Best soundbars in 2021

Best soundbars

What’s the best soundbar you can buy right now? Part of any great viewing experience is the music and sound effects. Feeling the air vibrate during a football match, or the bombastic soundtrack to an electric movie, it truly heightens the mood.

The best smart TVs have found plenty of ways to improve and enhance the audiovisual experience. Dolby Atmos, and other features, envelope you in sound when watching the best movies and best TV series, dynamically changing the mix depending on what’s happening onscreen. Soundbars capitalise on all that, adding more power and functionality.

Some are heavy duty and state-of-the-art, almost as wide as the bigger TVs themselves, with more speakers in the box. Others are simple, and just require you to hook them up to start hearing the benefits. In our list, we’ve scoured the market for the most up-to-date products available, across the spectrum of pricing, so you can decide what you want within your budget. Trust us, once you have a decent soundbar, you’ll find it hard to go back to regular old TV speakers.

What are the best soundbars in 2021?

  • Best overall – Sonos Arc
  • Best sound quality – Samsung HW-Q90R
  • Best for simple setup – Sony HT-X8500
  • Best for audio range – LG SN11RG
  • Best upmarket – Sennheiser Ambeo
  • Best low-budget – Yamaha YAS-209

Best Soundbar – Sonos Arc

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Sonos continues being one of the best companies for televisual sound with a piece of kit that pushes home audio even further. The Sonos Arc incorporates the latest Dolby tech to give dynamic sound whatever you’re watching. With Dolby Atmos, you’ll hear every little piece of noise happening on-screen, and Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus bring tip-top clarity to soundtracks and other music.

Ethernet ports, HDMI connectivity, and Bluetooth give you options for hooking it up, and setup is handled by a simple app on your phone. Competitive pricing, and a good size for placement, make it an easy investment for any living room.

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$1,299.99
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best sound quality – Samsung Q70T

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If sheer volume and density of sound is what you want, this Samsung soundbar delivers that with gusto. Despite being available now for a couple of the years, the Q70T just does it does so well it’s still highly recommended. The ceiling before the mix starts to suffer issues is remarkably high, letting you push the audio on your favourite movies and TV series, and Dolby Atmos fills out the room for an experience that rivals more robust speaker configurations.

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Part of this is due to what comes in the box – you get a speaker with the soundbar itself, to place around the room. The other part is the architecture, which uses Acoustic Beam 2.0 for added range.

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$699.99
$399.00
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Best for simple setup – Sony HT-X8500

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This Sony soundbar is one of the top options for basic audio enhancement without the bells and whistles. You only get the piece of hardware, the bar itself, with no extraneous woofers or speakers, and it’s connected to the TV through a single HDMI port. The remote lets you switch between three settings: standard, cinema, and night, depending on what you’re looking for.

The mix isn’t the most dynamic compared to competitors, though it still produces a full sound that’ll likely trump whatever your TV’s standard audio quality is. A no-frills package if you just want an upgrade without worrying too much about it.

Best low-budget – Yamaha YAS-209

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For something middle-of-the-road, Yamaha has some decent soundbars that won’t wow anyone, but enhance your audio without breaking the bank. A step up form the YAS-207, the YAS-209 still uses just two speakers, on the left and right, meaning there’s no surround sound. That said, the build is sturdy, and for smaller spaces, the audio range is still good enough you aren’t going to notice a massive discrepancy.

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Another bonus here is Alexa compatibility, making it a good candidate if you’re building a smart ecosystem around your home. If all you want is reliable for a neat price, look no further.

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$349.95
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BEST POWER – LG SN11RG

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If you’ve a bigger screen on your TV, this 2020 product from LG is a fine addition to your home theatre. Two speakers and a woofer join the main bar, and combined they have a whopping 770W of power, to really get your movies rumbling.

Using Dolby Atmos, the SN11RG is one of the best all-round sounding bars available. Provided you’ve the space, you’ll get immersive audio that ebbs and flows with whatever you’re watching, whether it’s live music, a blockbuster, or something else entirely. LG has been collaborating with hi-fi company Meridian, and these are the fruits of those labours.

LG - 7.1.4-Channel 770W Soundbar System LG – 7.1.4-Channel 770W Soundbar System LG – 7.1.4-Channel 770W Soundbar System Best Buy $1699.98 Buy Now Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.

BEST UPMARKET – SENNHEISER AMBEO

Sometimes the best tech requires sacrifices, and finding the room for Sennheiser’s mammoth Ambeo soundbar can be a task. Its size is matched by a hefty price-tag, but you’re getting real bang for your buck. The Ambeo’s sound is massive, providing crystal clear dialogue, booming action, and the ability to hear every instrument of an composition as it sways through whatever space you’re in.

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Several HDMI slots give options for hooking up your TV and other applies, and Chromecast means your options are as limited as the amount of appliances. Informative LED display sweetens the deal, making this a worthwhile part of any family space.

Sennheiser 5.1.4-Channel AMBEO Soundbar Sennheiser 5.1.4-Channel AMBEO Soundbar Sennheiser 5.1.4-Channel AMBEO Soundbar Best Buy $2499.98 Buy now Network N earns affiliate commission from qualifying sales.

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Anthony McGlynn

Staff writer

Updated: Aug 25, 2021


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