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It’s easy to assume that getting better sound means turning up the volume, but that’s not always the case. Soundbars are great for obtaining premium sound quality without cluttering up your space with huge speakers. Trust us, you’d be surprised just how much one of these slim audio devices can improve the clarity of sound coming from your TV.
Soundbars are specially designed to make everything from dialogue to music and special effects sound much sharper, which basically makes your listening experience more enjoyable. And if you’ve been spending more time at home streaming movies and TV shows, gaming, or playing your favorite songs, it’s time to invest in a soundbar.
To help you get started, we put together a list of the best soundbars ranging from less than $100 to just over $1,000. Some of the devices listed are available Amazon, and if you’re a Prime Member, the delivery time will be even faster. For those of you who haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime, you can join for just $12.99 a month. The monthly subscription includes free two-day shipping, and access to Prime Video, where you can stream thousands of shows and movies.
Below, find our list of some of the best soundbars available for any budget. For more content on how to improve your sound system, check out the best stereo speakers, and additional tips to upgrade your home theater.
Sonos has a strong reputation when it comes to product quality, so it makes sense that the Sonos Beam was tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers. This sleek smart device is available in black or white, and comes equipped with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which allows you to use voice commands to stream movies and TV shows, check the news, or play music. You can also control it with a remote, or the Sonos App. The device is also compatible with Apple AirPlay 2.
And don’t be fooled by the size, as the Sonos Beam packs in high-definition sound. It features four full-range woofers, five class-D digital amplifiers, multi-channel echo cancellation, and adjustable bass and treble controls to further customize your listening experience. The Sonos Beam is designed for TVs 49″ or smaller. If your TV is larger than that, try out the Sonos Arc for $799.
Writes one user, “Have you listened to Sonos Beam in a local Big Box store and wondered, what’s the big deal? Well, let me tell you, the big ‘magic moment’ for me was when I purchased this soundbar, easily attached it to the wall under our kitchen monitor, loaded the App on my phone and discovered EQ in the App. Yes, we easily walked through the Trueplay room analyzer with the App as well, which was helpful. Utilizing the Dialogue “switch” also makes a nice improvement for TV watching. But the BIG deal? EQ makes this soundbar go from average to ‘blow me away.’ You won’t be disappointed.”
The Bose Solo 5 comes highly rated among Amazon customers. It’s one of the nicer, moderately priced options you can buy for a clear, quality sound. It comes with a universal remote control (so you don’t have to worry about getting up from the couch when you’re watching TV), and bluetooth connectivity, which makes it easy to wirelessly stream from any device. Special effects will sound better with the Solo 5, an especially great feature for movies, music, and gaming. It even has dialogue mode to ensure that you’ve heard every word clearer.
User DWR writes, “I have been having more difficulty understanding the dialogue in TV shows and movies lately… I am getting older and yes, I did listen to loud music in the ’70s. I have tried a couple of different solutions like a bluetooth transmitter & headphones, which worked ok but I don’t like to have the headphones on for long and it has to be kind of loud for me, and with a different soundbar which really didn’t help much over the TV’s own speakers. So I ordered this Bose Solo 5 system since it mentioned improving the clarity of dialogue. Well I have to say that it does. It first turns on in a ‘standard’ mode and sounds pretty ‘regular’ in that mode; really no big difference between it and my prior soundbar. But once you press the ‘dialogue’ button on the remote, you can definitely hear a difference in clarity. I was pretty skeptical, but it really does help me understand much better what people are saying. It is an obvious improvement.”
When it comes to amping up your sound quality, a powerful speaker and subwoofer make for a great combination, and the Vizio 2.1 surround sound system does just that. The 28” device features DTS TruVolume to help you achieve the booming sound you’ve been looking for, and it’s remote-controlled with bluetooth capabilities. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer, and the setup is pretty simple.
Writes user Matt A., “I bought this soundbar for my upstairs TV that is rarely used. It was cheap and had good reviews, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Well, I hooked it up and tried it out and was blown away by the sound quality. So much bass! I immediately unhooked it and took it downstairs to replace my bigger, more expensive soundbar in the family room. Literally the only complaint is that the bass tends to drown out the highs. I had to max out the treble and put the bass at around 75 [percent] to get a nice balance.”
If you’re going to splurge on a soundbar, the Samsung HW-Q900T takes sound immersion to new levels. Specially designed by sound engineers, the Q900T analyzes your content to deliver optimized sound quality. And it has an array of great features: seven different channels (including a subwoofer channel, and dual up-firing channels), 3D True surround sound, Dolby ATMOS/DTS:X technology, and Q-symphony, a new feature that allows you to play the soundbar and Samsung QLED-TV speakers simultaneously. Like most of the other soundbars listed, the Q900T has Alexa built in, and comes with a remote control. Another option: you can tap your smartphone on the soundbar to easily stream your favorite playlist.
Writes one user, “We were so very excited about getting this soundbar, I am 60 and I can’t tell you how often I had to stop the streaming movie and back up so my husband and I could hear something we missed. It was an annoying part of aging. It was very easy to set up, good, heavy, quality equipment. The [TV] recognized it right away, it recognizes the wifi […] the whole thing went well! Great job Samsung! I can hear every detail clearly and the way it bounces around the room, it is like there are speakers everywhere. We have another brand in the family room, older technology but still a Harmon Kardon, and this is so crisp and clear by comparison. I would say this new technology with DTS:X 71.2 channel sound is far superior. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a superior soundbar for a very reasonable price. The first thing I watched was a rock concert. It was seriously like I was there. I liked it so much I ordered a smaller bar for our 13 year old [daughter’s] room. She is definitely green with envy as I bought this for our bedroom.”
The Polk Audio React SoundBar transforms your everyday viewing experience. Thanks to Dolby technology, the soundbar delivers detailed and expansive surround sound for your home theater, and you won’t need speakers. It also has AlexA already built in, which means it’s compatible with other Alexa devices, such as the Fire TV Stick. The powerful internal amplifier and custom-tuned drivers offer up lifelike home cinema surround sound performance, and the wireless subwoofer delivers deep, impactful bass, creating a high-performance entertainment system.
Writes on user, “This is a medium-priced system I bought from an older salesman in the TV section. I explained that I had an issue picking out voices in a movie. I bought this…discreet speaker system with the voice boost on the controller. The audio is amazing. The bass is super, I have actually toned it down… undistorted and just like sitting in theater. I use it with my LG 55 OLED and an HDMI cable perfect. I can change my seating position and change the rear speaker balance and volume. I have an LG soundbar and am about to exchange it for another one of these if they will restock…. will they?”
If you’re on budget, you can actually get a good soundbar for less than $100. This particular, remote-controlled model from Bestisan is 34” long, and includes four built-in drivers and three sound modes: movie, music, and dialog. It has Bluetooth 4.2 version, and the base of the bar is angled at 15 degrees to provide full-bodied sound. Besides your TV, the soundbar can be paired with most smart devices. You can use it wirelessly but you can also connect it with an Optical port, RCA connect, or AUX input. And the installation is super easy.
Writes user A. Murad, “It took less than 10 minutes from [opening] the box and setting it up. Easy and simple, there are many options to use it, bluetooth, AV cable, Optical port. I prefer optical connect to TV. Looks great on my TV stand and sounds great as well! And when you feel like it, easy bluetooth connect to cellphone for music. A wall template with screws was also in the box making it so easy to mount it to the wall.”