The 7 Best Soundbars to Buy in 2017

Your home theater system isn't complete without one

Soundbars are a great way to take your home theater and audio system to the next level. But when buying one, it can be difficult to decide which would best complement your TV, fill your living room with the right sound and be compatible with your other gadgets (smartphones, etc.). To help, we've rounded up the top soundbars, and there's something for everyone. So whether you're looking to stay under a certain budget or splurge on the highest-quality system, these soundbars won't disappoint.

Sonos has become known for its top-of-class speakers for music lovers, but with its PLAYBAR, the company expands its offering to movie buffs as well. The PLAYBAR has nine amplified drivers — six mid-woofers and three high range tweeters — and together they produce a big and immersive sound. At a slim 35.4 x 5.5 x 3.3 inches, it’s designed to sit underneath your TV, either mounted on the wall or sitting flat on the table. And that’s OK, because you won’t want to hide this good-looking fabric and aluminum speaker.

When it comes to connectivity, the PLAYBAR keeps it simple. It has just two Ethernet ports, a power socket and an optical input. (Where most TV devices use HDMI, the Sonos PLAYBAR uses an optical audio input, so double check that your TV has an optical output before buying it.) Amazon reviewers praise its intuitive Android/iOS app, which draws on your favorite streaming services and can be used to play different music in different rooms. We also love its handy night mode, which automatically enhances quiet sounds while diminishing the volume and impact of intense sounds.

Soundbars, like many electronic devices, can be challenging to buy when you’re on a budget. Many of the choices you’ll find online and in stores are simply underwhelming. Thankfully the AmazonBasics 2.0 Channel Bluetooth Soundbar meets and sometimes exceeds expectations for budget soundbars.

The most important thing to keep in mind with this 31-inch soundbar is that it’s designed for TVs that are less than 42 inches. It’s not a powerful device, but it does deliver clear and balanced sound better than most TV speakers. There are three sound modes: “Standard” for regular TV viewing, “News” for when the emphasis should be on dialogue and “Movie” for when you want the most dynamic sound. On top of this, the soundbar is also a Bluetooth speaker. This means you can play music and podcasts from your phone or tablet on here (and we guarantee it will sound better than your phone’s speakers).

The VIZIO SB3851-D0 soundbar system delivers great surround sound at a reasonable price. It has four pieces of equipment: one 38-inch soundbar that sits in front of your TV, two speakers that go in the back of your room and a subwoofer that connects them all. This model offers 5.1 channel surround sound at 101 dB and bass as deep as 50 Hz, so everything you play will come through clearly. On top of this, the unit works with the Vizio SmartCast app on your smartphone, so you can play music and other content on your phone directly to the system.

Several Amazon reviewers note that this model takes some time to set up to achieve the right sound for whatever room this unit is for. Expect to fiddle with the settings a bit to find the right treble, bass and balance, but after you set it up, you’ll be immersed in a new world.

This little-known soundbar deserves recognition for its incredible sound performance. The ZVOX SB700 delivers expansive 3D sound all from inside a single aluminum cabinet. While other soundbars might combine with satellite speakers and a sub for surround sound, this unit delivers enveloping sound from a 57” bar.

Fill the room with 140 watts of sound, including two 5” built-in MegaBass Digitally tailored subwoofers. The subs combine with three 2” speakers that have AccuVoice hearing aid technology to deliver extra clear dialogue. No more suffering through subtitles just to hear the conversation, just enable Output Leveling to make soft sounds louder and loud sounds softer. The feature is also helpful for jarring commercials. Sound is amplified by a stylish anodized aluminum cabinet that provides low-resonance audio characteristics.

The first-ever soundbar with 7.1.2-channel multi-dimensional sound features 46 speaker drivers and Yamaha exclusive Digital Sound Projector technology. This is the future-proof soundbar, as it is equipped to play Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for an immersive listening experience in 4K Ultra HD.

The precision-engineered driver placement means each speaker has its own independent amplifier circuit and is controlled by individual delay times. This is also the first soundbar to have height channels that place angled sound beams at an angle to create realistic sound field reproduction without installing speakers on your ceiling.

This soundbar is the absolute best choice for those who want theater quality sound, but do not have the space to install a traditional home theater system. That said, the already pricey soundbar needs to be complemented with additional wireless speakers to get the full benefit of the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X., but it's well worth it.

The Nakamichi Shockwafe brings true 7.1 channel surround sound to your living room, including rich bass from an 8” wireless subwoofer that reaches as low as 35Hz. In addition to the 45” center bar and the subwoofer, it comes with two rear wireless speakers.

Movies and music will fill your room with 400 watts delivered from 11 speaker drivers that can produce 104dB of sound. Nakamichi includes exclusive surround sound effect tweeters, five individually sealed speaker chambers and five DSP chipsets. With the latest v1.4 firmware, the system is now compatible with Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital content.

Nakamichi also features all the latest connectivity options, including HDMI with 4k Pass Thru, HDMI, optical input, Bluetooth and USB. The wireless subwoofer can be set up away from the soundbar, which gives you more options for placement to keep your entertainment system from looking cluttered. 

Gamers will really appreciate the immersive and powerful sound of the 4.1 Channel Samsung HW-J7500R soundbar. Featuring an innovative curved design and a wireless subwoofer, this sound system packs 320 watts of rich listening. The curved design sports side-firing speakers that mimic surround sound and create an immersive listening experience.

Wireless connectivity allows for easy setup, and you can adjust bass and treble to create a perfect balance for you. While the bar includes eight speakers, you can complement them with wireless satellite speakers for surround sound. Bluetooth connectivity syncs up with the TV to power the HD sound.


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