So, I have watched a movie on my new flatscreen TV but got disappointed because it lacks volume and depth. A friend then told me to add a soundbar to boost the weak sound of my TV. The best soundbars of 2021 can deliver a theater-like sound without hogging too much space in your TV shelf or stand.
A good soundbar isn’t cheap, so you should be keen on picking the best model for you. You should keep in mind numerous things, which is why we have come up with this comprehensive guide. Right below, we’ll review the top brands to help you find the best soundbar to fit your needs.
What Is a Soundbar?
A soundbar is a long, slim bar shaped like a rectangle and built with speakers with a ton of electronic components. Its purpose is to make everything sound crystal clear. Voices come out clear and crisp, while movie sound effects become more epic.
These bars are broad, so they distribute the sound from left to right and reproduce a sound similar to an authentic home theater. They offer flexible placement options- wall, shelf, and above/in front of the TV. Many soundbars already come with wireless subwoofers to give a subtle rumble to movies and heavy-bass music.
With just a single cable, you can link the soundbar to your TV. A soundbar provides a virtual surround sound effect with fewer wires and speakers. The two channels make the perfect stereo sound that suits well for audio content, like TV programs and podcasts.
What Is The Difference Between 2.1 And 5.1 Sound Bar?
When you look at different brands of soundbars on the market, you’ll find models that are 2.1 while others are 5.1. What’s the difference between these two sound bar systems? Here’s a closer look for each type of channel.
A 2.1 soundbar means having two regular speakers and a subwoofer for more bass. The additional speakers are there to help make a more genuine surround sound and not just add volume. The two speakers from the left and right channels are enough to offer clear audio.
While the 5.1 soundbar offers a real surround effect, the 2.1 soundbar gives the perfect stereo sound. The 2.1 soundbar suits well in a small room because a full surround sound might just overwhelm the whole area. The 2.1 channel is a basic audio setup to boost the sound quality of your television.
A 5.1 soundbar has more speakers than their 2.1 counterparts. The 5.1 soundbar has five speakers in all areas- right, left, center, and rear. They usually include a subwoofer to give an extra kick to the sound quality.
Adding more speakers doesn’t necessarily mean adding more volume. The extra speakers improve the surround sound effect and create a more integrated entertainment system.
It’s worth noting that 5.1 isn’t always better than 2.1 setups. Some 2.1 models have higher-quality speakers than 5.1 models. A 5.1 will give you a more immersive surround sound effect but won’t be as cost-effect as a premium 2.1 system.
A Review For The Best Soundbars 2021 On The Market Today
We’ve made it simple to find the best soundbar for your needs. We picked 10 of the best models from top brands like Bose, JBL, and Polk Audio. Check our complete reviews below.
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System
The Bose Solo 5 is an ultra-compact soundbar which offers a decent stereo content. The audio reproduction is adequately excellent, but the bass is a bit lacking due to the lack of a wireless subwoofer. On the upside, this model could be the best soundbar for tv shows because it works well in highlighting the dialogue and making everything clear.
If you’re a minimalist, you’ll surely appreciate the all-black design of the Solo 5. The indicator lights are subtle enough to show you the current mode of this Bose unit. You can’t find any control buttons on the unit itself because all operations are done in the universal remote control.
We love the versatility of the remote because it allows you to control other equipment using IR codes. With the auto-wake feature, the Solo 5 turns itself on when it recognizes a sound source. This Bose soundbar offers Bluetooth connectivity, but it doesn’t provide NFC and HDMI connections.
- Superb sound quality for dialogues
- Compact and solid construction
- Versatile remote control
- Flexible placement- wall, shelf, etc
- Easy to set up
- Lacks bass
- Limited input options
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar
If you’re looking for strong bass performance, the Signa S2 is a great option. This compact soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer to provide a beautiful rich sound. It features a Dolby Digital Decoding feature to improve sound clarity, but it doesn’t compare to a real 5.1 surround sound quality.
The Signa S2 is the best soundbar for music because musical instruments are clear to hear, and vocals are very distinct. It’s safe to say that the subwoofer had done a remarkable job in this regard. For a media bar that comes with a subwoofer, Signa S2 offers a reliable performance at a price of under $200.
This Polk Audio model also performs reasonably well in movies. The front soundstage impresses us the most with clarity- you can hear the dialogue over the sound effects. However, this soundbar failed to offer any type of surround activity.
- Comes with a subwoofer
- Remarkable front soundstage
- Good bass performance
- Low profile design
- Offers an HDMI ARC input connectivity
- Lacks any surround activity
- The remote control is a bit hard to operate
JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar
The JBL Bar 5.1 almost perfects the real surround sound. With a subwoofer and multi-beam technology, this 5.1 soundbar attempts to drown the room with a theater-like experience. The bass capacities here are high, although it lacks some adjustable EQ choices.
This JBL model is the best soundbar for gaming because it uses Dolby Digital technologies, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS to improve sound effects. The highs and lows are exceedingly balanced. The dialogues are very clear that you can hear them over the loud sound effects.
As for music performance, you can expect some intense bass sounds. This soundbar could have been perfect if it offers more EQ settings. Although it’s not a huge deal to make some manual adjustments, you have to make your settings for films and music.
- Provides an immersive theater-like experience
- Clear, audible dialogues
- Has a nice bass for music
- 5.1 surround sound capability
- Easy to connect
- Lacks EQ settings
- Charging the speakers on the sound bar is a bit tiresome
Sonos Beam – Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built
Sonos Beam is a great way to improve your television’s sound quality and integrate Alexa to your room. Alexa can turn on/off your TV, plus everything else it can do. The five microphones on the Beam allow you to control the unit with your voice in the distance.
The Beam is the best soundbar for Sky Q because it’s compatible, and makes the audio sound better. Simply set Sky Q to Dolby Digital to get the 3.0 sound quality from Beam. You can mount or set it down in front of the television.
When you enable the Trueplay software feature, you can feel the room filling with sound. This software only works for iOS devices and not for Android at this time. Since the Beam doesn’t come with a subwoofer, expect the music to lack some deep bass.
- Packed with smart features
- Voice control capability
- Can fill a small room with sound
- Very simple to set up
- Clear, audible voice sounds
- Doesn’t come with a subwoofer
- The sound isn’t loud enough for more substantial rooms
Samsung 2.1 Soundbar HW-R550 with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth Compatible, Smart Sound Mode
The Samsung HW-R550 is the best soundbar for Samsung TV because both complement each other to provide exceptional audio performance. This 2.1 soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer to boost the bass sound. This package consists of a wall mounting kit so you can easily place the soundbar on your wall.
The HW-R550’s total frequency response is almost the same as some good bookshelf speakers out there. This Samsung soundbar can generate the most profound organ notes, though it lacks a bit of bass. We found that this unit offers magnificent sonic coverage for most television programs, film soundtracks, and music.
With Smart Sound Mode, the HW-R550 automatically scrutinizes the content and boosts the sound setting for the best output. This Samsung model may perform well with stereo content, but it won’t be the best choice for films as it doesn’t offer an immersive experience. Its bar is quite extensive (35.6 inches), so you might want to have a broader table to fit it together with the television.
- Excellent sound quality for stereo content
- Sounds good even at high volume
- Has a unique game mode setting for better sound effects
- Lightweight and solid construction
- Includes a wall mounting kit
- No Dolby Atmos support to deliver an immersive experience
- Subwoofer reproduces a weak bass
VIZIO 2.1 Sound Bar SB3621n-F8M with Wireless Subwoofer Bluetooth 100dB SPL DTS Virtual X
The Vizio SB3621n-F8M is an inexpensive soundbar set that comes with a subwoofer to improve your television speakers’ sound quality. Its height is only 2.1 inches, so it’s small enough to fit in various places. This size won’t also block the TV screen if you position it near your entertainment system.
This Vizio soundbar may not have an LED display panel, but it has some helpful LED lights to tell you the current settings. In the remote control, you can have the convenience of controlling the bass and treble levels to suit your taste. The inclusion of a subwoofer makes this unit closer to delivering a real surround sound.
Though the Dolby Technology and DTS won’t compare to Atmos, the SB3621n-F8M still offers a crystal clear dialogue and good sound effects. The upside of having a DTS Virtual X codec is that it can create a surround sound without actually having the surround speakers. This unit would have been better if it included some HDMI connections.
- Can produce sound as high as 100dB
- Features modern audio technology (DTS Virtual X, Dolby)
- Bass is more than adequate
- Dialogue and sound effects are clear
- Comes at a reasonable price
- No support for HDMI connections
- Remote is awkward to use
Sony HT-S350 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer: S350 2.1ch Sound Bar and Powerful Subwoofer
The Sony HT-S350 is the best soundbar for Sony TV because it instantly improves your TV speakers’ sound quality without breaking the bank. At around $280, this soundbar includes a wireless subwoofer to bring a subtle rumble to movies and music. The size of the soundbar is quite slim, but the subwoofer is massive.
The setup of the HT-S350 is effortless- simply connect it to the television via the HDMI ARC input. This soundbar system can get loud as expected, with its maximum power of 320 watts. Sony integrates a Voice mode to improve dialogue, but it gives a screeching sound when pitches go higher.
Out of all the seven sound modes, the Cinema mode delivers the most consistent results while the Game mode is best used for sports and gaming. The reproduced audio is quite dark-sounding though it helps movies sound a bit more immersive. This Sony model isn’t as good as other similar models in optimizing voice-oriented content and music.
- Has a loud sound for most usages
- Great soundstage
- Immersive cinema-like experience
- Powerful bass
- Offers many options for sound profile
- Produces a dark-sounding audio
- Limited connection inputs
Yamaha YAS-207BL Sound Bar
The Yamaha YAS-20BL is the first model to provide the DTS Virtual X feature for a more realistic surround sound. It’s the best soundbar for LG TV because it helps recreate the cinema thrill in your living room. With its 36.4 inch width, this soundbar complements most 55-inch televisions.
The YAS-20BL has an excellent audio output that will be perfect for bass-heavy music types, vocals, and dialogue content. The low-frequency extension can generate an adequately deep rumble, but it isn’t as good as premium models with more bass. The soundstage is relatively decent, and the volume can get quite loud, but the bass may produce some pumping remnants on the highest volume setting.
This Yamaha soundbar performs the best at a normal volume, resulting in a clean sound and good audio output fidelity. We like that this model offers all the inputs you need, such as HDMI and Bluetooth. It will have been better if it includes some bass adjustments.
- Features DTS Virtual X for a more immersive sound
- Reproduces clear vocals
- Offers an app control in case the remote won’t work
- Provides a full HDMI input connectivity
- Remote delivers a lot of useful controls
- Needs more bass
- The sound distorts on the maximum volume setting
VIZIO SB2920-C6 29-Inch Sound Bar
The Vizio SB2920-C6 is an inexpensive soundbar unit that offers some nice features comparable to more expensive models. This 29-inch soundbar is built with a Bluetooth connectivity to stream from smart devices, like laptops and smartphones. It comes with DTS Tru Volume to help minimize distractions when the volume fluctuates.
We like that this Vizio offers DTS to bring a more surround sound quality to its two channels. There is already a cable included making the set up easy to any 32-inch TV. This compact soundbar packs a 95 dB power, enough to fill a small room with a rich sound.
At this price point, the SB2920-C6 delivers a decent sound quality. It works well on stereo content but lacks in the bass department. Overall, the Vizio SB2920-C6 is an excellent soundbar that won’t hurt your budget.
- Slim and compact design
- Seamless Bluetooth connectivity
- Great audio quality
- Good value for money
- Remote allows adjustment for bass and treble
- Lacks bass
- Seems to have a reduced lifespan
Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbar, works with Alexa
The SoundTouch 300 offers an HDMI connectivity to bring a more vibrant sound to your television shows, movies, and music. It connects to Alexa so you can control this device by your voice. The high-quality glass and screen of metal wires make this unit look sleek and feel durable.
We love how this unit connects to Bluetooth and WiFi network because you can listen to your favorite music anytime. You can also control the music playlists via the SouthTouch app that works on your smartphone. As for the sound quality, it excels in reproducing a more vibrant sound in movies.
The voices and dialogue also come very clear with this soundbar unit. Although it’s not a real 5.1 system, you can still hear the sounds bouncing off your walls. You might want to get a better model if you have a Samsung TV because the ARC system on this soundbar has a hard time connecting.
- Compatible with Alexa
- Can connect to WiFi and ethernet
- Provides many connectivity options
- Dialogue comes out clear
- Music is quite loud and clear
- Compatibility issues, especially for Samsung TVs
- No subwoofer
How Do I Choose A Sound Bar For 2021?
One thing that you need to do when buying a soundbar is to know the features that you need. Before you buy a new soundbar for your TV, here are some essential things that you need to consider.
Sound Bar Types
The soundbar isn’t the only type to make your television sound enjoyable. Another option is to use a sound base built with speakers to improve your TVs audio quality. While both of these products provide a similar purpose, there are some distinctions.
- Sound Bars
A sound bar is a low-profile sound boosting unit that’s flexible enough to place on the wall, shelf, and above/below the TV. Most models come with a separate subwoofer to bring more bass to the sound quality.
Sound bars do stereo better than sound bases because the speakers are at a greater distance from each other. They’re wider than sound bases, and they provide a closer resemblance to a home theater experience. This type of setup can block your remote’s signal to the TV, so ensure no obstruction in the IR receptor.
- Sound Bases
Sound bases extend farther from front to back but narrower than soundbars. They’re generally built to fit under the television or on a shelf just below the TV. Compared to sound bars, sound bases don’t need a subwoofer because they already include larger bass drivers inside.
Sound bases might have more significant bass drivers, but they’re not as good as a standalone subwoofer. When it comes to audio, larger is always better.
Size is also a factor for sound bases. You need to make sure that the sound base is large enough to support your TV on top of it. When it comes to price, sound bases are generally more expensive than soundbars.
What To Look For
Channels, warranties, and placements are vital things that you need to consider when buying a new soundbar for your TV. You should get the right soundbar that will suit your preference.
- If Possible Test Them Out
Our reviews for the sound quality of each sound bar above might not be similar to your discretion. The quality of sound may be affected by a lot of things, like your room acoustics. Make sure that you’ll be satisfied with the sound bar’s sound quality and test it out in the store.
The best sound bars should offer high-quality audio, so movies and television will sound more thrilling. The dialogue should sound clear, so you’ll understand the story. You also need to look for versatile features so you can maximize the purpose of the sound bar.
- Decide How Many Channels You Want
You may think of channels as the number of speakers a sound bar has. The second digit entails the number of subwoofers the sound bar possesses. Generally speaking, more channels mean a more immersive sound effect.
A 2.1 channel soundbar has two speakers and a separate subwoofer to add more depth to the sound quality of music and movies. The perfect stereo output of this basic model is adequate for music and audio contents.
A 3-channel sound bar has three speakers on the right, left, and center. A 5-channel sound bar includes five speakers, which has been the standard of home theater experience. These multiple channel sound bars are perfect for video games and movies.
For a real surround sound effect, look for a multichannel soundbar with rear speakers. Some recent models may come with a Dolby Atmos feature to provide a better immersive sound effect.
- Consider Placement
You should avoid buying a very tall sound bar that will obstruct the remote’s signal to the TV. Always check the height dimensions if you want to place the media bar in front of your TV. The beauty of sound bars is that you can install them in a lot of ways.
If you have no space in your TV stand or shelf, hang the sound bar on the wall using brackets that come with the package. Where you place your television, and the amount of space area you can work around your TV may determine where you put the sound bar.
- Compare Warranties
A warranty is an excellent assurance that the manufacturer will replace or refund the sound bar when it’s defective. The typical warranty of sound bars is one year. The best brands provide more than a year of warranty to ensure confidence and durability.
In this review, the Polk Audio Signa S2 provides the most generous warranty at two years while the rest offer the basic one-year coverage.
Making The Connections
You’ll want multiple inputs to connect a variety of video and audio sources in your TV. Better sound bar models allow wireless content streaming.
Some sound bars offer more than one HDMI input and may integrate an HDMI output to the television. Look for HDMI-switching, so you can alternate between video source units. If you want the TV to transmit audio back to the sound bar, look for an HDMI ARC input.
The setup is straightforward with the HDMI ARC. With the HDMI cable, connect your sound bar to the ARC input of your TV. This type of connection is ideal for soundbars with multiple channels.
If your TV has limited inputs, you can solve it using an HDMI switcher. Consider looking for multiple HDMI inputs if you don’t want to route the audio-visual devices through the TV. For 4K TVs, ensure that the sound bar can get through 4K and HDR signals.
Some sound bars now provide movie streaming services straight to your TV. Some also allow you to listen to podcasts and access social networking sites for a better entertainment experience. Look for this feature if you don’t have a media player and your TV isn’t capable of this streaming service.
Many sound bars now offer Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you transmit music from your smartphone or any mobile device wirelessly to your sound bar speaker. This wireless connection makes music streaming very easy on your mobile phone or tablet. Plus, you can listen to music anywhere in your house.
Some models even support NFC to make the Bluetooth connection faster. Other models also allow you to transmit music from the sound bar to your Bluetooth compatible devices, like headphones.
Soundbars that offer a WiFi connectivity allows you to listen to Spotify and other online music services directly from your media bar. Some brands even provide an Ethernet jack to connect the sound bar to your home network. With your internet home network, you can stream anything from different online streaming sites, like Spotify or iTunes.
Wi-Fi provides a few improvements to Bluetooth. One upgrade is the ability to control the soundbar with voice control assistants, like Alexa. You can even listen to music in multiple rooms.
- Digital Audio Inputs
Typically, sound bars offer an optical or coaxial digital audio input and an analog stereo RCA or mini-jack inputs to connect them to your television and other devices. Recent models lean more on optical digital audio ports because they provide a simple and the most reliable connection. The only downside is that optical ports have no sufficient bandwidth to support a 5.1 signal.
When it comes to sound quality, a coaxial connection is better over an optical one. The reason is that a coaxial connection offers higher bandwidth. The main issue is the potential transmission of electrical noise.
Before USB inputs are only integrated for firmware updates, but now they can be updated through software. You want to have a USB input if you own a flash drive that stores all your favorite songs. Some models play high-resolution music files.
Is A Subwoofer Necessary?
Soundbars don’t necessarily need a subwoofer to work. A subwoofer makes an excellent addition to the soundbar system in reproducing low frequencies, like bass. A soundbar comes with speakers built inside the box to mimic the surround sound or produce a beautiful stereo effect.
Subwoofers prove to be useful when movie watching, gaming, and music streaming. Action movies with loud sound effects sound amazing with a subwoofer. The subwoofer significantly highlights the frequency range of video games.
A subwoofer might not be necessary when you live in a small apartment because this loudspeaker might overwhelm other speakers. Your neighbor next door might also find the noise annoying. If you’re only watching television shows, a subwoofer might be futile as it downs out the dialogue.
The subwoofer usually sits right next to the TV. Another way is to place a subwoofer at the back of the primary seating, corner, or raised area.
Price is undoubtedly a factor when you’re looking for the best sound bar. You don’t have to settle for the cheapest model in place of great features. Find a model that offers the best features at the most reasonable price.
The best soundbar of 2021 under 100 is the Vizio SB2920-C6 because it packs some great features, like Bluetooth and DTS, for your best experience. It may cost less, but it delivers a decent sound quality.
The best soundbar of 2021 under 200 is the Vizio SB3621n-F8M because it has functional specifications to fill a small room. It features DTS Virtual X to replicate the surround sound for the best movie experience.
The best soundbar of 2021 under 300 is the Bose Solo 5 because it’s compact, solid built, and offers an extraordinary audio content performance, like podcasts and television shows. Although it lacks a subwoofer, the quality of the speakers is impressive.
The best soundbar of 2021 under 500 is the JBL Bar 5.1 because it provides an immersive, cinema-like sound experience. It comes with a subwoofer that offers a great bass sound to the music.
FAQ (Frequently Ask Questions)
Are soundbars worth it?
Of course, soundbars are worth it because they give your TV better sound quality. In some circumstances, they provide a sweet sound for music and movies. You can find some friendly options for each budget.
Does soundbar size
The dimensions of the sound bar don’t matter. What matters most are the components inside that make the sound bar produce a better sound.
Is a soundbar better than speakers?
A soundbar is better than speakers in terms of price and setup. However, it’s not as flexible as the speakers when it comes to upgrades. Speakers, especially the home theater ones, offer a better sound quality than soundbars.
Is Sonos soundbar better than Bose?
No, Sonos has a reduced audio quality compared to Bose. Bose seems to offer a better surround sound than Sonos.
How much should I spend on a soundbar?
You can spend as scarcely as $100 to $1,000. The price range of many models is $200 to $600.
What size soundbar should I get for a 55 inch TV?
Get a soundbar with a length of 50 inches if your TV is 55 inches in size.
Is it valuable to get Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is worth spending the extra dollars because it helps create a more immersive listening effect. It offers additional height channels to improve the sound field past the horizontal area.
Which is a better connection for soundbar- optical or HDMI?
HDMI offers a better audio quality than optical. HDMI allows you to listen to a high-resolution sound, including Bluray formats and DTS.
Can I use HDMI and optical audio at the same time?
Echo may be produced when you use both optical and HDMI. You can, however, use both connections when you use a converter box.
We’re hoping you learned a lot about our reviews and guides for the best soundbar of 2021. Our evaluation for each soundbar model is based on several factors, like sound quality and connectivity. Our top pick is the Bose Solo 5 because it provides the best sound quality at a small package.
If you want more bass, the Polk Audio Signa S2 is the right choice. The JBL Bar 5.1 is also a great option if you’re going to have a pure surround sound for a rich theater-like experience. The Vizio SB2920-C6 is excellent for those who don’t want to spend more than $100.
You can always choose a soundbar, not from this list. Don’t get too overwhelmed with the details because no product is perfect. Consider your listening preferences more to get the best sound bar for your TV and mp3 music.
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Hi, I am Mark Andrew. Pro blogger. Love to research and write for my blog and of course love travel around also. Coffee Is my part of life.I have a fluffy cat. Her Name Is LUCCHI