Home Cinema Guide may get a commission if you buy from a link marked with * on this page: about ads

Best Soundbars for Your Home Theater [2022]

Best Soundbars for Your TV - and Home Theater?: close up of a soundbar speaker

Updated:

Your TV speakers aren't great for movies - but maybe a complete home theater system is too much? Don't worry, discover the best soundbars for watching films.

The best soundbars for your TV and home theater system can take your listening experience to another level.

You can build an excellent sound system in your living room with a humble little soundbar.

But the big problem is there are so many to choose from.

Big and small ones. Cheap and expensive soundbars. Simple and more complicated models.

So, where do you start?

To help you, this article highlights some of the best models – all wrapped up in neat little categories to make your choice a bit easier.

You should remember that there isn’t a soundbar perfect for everyone – you always need to consider your budget and the features you actually need.

Take your time to consider the right features for your room, and remember, you don’t necessarily need to buy the most expensive model.

It might be that a cheaper soundbar has all the features and performance that you need.

Best Soundbars Comparison

BEST UNDER $100
Majority Teton

Majority Teton

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x RCA Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 31.9 x 4.01 x 3.77 in | 812 x 102 x 96 mm
BEST UNDER $200
Samsung HW-B450

Samsung HW-B450

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 33.8 x 2.3 x 3 in | 858 x 58 x 76 mm
BEST UNDER $300
Klipsch Cinema 400

Klipsch Cinema 400

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 39.9 x 2.9 x 3.4 in | 1013 x 73 x 86 mm
BEST UNDER $500
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

  • Channels: 3.0.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 in | 651 x 69 x 100 mm
BEST UNDER $1000
Sonos Arc

Sonos Arc

  • Channels: 5.0.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 in | 1142 x 87 x 116 mm
BEST COMPACT SOUNDBAR
Sonos Ray

Sonos Ray

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 22 x 2.8 x 3.74 in | 559 x 71 x 95 mm
BEST 5.1 SOUNDBAR SYSTEM
Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR

Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 4x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 43 x 2.09 x 3.78 in | 1092 x 53 x 96 mm
BEST DOLBY ATMOS SOUNDBAR
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2

  • Channels: 9.2.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x Coaxial, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 3.6 x 3 in | 1156 x 91 x 76 mm
BEST HIGH-END SOUNDBAR
Sennheiser Ambeo

Sennheiser Ambeo

  • Channels: 5.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 4x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x RCA Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect
  • Dimensions: 49.8 x 5.3 x 6.7 in | 1265 x 135 x 171 mm (with feet)

How to Pick the Ideal Soundbar For You

The good news is that soundbars have never been so popular. Therefore, you have many to choose from.

The bad news is that soundbars have never been so popular – so you have many to choose from…

It can be challenging to know where you should start looking.

Here is a quick checklist of the issues you should think about:

  1. Price: the quickest way to simplify your choice is to set yourself a budget – and stick to it. The amount you are willing to spend will quickly narrow your choices. There are simple budget stereo soundbars – but the best soundbars can compete with high-end home theater systems.
  2. Number of Speakers: stereo only? 2.1 with a subwoofer? 3.1 with a center speaker? Dolby Atmos or dedicated surround sound speakers? There are many different types to choose from. Some soundbars have optional add-on speakers for surround sound and Dolby Atmos, which you can upgrade to later – but not all soundbars can do this.
  3. Connections: how does the soundbar connect to your TV – and will you be able to hear all the audio formats you need? Also, do you just want to improve the sound from your TV or hear the audio from other external devices too? If so, you’ll need more input connections.
  4. Other features: do you want to connect via Bluetooth? Or Wi-Fi and Ethernet for internet access? Do you want to be able to access streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, etc.? All these little extras can make or break your choice.

If you want more detail on all these issues, check out the in-depth soundbar buying guide: How to Choose a Soundbar.

Which Is the Best Soundbar to Buy?

Now you better understand what to look for – you need to find the perfect model.

The following soundbars have been placed in several categories, with a recommended model for each.

This will make it easier for you to find your ideal soundbar quickly – and better understand your choices.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is used in the price categories to give a quick guideline on a soundbar’s place in the market.

However, it is common for retailers to discount models below this price, especially during holiday sales and if a newer model is available.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to check out the best TV soundbars in a higher price bracket because you may find them at a lower price than suggested in a store or online retailer.

Which is always good!

Best Budget Soundbar Under $100

A soundbar in this price range is an excellent place to start if you are on a tight budget.

You should consider this price bracket if you want to quickly improve your TV’s sound without spending too much money.

You won’t get the best sound quality that money can buy, but these soundbars will provide a clearer sound than the tiny speakers on most televisions.

Most soundbars at this level will only have stereo speakers, so you will need to pay more if you want additional speakers or more connections.

However, this is a great place to start if you just want to beef up your TV’s audio without breaking the bank.

If you’re unsure if a soundbar will be worth it, this is an excellent place to start, and you can always upgrade to a better model later.

Top Pick: Majority Teton Soundbar

Majority Teton Soundbar
Majority Teton Soundbar
Image Credit: Majority

Thumbs Up

  • Compact 32-inch soundbar
  • Value for money
  • HDMI ARC input
  • Stereo RCA input for multi-device connection

Thumbs Down

  • Not for large rooms
  • No extra HDMI inputs
  • No advanced audio formats
  • It will lack bass for some people

The choice for the best soundbar under $100 is the Majority Teton soundbar, available from Amazon.

Majority is a small British company that only started in 2012 when they released a small portable Bluetooth speaker.

However, they have grown quickly and now offer many different speakers worldwide, including a range of cheap – but able – soundbars.

This simple stereo soundbar is typical for models in this price range, although Majority describes this as a 2.1 soundbar – with a built-in subwoofer.

This is slightly misleading as .1 in home theater means a separate subwoofer speaker that can reproduce the LFE channel in a 5.1 surround sound mix. In contrast, this soundbar is for stereo audio and doesn’t have a separate subwoofer.

That aside, you will get decent performance at a competitive price.

You can connect to this soundbar via HDMI ARC, optical or stereo analog RCA connections – or stream audio from your mobile device via Bluetooth.

If you have an HDMI ARC connection on your TV, this would be the best option – followed by optical. However, you should be able to connect to almost any older TV using the analog audio options.

A simple remote control allows you to change many functions – power on/off, volume/mute, pause/play and EQ settings – from the comfort of your chair.

Majority Teton Specifications
Channels 2.0
Center Speaker No
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar
Optional Add-on Speakers No
AV Connections 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x RCA Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
Other Connections No
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control No
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 31.9 x 4.01 x 3.77 in | 812 x 102 x 96 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 3.3/1.5
Best Soundbar Under $100
Majority Teton Soundbar
What Is It: A budget stereo soundbar that will quickly improve the sound of your TV without breaking the bank.
Pros:
  • Compact 32-inch soundbar
  • HDMI ARC input connection
  • It also has optical and stereo analog connections
Cons:
  • No external subwoofer for better bass
BUY AT AMAZON BUY AT WALMART

Alternatives in This Category

There are several alternatives in this price range if you want to consider other options.

The PHEANOO P15 is unique under $100 as it has a dedicated subwoofer that will provide improved low-end performance for movies, TV shows and music.

Vizio is a very popular brand for a wide range of consumer home AV products, and they also offer a couple of good options for a cheap soundbar.

The Vizio SB3620n-H6 is the widest soundbar here, ideal for bigger TVs and larger rooms, while the Vizio SB2020n-J6 has the smallest height, which might be crucial if you place the soundbar below your television.

Sony is always a popular choice for consumer electronics, so the Sony S100F is a solid pick from a reputable brand.

The Wohome S89 stands out because it has slightly more input connection types than the others, including a coaxial digital audio input which might prove invaluable in some setups.

PHEANOO P15
HAS SUBWOOFER

PHEANOO P15

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 16 x 2.9 x 3.8 in | 406 x 73.6 x 96.5 mm

Vizio SB3620n-H6
WIDEST MODEL

Vizio SB3620n-H6

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 36 x 2.21 x 3.25 in | 914 x 56 x 82 mm

Majority Bowfell
BEST VALUE

Majority Bowfell

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.83 x 2.12 in | 388 x 72 x 54 mm
Sony S100F
FOR SONY FANS

Sony S100F

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 35.5 x 2.5 x 3.5 in | 902 x 63.5 x 88.9 mm
Vizio SB2020n-J6
SLIMMEST MODEL

Vizio SB2020n-J6

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 20 x 2.2 x 4.4 in | 508 x 55 x 112 mm
Wohome S89
MOST INPUTS

Wohome S89

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x Coaxial, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 28 x 2.9 x 4 in | 711 x 74 x 102 mm

Best Soundbar Under $200

If you can stretch to the next price point, you start to get a better sound experience.

At this price point, you are more likely to get a small wireless subwoofer as part of the package, adding extra weight to the overall sound you just won’t get from TV speakers.

At this level, you start to see entry-level models from some of the big players in the world of home audio, like Yamaha and Samsung.

But you also find higher-quality soundbars from lesser-known brands with more speakers, power and features.

If you are sure you want a soundbar for better TV sound but still don’t want to spend a fortune, this is probably the best place to start.

Top Pick: Samsung HW-B450 Soundbar

Samsung HW-B450 Soundbar
Samsung HW-B450 Soundbar
Image Credit: Samsung

Thumbs Up

  • Stereo soundbar with separate subwoofer
  • Optional wireless rear speakers are available
  • Supports stereo Dolby Digital and DTS
  • Low height makes it suitable for placing under a TV

Thumbs Down

  • No HDMI inputs
  • No voice control
  • Limited inputs

The choice for the best soundbar under $200 is the Samsung HW-B450 2.1-ch Soundbar.

Samsung is well-known for its home theater and hi-fi speakers, so buying from a trusted brand is often an excellent way to go.

This model is a reasonably slim design that measures just over 2-inches in height, which might be helpful if you place your soundbar on the same surface as your TV.

A soundbar mustn’t block your screen, so if you are tight on space – or can’t wall-mount the soundbar – this might be a good choice.

It’s a standard stereo soundbar that supports Dolby and DTS 2-channel audio – and it also comes with a subwoofer to help fill out the sound.

Another plus of this model is you can add wireless rear speakers for a more immersive surround sound experience – check out the SWA-9200S wireless rear speaker kit for this.

It can be good to know you can upgrade your soundbar system later without replacing everything.

The main disadvantage of this soundbar is the limited connection types.

For example, you don’t have an HDMI ARC connection, so you should ensure your TV has an optical audio output before buying this soundbar, as this would be the best way to connect everything together.

Samsung HW-B450 Specifications
Channels 2.1
Center Speaker No
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar, 1x Subwoofer
Optional Add-on Speakers SWA-9200S Wireless Rear Speaker Kit
AV Connections 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
Other Connections No
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control No
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby 2-ch, DTS 2-ch
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 33.8 x 2.3 x 3 in | 858 x 58 x 76 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 3.1/1.4
Dimensions: Subwoofer (W x H x D) 7.2 x 13.6 x 11.6 in | 183 x 345 x 295 mm
Weight: Subwoofer (lbs/Kg) 11.2/5.1
Best Soundbar Under $200
Samsung HW-B450 Soundbar
What Is It: A good value 34-inch soundbar from a respected brand.
Pros:
  • Compact wireless soundbar
  • Optional rear speakers are available
  • Optical audio input for easy connection to most TVs
Cons:
  • No HDMI input
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

The Yamaha SR-C20A is from a very popular AV brand and, at 23.6 inches, is also the most compact model at this price point.

If you want a big soundbar for your room or TV, the PHEANOO D2 is 37.7 inches wide and 3 inches high and has a reasonably powerful subwoofer.

If price is a factor for you, the TCL Alto 6+ and the Majority K2 have the lowest manufacturer’s suggested prices and similar specifications. You may find these discounted when there are sales in the holidays.

The Roku Steambar Pro stands apart from all the other soundbars because it has built-in streaming channels like Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and HBO Max – all in 4K and HDR.

You might not need this if your TV has all the apps you need, but for many people, this will be a significant bonus over the other soundbars here.

YAMAHA SR-C20A
MOST COMPACT

YAMAHA SR-C20A

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 2x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.5 x 3.7 in | 599 x 63 x 94 mm
PHEANOO D2
WIDEST MODEL

PHEANOO D2

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 37.7 x 3.1 x 3.3 in | 960 x 79 x 83 mm
Majority K2
GOOD VALUE

Majority K2

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 30 x 2.71 x 2.08 in | 762 x 69 x 53 mm
TCL Alto 6+
GOOD VALUE

TCL Alto 6+

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 31.5 x 2.4 x 4.2 in | 800 x 61 x 107 mm

Roku Streambar Pro
ROKU STREAMING APPS INCLUDED

Roku Streambar Pro

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 32.2 x 2.8 x 3.9 in | 818 x 71 x 99 mm

Best Soundbar Under $300

Adding a little more to your budget, you really start to find good sound quality and performance.

Soundbars in this price range will be bigger models with larger speaker drivers and better engineering quality.

You might also need to spend this much if you want more connections or better features like voice control.

You will also find more top-quality home audio brands appearing around this price point, like Polk Audio, Klipsch and Sony.

Most of these models are still stereo-only with a compact subwoofer, so you will usually need to pay more if you want center or surround speakers.

However, some soundbars have optional wireless surround speakers that you can purchase at the same time – or add at a later date. Check if your soundbar has optional add-on speakers if you think this might be useful later.

You can buy soundbars with better sound than these, but this price point strikes a good balance between sound quality and price.

Top Pick: Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar with Subwoofer

Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar with Subwoofer
Image Credit: Klipsch

Thumbs Up

  • Klipsch speaker technology
  • Respected home theater brand
  • Large 40-inch soundbar
  • Solid Klipsch subwoofer
  • Decodes 5.1 audio

Thumbs Down

  • No center speaker
  • Limited inputs
  • HDMI ARC only – not eARC

The Klipsch Cinema 400 soundbar is an excellent option from a respected brand in the home theater world.

If you haven’t heard of them before, Klipsch produces high-quality home theater speakers, most of which you need to wire up to an amplifier or AV receiver.

However, this soundbar system has the benefits of Klipsch speaker know-how all wrapped up in an active subwoofer that you only need to wire to your television.

At nearly 40-inches wide, it is a large soundbar, and it also comes with a good-sized 8-inch subwoofer for the bass frequencies.

Klipsch makes some of the best subwoofers on the market, so you can be sure of a better-than-average performance.

You can tell their home theater background as this soundbar will decode 5.1 surround sound audio – although it will downmix the audio to stereo for the soundbar.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a center speaker for even greater clarity for dialogue – you will need to buy the Klipsch Cinema 600 model if you want that.

There are also limited inputs and no extra HDMI ports for connecting other external devices.

Klipsch Cinema 400 Specifications
Channels 2.1
Center Speaker No
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar, 1x Subwoofer
Optional Add-on Speakers No
AV Connections 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
Other Connections 1x RCA Sub
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control No
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 39.9 x 2.9 x 3.4 in | 1013 x 73 x 86 mm
Dimensions: Subwoofer (W x H x D) 11.9 x 16.1 x 16.1 in | 302 x 409 x 409 mm
Best Soundbar Under $300
Klipsch Cinema 400 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
What Is It: A mid-range 40-inch soundbar from a popular home theater speaker brand.
Pros:
  • Good value for Klipsch speaker technology
  • HDMI ARC, optical and stereo analog audio inputs
  • Excellent subwoofer
Cons:
  • No center speaker (available on the more expensive models in the range)
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

The smallest soundbar in this price bracket is the Yamaha SR-C30A, which is 23.6 inches wide.

However, if height is an essential feature for you, consider the Polk Audio Signa S3, which is only 2.1 inches high.

The Samsung HW-B550 has optional wireless surround speakers and the most inputs of the models here, but the Yamaha YAS-109 also has a second HDMI input for connecting another device.

If you want to control your soundbar with your voice, then the Polk Audio React soundbar supports Alexa – and you can also add wireless speakers and a subwoofer to create a surround sound system.

Yamaha SR-C30A
MOST COMPACT

Yamaha SR-C30A

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 2x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.5 x 3.7 in | 599 x 63 x 94 mm
Samsung HW-B550
MOST INPUTS

Samsung HW-B550

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 33.9 x 2.3 x 3 in | 861 x 58 x 76 mm
Polk Audio Signa S3
SLIMMEST MODEL

Polk Audio Signa S3

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Chromecast
  • Dimensions: 35 x 2.1 x 3.2 in | 889 x 53 x 81 mm

Sony HT-S400
FOR SONY FANS

Sony HT-S400

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 35.5 x 2.63 x 3.5 in | 902 x 66.8 x 88.9 mm
Polk Audio React
ALEXA CONTROL

Polk Audio React

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 34 x 2.2 x 4.8 in | 864 x 56 x 122 mm
Yamaha YAS-109
2x HDMI PORTS

Yamaha YAS-109

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 35 x 2.13 x 2.5 in | 889 x 54 x 63 mm

Best Soundbar Under $500

If you can afford to buy a soundbar around the $500 mark, you will get some excellent speakers that sound great for movies and music.

You can expect to find soundbars with an additional center speaker, which will help to make the voices clearer when watching movies and TV shows – also known as a 3.1 system (or 3.0 if there is no subwoofer).

However, not all soundbars in this price bracket will have a center speaker, so check the features carefully if this is important.

Many of these soundbars will easily fill the room with powerful sound, so for many people, they can replace a modest hi-fi setup if required.

However, if you are picky about sound quality, a decent hi-fi amplifier and passive speakers will commonly sound better.

Soundbars in this range generally have more connections, which is essential if you want to connect an external device like a DVD player, Blu-ray player or HDMI streaming stick.

If the soundbar has two HDMI inputs, and you have a modern TV and a source with UHD video, check if the soundbar will pass 4K video with HDR to the TV.

If not, you will need to connect your device directly to the TV and pass the audio to the soundbar from the television.

Top Pick: Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Soundbar

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Soundbar
Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Soundbar
Image Credit: Sonos

Thumbs Up

  • Quality Sonos speaker technology
  • 3.0.2 channels – center & Dolby Atmos upfiring speakers
  • Supports high-resolution audio formats
  • Compact 25-inch soundbar
  • Can create a 5.1 system with additional Sonos speakers
  • Part of the Sonos eco-system

Thumbs Down

  • It might be too small for a large screen and room
  • Limited inputs

For the best soundbar under $500, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbar is a good choice.

You get fantastic features and sound quality in this soundbar – plus access to the Sonos eco-system of wireless speakers and streaming content.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has a five-channel speaker array and supports advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-Master Audio.

It is a compact model, measuring 25 inches wide and 2.7 inches high, so it might not suit you if you have a large TV and a big room to fill.

If so, you might want to consider the Sonos Arc soundbar instead or one of the other soundbars in this category which are much larger.

Another advantage of the Sonos soundbars is you can add extra speakers and create a larger 5.1 surround sound system.

You can add a Sonos wireless sub for more bass or a pair of their wireless speakers for surround sound duties – like the Sonos One or SL, for example.

Like other Sonos products, the core integration is Ethernet or Wi-Fi to connect to your local network. Of course, this allows you to access several online streaming services, plus you can create a network of other Sonos speakers throughout your home.

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant allow for voice control, along with the Sonos Voice Control system that you can access via the app.

A downside of this soundbar is the limited connections available, so it might not be the best choice if you want to connect more devices.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Specifications
Channels 3.0.2
Center Speaker Yes
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar
Optional Add-on Speakers Subwoofer: Sub (all versions), Sub Mini | Surrounds: Sonos One (including SL), Sonos Five, Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 (Gen 2)
AV Connections 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
Other Connections 1x Ethernet
Dolby Atmos Yes
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control Sonos Voice Control, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM (Stereo & Multichannel)
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 in | 651 x 69 x 100 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 6.2/2.8
Best Soundbar Under $500
Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Compact Soundbar
What Is It: A high-quality 25-inch soundbar that will work well in small to medium-sized rooms.
Pros:
  • Excellent Sonos speaker technology
  • 3.0.2 speakers with Dolby Atmos support
  • HDMI eARC input
  • You can create 5.1 surround system by adding an optional sub and rear speakers
Cons:
  • Limited input connections
BUY AT SONOS FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

The Polk Audio Signa 4 is a good choice if you want more channels. This has a subwoofer as standard, so it supports 3.1.2 audio out of the box, and it’s also the widest soundbar listed here.

Alternatively, the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround system is another good option, the difference being it only supports 5.1 surround sound rather than upfiring Dolby Atmos audio.

All the soundbars selected here have center speakers, which will make dialogue clearer when watching TV and movies. So your primary choice will be additional speakers like a subwoofer and the ability to add surround speakers.

The JBL 5.1 Surround has the most connections, while the Samsung HW-B650 and HW-Q60B also have two HDMI ports, allowing for more external devices like a Blu-ray player or game console.

If you a fan of Bose, you have two excellent options in this range.

The Bose Smart Soundbar 600 has built-in upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers in a compact design and is an updated version of the Smart Soundbar 300, which only has a 3.0 layout and doesn’t support Atmos.

Polk Audio Signa S4
MOST CHANNELS

Polk Audio Signa S4

  • Channels: 3.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 41 x 2.4 x 3.7 in | 1041 x 61 x 94 mm
Bose Smart Soundbar 600
BOSE TECH WITH ATMOS

Bose Smart Soundbar 600

  • Channels: 3.0.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 27.3 x 2.2 x 4.1 in | 693 x 56 x 104 mm
Samsung HW-B650
BEST VALUE

Samsung HW-B650

  • Channels: 3.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 40.6 x 2.3 x 4.1 in | 1031 x 58 x 104 mm
Bose Smart Soundbar 300
FOR BOSE FANS

Bose Smart Soundbar 300

  • Channels: 3.0
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 27.5 x 2.2 x 4 in | 698 x 56 x 102 mm
JBL Bar 5.1 Surround
MOST CONNECTIONS

JBL Bar 5.1 Surround

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2
  • Dimensions: 40 x 2.28 x 3.94 in | 1018 x 58 x 100 mm
Samsung HW-Q60B
TWO HDMI INPUTS + eARC

Samsung HW-Q60B

  • Channels: 3.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 40.6 x 2.2 x 4.1 in | 1031 x 56 x 104 mm

Best Soundbar Under $1000

If you are in the market for a soundbar around the $1000 mark, then you are spoilt for choice.

This price bracket offers several top-quality soundbars, but you still need to be aware of the differences.

You will find quite a range of different speakers with varying layout options.

Some models, like the Sonos Arc and Bose Soundbar 900, only provide a soundbar – although you can pay extra for additional speakers like a subwoofer and surround sound speakers.

Whereas other systems like the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro and the Polk MagniFi Max AX come with dedicated surround speakers providing a more complete package.

So you need to decide the type of system you want in your room.

Aside from this, all these soundbars provide excellent sound and many valuable features for connecting external devices and streaming online content.

Top Pick: Sonos Arc Soundbar

Sonos Arc Soundbar
Sonos Arc Soundbar
Image Credit: Sonos

Thumbs Up

  • High-quality soundbar
  • 5.0.2 channels
  • Center speaker for clearer dialogue
  • Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus support
  • Large 45-inch soundbar
  • Can create a 5.1 system with additional Sonos speakers

Thumbs Down

  • Expensive to add extra speakers like a subwoofer and surround speakers
  • Limited inputs

The pick in this price range is the Sonos Arc, the successor to the hugely popular Sonos Playbar.

It can be tricky to say precisely how many surround channels soundbars support because they don’t often have the dedicated speakers of larger systems.

However, you could say that this is a 5.0.2 channel soundbar.

It has a front left, front right and center channel, with one speaker at each end for a surround effect and two speakers on the top for up-firing Dolby Atmos duties.

In total, it has eight mid-range drivers and three tweeters.

A center speaker is ideal for separating the dialogue from the music and effects – perfect for those who constantly struggle to hear the talking in films and TV shows.

The surround and up-firing speakers add extra surround sound magic, effectively giving a 3D effect in your living room.

This is especially true for height effects when things like rain or helicopters appear above you.

It doesn’t come with a subwoofer, but you can add the Sonos Sub later if you wish.

Many people prefer the deep bass to be reproduced by a dedicated subwoofer speaker, but if you aren’t used to having a subwoofer, this soundbar should provide plenty of low end for you on its own.

Of course, buying a Sonos soundbar also gives you access to the Sonos world of wireless streaming.

You can access a wide range of streaming services, and adding multiroom speakers from their wide range of products is easy.

You can even use a pair of wireless speakers – like the Sonos Five or One – as proper surrounds, which you can place in the room behind you.

One downside is this soundbar has limited inputs, and you only get a single HDMI input for wiring to an HDMI ARC/eARC port on your TV.

Learn how to connect a soundbar to a TV with HDMI in the soundbar wiring guide.

If your TV doesn’t have one of these connection types, you can use the supplied adapter to connect to a digital optical audio output.

If the Arc is too big for your room, you can get the smaller Sonos Beam instead.

Sonos Arc Specifications
Channels 5.0.2
Center Speaker Yes
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar
Optional Add-on Speakers Subwoofer: Sub (all versions), Sub Mini | Surrounds: Sonos One (including SL), Sonos Five, Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 (Gen 2)
AV Connections 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
Other Connections 1x Ethernet
Dolby Atmos Yes
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control Sonos Voice Control, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM (Stereo & Multichannel)
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 in | 1142 x 87 x 116 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 13.78/6.25
Best Soundbar Under $1000
Sonos Arc Premium Soundbar
What Is It: A high-quality 45-inch soundbar that is perfect for larger TVs and rooms.
Pros:
  • 5.0.2 speakers built-in
  • Center speaker for clear dialogue
  • Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support
  • Sonos streaming services included
Cons:
  • Creating a full 5.1 system with a subwoofer and rear speakers is quite expensive
BUY AT SONOS FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

The Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro is an excellent choice if you want a complete surround sound system.

It supports an impressive 7.1.4 speaker layout with a subwoofer and two rear surround speakers, plus it will play Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.

Another good option for a complete system is the Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR soundbar system, which has four HDMI ports plus standard optical and Bluetooth connectivity.

The largest soundbar is the Klipsch Cinema 800 system which is 48 inches wide, nearly 3 inches high and over 3 inches deep. This is only a 3.1 system out of the box, but you can add Klipsch Surround 3 wireless speakers for a larger layout.

The Sony HT-A5000 is another soundbar that claims to have a subwoofer integrated into the soundbar itself, which isn’t as effective as having a dedicated subwoofer speaker.

However, you can add a dedicated subwoofer and surround speakers, creating a much better surround sound system.

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1
MOST CHANNELS

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1

  • Channels: 7.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x Coaxial, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 3.6 x 3 in | 1156 x 91 x 76 mm
Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR
MOST INPUTS

Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR

  • Channels: 7.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 4x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 45 x 4.6 x 2.8 in | 1143 x 117 x 71 mm
Klipsch Cinema 800
WIDEST MODEL

Klipsch Cinema 800

  • Channels: 3.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 48 x 2.9 x 3.4 in | 1219 x 73 x 86 mm
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
FOR BOSE FANS

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

  • Channels: 5.0.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 41.1 x 2.29 x 4.21 in | 1044 x 58 x 107 mm
Sony HT-A5000
ADD-ON SPEAKERS AVAILABLE

Sony HT-A5000

  • Channels: 5.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 47.6 x 2.63 x 5.51 in | 1210 x 67 x 140 mm
Samsung HW-Q800B
SURROUND SPEAKERS AVAILABLE

Samsung HW-Q800B

  • Channels: 5.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Ok Google, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 43.7 x 2.4 x 4.7 in | 1110 x 61 x 119 mm

Top Compact Soundbar

One of the main reasons why many people are attracted to soundbars is that they are discrete.

You can improve your living room’s sound without filling your living area with big ugly speaker boxes.

So, if you want a discrete speaker, it makes sense that you would be interested in a small and compact soundbar.

While most soundbars are relatively small compared to traditional speakers, some models are easier to hide than others.

This section highlights the smaller soundbars that won’t look too intrusive in your room.

However, you shouldn’t just think about how wide the soundbar is; you might also need to consider the height.

If you are going to place the soundbar directly underneath your TV on the same surface, you must ensure it won’t block the screen at all.

If that is going to be a problem, you’ll need to consider wall-mounting the soundbar or installing it above the television.

Top Pick: Sonos Ray Soundbar

Sonos Ray Soundbar
Sonos Ray Soundbar
Image Credit: Sonos

Thumbs Up

  • Compact 22-inch soundbar
  • Great quality for a small speaker
  • Part of the Sonos eco-system
  • Can create a 5.1 system with additional Sonos speakers

Thumbs Down

  • Expensive to add extra speakers like a subwoofer and surround speakers
  • Limited inputs
  • No high-resolution audio formats

The Sonos Ray soundbar is a recent addition to the Sonos family of soundbars and wireless speakers.

It may be the smallest soundbar by Sonos, but it still delivers good sound that will improve your experience of any TV show or movie.

The Sonos Ray is a simple stereo soundbar and only 22 inches (559mm) wide and 2.8 inches (63mm) high – so it’s perfect for people who want a discrete speaker that doesn’t overpower the surrounding decor.

However, if you have a huge screen or sit some distance from the screen, you may find this small soundbar doesn’t give enough punch. If so, you might want to consider the Sonos Beam or Arc soundbars, which are bigger.

The Ray only has an optical audio input for receiving audio from your TV, so ensure that your TV has the necessary audio output before buying this speaker.

The lack of inputs is a limitation that might prove a problem for some people. If so, this might not be a suitable soundbar for you, and you’ll need to consider the other options suggested in this section.

Like other Sonos products, the core integration is Ethernet or Wi-Fi for connecting to your local network. This allows you to access several online streaming services, plus you can create a network of other Sonos speakers throughout your home.

This soundbar also has voice control from all the major players – Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – or you can use Sonos Voice Control which is available via the Sonos app.

Finally, don’t forget that you can add a Sonos Sub and surround speakers to create a 5.1 system – with the Ray at the center.

Sonos Ray Specifications
Channels 2.0
Center Speaker No
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar
Optional Add-on Speakers Subwoofer: Sub (all versions), Sub Mini | Surrounds: Sonos One (including SL), Sonos Five, Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 (Gen 2)
AV Connections 1x Optical, Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
Other Connections 1x Ethernet
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support N/A
Voice Control Sonos Voice Control, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Digital Surround, Stereo PCM
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 22 x 2.8 x 3.74 in | 559 x 71 x 95 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 4.29/1.95
Best Compact Soundbar
Sonos Ray Soundbar
What Is It: A top quality small stereo soundbar from Sonos that will quickly improve your TV's sound.
Pros:
  • Compact 22-inch soundbar
  • Optional wireless subwoofer and rear speakers are available
  • Integrates with other Sonos multi-room speakers
Cons:
  • No center speaker for clearer dialogue
BUY AT SONOS FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

If you want an even smaller soundbar, you should look at the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX soundbar system.

The soundbar is only 14 inches wide, comes with a compact wireless subwoofer, and has a single HDMI eARC connection that supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and DTS:X audio.

If you like Sonos speakers but think the Ray is too small, check out the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), which is larger and supports more audio formats.

The Majority Bowfell soundbar is easily the cheapest option if money is tight.

It’s a very popular model on Amazon, and while it won’t have the sound and build quality of some of the other models here, it will still improve the audio from your TV.

The Yamaha SR-C30A is an excellent choice for a compact soundbar from a reputable brand, plus it’s the cheapest option that comes with a subwoofer.

Finally, the Bose TV speaker is a good choice for those who love the Bose brand, and this small soundbar comes with a good range of input connections.

Polk MagniFi Mini AX
HAS CENTER SPEAKER + SUB

Polk MagniFi Mini AX

  • Channels: 3.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Roku TV Ready
  • Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.1 x 4.1 in | 366 x 79 x 104 mm
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
BEST HIGH-END

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

  • Channels: 3.0.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 in | 651 x 69 x 100 mm
Majority Bowfell
BEST VALUE

Majority Bowfell

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.83 x 2.12 in | 388 x 72 x 54 mm
Yamaha SR-C30A
BEST VALUE WITH SUB

Yamaha SR-C30A

  • Channels: 2.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 2x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.5 x 3.7 in | 599 x 63 x 94 mm
Bose TV Speaker
BEST FOR BOSE FANS

Bose TV Speaker

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 23.4 x 2.2 x 4 in | 594 x 56 x 102 mm

Top 5.1 Soundbar System

The best soundbars offer a fantastic array of different speaker configurations, and many have surround sound and up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers built into the soundbar itself.

However, for the best surround sound performance, it is best to install dedicated speakers around the room, which will give a better immersive experience.

Therefore, most of the best 5.1 soundbars suggested here are models with separate rear surround speakers.

However, there are a couple of suggestions that create a virtual surround sound experience using front speakers alone.

So, if you really don’t want to install more speakers around your room, you will have to compromise and look for soundbars with built-in surround speakers.

The result isn’t as good as using dedicated speakers, but it can still be pretty effective at opening up the sound field and creating a more exciting viewing experience.

Top Pick: Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR

Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
Image Credit: Polk Audio

Thumbs Up

  • Complete 5.1 surround sound system
  • Center speaker for improved dialogue
  • Plenty of inputs
  • 4K/60Hz pass-through for HDMI inputs

Thumbs Down

  • It doesn’t match the sound quality of more expensive systems
  • No Dolby Atmos
  • No voice control

While there are a few good options in this category, the choice that offers an outstanding balance between price and features is the Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR home theater soundbar.

This system has a large 43-inch soundbar, an 8-inch down-firing subwoofer and two wireless rear speakers.

At 2.09 inches (53mm), this soundbar is also the lowest profile here, which might be helpful if you place the speaker under your TV.

There are numerous input connection options: four HDMI ports (3x inputs and 1x HDMI output), optical, 3.5mm stereo analog, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect.

The primary HDMI connection for your TV only offers HDMI ARC and
support for Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound audio, but this soundbar will pass through 4K/60Hz video from the other HDMI inputs.

Other suggestions in this category might offer slightly better sound and build quality.

But for the price, this is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a good value 5.1 soundbar system with rear speakers and plenty of input options.

Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Specifications
Channels 5.1
Center Speaker Yes
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar, 1x Subwoofer, 2x Rear Speakers
Optional Add-on Speakers No
AV Connections 4x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
Other Connections 1x USB (for updates), 1x Ethernet
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support 4K/60Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Voice Control No
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Digital, DTS, Stereo PCM
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 43 x 2.09 x 3.78 in | 1092 x 53 x 96 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 6.05/2.74
Dimensions: Subwoofer (W x H x D) 14.6 x 14.5 x 12.1 in | 371 x 368 x 307 mm
Weight: Subwoofer (lbs/Kg) 13.5/6.12
Best 5.1 Soundbar System
Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Soundbar System
What Is It: A good value mid-range 5.1 soundbar system from a respected home audio brand.
Pros:
  • Wireless subwoofer and rear speakers included
  • Center speaker for improved dialogue
  • Plenty of inputs including four HDMI ports
Cons:
  • No support for Dolby Atmos audio
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

A high-end choice for a 5.1 soundbar system is the Sonos Premium Immersive Set with Arc.

It comes with the impressive Sonos Arc soundbar, the Sub (Gen 3), and two One SL speakers for the rear.

It’s not cheap, but you will get a versatile soundbar system that sounds great and supports all the main audio formats, including Dolby Atmos.

At the other extreme, the cheapest 5.1 soundbar option is the Majority Everest soundbar system, which has a 35-inch soundbar, a subwoofer and two rear speakers.

Another great choice is the JBL Bar 5.1 system which has the most connections, including three HDMI ports (2x input and 1x ARC output).

Other systems with a center speaker for better dialogue clarity are the Klipsch Cinema 600 with Surround 3 Speakers and the Sony HT-S40R.

Sonos Premium Immersive Set with Arc
BEST HIGH-END

Sonos Premium Immersive Set with Arc

  • Channels: 5.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical (via adapter), Wi-Fi, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 in | 1142 x 87 x 116 mm
Majority Everest
BEST VALUE

Majority Everest

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: No
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 35 x 2.6 x 3.9 in | 900 x 66 x 98 mm
JBL Bar 5.1
MOST INPUTS

JBL Bar 5.1

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 45 x 2.3 x 3.7 in | 1148 x 58 x 93 mm
Klipsch Cinema 600 with Surround 3 Speakers
HAS CENTER SPEAKER + SUB

Klipsch Cinema 600 with Surround 3 Speakers

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 45 x 2.9 x 3.4 in | 1143 x 73 x 86 mm
Sony HT-S40R
HAS CENTER SPEAKER + SUB

Sony HT-S40R

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 35.5 x 2.13 x 3 in | 902 x 54 x 76 mm
Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6
DOLBY ATMOS + CENTER SPEAKER

Vizio M-Series M51ax-J6

  • Channels: 5.1
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions: 36 x 2.3 x 3.5 in | 914 x 58 x 89 mm

Top Dolby Atmos Soundbar

When you reach a certain investment level, you can get an excellent soundbar system that can compete with an AV receiver and surround sound speaker package.

Maybe not the top-end products, but certainly the budget to mid-range models.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are relatively new audio formats that create a 3D sound in your room which takes 5.1 surround sound to another level.

If you place the speakers correctly, you will get sound from overhead – and effects moving around the room.

The beginner’s guide to Dolby Atmos audio explains more about this.

Newer soundbars are slowly adapting to this audio format and have upfiring Atmos speakers installed within the soundbar. 

This can sound OK, but dedicated speakers installed behind you will give the best Atmos effect.

Therefore, most models in this category have separate Dolby Atmos surround speakers. Although, there are some which rely on in-built upfiring drivers if you don’t want more speakers in the room.

Top Pick: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 EARC Soundbar System

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 EARC Soundbar System
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 EARC Soundbar System
Image Credit: Nakamichi

Thumbs Up

  • 9.2.4 channel system
  • Two subwoofers and four surround speakers
  • Large 45-inch soundbar
  • Plenty of power
  • Several input options
  • Dolby Atmos audio support

Thumbs Down

  • It might be too big for smaller rooms
  • No voice control

The choice for the best Dolby Atmos soundbar is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4 EARC soundbar system.

Nakamichi is a brand that has made some waves recently, and its systems come stacked with features. They blur the lines between the best soundbars and a full home theater audio system.

The Shockwafe Ultra soundbar is aimed at those who want a complete surround sound system in the room.

It offers 18 speaker drivers across the package, including four 2-way rear satellite speakers – and not one, but two 10-inch subwoofers.

Two subwoofers might be too much for a small room, but if you have space, it can help create a very even bass response for everyone in the room.

Of course, having two subwoofers will also be a treat if you love to crank up the bottom end and rattle the windows.

This system has full support for the popular surround sound formats of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which is relatively rare for a package based around a soundbar, although becoming more widespread.

With the four surround speakers installed around your room, you will get a fully immersive surround sound experience.

There are an impressive three HDMI inputs for connecting external devices – plus an optical, coaxial and 3.5mm mini-jack, which is almost as many options as some AV receivers.

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC Specifications
Channels 9.2.4
Center Speaker Yes
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar, 2x Subwoofer, 4x Rear Speakers
Optional Add-on Speakers No
AV Connections 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x Coaxial, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth
Other Connections 1x USB (updates only)
Dolby Atmos No
UHD/HDR Support 4K/60Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Voice Control No
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS, PCM Stereo & Multichannel
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 45.5 x 3.6 x 3 in | 1156 x 91 x 76 mm
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 6/2.7
Dimensions: Rear Speakers (W x H x D) 5.6 x 8.1 x 4.8 in | 142 x 2.6 x 122 mm
Weight: Rear Speakers (lbs/Kg) 2.9/1.3
Dimensions: Subwoofer (W x H x D) 12 x 20.2 x 13.6 in | 305 x 513 x 305 mm
Weight: Subwoofer (lbs/Kg) 23.8/10.8
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar System
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC
What Is It: A large home theater system with dedicated surround and Dolby Atmos speakers.
Pros:
  • 9.2.4 surround sound system
  • 4x surround speakers
  • 2x 10-inch subwoofers
  • HDMI: 3-in/1-out (eARC)
  • Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DD+, DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Dolby Vision & 4K HDR passthrough
Cons:
  • Not the best-looking system
BUY AT AMAZON BUY AT B&H

Alternatives in This Category

An excellent alternative to the Nakamichi Ultra is the Samsung HW-Q990B 11.1.4 soundbar system.

With a sizeable 48-inch soundbar and two rear speakers, this has eleven channels providing forward-firing and side-firing sound, plus four upfiring channels for Dolby Atmos audio.

There is also a slightly cheaper version of this model, the Samsung HW-Q910B, which offers 9.1.2 channels of audio.

If you need to connect more external devices, like a Blu-ray player and game console, the Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR has an impressive 4 HDMI ports (3x inputs and 1x eARC output) – plus optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2 and Spotify Connect.

If you want to keep the cost down, check out the Vizio Elevate 5.1.4 system, which offers excellent performance at a competitive price.

At 54-inches wide, the Klipsch Cinema 1200 soundbar system is a good choice if you want a large soundbar for room-filling sound, plus it has an impressive 12-inch subwoofer.

Alternatively, if space is tight, consider the JBL Bar 9.1, which has a 35-inch soundbar and compact wireless rear speakers.

Samsung HW-Q990B
MOST CHANNELS

Samsung HW-Q990B

  • Channels: 11.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Tidal (Hi-Fi) Connect
  • Dimensions: 48.5 x 2.7 x 5.4 in | 1232 x 69 x 137 mm
Samsung HW-Q910B
CHEAPER SAMSUNG MODEL

Samsung HW-Q910B

  • Channels: 9.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Tidal (Hi-Fi) Connect
  • Dimensions: 43.7 x 2.4 x 4.7 in | 1110 x 61 x 119 mm
Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR
MOST INPUTS

Polk Audio MagniFi Max AX SR

  • Channels: 7.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 4x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 45 x 4.6 x 2.8 in | 1143 x 117 x 71 mm
VIZIO Elevate
BEST VALUE

VIZIO Elevate

  • Channels: 5.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 48 x 2.6 x 6.5 in | 1219 x 66 x 165 mm
Klipsch Cinema 1200
FOR LARGE ROOMS

Klipsch Cinema 1200

  • Channels: 5.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 54 x 2.94 x 6.2 in | 1372 x 75 x 157 mm
JBL Bar 9.1
SMALLEST SOUNDBAR

JBL Bar 9.1

  • Channels: 5.1.4
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (ARC), 1x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 34.8 x 2.4 x 4.7 in | 884 x 62 x 120 mm
Sony HT-A7000
FOR SONY FANS

Sony HT-A7000

  • Channels: 7.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 3x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Chromecast, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 51.2 x 3.1 x 5.8 in | 1300 x 80 x 142 mm

Top High-End Soundbar

For many people, buying a soundbar is a simple choice because they simply want an easy way to improve the sound of their TV.

However, if you want the simplicity and flexibility of a soundbar, but want something approaching audiophile or hi-fi sound quality, then it’s not so easy.

While soundbars have many advantages, most can’t offer the performance of a traditional amplifier and speaker system.

However, some leading audio brands have tried to bridge that gap by releasing soundbars with top-notch audio engineering inside.

These soundbars don’t come cheap, but they offer an alternative to those who want excellent sound quality.

Most of the models in this category consist of a standalone soundbar.

If you want a subwoofer and rear speakers, some models have optional speakers you can add to make a complete package – while others have audio outputs for adding your own speakers, like a subwoofer, for example.

Consider the type of system you want before choosing the best model.

Top Pick: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Max
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Max
Image Credit: Sennheiser

Thumbs Up

  • 5.1.4 channel soundbar
  • Large soundbar with a big sound
  • Very large 50-inch soundbar
  • Plenty of input options
  • Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio

Thumbs Down

  • You will need plenty of room to install this
  • Expensive just for a soundbar
  • No voice control

The choice for the best high-end soundbar is the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar.

The Ambeo soundbar is a monster, and you will need to consider where you can install it before you buy.

The unit holds an impressive thirteen speaker drivers – six 4-inch woofers, five 1-inch aluminum dome tweeters and two up-firing full-range drivers.

The six woofers and three of the tweeters are placed along the front of the bar, while the other two tweeters are at each end to create width and surround effects.

There is a pre-out for connecting a subwoofer for extra deep bass, but it doesn’t come with one.

An eARC HDMI connection will handle all the audio from your TV, and there are three more HDMI inputs for external devices.

As you would expect with a high-end audio system, it supports all the audio formats you should need.

Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD for movies – plus LPCM 2.0 to 7.1, DSD and MPEG-H.

Sennheiser Ambeo Specifications
Channels 5.1.4
Center Speaker Yes
Included Speakers 1x Soundbar
Optional Add-on Speakers Any subwoofer using the RCA out
AV Connections 4x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, 1x RCA Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect
Other Connections 1x RCA Sub Out, 1x Ethernet
Dolby Atmos Yes
UHD/HDR Support 4K/60Hz, HDR10
Voice Control No
Selected Audio Decoders Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS, PCM Stereo & Multichannel
Dimensions: Soundbar (W x H x D) 49.8 x 5.3 x 6.7 in | 1265 x 135 x 171 mm (with feet)
Weight: Soundbar (lbs/Kg) 40.7/18.5
Best High-End Soundbar
Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar
What Is It: A high-end soundbar with 13 speakers including two upfiring Dolby Atmos drivers.
Pros:
  • 5.1.4 speaker layout
  • Large 50-inch soundbar with a powerful sound
  • Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Atmos audio support
  • RCA subwoofer output for adding any subwoofer
Cons:
  • Expensive for a standalone soundbar
BUY AT AMAZON FIND THE BEST PRICE

Alternatives in This Category

Another high-end soundbar with upfiring Dolby Atmos audio support is the Devialet Dione.

With support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, and PCM (Stereo & Multichannel), this soundbar will also upscale stereo audio to 5.1.2.

Please note that even though it is specified as 5.1.2, it doesn’t have a separate subwoofer. All the speaker drivers are contained within the soundbar.

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is the cheapest option in this category, so it might be worth considering if you are a fan of this well-regarded speaker brand.

If space is a consideration, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage has the shortest width and can also be installed flat or upright, depending on which fits best in your room.

The GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array X and XL are passive soundbars, meaning you must connect them to a multichannel AV receiver.

So, unlike all the other soundbars listed here, they won’t work if you try wiring them directly to a TV.

All the other soundbars are active models, meaning they have their own built-in amplifier and can be wired directly to your TV’s audio output.

Buying a passive soundbar is slightly more complex, as you must also set up an AV receiver. But, if you are OK with this, a passive soundbar can offer excellent sound quality while keeping the small footprint of a soundbar.

Devialet Dione
MOST CHANNELS

Devialet Dione

  • Channels: 5.1.2
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 1x HDMI (eARC), 1x Optical, Bluetooth, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect
  • Dimensions: 47 x 3 (3.5 with sphere) x 6.5 in | 1200 x 77 (88 with sphere) x 165 mm
Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar
BEST VALUE

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar

  • Channels: 3.0
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: No
  • AV Connections: 1x Optical, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Roon Ready
  • Dimensions: 48.8 x 4.3 x 4.2 in | 1240 x 109 x 107 mm
Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage
SHORTEST MODEL

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage

  • Channels: 3.0
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • AV Connections: 2x HDMI (eARC), 1x 3.5mm Stereo Analog, 1x USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Chromecast, AirPlay2
  • Dimensions: 43.3 x 6.7 x 3 in | 1010 x 170 x 77 mm (can be installed flat or upright)
GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array XL
WIDEST MODEL (PASSIVE SOUNDBAR)

GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array XL

  • Channels: 3.0
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Depends on the AV receiver (this is a passive soundbar)
  • AV Connections: Depends on the AV receiver (this is a passive soundbar)
  • Dimensions: 62 x 4.75 x 2.9 in | 1578 x 121 x 74 mm
GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array X
BEST VALUE (PASSIVE SOUNDBAR)

GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array X

  • Channels: 3.0
  • Center Speaker: Yes
  • Dolby Atmos: Depends on the AV receiver (this is a passive soundbar)
  • AV Connections: Depends on the AV receiver (this is a passive soundbar)
  • Dimensions: 49 x 4.75 x 2.9 in | 1245 x 121 x 74 mm

Pin Me!

The Best Soundbar Systems For Your TV and Home Theater
home cinema guide logo

About Home Cinema Guide

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has been a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment. You can find out more here.

Home Cinema Guide may get a commission if you buy from a link marked with * on this page: about ads