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Best Soundbar for 2021

 9/7/2021 6:56:15 PM GMT

A soundbar seriously upgrades your TV viewing experience, while being more convenient and affordable than a component system.


So your new TV has a gorgeous picture, you dial up your favorite action movie to see it in all its glory, and then reality sets in - most built-in TV speaker systems stink. To complete your home entertainment system, you are now faced with the decision of whether to add a full component audio system, complete with five to seven separate speakers, an AV receiver, and a subwoofer; or instead, hooking up one of the latest generation soundbars.

Fortunately, these new generation soundbars have significantly closed the performance gap with component AV systems, and can now provide a very impressive and satisfying audio experience. Setup is also much easier with a soundbar, and in many cases the cost can be substantially lower. The editors picks to the right, along with the descriptions below, are designed to provide information you can use to find the best quality sound options available, while considering different room sizes and budgets.

Many factors are taken into consideration to determine the best soundbar audio quality, including - stereo frequency response, soundstage, harmonic distortion, and dynamics; center speaker performance; surround performance; sound height; and sound enhancement features. Reviews and ratings also consider ARC/eARC audio format support and HDMI audio format support for interfacing with video and audio sources.



The NetDigz Editors rate the Sennheiser Ambeo as the Best Premium Soundbar.
   Photo by Sennheiser Pinterest Pin for Best Premium Soundbar
 
If you don't care about cost because you have the best OLED TV on the market, and you just want the best soundbar available, the Sennheiser Ambeo is the choice for you. Amazingly, it packs all the components into a single unit (no separate woofer or surround speakers), and still outperforms all comers.

You'll need to spend a considerable chunk of change on a component system to beat the Ambeo's performance. Your only one HDMI cable away from being instantly immersed in the home cinema experience. Oh, and if you absolutely must shake the room, you can always add the Klipsch SPL-100 external subwoofer.

Subwoofer: internal/optional external | Rear Speakers: virtual



The NetDigz Editors rate the LG SN6Y as the Best Soundbar for the money.
   Photo by LGPinterest Pin for Best Soundbar for the money
 
The LG SN6Y soundbar delivers excellent performance, ranking as our number one choice on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Although not in the same league as the much more expensive soundbars, you still get a significant upgrade over most TV's built-in speakers.

And besides hitting the price/performance sweet spot, you can always upgrade this 3.1 channel system with wireless subwoofer to a full 5.1 channel surround system at any time by adding LG's SPK8-S 2.0 rear speaker kit at a very reasonable price.

Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: virtual/optional wireless



The NetDigz Editors rate the Samsung HW-Q950T as the Best High-end Soundbar.
   Photo by SamsungPinterest Pin for Best High-end Soundbar
 
At half the price of the best-in-class Sennheiser Ambeo, Samsung's HW-Q950T produces an impressive sound stage with its 20 total speakers, including 4 up-firing speakers that expands sound height dramatically.

Featuring support for ARC/eARC audio formatting, this Samsung soundbar can receive uncompromised audio signals. With 9 channels in a 9.1.4 configuration, a wireless subwoofer, and support for all the important audio formats, you'll experience the director's true cinematic intent. Simple HDMI connections makes setup a breeze.

Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: wireless



The NetDigz Editors rate the Roku Smart Soundbar as the Best Budget Soundbar.
   Photo by RokuPinterest Pin for Best Budget Soundbar
 
The Roku Smart Soundbar gets our top budget rating with one caveat, you don't already own a media streaming device, or own a 4K UHD TV with Roku already built-in (like the TCL or Hisense TVs). With decent sound and Roku's top-rated media streaming device built-in, this bar is an excellent bargain.

Additionally, you can add Roku's optional wireless subwoofer or wireless rear speakers at a later date if you want a boost in performance. If you already have a streaming device for your TV, our top budget recommendation is the Polk Audio Signa S2, which you can view here.

Subwoofer: internal/optional wireless | Rear Speakers: virtual/optional wireless



The NetDigz Editors rate the Samsung HW-Q800T as the Best Soundbar for a smaller room.
   Photo by SamsungPinterest Pin for Best Soundbar for a smaller room
 
The fact of the matter is, size does matter. The big dollar soundbars are overkill in smaller sized rooms, meaning your sound experience can be enhanced equally well with less horsepower at a lower cost. The Samsung HW-Q800T is our top pick to fill your small-to-medium sized room setting with immersive cinematic sound.

It comes with a wireless subwoofer, and you can buy the HW-Q800T with or without wireless rear speakers. Either way, you'll get Dolby Atmos® & DTS:X support for the best audio tracks available. For the price of a decent AV receiver, you get the whole package with a little left over for other electronics needs.


Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: wireless



The NetDigz Editors rate the Polk Audio Signa S2 as the Optional Best Budget Soundbar.
   Photo by Polk AudioPinterest Pin for Optional Best Budget Soundbar
 
The Polk Audio Signa S2 offers surprisingly good sound at under $200. With support for HDMI ARC, a wireless subwoofer, and all cables included, the Signa S2 provides an incredibly affordable enhancement to your TV's audio.

With Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Sound, you'll get clear dialogue so that you hear every word perfectly. This bar's five full-range drivers and wireless subwoofer combine to make a compelling upgrade to your home theater experience, and at only 2" in height the bar fits easily under any TV.

Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: virtual



The NetDigz Editors rate the Sony HT-G700 as the Optional Best Soundbar for a smaller room.
   Photo by SonyPinterest Pin for Optional Best Soundbar for a smaller room
 
The SONY HT-G700 3-channel soundbar with wireless subwoofer creates impressive virtual 7.1.2-channel sound with support for Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X utilizing SONY's proprietary S-Force PRO and Vertical Surround Engine. Translated, that means great sound with fewer speakers, making the HT-G700 a big win for a smaller space.

With selectable sound modes, the HT-G700 provides a cinematic experience for movies, excellent detail when playing music, or clear, crisp speech from the dedicated center channel. With HDMI in, separate HDMI ARC/eARC output, digital optical, Bluetooth and USB, simplicity and sophistication abounds.

Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: virtual



The NetDigz Editors rate the Vizio Elevate P514a-H6 as the Optional Best High-end Soundbar.
   Photo by VizioPinterest Pin for Optional Best High-end Soundbar
 
The Vizio Elevate is a big leap up for the company's traditionally budget line of soundbars, and the results are fantastic. This system has separate tweeters and dual woofers as part of an 18 high-performance speaker arrangement that delivers powerful, distortion-free sound.

An immersive surround sound experience is completed with 2 satellite speakers and an 8-inch wireless subwoofer. A pair of adaptive height speakers auto-rotate upward to project cinematic Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X sound off the ceiling.

All-in-all, the Elevate produces a sound experience rivaled by only the more expensive competition in this category.

Subwoofer: wireless | Rear Speakers: wireless