost, this is a great addition. This unit is perfect for people living in apartments, who wish to hear their television without bothering their neighbours. Phones and tablets can connect to this unit through Bluetooth’s wireless connections to experience your music from room to room. An optical cable is provided, which saves you from purchasing one yourself.
- Bluetooth enabled for phone, TV, or PC
- Multiple audio features to customize listening experience
- Lower price than other models
- Can be split into two separate speakers
- If television is not Bluetooth enabled you may need to buy additional cords.
- Optical cable is very short, which reduces the number of places this sound bar can be located
- Installation is more complicated,
- Sound quality only marginally increases television’s default sound.
4 - MEGACRA Channel Speaker
The MEGACRA Channel Soundbar is an excellent choice for people looking for high quality at an affordable price. This unit is installed with speakers, two tweeters, and 2 bass reflex tubes that amplify the sound coming from your television, ensuring that you get the best quality. It has a smooth, sleek design that complements any Entertainment center perfectly, while still maintaining form and function. It is a surround-sound speaker, meaning that your TV can be heard loud and clear; your favourite movies and music will have perfect clarity. There are two modes that function well with either your TV or your iPod, and you can switch seamlessly between them whenever the situation arises. This sound box is very affordable without compromising quality and comes with all the standard cables you need to get set up, so installation is a breeze.
- Soundbox sports a sleek, beautiful design while maintaining functionality
- Audio quality is great at a price that’s very reasonable.
- The unit comes with standardized cords and cables for installation
- Can be mounted on the wall for saving space.
- Optical cable provided may not fit in every television.
- Sound modes are limited, and the manual is sparse with information.
5 - LG-LAS160B Sound Bar
The LG-LAS160B sound bar is another Bluetooth supported model that is moderately priced compared to most other sound bars, with a reasonable quality of sound. Audio from the soundbox can be controlled through a remote control as well, so there is no need to get up and change the settings. This particular model includes a bass reflex sub-woofer, a single tweeter, optical cable support, and 50W sound. The sleek, rounded design looks great underneath a television and on any entertainment unit. Bluetooth support of the LG product line means you can control this product right from your smartphone just by downloading the app. This product is easy to set up and install; however, some precaution must be taken when ordering, as it may come with the wrong plug for your outlet.
- The soundbox outputs reasonable audio quality.
- Easy, fast installation so you can listen to your television sooner.
- Features an automatic power off if left idle for too long.
- Bluetooth connections to tablet and phone for playing music.
- Does not come with the optical cable – separate purchase necessary
- Sound quality is moderate compared to other models.
- May come with the wrong plug-in attached; adapter may be needed.
Choosing A Sound Bar That’s Right For You
You’ve been saving your money for a long time now to get that new 60” flat screen TV. You’ve done the research, studied pixels, resolution, and contrast. You made your choice and shopped around for the best price. You buy it and mount it on the wall. Your mates come over to watch the big match, everyone is excited. But you’re in for a big disappointment, the thing sounds like an old transistor radio. Your buddy’s laugh at you, then head to the pub to watch the game.
Now, what do you do? You’ve spent your bankroll on the new set, so a high-priced surround sound system is out of the question. It’s time to do some more research and consider a soundbar. Even a small budget will get you big sound with one of the many low-cost soundbars on the market.
What Is A Soundbar?
A Soundbar is basically a low-cost alternative to an expensive surround sound system. There are two different styles of soundbars. The first one is just like it sounds, a bar of speakers. They are long rectangular units that either mount on the wall or sit on a shelf below the TV. Some soundbars are pedestals, designed for the TV to sit on top.
Besides cost, a soundbars advantage over a surround sound system is ease of installation and size. You must hire a qualified technician to install a surround sound unit, which can get costly, and you’ll need to make room for all those speakers. You won’t need a degree in engineering to hook-up a soundbar and they take up very little space.
Prices for soundbars range from around £100, £200 up £1,800.
Some Things To Consider
The first thing you want to think about is space. Is there enough room under the TV for a soundbar? If not, you might want to consider a pedestal system instead. The TV sits right on top of a pedestal. If looks are important, you might want to consider a soundbar made by the same company as the TV. Many are designed to look like an extension of the TV itself.
Are you mostly going to be gaming? Do you watch movies or sports? How about streaming music and will the soundbar double as your stereo system? No matter how you answer any of these questions, you can find a budget soundbar that will fit your needs.
Budget Soundbar Basics
When you look at budget soundbars most are very similar in performance with some subtle differences. Not so much with the more expensive units. Here we’re going to focus on the lower cost units and what features most share.
HDMI connectivity is the most common way to hook up a soundbar to a flat screen. Most have one input and one output port.
A few years back most budget soundbars didn’t come with Bluetooth connectivity. Nowadays you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t have it. It makes for easy hook-up and gives you audio streaming capabilities from your cell phone.
Two more hook-ups common to budget soundbars are TOSlink digital audio input cables and the good old tried and true RCA type jacks, they are stereo only but simple and reliable.
Speakers and Channels
Speaker specifications can get confusing and much of the information is useless unless you are a true audiophile. Wattage and dB are the easiest speaker specs to understand. 50 watts and 100 dB of output, is the most common size of budget soundbars, which should be plenty of punch. 120 decibel is the pain threshold, so 100 dB should be plenty.
Most budget soundbars have 2.1 stereo output. Two speakers one subwoofer. If you want 5.1 or 7.1, 3D pass-through or even surround, you will need to buy a more expensive soundbar.
Most budget soundbars have built-in subwoofers, a few like the Vizio SB3821, come with an external wireless subwoofer. There are a few low priced soundbars that don’t have subwoofers, not everyone likes heavy bass. Also, most do not have tweeters, but the mid-range speakers do a great job of delivering clear dialogue.
Apples and Oranges
Will I be happy with a budget soundbar or should I wait and save some money so I can buy an expensive soundbar? The best way to answer that is to look at the different features expensive soundbars come with compared to a budget soundbar.
The biggest difference between the two are gizmos. Many higher priced soundbars come with all the whistles and bells. But do you really need something like 3d pass-through, unless you own a 3D capable TV, the answer is no.
Output and Sound
How about 450-watt speakers like the Sony HT-NT5 puts out. That depends on how well you get along with your neighbors. That’s way more power than most people need.
Soundbars with rear facing speakers succeed in creating a surround sound affect. You won’t find this feature on budget soundbars but many expensive ones offer rear facing speakers.
Many budget soundbars don’t have bass and treble control, bass booster, front display and remotes. Most soundbars sync with the TV’s remote and equalizer settings can be adjusted through it. A few expensive soundbars have a front display that shows the volume number only. Do you really need to see that?
With all the many digital devices and streaming options available now, some expensive soundbars come pre-installed with streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify Connect, and Tidal. You won’t find this option on budget soundbars.
Only a few TV’s on the market support 4K, so unless you’ve already put out the money for one, a 4K capable soundbar is not necessary. If you plan on hooking up a DVD or Blu-Ray player you will need to buy a more expensive soundbar because most budget soundbars have only one input HDMI.
It’s All About the Sound
Just like when you bought that 60” flat screen TV, you need to do some research before you buy a soundbar. There are many low-cost soundbars on the market that pack a wallop like their more expensive cousins. And just like any big-ticket purchase, it’s nice to go for a test drive first. Most big box appliance stores have rooms where you can give soundbars a listen.
The one thing that is certain, just about any budget soundbar will greatly improve the sound quality of any flat screen TV.