You need a soundbar that complements your flat screen TV—without the right size and design, it could block the remote sensor or be an eyesore on your entertainment unit. To help you choose, our experts have reviewed the best soundbars for flat screen TV.
Reviews of the Best Soundbars for Flat Screen TV
1. VIZIO SB46514-F6 Soundbar
This Vizio soundbar is the brand’s leading design for true surround sound and Dolby Atmos technology. The soundbar features an external subwoofer and two surround speakers that can be placed flexibly around the room to project immersive audio.
The four up-firing speakers embedded in the soundbar can better utilize the room’s acoustics to give you realistic and life-like sound. When paired with the large subwoofer, the Vizio SB46514-F6 soundbar will stun and impress with enhanced audio.
With its dedicated center channel, you won’t miss a word spoken onscreen. The component emphasizes speech to deliver crystal clear dialogue.
2. Yamaha YAS-109 Sound Bar
Surround sound doesn’t need to come at a high price. The Yamaha YAS-109 is proof of that while also offering DTS Virtual:X Virtual 3D surround sound. This coveted technology can simulate true theater surround sound without the need for 5 or more channels.
The slim soundbar also has built-in subwoofers belting out pounding bass and accentuating the lower frequency range. This can enhance the music you play while streaming with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The soundbar control is made easy with the incorporation of Amazon Alexa. She will obey every voice command from simple to more complex tasks.
3. Bose Solo 5 Soundbar
The Bose Solo 5 is a compact soundbar that fits well with most flatscreen TVs. It’s a simple and minimalistic soundbar that is still capable of elevating your regular TV speakers. The Solo 5 features dialogue mode, which is a sound mode dedicated solely to emphasizing speech.
You can enjoy your favorite movies as well as your favorite tunes by streaming wirelessly from external devices with the built-in Bluetooth.
The small and compact soundbar only requires one connection to your TV, making setup easy. Moreover, a universal remote gives you the capability to control everything in the palm of your hand.
Soundbars for Flat Screen TV Buyer’s Guide
The best soundbar for flat screen TV should unlock audio levels in a way your default TV speakers couldn’t, all the while looking like an extension of your flatscreen. Our experts have compiled a list of necessary features to help you in your search.
Need help with buying a TV instead? We also compiled the best 60 inch TVs here.
Soundbar Size and Design
For a flatscreen TV, the best soundbar option would be one that sits flush against the wall and does not obstruct your line of vision. Something like the Samsung HW-J250, with its conventional design, would do this well.
The size of the soundbar is in direct correlation to the size of your flatscreen. In a perfect world, they would be the same size for a streamlined look. However, that may pose some difficulty, which is why we suggest looking for a soundbar that is just a few inches shorter.
The overall design should be minimalistic and sleek without any unnecessary protruding knobs and buttons that may block the remote sensor and make it difficult to place the soundbar.
The sound quality pertains to embedded audio technology, channels, and audio modes. It also applies to advanced audio technology such as Dolby Atmos and DTS  that might be included with the soundbar, as well as brand-specific audio technology such as Sony’s S-Force and LG’s Meridian tech.
The audio format decoding from these technologies is what is used to create true or virtual surround sound, more lifelike 3D audio, and expansive sound.
Soundbars are manufactured to pair well with any flatscreen brand. However, to make sure you get the most out of brand-specific features and full compatibility, our experts have found that using the same brand soundbar as your flatscreen will yield the most benefits.
The good thing about soundbars is they have a wide price range. You can get a decent soundbar for under 100 or you can choose to go on the higher end of the spectrum and purchase a premium product for over 1000. Soundbars with higher price range such as Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.1 incorporate the most advanced technologies for outstanding surround sound.
Even soundbars on the lower price range can come equipped with advanced audio technologies, wireless streaming and voice assistants. Products that are more expensive tend to have better quality builds and optimized designs to go with fancy features.
A subwoofer is necessary for intensified bass. Some soundbars can have subs built in while others have an external option. Our audio team suggests a wireless external subwoofer for bass lovers as they are larger and more powerful than built-in subs.
Surround sound is achieved with speakers, channels and audio technology. To get true surround sound in your living room, a soundbar should come with an external sub and rear speakers.
Look for soundbars that feature multi-directional or upward-firing speakers. Soundbars that have these speakers are able to utilize the design and acoustics of the room to your advantage and bounce signals off the wall for expansive sound.
Make sure the connections on your new soundbar are compatible with your flatscreen. HDMI is recommended by our audio experts for its ability to handle high frequencies and relay high bandwidths. For high-resolution content, only HDMI has the ability to process advanced audio technologies without delay or distortion. The HDMI ports in Samsung HW-Q900T, for example, make the connection to flatscreen TVs seamless and fast.
Wireless connectivity comes in two forms in soundbars: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Both will allow you to stream content from external devices. With certain brands like LG, you can set up and connect your soundbar to your flatscreen via Sound Sync and eliminate the need for messy wires.
Audio modes, also known as sound modes, are seen in many coveted soundbars. They are responsible for optimizing certain content. Popular sound modes include movie mode, music mode, news mode, and sports mode.
A soundbar with 5 .1 channels or more is the industry standard for surround sound. Only soundbars that possess numbers this high can create true surround sound. Otherwise, soundbars with less channels need to rely on advanced technologies and strategic placement to achieve the same effect.
Soundbars with HDMI or Digital Optical cable inputs are plug-and-play designs that only require one connection to your TV. Your soundbar should come with everything you need in the box including a user manual, wall mount where applicable, a remote and cables for easy setup.
What does a sound bar do for a flat screen TV?
A soundbar will elevate the audio from your flat screen TV. With more advanced technologies and audio modes, a sound bar can do what regular TV speakers cannot.
Do flat screen TVs need a soundbar?
Yes, flat screen TVs need a soundbar. A soundbar will be able to portray full-range dynamic sound with the help of audio technologies and optimize content with sound modes.
How do you hook up a soundbar to a flat screen TV?
You hook up a soundbar to a flat screen TV either with wired cables or wireless connection. HDMI is the best choice for high resolution content. Certain brands like LG have Bluetooth technology to sync your soundbar and flatscreen.
Our Top Pick for the Best Soundbar for Flatscreen TV: VIZIO SB46514-F6
Our audio team has chosen the Vizio SB4651-F6 as the best soundbar for flat screen TV. It brings the theater into your living room with the help of Dolby Atmos, an external subwoofer and rear speakers. The upward-firing design of each speaker will take advantage of the room’s design and create an unmatched enveloping sound.
You’ll never miss a single whisper or hushed dialogue again with a dedicated center channel focused on enhancing speech. Other than movies, the Vizio soundbar will also elevate the quality of music you play by connecting to external devices via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.