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Getting the best soundbar resolves a problem of too quiet or too thin TV-bound speakers and doesn’t hurt your budget as much as setting up a home theater system would. Besides, with a variety of options available, you can pick the model responding to your needs and sounding well. For example, for streaming music or podcasts from Spotify and ensuring TV watching with more powerful sound, a simple soundbar with two 4-inch drivers and Bluetooth would be enough. On the other hand, a soundbar with more flexible connectivity will usually provide for the development of a sound system or the creation of a multi-room setup.
So, what is the best soundbar? The answer depends on your priorities. Maybe it’s the one letting you hit the button and playback your music library or TV sound right away. Or the one letting you equalize the output and connect several sources at once. Or the device with the smartphone app / voice command integration, etc. We’ve gathered the most popular models here so that you could make your point — and buy the soundbar you need!
The first look at the Solo 5 reveals why it’s one of the best-rated soundbar models on many lists. A stylish high-quality mesh with the logo in the center, smooth plastic top panel, rounded angles look minimalist and stylish. The Bose Solo 5 can be placed on a table or wall-mounted thanks to the bracket on the rear (needs a WB-120 mount). The unit fits small rooms and surfaces, with a width of 21.6 inches, depth of 3.4 inches, and a height of 2.6 inches.
Its remote is a bit cluttered; yet, its color-coded zones and ergonomic curve let you operate the soundbar with ease. For setup, all you need to do is insert your TV, Blu-Ray player, or gaming console connector to the relevant port. The unit has optical and coaxial cable inputs, and the AUX port for analog sources as well. There’s also a USB port serving for downloading firmware updates and a power cable plug. The speaker’s versatility is complemented by the Bluetooth functionality letting you stream audio from your smartphone, laptop, or other devices.
While the soundbar has a middle-class tier, the audio performance of the Solo 5 is comparable to more expensive models. Two full-range drivers are located in the middle of the front panel and point in different directions in order to embrace more space. The soundbar has the Bass boost function, and overall, represents clear audio with good effects and voice separation.
Onboard controls and on-mesh indicators, 4.2 Bluetooth, 3 different operation modes for music playback, movies, and gaming make this model worth the name of the best soundbar on the market. Still, the setup requires some settings tweaking both for the soundbar and TV. At the same time, the manual provides good instruction on the point.
The length of this soundbar is 31.5 inches requiring a long shelf or tabletop surface. It also has 2 keyhole slots letting you hang it on two screws on the wall. Depth and height make 2.4 inches. The mesh is curved a bit to the front and bottom, and the top and side panels have a smooth wood-like finish. On the right part of the top panel, there are 4 buttons serving for volume control, power on / off, and input selection. The remote has 9 buttons laid out in a comprehensive way and featuring the button for each function and input.
The connections include Bluetooth with the 33-foot range, optical, and AUX inputs. The sound quality is equal for wired and wireless hookups. 3 modes available make accents on different sound aspects: bass, dialog, overall balance. The soundbar is one of the loudest models in its class and fills the small-to-middle room with ease. Though not an audiophile device, it’s definitely one of the best soundbars in the budget class.
Want to buy a solid audio output with good bass, crisp dialog, and a variety of sound effects? Get the best sound bar system! The Signa S2 from Polk Audio might be it. It’s a set of a full-range soundbar and a subwoofer that features versatile connections and multiple audio technologies. The sub is wireless so cables won’t come in the way and spoil your room aesthetics.
The front and top parts of the soundbar are covered with the grille letting the sound disperse into the air and create a voluminous effect. A small plastic strip on the back of the top panel contains power, input, and volume buttons for quick operation of the unit. The dimensions are 35.43 x 3.22 x 2.15 inches making it one of the lowest profiles on the market. The back panel features the ports for HDMI ARC, optical, and AUX connection. The panel is designed as a triangular attachment to any cables you may want to use. The unit also supports Bluetooth, which pairs quickly and ensures lagless playback.
The device is compatible with both HD and 4K TVs, providing a powerful and clear sound output. The soundbar supports Dolby Digital formats producing an immersive surround effect. A 1.25 x 4.4-inch midrange produces clear and rich mids, a 1-inch tweeter brings clean voices and distinct dialog, especially with the Voice Adjust technology activated. With or without a subwoofer, the Signa S2 is the best sound bar lacking only Wi-Fi to be called a premium choice.
This is probably the best soundbar system for those who want to compile a cheap yet the best sounding setup for their TV. At two-thirds of the price of the middle-class audio bar, you get a whole 2.1 system. The latter consists of the soundbar block having two stereo speakers with midrange and tweeters, and a sub connecting to the bar wirelessly. The syncing is immediate and doesn’t require any settings tweaking.
The dimensions of this set, as well as the sound output, make it suitable for a medium-sized room. The soundbar is 36.2 x 2.5 x 3.8 inches, and the sub is 8.3 x 12.9 x 9.8 inches. The mesh on the front part of the subwoofer is divided into halves by the stripe of plastic with the logo. On top, there are buttons for physical input, Bluetooth (version 4.2), volume management, and power on/off. The set can be controlled via the TV remote if connected via HDMI ARC, or through the TCL compact block with minimum buttons. The own remote has the controls to change the EQ presets and Bluetooth activation. The rear panel has the square cutoff, where the connection jacks are located. You can hook up your TV via the AUX-in, USB, HDMI ARC, or optical port.
This set is fully compatible with Dolby formats and produces surround sound with ease. The sound has responsive dynamics and packs quite a punch at low frequencies. The performance at each range of frequencies is clear and has a big soundstage.
If you have several soundbar subwoofer sets to compare, the VIZIO SB3821-C6 would definitely be on the top of the list. It lacks only the HDMI port to be introduced in the best soundbar review. However, it has all kinds of other ports to connect to your TV including the wireless hookup. It’s an up-to-date model with Dolby and DTS support and would make a solid mini system for the home theater of the small or medium size.
The bar and sub boxes look different from other models thanks to the contrast of the black and white panels, and the angled rectangular shape. However, the edges are smooth, and the device is easy to set up and operate, especially with the help of the buttons on the top panel. The latter also has the connection ports in the cutoff on the back. These include 2 analog RCA ports, an optical jack, and a USB. The soundbar is 38-inch wide, and has depth and height equal to 3 inches. The subwoofer is 9.1-inch tall, and 8.3-inch deep and wide. The remote is a small IR-enabled block with input, volume, and mode controls.
The set works in the 2.1-channel mode, and the pairing of the sub and the soundbar is immediate and lagless. For that, the subwoofer must be placed within the line of sight from the soundbar, and at a distance of no more than 50 – 60 ft. The unit can be also paired to a smartphone or another Bluetooth-enabled device for wireless audio sharing and streaming. Versatile and reliable, it makes one of the best sound bars on the 2021 list.
If you’re looking for a good sound bar with Bluetooth and versatile connections but don’t want to break the bank, this simple VIZIO unit shouldn’t be overlooked. Its 2.0-channel capacity can be expanded both physically (via subwoofer addition) and virtually (through the support of DTS technologies). It’s easy to set up and use, and makes a good fit for the systems with the analog and digital sources of the older (non-HDMI) type. Still, it works well with modern TV sets as well, provided they have the optical cable connection.
The width of this bar makes 29 inches, and it’s 3 inches deep and tall. The design of both the box and remote control is simple and intuitive. The remote has 13 buttons, 5 of which (Bluetooth, power, input, and volume controls) are mirrored on the top of the soundbar. Connections are grouped in 2 recesses on the back and include dual-component RCA jacks, an optical port, coaxial one, subwoofer output, power USB, and DC 5V input.
Despite the small drivers — there are 2 full-range ones with a 2.5-inch diameter — the soundbar works well for TV watching and occasional gaming. It produces a steady midline and highs while the bass is rather lacking the strength. To get the more powerful bass effect, you might hook up a subwoofer expanding the low-end (making 70Hz for the soundbar). The DTS TruSurround and Studio Sound technologies provide the virtual surround effect. With TruVolume enhancement, it lets you watch any content at a comfortable volume, and is worth to be listed among the top-rated sound bars.
With the Bluetooth connection to the subwoofer, TV, and any other audio source, this unit claims the position of the best wireless soundbar on our list. This device also implements several technologies automatically adjusting the audio output with regard to the source and content. Still, while the owners of Samsung TVs would definitely benefit from a single One Remote functionality and seamless integration, other TV brands might require setting adjustments and lack full compatibility.
The height of this soundbar is one of the lowest in its class, making 2.1 inches. The soundbar is 2.9-inch deep, and 33.9-inch wide. It can be wall-mounted or placed on a table / shelf. The whole surface of the soundbar and subwoofer is homogeneous, with the top panel accommodating the operation buttons. The physical connectivity is represented with the optical and USB ports. The One Remote lets you control the volume, turn on and off the device, and also browse the sound presets.
The set supports a 2.1-channel setup. The Dolby and DTS 2.0 support makes it the best home theater sound bar for small rooms. The audio is powerful at 200W total output, and the clarity is high. You don’t need to tweak the volume all the time to hear the dialog or get the notion of the background effect. The smart optimization technology represents all the sounds as they’re intended and adjusts the output automatically. The bass is tight and punchy; this set probably brings the best-quality low-end performance among the middle-class soundbars.
A model present in almost any soundbar comparison, the Sonos Beam has long been a classic of soundbar technology. It integrates various wireless types of connection, reproduces any type of audio content, and integrates with other wireless speakers for a surround sound setup or multi-room performance. It does lack the component and coaxial ports, AUX, so the owners of the older TV models or MP3 players mightn’t enjoy its benefits.
The front panel conceals 4 midrange drivers and a single tweeter, while the soundbar is one of the shortest in the class. It’s only 25.63-inch wide, 3.94-inch deep, and quite low at 2.7 inches in height. It can be positioned on any even surface or be mounted onto the wall via the threaded mount. The top panel is touch-sensitive letting you control the playback, volume, and mic. The Beam can be hooked up via the optical port, HDMI ARC, Ethernet cable. Cable-free connections include Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, and voice command functionality via Alexa.
The premium construction supports the powerful output, equally clear and rich for low, middle, and high frequencies. The Sonos Beam implements a separate class D amplifier section for each driver and 3 radiators for system cooling. This brings a concentrated and strong bass, wide-scope mids, and open highs. Good stereo separation and high dynamics justify the presence of this model on the lists for best sound bar reviews.
While not having HDMI or Bluetooth, the Playbar from Sonos is always rated among the top soundbars thanks to the high quality of the sound it produces, as well as customization options. The soundbar works well for music listening, TV, and movie watching, being especially good for gaming due to the minimum lag and detailed sound. It also sets on the optimal audio mode automatically so that you don’t need to go through settings adjustment for each switching between the inputs or content types.
Though bigger than many competitor models, the Playbar fits a variety of installation options. With 35.43 inches in width, 5.51 inches in height, and 3.34-inch depth, it’s slim and big at the same time. It can be put on the wall with the relevant mount or installed on the table. The mesh grill is made of fabric and covers most of the surface. The lower part of the front panel is made of metal. The buttons for power, volume, Play / Pause controls, and a light indicator are located on the left side of the sound box. Connections include 2 Ethernet ports (for direct Internet and wireless connection to other Sonos components) and the optical input for a TV. The device supports Wi-Fi, a Sonos app, and can be part of the multi-room Sonos system.
Like other high-end soundbars, the Playbar has a separate amplifier for each of its 9 drivers (6 woofers and 3 tweeters). The drivers are top-firing creating a big and detailed soundstage. All of the frequencies are represented fully, while the lows sound a bit quieter than the rest of the spectrum.