Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about speakers of many kinds before — including the best gaming headsets, the best portable speakers, and the best computer speakers— here, we’ve rounded up the best home sound bars, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated home sound bar
Lots of reviewers acknowledge the Sonos is expensive, but dozens also say that it’s “worth it.” “I’m mad at myself for not picking this up sooner,” one reviwer admits, adding, “$700 for a sound bar might seem steep but it’s well worth the price of admission for the quality of sound you receive.” The mountable sound bar — designed for listening to TV, movies, and music — impresses its customers with its crisp sound quality. “You can really hear every musical instrument and all the layers. Even at a low volume it gives you that surround-sound experience,” one reviewer writes. And it fills big open spaces incredibly well. A commenter who lives in “one giant room” writes, “The music doesn’t have to be blaring at the wall to be heard at the other end of the room, it seems to perfectly aim the sound everywhere at once.” Reviewers also appreciate the sleek design that keeps all the cords contained. “I have bare shelves and it doesn’t look like an electrical fire waiting to happen,” one reviewer writes, adding, “This is one of the easiest sound systems I’ve ever owned and set up.”
Best-rated (less expensive) home sound bar
Lots of people turn to this sound bar when they start to have trouble hearing their TVs. One pleased customer shares, “My TV has horrible speakers — even dialogue in shows was difficult to fully hear. Forget playing music with them. This sound bar fixed all that. Movies, TV shows, and music all sound rich and full.” Others have noticed they can lower the volume on the TV itself, thanks to the better voice clarity from this Vizio sound bar. “When watching certain shows the TV itself was just not loud enough but this has helped tremendously,” one customer explains, adding, “We turn the TV volume down to about 10 (I know that is very different on every TV) then we turn the sound bar on and use that for the actual volume.” A customer who was “hoping against hope to impress [his] wife” says, “We got so tired of having to use subtitles or straining to hear dialogue from our HDTV, so I took a chance with this. A MAJOR improvement in audio!”
And now for some micro-picks for every type of home sound bar you might be looking for.
Best compact home sound bar
Dozens of reviewers use the word “quality” to describe this Sonos Beam, like one who writes, “First, being a professional musician with very picky ears, I have to say that Sonos REALLY knows how to make a good sounding speaker. Yes, they’re pricey, but you really get what you pay for.” And they were able to get a lot out of this 25-inch sound bar, which replaced an AV receiver and subwoofer, along with front, rear, and center speakers. Lots of reviewers also rave about the easy-to-use Sonos App, which creates a seamless experience, from setup to hearing it in action: “You can adjust all of the speaker levels or turn on enhancements there.” Another proclaims, “The Sonos setup app is as good as anything Apple could put together.”
Best compact home sound bar with subwoofer
This pint-size model, which measures just over 12 inches wide, fits in a variety of nooks and crannies in reviewer’s homes. “You won’t go wrong with this setup for a small bedroom or apartment,” says one. Another reviewer says, “The sound bar itself is very compact, making it easy to place and very unobtrusive.” Plus, the wireless subwoofer included in this package is exceptionally easy to set up. As one reviewer attests, “The wireless subwoofer has totally satisfactory sound for a semi-large living room, and was completely plug-and-play. I just plugged it in behind the couch and it works perfectly, no syncing needed.” And another customer notes, “Having the wireless subwoofer is great because we can easily put it anywhere we choose with wires and cords everywhere.”
Best home sound bar with built-in subwoofers
Lots of commenters are blown away by the Yamaha’s immersive sound, thanks to the subwoofer. One offers, “If you live in an apartment, don’t buy an external sub unless your place is bricked. The built-in subs are already powerful.” Another satisfied reviewer writes, “The surround-sound feature really does sound like you have speakers all around the room, and yet the clarity for voices is still crystal. This is beyond worth it.” And according to one reviewer, the sound is so good, it even impressed a “close friend who does audio.” They continue, “I love the two-subwoofer bass, the surround sound feature (which really does sound like you have speakers all around the room), and yet the clarity for voices is still crystal.” The “always on” Bluetooth functionality is a big plus for some, as well. “I can easily connect or disconnect without having to walk to the unit to turn it on or off,” says one.
Best home sound bar for TV and movies
Many customers opt for this 28-inch model when looking for movie-theater level sound at home. “As TV depth continues to get ever so narrow, sound quality is usually an issue,” writes one reviewer who owns three Vizio sound bars. “Problem solved here in a small and extremely competent, low priced gem. My goodness, awesome highs and lows, exceptional clarity, meaningful bass. This is no mini, except in size and cost.” Given this sound bar’s slightly smaller size, many reviewers mention it is an optimal pick for their bedroom TV. One such customer writes that the sound bar “doesn’t take a lot of volume to make a movie sound like it’s raging through the room (in a good way), and volume can be dropped to a whisper and is still clear.” Another reviewer found it “easy” to connect the sound bar to their bedroom TV and iPhone, thanks to its highly praised Bluetooth functionality. “I just plugged everything in and turned the TV on,” they write. “It came to life and the soundbar was miraculously connected and the [TV] internal speakers muted. Between “super easy” installation, “crisp, clear sound in all ranges,” and the convenience of Bluetooth connection, one satisfied reviewer sums up this sound bar, writing: “All in all, it was a ‘sound’ investment.”
Best home sound bar for surround sound
“After researching the Sonos soundbar I decided to go with the JBL as the price point for the Sonos was too high,” one reviwer writes, adding, “I could not be happier with this purchase.” One of the most unique features of this sound bar are the detachable speakers, which actually charge on the soundbar itself and can be placed around the room for full surround sound. As one reviewer explains, “We really like the detachable speakers — No wires! It keeps the entertainment console looking clean without so many wires. It delivers great surround sound, as well as great sound if you leave the bar completely connected together.” However, since the speakers are wireless, they require occasional recharging — but lots of five-star reviewers don’t seem to mind: “Reconnecting for recharge is breeze, and we fast-settled into a nightly routine where we put the little satellite speakers in their discreet places just behind and to the right and left of us, then plug them back in the morning to recharge.”
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