The 7 Best Soundbars of 2020
If you need a slimmer sound system, try these superb soundbars for your entertainment center.
The right speakers can make all the difference when it comes to family movie night or enjoying the game. Bad speakers can distort the sound of your favorite show or video game, but excellent speakers can enhance the experience. However, many entertainment centers or smaller apartments don’t have space for a full set of dedicated speakers and a subwoofer.
That’s where soundbars come in. As audio experts, we discovered that the Bose Solo 5 was perhaps the best soundbar on the market today, offering full stereo system sound quality with the smaller size and convenience of a traditional soundbar device. You might also be interested in the Bose Soundbar 700, which offers several excellent technological innovations, or the Polk Audio SIGNA S2 Ultra-Slim Soundbar, which has a dedicated subwoofer unit.
Whatever your needs, the best soundbar for your entertainment system or living room is awaiting you just below.
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System
Best Soundbar Overall
Why should you buy this? The Bose Solo 5 is a perfect choice for those who want a personal sound system that doesn’t take up too much space, but which delivers optimal audio performance.
Bose Solo 5
Who’s it for? This is an ideal choice for those who want a versatile soundbar that can be used with any entertainment center and is easy to control.
Why we picked the Bose Solo 5:
We chose the Bose Solo 5 largely thanks to its excellent ease-of-use and quality. It uses Bluetooth connectivity to stream music from any of your devices, has a universal remote control for easy modifications, and can work with virtually any entertainment system.
Its true value comes from the quality of the sound. Dialogue sounds particularly crisp and clear, and music from any film or television show booms through the speakers. It uses proprietary sound technology to deliver an experience that you won’t be able to match with any other soundbar. In particular, we were thrilled with the performance of bass sounds from this bar.
It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to listen to. What’s not to like?
GooDee 22-Inch Soundbar
Best Cheap Soundbar
Why should you buy this? This affordable soundbar is a great choice if you’d like a high-quality piece of audio equipment that doesn’t break the bank.
GooDee 22-Inch Soundbar
Who’s it for? This is a perfect choice for those looking to complete their entertainment center set up with an affordable sound system that isn’t as bulky as a full set of speakers.
Why we picked the GooDee 22-Inch Soundbar:
This 22-inch soundbar is one of the best on the market, even with its incredibly affordable asking price. It comes with a built-in battery that lasts for 3 to 7 hours before you need to recharge the batteries. You can also connect this soundbar to your TV via a cable or through wireless connectivity thanks to a Bluetooth 4 software suite. This suite also makes it easy to wirelessly stream music straight to the soundbar from any mobile device.
Everything is controlled with a single universal remote, and LED lights illuminate the edges of the soundbar to indicate certain actions and provide powerful ambiance. This soundbar is equipped with four high-quality speakers, each of which booms dynamic and wide-ranging sound throughout your living room or through an outdoor space.
Not to mention that this soundbar is small in size and easy to carry around. All in all, it’s a phenomenal piece of audio equipment you won’t want to miss.
Bose Soundbar 700
Best High-End Soundbar
Why should you buy this? The Bose Soundbar 700 represents the best in class in terms of soundbar performance and excellence, largely thanks to its audio performance and extra features.
Bose Soundbar 700
Who’s it for? This is the perfect choice for entertainment center connoisseurs who want only the best of the best and who don’t mind getting a few other high-tech advantages at the same time.
Why we picked the Bose Soundbar 700:
This superb soundbar provides unmatched sound performance across the entire spectrum, ranging from high sounds to the deepest bass. You can even add an additional Bose bass module if you’d like to crank up that aspect of your show’s audio performance even further.
But that’s not all. This soundbar comes integrated with built-in voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. That makes it incredibly easy to use, as you can simply ask the soundbar to play the music of your choice. Everything can also be integrated with Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect to various services like Spotify. This Bluetooth connection is stable and superb, just like the rest of the system.
It also comes with a context-sensitive universal remote and a proprietary Bose music app. All in all, this speaker comes for a hefty asking price but packs so much value into its casing and additional components that we’d be hard-pressed to recommend anything else if you have the cash.
Polk Audio SIGNA S2 Ultra-Slim Soundbar
Best Soundbar with Subwoofer
Why should you buy this? This soundbar comes with a separate subwoofer module, allowing it to blast dynamic sound and really enhance the experience of your favorite TV shows or movies.
Polk Audio SIGNA S2
Who’s it for? This soundbar is a perfect choice for audiophiles that don’t want to give up subwoofer quality when they purchase a soundbar for their entertainment center.
Why we picked the Polk Audio SIGNA S2:
This soundbar is a perfect choice for those who can’t go without high-quality subwoofer sound. The included subwoofer that comes with the purchase is a wireless unit with five powerful full-range drivers. It’s a subwoofer on par with dedicated units you can purchase to accompany even the most expensive speaker systems. It’s also only two feet tall, so it’s easy to store or set up alongside the slim frame of the main soundbar unit.
The soundbar itself features Wi-Fi connectivity and also projects crystal-clear sound no matter what you play on your TV. It’s very easy to set up and works seamlessly with various music playing apps like Pandora or Spotify. All in all, it’s a phenomenal soundbar to pair with one of the best subwoofers on the market, even compared to subwoofer-only purchases.
Best Bluetooth Soundbar
Why should you buy this? The Bomaker Soundbar represents supreme quality and excellent Bluetooth connectivity stability, featuring several sound modes and a surround sound speaker system integrated into its frame.
Who’s it for? This soundbar is a perfect choice for audiophiles that want rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity.
Why we picked the Bomaker Soundbar:
The Bomaker Soundbar is an excellent piece of equipment. It seamlessly and instantly connects to various Bluetooth services or devices, such as your TV or any music player. It’s compatible with virtually every TV brand on the market, allowing it to be used in a variety of homes or situations.
Furthermore, it features several customizable sound modes, allowing you to adjust the sound output of the speaker system inside the frame. You can even adjust the output of the integrated subwoofer, which boosts the value for money of this soundbar set overall.
In general, the sound is excellent. It can deliver up to 110 dB of crystal-clear sound with less than 0.5% of harmonic distortion. All in all, it’s a fantastic piece of audio equipment that’ll go perfectly with high-quality entertainment centers and let you truly enjoy your favorite movies or video games.
Samsung HW-N300 Soundbar
Best Small Soundbar
Why should you buy this? This smaller soundbar only measures about 28 inches long, allowing it to be paired seamlessly with many entertainment centers or TVs.
Who’s it for? This soundbar is a perfect choice if you have a smaller entertainment system or don’t want your soundbar to overwhelm your TV.
Why we picked the Samsung HW-N300:
This soundbar is an ideal TV companion. It provides phenomenal sound quality despite its compact size, featuring surround sound speakers by delivering crystal-clear audio above and around you as you watch your favorite shows and movies. It also comes with a proprietary app to let you control the soundbar from your smartphone or any tablet with an Android operating system.
Of course, this soundbar also works with Bluetooth connective services and devices. But there’s also a remote for easy control, too. An included USB port provides even more versatility, as you can plug-in any older music playing devices and enjoy your favorite music.
This pairs well with its small size. Because it’s so easy to carry around, you can take this soundbar with you while camping or to any other social occasion and let it project music for the party to flow around. Overall, it’s an excellent soundbar by its own merits; the small size is just a bonus that makes it perfect for select users.
TaoTronics 32-Inch Soundbar
Best Surround Sound Soundbar
Why should you buy this? This TaoTronics 32-Inch Soundbar delivers outstanding audio performance thanks to its surround sound speaker set built into the frame.
TaoTronics 32-Inch Soundbar
Who’s it for? This is a perfect choice for audiophiles that can’t go without surround sound when it’s time to listen to their favorite music or watch their favorite shows.
Why we picked the TaoTronics 32-Inch Soundbar:
This soundbar features some of the best speakers built into a soundbar on the market. It can deliver quality surround sound throughout your entire living room or outdoor space, making it an ideal entertainment companion or “life of the party” device. It also features several connectivity options, including Bluetooth, wired, or general wireless.
You can also fine-tune the audio performance of the soundbar thanks to its distinct equalizer modes, of which there are three: game, music, and movie. It’s a perfect control to let you get the most out of the soundbar each time you use it, as it tailors the performance of the integrated speakers to the current entertainment venue on offer.
It’s also not too large or heavy, featuring a 32-inch design that is aesthetically pleasing and that works well with a variety of TV centers. In total, this is an excellent soundbar not only thanks to its excellent surround sound speakers but because of its other elements, as well.
How we test
There are almost more soundbars than you could possibly test in 2019. Because of this, we used our existing audio expertise to narrow down our search choices before we selected the top products to test. For each speaker, we played a variety of music across the entire sound spectrum, as well as a few films on a TV via streaming. This allowed us to determine the best soundbars in terms of music quality, connectivity, and suitability for surround sound entertainment.
While the ideal soundbar need of any individual might vary greatly, we feel confident that the selection of soundbars below strike a good balance in terms of overall quality and fulfilling specific requirements. When in doubt, remember our top overall choice, which we feel is the best of the best.
Best Soundbars FAQ
What is the Best Hi-Fi Soundbar?
There is no “single” best Hi-Fi soundbar for everyone. Hi-Fi refers to “high fidelity”, which basically just means high-quality. A Hi-Fi soundbar will produce better sound than Lo-Fi counterparts.
The right soundbar for your needs will be a perfect size, have the right number of speakers, and have the right settings to work well with your TV and entertainment center. Soundbars like the Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System balance lots of factors to make them acceptable for many people.
What Soundbar Size is Right for 50, 60, or 65-Inch TVs?
Soundbar size doesn’t play as much of a role in sound quality as you might think. Instead, focus on aesthetics and whether a given soundbar works well with your TV. Generally speaking, try to make your soundbar about the same size or a little smaller than the width of your TV. So a 50-inch TV should go for a 50-inch soundbar or so. Same for a 60-inch or 65-inch TV.
The GooDee 22-Inch Soundbar, for instance, is best for a 22-inch TV.
What is a Soundbar for a TV?
A soundbar for a TV is a long and thin bar-shaped speaker system. It’s usually filled with several speakers and projects sound clearly and distinctly without requiring many separate speakers to be set up around your TV.
What to Look for When Buying a Soundbar
Wondering which soundbar to buy? Consider these major factors in you choose the best soundbar for your needs.
Firstly, think about where the soundbar will be located. Certain soundbars are best used when hung on your wall, while others are better when they sit beneath your TV. This will automatically eliminate certain soundbars from your consideration given the space or size of your entertainment center.
Consider the ideal size for a soundbar, too. No soundbar should be wider than your TV. In fact, the ideal soundbar width is about the same size as your TV. This completes the aesthetic appearance of your entertainment center and ensures that the soundbar will have a good “feel” to its sound relative to the picture. The Samsung HW-N300, for instance, will fit best with a 28-inch TV due to its own width.
Finally, find out whether a given soundbar is active or passive. Passive soundbars do not have built-in power amps, so they need a receiver or amplifier to function properly. These also require looking up a traditional subwoofer if you want that experience. However, these allow for greater customization.
Active soundbars come with built-in amplifiers, plus extra channel processors to separate the speakers within the bar. These are easier to hook up and are better if you just want to plug in and go and are ideal if you don’t have audio setup expertise.
What Does a 2.1, 3.1, or 5.1 Channel Soundbar Mean?
2.1, 3.1, and 5.1 all refer to the number of speakers included with any given soundbar product. A 2.1 soundbar will include two speakers and a subwoofer with left and right channels. A 3.1 soundbar will have three speakers and a subwoofer, along with left, right, and center channels. Finally, a 5.1 soundbar will have five speakers and a subwoofer, along with two additional channels: surround left and surround right.
The Samsung HW-N300 is a 2-channel soundbar, as you can see.