Best Soundbar

Once upon a time when television sets were these big box floor models, manufacturers were able to get some pretty serious speakers inside the cabinets. Today, most TV sets are incredibly thin, which means that there isn’t going to be very much room in the unit to place a decent speaker. Soundbars are a great solution to this problem because they sport a very minimalist impression while still offering the user excellent audio. You aren’t going to get the same depth from this device that you would a full-fledged surround set because the audio is only coming from one location, but you will be able to significantly enhance standard audio at a fairly minimal price point. In this guide, you will find some of the best soundbars on the market to get the best out of your impressive flat screen TV for those cold winter nights!

Standout Picks

VIZIO 2.1
This option from VIZIO was our favorite pick because it checks all of the boxes that you would want from one of these devices. It is able to achieve a lot of power for optimal audio, it is easy to set up, connects wirelessly to all of your devices, and it comes in at a very reasonable price point.
Amazon Link
$289.00
Bose Solo 5
It should come to you as no surprise that Bose is coming in at one of the top spots on our list. What may surprise you, however, is that is comes in at a price point that isn’t the most expensive design out there on the market, and we feel that it is a great value considering the quality you will receive from a Bose product.
Amazon Link
$199.00
Sonos Beam
For most, Sonos is typically a little too expensive, but one of their newest additions to their product line sets to make their units a little bit more accessible (but this unit still packs a wallop of a price tag). One thing that makes this style different is that it has a sleek white exterior shell.
Amazon Link
$514.98
Yamaha YAS-108
This is another great option that comes in at a pretty reasonable price point. It isn’t the most affordable out there on the market, but if you are looking for something that offers superior audio, is easy to set up, and comes from a trusted brand- this is going to be a great choice.
Amazon Link
$219.99
Sonos PLAYBAR TV
This option from Sonos is like the Cadillac of the audio world. It is a little bigger and bulkier than most, but it possesses a lot of power that can really pack a punch. The downside to this design is that it is also going to deal a massive blow to your wallet as well.
Amazon Link
$869.00
TaoTronics
TaoTronics may not be a brand that you are necessarily familiar with, but they are a company based out of Germany that brings consumers very affordable electronics that perform quite well. This design has all of the same features as some of the higher end options, but just at a much affordable price point.
Amazon Link
Sony CT290 Ultra-slim
If you are looking at these products because you want something that is going to improve the audio of your TV but still has a minimal impact on your room, this option from Sony is going to be the perfect fit for your audio needs.
Amazon Link
$210.99
Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro
Nakamichi might not have the same initial brand impact of some of the more recognized names, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a trusted brand. They have been in the business of making superior electronics for decades, and they are worth a look.
Amazon Link
Samsung
What we liked most about this option from Samsung is that user will not have to wrestle with settings to find that perfect balance. The proprietary tech found in this unit is about to be able to detect distortions in the show that you are watching and correct itself.
Amazon Link
$307.82
Klipsch R-10B
Rounding out our list is the Klipsch R-10B. What we liked most about this design is that it is able to deliver a lot of power from the base, as well as the powerful subwoofer that is included with purchase.
Amazon Link
$449.99

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Brand

For the best audio, you are going to want to select a brand that has a year of research and experience under their belt.

The big names in this industry didn’t get to where they are by accident. Companies such as Sony, Samsung, Yamaha, and Bose (as well as many others) are household names because they dedicate a lot of time and research into investing in the newest tech that creates the clearest audio with little distortion. Some of these companies got their start just as home television sets hit the scene, so they have years of changing as the tech evolves, and can better predict where to go next. This means that you are getting speakers that are evolving and changing the way we watch movies and TV shows changes and evolves. Products from these companies often come at a pretty steep price tag, which is why we made sure to select other affordable options, like that from TaoTronics. This company might not be able to compete with some of the big names, but their innovative designs and lower price points are going to be a big improvement over the base speakers that came with your television.

Connectivity

Most users will primarily use these devices for their television sets, but they can also be used for streaming music as well.

We wanted to select designs that offered either wireless or Bluetooth functions that would allow users to pair their phone, tablet, or laptop to this device so that they could use it to stream music if they decide to take a break from the television. Wireless options are typically preferred better over Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, the user typically has to stand within a few feet of the base unit, which can be frustrating and sometimes feels like it defeats the purpose of being wireless. Units that are listed to be wireless (rather than use Bluetooth) typically have a range that spans at least 100 feet. One thing that we really liked that some designs offered was a USB port situated somewhere on the front of the unit. When it comes to anything wireless, there can sometimes be issues with the two devices willingness to communicate. When this happens, users will at least have the option to plug their device into the USB port to stream their music.

Ease of Use

The end goal with selecting one of these units over complicated speaker packages have the simplicity of use.

The last thing that you want to contend with is a heavily wired installation process. The good news here is almost all of the designs out there on the market typically come with only two sets of cables. The first cable is to plug the unit into a power outlet, and the second cable is used to plug it directly into your television. If you can match up the colors red, white, and yellow into their corresponding jacks on the back of your television, you will have all of the skills that you will need to get this unit up and running. Plus, many styles come with kits that will allow you to mount it directly to your wall to make it your living room or family room look clean and tidy, while still delivering exceptional audio. We also like designs that kept the whole remote situation in check. Many options out there will be able to work with your existing, or it will come with a very simple and small remote with clear buttons.

Sound Quality

At the end of the day, this is the only feature that is really going to matter- how clear the audio comes across.

There were a few things that we took into consideration to determine what brands offered the best audio experience. One of the first things that we looked at was the quality of the speakers inside of the unit, and what type of treble and bass that they offered. For superior bass, you are going to want some type of subwoofer, and these were included with most units. They were either built separate of the main unit, or they were built directly into the frame. For superior treble, we kept an eye on features that would allow users to set it to a dialogue feature for incredibly crisp and clear speech. Companies can make a lot of claims about how clear their audio is, but the proof is always in the pudding. We made sure to listen what a lot of users had to say about their products, and how much of an improvement it made over the standard speakers, and also how long they lasted before running into performance issues.

Value

As with anything else, we want to save you money but still select products that are of exceptional value.

If this instance, cutting corners isn’t going to do you any favors. While there are some very affordable options out there on the market, most of these options might be on par with the speakers that come with you new OLED SmartTV, and sometimes it means that it might even be of less quality than your standard speakers. The bottom line is that if you want something that is going to be a noticeable improvement, you are going to have to dish out the extra cash on one of the name brand options. While the price tag may sting a bit, it is going to be a great investment in your home. Winter nights can be cold and dark, so having a great entertainment set up is going to be a great way to trudge your way through the winter and make it to springtime.

Top 10 Picks

1. VIZIO 2.1

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$289.00
VIZIO 2.1
Amazon Link

This option from VIZIO was our favorite pick because it checks all of the boxes that you would want from one of these devices. It is able to achieve a lot of power for optimal audio, it is easy to set up, connects wirelessly to all of your devices, and it comes in at a very reasonable price point.

Read more

Brand

VIZIO is one of the newer brands on the scene, but they have made quite a splash with their high-end flat-screen televisions. They were founded in 2002 in California, but they have quickly become one of the more recognizable names on the market due to their high-quality products.

Connectivity

While it can be wired to your television, this option does support Bluetooth. What this means for you is that you will be able to sync your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to this unit and scream music.

Ease of use

All of the audio wires and components that you will need are included with purchase. It even comes with the proper mounting hardware if you want to hang this device on the wall under your mounted television.

Sound Quality

This unit is able to reach decibel levels of about 95, which is about the same volume as a train whistle when standing about 500 feet away. Pairing this unit with a subwoofer (that is included with purchase) means you are going to get superior 2.1 audio with a lot of depth and warmth.

Value

What we liked most about this design is that it comes in at a pretty reasonable price point. It isn’t the least expensive design out there on the market, but we felt that the price tag is a great value considering the high quality of this device.

Overall

This is an excellent option for those that want something that is going to have superior audio without the same high price tag as some of the other brand names out there on the market.

Amazon Link
$289.00

2. Bose Solo 5

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$199.00
Bose Solo 5
Amazon Link

It should come to you as no surprise that Bose is coming in at one of the top spots on our list. What may surprise you, however, is that is comes in at a price point that isn’t the most expensive design out there on the market, and we feel that it is a great value considering the quality you will receive from a Bose product.

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Brand

Over the course of over 50 years, Bose has become synonymous with superior audio. Great audio is a recipe of two things- quality components in conjunction with research. Bose allocated a lot of their funds investing in new tech to bring consumers the best home audio experience that they can get.

Connectivity

This unit is Bluetooth compatible, which means that with just simple sync, you will be able to stream music from all of your devices, and you won’t even need to run it through your television.

Ease of use

According to many past users, this unit is incredibly easy to set up and sync with your TV right out of the box. However, if you happen to run into any problems, Bose offers a free tech support line to help guide you through any hiccups.

Sound Quality

Users can except excellent audio with these devices because it offers users various settings that are ideal for different scenarios. If you are listing to music, this unit offers a deep bass function. If you are watching a casual TV show, you can switch to the dialogue setting so each word will be crisp and clear.

Value

This unit lies a little bit more on the higher end of the scale, but we feel that the high-quality components used for this device as well as taking into consideration what past users had to say, we feel this is a great value.

Overall

If you want something that is going to be high end and provide you and your family for years of high-quality audio with minimal cables and frustration, this is going to be one of your better options.

Amazon Link
$199.00

3. Sonos Beam

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$514.98
Sonos Beam
Amazon Link

For most, Sonos is typically a little too expensive, but one of their newest additions to their product line sets to make their units a little bit more accessible (but this unit still packs a wallop of a price tag). One thing that makes this style different is that it has a sleek white exterior shell.

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Brand

Sonos, much like VIZIO, is one of the new guys on the scene. They were founded in 2002 and made their mark manufacturing exceptional audio speakers. Users can feel confident that when they purchase a product from Sonos, they are getting the highest quality audio that money can buy.

Connectivity

While this option is completely wireless, it isn’t considered to be Bluetooth. What this means is that it has a significantly higher and longer connectivity range (typically within about 100 feet). Plus, it is compatible with Alexa, making turning it on as easy as barking demands at your robot butler.

Ease of use

Generally, users found that this option is pretty simple to set up. Users can select from a simple matching white cable (either a long or short option) that easily plugs right into your TV.

Sound quality

Sonos is one of the leading names in this market because even audiophiles find that they are the superior speaker. The only downside to this option is that there is a possibility that it will not be compatible with a subwoofer that is not of the same brand.

Value

This option comes in at one of the highest price points of any of the others on the market. However, if you wanted to get your hands on a Sonos product, the Beam is one of the most affordable options that we have found out there that still offer their superior audio.

Overall

It might set you back a pretty penny, but it is one of the best audio options out there on the market. Plus, it has a sleek and modern look that shouldn’t detract from the elegance of your living room.

Amazon Link
$514.98

4. Yamaha YAS-108

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$219.99
Yamaha YAS-108
Amazon Link

This is another great option that comes in at a pretty reasonable price point. It isn’t the most affordable out there on the market, but if you are looking for something that offers superior audio, is easy to set up, and comes from a trusted brand- this is going to be a great choice.

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Brand

Yamaha has been in the business of making quality instruments and electronics since they were founded in 1887 in Japan. Considering their beginnings, they know a thing or two about superior audio.

Connectivity

This unit is going to be able to hook up to your devices via Bluetooth. That means that you will be able to sync your phone to this unit and be able to play your music directly front your phone.

Ease of use

From what we have read, most users have had little trouble getting this thing from out of the box to set up in a reasonable amount of time. Plus, if you run into any troubles you can contact a tech support line to help you out as long as it is 60 days after purchase.

Sound Quality

What is different about the Yamaha YAS-108 is that there is no need to purchase a subwoofer to get that extra jolt of bass, because the subwoofer is built directly into the frame. It also has 3D audio and a setting option for crystal clear dialogue.

Value

The cost 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 being the most expensive.

Overall

We recommend this option from Yamaha because it comes in at a reasonable price point, it is easy to set up, and it delivers great quality audio without taking up all of that much room in your home.

Amazon Link
$219.99

5. Sonos PLAYBAR TV

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$869.00
Sonos PLAYBAR TV
Amazon Link

This option from Sonos is like the Cadillac of the audio world. It is a little bigger and bulkier than most, but it possesses a lot of power that can really pack a punch. The downside to this design is that it is also going to deal a massive blow to your wallet as well.

Read more

Brand

This is the second time Sonos is making our list, and it is because they are one of the leading brands in audio. You can feel confident that when you select a design from Sonos, you are getting the best that money can buy. The only downside is that they can be incredibly expensive.

Connectivity

This design has a wireless feature rather that utilizing Bluetooth, which means that you are going to get a much longer range than products that utilize Bluetooth. What we really like about this design as well is that it will also connect to your home’s Alexa.

Ease of use

If you have the skill to plug in two cables to your television, you have all of the skill that you need to get this unit up and running. One of the best features about this option is that users found that it was incredibly easy to install, and it is also easy to connect various devices.

Sound quality

The inside of this frame houses six mid-range and three tweeters which is going to provide you with epic bass and crystal clear treble. It is perfect for watching movies, playing video games, watching sporting events, or just watching everyday TV programming.

Value

While the PLAYBAR TV packs a powerful punch in the audio department, it also comes in at a price tag that almost triples many of the averagely priced options on the market.

Overall

If you want to select a device that is the best the money can buy, this is going to be one of your best options anywhere. It is able to deliver superior audio in a sleek and simple frame.

Amazon Link
$869.00

6. TaoTronics

Where to buy
Amazon Link
TaoTronics
Amazon Link

TaoTronics may not be a brand that you are necessarily familiar with, but they are a company based out of Germany that brings consumers very affordable electronics that perform quite well. This design has all of the same features as some of the higher end options, but just at a much affordable price point.

Read more

Brand

As we mentioned earlier, this is not one of your big and impressive household names. We found very little on this brand, for the exception that they are based out of Germany, and they were founded in 2008.

Connectivity

With wired Bluetooth audio, users will be able to sync all of their devices such as their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to this device very easily.

Ease of use

There are two cables that users will need to hook up this unit to their TV- a power cable and an RCA cable. From what we found, users felt that this unit was incredibly easy to set up as well as sync with their devices. Plus, it comes with all of the mounting hardware that you would need to hang it on the wall under your TV.

Sound Quality

This unit offers a 2.0 channel audio with the addition of passive radiators built into the unit to give a deep and rich bass. Users have found that the audio from this device is a huge improvement from the standard speakers on their TV, but it isn’t as great as some of the higher end designs.

Value

Sure, this might not have the power of some of the big brands, but when you consider the incredibly low price point, you may change your mind. The cost of this unit is about ¼ of what some of the bigger brands like Yamaha and Bose cost, making it work a look if you are on a limited budget.

Overall

If you spent your entire budget on a high-end 4K Smart TV, and you don’t have much money left for your audio, this option from TaoTronics is going to be your best bet.

Amazon Link

7. Sony CT290 Ultra-slim

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$210.99
Sony CT290 Ultra-slim
Amazon Link

If you are looking at these products because you want something that is going to improve the audio of your TV but still has a minimal impact on your room, this option from Sony is going to be the perfect fit for your audio needs.

Read more

Brand

Sony is a name that everyone is familiar with, and it is a real possibility that you already have at least one Sony product in your home. They were founded in the 1940s, and their very first big product was bringing the first home video recorder to the people of Japan. Since they, they have excelled in bringing a wide variety of entertainment equipment to the home.

Connectivity

If you want to listen to music on this device, you have the option of connecting your device (smartphone, tablet, or laptop) via Bluetooth. If you don’t want to tango with Bluetooth, however, you will have the option of plugging it directly into the unit via USB port.

Ease of use

Users generally found this unit incredibly easy to install and get up and running right out of the box. Simply use the power cord to plug in the central unit as well as the subwoofer. It also comes with all of the mounting hardware that you will need to hang it on the wall under or over your TV.

Sound quality

This unit offers 300 watts of power and is a 2.1 channel. It also comes with features that will allow you to switch to different modes depending up what you are watching.

Value

One thing we liked most about this product is that it comes in at an affordable price point. While it isn’t the most affordable option out there on the market, it is one of the more affordable name-brand options.

Overall

Users really like the slim and sleek design of this unit that is able to be mounted to above or below your TV for superior audio without making much of an impact on smaller rooms.

Amazon Link
$210.99

8. Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro
Amazon Link

Nakamichi might not have the same initial brand impact of some of the more recognized names, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a trusted brand. They have been in the business of making superior electronics for decades, and they are worth a look.

Read more

Brand

As we mentioned earlier, this brand might not have the same recognition, but they are a highly regarded brand throughout the years. Initially, they were known for their innovations in cassette tape decks, and since 1999 have begun to pave their way into the modern audio scene.

Connectivity

Users will have the option to connect their devices such as smartphones and tablets to the unit using a USB cable, but you can also connect to the base using Bluetooth that is built into the speaker.

Ease of use

From what we discovered, many users felt that getting this unit up and running out of the box was simple and easy, and only required the user to plug in a few cables. Plus, if you ever have trouble getting your phone to sync with the Bluetooth, a USB port offers a hassle-free alternative.

Sound quality

One of the things that we loved most about this option is that is really delivered in the audio department. It offers an impressive 7.1 channels, and the center frame has 5 individually sealed speaker chambers. Plus, this design also comes with a subwoofer and two satellite speakers as well.

Value

The cost of this unit is quite a bit more than many of the other options, but we feel that with the addition of the subwoofer and satellites speakers, as well as the well-designed bar, this is an excellent value.

Overall

If you are willing to spend just a little bit more on something that is going to give you a little bit more depth of audio from your standard TV speakers, this unit from Nakamichi is going to be well worth the hefty price point.

Amazon Link

9. Samsung

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$307.82
Samsung
Amazon Link

What we liked most about this option from Samsung is that user will not have to wrestle with settings to find that perfect balance. The proprietary tech found in this unit is about to be able to detect distortions in the show that you are watching and correct itself.

Read more

Brand

Samsung is a company that you are also probably familiar with. They got their start in 1938 in South Korea by manufacturing electronics, and they are considered to be one of the biggest information technology companies in the world.

Connectivity

This unit is hardwired to your television, but users will have the option to play music from their phones, tablets, or laptops via Bluetooth that is offered on this design. It also has a micro USB so that users can plug their devices directly into the unit.

Ease of use

Users have found that installing this unit is simple and easy, and requires the skill if plugging two wires into the wall and your television. Plus, it comes with all of the mounting hardware you will need to mount it to your wall.

Sound quality

The thing we want to note about this design is that users will have the option to switch to different audio modes based upon what they are watching. However, if you don’t quite know what category your selection falls into, there is an auto-adjust option that will self correct the audio as you watch.

Value

The cost of this option is priced to be quite a bit more expensive than some of the other designs from big names such as Bose and Yamaha. However, if you wanted to get a high-quality design that still didn’t cost as much as Sonos, this is going to be your best bet.

Overall

What we liked most about this option is the self-correcting audio that is perfect for those that don’t exactly know how to adjust their audio levels. Plus, it comes from a trusted and well-known company, so you know that you are getting the best of the best.

Amazon Link
$307.82

10. Klipsch R-10B

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$449.99
Klipsch R-10B
Amazon Link

Rounding out our list is the Klipsch R-10B. What we liked most about this design is that it is able to deliver a lot of power from the base, as well as the powerful subwoofer that is included with purchase.

Read more

Brand

Klipsch might not have the same immediate brand recognition that you would get from a Sony or a Yamaha, but they have been in the business of making great audio equipment for years, and the hardcore audiophiles will recognize this name. They were founded in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas, and initially made loudspeakers.

Connectivity

If you want to be able to listen to music on your phone, device, or laptop, all you will need to do is sync it to this unit via Bluetooth. It is listed on the product description as being Bluetooth enabled as well as wireless.

Ease of use

From what we could gather, many users felt like this unit was fairly easy to install. Simply plug in the subwoofer and base to a power outlet, and then to the television. All of the cables that you will need are included with purchase.

Sound quality

The Klipsch uses aptX audio coding tech, which means that it will be able to automatically reduce distortion in the audio that is streaming through the speakers to give you clear and crisp audio without the need to make manual adjustments. It also has a Dolby Digital decoder for clear audio on your television.

Value

The price of this option lives somewhere in between one of the high-end designs, and one of the more affordable name-brand options. It is still going to set you back a pretty decent chunk of change, but we feel that it is well worth the cost.

Overall

If you want something that is going to give you a lot of the clear audio that you would get from a Sonos, but you don’t want to pay the higher price tag that you would get from that brand, this is going to be an excellent alternative that will save you a little bit of money.

Amazon Link
$449.99

Sources

  1. Geoffrey Morrison, Are soundbars worth it?, Blog
  2. STEVE GUTTENBERG, Before you buy a sound bar speaker, read this, Blog