It’s not easy to find the best soundbar for your home audio setup. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different models on the market. With so much choice, it can be frustrating to focus on the details to decide which is best. Maybe you need a soundbar to deliver the complete audio experience for a home cinema. Or perhaps you simply want a new reliable audio source for your TV.
Soundbars have become increasingly essential in recent years. Modern TVs are loaded with the latest screen technology and are becoming impressively slim. However, the trade-off for a wafer thin display panel is little room for speakers. Even the most expensive TVs leave a lot to be desired in the audio department.
It seems such a waste to get amazing image quality and smart features without the audio to back it up. For a truly immersive experience, you’ll need another way to get comparable sound performance. And that’s where soundbars come in, helping you to extend the audio of your TV and create a soundscape that does justice to the image quality.
So, how do you find the best soundbar for your setup? Well, you check out our list of recommendations below. Our list includes the best soundbars selected for all budgets and home setups. Among our products you will find the absolute best soundbars you can currently buy in 2021, with the best technology built-in.
At over $1,000, the Sonos Arc is hugely expensive. There’s no hiding from that cost, and for many people it will be too high a price. However, for those building a dedicated home cinema or audiophiles chasing the perfect sounds, the Arc is worth it.
In many ways, the Sonos Arc is a game-changer in the surround sound arena. Firstly, it looks slick and will fit into any setup. Secondly, it comes loaded with the latest audio technology, including Dolby’s newest TrueHD and Digital Plus codecs. What that means is the Arc is the leader in sound reproduction, including market best lossless audio.
As the concept of 3D sound becomes more realized, the Arc is a pioneer in providing an audioscape that envelopes the listener. With Dolby Atmos, the soundbar can track objects and bounces sounds off them to create a surround sound environment.
Cutting edge technology? Check. Smooth design? Check. Hugely expensive? Check. All that sounds a recipe for an advanced device that’s tricky to use. Luckily, that’s not the case with the beginner-friendly Sonos Arc. Easy to set up and keep connected, this soundbar uses an all-in-one system to keep things simple.
While most people see Samsung as one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, the company is also a leader in TV technology. In terms of the HW-Q950T, the company has crafted a soundbar to rival the Sonos Arc in terms of technology, style, and unfortunately, price.
This is a stellar 3D sound system thanks to Samsung doing what it does best. That means throwing all the tech and specs at this product to create a mega-powerful soundbar with precision sound and dynamic range. Because it is slimmer than a lot of other soundbars, the Samsung HW-Q950T is also one of the most versatile, compatible with a wider range of TVs.
By leveraging Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio, Samsung’s bar uses a 9.1.4 system to fill out spaces through object-based technology. One cool touch is the ability to connect to the soundbar with a simple tap of your smartphone on the bar.
Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar
Not everyone is an audiophile or home cinema enthusiast who is willing to drop $1,000 to buy the Sonos or Samsung soundbars. Most people want something that’s more affordable, and the Sony HT-X8500 fits the bill. In fact, this soundbar costs a fraction of the two already mentioned but does not compromise on the available tech or design.
After-all, this is Sony, one of the biggest audio companies in the world. With the HT-X8500, Sony has created the best affordable soundbar that comes with Dolby Atmos. It may lack some connectivity options and features of more expensive products, but in terms of functionality and sound, the HT-X8500 is amazing.
With Dolby Atmos, the bar delivers the same all-room dynamic sound of the Sonos and Samsung. Sony’s own Vertical Sound Engine delivers some of the best surround sound audio we have tested. There is truly a sense of width and height in the sound when supported movies are playing.
Despite being a third cheaper than the Sonos and Samsung, the HT-X8500 has Sony’s typical functional flare in terms of design. It’s sleek and sturdy, providing a fitting accompaniment to any existing TV and home theater setup.
LG SN11RG Dolby Atmos Soundbar
LG’s answer to the premium soundbar market is the SN11RG, a flagship device that also comes with one of the best subwoofers we have seen. Furthermore, LG also bundles in a pair of rear speakers, sweetening the $1,000 price tag of the SN11RG.
While the 7.1.4 configuration is not quite equal to the Sonos and Samsung, LG still provides a full 3D audio experience with Dolby Atmos. In fact, because it uses real up-firing drivers, the SN11RG creates perhaps the most expansive height effects of any soundbar.
LG uses an AI Sound Pro CPU to power the SN11RG, a dedicated processor that handles just about any audio format you can throw at it. With stellar sound reproduction and that awesome bundle of additional speakers makes the SN11RG a good all-round home cinema experience.
Vizio SB362An-F6 Sound Bar
There’s no doubt that all our recommendations so far have been towards the higher end of the market, even the $300 Sony HT-X8500. What if you want to spend a fraction of that price and are not necessarily bothered by a lack of Dolby Atmos support? While it can get very hit and miss towards the lower end of the soundbar market, one clear hit is the Vizio SB362An-F6.
This is a value for money proposition at around $100. For that price, you get solid but unspectacular build quality but a surprisingly appealing aesthetic. The Vizio hunkers low and its angled edges make it a nice addition to your home theater. Of course, you’re not going to get premium level room-filling 3D audio here. That said, you can get crisp audio performance across range and enough to elevate the sound of your TV. It’s all about bang for your buck and the Vizio delivers.