You may have invested a pretty penny in a 1080p- or 4K-resolution TV that offers a really impressive picture quality. However, have you been thinking to yourself that the audio quality generated from the TV's small internal speakers leaves a lot to be desired? Well, simply by adding a soundbar to your TV, it's possible to dramatically improve sound quality. You can take the upgrade a step further by investing in a soundbar with a subwoofer. Or for a truly cinematic experience at home, go all out and invest in a complete surround sound system with a soundbar as its centerpiece.
Whichever option you choose, the audio that accompanies the immersive picture quality you've become accustomed to will finally do your favorite TV shows, sporting events and movies justice. The TV soundbars in this roundup are priced from less than $200 to around $1,700. Based on the size of your viewing space and TV, there are some really good quality TV soundbar options that are extremely affordable, like the Roku Streambar Pro. But, if you have a bigger budget and demand high quality audio, options like the Samsung Q910C or Sonos Arc will be the perfect addition to your TV.
Best TV soundbars for dramatically improving your TV's sound quality
When choosing a soundbar, it is not necessary to select one that comes from the same manufacturer as your television. In a few cases, staying with the same brand will offer some seamlessly integrated functions, but for the most part, any TV soundbar, from any manufacturer, will work with any TV with an HDMI port or Optical Audio connection. You'll simply need to reprogram your remote control to be able to control the TV and soundbar with the same device.
This roundup of what we believe to be the best TV soundbars offers options from Samsung, Vizio, Roku, Sonos, Polk, Bose and JBL. Any of them can enhance the audio quality of whatever you choose to watch on your TV, including all of your favorite streaming content.
Best TV soundbar overall: Samsung Q910C
Dimensions: 43.7 x 2.4 x 4.7 inches (soundbar) | Channels: 9.1.2 | Connections: HDMI, Digital Audio | Additional Equipment Included: Subwoofer, 2x rear speakers, remote | Supported Codecs: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Special Features: Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), Game Mode Pro, Adaptive Sound, Apple AirPlay 2, built in voice assistant
Samsung has done a really nice job over the past few years creating an impressive lineup of televisions and soundbars that can make creating an immersive home theater setup rather easy. The Q-Series Q910C is a 9.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos soundbar that comes bundled with a wireless subwoofer, two satellite speakers and a remote. While it can seamlessly be used with a Samsung TV, allowing users to enjoy Samsung's Q-Symphony sound, this sound system will work with any TV, from any manufacturer, that has Bluetooth capabilities or an HDMI or Optical Audio port.
As you'd expect from a higher-end TV surround sound system with a soundbar as its centerpiece, the Q910C is able to generate room-filling sound that self calibrates to the room it's in using a feature Samsung calls SpaceFit SoundPro. Combine this with Dolby Atmos support that generates incredibly clear and lifelike sound and you'll be drawn into whatever you're watching. To reduce cable clutter, the Q910C can function almost entirely wirelessly. Yes, there's a power cord, but the connection between the TV, soundbar and satellite speakers can all be handled wirelessly.
And speaking of wireless, if you're an Apple user, it's possible to stream audio content from your Mac, iPhone or iPad using AirPlay. And for gamers, the Q910C supports Samsung's Game Mode Pro and generates 3D sound in conjunction with many of your favorite games. Another nice feature is called Active Voice Amplifier (AVA), which does a nice job making all dialogue sound extra clear, even when music and sound effects are also playing. We chose the Q910C as our top pick because it's a fairly priced, complete surround sound system that's centered around a soundbar. It generates high-quality, clear and authentic sounding audio.
- You get a complete surround sound system, with a subwoofer and rear speakers.
- You can enjoy 9.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos sound.
- It includes Q-Symphony support when connected with a Samsung TV.
- The soundbar analyzes the environment and adapts the sound in real time.
- The Active Voice Amplifier ensures dialogue is not drowned out by music or sound effects, so it's easier to understand.
- Chromecast support is not included.
- This soundbar does not support 4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough or VRR.
Best budget TV soundbar: Vizio V Series V5.1 H6
Dimensions: 36 x 3.2 x 2.2 inches (soundbar) | Channels: 5.1 | Connections: HDMI, Optical Audio | Additional Equipment Included: 5 inch wireless subwoofer, 2x rear speakers, remote | Supported Codecs: Dolby Audio 5.1, DTS:X, DTS TruVolume | Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth | Special Features: Supports Bluetooth streaming, complete surround sound system, low profile design, remote has a digital display with preset EQ modes and voice assistant support
Vizio has proven that you don't need to spend a fortune to purchase a quality soundbar for your TV to enhance the audio quality of whatever you choose to watch. In fact, for around $200, you can get your hands on this Vizio V-Series 5.1 home theater soundbar. It comes with a five inch wireless subwoofer and two detachable speakers that can be used as battery powered rear speakers to complete the surround sound listening experience.
No, you don't get Dolby Atmos support and the sound quality is not the same as you'd get from a high-end system, but for someone on a budget, the Vizio V-Series 5.1 does improve the sound quality you'll hear compared to most speakers built into TVs thanks to DTS Virtual X support. After all, with this system you get a total of six speakers. All you need is a single HDMI cable to connect the soundbar to your TV.
When the satellite speakers remain connected to the soundbar, you get powerful audio, but it's when you detach the two satellite speakers and place them behind you, that the true surround sound kicks in. One nice feature of the Vizio V-Series 5.1 is that it comes with a backlit remote that includes a small digital display on the front. From your smartphone, it's also possible to stream music or audio wirelessly to the Vizio V-Series 5.1 using Bluetooth.
- Enjoy a complete surround sound system with a soundbar, subwoofer and two rear speakers.
- Hear the intensity of the immersive sound thanks to Dolby Audio 5.1, DTS:X and DTS TruVolume support.
- The remote has a digital display and offers preset EQ modes for movies, games and more.
- There's no Dolby Atmos support.
- Overall sound quality is decent, but there are better options available, that cost more money.
Best value TV soundbar: Roku Streambar Pro
Dimensions: 32.2 x 2.8 x 3.9 inches | Channels: 2.0 | Connections: HDMI, Optical Audio, USB 2.0 | Additional Equipment Included: Voice remote | Supported Codecs: Dolby Audio, HDR10, PCM | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet (adapter required) | Special Features: Supports Apple AirPlay, Apple HomeKit, Alexa and Google Home, comes with a voice control remote that has a built in 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening, Roku smartphone app can serve as an alternate remote, generates virtual surround sound, Roku TV streaming capabilities built in, easily expandable with an optional Roku subwoofer and rear speakers (sold separately)
We selected the Roku Streambar Pro as our pick for best value TV soundbar because for the price (around $180 on Amazon), you get truly high-quality audio without needing a subwoofer. However, Roku does offer an optional subwoofer and rear speakers you can add at any time to create a full surround sound system.
There are two unique things about this Roku soundbar. First, it has integrated Roku streaming capabilities, so you get easy access to Roku's smart TV functionality that allows you to access all of the popular streaming services (including the free Roku Channel) even if the TV the soundbar is connected to is not a smart TV. Also, the included voice remote allows you to control your TV and the soundbar. Plus, if you want a private viewing/listening experience, it's possible to connect wired headphones directly to the remote. Or, if you want to circumvent using the Roku remote, the Roku app can be used to control the soundbar wirelessly from your smartphone.
The biggest reason to add the Roku Streambar Pro to your TV is for its sound quality. It's comparable to what you get from soundbars costing three to four times as much and that are more difficult to set up and then use.
- Roku streaming capabilities are built into the soundbar, so it can transform any TV into a smart TV or give a smart TV RokuTV OS streaming capabilities.
- Enjoy impressive, room-filling sound equivalent in quality to soundbars that are considerably more expensive.
- The Roku Voice Remote has a built-in 3.5mm audio jack, so wired headphones can be plugged in for private listening.
- With no subwoofer, the bass is not as powerful as it could be.
Best premium soundbar: Sonos Arc
Dimensions: 45 x 4.5 x 3.4 inches | Channels: 5.0.2 | Connections: HDMI, Ethernet, Optional Audio (adapter included) | Additional Equipment Included: Power and HDMI cable | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Special Features: Supports Apple AirPlay 2, modern design with rounded edges, adjusts to the acoustics of the room, functions with the Sonos mobile app, soundbar has integrated touch controls and voice support, additional Sonos speakers and a subwoofer can be added
Sonos is one of the most respected home speaker brands in the world, so it makes sense that the company would develop a soundbar that's compatible with almost any TV and that's capable of upgrading the sound that TV produces. The Sonos Arc is a stand-alone soundbar that offers a low-profile design with elegant rounded edges. However, what people appreciate most about the Arc is its ability to produce realistic sounding spatial audio without requiring a full surround sound system. This is done using up-firing drivers integrated into the soundbar that fire sound in all directions throughout a room.
Of course, you have the option of upgrading your Arc with a Sonos subwoofer and rear speakers at any time if you want to truly be surrounded by audio. And because all Sonos speakers have the ability to work together, the Arc can become part of a whole-home audio system that's controlled using the Sonos mobile app or voice commands. There are even touch controls built into the soundbar itself.
The Arc connects to a TV using an HDMI cable, but also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, along with AirPlay 2. Using the Sonos app, you're able to turn on the Speech Enhancement feature which works particularly well when watching movies, for example, allowing you to better hear the dialogue during scenes that also contain music and/or sound effects. To ensure the audio from the Arc sounds good in whatever room you set it up in, the soundbar can take advantage of the microphones built into an iPhone to calibrate and optimize the soundbar's EQ based on its surroundings.
- The soundbar's sleek design is unobtrusive.
- Enjoy more immersive audio with Dolby Atmos support.
- Experience a wide soundstage and dynamic sound.
- It doesn't feature DTS or DTS:X support.
- It doesn't have an HDMI passthrough.
- It does not offer Bluetooth streaming.
Best small TV soundbar: Sonos Bean Gen 2
Dimensions: 25.63 x 3.94 x 2.72 inches | Channels: 3.0 | Connections: HDMI, Ethernet | Additional Equipment Included: Power and HDMI cable | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Stereo PCM, DTS | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Special Features: Apple AirPlay 2 support, soundbar has integrated touch controls, voice support via Sonos, Google Assistant and Alexa
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is physically smaller than the Arc (measuring 25.63 inches long), but it incorporates much of the same audio technology. In other words, the Beam is able to generate spatial audio to make the sound from TV shows, movies and sporting events, for example, seem like it's surrounding you–-without the need for a subwoofer and rear speakers. And just like the Arc, the Beam offers Dolby Atmos support.
In addition to using the touch controls integrated into the soundbar itself, Beam can be controlled using the Sonos app or voice commands. The soundbar also supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay 2. Plus, the Beam can be used in conjunction with all other Sonos speakers located throughout your home. But if you want your TV to generate true surround sound with rich bass, you're able to add a Sonos subwoofer and rear-speakers to the soundbar (which are sold separately).
Beam is suitable for smaller size TVs (65 inches or smaller) and works best in a small- to mid-sized room, such as a living room or bedroom. If you're looking to fill a larger space with immersive audio, go with the Sonos Arc instead, as it's larger and more powerful, yet offers the same core collection of higher-end components and features. Built into the Beam are five Class-D digital amplifiers, three passive radiators, one center tweeter and four elliptical mid woofers. Using the Sonos mobile app, you're able to manually adjust the bass, treble and loudness, plus activate the soundbar's Speech Enhancement feature.
- Enjoy a wide soundstage and powerful sound from a smaller size soundbar.
- Use the Sonos app to activate features like Speech Enhancement for clearer dialogue, especially when music or sound effects are also playing.
- The Sonos app offers adjustable EQ for bass treble and loudness.
- The soundbar easily pairs with other Sonos speakers and/or a subwoofer (sold separately).
- It lacks powerful bass since there's no subwoofer.
- The maximum volume is not terribly loud.
Best soundbar for 55-Inch (or Smaller) TVs: Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX
Dimensions: 14.4 x 4.1 x 3.1 inches (soundbar) | Channels: 3.1 | Connections: HDMI, Optical Audio, AUX | Additional Equipment Included: Wireless subwoofer, remote, HDMI cable | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, PCM, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos True HD, DTS, DTS HD | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Special Features: Google Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2 and Spotify Connect supported
Ideal for smaller size rooms, the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX offers a smaller soundbar that's able to generate really big (as well as crisp and clear) sound, in conjunction with its included wireless subwoofer. This soundbar supports a wide range of audio codecs, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Polk's own 3D audio technology, so the soundbar is able to generate spatial audio without needing rear speakers.
This is also one of the few soundbars to support Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. This means you can wirelessly stream audio content from your iOS or Android mobile device directly to the soundbar. The soundbar itself connects to your TV via an HDMI, Optical Audio or AUX cable and is Roku TV ready.
When you're watching content in which hearing clear dialogue is essential, simply activate the VoiceAdjust feature. This utilizes the soundbar's center speaker to enhance the level and clarity of voices without affecting the rest of the audio that's being presented. Using the included remote, you can also easily switch between a handful of audio presents. While the sound quality, size and design of the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX soundbar is truly impressive, our biggest complaint is the size of the included wireless subwoofer. It measures 15.6 x 14.6 x 7.2 inches and is designed to be placed on the ground, away from the soundbar.
- Experience room filling sound from a compact soundbar.
- The movie mode transforms audio to virtual 360-degree surround sound.
- The VoiceAdjust feature makes sure all dialogue is clear, without interfering with the rest of the audio.
- You can activate one-touch audio presets using the remote.
- This soundbar works with any size TV, but it's better with a smaller TV in a small- to mid-sized room.
- Its virtual spatial audio is not as robust as it could be.
- It does not include integrated up-firing speakers
Best soundbar for 65-Inch (or larger) TVs: Bose Smart Soundbar 900
Dimensions: 41.4 x 4.21 x 2.29 inches | Channels: 5.1.2 | Connections: HDMI, Optional Audio | Additional Equipment Included: Remote, HDMI cable, optical audio cable | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, TrueSpace | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Special Features: AirPlay 2, Chromecast and Spotify Connect supported, control sound using the Bose Music app, voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa, works nicely with optional Bose speakers and subwoofer
You probably know, Bose is a designer and manufacturer of high end home audio speakers, as well as popular noise canceling headphones and earbuds. In fact, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are among our absolute favorites. When it comes to TV soundbars, you simply can't go wrong with the company's high-end Bose Smart Soundbar 900. This is a stand-alone soundbar, but it's compatible with Bose subwoofers and rear-speakers that can be purchased separately to create a true surround sound system.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 supports Dolby Atmos and features two up-firing dipole speakers designed by Bose. These work with Bose's TrueSpace spatial audio processing to generate audio that seems like it virtually surrounds you. Not only does this soundbar have a modern and sophisticated appearance, it's also packed with technology, including support for Google Assistant and Alexa. And the Voice4Video feature automatically enhances dialogue to ensure it sounds crystal clear. The soundbar connects to a TV using a single wired (HDMI or Optical Audio) connection, but then supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect, making it easy to stream audio from other devices to be heard through the soundbar.
Using the Bose Music app, your smartphone can be used to control the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, although it also accepts voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. One cool feature is that from your TV (and the soundbar) it's possible to make and receive Internet-based calls and communicate with other users of Bose smart speakers (or Alexa-compatible smart speakers and home hubs), without needing a smartphone. Ultimately, there's a lot to like about the Bose Smart Soundbar 900, regardless of what type of TV you plan to connect it to.
- This soundbar delivers wide and rich audio that includes the use of up-firing transducers that help to generate a virtual 360-degree audio experience.
- It utilizes an impressive design that is aesthetically pleasing and slim.
- The soundbar works in conjunction with Bose wireless headphones or earbuds for private listening.
- It does not produce true surround sound.
- The bass is not as rich and deep as it could be (unless you add a subwoofer).
Best soundbar with surround sound system: Bose Premium Home Theater System
Dimensions: 41.14 x 4.21 x. 2.29 inches (subwoofer) | Channels: 5.1.2 | Connections: HDMI, Optical Audio | Additional Equipment Included: Bose Bass Module 700 wireless subwoofer, HDMI cable, power cable | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, TrueSpace | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Special Features: Control the soundbar using the Bose Music smartphone app, add optional rear speakers for true surround sound
The Bose Premium Home Theater System starts with a Bose Smart Soundbar 900 and bundles it with a popular and powerful Bass Module 700 wireless subwoofer, which adds a powerful level of bass to whatever you're watching. This combo of Bose audio products works nicely with any TV and is able to fill an average to larger size room with impressive sound. And for a true surround sound listening experience, you can add a pair of Bose surround speakers (sold separately).
Even without the addition of surround speakers, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is able to generate 360-degree spatial audio that takes full advantage of Dolby Atmos. The soundbar itself utilizes nine speakers to create multi-directional, room filling sound that can be customized using the Bose Music app. While it's a tad on the expensive side, the Bose Premium Home Theater System lives up to its "premium" name.
There are less expensive Bose soundbars, including the Bose Smart Soundbar 300, Smart Soundbar 600 and Smart Soundbar 700, as well as the lower cost Bose Bass Module 500 wireless subwoofer, but the combination of the company's top-of-the-line soundbar and subwoofer make a really fine combination that works nicely with any size TV.
- The soundbar and subwoofer combo provide an enjoyable and cinematic listening experience.
- You get adjustable bass and treble for customized sound.
- It supports Dolby Atmos content.
- It's a bit on the expensive side, especially since just the soundbar and subwoofer (Bass Module) are included, with no rear speakers.
- No remote control included, but it can be remotely controlled using the Bose Music smartphone app.
Best soundbar for spatial audio: JBL Bar 1300X
Dimensions: 54.2 x 2.4 x 5.5 inches (subwoofer) | Channels: 11.1.4 | Connections: HDMI, Optical Audio, USB | Additional Equipment Included: 12 inch wireless subwoofer, 2x battery powered removable speakers | Supported Codecs: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X | Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Special Features: Apple AirPlay and Chromecast support, PureVoice dialogue enhancement technology, gain additional control using the JBL One smartphone app, Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant support
The JBL Bar 1300X is considered a high-end soundbar and it's priced accordingly. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and remote. What sets it apart, however, is that on either end of the soundbar itself is a removable, battery powered speaker. When the soundbar and two speakers are connected, you can enjoy powerful, rich and extra-loud virtual 3D sound that emanates from in front of where you're sitting.
However, when you disconnect the two battery powered speakers and position them behind you, the JBL Bar 1300X offers a true surround sound. Each speaker's rechargeable battery will last for up to 12 hours of continuous use and will automatically recharge when connected back with the soundbar. With support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and JBL's own MultiBeam technology, the audio from whatever you're watching will sound lifelike, immersive and extremely clear.
Thanks to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 support, you're able to wirelessly stream audio content to the JBL Bar 1300X from any compatible device. In all, you get 1,170 watts of audio power and rich bass that emanates from the 12-inch wireless subwoofer. And because the JBL Bar 1300X offers HDMI eARC with 4K Dolby Vision passthrough, you get to hear uncompressed Dolby Atmos surround sound through the single HDMI eARC connection between the TV and sound system. Meanwhile, you can customize the audio using the JBL One mobile app's custom EQ feature.
- Two battery powered speakers detach from the main soundbar to generate a wider and more immersive sound stage with true surround sound.
- It generates up to 1,170 watts of audio power.
- Experience spatial audio with really impressive and deep bass.
- It's the longest soundbar featured in this lineup.
- It does not include HDMI 2.1 support.
- With an up to 12-hour battery life, the satellite speakers need to be charged often.
Related Content from CBS Essentials
for more features.