Want a more realistic movie-going experience at home? Then, if you haven’t already bought one, you should definitely buy a soundbar. We’ve tested more units than we care to count, so we can say with confidence that a good soundbar will give you an experience that is night and day better than what you’ll find on most TVs, which tend to have speaker setups that are pretty cramped because they are flat. When watching sports, a top-of-the-line soundbar that works with Dolby Atmos can direct the sound, making it feel like you’re in the crowd.
If you’re a gamer, they can also help you figure out where incoming fire is coming from when you’re playing Call of Duty online on your new PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. Recently, there have been a lot of great units with smart multi-room wireless support that make it easy to add them to your home’s sound system if you have compatible speakers. The only problem is that, as with all hardware, it can be hard to know which one to get. From testing soundbars, we know that not every one is worth your hard-earned money.
The sound quality of a set can vary a lot, and just buying an expensive one isn’t always the best way to get the most for your money. In fact, based on our real-world testing, it’s often the cheaper and mid-range sets that are the best value for the money.
Best Soundbar Deals
Even though the Sony HT-A7000 is their best soundbar, it has a lot of work to do. Since cheap soundbars like the Sonos Ray have been getting a lot of attention lately, the Sony HT-A7000 is in a tough spot because it costs more than the competition but has similar features.
But the Sony HT-A7000 is a very elegant and well-thought-out soundbar, even though it has an eye-popping price and doesn’t even come with an external subwoofer or a set of surround speakers (though these can be bought separately).
The Sonos Arc, which came out in 2020, is the company’s best soundbar. Like most Sonos products, it has a sleek, high-quality design and a built-in voice assistant that lets you control it without having to use your hands. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support gives you access to a lot of different streaming and Blu-ray content, and you can upgrade the standalone bar to the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers if you want. With the Sonos S2 app, you can also connect the bar to other Sonos products to send sound all over your home.
The Sonos Arc can be used for different things. It’s a really high-quality stand-alone bar that can be used for music, movies, and TV shows. Right out of the box, the instruments sound just like they should, and the dialogue is clear and accurate. It also works with a wide variety of audio formats, such as Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. You can always add a sub and satellites later on to make it work better.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus came out in 2022 as a separate soundbar. It’s a smaller, cheaper version of the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX. It has a cinematic sound and can be set up as a standalone soundbar. Like the MAX, the bar supports many different audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. However, it also has built-in support for voice assistants for those who want to control the bar with their voice. With the AMBEO 3D feature, you can use one of the three presets on the bar—Light, Standard, or Boost—to turn stereo content into a virtual surround effect.
The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus can be used for a variety of things. This high-end set-up is built well and can play a wide range of audio formats that you’re likely to find on streaming services and Blu-rays.
The new Sonos Ray is the most affordable soundbar the company has made so far, and it has two main uses. The first is, as with any entry-level soundbar, to get rid of your TV’s terrible built-in speakers. But the Ray is also made to be an attractive way to start using Sonos’s platform for playing music in multiple rooms.
Sonos took out a lot of the more advanced features found on its more expensive Beam and Arc soundbars in order to get the price down to under $300. The Ray doesn’t work with Dolby Atmos and doesn’t have any HDMI ports. Instead, you use an optical audio cable to connect it to your TV.
A good home theatre system can make your entertainment much better, and there are many ways to set one up in your TV room. Some people might choose to mix and match parts from different brands, but others might prefer the simplicity and ease of setup that a single product set offers. Sony’s A-series soundbars, which come with a lot of features and can be used with matching subwoofers and rear speakers, do just that. Here, I’m going to talk about one of the Sony HT-A5000 soundbar systems.
The Sony HT-A5000 soundbar is in the middle of the range of soundbars and speaker systems in its A-series. Does the Sony HT-A5000 sound bar live up to its price? It has 5.1.2-channel speakers and supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision passthrough.
The Devialet Dione is the first soundbar made by a French company best known for its speakers and amplifiers. It has a unique design with a centre channel “orb” that rotates depending on whether you mount it to the wall or put it on a TV stand. This makes sure that the vocals are clear and accurate and the bass is rich and thumpy no matter where you put it.
It’s a 5.1.2 stand-alone bar that’s great for people who don’t have room for an extra subwoofer or satellites. Its built-in subwoofers make a deeper low-bass sound than traditional all-in-one bars. Since it’s meant to be used on its own, it doesn’t have any upgrades, so you can’t add separate satellites like you can with the Sonos Arc or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900.
People who watch a lot of Blu-rays will be disappointed that it doesn’t have some sound enhancement features or support for DTS:X. This is especially true given its high price.
The Sony HT-SF150 2ch Single Soundbar fits perfectly under a TV and greatly improves the sound quality for a low price. With a 120-watt output and Sony’s S-Force virtual surround sound technology, the unit’s speakers have a smooth frequency response and a punchy low end. There are a lot of inputs, including USB, HDMI ARC, Bluetooth, and optical. Simply put, it’s easy to hook up your TV, phone, or MP3 player.
The Sony HT-SF150 comes with a well-thought-out remote and has the basic controls and status lights on top. It looks great on a media stand under a TV, but it’s very easy to mount on the wall. And because it is small, it fits in with your other home entertainment equipment.
The LG S95QR goes beyond what most people think of as a soundbar because it has four separate speaker units and more channels than most separates-based systems.
The LG S95QR’s strange 9.1.5 channel setup hints at a new feature for this top-of-the-line 2022 soundbar: a centre speaker that faces up. This basically pushes up the same sound that comes out of a more traditional forward-facing centre speaker on the front of the soundbar. This is done to make dialogue sound like it’s coming from the people talking on your screen.
Up until now, even the best soundbars only had four upfiring channels, but LG is pushing things further. We already saw this new central height speaker on the LG S80QY, and it impressed us there. LG is now going even further.
The LG SP8YA is a 2021 model with a 3.1.2 setup. It’s the next version of the LG SN8YG. It has more EQ presets and a 2021 LG TV AI Processor, which is supposed to sync the bar with the speakers of compatible LG TVs for a more immersive sound, but we don’t test for this feature. Also, its AI Room Calibration feature can automatically change how the sound is played based on how the room you’re listening in sounds. With this feature, it has a sound profile that is heavy on the bass and gives your music some thump and punch. It can also play content in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
The LG SP8YA works well for a lot of different things. With the room correction feature turned on, it has a bass-heavy sound profile that gives your music and movies more thump and punch so you can feel the rumble. But in order to play surround content, it has to turn it into stereo, which doesn’t sound very immersive.
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 can be used in a variety of ways. It looks like a high-end stand-alone bar and supports Dolby Atmos, but it doesn’t sound as good as it looks. Its default sound is dark and muddy because the treble is turned down and there is no bass. This makes it hard to hear voices and lead instruments in the mix. Its narrow soundstage also makes it hard to listen to movies in a way that is truly immersive.
Since there aren’t many ways to change how it works, it’s not easy to make it work the way you want.
The Sony HT-G700 is a 2020 sound bar with 3.1 channels. Through its HDMI ARC and Full HDMI In ports, it can play all common audio formats. If you like to watch movies, it can also play Dolby Atmos content, but it has to downmix it into stereo. It has a pretty boomy sound profile, but there are seven EQ presets that can improve your listening experience depending on what you like to listen to. It can also get pretty loud, but at the highest volume there is a lot of thumping and compression, which is disappointing.
The Sony HT-G700 is a sleek soundbar that looks a lot like the Sony HT-Z9F and other Sony soundbars. It’s made of high-quality plastic, and its speakers are protected by a big metal grille. This gives it a high-end look and feel.
Best Soundbars under $1000
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 can be used in a variety of ways. Because it has a room correction feature, it can automatically adjust the sound to fit your room. It has a neutral sound that works well with many different kinds of audio.
It also works with Dolby Atmos and surround sound. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a very deep low-bass sound, so you don’t feel the deep thumping and rumbling of action movies or music with a lot of bass. But you can always improve the performance by adding a sub and satellites.
The Sony HT-A3000 came out in 2022. It is a 3.1 setup. It’s a cheaper alternative to the Sony HT-A5000 and the Sony HT-A7000, which are Sony’s more expensive options. Like these other bars, it works with Sony’s Virtual Surround Engine and S-Fore Pro Front Surround to make listening more immersive. With the Acoustic Center Sync feature, if you have a BRAVIA TV that works with it, you can also use its speakers as an extra centre channel.
But the bar doesn’t “truly” support more advanced audio formats like Dolby Digital or Dolby Atmos because it has to downmix them into stereo. If you don’t buy the separate satellites, you won’t be able to use the Sound Field Optimization room correction feature. You can also buy a subwoofer that works with it from the manufacturer to make the bass sound better.
Bose Smart Soundbar 600
The Bose Soundbar 600 is good for a wide range of uses. It gives you clear dialogue from your favourite TV shows and voices and instruments from many different types of music. Its TrueSpace technology gives you more height effects, even when listening to stereo or 5.1 surround sound. You can change the bass and treble, but that’s about it. If you want better bass reproduction and surround sound, you’ll need to add a subwoofer and satellites.
The XL-1200 from PowerBass is a Bluetooth soundbar with 12 speakers and 500 watts RMS of power. PowerBass has everything in a tough, waterproof aluminium body made for off-road use. It is a great choice for your RV, UTV, small boat, golf cart, or any other off-road vehicle.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300
The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a good option for a wide range of uses. It’s a simple 3.0 bar that’s made for listening to stereo music and TV shows, which is most of them. There is clear dialogue in the mix, and voices and other instruments have a little extra punch and sparkle to make them come alive. You can also change the bass and treble, but you don’t have access to tools like room correction, which are more expensive. It’s also not the best choice for multichannel content like Dolby Digital, since it turns this content into stereo when it’s downmixed.
Best Soundbars under $500
Sonos Beam Gen 2
The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is an upgrade to the original Sonos Beam. It is a 5.0 setup. It has the same small size as its predecessor, but now it also supports Dolby Atmos so you can watch movies and other content with height on your favourite streaming services. It’s a Wi-Fi-enabled soundbar that you can control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s also easy to add to your existing Sonos system because it works with the Sonos S2 app. Also, if you want to make it sound better, you can buy a separate subwoofer and satellites from the company that made it.
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
The JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam seems to be made so that everyone can use it. It’s a soundbar that doesn’t take up much room and fits neatly and unobtrusively under most TVs. It promises big, room-filling sound with more than a hint of Dolby Atmos-like height thanks to its range of speakers.
It has a lot of features that are new and useful. All of this is done at a price that is surprisingly low compared to many of the best soundbars that promise the same thing.
Usually, you’d think there was some kind of catch. But it doesn’t seem that way when you look at its specs on paper. Take the Bar 5.0 MultiBeam out of its box and look at how smooth and sturdy it is. There doesn’t seem to be a catch there either. So, the only thing left is the sound the JBL makes: if there is a catch, it must be here.
VIZIO V-Series 5.1
The V-Series 5.1 has a sleek new look, an HDMI connection, and immersive home theatre surround sound. The small sound bar has three full-range speakers that are perfectly matched, as well as a dedicated centre speaker that makes speech very clear. There are also a pair of low-profile surround speakers that surround the listener and a wireless 5′′ subwoofer with a strong bass.
Dolby Audio 5.1 is used to improve the sound quality of 4K HDR content, and DTS Virtual:XTM gives music and movies virtualized 3D sound that fills the whole room. Using optional surround modes, any audio can be turned into strong 5.1 audio.
Dolby Atmos lets you enjoy surround sound without having to use HDMI cables. You can immerse yourself in sound and hear it from above for a rich and unique experience. All of the speakers in your Samsung TV or soundbar are used at once to fill your room with perfectly synced, fully immersive sound. The built-in centre speaker is designed to make dialogue clearer, so you won’t miss a word, no matter how quiet the conversation or how loud the music or action is in the background.
Voice assistants like Alexa that are built into your sound bar make it easy to play your favourite songs, watch your favourite shows, and watch your favourite sports teams. To play music, just connect the soundbar to an iPhone or other iOS device that works with it. Vocals and instruments sound as clear as they did in the studio, so you can hear every note as the artists intended.
Samsung 2.1 Soundbar HW-R450
The wireless subwoofer has a frequency response (amp) of 43Hz to 20kHz, which means that it can reproduce sounds from 43Hz to 20kHz. This means that you can hear distant thunder and sounds that shake the earth. The soundbar analyses the content and adjusts the sound settings so that the best experience is had.
With a special setting that boosts game sounds, you can win more glorious victories. With Bluetooth, it’s easy to connect wirelessly, so you can listen to music on your mobile devices with no strings attached. Designed to work well with Samsung TVs and give you the best entertainment experience possible.
Best Soundbars under $200
The Roku Streambar works well for TV shows and podcasts with a lot of talking. It’s a 2.0 bar, which means it doesn’t have a separate centre channel to make vocals sound better. Even so, its mids are pretty well balanced, so it can still make voices sound clear, which makes it easy to follow what’s happening on screen. You can change the Speech Clarity setting to make dialogue clearer, and you can change the Volume Mode to turn down the volume of loud commercials.
The Streambar looks like a smaller version of the Roku Smart Soundbar. It is only 2.4 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 4.2 inches deep, and it weighs 2.4 pounds. It’s a small speaker that should fit easily under your TV. Like the Smart Soundbar, it has no buttons on the front or top and only one LED indicator in the middle of the front panel. On the back, there are ports for HDMI, optical audio, USB, the power adapter, and a reset button. There are also two threaded mounting holes on the back for wall mounting.
Most of the time, buying a cheap soundbar is like throwing money away, but the Yamaha SR-B20A is an exception. This $179 all-in-one soundbar doesn’t have the extra features you’ll find in more expensive models, like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, Wi-Fi audio streaming, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast.
However, it makes the most of its six drivers, giving you strong bass (which you can improve with a wired subwoofer) and immersive DTS Virtual:X audio processing. We’ve rarely heard sound this good from a soundbar that costs less than $200, but you’ll hear better if you spend more.
Polk Audio Signa S2
The Polk Audio Signa S2 is a simple soundbar with 2.1 channels and a wireless subwoofer. It has a loud, V-shaped sound that isn’t the most well-balanced one we’ve heard so far. On the plus side, it gets loud enough for most people, but when pushed to its limits, you might hear compression and distortion. On the plus side, it’s made well enough and has Bluetooth for wireless streaming.
The soundbar is made in a very simple way. It’s mostly made of plastic, and the front is covered with something that looks like mesh. The fabric isn’t as loose as it is on the Yamaha YAS-207, but it could still tear or rip.
TCL Alto 6+
The TCL Alto 6+ is a simple, low-cost 2.1 setup that comes out in 2020. It is said that this soundbar works perfectly with TCL Roku TVs, so you can use the TV’s remote to control the soundbar and get to its controls. It has a decent, if somewhat dark, sound profile, and it comes with three EQ presets so you can change how it sounds. It can also get loud enough to fill a large or busy room, and Bluetooth makes it easy to stream your favourite music to the bar.
Even though it doesn’t have a lot of extras, it’s a good bar for people on a budget. The TCL Alto 6+ is a small bar that should fit between the legs of a 55-inch TV without much trouble. It’s not very tall, so it shouldn’t get in the way of your screen unless it’s sitting on the table perfectly flat.