As TVs get slimmer and slimmer, the sound quality gets worse and worse due to the reduced room being available for the integrated speakers.

A good soundbar is a quick and simple way to upgrade your mediocre (to say the least) TV sound without needing to have a full home cinema setup.

It saves you having the intrusive cables and the extra space needed for a full-fledged 5.1 or 7.1 Ch sound system and represents a great compromise between sound quality, size, and practicality.

Top soundbar product reviews on the market. Best soundbars from Sony, Samsung, Polk, Vizio, Sonos, Bose, and Yamaha
In fact, soundbars can also stream audio content via Bluetooth, generate a virtual surround soundstage, wirelessly pair with a subwoofer, and much more. With so many features to consider and so many options to choose from, chances are you are wondering what is the best soundbar of 2020 on the market?

Thankfully, we have shortlisted the five ultimate soundbars to suit your individual needs. So whether you need a budget version to give you the best bang for your buck or a fine-tuned audiophile-grade sound experience – we have a pick for you.

Image Frequency / Power / Subwoofer / ConnectionsTop 10 Best Soundbars

Best Dolby Atmos – Samsung HW-Q90R

Best Surround Sound – Samsung HW-Q90R

A premium, full-size soundbar partner-developed with Harman Kardon. Latest tech, wireless sub and speakers – all in a very refined and complete package with the best surround sound we’ve tested.

34Hz~17kHz
512W Yes HDMI, Optical

Best Budget Soundbar Under $100 – Sony HT-S100F

Best Budget Soundbar Under $100 – Sony HT-S100F

The most affordable upgrade for you TV audio that simulates a home theater experience with very clear and accurate voice reproduction.

80Hz~15kHz
120W No HDMI,Optical,USB

Best Soundbar Under $150 – Vizio SB3820-C6

Best Soundbar Under $150 – Vizio SB3820-C6

A remarkably balanced, complete and feature-rich package that manages to compete with $200+ soundbars.

100Hz~20kHz
150W No Optical,AUX,USB

Best Compact – Polk MagniFi Mini

Best Compact – Polk MagniFi Mini

Prominent lows and plenty of sounds power in a compact package. Great solid build, integrated Google Cast and a very reasonable price to go with it.

40Hz~24kHz 150W Yes HDMI,Optical,AUX

Best for Dialogue Clarity – Sonos Playbar

Best for Dialogue Clarity – Sonos Playbar

Solid build quality, premium materials and styling coupled with close to audiophile-grade sound quality. Pair it with any other Sonos speakers for the ultimate multiroom music performance.

56Hz~20kHz 100W No Optical

Best Value – Yamaha YAS-207 (Editor’s Choice)

Best Value – Yamaha YAS-207 (Editor’s Choice)

One of the top budget soundbars around with unmatched sound in sub $300 department. Solid and reliable build, Yamaha quality, yet a relatively plain design.

40Hz~23kHz 100W Yes HDMI,Optical,AUX

Best Affordable Premium Soundbar – Sonos Beam

Best Affordable Premium Soundbar – Sonos Beam

A compact, under the TV soundbar with flawless Alexa and HDMI ARC support. Feature-rich, voice-operated sound bar with unmatched flexibility that looks slick and extremely refined.

55Hz~16kHz
N/A No HDMI, Optical

Best Big Soundbar – Sennheiser Ambeo 3D

Best Big Soundbar – Sennheiser Ambeo 3D

Our top standalone soundbar pick that features a dazzling 3D sound, 13 high-end powerful speakers and does not require a subwoofer. A true technological masterpiece and an absolute beast of a soundbar.

30Hz~20kHz
500W No HDMI, Optical, AUX, USB

1. Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar – Samsung HW-Q90R

As a top-of-the-line soundbar, the Samsung HW-Q90R delivers a truly immersive surround experience that only a few soundbars on the market can match.

The soundbar combines Samsung’s innovative mastery in home entertainment systems with 65 years of Harman Kardon’s audio technical expertise to deliver something truly unique.

In its unassuming sleek black case, it packs an impressive 17 built-in speakers, including four upward-firing drivers and two that fire from the side. 

Looking for the best premium soundbar? Samsung HW-K950 is also the best soundbar for Samsung TV.

The wireless subwoofer supports the QR90R’s immersive soundstage and delivers a true 7.1.4-channel home theater setup enhanced by Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and other similar object-based audio formats.

You can also tailor the audio setup with four preset sound modes at your disposal. For example, the Game Pro mode creates more explosive and dynamic sounds that bring you into the game you are playing. Adaptive sound, on the other hand, is an interesting mode that analyzes the sound signal and delivers optimized voices.

QR90R comes with two HDMI inputs and one output. The HDMI connections support 4K, HDR, ARC, and more. It also offers WiFi, Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa support for a more hands-free experience.

Although it doesn’t offer support for Google Comcast or Apple Airplay, it works seamlessly with Samsung Oled TVs and Amazon Alexa.

Bottom Line

The Samsung HW-Q90R is a fantastic soundbar worth its weight in gold, thanks to its 17 built-in speakers, wireless rear surround speakers and a sub that deliver a true 7.1.4 Ch experience. Four carefully tailored audio modes tweak the sound profile to provide the optimal sound for TV shows, music or movies. It could use more HDMI ports, yet you could always use wireless connection to stream music from your portable device.

9.2/10

  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 90% 90%
  • Sound 95% 95%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
dolby atmos support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
four different sound effects and modes Adaptive sound and GamePro mode
17 build in and two satellite speakers and wireless sub Wireless rear speakers + 17 built-in speakers
entertainment center has 7 audio channels to stream music True 7.1.4ch sound
Alexa support as voice remote Amazon Alexa compatibility
NEGATIVE
not enough ways to connect to your home network Limited connectivity options
sennheiser ambeo soundbar is expensive Expensive

2. Best Budget Soundbar – Vizio SB362AN-F6

If you are looking for a decent soundbar without the exorbitant price tag, you don’t have to look further than Vizio SB362An-F6.

For such a bargain-basement price, Vizio SB362An-F6 offers some pretty impressive bells and whistles. 

Looking for the best soundbar under $100? With Vizio SB3820-C6 you can't really go wrong, it is the best budget soundbar around.

Normally, some of which are offered by models twice its price, like Dolby and DTS Virtual:X. Because of this, it is able to create a virtual surround experience without the hardware normally required for it.

In addition to that, this Vizio soundbar has 8 speakers: four main drivers, two 2.6-inch full-range speakers, and two 3-inch subwoofers. It also packs two passive radiators to add more depth to the bass.

It could use a few improvements though. Its only input options are optical audio, an analog 3.5mm jack, and a USB port – not a great selection if you like to play your music from all kinds of devices. This Vizio soundbar also lacks an LCD display, so it could be quite confusing deciphering the blinking light in place of it.

Bottom Line

Vizio SB362An-F6 gives you all you need for a good movie night without burning a hole in your wallet. It offers 8 built-in speakers with two passive radiators to drum up the bass. It also supports Dolby and DTS Virtual: X, which adds to the movie dramatics and heightens the sound. It lacks input options and an LCD display, but it is absolutely one of the best budget soundbars on the market.

7.9/10
  • Design 75% 75%
  • Features 70% 70%
  • Sound 80% 80%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
Amazing way to watch an action movie on a budget Extremely affordable
the most basic home theater speaker with DTS support Dolby and DTS Virtual:X support
great soundbar with surround sound audio Decent surround sound
sub, center speaker and sides Built-in subwoofers
easy remote control Easy to control with remote
NEGATIVE
arc optical or optical digital inpiut is not offered Limited input options
entertainment center with no display No LCD display

3. Best Compact Soundbar With Subwoofer – Polk MagniFi Mini

According to the latest trends – everything small is big again. This applies to AVRs, speakers and most other gadgets including soundbars.

Given its size, we really did get concerned with our sound quality expectations as we felt that we had to adjust them.

Polk MagniFi Mini is only 13 inches wide and 3 inches high, which is small by any soundbar measure.

The real surprise is actually how much stuff has Polk managed to pack into that size!

Polk MagniFi Mini is the best compact soundbar on the market. It is small, but more than capable as we have never seen so much sound packed in so little space.

The limited size, however, also comes with a drawback as the unit can only sit upright and unlike other soundbars, cannot be mounted on the wall.

The remote has a premium feel and aesthetics that you usually get with more expensive sound bars. It is also straightforward and intuitive to use allowing you to control the source, volume, and switch between various sound modes such as the ‘Night mode’.

The setting reduces the master and subwoofer volume as well as emphasizes the vocals. As a result, voices are more prominent at a lower volume.

Best Soundbar 2019 in a compact size - it does not get better than Polk MagniFi Mini

The soundbar manages to pack 2 tweeter and 4 mid-range drivers into an incredibly small chassis. This is more than some of the full-size soundbars have.

Although the soundbar is made completely out of plastic, it looks and feels very solid.

It has a thick rubber plate at the bottom, which makes the soundbar sit tight and not rattle.

Polk MagniFi Mini comes with a wireless subwoofer, which is also made of plastic, yet looks and feels just fine. It complements the soundbar quite well, not only visually but also by expanding the width of the soundstage.

In fact, we think it is actually the subwoofer that gives the MagniFi Mini the edge. The tandem works so well together to produce an amazing width of the stereo image.

The sound experience delivered is punchy, rich, and quite detailed. Although the MagniFi Mini does an amazing job reproducing the vocal, the rest of the mids feel light, thin, and sometimes even missing.

When pushing the soundbar to the limit, the mids are the first ones to give in as signs of sound distortion start to appear.

Bottom Line

In summary, MagniFi Mini offers massive amounts of sound in a small package. It represents one of the best size-to-sound ratios we have ever come across in soundbars. It is also quite affordable, intuitive and well built.

If you are looking for a minimalist, compact yet capable solution with a punchy bass to enhance your TV sound exponentially, the MagniFi Mini is one of the best contenders to get the job done for you. It is also the best compact soundbar available on the market with Google Cast built-in.

8/10
  • Design 80% 80%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 70% 70%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
Very capable package for the size
Compact design for most living rooms
Unlike bose soundbar, this compact unit is amazing value Great value
Ready for your google home Google Cast compatible
Like bose soundbar, Polk focuses on user experience Intuitive design
NEGATIVE
Slightly lacks warmth
a streaming box with one audio input option Only one HDMI input
Poor wireless streaming user experience Subpar wireless streaming experience

4. Best Soundbar For Dialogue Clarity – Sonos Playbar

You may be asking what does the soundbar designed over 5 years ago is doing in the best soundbars of 2020?

Yes, it is still one of the top picks with most of the competition still playing catch up.

We truly love and respect Sonos as a company as they have always done things differently and the Sonos Playbar is no exception.

If you need premium sound quality, design, build and the overall package - Sonos Playbar ticks all the boxes. It is the best premium 2.1 soundbar on the market.

Sonos were amongst the first ones to package a true soundbar experience. Since then many other brands have hit the market, yet Sonos Playbar is still a very worthy contender.

Sonos Playbar is positioned as a music-focused soundbar, yet in reality, it is much more capable and much more versatile than that.

It was great to see aluminum being used excessively in the chassis construction giving the soundbar a premium look and feel. The contoured edges, side mesh, and wrap-around cloth still feel sleek and modern even by today’s standards. This design allows the soundbar to be placed upright, flat or on the wall.

Sonos Playbar Speakers is a top soundbar that feature an aluminium chassis, premium quality and a full bodied sound.

Sonos Playbar comes with three high-range and six mid-range drivers. This proves to be a great speaker setup as the soundstage produced is detailed, wide and full-bodied.

The aluminum soundbar chassis plays its part in making the sound crisp, detailed with great levels of finesse.

The sound quality is genuinely more vibrant than the soundbar’s size, yet to achieve the best results we found that the soundbar needs to sit upright, which is also the recommendation from Sonos.

Sonos Playbar produces very respectable levels mid-bass, which will be sufficient for most of us allowing the soundbar to be used on its own. For the ones wanting to take the audio experience a couple of notches up, we suggest adding a subwoofer into the mix, if you can afford it. With the Sonos Sub, the soundstage becomes a lot more complete as it complements the soundbar just perfectly.

Although Sonos Playbar has been designed for music more than anything else, it performs equally well when watching movies. Playing back The Expendables gets you instantly impressed with a remarkably expanded soundstage.

The audio quality produced is smooth, bright and very realistic. We did, however, run into some little issues when the movie scenes got busy with explosion-packed action scenes. It felt a bit too much for Sonos Playbar to handle and we had to tone it down a notch.

You also get a to experience a fantastic app for PC, Mac, iPhone or Android users. It can be used to configure the audio output across all interconnected Sonos speakers in your house. It allows you to group the speakers into zones and send the different audio signals to different zones at the same time.

The Sonos app features full sound controls and configuration. It includes active DSP and EQ circuitry, bass, treble, and loudness level controls, lip-sync delay, a nighttime mode, and voice enhancement mode.

Bottom Line

Sonos Playbar is hard to fault in any regard as it represents a well rounded, solid, intuitive, stylish and close to the audiophile-grade sound quality package. We have enjoyed the movie experience it delivered and absolutely loved its music performance. We wish it had a pair of HDMI inputs, as having only the optical connection feels constrained. All in all, the soundbar has stood the test of time as it has been around for years now and the fact that others are still struggling to beat it tells you a lot.

8/10
  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 80% 80%
  • Value 70% 70%
POSITIVE
high quality build with user experience in mind Great design and build quality
A home theater system that shines with movie soundtracks Wide, detailed and dynamic soundstage
Sonos playbase can be expanded to more home devices and supports Spotify connect Can expand to more speakers and a subwoofer
Sonos playbase or Sonos move have different sound mode adjustments Great Sonos App that allows you to adjust sound levels and speaker configuration
NEGATIVE
Best soundbar under 200 reviews. Benefits, pros, cons and recommendations No HDMI input
Best soundbar under 200 reviews. Benefits, pros, cons and recommendations Does not support DTS
Best soundbar under 200 reviews. Benefits, pros, cons and recommendations Expensive, especially with a subwoofer
Best soundbar under 200 reviews. Benefits, pros, cons and recommendations Does not come with a remote

5. Best Value Soundbar – Yamaha YAS-207

With so many options available on the market, the budget-mid end has never been more saturated and competitive.

In fact, the budget-mid segment features the most fierce rivals of all and is the easiest to make a suboptimal choice.

Yamaha has historically done very well with their budget line, offering great value and sound quality and Yamaha YAS-207 is no exception.

Yamaha YAS-207 is the best soundbar under 300 hands down. Incredible value and a simply amazing sound quality.

The design has never been the strongest side of Yamaha and this time around it is pretty dull too. It does not have a wow factor as it features a simple black cloth grill giving the soundbar a fairly generic feel. Where the design lacks, Yamaha YAS-207 makes up in engineering quality and build.

The soundbar looks and feels very solid, and the subwoofer feels stout as it is made from MDF. Other manufacturers in this price range mostly default to plastic. The front of the soundbar has a set of touch controls in typical Yamaha-style LEDs, which look somewhat dated in 2020.

The labels on the LEDs are pretty small, and the unit does not have an on-screen menu, so the only way out is to memorize the LED lights and their positions.

Regarding port connections, YAS-207 features HDMI (with ARC support), optical and AUX-in connections.

The audio experience is exceptional for the price. The highs are clear and crisp whereas the lows have a deep and punchy feel. Voice is clear when watching a movie, especially when the ‘Clear Voice’ mode is enabled.

Yamaha YAS-207 is the first soundbar on the market to support DTS Virtual:X and DTS Virtual Surround, which is designed to add depth, scope and volume to the soundstage.

The experience that DTS Virtual:X produces felt a little inconsistent. It does a good job of creating a larger and immersive sound field, yet the tone seems to vary between the movies.

Our entry-level pick Vizio SB362AN-F6 is an amazing soundbar, yet if you have some extra cash to spare, then Yamaha YAS-207 will reward you with a better level of sound immersion and audio quality overall.

Bottom Line

Yamaha YAS-207 is a very composed and well-built package that comes with unrivaled sound quality that eclipses anything else in its class. For the money, it represents the best soundbar under $300 dollars available on the market today. It offers a great build quality, easy to set up, amazingly balanced soundstage that makes it a worthy successor to the well known YAS-203 and our editor’s choice. Yamaha does it again!

8.8/10
  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 90% 90%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
a well but audio system Excellent build quality
correct soundbar setup delivers a lot of sound Rich, clear, and powerful sound
quality build and materials Subwoofer is made from MDF, not plastic
Almost as good as yamaha yas-209 with spotify connect Amazing value, nothing beats it in this price range
immersive 3d listening experience Dolby and DTS decoding
NEGATIVE
No Google, Apple assistant, surround kit support No Google Cast or AirPlay support
home theater components need to be refreshed The design feels dated
dts-hd master audio Treble could be slightly more refined

6. Best For Multi-Room Setup – Sonos Beam

Costing you less than $500 per piece, Sonos Beam is more of a compact speaker and less of a full-fledge soundbar. Nonetheless, it is perfect for audiophiles looking for great sound with a reasonable price tag.

Unlike most soundbars, you don’t get a remote control with Sonos Beam. Instead, you have the choice of voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Sonos Beam has sound performance to impress for your smart home, tv shows, music and movies

The Beam takes it a step further and provides voice assistance with the HDMI CEC system. With 5 microphones arranged in the box, it can pick up your voice even in a noisy home theater environment. If you like a more hands-on approach, you can use the TV remote or the Sonos app.

Despite a reasonably modest price for a premium soundbar, Sonos Beam was specifically calibrated Oscar-winning sound engineers to emphasize human voice for a clear movie-watching experience. It offers a pretty expansive sound and is able to handle most things you throw at it. But since it doesn’t come with subwoofers, you might find little, nuanced details in the film lost when fed through this affordable soundbar.

Besides that, we also find that the Sonos Beam lacks input and output ports. Although you can use your TV as an HDMI switch and feed your soundbar Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds from any device, you are out of luck if your TV is not ARC-capable. There is only one audio port on the Beam for the HDMI cable and nothing else.

Lastly, you can pair it with other Sonos speakers in your home for the ultimate multi-room audio experience.

Bottom Line

Sonos Beam is your next best choice if you don’t feel like forking out thousands of dollars for a premium soundbar. It is compact and featured-packed – with multiple voice controls, a speech enhancement mode for films with lots of dialogue, as well as HDMI-switch support.

8.8/10
  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 90% 90%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
sonos beam is a smart soundbar for movies and music Decent sound for its price
sonos beam has Google voice assistant integrated Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration
surround sound audio Superb speech enhancement mode
Google voice assistant on your tv screen Voice controls for TV
sonos beam is designed for smart home and music system Multi-room audio support
NEGATIVE
sonos beam has limited audio inputs Only one audio port
sonos beam has one voice control for virtual assistants at a time, similar to bose soundbar Can’t use both voice assistants at the same time

7. Best Soundbar Under $100 – Sony HT-S100F

With specialized tweeters and speakers in the box, the Sony HT-S100F provides a neutral sound profile that fills up the room. Watching movies with a lot of dialogue is a treat with this Sony soundbar since it does especially well with human voices.

cheap soundbar under 100 dollars

The S-Force Pro Front Surround is designed to imitate a surround audio experience despite only using a 2.0 channel system. It attempts to deliver a clear, punchy bass performance with the new bass-reflex system but falls short as the sound becomes muddy and flat instead. That being said, this budget Sony soundbar does a decent job given its price point.

Sony HT-S100F has one optical audio input, an ARC-compatible HDMI port, USB port and Bluetooth 4.2 connection, which allows wireless streaming from any device.

Bottom Line

Sony HT-S100F is a compact, no-frills budget soundbar that attempts to deliver Sony’s famous sound. It uses a 2.0 channel system and it does a pretty good job emulating a surround sound effect. Its specialized speakers make watching dialogue-heavy movies an unforgettable experience as it enhances human speech but falls short at delivering deep and rich bass tones. Having said that, Sony HT-S100F would be perfect for you if you are looking for a cheap alternative that can replace your mediocre TV speakers.

8.8/10
  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 90% 90%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
surround on 2.0 audio channels Surround sound on a 2.0 channel
good voice performance and dialogue enhancement Human speech enhancement
bluetooth wi-fi streaming and apple airplay Wireless streaming via Bluetooth
A winner among budget models Cheapest decent soundbar on the market
NEGATIVE
HDMI 2.0 cable connection Limited connectivity options
mediocre bass performance Weak bass

8. Best Standalone Soundbar – Sennheiser Ambeo 3D

Measuring at 127cm wide and 14cm tall, Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar is one of the biggest on the market.

But because of this, it is able to fit a powerful ensemble of 13 large drivers in the box.

big, full size soundbar for a full size room

The Ambeo 3D is truly a one-box sound solution – it can handle any range of frequency you throw at it without relying on external woofers.

To create an effortless 3D listening experience, the Sennheiser debut soundbar is packed with the latest audio technologies like Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and Sennheiser’s very own Virtual 3D sound system. The surprisingly easy setup process for advanced room calibration, all the features you can think of and simply stunning sound immerses you in a studio-grade experience that is adapted to your living room dimension.

There are three HDMI inputs, one HDMI eARC output, one optical output, a pair of RCA connectors for analog output as well as an additional RCA output for extra subwoofers. In addition, you also get connection over WiFi, Bluetooth and HDMI output.

That being said, the Ambeo 3D relies on Google Chromecast for WiFi streaming, which can make it a bit awkward to use with an Apple device. Besides that, it can also be difficult to figure out where to put it because of its sheer size and lack of subwoofers.

Bottom Line

Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar is a top-tier soundbar with 13 large drivers built into the body. Without the need for an external subwoofer, the soundbar delivers deep and powerful bass performance and immersive audio that creates a true home theatre experience. It supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and has multiple audio input options, but it is gigantic – both in size and price tag.

8.8/10
  • Design 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%
  • Sound 90% 90%
  • Value 90% 90%
POSITIVE
ambeo soundbar is standalone and does not need a sub No need for subwoofer with 13 powerful drivers
hdmi output Support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
deep bass sound from your power outlet 5.1.4 Ch sound experience
sennheiser ambeo soundbar has 3D sound visualization 3D sound visualization
3D surround-sound experience One-box studio-grade audio
NEGATIVE
Size is a form factor and may prove too big for your TV stand Too large for some living rooms
audio streams via Google Chromecast only Needs Google Chromecast for Wi-Fi streaming
best sound in standalone soundbars, but sennheiser ambeo is pricey Expensive

Best Rated Soundbars of 2020 – Feature Comparison

Vizio SB3820-C6 Samsung HW-K950 Polk MagniFi Mini Sonos Playbar Yamaha YAS-207
Frequency Response 60Hz-19kHz 20Hz-20kHz 40Hz-24kHz 56Hz-20kHz 40Hz-23kHz
Wattage 150 W 500 W 150 W 100 W 100 W
Drivers 2×2,75″ full range 3x highs 6xmids 2xtop dome 2×0,5″ highs 2×2,25″ mids 3 x highs 6 x mids 2×1″ highs 4×1,75″ full range
Subwoofer No Yes Yes Optional Yes
HDMI No Yes Yes No Yes
HDMI ARC Support No Yes Yes No Yes
Wall Mountable Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Connections USB, RCA, Optical, 3.5 mm HDMI x 2, Optical, 3.5mm HDMI, Optical, 3.5mm Optical HDMI, Optical, 3.5mm
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Width 38″ 30″ 13″ 35.5″ 37″
Sound Modes 6 7
Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year 2 years 2 years
SCORE 7.9 8.9 8 8 8.8
Price Check Check Check Check Check

How do we test?

Since soundbars are usually a mix-use device, we test them with a wide range of media. This mainly involves playing video games, watching a movie, listening to music or any other audio content.

If the soundbar supports wireless music streaming, we test the wireless connection for stability and audio quality. Additionally, to objectively assess the actual audio performance, we allow the soundbars we test to break-in thoroughly.

If the soundbar comes with some sort of a mobile application or other software, it is also being tested as the additional configuration settings can alter the sound experience quite dramatically.

Like always – we consider both the initial impressions of the product as well as real use customer feedback.

This allows us to provide you an honest, practical and complete review to help choose the best soundbars of 2020. The main aspects we consider when reviewing soundbars are:

  1. Design and Build Quality
  2. Feature Set
  3. Sound
  4. Value

With countless options available on the market, reviewing soundbars is not a very straightforward exercise. Since we want to keep our product reviews concise and down to the point, we have only shortlisted the most standout soundbars on the market.

What Do You Need To Know Before Buying A Soundbar?

Before you go out shopping and try to get the best soundbar you can find, it is important to understand a couple of important principles. Getting your head around the concept and the purpose of a soundbar will help you make a better and more educated decision.

Why Soundbar?

Soundbars are hot at the moment and their popularity is attributed to their convenience and not the sound quality as many may think. It is important to understand that soundbars were not designed to compete with 5.1 or 7.1 sound systems and the might of the full size AV receiver. They physically do not have the ingredients to offer the best sound or comparable audio experience, so it would be unreasonable to expect the same level of sound quality, although some soundbars get pretty darn close.

The gap soundbars were designed to bridge is the gap between decent sound quality and convenience, which they have successfully managed to do.

On the flip side, you may not need a soundbar either. If you are spending most of your time outside and prefer having your music travel with you, perhaps checking out some of the best sounding Bluetooth speakers is more relevant?

Placement

Knowing where and how are you planning to place your soundbar is important. Some soundbars can be mounted on the wall, some can lay flat in front of the TVs and others can stand. Knowing the ideal placement will help you choose the soundbar right for you as they come in different sizes.

If you are planning to place your soundbar under your TVs stand, then you need to make sure there is enough space available. You perhaps also want to keep the length of the soundbar consistent with the length of the TV where possible.

Using the wall mount, you may want to consider Bluetooth as the primary audio streaming source as alternatively, you will have the wire connecting the soundbar and the TV visible on the wall.

Connection Type

This may sound like something minor, but we see too many customers buying a soundbar only to realize that they need an HDMI connection and the soundbar only has an optical one.

When streaming music via Bluetooth, just like with Bluetooth shower speakers you need to check that both – soundbar and the TV support Bluetooth connectivity.

As always, do your homework, read best soundbar reviews, check the manufacturer’s specs to make sure you are getting the top soundbar for your needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need A Front Panel Display?
The short answer is no. At the same time, we do believe that the feedback from the soundbar is important as it improves the usability and experience in general. Not many soundbars come with a front panel, so if yours does – consider it as a very handy bonus.
Do I Need a Soundbar Remote?
It depends, but in general, there are 3 options:
  • Your current remote allows being programmed with soundbar remote commands.
  • Both your TV and your soundbar support HDMI – ARC connection, which allows the TV’s remote to be used for soundbar’s sound controls.
  • The universal remote control can be used to replace both, the TV’s and the soundbar’s remotes.
Is Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos the same?

Yes and no as it has many formats, such as 5.1, 7.1 and the latest addition is Dolby Atmos. Although Dolby Atmos is the latest surround sound variation it is as ‘surround’ as it can get today. The technology features dome speakers integrated into the soundbar or rear speakers that channel the sound into the ceiling which reflects and comes down on the listener from the top. This creates a more complete surround sound experience.

Do I Need Wireless or Bluetooth sound streaming?

It is a personal preference and really depends on how are you planning to use your soundbar. If you are looking at streaming sound using your Spotify and other music apps via your mobile phone or a tablet – wireless or Bluetooth streaming is a must.

Which Connection Do I Use? HDMI vs Optical?
The answer greatly depends on your TV output connection. If your TV has both, HDMI and optical, we tend to favor HDMI. The reason is that optical connection supports fewer sound formats than HDMI. Optical connection supports Stereo, Dolby Digital and DTS, whereas HDMI connection also supports DTS:X, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos sound formats.
What is HDMI Arc?
It enables the devices that support the ARC standard to intercommunicate. This includes the volume control allowing you to use a single remote for both – your TV and the soundbar.