Just bought a spanking new 4K TV for its sensational picture quality? Here's a wild guess – you hate the sound. It's a little thin, maybe even insubstantial and impoverished. The thing is, you want your TV to sound bright, detailed, and bold, just like the pictures it makes.
Luckily, it's possible to fix your TV's sound problem with a soundbar. Need a little help wading through all the designs, features, and control options? Grab some popcorn, sit back, and let us help you pick out the best soundbar for your needs.
- Creative Stage
- Vizio V21
- JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass
- Yamaha YAS-209
- Vizio SB36512-F6
- Vizio Elevate
- Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
- Polk Signa S3
- Sonos Arc
- Roku Streambar
Best Soundbars For Awesome Home-Cinema Audio
Best Soundbar Under $100
I know what you're thinking. There's no way a soundbar worth $70 can be any good. Well, Creative Stage begs to differ. With this excellent 2.1 system, Creative has finally transcended the PC and made a bold entrance into your living room.
This compact soundbar comes with more features than any other budget soundbars in the market. It plays clearly, and the separate subwoofer sets it apart from all-in-one sound systems. You can bet it will absolutely melt the tiny speakers that came with your TV.
The Creative Stage won't blow your socks off. But it does deliver on its promise – sound that won’t make your ears bleed for less than $100. Sweet!
- Room-filling bass
- Decent volume
- Lots of inputs
- Not great at being quiet
- Flimsy remote
2. Vizio V21
Best Under $200
If you're looking for the best soundbar for the money, it's tough to do better than this. The Vizio V21 is the successor of the ridiculously named Vizio SB3621n-E8 soundbar released in 2017. The Vizio V21 picks up where its formidable predecessor left off with a slew of mouthwatering upgrades.
This new soundbar comes with HDMI, a sleek new look, and a smart speaker connection. Now to the meat and bones of the review. The sound is natural and unhurried, and the bar plays back music in fine fashion.
The bass from the 8-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer is rich and packs a punch. Vizio's secret weapon is DTS Virtual:X compatibility. This nifty feature allows the V21 to emulate a surround system that performs exceptionally.
For only $180, the Vizio V21 stands on its own as a reliable speaker at excellent value.
- Excellent value
- Great sound
- DTS Virtual:X improves immersion
- The subwoofer is not very articulate
- Not forward compatible
Best Soundbar Under $300
JBL Bar 2.1 is called Deep Bass for a reason; it will rock your couch. This bar keeps things nice and simple. It doesn't have much in the way of features and instead focuses on what matters most- the sound quality.
JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass sounds good. It comes with a large wireless subwoofer that goes just as deep as it claims. The highs are clear and crisp, and you can adjust the bass to match your taste. No arguments here, it's the complete package.
If you're a bass head, you'll absolutely love the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass. It's a beast with the lows and surprisingly graceful with the highs. Movie nights will be the next best thing to going to the cinema.
- Subwoofer goes deep
- Two HDMI ports
- Detailed and dynamic sound for movies
- Light on features
- Optical cable doesn't stay in place
Best Soundbar Under $400
The YAS-209 by Yamaha features excellent sound quality in a compact design. It comes with Amazon Alexa for seamless voice control and music streaming. Just like the Vizio V21, the YAS-209 uses DTS Virtual:X to create a rich surround effect.
The subwoofer is articulate, and the soundbar has a great full-frequency response. Overall, the Yamaha YAS-209 adds a well-balanced sound profile to your TV and a sleek design that will fit right into your living room.
- Great sound profile
- Excellent build quality
- Good stereo performance
- Amazon Alexa
- The surround performance is not very good
Best Soundbar Under $500
Yep, yet another Vizio! The team over at Vizio Inc. must know a thing or two about making great soundbars. The Vizio SB36512-F6 is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring Dolby Atmos to your living room. The bar features a compact design, plenty of inputs, including HDMI, Chromecast Wi-Fi music, and Bluetooth.
The performance of the SB36512-F6 is good and is suitable for all types of content. It has a neutral and accurate sound profile that works a treat for both voice-oriented content and music. The dedicated surround speakers make the listening experience all the more impressive.
- Excellent stereo performance
- Great soundstage
- Many connectivity options
- Dolby Atmos support
- Wired surround speakers must be wired to the wireless sub
- Buggy app
Best Soundbar Under $1000
Boo-yah, another Vizio. The Elevate's main draw is the motorized height speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling and back down to the listener when fed a DTS:X or Dolby Atmos signal. It comes with a separate sub with delivers a heavy bass sound profile that adds an extra punch to your movies and music.
But this fun, powerful, and stylish soundbar is not all about spinning speakers. It comes with surround speakers that you connect to the subwoofer. As a result, you get a fully immersive surround sound at a price that's almost impossible to beat.
If you have the budget for it, the Vizio Elevate is a definite best-buy.
- Wide, focused soundstage.
- Dialogue enhancement feature.
- Four EQ presets.
- A bit of distortion at max volume.
- No graphic EQ.
Best Soundbar Over $1000
Sennheiser AMBEO is a 5.1.4 setup soundbar that comes with 13 speakers. For a stand-alone soundbar, the AMBEO delivers an impressive, immersive sound that will give your TV a much-needed upgrade. Thanks to the unique 3D mode, the bar can conjure up an unbelievably realistic and true surround sound.
Sennheiser AMBEO comes with a ton of inputs and supports all sorts of audio formats. The sound profile is pretty accurate but lacks in the deep bass range. Even then, mid-range performance is exemplary, and you'll get an accurate reproduction of voices when watching movies.
Indeed, the AMBEO isn't cheap, but you get the experience of a full surround system without the bulk.
- Impressive sound for a stand-alone soundbar
- Great surround
- Supports multiple audio formats
- Great build quality
- Poor bass performance
Best Soundbar For Music Listening
Are you looking for a soundbar that's just as good for music as it is for movies? Look no further than the Polk Audio's Sigma S3 soundbar. For the price, this soundbar and subwoofer combo delivers a stellar and punchy 2.1 audio experience.
While features are limited, it still comes with essentials such as Chromecast, Bluetooth, HDMI input, Voice Adjust, and the ability to work with Google Assistant.
Without a doubt, the Polk Signa S3 soundbar is cracking. The manufacturer has achieved a performance that's both punchy and musical without blowing the budget. Out take? The S3 is an impressive all-rounder and has an excellent soundstage and is perfect for larger-sized TVs.
- Great presence
- Well-integrated subwoofer
- Sound good with movies and music
- Limited connections
9. Sonos Arc
Best All-In-One Soundbar Under $1,000
Here's one thing you can't argue with – Sonos speakers have excellent build quality and deliver consistent, appealing sound. The Sonos Arc is no exception. In fact, it's an excellent starting point if you're looking to set up a multi-room sound system in the future.
The Arc is one of the best stand-alone soundbars we have reviewed. And here's the best part – you can add a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers later to achieve a more immersive audio experience. The bar features Atmos support, built-in Alexa and Google Assistant, and room correction.
Sonos Arc is a pretty straightforward soundbar that seems to do everything well. However, it lacks in the low end, so it might not be ideal for all types of music. To compensate, the dedicated center channel delivers accurate reproduction of voices, which makes dialogue stand out.
- Excellent build quality
- Room correction
- Lacks bass
- No full EQ
10. Roku Streambar
Best Soundbar For Streaming Video
The Roku Streambar comes with a surprising amount of home theater power in a small package. This budget 2.0 bar is impressively small and allows you to access streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix via Roku's media streamer.
Like the Sonos Arc, you can upgrade it with separate satellites and a subwoofer to improve the sound stage. This is good news for those who need some deep bass. The center channel reproduces clear dialogue, so it's well suited for vocal-centric content.
The Streambar is the best TV soundbar if you love Hulu and Netflix and live in a small apartment, but don’t want to pony up the big bucks.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility
- 4 EQ presets
- Dialogue enhancement
- Lacks low bass
- No room correction
- Not suitable for a large room
Best Soundbar — FAQs
What's the best soundbar on the market?
Any of the soundbars on our list will work depending on your needs.
Is Yamaha the best soundbar?
There are a ton of great soundbars from different manufacturers. If you're looking to buy a Yamaha, you might want to go with the Yamaha YAS-209. Its offers excellent sound quality for a great price.
What is the best inexpensive soundbar?
The Creative Stage soundbar is one of the best inexpensive soundbars available today.
What should I look for in a 2021 soundbar?
To future-proof your soundbar, make sure it comes with at least three inputs that can pass HDR and 4K signals.
Don't settle for mediocre TV sound. A soundbar sitting under your TV will compensate for any audio woes you might be facing. Movie nights will never be the same again.