Skip to main content

Best Soundbar

(Image credit: Amazon)

Soundbars have come a long way in the last few years. While full-sized speakers will still sound better — sound needs space, after all — soundbars sound great for their size. That size also requires a smaller footprint in your living room and you will get great sound without a head-scratching installation process, and more. We have detailed some of the best options for your home.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Sonos Playbar

Best for Sonos enthusiasts
Wall mountable
Integrates with other Sonos speakers
Only two cables to hook-up
Speech Enhancement clarifies dialogue
Heavier than comparable products
No subwoofer included

Sonos has been rising the ranks: once they were merely fantastic speakers to pair to your phone, now they're what you want throughout the house. Over the last few years, the company has moved into the soundbar game, with the Playbar coming in as its flagship model. It offers the homeowner its six woofers, three tweeters, and a total of nine amplifiers. 

The Playbar requires only two cables to plug-in before being ready to experience the greatness of this soundbar, which is incredible if you don't have a complicated setup. Plus, as part of the Sonos family, you can connect the Playbar to other Sonos speakers for an authentic surround-sound experience. 

While it's a fantastic option, the Soundbar isn't without a couple of downfalls that may have you looking elsewhere. First is the size and weight as it measures in at almost 12-pounds and is more than 35-inches wide, so you'll need to have plenty of space and heavy-duty wall anchors. The other pitfall is that there is no subwoofer included, so you may not get as much "punch" during your movies as you might want.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bose Solo 5

Best for most people
Universal remote controls all of your compatible products
Enhanced bass mode available
Dialogue Mode improves clarity
Bluetooth connectivity enables music streaming
No subwoofer included
No USB port included
Only 21.5-inches wide

Bose has been in the sound game for a long time, but it's home theater audio options used to be priced out of budgets for many potential owners. The times have changed, and the Bose Solo 5 soundbar system couldn't be better evidence of that. This affordable soundbar provides multiple digital or analog inputs while allowing for Bluetooth connections if you want to use your phone or tablet.

Bose also includes Dialogue Mode, which will improve the clarity of spoken words for your various movies and TV shows. It's great that the action is packed, but if you can't hear the conversations, you may end up missing the crux of the storyline. Bose wants to make sure that doesn't happen.

With a soundbar like the Solo 5, you may expect some caveats, and there are just a few. Bose opted to keep it simple with this option, and as such, there is no subwoofer included, so you may need to try and find a third-party option. In some instances, you want a soundbar that spans across the entirety of your TV. But you'll have to look elsewhere as the Solo 5 measures in at just 21.5-inches, which may be a bit small for some. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

Best for Google Assistant
3 HDMI Inputs
1 HDMI Arc Output
Built-in Android TV
Privacy switch for microphone
Cannot be added to Google Home Groups
Cannot pair Bluetooth headphones
Need to purchase subwoofer separately

Google has done a phenomenal job getting Google Assistant into the hands of millions. What is even better is that there are more products launching which integrate Assistant so that it becomes even more useful. One such category where Assistant is arriving is in the soundbar space. 

The JBL Link Bar is the perfect example of this, as the company worked with Google to integrate not only Google Assistant, but also Google Cast support. This means that you can control your soundbar with your voice, while also using it as a Chromecast for your TV. Onboard, there are three HDMI ports, along with an HDMI Arc output option. JBL even included a privacy switch for the microphone if you don't want your soundbar listening. 

Unfortunately, some sacrifices had to be made, and one of which is the fact that you cannot currently add this to your Google Home Groups. That likely won't make or break your purchase, but it's something to be wary of when you get the Link Bar. Additionally, JBL opted not to include the wireless subwoofer, so you will need to shell out a few more bucks if you want to pick up the subwoofer. 

Bottom line

Soundbars come in all shapes and sizes, and there are a lot of different considerations to be taken when selecting the best one. The Sonos Playbar is our favorite option with its combination of superb sound quality and ability to be paired with other Sonos speakers. This will allow you to create a genuinely immersive, surround audio experience for your home, providing the ultimate movie night.

Your experts on the best products on the market!