It’s rare for a TV to sound good right out of the box — these soundbars will help.
As great as television technology is today, the audio leaves a lot to be desired. Most speakers are built into the back or bottom of a flatscreen, which aren’t ideal locations for quality audio — which is why you should consider investing in a soundbar.
Besides delivering generally better audio, a soundbar can become the foundation for turning your living room into a personal movie theater — without requiring too much equipment, installation, or other tedious work that used to go into planning a promising at-home sound system.
Soundbars are also a great option for anyone who prefers a minimal amount of on-display tech in their living room or entertaining area. The slim speaker can easily be mounted right underneath a wall-mounted TV for a neat, cord-free look. It’s also small enough to sit directly in front of most TVs if you’re hoping for a less permanent — but still clean-looking — solution.
What does a TV soundbar actually do?
A TV soundbar is the easiest way to improve the sound of your television — you can think about it as a speaker extension that helps to create a cinematic listening experience for everything from blockbuster films to live music performances.
The typical TV soundbar takes up very little space and is very easy to set up (usually through the HDMI port of your TV) and offers a high frequency and deep base that eclipses pretty much every TV on the market right now.
The external speaker system can also be a superior option for anyone who finds the television too quiet or who prefers a more surround sound-style listening experience. You can easily connect multiple soundbars within a space to achieve this cinematic effect.
What features should you look for in a TV soundbar?
How’s the audio quality?: Obviously, the first thing to think about is audio quality. More affordable options will offer a vastly better audio experience than the TV ever could, but you may still need to look into additional speakers to really fill out the room.
Is it part of a larger system?: You could easily opt for a budget-friendly soundbar that will offer improved audio. But, if you invest in something just a little more expensive, it could be the first piece in a home audio system that makes your house the envy of the neighborhood.
Is it smart home compatible?: Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not a soundbar is smart home compatible. If you’ve already started investing in smart home items, you know better than anyone that one less remote to deal with is a pretty big factor.
What are the best TV soundbars on the market?
There are quite a few factors to take into account when shopping for the best TV soundbar for your unique needs — but we’ve narrowed down some of the best options at the moment so you don’t have to. No matter your budget or specifications, here are the top TV soundbars on the market in 2021.
Excellent sound quality • Very subtle design • Decent price for what you get
Doesn’t allow for Bluetooth multi-connectivity
You can’t go wrong with the stunning Samsung HW-Q950T soundbar system, which offers impressive sound in a compact package.
Samsung HW-Q950TThis high-end Samsung soundbar system will not disappoint even the most discerning audiophiles.
51 x 24 x 11 inches
50 pounds (including speakers)
Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI
The Samsung HW-Q950T is going to be your best bet when it comes to higher-end soundbar technology and price. This compact speaker will suit any decor — either wall-mounted or otherwise — and is easily connected via Bluetooth and WiFi. The soundbar and rear speaker set also happens to be Alexa-enabled for even easier, hands-free use.
Great audio quality • Available in multiple colorways • Alexa-enabled
App interface could be more user-friendly
If you’re keen on smart home integration, the cutting-edge Sonos Beam will suit your sound system needs just fine.
Sonos Beam Smart TV Sound BarThis high-end soundbar by Sonos offers the ideal intersection of efficiency, ease of use, and quality sound.
25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches
HDMI-ARC, WiFi, included optical adapter
Soundbars are great, but smart soundbars are even better. The Sonos Beam is totally Alexa-enabled, allowing for a much more seamless approach to TV speakers. No longer will you need to try and pair your remotes or fumble with an app just to adjust the sound — all you’ll have to do is ask Alexa to take care of it.
Compact size • Surprisingly high-quality sound • Very good price
Sound quality goes down at max volume
If you’re not typically one to listen to the television on max volume, this budget-friendly soundbar option should suit you just fine.
TaoTronics Three Equalizer Mode Audio Speaker for TVBudget-friendly and easy to use and install, the TaoTronics TV soundbar will do just fine for anyone looking to improve their television sound quality without spending a ton of cash.
31.5 x 2.36 x 2.36 inches
Bluetooth, optical, aux
Soundbars have earned a reputation for being almost more expensive than the television itself — and while it’s oftentimes merited (as you’ve seen, some models are over a thousand dollars), you really don’t need to spend a lot to increase your sound quality at home. The TaoTronics Three Equalizer Mode Audio Speaker for TV is a brilliant example of a budget-friendly soundbar, offering surprisingly high-quality sound and very easy set up for a fraction of other big-name brands.
Small but powerful • Good price for the quality • Cool design
No app integration or smart technology
Looking for a compact soundbar that will suit your design? This decor-friendly speaker is exactly what you’ve been searching for.
Bose TV SpeakerMinimal in design but certainly not in sound quality, this affordable TV soundbar is an excellent option for audiophiles looking for a clean, minimal device.
4.02 x 23.38 x 2.21 inches
Bose has become synonymous with high-quality sound, and the Bose TV Speaker is no exception. This compact speaker might not include the same bells and whistles as some of its contemporaries, but its affordable price point and minimal design make it a worthy contender for anyone looking for uncompromising sound in a decent-looking package.
Comes with a subwoofer • Chromecast built-in • High-quality audio
If you’re willing to shell out a little more for premium sound, the Sony ST5000 Soundbar comes with all the bells and whistles for a top-quality experience.
Sony ST5000 SoundbarThis top-of-the-line speaker might come with a pretty steep price tag — but if you’re looking for the best of the best regardless of price, you can’t go wrong with the premium Sony ST5000 soundbar.
12.8 x 12.8 x 2.7 inches
51 pounds (with subwoofer)
WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI
Featuring receiver-like connectivity with 3 HDMI inputs, Google Home compatibility, a built-in Chromecast, and Spotify Connect, the Sony ST5000 Soundbar is certainly one of the most decked out sound systems on the list. And while it might come with a much higher price tag than other soundbars on the market, the unmatched Hi-Res Audio is well worth the price if you’re someone who appreciates an extremely crisp sound at any volume.
Compact size • Very good price • Powerful audio
No-frills but high quality sound is exactly what you’re getting with the VIZIO Sound Bar for TV — at a price point that makes upgrading your sound a no-brainer.
VIZIO Sound Bar for TVThis affordable soundbar is a smart option for anyone who prefers the ease of a remote control rather than smart technology or app integration.
29 x 3 x 3 inches
Bluetooth, RCA, optical
While soundbars have come a long way over the years in terms of smart technology and sound quality, there are still certain models on the market that allow for a much more simple and stress-free approach to listening. The VIZIO Sound Bar for TV is an excellent example; its sound quality is just as good as its contemporaries, but it offers a simple, easy-to-use remote control rather than an app or voice-enabled control.
Alexa-enabled • Very good price point • Built-in subwoofer
Audio quality goes down at max volume
This budget-friendly soundbar offers top of the line features and a slick design — without compromising or skimping on sound quality.
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound BarAlexa-enabled, quality sound, and uber compact? This sub-$200 soundbar is going to be the best bet for anyone looking for a budget-friendly smart device to increase their overall viewing experience.
43 x 14.5 x 14.4 inches
Bluetooth, HDMI, optical
If you’re hoping to stay comfortably under the $200-range, the Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar is going to be an excellent choice. Not only is it affordable, it’s also an extremely compact soundbar that will allow you to easily tuck it under the TV or mount it on the wall without worrying about it sticking out. The Alexa-enabled speaker is also a great option for anyone looking for a smart home-friendly device at a fair price point