Almost all TVs, no matter how high end they are, don’t come with the best sound system or even the best soundbar for that matter. But it is 2018 and you can always buy one for yourself on Amazon! The question is, out of that Vizio soundbar, and the sleek Samsung soundbar, which one should you buy?
Or should you venture out towards other brands like Sonos and Bose? Whichever brand you buy, it must be deserving of the 4KTV you will attach it with. You can also opt for those luxury features like multi-room functionality, DTS:X or Dolby Atmos. Which will also result in an increased price.
The Best Soundbar Models from Vizio, Sonos, Samsung and More
You can find yourself a good fit for anywhere between $100 to $2000, but it will purely depend on how demanding you are. Other than the features above, you will also be considering whether it needs to have HDMI inputs, wireless connectivity like AirPlay and Bluetooth, and Blu Ray support.
That is a lot to juggle through without tripping. But rest assured, we have done all the homework required. In the list below, not only have we selected the overall best soundbar, but also a budget soundbar model. Furthermore, there is a lengthy list of products that we have gone through to find the top few that have been reviewed and listed.
Samsung Soundbar HW-N850
Exceptional Quality for a Not-So-High Price
No one’s asking you to avoid Bose or Sonos, but the Samsung soundbar we tested surely blew us away. Not that it has the most exquisite features, there are products that cost a ton more for that. But it has all the high-end audio tech as well as connectivity choices you’ll demand.
Best Budget Soundbar
SmartCast Vizio Sound Bar SB3651-E6
Great Sound on a Budget
While the Sony soundbar we tested would cost as much as 18 of these. We can bet our money on it that it cannot produce the audio quality that is 18 times as good. So yes, there’s great value for money here, and good respect of the audio quality as well.
Coming in a sleek and solid build wasn’t the primary selling point of the infamous Sonos Playbar. You get not two or three but nine speakers as well as a large range of connectivity solutions. Although it is not the latest product, it is still one of the good ones.
Thanks to the choice of channels, you can set it up as a 5.1 surround sound with the Play:1 speakers forming a rear speaker set up for more immersive audio. For the high rollers, there is the Sonos Sub that you can buy for an equal price. Combined with the Sonos Playbar, the Sub will further enhance the bass.
As it has a price tag to match, we would have been disappointed if it didn’t have WiFi connectivity. But the Playbar still manages to disappoint in another area. Other than the HDMI ARC, it comes with just one optical input which means all TVs that have an analog connector will be unusable with it.
While it is true that the Sonos Playbar is one of the expensive solutions for your sound, it is all worth it for the high-end quality of build and sound. There is a reason why after so long it is still preferred over a number of other models like the Samsung soundbar HW-MS650.
Indeed for not having anything for users without an optical input solution, this will be a no-go area. As it requires a specific kind of TV sets, we suggest you first match whether your TV is even compatible with this beauty of surround sound speakers in question.
- Good sound can further improve with Sonos Sub
- Audio modes are a joy
- WiFi connectivity
- Compatibility issues with certain models
- Single optical input
Clearly, when they are making a mark in the field of TVs, how could Samsung stay behind in a product that supplements it. This wasn’t the only Samsung soundbar that we tested, but turned out to be the heftiest as well as strong in terms of sound.
The HW-N850 is one of those high-end speakers that give you enough audio power to enjoy the best quality possible without a full surround sound system with multiple speakers. Just like many other pricey models, this is due to the Dolby Atmos technology that Samsung employs.
In the four feet long sound bar, you get 5.1.2 audio channels which means there are two dedicated subwoofers too. Moreover, the HW-N850 manages to provide what the Sonos Playbar didn’t: better input and output options thanks to HDMI Arc, 2x HDMI as well as an optimal solution.
Apart from the wired connections, you also need to look at over the air connectivity options. And, we weren’t disappointed even in that respect. There is premium quality Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth support for the more flexible livers. While the size might be an issue for those who have a small panel, it is not everyone who should bother.
Now the Samsung Soundbar in question isn’t anything as the Sonos Playbar when it comes to price. But there are countless other models like the Vizio soundbar below that cost even less than the two.
- Good value for money
- Strong, bassy and quality sound
- Dolby Atmos audio
- Size might be an issue for some
Yes, we told you that you actually can get your hands on a sound bar for as low as $100 but we didn’t say it will make its way to the best soundbar models list. The one model that we really think deserves the budget pick spot is this Vizio soundbar. At just a little over $200, the SmartCast SB3651-E6 is a promising set up that comes in a gang.
You will find the wireless subwoofer and detachable surround makers finding a good place on your panel. They are not too big either, just like the 36″ long soundbar itself. Talking of, you should know that the Vizio soundbar is about one foot shorter than the Samsung soundbar above. As a result, it is better suited for small spaces too.
You wouldn’t expect added features like these from budget models, but the Vizio soundbar also has Chromecast support which means music streaming gets easier. Connectivity wise, you also get a reliable Bluetooth connection for a wireless streaming session.
Nonetheless, what actually matters to a buyer is how well the soundbar performs in the sound department. And throughout the testing it provided stable, and quality sound that filled the room much better than almost all others in this price range.
Thanks to the Wireless connectivity, that price appears even affordable and totally deserving of being called the best soundbar on a budget.
- Best budget soundbar
- Good wireless connectivity
- Satisfying quality of sound
- No high end features
- Surround speakers still need a wire
We discussed above how the Sonos Playbar is really a fan favorite. Yet, it is not the only one! Good old Bose is at it again with the SoundTouch 300, where it provides very similar features as well as a price tag that is close. Needless to say, the Bose soundbar also doesn’t miss out on anything that the Playbar did.
With a sleek black finish, it is also one of the best looking sound bars in the given price range. There is an on bar LED interface and a metal grill to match the glass body that covers the rest. Though it doesn’t come with a subwoofer, it is an aesthetically excellent piece of designing.
But why are we even talking about the looks before the sound? Staying true to the roots of Bose, the SoundTouch 300 carries a very strong high as well as low range audio. One problem that some sub-par sound systems have is that the subwoofer makes vocals less understandable. That is not the case with this one, though.
Yet, if you wish to improve on the bass, you can do so by pairing it with the Acoustimas sub. This will also increase the overall spending, but then again you’d have to do the same for the Playbar.
While not Atmos, there is Dolby sound as well as DTS. You are not paying the best to get the most premium feature set so this is pretty good! Despite not being the best music producing bar on our list, it surely is one of the most reasonable models.
- Great aesthetic sense
- Satisfactory quality without subwoofers
- Will need a subwoofer for better bass
Okay, we just had to try out this super luxurious and insanely expensive Sony soundbar just to see why on earth would it cost more than my best gaming rig? You will only notice the stark difference when playing hi-res sounds and trying out the true force of Dolby Atmos. Before that, it is just an exceptional TV sound bar with a frightening price tag.
In all honesty, we didn’t find a build quality as top notch as this one and that is true for every single screw that has been used. You can see the small beasts wide eyeing you on the front, seven in total with a 7.1.2. And the glossy edges complement the assortment quite well.
Moreover, it is also packing the most diverse connectivity solutions for someone willing to pay for it. We are talking about score leading 3x HDMI 1x HDMI ARC, Analogue Audio, Optical Audio, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and WiFi! Took us some while to try out each.
The bottom line is, if you want the unashamedly best soundbar that the market has, then the Sony Soundbar Barre de Son Noir HT-ST5000 is for you. Not that it matters if you could actually buy eight other models for the price of this one.
- Best build quality
- Great surround with Dolby Atmos
- Works great with Hi-Res audio
- Costlier than our best TV
- Skips DTS:X
Going up in the price range you will find products that come with HDMI inputs and even outputs. If your TV doesn’t have streaming functionality for some of the more popular services, you could also get one of the best soundbar models so that it makes up for the missing feature of the TV. Though we hardly doubt you will be keeping such a model.
The Dolby Atmos format will require additional speakers at a height, which is not the case with DTS:X format. You will find Dolby Atmos models denoting the system with three digits instead of two. For instance, 4.1.3 would mean four channels, one subwoofer and two height speakers.
There are more features that are common than the differences between the two. Despite that, a soundbase is clearly different from a soundbar. The latter can be a bar that is placed anywhere on the cabinet or even mounted on the wall. But, a soundbase cannot be mounted.
Not only that, a soundbase is always supposed to sit below the TV and on top of the cabinet like those good old CPUs. Nonetheless, if you are buying the best soundbar available in the market it will possibly be of no match to the soundbases.