Building a home theater is pretty easy — tap or click here to get a great projector on any budget — tap or click here for a great TV in your price range. But for a truly theatrical experience, you need great sound on top of great visuals.
Soundbars are an excellent option to get that great quality, as they can improve the sound on any TV or projector. They’re also much more affordable than getting speakers, subwoofers, or separate A/V receivers for your home theater.
Below, we have listed our favorite soundbars for a variety of circumstances and budgets. Read on to find the best one for you, and make your home theater better than ever!
Best budget models
You don’t need to spend a small fortune for a great soundbar. The VIZIO SB2920-C6 gives you 95 dB of “crystal clear” sound, which is plenty to fill up a room. For less than $100, that’s great quality for the price.
You can connect your TV or projector to it with wires, or via Bluetooth. This means you can also connect your computer or phone to the soundbar, and play music as well as audio from movies and TV shows.
The TCL Alto 7+ is another great budget speaker. This one is 36” long, so it pairs well with large TVs or big rooms that you’re trying to fill with your home theater sound.
The TCL Alto 7+ has to connect to a TV or projector with a wire — no Bluetooth here. But with its flexible wiring options, it’s just as easy to set up as the VIZIO, and it comes with a built-in subwoofer, so its sound is richer and better for many spaces.
Big name brand for a small price
Perhaps you like to buy brand name products so you can be more certain of their quality. When it comes to speakers and soundbars, Bose is a brand you’re sure to come across, though you’ll see early that they tend to be expensive.
There is, however, a relatively inexpensive soundbar from Bose that will pair nicely with any screen you have — the Bose Solo 5. At under $200, this is one of the most affordable Bose products you can get.
At just 3.73 lbs., it’s nice and light, and it has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use a number of devices with it. With its dialogue mode, words spoken come out cleaner and crisper, and its universal remote lets you control it and your TV at the same time.
Perhaps the price is a little much just for a brand name, or perhaps you’d rather get a nicer Bose product if you’re buying one. But for a budget-friendly brand name soundbar, the Bose Solo 5 is an excellent choice.
Soundbar with a side of streaming player
If you don’t have a smart TV, but want to watch the vast movie and TV libraries of Netflix and Hulu in your home theater set up, you just need a streaming device. Tap or click here to find which streaming device is best for you.
Or, kill two birds with one stone, and get a soundbar that can stream to your TV or projector. Specifically, get the Roku Smart Soundbar.
It can stream in 4K quality while giving you an expanded frequency range and dynamic bass sound. With seamless audio syncing, it gives you one of the best chances of having a cinematic experience at home.
With voice control and simple set up, the Roku Smart Soundbar is worth its price tag and more. If you already have a Roku or an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you may not need this speaker, but if you don’t, it’s definitely a great investment.
Perfect for small spaces
You may feel you don’t have enough room in your home for a home theater set up. The truth is, even the smallest rooms can be a wonderful home theater, especially with an addition like the Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Home Theater Surround Sound Bar.
At just 13.4 inches wide and 4.3 inches tall, the MagniFi Mini can fit on a ton of small surfaces yet still deliver a big sound. With a built-in wireless subwoofer, the soundbar fills any space with audio, but a smaller space even more so.
We’re hitting a pricier range on our list, but the MagniFi Mini is quite versatile thanks to its size and audio capabilities. You won’t regret getting one, particularly if you want to have a lot of room on your TV stand.
Add some rear speakers
It’s great to have a powerful soundbar at the front of your home theater space. For an experience that best mimics a movie theater, though, you’ll want rear speakers as well.
The Samsung HW-T450 Acoustic Beam T Series Soundbar comes with rear speakers, which connect along with your soundbar to your TV or projector via Bluetooth. With all the speakers going, you get audio that literally surrounds you.
Couple this with the HW-T450’s powerful bass and its game mode makes your games sound better than ever, this can take your home theater to the next level. It’s pretty reasonably priced too.
The shape and size of your home theater space may come into play here. You can mount each speaker and the soundbar to walls, but if you don’t want to do that, or can’t, it may be difficult to place everything for optimal sound.
Still, not having to buy rear speakers separately if you can accommodate them is a great thing. And it can seriously make your home viewing experience more cinematic, so keep the HW-T450 in mind if you want to upgrade your TV binging.
A soundbar with a wireless subwoofer and Alexa
Some of the soundbars we listed above have voice control options. The Yamaha Audio YAS-209BL does too, but it has it via Alexa, meaning you get even more voice control options than other speakers.
With Alexa, you can have your soundbar tell you the news, play games and do everything else Alexa can do. You can also have Alexa pause, rewind, and fast forward whatever you’re watching and control the volume of your soundbar.
On top of this, the YAS-209BL comes with a wireless subwoofer, meaning you get amazing sound from it, and can have it from different places in the room. It’s a little more expensive than the ones we mentioned above, but for more control and great sound, it’s worth the money.
For both Alexa and Google Assistant…
Want Google Assistant along with Alexa in your soundbar? Sonos Beam can connect to all the smart speakers in your home, and give you the ability to listen to and control Alexa and Google Home devices.
Sonos Beam can play your podcasts, radio, audiobooks and Spotify through its communications with your smart speakers. It also has Alexa built-in that can act as your lone smart speaker, if you don’t have others.
Ready for Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a relatively new surround sound technology that adds height channels, allowing sounds to be heard in three dimensions. If you want a 360-degree surround sound cinematic experience, you want a soundbar with Dolby Atmos.
One such soundbar is the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro. Coming with rear speakers, and sound superior to almost every other soundbar on this list, this one is for people who want the ultimate sound experience in their home theater.
You’ll be paying for the quality you get with this soundbar — it’s usually priced over $700. But if you have the money, and want a speaker that will sound great and last a long, long time, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro might be perfect.
If money is no object
Spending more than $1,700 on a soundbar is a lot. But for a soundbar that plays audio in multiple rooms at once, without a subwoofer, you’re paying for incredible quality.
Don’t let its simple design fool you. Armed with Dolby Atmos and a 3 Channel sound system, the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Wireless Multiroom Soundbar is expensive, but an insanely awesome piece of technology.
Chromecast, Apple Airplay 2, and Bluetooth are all built into the speaker, so it can stream audio from anything with Bluetooth technology. It works with other Bang & Olufson speakers easily, and the sound is beyond smooth and enchanting.
A soundbar gives you better audio than the speakers built into your TV. Give yourself the gift of great audio by getting any of the speakers we mentioned above, and enjoy your home theater more than ever before.
By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research, as we may earn a very small commission. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.