12 Major Soundbar Brands Ranked Worst To Best

Flat-screen TVs are, on the whole, a giant leap forward in home entertainment. We no longer have to give up much of our living space to accommodate an unsightly, boxy appliance that commands attention in any room. Yet when it came to space-saving, attractive televisions, a significant compromise had to be made for sound quality, and this is where the soundbar comes in.

Accurate sound reproduction demands the acoustic properties of more prominent speakers, and, for the most part, the slimline cones in flat-screen units don't cut it. The soundbar is an essential addition to any home theater setup, and it provides better audio clarity across a broader frequency spectrum, especially when combined with an accompanying subwoofer.

Here, we take a deep dive into the biggest soundbar brands and how they compare according to their products' sound quality, value for money, features, and functionality. In this instance, it is necessary to consider a wide range of models to suit different consumer budgets, requirements, and technical elements, such as frequency responses, audio processing, mobile connectivity, and the materials used in their construction. Let's jump right in.

12. LG

South Korea is famous for many things, including its fried chicken, soju liquor, pop music, and consumer electronics companies. LG is one such company that produces affordable yet high-quality soundbars. While its systems couldn't be described as audiophile-quality, they significantly upgrade any flat-panel TV for those who don't wish to spend a small fortune.

Its soundbar products include Google Assistant functionality, wireless subwoofers, HDMI ARC connectivity, and various audio channels such as 3.1, 5.1, and 7.1 surround sound. They are also compatible with the excellent LG Magic Remote line of control units, some of the most intuitive and versatile with their voice recognition technology and gesture commands. 

In short, while it is by no means the best soundbar manufacturer, the fact that it made this ranking places LG among the top brands, and with models such as the LG P9YA offering 5.1 surround-sound, and Dolby Atmos compatibility for under $300, it is one of the best budget options going.

11. Yamaha

First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that Yamaha invented the "digital sound projector," the YSP-1 soundbar, which brought us the first authentic 5.1 surround sound. So it's with little surprise that the Japanese giant known for its wide variety of products, encompassing the musical instrument, automotive, and pro audio sectors, gets a nod here.

Yamaha soundbars are recognizable for their unique curvy styling. They are also among the most affordable in this ranking, with their modestly-priced YAS-209 costing as little as $230, including a subwoofer and Alexa voice control functionality. While this unit will not provide a fully-immersive sound like more expensive units, it is a small price to pay for a vast improvement on your television's built-in audio. 

Yet for a few dollars more at $250, you can opt for the versatile and compact SR-C30A with Bluetooth connectivity, Yamaha's Adaptive Low Volume and Clear Voice sound enhancement features, and a wireless subwoofer. While it won't be getting much love from audiophile publications this year, Yamaha is still a key player within the soundbar category. This brand demands some attention from buyers shopping on a budget.

10. Samsung

This ubiquitous South Korean brand needs no introduction, and its extensive catalog of soundbars ranges from a few hundred dollars to almost two thousand for its flagship Q990C unit. When synced with a Samsung TV, they can provide an immersive experience, thanks to front, side, and up-firing speakers, which blend with the TV's sound using the new Q Symphony feature.

Key features that many Samsung soundbars offer include advanced audio technologies, such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos spatial audio processing, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. They can be configured via the Samsung SmartThings app for convenience. It's worth remembering that soundbars can be used as standalone Bluetooth speakers for mobile devices, so connectivity is undoubtedly something that should be a consideration, especially if you like to stream music and podcasts around the house without going into your TV's menu or signing into your accounts there.

Unfortunately, some features of Samsung soundbars, such as the "Tap Sound" activation function, only work if you have a Samsung phone, but this is more of a novelty than a requirement. All in all, Samsung delivers a quality line of products, including slimline soundbars, all-in-one soundbars, and premium soundbars. If you have a Samsung TV, it might be the best option for compatibility alone.

9. Sony

As another brand that offers a wide range of models to suit all budgets, Sony soundbars represent excellent value for money. Its flagship products deliver crisp audio across a broad frequency spectrum with exceptional clarity. Still, it also has basic offerings that are perfectly acceptable to boost your TV's existing sound quality. As with Samsung, you can expect a reassuring build quality from Sony as it designs its gear to last and offers many features and functions to suit all home entertainment configurations.

Sony makes soundbar systems with 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, and 7.1 channel options (the .1 refers to a low-frequency channel – usually an external subwoofer). Generally speaking, the more channels you have, the richer the sound. However, certain factors like room size and speaker placement are essential for achieving the optimal sonic experience. 5.1 surround sound is the most commonly used configuration for home cinema setups. For most people, this is more than fit for purpose, with 7.1 systems usually reserved for those looking for detailed depth and clarity that encompasses distances and directions.

Additionally, Sony offers a range of sound technologies within its soundbars, including 360 Reality Audio, 360 Spatial Sound Mapping, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Sound Field Optimization, and Vertical/Front Surround. From the options available, we can clearly see that much research and development has gone into how Sony's soundbars achieve their excellent sound reproduction.

8. Denon

Denon has been a big name among hi-fi enthusiasts for decades, so it makes sense that they branched out into home cinema systems. It currently makes some of the best value-for-money soundbars in various sizes to suit your home theater setup. They are among the most versatile, with some models supporting Dolby Atmos 3D spatial audio and a range of voice commands and input/output options.

With its history rooted in home audio systems, it's no surprise that Denon focuses on audio streaming for its soundbar range. This is apparent from the inclusion of HEOS Built-In technology on its flagship Sound Bar 550 model, which syncs with smart devices to provide direct high-resolution audio streaming. There is also a HEOS companion app to make life easier for you when configuring and controlling your soundbar. Additionally, much of the range has Alexa voice command functionality to switch volume, EQ levels, and even input sources without lifting a finger.

Denon's soundbar range is limited, with five options and just two that include wireless subwoofers, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. For example, the compact DHT-S217 has Dolby Atmos and built-in subwoofers for under $250, making it ideal for those looking to streamline their home theater setup without compromising sound quality.

7. JBL

JBL is a pioneering firm that has lately made great waves in the home audio industry, established over 75 years ago. Known for its professional-level products, the company created music production speakers, Cinema systems, DJ gear, PA systems, and in-car audio.

JBL offers an extensive range of soundbars that are well-designed with valuable features. Its top-of-the-range BAR 1300 model boasts impressive 11.1.4 surround capabilities with Dolby Atmos and innovative detachable wireless satellite speakers. These internal batteries charge from the central soundbar unit and can be placed behind the viewer to achieve the system's fully-immersive potential. It also has multiple connectivity options, with AirPlay, Alexa MRM, and Chromecast built-in. The detachable units can also be used as independent wireless speakers or paired for stereo sound when used independently.

Such innovation and remarkable functionality make JBL stand out among its peers in the soundbar sector. The sheer amount of choice makes it hard not to consider JBL an option when shopping for a soundbar setup. While JBL soundbars are a little more expensive than similar-spec alternatives, you can pick up the entry-level BAR Studio 2.0 for as little as $140.

6. Bose

Bose has long been an innovator in all things audio and is known for its small-scale products that provide big sound. This innovation extends to its soundbar sector, with smart models offering cinema-quality sound without an additional subwoofer. This brand focuses on quality over quantity, with a small but wide-ranging product line that caters to most home theater requirements.

At the entry-level end of the range is its succinctly-named Bose TV Speaker. For $279, this does exactly as you'd expect by boosting your TV's audio performance with a compact Roku-ready soundbar with its own remote and Bluetooth connectivity. Going further up the ranking are models such as the Smart Soundbar 600, which has Dolby Atmos and Alexa voice command functionality. While these models are known to produce a satisfying bass response, Bose does give you the option to buy its Bass Module woofer and satellite speakers as extras.

Or you can spend $2,347 on the Bose Premium Home Theater system, complete with the nine-speaker Smart Soundbar 900, Bass Module 700, and Surround Speakers 700. While this impressive system has all the voice command functionality, Dolby Atmos 360-degree sound, and connectivity options that you'd expect from a flagship model from a premium brand, its fit and finish capture the eye, with the use of glass and Bose's OmniJewel surface making this plush bundle stand out from the rather monolithic crowd.

5. Sonos

Sonos is one of the original trailblazers in wireless home entertainment. Its smart soundbars are just a part of the Sonos experience. Multiple speakers around the home are connected via the companion app to provide a truly immersive sonic experience wherever you happen to be. Sonos soundbars are available in three models, starting with the entry-level Sonos Ray, then the midrange Sonos Beam (Gen 2), with the top-of-the-range Sonos Arc completing the set.

While each soundbar that Sonos creates represents excellent build quality and exceptional sound, the midrange Beam (Gen 2) is making waves in hi-fi circles as one of the most impressive systems the brand has produced and one of the best-quality soundbars for the money. Retailing at just under $500, this compact Dolby-Atmos-equipped soundbar has five speaker arrays that combine to deliver theater-quality surround sound in a compact chassis that won't clutter your television stand. As with all Sonos products, it integrates into your wireless multi-room setup, but even as a standalone unit, it is an excellent product. However, it does lack DTS:X, meaning it requires satellite speakers to shine.

Other offerings to augment your sound include the third-generation Sonos Sub subwoofer that bottoms out at 25 Hz and multiple packages, such as the Surround Set, Entertainment Set, and Immersive Set, each with different satellite speakers and subwoofer configurations. If you are keen on a house-wide network of wireless sound systems, then Sonos is likely the solution you are looking for, provided it suits your budget.

4. Klipsch

While Klipsch soundbars may look similar, with two horns bookending a long mesh grille, they each have different features to suit various audio solutions. This company uses some of the best materials, such as fiber composite woofers and hand-finished exotic woods, to bring you an artisan product that looks as good as it sounds. Yet, many have not even heard of this premium brand founded in Arkansas back in 1946.

The idea behind the Klipsch Cinema 600 was to take the ideology that informed its high-end reference speakers and apply it to its soundbars, which is a good starting point. The result is a 5.1 surround sound system that is intuitive and powerful. You can control its multiple settings via the Klipsch Connect app, which includes six speaker presets, so you are out of the gate straight away.

Klipsch provides few frills in its product line. Their entire range only extends to 5.1 surround with Dolby Atmos on its more premium models, but a more modest product, when made well, can best even the most technical offerings from the best-known brands, and this is where Klipsch has succeeded.

3. Vizio

California-based Vizio designs some of the most visually appealing soundbars, provided you are a fan of the color black. It also has one of the most impressive ranges of soundbars available right now; they sound great and are competitively priced, leaving us wondering whether there's a catch.

One of the latest additions to the Vizio Soundbar Catalog is its M-Series AiO model, which, with its trapezoidal profile and fabric grille, is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, with buttons that are concealed well out of the way at the side and a 2.13-inch height that will enable it to slide effortlessly under most TV stands. However, despite its advertised DTS:X decoding, the AiO falls a little short in the 3D sound department. It does, however, include onboard "subwoofers" that, while not as effective as the real thing, add enough bottom end to embellish your viewing experience far beyond the capabilities of a regular TV's speakers.

If you want to go the full distance, Vizio has enough in its range to satisfy the most ardent audiophile, from compact soundbars to complete home theater and immersive bundles that leave little to be desired. In summary, anyone serious about home entertainment should have Vizio on their list of considerations for their ultimate in-house setup.

2. Sennheiser

Sennheiser has long been a significant player in the pro-audio industry. Its soundbars live up to this well-earned reputation, provided you are prepared to pay pro-audio prices. But this ranking is for the best soundbars, not the best-priced, and, as is often the case, German engineering shines as being among the best products within any given category.

One such product that is more than worthy of mention is Sennheiser's Ambeo Soundbar | Max, which likely produces the biggest sound for a standalone soundbar available today. Most notably, it offers bass frequencies as low as 30Hz from its integrated subwoofer, so if floor space is a point for consideration, this slimline all-in-one solution could be just what you're looking for. 

While it is compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H audio processing, the Ambeo utilizes its own Upmix Technology to convert any stereo or 5.1 audio into 3D sound. In addition, its Advanced Room Calibration tailors sound to your living space, giving you a bespoke experience that is hard to beat in home theater terms, making Sennheiser among the most innovative and progressive brands currently producing soundbars.

1. Polk Audio

While it may not be the most well-known brand in this ranking, the Polk Audio company is focused purely on speakers. Its product line extends to home speakers, built-in speakers, outdoor speakers, and car and marine speakers, plus they make excellent, reasonably-priced soundbars. From its more affordable Signa range to its premium Magnifi line of soundbars, there is something here to satisfy everyone and every budget.

Polk's flagship Magnifi Max AX SR bundle features everything that a premium soundbar should, including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos processing and Polk's patented SDA technology to deliver near-perfect sound reproduction in glorious 7.1 surround. It features an 11-speaker array to ensure that no syllable is clipped and every frequency, from deep bass to the highest registers, is accounted for.

Yet you don't have to spend a fortune to purchase one of Polk's top-tier products, with models like the Signa S4D delivering Dolby Atmos 3D sound for as little as $279. Polk Audio's comprehensive and affordable range allows buyers to own a high-quality home theater setup without having to delve too deep into their pockets or feel obliged to opt for audio quality that is surplus to their requirements. After all, most people will settle for anything notably better than their current TV speakers, and Polk's soundbar products go far above and beyond this.