6 Best Soundbars to Enhance Your Home Theater Setup
If you want to amplify your home theater, a high-quality soundbar is essential. Maybe you have your HDTV screen dialed in the way you want it. You have your Roku, or Apple TV plugged in and ready to go. Getting cineplex-level sound into your living room is the next necessary step. Luckily, the best soundbars don’t need to break the bank while you’re in the process of optimizing your audio. More than ever before, it’s entirely possible to get superb sound at home with only a relatively small investment.
For those not in the know, a soundbar is essentially a wider-than-tall speaker enclosure. They are ideal for people that don’t want to buy expensive and cumbersome hi-fi gear — and don’t want to settle for that tinny sound coming from their screen’s built-in speakers — but still want crisp audio in stereo while watching movies or TV at home.
The components and specs of soundbars vary widely from brand to brand and model to model. Some only have a few speakers within the unit, while others have several or more. Some can be wall-mounted, while others are better placed on a shelf or acting as a pedestal for your flatscreen. Wireless and Bluetooth are becoming increasingly common in many soundbars, while docks for phones or mp3 players are mostly phasing out. And, perhaps most importantly, prices are all over the place, from under $30 for very low-end devices up to just over $2000 for top-tier models.
This list is here to help you unpack some of this and find the best soundbars to suits your needs.
This soundbar is the number one seller in “Home Audio Sound Bars” on Amazon for a good reason. At a mere $78, it is a fantastic deal, leagues better in quality than similarly priced units. At 29,” the VIZIO SB2920-C6 is a soundbar on the smaller end of the spectrum, yet it still manages to crank out a crystal-clear sound. Buyers also claim this soundbar is more straightforward to set up than many competitors and that the full sonic range, bass to treble, is consistently balanced throughout a variety of listening scenarios.
This soundbar, a sort of sequel to the previous VIZIO unit, packs a big punch, despite its small size. It gets praise for its subwoofer’s dynamic bass-heavy sound and its various wireless capabilities, making it easy to get great audio without dealing with a tangle of cords from your TV, your handheld audio player or anywhere else. Another thing that makes this VIZIO SB3821-C6 unit especially noteworthy is its price of about $299, this is a steal of a deal and makes no sacrifices on sound quality or setup ease, turning it into one of the best soundbars on the market for a bargain.
This Samsung HW-J355 soundbar is equipped with both Bluetooth capabilities and with optical, USB, and AUX plugs, making it something of a bridge between the older and newer styles of soundbar compatibility. Buyers have lauded its loud and dynamic 120 watts (60 watts to the subwoofer and 60 watts to the soundbar proper) and the ease with which one can adjust the EQ on the unit. The simple out-of-the-box setup is another quality that happy users have frequently noted on; you plug it in and then stream, watch or listen!
LG Electronics SH5B
If you’re looking for a fabulous mid-priced soundbar, this LG SH5B unit might be the ideal fit for you. It has the requisite Bluetooth capabilities, and it also has a powerful wireless subwoofer that is small enough to not intrude on your precious home entertainment shelf space. Buyers have unanimously agreed on how sleek the unit looks, how simple the overall setup is, and how crisp it sounds even at the loudest possible volumes. EQ adjustment is also a breeze, a factor that is widely appreciated among these happy LG users.
Moving up in both fidelity and price, this Yamaha YAS-203 unit can provide listeners and viewers excellent surround sound effects with its wireless subwoofer. Buyers praise its rich deep tones at the lowest of bass-heavy moments and the Clear Voice feature, which helps single out moments of dialogue that might otherwise sound muddied in a show or movie. Installation is easy right out of the box, and the unit looks as good on the wall as it does on the shelf beneath your TV.
Sonos Playbar TV
On the somewhat higher end of the soundbar market is this Sonos Playbar unit, a hi-fi “smart speaker” that carries all of the benefits of advanced wi-fi technology. You can easily control the soundbar with your phone or tablet; you can also wirelessly connect other Sonos speakers throughout your house with one another and control them room by room. On top of all of that, they sound outstanding. With nine amplified speaker drivers, six midrange and three tweeters, this unit delivers incredibly transparent sound into your home viewing experience.