Ready to ditch your TV’s crappy sound for a high-quality sound bar? We’ve rounded up the best on the market. Let’s check out the details so you can find the best sound bar for you.
What to Look for in a Sound Bar
Shopping for speakers is always a chore. It’s difficult to remember what you really need—especially if you run across a good deal or something neat. So, before we get into the best sound bars, we’re going to review the features you should keep in mind before you buy.
Here’s what to look for in a sound bar:
- Quality and channels: All the sound bars in this article offer high-quality sound. But for a more immersive experience, you’re going to want one with multiple channels. For example, a 5.1 system offers more immersion than a 2.1 system.
- Subwoofers: Subwoofers add extra punchy bass to your movies and music, but they don’t always come with sound bars. They also aren’t “apartment-friendly.” Don’t stress too much if your sound bar doesn’t include a subwoofer—that extra cash is going toward your sound bar’s quality.
- Bluetooth and inputs: All the sound bars we selected support Bluetooth connectivity. You can also connect some of them to your Wi-Fi network and stream music from any device. If you want (or need) to plug in some old audio gear, you might also want to look for physical inputs, like AUX or optical ports.
- Wall mounting: Depending on your media center setup, you might choose to mount your sound bar to the wall rather than putting it on a stand. With the exception of the Polk MagniFi Mini, all the sound bars in this article are mountable.
- Smart features: Most modern sound bars feature Alexa or Google Assistant integration. It’s not a make-or-break feature for everyone, but if you’re obsessed with smarthome devices, you’ll want to make sure your sound bar has this option.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start shopping for your dream sound bar.
Best Overall: JBL Bar 3.1
The JBL Bar 3.1 offers a good balance between price and quality. For under $500, you get a solid 3.1 system that includes a stellar sound bar and a fat, 10-inch wireless subwoofer. It has Bluetooth connectivity, and an AUX and three HDMI ports. It also has an optical input you can quickly switch to—just press the SoundShift button on the JBL remote.
This sound bar features JBL surround sound and Dolby Digital technology. It has a few EQ settings, including one for “voice.” It also has controls for sound synchronization (in case the video and audio fall out of phase while connected wirelessly), and track skipping options for connected music devices.
JBL Bar 3.1 - Channel 4K Ultra HD Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
A great balance between price and quality, this 3.1 sound bar and subwoofer combo can enhance your TV experience and bring music streaming to your living room.
Best Budget Pick: Vizio SB2821 2.1 System
The Vizio SB2821 2.1 is a full-featured, affordable 2.1 sound bar and five-inch wireless subwoofer combo. It uses Dolby Digital decoding to bring high-quality sound to your living room. It features coaxial, optical, RCA, AUX, and USB inputs, along with Bluetooth connectivity. For the price, you can’t beat this sound bar and sub combo.
VIZIO 2.1 Sound Bar SB3821-C6 with Wireless Subwoofer Bluetooth 100dB SPL,Black, 38"
The Vizio SB2821 2.1 is a full-featured, affordable sound bar and subwoofer combo. For the price, you can't beat its quality and multiple-input design.
The Premium Pick: Bose 700 3.0
If you’re looking for a high-quality sound bar with all the bells and whistles, turn your gaze on the Bose 700 sound bar. This is Bose’s best-performing sound bar—it’s built with seven custom drivers and includes a fully-featured universal remote. Alexa is built-in, but it also works with Apple Airplay. You can and connect it to your Wi-Fi network for smarthome integration (it even works with the Bose Music app). And, of course, it has an optical input for wired connections.
This sound bar is built to work with other Bose smart speakers, so you could potentially use it as a whole-home audio unit. If you’re looking for a little extra oomph, you can connect it to other Bose home theater products, like the Bose Bass 700 subwoofer.
Bose Soundbar 700 with Alexa voice control built-in, Black
The Bose 700 sound bar is a high-quality speaker with every feature imaginable. It's got Alexa, it can pair with other Bose smart speakers, and it can connect to your Wi-Fi network for whole-home audio or streaming.
Best with Smarthome Integration: Sonos Beam 3.0
Sonos has a great track record when it comes to smarthome-integrated speakers and whole-home audio solutions, and the Sonos Beam is no exception. It’s a great little sound bar that has Alexa and Google Assistant built-in (Google isn’t mentioned on the Amazon page, but it’s there), and it can connect to other Sonos speakers over Wi-Fi. You can also control the Sonos Beam via the Sonos app if you want to play music from your phone.
And, of course, the Sonos Beam has HDMI-ARC and optical inputs for TVs that aren’t Bluetooth or Wi-Fi compatible. These inputs make it ideal for media centers with a mix of old and new electronics because you can connect an older amplifier to the Beam via an optical cable.
Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
Whether you're an Alexa or Google Assistant fan, the Sonos Beam is perfect for smarthome integration, especially when you consider its reasonable price tag.
Best Compact Option: Polk MagniFi Mini 2.1
Yes, the Polk MagniFi Mini is a very small sound bar, but that’s what makes it perfect for smaller TVs or rooms, or even computers. For its size, the MagniFi Mini offers great Dolby Digital sound, and it comes with a surprisingly large 6.5-inch wireless subwoofer.
Naturally, this sound bar connects to your audio source via Bluetooth. It also includes HDMI-ARC and optical inputs, and an AUX input for older audio sources.
Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Home Theater Surround Sound Bar | Works with 4K and HD TVs | Compact System with Big Sound | Wireless Subwoofer Included
The Polk MagniFi Mini 2.1 is perfect for small TVs, small living rooms, or for computer use. It's an affordable little sound bar and sub combo that can greatly improve your listening experience.