The Best Soundbars for Streaming, Wireless, and Use With Smart TVs
Find your inner audiophile with these soundbar picks.
Despite being all about the same size, soundbars are are a tech item that can be easily deceptive. Two can look virtually identical, but one is $800 more. Of course, as with many things in this world, it’s what on the inside that counts. To get an idea of how your dollars are spent when purchasing a soundbar and what you can get across budgets, we’ve compiled a few top picks to consider.
Sonos is a name already synonymous with quality-sounding speakers, so it should come as no surprise that at least one of their products would make this list.
The Playbar ships with three mid woofers and three tweeters, forming a robust collection of speakers to produce dreamlike soundscapes or thunderous roars, depending on what’s on your TV. You can also connect the Playbar to any Alexa-enabled device so you can control your music, podcasts, and more with just your voice.
Last but not least, Sonos makes it easy to grow your speaker collection into a full-fledged surround-sound system by adding more speakers to the mix. You can purchase a 5.1 or a 3.1 kit, or start with the bar itself and add on when you’re ready to expand.
Vizio Atmos Soundbar
Vizio’s higher-end soundbar collection is as impressive as some of their price points. The SB46312-F6-46 is a 3.1.2 premium system that can replicate the quality found in some $1,000+ systems. In addition to the three front speakers and wireless subwoofer, two Dolby Atmos speakers fire upward to create an ultra-immersive experience.
Additional features you’ll be happy to see included are Bluetooth and Chromecast built-right in, allowing you to send music to the speaker with your phone, computer, or even your voice via Google Assistant.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller and cheaper, consider the SB36512-F6 5.1, which brings you an Atmos-designed system under $500.
There’s a decent chance that the TV you’re purchasing a soundbar for is made by Samsung, so it would make sense that your go-to speaker brand would be them as well. Luckily, this assumption will treat you nicely, as Samsung has a very nice selection of soundbars that seamlessly connect with its TVs.
The HW-N850 5.1.2 soundbar comes with most of the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect with a standard Atmos and DTS:X supporting speaker: WiFi, Bluetooth, music streaming, etc. With 13 speakers in total and Harmon Kardon tuning, Samsung’s soundbar is a good first choice if you’re looking for a quality soundbar to match your TV.
Polk Audio Command Soundbar
While it may not be as high-quality as the Sonos Beam, the Polk Audio Command soundbar also ships with fully-integrated Amazon Alexa built-in at about half the price and even includes a subwoofer. Very impressive.
Since Alexa is baked in, the Command is also a full-fledged smart speaker, meaning it can do more than control the music being streamed to it. It can also control your smart home products like Hue, Nest, and more—it’s almost an Echo in a soundbar. It’s very convenient if you’re already heavily invested in Amazon’s ecosystem. If you so desire, you can completely disable from the soundbar, but it would pretty much defeat the purpose of purchasing the Command.