May 22, 2022

Best soundbars 2022

By Andrew Myrick Contributions from Namerah Saud Fatmi Keegan Prosser published 18 days ago

It’s time to upgrade the sound system in your home.

Included in this guide:1

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SonosVIEW2

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SonosArcCHECK PRICE3

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CreativeVIEW4

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RokuStreambar ProCHECK PRICE5

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AnkerNebula SoundbarCHECK PRICE6

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BoseSmart Soundbar 900CHECK PRICE7

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YamahaVIEW8

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PolkMagniFi Mini AXCHECK PRICE9

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JBLVIEW10

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SamsungVIEW11

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VIZIOVIEW12

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TCLVIEW

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Creative SXFI Carrier

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Soundbars have come a long way in the last few years, offering excellent sound while taking up less space and costing far less. 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 create powerful sound without relying on subwoofers or rear speakers. The Sonos Beam will astonish you with its massive sound in a small, reasonably-priced package, but we have plenty of other great options to consider below.

Sonos Beam Gen 2
(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos Beam Smart TV Sound Bar (Gen 2)

All of the smarts

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.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…CLOSEhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.516.0_en.html#goog_398007440 seconds of 54 secondsVolume 0% PLAY SOUND

Sonos Arc Review
(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Sonos Arc

Great sound with the smarts to bootTODAY’S BEST DEALS

Prime

VIEW AT AMAZONView at Sonos EuropeView at Conrad ElectronicSee all prices (6 found)

REASONS TO BUY

+Wall mountable+Integrates with other Sonos speakers+Only two cables to hook-up+Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Apple Airplay 2+Dolby Atmos-compatible

REASONS TO AVOID

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

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.

Creative SXFI Carrier
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Creative SXFI Carrier

Great sound with the smarts to boot

REASONS TO BUY

+Better than expected sound+Wireless sub has impressive bass+Easy to set up and use+HDMI 2.1 connectivity+Six different modes for movies, TV shows, and music+Dolby Atmos integration

REASONS TO AVOID

-No Chromecast integration-Cannot add rear surrounds-Limited EQ customizationAdvertisement

If you’re looking for a powerful soundbar that’s comparable to the Sonos Arc in both output and price, the new Creative SXFI Carrier soundbar is a great alternative. Creative worked directly with Dolby Atmos on its latest soundbar, which has already proved to be an excellent option for users who want Dolby Atmos sound in an integrated package and need a high-end soundbar with a wireless sub.

While the SXFI Carrier soundbar doesn’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity, it does include two HDMI inputs, an HDMI output with eARC, and all the benefits of HDMI 2.1—including variable refresh, ALLM, 4K at 120fps, and HDR10+ as well as Dolby Vision. You also get optical, 3.5 in, USB-C, and Bluetooth 5.0.

The SXFI Carrier also boasts a relatively compact design, measuring 880 x 128 x 76mm and weighing roughly 8lbs. (3.6kg). Other impressive specs include the wireless subwoofer, which features a 10-inch driver for next-level bass and sub-bass detail, seven driver units, and Creative’s unique SXFI virtualization technology.

Roku Streambar Pro
(Image credit: Roku)

Roku Streambar Pro

The true all-in-one soundbarTODAY’S BEST DEALS

Prime

VIEW AT AMAZON

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 separatelyAdvertisement

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.

Anker Nebula Soundbar
(Image credit: Anker Nebula)

Anker Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition

Built-in Fire TVTODAY’S BEST DEALS

Prime

VIEW AT AMAZON

REASONS TO BUY

+Built-in Fire TV 4K+Voice Remote with Alexa included+Built-in subwoofer+Various sound modes to choose from

REASONS TO AVOID

-No Dolby Atmos support-Only one HDMI port-Does not feature Wi-Fi connectivityAdvertisement

If it hasn’t been obvious over the past few years, one of the best streaming devices has been the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. But what if we told you that you could get one built right into your new soundbar? That’s what you’ll get with the Nebula Soundbar. Anker is mainly known for incredible charging accessories, but the company has been spreading out into other areas such as smart projectors and soundbars, including the Nebula.

This soundbar has a built-in subwoofer so you won’t have to worry about trying to route any extra cables, nor will you need to worry about paying extra for some improved bass. But the best part is that it doubles as a Fire TV 4K streaming device. Included in the package is a Nebula-branded Fire TV remote, complete with shortcuts to your favorite streaming services.

However, you won’t get everything with the Nebula Soundbar. For example, it does not support Dolby Atmos. With more and more soundbars including this feature, it’s a bit disappointing to see Anker miss the mark here. Another potential frustration is the inclusion of only a single HDMI port on the backside. This may not be a huge deal for some, but if you’re planning on using this with your PS5, you’ll end up a bit disappointed. 

Bose Smart Soundbar 900
(Image credit: Bose)

Bose Smart Soundbar 900

Perfect soundbar for most peopleTODAY’S BEST DEALS

Prime

VIEW AT AMAZONView at BoseView at Adorama WWSee all prices (29 found)

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 TVsAdvertisement

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.

Yamaha YAS-209BL
(Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha YAS-209BL Soundbar

Almost perfect

REASONS TO BUY

+Wireless subwoofer included+Virtual 3D surround sound+Amazon Alexa built-in for voice control+Use the included remote or application on your phone

REASONS TO AVOID

-Does not support all music-streaming services-No support for multi-room systems-Limited input/output portsAdvertisement

In years past, Yamaha has released some of the best soundbar options that you could find. Now, the Yamaha YAS-209BL soundbar shows that the company has taken its experience and introduced another fantastic option. First, there is surround sound, and then there is a three-dimensional surround sound, and the Yamaha 209BL Soundbar is a vast improvement over its predecessor. With DTS Virtual:X, the 209BL will fill every inch of your room to entrench you in action and make you feel like a part of the movie.

Yamaha also includes the ability to stream music over Bluetooth and use either the included remote or the accompanying smartphone app. Plus, there is a wireless subwoofer packaged in the bundle so you can get just the right amount of bass for your favorite movie, TV show, or music playlist.

Unfortunately, while the 209BL is excellent in many facets, there are a few frustrating omissions. The first frustration is the number of inputs, as there’s a single HDMI for input, one for output, and a single Digital Optical output port. As for smart home assistants, you’ll be limited to Amazon Alexa, which is already built-in. However, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2 users will not be able to take advantage of those benefits. Additionally, Yamaha has not included support for all music streaming services, including Apple Music, TIDAL, or YouTube Music.

Polk Audio MagniFi Mini AX
(Image credit: Polk Audio)

Polk MagniFi Mini AX

Sleek, smart, and powerfulTODAY’S BEST DEALS

Prime

VIEW AT AMAZON

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-FiAdvertisement

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.

JBL 5.1 Soundbar System
(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar

Get Google Assistant built-in

REASONS TO BUY

+Wireless surround speakers included+10-inch wireless subwoofer+Three HDMI inputs+Instantly switch sound between devices

REASONS TO AVOID

-Micro-USB charging for surround speakers-Finding the proper configuration can be frustrating-Plastic designAdvertisement

Google has done a phenomenal job getting Google Assistant into the hands of millions. Even better is that more products are launching that integrate Assistant.

The JBL Bar 5.1 is the perfect example of this, as the company worked with Google to integrate Google Assistant and Google Cast support. There are three HDMI ports onboard, along with an HDMI Arc output option. JBL even included a privacy switch for the microphone if you don’t want your soundbar listening. However, one of the most significant advantages is the truly wireless surround sound speakers that detach from the primary soundbar. You can then mount them in different areas around your room and charge them with the main soundbar.

Despite being a favorite for the best soundbar, some sacrifices had to be made. For one, you can’t currently add this to your Google Home Groups. That likely won’t make or break your purchase, but it’s something to be wary of when you get this soundbar. Additionally, the Bar 5.1’s wireless speakers have micro-USB charging and not USB-C, which is just disappointing at this point.

Samsung HW-B650 3.1 Soundbar
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung HW-B650 3.1 Soundbar

Perfect if you want a Samsung TV setup

REASONS TO BUY

+Dolby Audio/DTS:X Support+Wireless subwoofer included+4K passthrough built-in+Bluetooth multi-connection support

REASONS TO AVOID

-Some functions limited to Samsung TVs-Included remote is not reliableAdvertisement

It can be frustrating to continually switch your EQ levels to match the content viewed. With Samsung’s HW-B650 3.1 Soundbar, you can throw those worries out the window. The soundbar sports Adaptive Sound Mode, automatically adjusting the EQ levels based on what you watch.

There is a catch: You’ll want to have the HW-B650 plugged into one of the best Samsung TVs on the market in order to get the best experience possible. Even if you don’t have one of those TVs, the HW-B650 is intriguing with its Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, along with including a wireless subwoofer. As for the connections, Samsung provides a single HDMI input, one HDMI output, an optical input, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Samsung knocked it out of the park with the HW-B650, but one possible frustration source comes from the included remote. Designed to control all of your Samsung home theater products, it’s not as reliable as previous iterations. However, you can use your smartphone with the Samsung SmartThings app to replace the old remote.

Vizio M-Series 5.1 Soundbar
(Image credit: Vizio)

VIZIO M-Series 5.1 Sound Bar

Blow up your soundstage, not your price

REASONS TO BUY

+Easy to set up+Subwoofer and rear speakers for cheap+Dolby Atmos-compatible+Google Assistant and Bluetooth support

REASONS TO AVOID

-Only one HDMI input-No Alexa or AirPlay supportAdvertisement

Most of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars will cost you well over a grand, while the cheaper Atmos-compatible soundbars are standalone devices that can only produce a pale imitation of 3D audio. This Vizio soundbar comes with the subwoofer and rear speakers necessary to bounce sound artfully around your living room, but without the premium price that usually demands.

In our Vizio SB-36512-F6 review, we praised its Atmos performance for adding “completely new depth” to movie soundtracks and filling a room with distinct objects that a standalone 3.0ch soundbar can’t hope to match. However, it had some issues with the remote control and Vizio SmartCast app. The newer Vizio M-Series 5.1 Sound Bar retains all the strengths of its predecessor and improves on its flaws. While the M51ax-J6 offers a similar experience without the finicky remote control. It also brings DTS:X to the table, adding even more depth to the sound.

If you truly want the best Atmos experience, the Samsung HW-Q90R or LG SN11RG will absolutely outperform the Vizio M51ax-J6; they’ll just add an extra thousand dollars to your bill. Considering Atmos content is still relatively niche, we’re hesitant to recommend dropping that kind of cash unless you really can afford it. Vizio’s soundbar will still outperform many of the other best soundbars on this list in producing a wide, rich soundstage.

TCL Alto R1
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL Alto R1

Roku TV owners only

REASONS TO BUY

+Compact design+Features Optical, 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth+Various Sound Modes to choose from+Exclusively for Roku TV

REASONS TO AVOID

-Lacks a subwoofer-Will not work with Roku Wireless Speakers-Doesn’t support any voice assistantAdvertisement

Some folks either don’t want to or don’t need to dive into the deep end when finding the best cheap soundbars. If you have a smaller budget and just want a better audio experience, the TCL Alto 6 is here to fit the bill. The Alto R1 measures in at 31.5-inches long, making it a good option for those with limited space.

There are several different sound modes to pair with the content you’re enjoying, along with five hardware buttons on the soundbar to make adjustments. The Alto R1 supports Dolby Digital processing, and it can double as your Bluetooth speaker if you want to take advantage of the versatility of this soundbar.

Unfortunately, the biggest catch is that you won’t be able to use this with non-Roku TV sets. There’s not even an HDMI port built into the Alto R1, as TCL only offers the power adapter and nothing else. It doesn’t have Dolby Atmos either, but that isn’t surprising considering the price tag. Another downside of the Alto R1 is that you can’t control it with Google Assistant or any other smart assistant.

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 petite-yet-powerful Sonos Beam is our pick for the best soundbar. It gives you superb audio quality for an immersive surround sound experience, with the option to augment it with other Sonos speakers for even better sound down the line.

There are some downsides. The bass isn’t particularly strong unless you invest in the separate Sonos Sub. It only supports voice commands if connected via HDMI-ARC, not optical cable. And it doesn’t play Dolby Atmos soundtracks. But, if that’s not a deal-breaker, it’s still the best affordable soundbar you can find today.Round up of today’s best deals

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US$499VIEWSee all pricesWe check over 250 million products every day for the best pricesPOWERED BYAndroid Central

Andrew Myrick

Andrew Myrick 

Senior Editor – Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.With contributions from

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