The sound built-in speakers of even the best 4K TVs usually don’t cut it, and this is where a soundbar steps in. These all-in-one speaker systems will amp up your whole audio experience making your action-packed games and movies more immersive than you ever thought possible. Plus, they are usually much easier set up than multi-speaker systems that require loads of wires and an AV receiver to drive it all.
There is a wide variety of soundbar options currently on the market, so you’re bound to find one that meets your specific needs. Most are standalone soundbars that offer everything you’d need in a simple-to-setup, compact device. You’ll also find a few that include an additional subwoofer or speakers to produce a more authentic surround sound experience. Many now come with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which are becoming the gold standards in sound. Plus, these systems come loaded with connectivity, so you can use them for listening on all of your devices, not just your TV.
We’ve made your life a bit easier by narrowing down some of the best soundbars available. There are a range of options from simple surround sound on a budget, room rumbling bass, to best in Dolby Atmos sound. Take a look and see if there is a soundbar that’ll work for you.
TL;DR – These are the Best Soundbars
- Sonos Arc
- Vizio V-Series 5.1
- Vizio SB2021n-J6
- Klipsch Cinema 600
- Sennheiser Ambeo
- LG SN11RG
- Sony HT-A7000
- Klipsch The Fives
- Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2
1. Sonos Arc
Sonos is known for offering up impressive-sounding, easy-to-setup soundbars at a variety of budgets, and their mid-range Arc is the perfect addition to the lineup. With this soundbar, Sonos added Dolby Atmos support, which puts you in the middle of all the dynamic, richly detailed sound when you’re playing games or watching movies. And, this is added on top of the smarts Sonos’ already packs into their devices, making it our favorite soundbar option.
The Sonos Arc is a whole lot more than just a soundbar. The Sonos app allows you to make simple adjustments to the sound and switch between channels. There is even Trueplay technology that tailors the bar’s sound specifically for your room. If you plan on listening to music through this speaker, there’s no need to even use the app, as it should appear as a playback device on most music platforms. To push the smarts even further, it can be controlled via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Plus, you can pair the Arc with any other Sonos devices you might own for whole-home surround sound.
2. Vizio V-Series 5.1
Best Budget Soundbar
Vizio is known for its plethora of high-quality, affordable soundbars, and one of its most budget-friendly options is the V-Series 5.1. You may be missing out on Dolby Atmos compatibility and Wi-Fi connectivity, but you get a great-sounding speaker system to transform your home theater. And, there’s Bluetooth connectivity to listen with your other devices.
The Vizio V-Series 5.1 includes not only the soundbar but a subwoofer and two speakers. These components will help you feel the deep bass while watching the intense moments of the latest action-adventure flick or hear the detailed nuances of your favorite ballad. A 50Hz – 20kHz frequency range means you’ll be getting both dynamic and accurate sound. For under $250, you’re getting a complete surround sound system. It’s hard to beat that.
3. Vizio SB2021n-J6
Best Ultra Cheap Soundbar
Great quality sound doesn’t always have to come at a high premium, and the Vizio SB2021n-J6 is proof of that. For under $150, you get support for 2.1 channel surround sound and the impressive audio technology of DTS Virtual: X. This means all of your content will be brought to life, placing you in the middle of the action. This soundbar comes with an additional subwoofer on top of the two full-range speakers packed into the compact soundbar. This helps create a rich, balanced sound profile with powerful bass.
The Vizio SB2021n-J6 is ready for you to get listening right out of the box. As a wireless option, it comes toting Bluetooth, so it’s simple to get listening on your phone or tablet. Otherwise, you’ve got optical, USB, or analog ports for simple wired connections. We just wish Vizio included an HDMI option. Overall, if you’re looking for an easy and affordable solution for improved audio, look no further than this soundbar.
4. Klipsch Cinema 600
Best Soundbar For Bass
- See it on Amazon
If you’re ready for your heart to be thumping along to an action-packed movie, look no further than the Klipsch Cinema 600. This soundbar comes with a massive wireless subwoofer, which means it will get your chest and your walls rumbling with impressively deep bass. The soundbar itself is no slouch either, producing a crisp, detailed sound through a stylish, low-profile enclosure. Plus, it’s a super affordable system coming in around $500.
The Klipsch Cinema 600’s powerful audio performance is going to blow you away, and with a solid surround sound mode and Dolby Digital support, it’ll really amp up your home theater setup. Unfortunately, this soundbar does not support Dolby Atmos or work with voice assistants. However, it does offer Bluetooth connectivity, so you can easily connect all of your devices for an improved audio experience. You can kit out this soundbar even further, going from 3.1 to 5.1 channels, with the addition of two Klipsch Surround 3 speakers.
5. Sennheiser Ambeo
Best High-End Soundbar
The Sennheiser Ambeo is the best of the best, but with all its greatness comes a hefty $2,500 price tag. Once you get past the cost, this all-in-one system will launch your at-home theater setup into another dimension. The soundbar itself is a bit bulky, but that also allows it to fit large, high-quality drivers that cover a wide frequency range to produce rich and dynamic audio. Those drivers also eliminate the need for subwoofers or additional speakers while still creating a convincing surround sound experience.
With the Sennheiser Ambeo, you get not only Dolby Atmos but also DTS:X and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, so you’re in for a super immersive audio experience with compatible media. There’s also tons of connectivity that comes with this soundbar including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support to play audio from a variety of devices – and it even has Chromecast built-in. Though this all-in-one soundbar may come with a steep price, its ease of setup, insane sound quality, and staying power are worth the investment.
6. LG SN11RG
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar
- See it on Walmart
Dolby Atmos is almost the standard in most soundbars at this point. This technology allows you to hear your music, games, and movies with more depth, clarity, and details than ever before. One of the best options you have to use Dolby Atmos on is the LG SN11RG. A soundbar, subwoofer, and two satellites come with this system to provide a sizable soundscape. Plus, the 7.1.4-channel system comes with up-firing and front-firing drivers making it ready to take on Dolby Atmos.
The Dolby Atmos support might be the LG SN11RG’s main attraction, but its additional features are fantastic too. It offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. So, you can easily stream from a variety of devices, and Google Assistant is built-in for voice control. There is also adaptive sound control that will adjust the sound based on what you’re watching. The biggest downside to this soundbar is that it’s a bit of a splurge.
7. Sony HT-A7000
Best Standalone Soundbar
One of the biggest conveniences of using a soundbar is the fact that you can avoid all the wires and difficulty that comes with other sound systems. But, some soundbars still end up needing an additional subwoofer or speakers for a better audio experience. Therefore, convenience is lost. That’s where the Sony HT-A7000 comes in. It boasts a variety of integrated speakers, side beam tweeters, and subwoofers to bring all the noise and none of the hassle. That speaker array isn’t just capable of covering a wide range of audio frequencies, but it also provides the necessary positional audio for Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio.
Since the Sony HT-A7000 is an all-in-one soundbar, there’s a very simple setup – so, you’ll be listening to detailed, immersive audio in no time. It’s loaded with additional features to add to its ease of use like voice assistants and Google Chromecast built-in. Compatibility with both Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay 2 could come in handy too. And, on top of those connections, you can still add your devices to the system through Bluetooth. This soundbar should enhance everything you listen to on it for years to come.
8. Klipsch The Fives
Best Soundbar That Isn’t
- See it on Walmart
Okay, so this option might not be an actual soundbar in a traditional sense, but there’s a good reason we’ve decided to include it. Klipsch’s The Fives is a ‘powered speaker system’ with similar connections to comparative soundbars and a built-in amplifier to power its drivers. These speakers can connect to pretty much anything thanks to support for HDMI ARC, USB, RCA, 3.5mm aux, digital optical, and even Bluetooth. Every device you own should be covered with this system.
The Fives is a versatile sound system that will perform well across the board. And, there are a few more bonuses that come with using it over a traditional soundbar. One of those being how hi-fi it actually is. Also, simply having two separate speakers gives you stereo separation that just isn’t possible with your average soundbar. It even comes packing a phono preamp. The speakers themselves will also produce a balanced sound no matter what you’re using them for. If you’re looking for a sound system specifically to use with your TV, then there are better options. But, if you want something that’s a one size fits all kind of deal, this is it.
9. Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2
Best PC Soundbar
Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2
You’ve invested in a high-end gaming PC, and now you need to complete your setup by adding a quality soundbar. The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 will blow your computer’s built-in speakers out of the water– if it even has them. So when you’re gaming, you’ll be further immersed in the action thanks to the realistic sound reproduction on the 5.1 channel stereo with Dolby Audio. Plus, you can fine-tune your sound experience beyond your usual EQ settings with an app on your computer. Who knows, maybe you’ll have an advantage on the battlefield with these improved audio cues?
The Creative Sound Blaster Katana V2 packs loads of connectivity, including wireless support via Bluetooth plus HDMI, USB-C, and optical ports for wired options. So, not only can you use this speaker with your PC, but it’ll be a perfect sonic partner to just about any device in your home. Also, the latest design of this soundbar sees an upgrade in the tri-amplified driver design, which furthers the clarity and impact of this soundbar’s audio. Finally, to give it a true gamer aesthetic, RGB lighting is even included.
What to Look For in a Soundbar
As we’ve mentioned, the number of soundbars out there can be a bit dizzying, making it hard to make a decision on which one will work best for you. Here’s a bit of advice to help guide you along while choosing which soundbar to purchase.
Soundbars come with different channel options that will simulate the surround sound of a speaker system. If you’re just looking to watch some TV and listen to some music with a soundbar, 2-channels and maybe a subwoofer should have you covered. A 3.1 channel soundbar will come with a center speaker dedicated to dialogue. So, if you find you’re struggling to hear what’s being said while binging Succession, this will be a good option.
With 5.1 channels or more, your speaker system will be ready to take on all the action in your favorite movies and games. There are typically additional speakers and subwoofers that come with this many channels, however, some soundbars can pack all that noise into a great-sounding all-in-one system.
When looking at a soundbar, it is important to make note of its connections. An HDMI ARC (or eARC) is standard in most soundbars and TVs these days. This will simplify your life, as it’s the only cord needed to get your TV sending its audio through the soundbar. A Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection should also be on your shortlist if you’re looking to listen to other devices on your soundbar. And, to make life even easier, some soundbars work with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Finally, if you want the latest and greatest in sound technology, a soundbar with support for Dolby Atmos should be included in your search. Dolby Atmos can provide some insane virtual three-dimensional sound, turning any room into a theater. Just be sure your soundbar comes packing some up-firing drivers, subwoofer, and rear sounds. Some other impressive sound formats coming out include DTS:X and Sony’s 360 Reality, so you may want to find a soundbar that supports those as well.
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.