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.

1
Best Overall: Klipsch Reference RSB-14

Klipsch Reference RSB-14
Courtesy of Amazon.com

This 47” soundbar by American loudspeaker manufacturer Klipsch features high fidelity audio and the most up-to-date wireless connectivity. The sleek and attractive unit has a minimal black build that blends into your decor, whether you choose to wall-mount it or leave it on your media center.

Three HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 enable 4K video pass through for ultra high-fidelity sound. The bar sports two ¾” horn-loaded textile dome tweeters and four 2 ¾” woofers for balanced and crystal clear sound, while the included wireless subwoofer adds thunderous bass. Connect Klipsch Stream satellite speakers via Bluetooth for a surround sound experience.

As any sound system should be in today's world, the Klipsch Reference RSB-14 is fully outfitted with a wireless streaming app that lets you control the settings from your smart device.

2
Best Budget: Vizio SB3821-C6

Vizio SB3821-C6
Courtesy of Amazon.com

If you’re looking for something that can give your home entertainment experience a boost without breaking your wallet, the Vizio SB3821-C6 is the best place to look. Although the SB3821 lacks the HDMI connectivity of our best overall option and it does not offer the center speaker of its more-expensive siblings, the sound quality is just as good.

The speaker itself measures around 38” long and a hair under 3” deep, and the subwoofer can be placed anywhere you have a power outlet, thanks to a wireless Bluetooth connection to the main speaker. Temper your expectations for truly high-end material at the price point, but the black rectangular look is sleek, clean and attractive.

The 100 dB sound capability isn’t just built-in for show. The rich bass of the subwoofer enhances the overall listening experience and, while it’s budget priced, the Vizio often sounds like it is punching well above its weight class. Listening to music is great thanks to Dolby Digital decoding, great dynamic range and no signs of distortion even when taken to the absolute highest volume level.

3
Best Surround Sound: Vizio SB4051

Vizio SB4051
Courtesy of Amazon.com

There’s no beating around the bush. If it’s a true surround sound experience you want, a full home theater is what you’re after. However, if you want to replicate the home theater experience without the size and expense of a full system, a soundbar is the next best thing. The Vizio SB4051 is best-in-class when it comes to delivering true 5.1 sound in the soundbar form factor. To create this experience, Vizio added front, left and center channels into the main soundbar that can go above or below a TV. There’s also an included subwoofer and two satellite speakers for creating a more home theater-like experience. You’ll be completely surrounded by amazing audio that will feel like you’re ready to jump into the opening music for Star Wars.

At 40” long, you’ll want to pair the Vizio with a larger TV, which is OK because the larger the TV, the more theater-like you’ll get. Thankfully, the Vizio is another addition on this list that includes HDMI inputs, passing all video sources directly to the TV. Bluetooth is also included so streaming music from a smartphone or PC is easy enough with a quick setup through the included remote. One notable kick is the “upgrade to immersive audio” with the SB4051 filling rooms up to 102dB and less than one percent total harmonic distortion. In other words, this soundbar doesn’t mess around. It’s mission is to bring you the best possible sound. Just for icing on the cake, you’ll find Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, DTS Circle Surround and DTS Studio Sound all included with the SB4051.

4
Best Sound Quality: ZVOX SB700 Aluminum

SB700 Aluminum
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

5
Best Splurge: Yamaha YSP-5600

Yamaha YSP-5600
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

6
Best with Subwoofer: Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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. 

7
Best for Gaming: 4.1 Channel Samsung HW-J7500R

4.1 Channel Samsung HW-J7500R
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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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