Best Home Theater Systems

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Logitec
Test Winner: Logitec
Amazon Link
Now that the weather is starting to get a little colder, you might find yourself nestled all nice and warm under a blanket rather than on an outdoor adventure. For those cool nights indoors, watching a movie or binging a TV show with full functional surround sound will turn your living room into a movie theater, and you won’t even have to take out a loan for popcorn and soda! Many people think that these systems are too expensive or overly complicated, but that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. While there are some designs out there that will set you back a decent chunk of change, there are also some packages that come in at a very reasonable price tag.

Standout Picks

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL
This was our favorite pick because it checks off all of the boxes for a successful sound experience- it’s affordable, it comes from a highly trusted brand, and it’s easy to put together. Plus, everything you need to go from silence to mind-blowing surround sound is included in one compact box.
Amazon Link
Logitec
Users by recognize Logitech as a company that has been bringing great computer products to the home since the early 1980s, so it’s no surprise they bring their innovative products to the living room. This package comes with all of the things that users will need to set up for an epic movie night, and it has a receiver that is easy to understand and use.
Amazon Link
$374.99
Pioneer HTP-074
Pioneer is one of the first companies to hit the market producing speakers for radio equipment as far back as 1938, is it comes to no surprise that they are coming in at the top of our list. This package includes all of the components that you will need to set up an impressive soundscape right in your living room, and it comes in at a very reasonable price point.
Amazon Link
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Energy might not exactly be a household name such as Yamaha or Pioneer, but they are worth checking out. This Take Classic system one an editor’s choice award from CNET back in 2009 for providing great audio sound at a reasonable price point. If you are in the market for something that is a little more on the affordable side without sacrificing quality, the Energy 5.1 Take Classic is worth a look.
Amazon Link
$369.99
Polk Audio RM6750
It wouldn’t be a party if Polk Audio didn’t make an appearance at least once. This company has been in the business of bringing superior sound directly to your living room since they were founded in 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland. What we like about this package is that is capable of handling some of the most complicated and future-proof sounds out there on the market, so that you won’t have to update your speakers as sound design improves with time.
Amazon Link
Enclave Audio CineHome
The Enclave Audio CineHome is different because this entire package does not need the addition of a receiver. This is the perfect addition for movie lover that might not know all that much about crafting the perfect soundscape. With this design, Enclave Audio does pretty much all of the words for you to deliver the best sound.
Amazon Link
Onkyo HT-S3900
Onkyo is a company that was founded in 1946 in Japan, and their name translates to ‘sound harmony’, so you know that you are receiving something from a company that has been in the business of crafting a perfect sound for many years. Users love that this unit is very easy to use, and comes in at a very affordable price point.
Amazon Link
$795.00
Klipsch HDT-600
Klipsch might not have the immediate name recognition as a Polk or a Yamaha, but they have been in the business of making speakers since they were founded in Arkansas in 1946. This unit is great because it uses unique Klipsch technology and design to deliver excellent sound.
Amazon Link
$339.99
Damson S Series
The thing we loved most about the Damson S Series is that it is a perfect option for those that know a little bit about audio equipment and want something that has great sound, but it also works for those newbies out there that wouldn’t know a USB port from an HDMI port.
Amazon Link
Orb Audio
For some users, the thought of hanging unattractive speakers in their perfectly decorated living room makes them hesitate a little bit when it comes to setting up surround sound. Orb Audio sets out to overcome that obstacle by creating speakers that not only deliver excellent sound but also look very sharp and trending in pretty much any room.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accessories

The accessories that are included with your home theater system are just as important as choosing the right film to watch. Most systems come with a receiver, a speaker system, and a subwoofer. In addition to the specific electronics included, we included a count of how many speakers come with the package. Knowing these details will make it easier for you to imagine how the system will fit your future home theater room. However, it should be noted that the Orb, Polk, and Klipsch systems on our list do not include a receiver.

While the necessary accessories are, for the most part, included, there may be some accessories that you would like to switch out. The most replaced theater accessory is the speakers. Aside from this, another accessory that is not included with any of the systems on our list, is a Home Theater Power Management System. While this is another investment, it will make your life much easier. With all of the inevitable upgrades that you will encounter with your system will come more cords, wires, and plugs. Much like a surge protector, this will keep all of your cords in one place and protect them from fluctuating electricity surges.

Features

Selecting the best audio equipment can sometimes be considered a delicate art form. While you want to ensure that you select something that is going to give you the best sound possible in your living space, what exactly are the things that you need to look out for when determining superior sound? We typically determine a television is of better quality when the picture seems to offer brighter colors with limited distortion, deeper blacks, and a picture that looks like you could reach out and grab whatever is on the screen. How do you make those determinations when it comes to something intangible such as sound? Well, many of the factors that you consider when selecting the best speakers also apply in this instance. You want to select something that offers minimal distortion in the sound, that offers a wide range of high and low pitches (as well as volume), and that makes the viewer think that the terrible monster in the horror movie that they are watching is right in the room with them.

Ohms
The three big things that we looked at when conducting our research involved three very basic things: wattage, THD, and ohms. Determining the right ohms (or level of impedance of the electrical current) is pretty simple when it comes to these products because they are typically only divided into 4 different categories: 2, 4, 8, and 16 ohms. Speakers that have an impedance of 2 or 4 ohms are usually used for car speakers, and 8 to 16 ohms are made for units used for television sets. Almost all of the speakers we found on the market have a rating of 8 ohms. If you find a set that has 4 or less, these aren’t going to be ideal for your need in your house.

Wattage
Wattage is important because this affects how loud your speakers will be able to get. Low wattages can be a real dealbreaker for those that like to rock out hard in their living room. We found that units that had a wattage of anything over 500 were generally considered adequate to reach decibel levels of around 90 (which is the equivalent of a Boeing 737), and typically maxed out at about 1,000 watts for higher-end designs. For users that are concerned about staying green and conserving energy, some of the name brand options off an energy efficient setting to conserve on power when simply watching some old sitcoms or easy listening in the evening that doesn’t require the force of a jet engine.

THD
THD, or Total Harmonic Distortion, may not be a term that you are familiar with, but you are most likely familiar with its negative effects. If you have ever watched TV on an old television set, you might have noticed that it may sound to be a little distorted. Sound travels through electrical components in order to reach your ear, and the less interference that it has with the components in which it travels means the sound will be clearer. The goal when considered THD is to find a number that is closest to zero. Therefore, in our research, we made sure to select designs that had a THD rating that was as close to zero as possible.

Compatibility
For those that have spent a good deal of money on their televisions and gaming devices want to ensure that they select speakers that will be able to be compatible. Lower end speaker will be able to function with these devices, but much of the high-quality sound will be lost once it makes its way through the electrical components. The last thing you want is to have speakers that aren’t able to produce the clear sound that your TV or gaming device is capable of. That’s why we made sure to keep our eye on speakers that would allow for HDR 4K passthrough, and had a good deal of HDMI ports for various gaming devices, stereos, and Blue-ray players. If you are spending a good deal of money for superior sound, one of the most important things you need to consider is how compatible it will be with all of your entertainment devices.

Value

While home theater systems may seem extraordinary for some, we recommend that you sit down and do the math of how much you would be spending at the movies each week for you and your family. It will become quite clear that the system will end up paying for itself in less than one year (especially if you include the outrageous cost of snacks and drinks at the cinema). Each system on our list includes decent speakers and subwoofers, and most include a receiver.

We would be lying if we said these systems come cheaply but we believe that these top 10 systems are well worth the investment. If you are just starting out, a home theater system and a great set a bean bags is a great place to start. Little by little you can tweak your system and modify it to your liking.

10 Best Home Theater Systems

1. Yamaha YHT-4930UBL

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Yamaha YHT-4930UBL
Amazon Link

This was our favorite pick because it checks off all of the boxes for a successful sound experience- it’s affordable, it comes from a highly trusted brand, and it’s easy to put together. Plus, everything you need to go from silence to mind-blowing surround sound is included in one compact box.

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Accessories
Users will receive a receiver, a powerful subwoofer, and 5 mountable speakers to place around the room. For users that need speaker wire to be able to mount these around their room, Yamaha offers a package with the wires included at a slight upcharge. What makes this design unique is that it comes with an acoustic optimizer. Dedicated audiophiles know the exact spot to place all of the speakers for the best sound, but what about the rest of users? The acoustic optimizer senses the acoustics of the room and adjusts the speakers accordingly.

Features
This unit produces 8 ohms, which is pretty standard for most living room options. It also THD percentage of .9, and and the closer of zero this number is, the better. It has a 6-1/2”100-watt subwoofer, and it also supported 4k ultra HD for your high-end TV. It supports hybrid-log gamma as well as Dolby vision so that your sound will match the sharpness of your picture.

Value
One of the things that users loved most about this option is that it comes in at a pretty affordable price, especially considering that it comes from a recognized brand. It isn’t the least expensive out there on the market, but past users find this price point to be very fair.

Summary
If you want something that comes from a trusted brand that won’t break the bank, this is an excellent option. Plus, it comes with an acoustic optimizer to ensure you get the best sound even if you don’t quite know what you are doing.

Amazon Link

2. Logitec

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$374.99
Logitec
Amazon Link

Users by recognize Logitech as a company that has been bringing great computer products to the home since the early 1980s, so it’s no surprise they bring their innovative products to the living room. This package comes with all of the things that users will need to set up for an epic movie night, and it has a receiver that is easy to understand and use.

Read more

Accessories
Users that opt for this model will get one receiver, one subwoofer, and 5 small satellite speakers. What we like about the Logitech design is that the receiver is very small, and there are a few basic buttons on the remote that is perfect for novice audiophiles that sometimes can get lost in a sea of unclear buttons and settings. This unit comes with all of the things that you will need to get started right out of the box, and that includes wires. It doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities like some of the others, but for a slight uptick in price, you can opt to have a Bluetooth adapter included in the purchase.

Features
To ensure that you get the same quality sound like you would at a cinema, these speakers are THX certified, and offer 5.1 digital surround sound. They offer 500 watts of power under normal circumstances, which is just slightly less than the Yamaha option, but Logitech claims that under certain circumstances and with the right settings, they can deliver an impressive 1,000 watts of peak power.

Value
The cost of this unit is surprisingly affordable, especially coming from a trusted brand such as Logitech. Keep in mind, however, that if you want it to have Bluetooth capabilities, you will have to dish out just a little bit more money- about the amount you would spend on a Blu-ray DVD.

Summary
This Logitech package is perfect for those that aren’t skilled and tested audiophiles, but they want to be someday. Users love that this design is small and compact, easy to use, and delivers incredible sound.

Amazon Link
$374.99

3. Pioneer HTP-074

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Pioneer HTP-074
Amazon Link

Pioneer is one of the first companies to hit the market producing speakers for radio equipment as far back as 1938, is it comes to no surprise that they are coming in at the top of our list. This package includes all of the components that you will need to set up an impressive soundscape right in your living room, and it comes in at a very reasonable price point.

Read more

Accessories
This package includes a receiver with a remote, a subwoofer, and 5 satellite speakers. It comes with Bluetooth technology built into the receiver so that users will be able to listen to their favorite music through the speakers without the need to go through the television. It also has a USB port mounted to the front so that users can play music off of other wired devices such as iPod and MP3 players.

Features
The receiver is able to deliver impressive sound in 5.1 Dolby, as well as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Pro Logic II, and Dolby digital plus. It only offers 6 ohms- which is a little peculiar for living rooms models that typically offer 8 ohms standard. However, it has a THD rating of .7 percent, which is pretty impressive considering that this unit comes at a very affordable price point.

Value
What we love about the Pioneer HTP-074 design is that it delivers impressive sound, but it still comes in at an affordable price point. It isn’t the least expensive option by any means, but it is a great system that runs about in the middle of the road.

Summary
For those that want to purchase something that will be able to deliver superior sound without breaking the bank, this is an excellent option. It is important to note that users will have to spend a little bit of time sitting down with the user manual, but the end result will be well worth it.

Amazon Link

4. Energy 5.1 Take Classic

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$369.99
Energy 5.1 Take Classic
Amazon Link

Energy might not exactly be a household name such as Yamaha or Pioneer, but they are worth checking out. This Take Classic system one an editor’s choice award from CNET back in 2009 for providing great audio sound at a reasonable price point. If you are in the market for something that is a little more on the affordable side without sacrificing quality, the Energy 5.1 Take Classic is worth a look.

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Accessories
This package includes a central channel, a subwoofer, and four mountable satellite speakers. The downside to this option is that some of the things that you will need to use it right out of the box are not included with the base box. In order to be able to use it right out of the box, you will need to upgrade to the package that includes the starter kit that comes with mounting tools and speaker wire.

Features
The Energy 5.1 Take Classic delivers 8 ohms of sound, which is pretty standard for these types of packages. It can achieve a decibel level of about 89, which is about the same volume as Boeing 737! Each satellite speaker weighs just under 3 pounds (for easy mounting), the receiver is small and compact and weighs about 3.2 pounds, and the subwoofer weighs 19.7 pounds.

Value
The big takeaway from the Energy 5.1 Take Classic is the price tag. This is one of the most affordable packages out there on the market. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this unit isn’t ready to go right out of the box. Users will either need to purchase their own wire separately or opt for the Energy bundle that includes mounting hardware and wire.

Summary
This is an excellent choice for users that have smaller rooms and that don’t want to spend the higher price point on designs for epic movie rooms. While it may be a little bit smaller than most, it is still capable of delivering crisp sound without breaking the bank.

Amazon Link
$369.99

5. Polk Audio RM6750

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Polk Audio RM6750
Amazon Link

It wouldn’t be a party if Polk Audio didn’t make an appearance at least once. This company has been in the business of bringing superior sound directly to your living room since they were founded in 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland. What we like about this package is that is capable of handling some of the most complicated and future-proof sounds out there on the market, so that you won’t have to update your speakers as sound design improves with time.

Read more

Accessories
Users will receive 4 satellite speakers, a central speaker, and a subwoofer. It is important to note that the receiver is not included with this package, which this means this unit is perfect for those that are looking to update their existing speaker but have no need to update their receiver.

Features
This is where this unit really shines. While most designs out there on the market are only able to accommodate 5.1 digital sound, the Polk Audio RM6750 system is able to accommodate 6.1 and 7.1 surround sound to offer users a sense of depth with their sound, as well as keep up with improvements in sound design. The central speaker, as well as each satellite speaker, are composed of polymer composite cones that are about 3.25 inches to help reduce the distortion of sounds.

Value
Audiophiles know that when they see the brand of Polk Audio, an expensive price point is soon to follow. While this isn’t the most expensive design out there on the market, it is still considered pretty pricey. However, the advanced technology in place means that as sound design improves with time, you will have no need to replace this speaker to catch up, which will save you a little bit of money in the long haul.

Summary
You can’t go wrong selecting a package from Polk Audio. This set is perfect for creating excellent soundscapes in your movie room, and they are designed in such a way that you won’t need to replace them as the tech in the media industry improves their high definition audio signals.

Amazon Link

6. Enclave Audio CineHome

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Enclave Audio CineHome
Amazon Link

The Enclave Audio CineHome is different because this entire package does not need the addition of a receiver. This is the perfect addition for movie lover that might not know all that much about crafting the perfect soundscape. With this design, Enclave Audio does pretty much all of the words for you to deliver the best sound.

Read more

Accessories
Users will receiver 1 center speaker that also serves as a hub for all of your input cables, as well as 4 satellite speakers and 1 subwoofer. The great thing about this package is that it doesn’t come with the need for speaker wire that can sometimes be a little complicated and messy to install and hide. All of the speakers for this unit are wireless and need to be synced together in order to work.

Features
This unit offered 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound and DTS. It is also capable of being upgraded to 5.2 with the addition of another subwoofer. It has an impressive 3 HDMI output to hook up to your TV, gaming devices, and stereo equipment. It has CEC/ARC support, and it has bipole rear speakers to offer more depth of sound even in larger rooms.

Value
Due to the fact that this unit is made from high-quality components that offer superior sound, and it is able to be set up quickly right out of the box, the price tag is quite higher than many of the other devices that we have seen out there on the market. This unit cost about double of what many of the average priced design cost.

Summary
What we loved most about the Enclave Audio CineHome design is that it is really something that pretty much anyone can set up right out of the box with very little knowledge on how speakers work, or really even consulting an instruction booklet.

Amazon Link

7. Onkyo HT-S3900

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$795.00
Onkyo HT-S3900
Amazon Link

Onkyo is a company that was founded in 1946 in Japan, and their name translates to ‘sound harmony’, so you know that you are receiving something from a company that has been in the business of crafting a perfect sound for many years. Users love that this unit is very easy to use, and comes in at a very affordable price point.

Read more

Accessories
This package from Onkyo includes one receiver, one subwoofer, and 5 satellites speakers to be placed around the room. What’s great about this unit is that it has Bluetooth capabilities so that you can connect all of the speakers without wires, but you also still have the option to run wires to each unit if that is what you prefer.

Features
The specs on this model are just a little less than ideal when compared to some of the higher end options, but not by much. The positives of this unit is that is it compatibles with Dolby Digital, DTS HD, and 4k HDR ultra HD. It is also capable of supporting 5.2 surround sound if you happen to have an extra subwoofer. The downside to this unit is that it offers 6 ohms- which is less than the most other units on the market that offer up 8 ohms. It also has a THD (total harmonic distortion) of 10 percent- which is slightly higher than most, but again, not by much. We do like that this unit has an impressive 4 HDMI ports to be able to hook up all of your favorite gaming devices and Blu-ray players.

Value
What we like about this design is that comes in at a price that is one of the most affordable packages out there on the market, and it still comes from a company that has been in the business of making household audio devices for over 70 years.

Summary
If you don’t have a lot of audio experience under your belt, or a whole lot of money in your wallet, the Onkyo HT-S3900 is a great place to start in building a great movie experience right in your living room.

Amazon Link
$795.00

8. Klipsch HDT-600

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$339.99
Klipsch HDT-600
Amazon Link

Klipsch might not have the immediate name recognition as a Polk or a Yamaha, but they have been in the business of making speakers since they were founded in Arkansas in 1946. This unit is great because it uses unique Klipsch technology and design to deliver excellent sound.

Read more

Accessories
Unfortunately, this box doesn’t come with the addition of a receiver. If you already have a receiver and are simply looking to upgrade your speakers, this is a great option. This box comes with one subwoofer, one central speaker and 4 satellite speakers. It also doesn’t come with the wires that you will need to hook up the satellites, the wire will need to be purchased separately.

Features
From what we could gather, everything runs about in the middle of the road in terms of performance. This unit isn’t breaking any new ground for what it can handle, but it isn’t falling behind in the pack. It offers a 5.1 channel capacity and puts off about 100 watts of power. The entire unit weighs just about 25 pounds, making it easy to set up in your living room. The satellites also are able to swivel 45 degrees, so you can ensure that you point them at just the right angle for the best audio experience.

Value
The price of this unit runs about in the middle of the road. It isn’t the most expensive design out there, but it is far from the least expensive. Considering that this box doesn’t come with the benefit of a receiver that is included, the price tag may be a little too steep for some users.

Summary
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted company and has a long line of satisfied customers in its wake, the Klipsch HDT-600 will be an excellent addition the next time you host a movie night in your living room.

Amazon Link
$339.99

9. Damson S Series

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Damson S Series
Amazon Link

The thing we loved most about the Damson S Series is that it is a perfect option for those that know a little bit about audio equipment and want something that has great sound, but it also works for those newbies out there that wouldn’t know a USB port from an HDMI port.

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Accessories
Users will receive 2 wireless satellite cubes, a soundbar, a subwoofer, universal power supplies, and a remote control. What’s great about this design is that all of the speakers sync via Bluetooth, so there will be no need to fuss with wires that can make your living space look sloppy and messy.

Features
What we like about this option is that it doesn’t come with a receiver. However, this unit will still deliver excellent sound without the need to fuss with a complicated receiver. Where this unit really shines is in its ability to simply plug and play. Damson claims that all users will be able to go from the box to movie time in just under 10 minutes.

Value
The drawback to this option is that it comes in at a slightly higher price point than some of the other options making our list. However, many users feel that the price is well worth it considering the ease to set up as well as the superior sound.

Summary
If you are in the market for something that offers a superior sound that is only found in some of the higher end designs and is easy to set up- this is going to be the perfect addition for your next movie night. Just keep in mind, however, that it comes in at a slightly higher price point than most.

Amazon Link

10. Orb Audio

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Orb Audio
Amazon Link

For some users, the thought of hanging unattractive speakers in their perfectly decorated living room makes them hesitate a little bit when it comes to setting up surround sound. Orb Audio sets out to overcome that obstacle by creating speakers that not only deliver excellent sound but also look very sharp and trending in pretty much any room.

Read more

Accessories
Users will receive 5 small orb shaped speakers and one subwoofer. Unfortunately, this particular unit does not come with a receiver included. Users will simply have to use the receiver that they already have, or buy one separately from a trusted company.

Features
The subwoofer that comes with this unit is the only thing that offers a little bit of extra bulk. It measures in at about 9 inches and has a sleek cube design that will look great in every room. What we liked about the satellite speakers that are included is that users can select from a myriad of colors that will match the decor of their room seamlessly. Colors include black, earth, bronze, copper, white, or steel.

Value
Unfortunately, this unit comes in at a pretty steep price point that is almost double that of many of the other options found on our list. However, if you want superior sound in your movie room but don’t want to have to try and mask bulky and unappealing speakers throughout your room- this is an excellent value.

Summary
If you have been looking for something that offers up a superior sound and has a more appealing look to the speaker rather than the classic black and sometimes bulky options, the Orb Audio package will blend in perfectly in your living space.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Girish Verma, Home Theater System Buying Guide: Things you should know, Electronics Blog
  2. The World Wide Stereo Team, The Best Home Theater Systems of 2019, Buying Guide