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The 7 Best Soundbars - Fall 2023 Reviews

Best Soundbars

Soundbars offer a few advantages over traditional home theater speaker setups: they tend to take up less space, are easier to set up, and are often more affordable. Whether you're looking for a soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos or want something you can plug your older MP3 player into, there's a model for you. However, not all soundbars are created equal; some provide a better listening experience than others. If you watch a lot of TV or listen to music at home, you'll want something that sounds good and is compatible with your existing devices, whether you want to hook it up to your smart TV or prefer streaming directly from your smartphone. The best soundbars for TV reproduce dialogue in your favorite shows with clarity and detail.

We've tested over 175 soundbars; below, you'll find our top picks. See our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best 5.1 soundbars.

  1. Best Soundbar

    The Samsung HW-Q990C is the best soundbar we've tested. This premium 11.1.4 setup is the next generation of the Samsung HW-Q990B and offers even better sound quality than its predecessor. Like most high-end soundbars, it has a room correction feature designed to improve audio reproduction based on the unique acoustics of your space. With it on, the bar has a clean and clear sound, with a detailed reproduction of voices and other instruments in the mix. It's suitable for everything from music to movies to TV shows, and its sub brings all the thump and rumble to take action-packed scenes to the next level.

    This Dolby Atmos soundbar offers an immersive sound with advanced audio formats commonly found on streaming platforms and Blu-rays. You can set up the satellites around your couch to send sound effects all around your room. Its stereo soundstage performance isn't as impressive as comparable premium models like the Sonos Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. Still, thanks to its bonus customization tools, it gives you more control over its sound than those models, making it a stand-out pick that can please many different kinds of listeners.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Soundbar

    The Samsung HW-Q930B is a great alternative if you're looking for a more affordable soundbar. This versatile soundbar comes with many of the same features as its more premium cousin and even offers a similar sound. The two setups look alike, although the Q930B's subwoofer isn't quite as stylish. Set up its satellites all around your living room to bring the action on screen right into the comfort of your living room. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow, and there's lots of rumble in bass during action-packed scenes, too.

    This Dolby Atmos soundbar comes with many of the same sound enhancement features as the Samsung HW-Q990C. Notably, there's a room correction feature on hand and a graphic EQ and presets if you prefer to switch up the sound on your own. That said, the Q930B's sound is a bit muddier out-of-the-box, obscuring some detail with voices and other instruments in the mid-range. Its bass is a little less controlled, too. If you're an astute audiophile, it's worth looking at the more premium alternative for a better sound. That said, you may find the trade-off worth it since it saves you some money.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Soundbar

    The Vizio Elevate is the best mid-range soundbar we've tested. It's another versatile Dolby Atmos soundbar that's great for everything from music to movies to TV shows. Dialogue is clearly reproduced right out of the box, and the dedicated sub brings plenty of thump and rumble in the bass for action-packed scenes. When you watch height content like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, the bar's sides rotate upwards to create a more life-like impression of height. The resulting sound is immersive, so you feel like your favorite films are taking place all around you.

    Like our top picks, this soundbar comes with two satellite speakers to bring a more clear and real feel to your audio. However, you'll have to wire these satellites to the subwoofer to get them to work, which isn't ideal for every living space. Compared to our top picks, this soundbar also lacks a room correction tool, so it sounds slightly different depending on your space. Thanks to its bass and treble adjustments, you can accommodate for this a bit, though it lacks a full graphic EQ. Still, this bar shines for the price, and it's worth a look if you want an affordable alternative.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Soundbar

    Budget-conscious buyers can check out the Vizio M Series M512a-H6, the best bar in the mid-range we've tested. Overall, this soundbar has a lot of similarities with the pricier Vizio Elevate. You'll find similar sound enhancement features, including bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound. It also comes with a subwoofer and two satellites designed to bring a more immersive feel to your listening experience. It performs well with most types of audio content and reproduces dialogue and instruments with great clarity. Plus, the sub brings all the thump and rumble you need to shake the floor during action-packed movie scenes.

    How does this setup compare with the Vizio Elevate? Well, there are two key differences. First, the M Series doesn't have sides that rotate upwards with height content. Also, its satellites lack up-firing drivers. The result is a slightly less immersive sound, especially with higher-end audio formats like Dolby Atmos. Most users will still find that it provides an enjoyable listening experience, but if you want the most clear and real sound possible, you'll want to spring for the more advanced Elevate. If you're more budget-conscious, though, you may find that this setup is the better value overall.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Soundbar

    The Vizio V Series V51-H6 is the best budget soundbar we've tested. This 5.1 setup is an even more affordable alternative to the Vizio M Series M512a-H6 with a great price-to-performance ratio. Like the M Series, it has a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers to improve its surround sound with formats like Dolby Digital. Right out of the box, you get a clear and accurate sound, so you hear dialogue clearly, and the deep rumble in the low-bass doesn't overpower it. The sound enhancement features are similar to what you get with the M Series, meaning you can adjust its bass and treble according to your preferences.

    Like the M Series model, this soundbar doesn't support height content like Dolby Atmos. It's disappointing, especially if you watch a lot of content from streaming platforms, where you'll likely find Atmos movies and TV shows alike. Still, this isn't a big deal if you don't watch much height content in the first place. Overall, this soundbar remains great for stereo content and surround sound. It's one of the only options in its price range to offer rear speakers, and it's worth a look if you're on a budget.

    See our review

  6. Best Small Soundbar

    Low on space? Check out the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). This next-generation soundbar retains the same compact design of the original Sonos Beam at less than 26 inches in width but with one key difference. This model supports Dolby Atmos content, which is increasingly common on both streaming platforms and Blu-rays. You enjoy a wide, immersive sound with multi-channel content, as the bar can widen its soundstage well past its small frame. It's not quite as stellar a performance as the more premium Sonos Arc, but it stands out compared to other smaller soundbars.

    This setup has many of the same sound enhancement features as the Arc. First, you can access a room correction feature designed to optimize the bar's sound for your unique room. It's only available with iOS devices, but Android users can always manually adjust the bar's sound with its bass and treble adjustments. For the best possible performance, you can add a sub and satellites for the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) with Sub Mini + One SL Speakers, too. That said, the standalone bar still offers a solid performance, and it's worth a look for those without a lot of space.

    See our review

  7. Best Soundbar For Large Rooms

    For those with larger, more open living spaces, finding a soundbar that can fill your room with sound is important. The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 eARC is ideal for infusing wider areas with sound thanks to its unique 9.2.4 setup. Unlike most soundbars, it has two subwoofers to even out the bass reproduction and four satellite speakers, which you can position horizontally or vertically. Also, you can move these components around the room to fill any gaps in the soundstage, so no space goes without. As the upgraded version of the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch, it has some additional features, including eARC support, meaning you can stream more premium formats like DTS:X.

    This soundbar won't have a traditional room correction feature since it lacks a microphone to analyze your room's unique acoustics. Still, its Spatial Surround Elevation feature lets you choose between three different presets based on the size of your room, and it's a handy way to adjust the bar's sound to your space. This well-built setup is versatile since it supports everything from 5.1 surround sound Dolby Digital to object-based Dolby Atmos formats. You can also customize it for better performance, which is nice. It's a solid pick for those with more unique living spaces, but you won't need the extra sub and satellites if you have a more traditional living room.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Klipsch Cinema 1200: The Klipsch Cinema 1200 is a premium setup with Dolby Atmos support. It has a bass-heavy sound right out of the box that helps you feel the punch and rumble in your audio. However, you don't get a neutral out-of-the-box sound like the Samsung HW-Q990C. See our review
  • Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module: The Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module is a versatile 7.1.2 setup with Dolby Atmos support. Compared to other premium models, it doesn't offer many sound customization features, and its surround and Atmos performances aren't as impressive as the Samsung HW-Q990C. See our review
  • Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module: The Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module is a premium setup with a unique design that lets you place its four speakers anywhere. It has a fantastic soundstage with an impressive Atmos performance. However, it lacks a discrete center channel like the Samsung HW-Q990C. See our review
  • Vizio SB36512-F6: The Vizio SB36512-F6 is a versatile 5.1.2 soundbar with a neutral sound profile and support for Dolby Atmos content. It's more budget-friendly than the Samsung HW-Q990C, but it doesn't have as many features, and its sound isn't quite as immersive. See our review
  • Samsung HW-Q900C: The Samsung HW-Q900C is a good alternative to the Vizio Elevate if you want a bar that comes without satellites. As a result, though, its surround sound performance isn't quite as impressive. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Sep 21, 2023: No product pick changes. Some text edits for clarity.

  2. Aug 23, 2023: No changes in product picks. Some minor text updates for clarity.

  3. Jul 26, 2023: Added the Samsung HW-Q900C as a Notable Mention. No changes in product picks.

  4. Jun 29, 2023: Verified product picks. Minor text updates, such as replacing the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers with the better-performing Sonos Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc in the Samsung HW-Q990C text.

  5. Jun 01, 2023: Confirmed picks. Minor text updates for clarity.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the top soundbars for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our soundbar reviews, including the best soundbars for TV and the best Bluetooth soundbars. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.