If you are looking for a cinema-like experience when watching a movie within your home, it's worth investing in a soundbar. The best bars allow you to create surround sound audio from your TV and fit conveniently underneath.
Soundbars tend to come with different features, however, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS or wireless connectivity which allows you to use the sound bar with apps such as Google Home or Bluetooth.
So, to narrow down the best soundbars on the market, we have put together a comparison of the best models out there and reviewed them to find the best soundbar for your home theater.
Let's get into it!
Samsung is well-known for producing high-quality home theatre products. This soundbar, in particular, features a 3.1.2 channel system and has 330-watt power output.
Significant specifications of this wireless soundbar are its 3D Dolby Atmos and DTS X system which delivers cinema-like audio. The best soundbar additionally has acoustic beam technology and a 4K HDR connectivity with pass-through for crisp audio.
Design-wise the soundbar by Samsung can be connected to devices via Bluetooth and is compatible with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to set the audio via voice control. This soundbar can be paired with other Q-series soundbars for better sound.
This Samsung model is one of the best soundbars on our list to add to your living room home theater. Its audio is boosted by the subwoofer and Doly Atmos system, as well as its wide-range of connectivity options which allows you to control the soundbar easily and use it with a variety of devices.
Negatives of this soundbar have to be the price which is a little high in comparison to other best soundbars. The model is also said to have a complicated remote control.
This Yamaha sound bar features a 120W output with a 7.1 audio channel setup. It has two built-in subwoofers, and a DTS virtual X surround sound compatibility with clear voice function.
Main specifications of this soundbar are its HDMI-CEC compatibility and remote control options which allows you to control your soundbar easily. You can also control the model via its Yamaha home theater app. The sound bar can be connected to Bluetooth devices too for streaming music.
Connectivity options of this model include; 4K pass-through, 3D pass-through and auto-lip sync. Its slim design can also fit conveniently under your TV and avoids taking up too much space.
To conclude, this Yamaha soundbar is one of the best budget best soundbars on our list thanks to its 4K, and 3D pass-through which gives higher voice quality and DTS Virtual X surround sound. This sound bar is additionally great due to the compact design which can fit anywhere in your living room.
Downfalls of this soundbar are its set-up which is said to be a little complicated, the mode'ls optical cable included is also reported to be poorly designed with loose connections.
The JBL sound bar features a 450W output power with a 3.1 centre channel that improves audio voice quality from the speaker.
Significant specifications of this model are its JBL surround sound and Dolby digital system, which enhances audio quality. The bar additionally comes with a 10-inch measurement also. This best soundbars model can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth and can also be joined to three 4K devices via it's HDMI inputs.
Furthermore, the wireless subwoofer sound bar can be controlled via its JBL sound shift system, which allows you to shift connection between your phone and TV, it can also be controlled with a TV remote.
Overall, this JBL bar is one of the most relilable best soundbars to choose for your living room TV if you are looking to create a home theatre sound experience.
The soundbar comes with great connectivity options which allows you to use the model with 4K devices and has one of the best-integrated subwoofer channels for crisper audio.
Some negatives of this wireless subwoofer soundbar have to be its overall model quality which is said to come with faulty acessories and features. The soundbar is further reported to come without British style plugs.
This Bose TV soundbar comes with a corded design and has two angle drivers with a centre tweeter for a surround sound experience. The soundbar also uses a built-in Dolby system to get the best sound quality.
Main features of this Bose soundbar are its 5cm height and Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to stream music from your phone to the sound bar. Its sound system can also be controlled via a remote and has different modes to enhance aspects of sound, such as 'dialogue mode'.
Other specifications of this soundbar include its optical audio cable which allows you to connect the sound bar straight to your TV, its design additionally features LED lights to show when certain features are switched on or off. An HDMI cable is required to be brought separately with this soundbar when using it with a TV.
To conclude, this Bose soundbar is an affordable option if you are looking to give your TV's audio a boost, especially if you have trouble hearing dialogue from your TV's speakers. Its size is also great if you have little space to put your soundbar and can easily be wall-mounted too.
Downfalls of this soundbar have to be its lack of a subwoofer which has to be brought separately. The soundbar further is said to have fluctuating sound levels that will need to be adjusted when in use.
The Philips soundbar model comes with a 300W output power and a 3.1 channel system. It includes a separate subwoofer and Dolby Atmos audio system to get better audio experience.
Significant features of this soundbar are it's HDMI arc connectivity and optimal audio transmission. The soundbar can also be connected via Bluetooth to stream music from phones and other devices.
This soundbar additionally has 4K and 3D pass-through with upward-firing speakers.
To conclude, this soundbar by Philips is a great model to choose if you are looking to get high-quality audio transmitted from your TV. It's Dolby DTS X system plus its high-quality design which includes upward-firing speakers and 4K pass-through allows you to get the best audio possible out of this sound bar.
Some downfalls of this Philips sound bar have to be its text display which is said to be on at all times; this can be distracting when watching TV. The audio from this soundbar is also said to be out of sync.
Overall, to round up our top soundbar reviews, the best model on our list has to be the Samsung Q70T 3.1.2 Soundbar, this model is the top on our list due to the three-dimensional audio system which has the high-quality professional Dolby Atmos and DTS X system.
This soundbar has the best connectivity options and can be used with devices such as Alexa or Bluetooth and has a 4K pass-through to avoid any critical audio loss.
As a more affordable runner up we would also suggest checking out the Yamaha Electronics YAS-107 Soundbar because of its low price and DTS Virtual X surround sound which gives clear dialogue from your TV and can be controlled via it's Yamaha app for easy access.
We placed this model below our number one due to its lack of a powerful subwoofer and complicated DTS set-up.
Now we have compared and reviewed the top soundbars on the market; you might be wondering what features you need to be looking out for in the best model.
You may also want to know why you should choose a soundbar over home theatre speakers and what benefits can a soundbar give you instead.
Well, not to worry, we've got you covered with our comprehensive buying guide below to help you out.
There are many features to familarise yourself with and look for in your best soundbar; from connections to channels.
For example, it's best to look for a sound bar which has three channels rather than two, as this will be a better surround sound experience from your TV.
We have listed out some more essential key features to watch out for below -
Apart from improved audio, there are many other benefits you can get from using a sound bar which you may not have considered before.
Not only can they allow you to have surround sound from a single component, but you can also use these devices to help with dialogue if you have trouble hearing voice from your TV.
We have put together some further benefits for you to consider below -
If you have been looking into best soundbars, then it's likely you've also come across sound bases. Both devices are designed to improve the quality of your TVs sound and improve dialogues and bass; however, they differ slightly in size and design.
Soundbars are designed as a thin bar, unlike sound bases which are round and are intended to support the underneath of your TV. This makes soundbars better for surround sound and is much more compact than bases, allowing them to be positioned on the wall or in front of your TV.
However, compared to sound bases these best soundbars do need an extra subwoofer to help with bass due to their thin design, and even the separate subwoofer can sometimes not compare to a sound base system.
Soundbases have a rounder design and are made to fit underneath your TV base. These models have more speakers, and an included bass for powerful sound but also tend to be more expensive.
These devices, on the other hand, can't be mounted and tend to be much heavier than soundbars. They also have fewer connectivity options, so may not be compatible with other devices such as Google Assistant.
Overall, both the best soundbars and best sound bases are great options to go for if you are looking to improve your TVs sound through a single device with no installation hassle.
Soundbars are probably the way to go if you are on a budget and are looking to get a device that can connect with your phone or other devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa.
However, if you are looking for more of a cinematic bass boost and have a higher budget to spare, then its worth having a look at sound bases too.
In our best features section, you may have seen; we briefly discussed the difference between choosing active soundbars and passive soundbars.
Both soundbars are similar in design; however, passive models have a much higher quality of sound due to their amplifier and receiver system, but this also means they require much more set-up than an active soundbar.
We have listed out a description of each soundbar below with their pros and cons to help you decide which soundbar to get.
Passive soundbars have a similar set-up to your traditional speakers and use an amplifier/receiver to work. They tend to come with three separate channels and can be connected to various speakers for a better room-filling sound.
This means sound tends to blend better with a passive set-up and gives a cinema-like audio experience in comparison with an active sound bar.
However, passive soundbars do mean you have to be familiar with connecting speakers, and set-up is not easy. They are also much more expensive due to the added requirement of having to have a receiver and amplifier and higher quality bass/speakers.
Active soundbars are a much more convenient alternative due to their simple design which includes the speakers and amplifier/receiver inside of the device. This makes them much cheaper and space-saving in comparison to passive soundbars.
On the other hand, active soundbars can't be connected to external speakers like passives ones; they have a lower audio tone too.
To conclude, you should choose a passive soundbar only if you want to add external speakers to your soundbar or use the device for a long time. Investing in a passive soundbar allows you to replace individual parts when they break, making them an excellent option for long term use. If you are also after extra high-quality sound, then go for a passive soundbar.
However, if you are on a budget and aren't fussed about pairing your soundbar with other speakers, then you should consider an active model. These bars are much more affordable and have a broader range to choose from on the market in comparison to passive soundbars.
Is a soundbar worth it?
If you are looking to upgrade your TV's audio without investing in a large speaker set up, yes, a soundbar is worth it. Some common problems such as low bass and trouble hearing speech from your TV can be solved with a soundbar.
How do I know what size soundbar I need?
You should first measure the width of your TV; this will determine how wide your soundbar should be so as it can fit neatly underneath. For example, if you have a 50 inch TV, then you should make sure your soundbar has measurements between 40 inch and 50 inches.
However, even a larger soundbar should still work with your TV; this is just more about aesthetics.
What connections should I look for with my model?
Some of the critical connections to look for in your model are; HDMI ARC, wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, optical port and USB inputs. HDMI and wireless connectivity, however, are the most important.
How many channels does my bar need to have?
You can get as many channels as you need, it's best to start with three channels upwards, models can also have 5 x channels which have rear speakers. For a Dolby Atmos system, you should look for a bar which has three-dimensional channels such as 5.1.2.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a sound system which is used in alot of high-quality premium soundbars such as the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar. It creates surround sound which uses height channels and makes a 3D sound from their speakers. Alot of 4K players or Blu-ray players support this system.
Can I use one of these devices with an old TV?
Yes, you can connect one of these bars to any kind of TV as long it has the right connector, if your TV is very old and uses an RCA port, then you might still be able to connect your bar with a 3 5mm line out or if you get an adapter.
Are they better than home theater speakers?
No, when compared to an extensive home theatre speaker set-up, soundbars are not as good in comparison; nevertheless, they do still produce a notable audio improvement in terms of bass and dialogue.
Home theatre speakers just tend to have a better depth and reach due to the fact they are not just front-facing, but both can produce excellent audio.
Can I use them to play music from my phone?
Yes, as long as your bar has Bluetooth connectivity, you can use them to play music from your phone.
Do you need a subwoofer with one of these soundbars?
You don't have to get your bar with a subwoofer as they can produce great sound through just their internal speakers; still, for low frequencies, an external subwoofer would be useful.
What are the main features to look for in a model?
Some of the essential features to consider in your bar are; size, channels, passive or active, price, connections and control. The pricer models will tend to have a higher amount of channels, therefore, better sound and wireless features.
Does it matter if I connect my bar to my TV with an HDMI or optical cable?
HDMI tends to be more capable of passing higher quality audio than an optical cable, such as Dolby and DTS with blu ray. An optical cable cannot support this quality of sound.
How much should I budget for the top soundbar?
You should budget anything from £200-£500, and above depending on the features and channels you are looking for, three or more channels tend to be £200 and above like the Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar.
How do I install a bar for my TV?
Installing your bar to your TV is very straightforward. For example, to connect your bar to your TV via HDMI ARC all you need to do is get the cable and plug it into the HDMI IN port on your TV, then take the other end of the cable and plug it into the HDMI OUT port on your bar. After this, you can change the source on your bar.
Can I connect one of these devices to my phone?
Yes, you can connect your soundbar to your phone via Bluetooth or wireless connection, some even allow you to use your phone as remote control via an app.
If I have a receiver, should I buy a passive model?
If you have a receiver, then you could buy a passive model as this will work out cheaper and give you a higher quality sound than an active bar. But, if you are looking to by an active model, then the receiver will not work with the model as it already has one inside of the device.
Where do I place one of these devices?
You should place your bar ideally below or above your TV for the best sound. This will project the audio from the front and allow you to have a better acoustic sound.
Placing your bar far away from your TV will give a distorted sound as all the audio comes from only the bar, unlike a home theatre system.
Does wattage matter in a soundbar?
A higher wattage does tend to mean you get a louder volume output but has nothing to do with the quality of the speakers.
What's the difference between a sound base and a soundbar?
A sound base has a round design and sits underneath your TV. This focuses on boosting the bass of your audio rather than a surround sound output like a soundbar offers.
Our number one soundbar for improving your TV's audio is the Samsung Q70T 3.1.2 Soundbar due to it's 3D Dolby Atmos and DTS X sound system; it has a variety of connectivity options too.
We also recommended checking out the Yamaha Electronics YAS-107 Soundbar because of its lower price and DTS Virtual sound system.