When it comes to soundbars, it’s hard to put it better than Scouted contributor and former Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief Whitson Gordon put it: Ditch your TV’s terrible sound and get a soundbar. From one-piece units to ones with several sources (like a subwoofer or side speakers), there are a lot of options out there that will tremendously improve whatever you’re watching or listening to. We put together some of our favorite soundbars—as well as top-rated and bestselling options—in every budget level to help guide you through to the solid upgrade your home audio deserves.
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System
Bose knows sound and here it packs it into this relatively affordable $200 soundbar. While you can connect to it through Bluetooth and listen to anything you want that way, it doesn’t include built-in WiFi for smart streaming or voice control. A universal remote will control all of your other TV devices so you don’t have to worry about overdoing it with another remote in the collection. And it’s not surprising to see Bose get a 4.1-star average rating from more than 1,400 reviewers.
VIZIO 36 3.1.2-Channel Soundbar System
In short, I was completely blown away by this soundbar after Vizio sent me one to try out. It launched it earlier this year alongside a slew of new TVs and other sound systems to offer an affordable competitor to higher-priced alternatives without sacrificing quality. The main speaker attaches into your TV’s HDMI and wirelessly connects to the subwoofer, which you can place anywhere you please. After that, Vizio’s app makes setup a breeze and allows you to customize your audio settings or choose from presets. The soundbar can connect to your WiFi so that you can control it through your phone or with any of your smart assistants.
Naim’s Mu-So 2 All-in-One Wireless Music System
After they launched the Mu-So 2 earlier this year, British audio brand Naim sent me a unit to try out for a few weeks and I can say it’s the best-looking soundbar I’ve ever seen. Jampacked with high-fidelity features and upgrades from its predecessor, this premium soundbar could be the last one you buy. With brand new speakers and new digital signal processor, the Mu-So 2 also looks gorgeous anywhere you put it. While you can control it by voice or through your phone, its dial display lets you easily switch its source or adjust its settings. And it hovers on a border of clear plastic that lights up (optionally) to provide a nice mood and elevate the room’s aesthetic.
The highly-rated Playbar is mountable, automatically adjusts its output based on where you place it to deliver the best sound, and is engineered to clarify elements like dialogue when your favorite characters start whispering in an important scene. It’s easy to set up and boasts a 4.3-star average rating from more than 1,100 reviewers. Like other high-end options, it’s smart and connects to WiFi so that it can be voice-controlled.
VIZIO 29-Inch 2.0 Channel Sound Bar
Coming in at less than $80, this is Amazon’s bestselling soundbar. It’s a great option to see just how much better sounding a dedicated speaker is than your TV. And you can stream into it using Bluetooth so there’s little you can’t listen to here. It’s more than strong enough to fill up your toom and in true VIZIO style, it’s low-profile and designed to fit anywhere both by space and by looks.
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