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The Best Soundbars to Buy in 2020

best soundbars

 

Upgrading the audio in your home theatre is so easy nowadays, especially with plenty of soundbars to choose from. However, researching about every model can be too time-consuming, and without proper research, you are bound to waste hundreds of dollars on a substandard soundbar.

Don’t worry, we’re saving you from both dilemmas and did the hard part for you. We have researched, tested and listed the best soundbar options today. Take a look at our top list below.

Best Compact
Sonos Beam
Best Overall
Sony ST5000
Best Value For The Money
Bose Solo 5
The Sonos Beam comes in a 25.6-inch compact form that doesn't compromise great sound. With its size and design, setup is quick and easy.
Complete with Atmos Dolby, S-Force PRO, DSP, built-in Chromecast, and connectivity features, ST5000 gives the best overall soundbar experience.
Bose Solo 5 features a Dialogue Mode for clear dialogues that are rich in details. It also has a powerful bass that improves the sound quality further.
Best Compact
Sonos Beam
The Sonos Beam comes in a 25.6-inch compact form that doesn't compromise great sound. With its size and design, setup is quick and easy.
Best Overall
Sony ST5000
Complete with Atmos Dolby, S-Force PRO, DSP, built-in Chromecast, and connectivity features, ST5000 gives the best overall soundbar experience.
Best Value For The Money
Bose Solo 5
Bose Solo 5 features a Dialogue Mode for clear dialogues that are rich in details. It also has a powerful bass that improves the sound quality further.

Top 7 Soundbars Comparison and Reviews

1. Sony HT-ST5000 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer

Sony ST5000 with a home theatre experience

With a dedicated wireless subwoofer, this Sony soundbar delivers quite the muscle when it comes to the bass without sacrificing the subtle nuances in music and movies.  The result is a full and well-balanced cinematic quality sound. The DTS:X virtual surround sound capability enhances audio as well, giving you a solid three-dimensional sound that easily fills the room.

PROS:
  • Offers Dolby Atmos surround sound
  • Great quality
  • Enhances audio for movies and music
  • 4K quality from screen to soundbar
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Has Chromecast built-in
  • Dedicated subwoofer
  • Three HDMI ports and one optical audio input

CONS:
  • A bit pricier than other deals

With Dolby Atmos DTS:X, the Sony HT-ST5000 doesn’t brush off the small details, letting you hear the whispers and tiny audio elements in the content you’re playing. In our tests, Dolby Atmos strikes a good balance without losing any quality, and this shows from the soundbar to the screen.

Aside from Atmos, the Sony ST5000 reviewed here supports Bluetooth for you to easily stream your music from your mobile device. Plus, you get one optical and three HDMI inputs for the wired connections. On the whole, this is the best soundbar we’ve tested in all our trials due to its high quality sound and range of functions.

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2. Yamaha YAS-207BL Sound Bar

Yamaha YAS-207BL with solid sound

Yamaha is another big name in the audio industry, and their YAS-207 model is actually the first soundbar with DTS:X 3D virtual surround sound. That makes this the pioneering sound bar on real surround sound, giving quality that’s better than your TV speakers. 

With a slim and sleek design, the Yamaha speakers easily complement the TV and your living room interior as well. It’s black in color like most soundbars, so it’s inconspicuous and blends in nicely.

One of the great things about this sound bar is the resonant bass. With the high quality subwoofer, the YAS207 delivers audio that brings dialogue to the top without drowning every single line in sound effects.

PROS:
  • Immersive audio effects in movies or TV shows 
  • Connect with an optical cable for 4k or HDMI arc cable for HDMI inputs.
  • The first sound bar to offer surround sound-like experience
  • Slim and sleek so it complements your smart TV set
  • Bluetooth streaming allows you to get much more out of your music apps
  • Comes with a dedicated subwoofer
  • Includes everything you need in the box

CONS:
  • Subwoofer’s position is critical in getting the perfect full-range sound

To connect to your TV, you can either use an optical cable for 4k or the HDMI arc cable for HDMI input. We do recommend you use the HDMI ARC over the optical because it’s the easiest.

For increased control, you can also use the free compatible app so you can tweak everything right from your couch. Still, you could also just use the included remote that comes with the Yamaha YAS-207.

You’ll find music streaming to be a breeze every time, particularly because this Yamaha soundbar uses built-in Bluetooth. This feature is present in other models as well, such as the Yamaha YAS-209. In our streaming tests, the audio remained high in quality all throughout.

For our full assessment of this soundbar, reviewed here is the Yamaha YAS-207BL.

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3. Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar

BOSE SOLO 5 soundbar for movies

You’ve probably read blogs about Bose, as it’s also one of the best brands out there. Bose is known for its superb headphones and speakers, and now we introduce this Bose soundbar.

The sleek and compact Bose Solo 5 soundbar delivers better sound quality than the average TV speakers, especially with stereo content. This is due to the advanced technologies the audio system possesses.

Whether it’s a pin drop or an explosion, our audio experts agree that this sound bar is capable of producing a high quality output. If you like watching movies, you’ll also hear the characters’ dialogue loud and clear.

While this sound bar doesn’t compromise on the finer details of sound, it also boasts a powerful bass. And even if you’re not a fan of room-shaking rumbles, you can easily turn down the lows.

Dolby Digital decoding is another notable feature you can get from this sound bar. Through the optical digital port, you’re able to get close to a surround sound experience, although it’s nowhere near Dolby Atmos.

PROS:
  • Small and lightweight
  • Better audio than built-in TV speakers, especially with stereo content
  • Provides crystal clear sound, whether in movies or music
  • Bluetooth links to your mobile device for music streaming.
  • Just one connection to the TV
  • Includes universal remote that gives you full access to all the settings
  • Can be bought with the wall mount or the full TV sound system

CONS:
  • Remote is too big for some, but it works great nonetheless
  • No HDMI ARC

Depending on the placement, you may choose to buy the compact soundbar alone, with the wall mount, or with the full TV sound system. Whichever one you choose, the set up would be simple because a single connection to the TV is needed. Even tech newbies won’t have to read those long manuals or tutorials on Google just to set this up.

Some connection inputs include optical digital, coaxial digital, and analog inputs. If you’re a total newbie and you need help with the inputs,  you can read and check the manual for specific instructions. The soundbar has no HDMI though, which can be a dealbreaker for some since HDMI is the easiest form of connection.

For controls, there’s a universal remote included which allows you to set up your preferences. Using it, it’s a bit bigger compared to what most soundbars have, but it works fine regardless.

Finally, like most of the best soundbars on this list, Bose Solo 5 also has Bluetooth so you can play music from your mobile devices. All things considered, this is one of the best deals around due to its lightweight design and good sound quality.

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4. VIZIO SB3821-C6 38 inches 2.1 Channel Soundbar

photo of VIZIO SB36512-F6B that makes experience of movies fantastic

Next in our list, we’re going to review the VIZIO SB3821-C6. For under $200, this soundbar provides a rich bass at a reasonable price. Our audio experts agree that for those looking for a good upgrade, this soundbar is a solid choice.

Even as a budget model, this sound bar can fill up a room of up to 100 dB of sound. It has less than 1% of harmonic distortion, so the audio still sounds great even when the volume is turned all the way up. Compared to other speakers in this price range, Vizio does a really good job.

The price of the Vizio SB3821-C6 is also well justified with the inclusion of a wireless subwoofer. If you’re a bass fan, the sub is a nice addition for bringing out the lows in movies and music. It also gives much more of that surround sound experience, even if you’re just in your living room.

PROS:
  • DTS TruSurround speakers
  • The slender exterior and compact size of the Vizio fits nicely in small spaces.
  • Allows you to stream via Bluetooth, Wi-fi
  • Can be set up wirelessly for less clutter
  • Delivers up to 100 decibels of great sound quality
  • Subwoofer has an impressive reach of 60 feet
  • Settings panel is easy to access on the sound bar itself.
  • Reasonable price

CONS:
  • Would be better with an LCD display instead of the LED
  • Bluetooth connection dwindles sometimes
  • Doesn’t come with an ARC input

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are two features worth mentioning as well. With these, you can link your mobile devices to the Vizio soundbar and stream content seamlessly. Spotify users will find Bluetooth and Wi-Fi handy because they’ll be able to play music without having to connect their phone to the soundbar.

All these functions are housed in a classic Vizio soundbar design. Whether you choose to place it under your TV or mount it on the wall, it fits right into the room. And because of the wireless connections, you’ll have a clutter-free setup without all the wires.

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5. Sonos Beam – Smart Soundbar

sonos beam that's great to connect with Sonos speakers

Smart home technology has quickly become popular across the globe, so it was only a matter of time before it was incorporated into soundbars. So aside from giving you better sound than what your TV speakers can provide, this Sonos Beam soundbar gives you the convenience of Wi-Fi and Alexa compatibility. 

If you’ve used Amazon Alexa before, you know how beneficial it is, especially if your sound bar has it. You can ask questions, give full commands, and receive excellent information completely hands-free with this voice assistant. So if you need a smart soundbar, Sonos Beam is an excellent addition to your home theater system. 

Design-wise, Sonos Beam has a modern look that fits the modern living space. Coming in two color options, you can choose between black or white depending on your preference.

PROS:
  • Amazon Alexa and Apple Airplay 2 support
  • Smart home technology
  • Wall-mountable to save space.
  • Offers speech enhancement for great dialogue quality
  • Easy to set up and use by connecting to your TV’S HDMI ARC port
  • Beautifully designed with two colors to choose from
  • Comes with Wi-Fi connection
  • Amazon certified system
  • Reliable Sonos support

CONS:

Still, the Beam isn’t just about looks and voice commands. In just the first few minutes of testing, we found the sound quality to be superb, whether we were watching movies, TV shows, or listening to music. And with Apple Airplay 2, music streaming is much easier as well.

As for the setup process, it’s simple and straightforward in our experience. It took us only five minutes to connect the speakers to the TV’s HDMI port and start tweaking the settings with the compatible Sonos application. But because it has  Amazon Alexa, you can also control it through voice command.

Overall, even if this smart soundbar is smaller and cheaper than the Sonos Playbar, you can expect excellent sound and an impressive performance. But if you want to get the best rig from Sonos, the Sonos Arc is another premium choice.

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6. WOHOME 2.1 Channel Bluetooth Sound Bar

Wohome 2.1 product

WOHOME is an excellent sound bar for value-seekers. For this review, we chose the 34 inches, 3-driver speaker at 60W, but they also offer a bigger choice with their 38-inch model which has 4-driver speakers at 80W.

For the 34 inches, you can already experience immersive lows in the audio with its built-in, 3-inch subwoofer. So whether you love TV shows, movies, or gaming, this sound bar gives you a rich and deep bass for whatever content you got on. This sound bar costs under $100 only, and the performance is not bad at this price point. 

PROS:
  • Immersive low frequencies from the subwoofer
  • Offers 34-inches of sound power. 
  • DSP technology delivers crisp and immersive sounds
  • Offers an output of 100 decibels
  • Comes with 4 different sound modes
  • Multiple inputs including Bluetooth and wired connection – RCA, AUX, coaxial and optical digital.
  • Backed up by a 1-year warranty, a 45-day money back guarantee, and lifetime technical support.
  • Mount kit is included
  • Good price

CONS:
  • It might not be compatible with Samsung TVs.
  • Users should disable Dolby and DTS in their devices, as they are not supported by this soundbar.

The DSP technology in the speaker is designed to create crisp multi-room audio quality that’s enough for big space. There are also four different sound modes that provide the optimum settings depending on the media. For additional tweaking, you can freely adjust the treble and bass according to your preferences.

If you need to play music from your mobile device, the wireless Bluetooth allows you to do that with no hassle at all. Other big features in this Wohome soundbar include a wall mount kit, a one-year guarantee, a 45-day money back guarantee and lifetime support.

With all these functions, this is one of the best soundbars you can buy at an affordable price.

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7. Samsung 2.1 Soundbar HW-R450 with Wireless Subwoofer

Samsung 2.1 HW-R450 budget soundbar for tv shows

Samsung soundbars are among the best in the game. If you have a solid Samsung system, this sound bar would be a great match for that.

The Samsung R450 provides a decent sound quality for those who need a basic upgrade to the sound quality their TV speakers provide. It has a wireless subwoofer that delivers punchy lows, giving you much more of a surround sound feel even without having multiple speakers around the room.

PROS:
  • Like the HW-N950, this soundbar is optimized for Samsung products
  • Comes with smart sound mode so it automatically adjusts the best speaker settings
  • Offers game mode
  • The built-in Bluetooth allows easy streaming via mobile devices
  • Wireless sub included

CONS:
  • The Samsung subwoofer needs to be a bit more powerful, especially for larger rooms.

A notable feature of the Samsung R450 is its smart sound mode. It automatically detects and analyzes the best setting depending on the content. As such, it’s able to produce the optimal audio quality whatever is playing onscreen. You can also manually set the modes, and there’s even a game mode for all the gamers out there.

If you decide to add in more range with extra speakers, you may build on this audio system through the Samsung wireless surround sound kit. The sound would be comparable to multi-room Dolby Digital. Just remember that these speakers pair best with Samsung TVs so if you have one, this soundbar would fit like a glove.

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What to Look for When Buying the Best Soundbar

You might have read many reviews in your search for the best soundbars, but user efficiency, performance, and sound quality are what you should look for when buying a new soundbar on Amazon or in-store.

Price is an important factor too, so if you’re looking for cheaper soundbars and the best price deals, you can check out our list of the best budget soundbar under $150. If your budget is a bit higher, you can take a look at our list of the best soundbars under $200.

Then again, if price tags don’t really bother you and you’re good with more expensive deals, products such as the Sonos Arc and the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar are some of the best choices you can buy.

best soundbar for a home theatre featuring dolby atmos

However, keep in mind that the overall audio performance should be your top priority before you set your heart on a new soundbar. We’ve done the legwork for you and listed some of the most important things you should look for when choosing a good soundbar. 

Channels

The more channels a sound bar possesses, the more immersive the sound performance will be. We suggest looking for products with more than three drivers if you want to simulate a full home theater. A lot of the best budget soundbar models provide 2.1 channels, which does get you close to surround sound but it’s not quite up there in the Dolby Atmos level.

In the higher spectrum, a 5.1.2 channel soundbar is a good standard, although there are many that go as high as 7.1 channels. But our audio experts agree that 5.1.2 channels are more than enough even for selective users. In this aspect, one of the best deals in the market is the Sennheiser Ambeo, which is a 5.1.4 soundbar with HDMI and ARC support.

Placement

Generally, you may either place your new soundbar on your entertainment unit or mount it on the wall. If you prefer portability, maybe you would want to move the speakers around the house and use it wherever. If you want to buy wireless rear speakers, consider the placement of those as well.

Before you make a final decision and buy a new soundbar, think about its size and location. A small and compact soundbar is great if you have limited space. After all, not every room offers enough space for a sub or rear speakers.

best soundbar for listening to music in the living room

Connection

Most soundbars you can buy nowadays like the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar and the Yamaha YAS-209 come with Bluetooth built into the device. Sometimes you may have Wi-Fi on some of the expensive models like the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar. Wi-Fi is pretty useful as it allows you to sync your mobile devices to the sound bar so you can listen to enhanced audio performance not only from TVs.

For wired connections, inputs could include optical audio, coaxial, 3.6 mm stereo, or HDMI arc cable for HDMI input. The optical connection is common, and most soundbars you can buy already include the cable.

On the other hand, models like the Yamaha YAS-209 and the Sonos Arc have one HDMI input. If you want to connect multiple components to your TV’s ports, you may get three HDMI inputs in a single bar. And if you’re buying for a 4k TV,  remember to pick a sound bar with HDMI arc.

With all these connection inputs, a lot of users still prefer to use the HDMI ARC because it involves just one connection to the TV’s HDMI port. This saves time when setting up a new sound bar, you just have to check if your TV’s ports are compatible.

Subwoofer

The subwoofer is where the bass power comes from. While some soundbars have a built-in sub to make the bass sound punchier, the best soundbars, like the YAS-209, can be paired with a dedicated subwoofer. This gives a fuller and deeper lows for the best multi-room audio performance in any type of media.

best soundbar featuring dts x for well distribution of sound better than just rear speakers

Remote 

Even now, remotes remain a convenient part of gadgets, not just TVs. Being able to control and optimize the speaker settings with a simple remote or a compatible app saves you a lot of trouble. Plus, it does add comfort to using the sound bar.

Voice Control

This is a nifty function for those who still can’t be without that extra something in their new device. Some new soundbars support virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

If you’ve used voice control before, you know having Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant in a smart soundbar is super convenient. They can be used to execute voice commands, so Alexa or Google Assistant can definitely make everything a little easier. If it’s your first time, you can read up on some basic commands you can use with a quick Google search.

Then again, there are those who can do without these features as long as they buy a bar that works. But just in case you want Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, we’ve featured some of the best soundbars that have them included. 

Conclusion

Finding the right sound bar is really easier than you thought. If you’re still not sure where to start, just follow our advice and the speaker features we mentioned above.

Some of the best soundbars you can get include Sennheiser, Vizio, Yamaha, and Sonos. If price point rather than performance is a much more important consideration for you, read our options for the best sound bar under $300.

One extra tip before you buy a sound bar: measure your TV for the best size. You wouldn’t really need a speaker that exceeds your TV by too much, so the length of your flatscreen is the best starting point. Compatibility is also vital, as some TVs like the Fire TV and Apple TV may have trouble connecting to certain soundbars.

Also, add a streamlined look as one of your requirements so you’ll get something that fits right in your living room. That will make the speaker match nicely with your style and interior decor.

Our Top Pick: Sony ST5000

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Based on our tests, the best soundbar in the market today is Sony ST5000. Coming from a very reputable brand, the ST5000 is truly worth every single dollar.

Sony’s Dolby Atmos can be enjoyed with this soundbar, giving the user an immersive 3D surround sound. If you want the best performance from your home theater, Atmos support is as good as it gets. Supplementing Atmos is the S-Force PRO Front Surround combined with Digital Signal Processing, fully taking any watching moment into another level.

With its Chromecast and connectivity features, ST5000 is readily compatible with the latest trends of today. There’s no hassle in streaming movies, listening to Spotify, using Google Home, and other Chromecast devices.

You can learn more about other Sony products with some of our reviews. Check out HT-CT80 next.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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