Best soundbars 2024

Soundbars have come a long way in the last few years, offering excellent sound while taking up less space and costing far less. They've only been getting better at delivering fuller sound in thinner and smaller sizes, only making them more impressive additions to a home theater. Our criteria for the best soundbars start with: bars that won't bankrupt you, come with the best streaming devices or smart assistants built-in, and may sometimes come with subwoofers and rears, though won't always need them.

The Samsung HW-Q990C will blow you away with its massive sound as a complete system you can expand on, though it will come at a premium price. The good news is soundbars come at a variety of prices and feature sets, giving you great options to consider.

At a glance

Turn up the volume with the best soundbars

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Best overall

Samsung HW-Q990C soundbar lifestyle image.

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung HW-Q990C

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Serious power and resonance
+
Complete surround sound setup
+
You get 16 audio channels

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough
-
Bass issues with music
-
Not going to be cheap to buy

The Samsung HW-Q990C pulls out all the stops to deliver one of the most immersive Dolby Atmos sound experiences you’ll find anywhere. It already borders on being ridiculous (in a good way) with 11.1.4 channels when combining the soundbar, subwoofer, and two rear speakers together — all of which come in the same box. If you want Dolby Atmos with real punch and effect for movies and music, your ears won’t be disappointed.

Samsung’s Q Symphony technology also plays an active role in that it allows the company’s compatible TVs to communicate with the HW-Q990C wired or wirelessly to blend together speakers from both for even more enveloping sound. It’s easy to set up however you want the system to work, and is ideal for medium-sized or larger rooms. You can also rely on stable wireless connections between the different components to keep sound flowing without hiccups or incidents.

You’ll have to pay a pretty penny to put all this in your home, as is, and may have to consider a different option if you have immersive gaming on your mind. The big hurdle is the lack of 4K 120Hz passthrough via HDMI, which is a downside if you’re a serious console or PC gamer, but otherwise shouldn’t be a problem for other content. It benefits more in playing movies and shows over music, but you can still hear Dolby Atmos tracks from the right sources.

Best smarts

Sonos Arc Soundbar in front of TV

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)
Best smarts

Reasons to buy

+
Wall mountable
+
Integrates with other Sonos speakers
+
Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple Airplay 2
+
Dolby Atmos-compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
May be too large for TVs under 49 inches
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Expensive
-
Subwoofer not included

The best Sonos speakers were limited to portable Bluetooth speakers paired to your phone; now, you can get them all over the house. Sonos has become a household name for TV audio after diving into the soundbar industry, with the Sonos Arc coming in as its flagship model. It offers the homeowner eight woofers, three tweeters, and a total of 11 amplifiers for incredible, immersive sound. This is paired with a far-field microphone to work alongside your voice assistant of choice.

The Arc requires only two cables to plug in before being ready to experience this soundbar's greatness, which is incredible if you don't want a complicated setup. As for connections, the Playbar offers one Ethernet port, an HDMI ARC port (with included cable), and an Optical Audio port. Plus, as part of the Sonos family, you can connect the Arc to other Sonos speakers for a surround-sound experience.

It's a fantastic option, and we had almost nothing but praise for it in our Sonos Arc review — mainly whenever it plays Dolby Atmos content, which sounds particularly incredible from a soundbar without rear speakers. But the Arc isn't without a couple of downfalls that may have you looking elsewhere. First is the size and weight: it measures more than 13 pounds and is 45 inches wide, so you'll need to have plenty of space and heavy-duty wall anchors. The other pitfall is that there is no subwoofer included, so you may not get as much "punch" during your movies as you might want.

Best splurge

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus lifestyle image.

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus

Best splurge

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding sound
+
Balanced for both movies and music
+
Excellent app support

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t fully replace rear speakers
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The Ambeo Sub costs extra
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Pricey

The “Plus” in this Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is notable because it lies in the middle of the company’s lineup of high-end models. While it may be smaller than the Ambeo Max, it hits many of the right notes as an alternative, especially when it comes to the outstanding audio quality and Dolby Atmos support. Not only that but DTS:X and Sony 360 Reality Audio are also in the mix here, covering a lot of ground when it comes to spatial audio content.

It can’t make up for the lack of rear speakers for surround sound but can prove surprisingly good at making you feel like the virtual effect works. But it’s the dynamic sound coming out of its relatively compact body that may be the bigger surprise. This soundbar isn’t for quiet rooms and is only worth getting if you want a booming home theater situation without committing to rears for a true surround effect.

You can add the Ambeo Sub to really take the bass to another level, but that will cost you extra, ballooning an already pricey proposition. You do get what you pay for, though, what with the Soundbar Plus’ integrations and port options, along with solid support from Sennheiser’s Smart Control app.

Best balance

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

(Image credit: Bose)

4. Bose Smart Soundbar 900

Best balance

Reasons to buy

+
Can be paired with Bose wireless speakers and subwoofers
+
Built-in support for Assistant and Alexa
+
Bluetooth connectivity enables music streaming
+
HDMI eARC support

Reasons to avoid

-
No subwoofer included
-
Might be too large for some TVs

Bose has been in the sound game for a long time, but its home theater audio options used to be priced out of many potential owners' budgets. Those times have changed, and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 system couldn't be better evidence of that. This 2.29-by-41.14-by-4.21-inch soundbar is priced and designed to compete directly with the Sonos Beam but has the premium Bose features we're used to from its more expensive models.

On its own merits, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 has four full-range drivers and a central tweeter for compact, distortion-free sound. It also has a mic for built-in Alexa or Google Assistant, which you can use to control your TV or cable box or answer phone calls. Plus, it has several connectivity options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Bose SimpleSync to the best Bose headphones.

For dedicated Bose fans, you can pair your 900 to other Bose Bluetooth speakers or buy a Bose Bass Module or Surround Speakers to build a total home theater system. These can add up in price, but we appreciate that the Smart Soundbar 900 mainly stands on its own as an audio experience until you can afford to augment it with new audio tech.

Best spatial audio

JBL Bar 1300X lifestyle image.

(Image credit: JBL)

5. JBL Bar 1300X

Best spatial audio

Reasons to buy

+
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
+
Comes with detachable, rechargeable rear speakers
+
Plenty of ways to stream content

Reasons to avoid

-
Rear speakers need regular recharge
-
Pricey

It’s not often you see a modular soundbar that literally comes apart at the seams with two extra speaker satellites you can set up as rears that wirelessly communicate with the main bar for a surround sound setup. They can last you a good 10 hours before you need to recharge them again, which only requires you to slide them back into their respective spots on the sides. You can also use them as Bluetooth speakers, either separately or together as a stereo pair, adding a nice perk to this unique setup.

For a home theater situation, you get an 11.1.4 system with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, plus a subwoofer you can place anywhere you want to add some rumble to the whole experience. The JBL One app can be super helpful in figuring out the best way to set everything up based on the room you’re in, especially for where to place the rear speakers. Once you’re good to go, the Bar 1300X will delight you when making you feel whatever movie you’re watching in Dolby Atmos. Spatial audio for music may give you the same feeling when you want something immersive for tunes supporting it.

You won’t get Google Assistant or Alexa (at least not in full) with this system, but you do get AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and a slew of features that feel integrative. It doesn’t come cheap to bring this into your home, but you may be set for years if you do.

Best mid-range

Vizio Elevate soundbar

(Image credit: Vizio)

6. Vizio Elevate

Best mid-range

Reasons to buy

+
Includes everything you need to set up
+
Can rotate left and right sides to create wider soundstage
+
Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
+
Built-in Chromecast
+
Multiple HDMI ports include HDMI ARC

Reasons to avoid

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Wired satellite speakers and subwoofer
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Only one color is available
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No support for voice assistants

Best mid-size

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)
Best mid-size

Reasons to buy

+
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
+
Integration with other Sonos speakers
+
Lightweight
+
Great sound

Reasons to avoid

-
No subwoofer included
-
Optical cable needed if HDMI-ARC not available
-
Voice commands won't work with optical cable

With the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), you get the best soundbar with basic smarts. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) connects to your TV with HDMI-ARC or with the included HDMI-to-Optical adapter. A recent update has brought the ability to integrate Sonos products and Google Assistant. You can control your TV with your voice if your TV supports HDMI-CEC, which most modern sets do. Controlling your TV with your voice isn't a replacement for a remote, but it's an excellent option.

Sonos' ecosystem is attractive because it's easy to add more speakers to create a surround system. And as for connections, you'll get a single HDMI port, a single Ethernet port, and the standard AC power input. So you can start with the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) and have a great soundbar. Then, a few months later, you can pick up a couple of Sonos One speakers to add more channels. Or, you can buy a Sonos 5.1 kit with everything you need and create one of the best soundbar systems you can find.

However, if you want to experience better "lows" in your movies and video games, you'll want to pick up a subwoofer after the fact. This adds more of a punch to intense scenes and helps to immerse you in whatever you're watching or playing. Until then, the Beam creates a wide soundstage with an effective low-end sound all on its own, as we discovered during our Sonos Beam review.

Best small size

Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX

(Image credit: Polk Audio)

8. Polk MagniFi Mini AX

Best small size

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in Chromecast
+
Wireless subwoofer included
+
Single remote to control your TV and soundbar
+
Universal TV compatibility with HDMI eARC

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty basic remote included
-
Only one HDMI port included
-
Chromecast only lets you stream music over Wi-Fi

Polk is another one of those companies that prides itself on providing great audio experiences throughout your home. The Polk MagniFi Mini AX is no different and has a few tricks up its sleeves that other soundbars can't compete with. Kicking everything off, the MagniFi Mini AX sports a single ARC-compatible HDMI, along with a standard optical port for your television and an auxiliary cable.

Smart home integration is on board, with Google Assistant built right-in, and you'll have the added benefit of a built-in Chromecast (keep in mind this only lets you stream music over Wi-Fi, not stream video). The MagniFi Mini AX also includes a wireless subwoofer so that you can get that extra bass from your media without the need for any additional wires.

While controlling your TV and soundbar with a single remote is nifty, we would have liked to see a more robust remote from Polk. The included remote gives you basic controls without any shortcuts to Netflix or another streaming app. Those who want to have multiple devices connected directly to the MagniFi Mini AX will be disappointed as there's just a single HDMI port on this soundbar.

Best value

Yamaha SR-B30A soundbar lifesytle.

(Image credit: Yamaha)

9. Yamaha SR-B30A

Best value

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound in mid-sized form
+
Dolby Atmos support
+
More affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t come with a sub
-
Limited customization

Give Yamaha credit; it finds ways to pack a lot into something that comes at a more agreeable price. If the Sonos Beam is too rich for you, the SR-B30A is a solid alternative that can also save you a few dollars, especially considering the Dolby Atmos support. At this price, that’s not always a guarantee for any soundbar, but here, you have connectivity that matters, including an HDMI eARC port and Bluetooth for wireless audio playback.

Impressive sound will help you feel like you have a bargain for the experience every time you watch a movie or play a game. You won’t get a subwoofer with this soundbar, though you have an option with the SR-B40A, but bear in mind that both soundbars sound the same otherwise. The sub will add the kind of depth you can’t get from the bar alone.

Yamaha’s Sound Bar Remote app offers an easy way to control and update the SR-B30A’s firmware but isn’t going to be quite as deep in granular features. It’s more about switching between the existing settings rather than setting up your own.

Best integration

Roku Streambar Pro

(Image credit: Roku)

10. Roku Streambar Pro

Best integration

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in 4K HDR streaming
+
HDMI ARC support
+
Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri
+
Can be expanded with subwoofer and wireless speakers
+
Dolby Audio

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless subwoofer included
-
Ethernet adapter sold separately
-
No Dolby Atmos

A few different streaming box options are available now, including the Chromecast with Google TV, our favorite of all the best Android TV boxes. Whether you prefer Chromecasts, Fire Sticks, or Rokus, however, you'll end up using two HDMI ports for your streaming box and soundbar — one too many if you have a lot of gaming consoles, cable boxes, or Blu-Ray players to connect as well.

If this is you, the Roku Streambar Pro is the all-in-one soundbar solution you've been looking for. Connect it to an HDMI ARC-compatible port on your 4K TV, and you'll be able to enjoy 4K HDR content and upgraded audio thanks to its four 2.5-inch full-range drivers plus the streaming capabilities of a Roku Streaming Stick+. It's compact enough to easily slide under any TV, with side-firing drivers to fill a room with decent sound. You can also invest in a subwoofer and wireless speakers to upgrade to true surround sound.

And when it comes to smart home compatibility, the Streambar Pro checks off all of the boxes. It's compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and even Apple's Siri with AirPlay 2 support. With this in tow, you'll be able to control Roku's impressive soundbar with the best Android phones, regardless of your smart home ecosystem.

Best for gaming

Razer Leviathan V2 Pro soundbar lifestyle.

(Image credit: Razer)

11. Razer Leviathan V2 Pro

Best for gaming

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful sound despite its size
+
Impressive head-tracking AI
+
Slick RGB lighting

Reasons to avoid

-
Probably better suited to PC gaming
-
No microphone option
-
No HDMI port

Razer proves its pedigree for gaming products every time out, and the Leviathan V2 Pro is easily the most ambitious attempt at a soundbar for the brand. The main reason is the AI-based features, like head-tracking that works via built-in cameras to deliver virtual surround sound that actually works as advertised. The THX Spatial Audio feature set includes different modes to bring out the sounds of every game you play depending on what kind of effect you want most.

Don’t let the size fool you, either. The Leviathan V2 Pro may be smaller than your average soundbar, but it holds real power, pumping out sound easily capable of filling a room, much less a gaming setup in a smaller space. Slick RGB lighting with 30 different zones adds some real flair across the bar, which you can control yourself to fit the kind of look or mood you have in mind.

You don’t have an HDMI port to work with, so using it with a TV comes with compromises, much like how there’s a headphone jack, but no microphone one. Despite the limitations, Razer threw a lot into this soundbar as an effective alternative to your standard fare.

Best budget

TCL S4510 5.1 channel soundbar system lifestyle.

(Image credit: TCL)

12. TCL S4510 5.1 Channel

Best budget

Reasons to buy

+
Includes rear speakers and subwoofer
+
Easy to set up and use
+
Budget price

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Atmos
-
Distortion could set in when really loud

TCL’s S Class soundbars come in a few different configurations, and the S4510 is the 5.1-channel setup you can get all in one package. The soundbar is reasonably small, much like the subwoofer and two rear speakers, which is why you could set this up in a smaller room where space may be limited. The S Class don’t have the same room calibration features available in the Q Class, but it’s a worthy price to pay if you want to stay within a tighter budget.

You can expect 300W of power, so the S4510 system can get loud when you want it to be, though you may find clarity suffers a little when you really crank it up. And while there is Dolby Audio support, you won’t get Atmos here, so you lose out on that, but there is DTS Virtual:X to offer something akin to a bigger surround sound system.

The best soundbars come in small packages

Soundbars come in all shapes and sizes. Larger soundbars have more room for bigger drivers and built-in subwoofers but can get expensive for what they offer. Smaller soundbars may not have the same punch, but they often do a better job of side-firing audio that spreads rich sound across an entire room. You can't go wrong either way, but the powerful Samsung HW-Q990C brings it in so many ways that will make you feel like your home theater has been transformed.

It's our pick for the best soundbar for several reasons, not least of which is the superb audio quality and immersive surround sound experience, but also the connectivity options and the ability to integrate or expand the system further. That is a theme with a bunch of options on this, especially those from Sonos or JBL, and you have choices within different budget constraints to consider.

Dolby Atmos gets strong support across the list, though you may have to think about what kind of setup you want, which explains why some of the selections here come with subs and rears, whereas others don't. Whatever you choose to do within your own limits, your ears will probably appreciate everything they hear.