The 8 Best Stereo Receivers of 2020

Get the best sound out of your audio system with these stereo receivers

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"Expect to enjoy an expanded soundstage and listen to sounds delivered with pinpoint sonic accuracy."
"Offers built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as compatibility with AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Amazon Alexa."
Best for Home Cinema:
Sony STR-DH790 at Amazon
"As close as you can get to a theater experience in your home."
Best Internet Compatibility:
Pioneer Elite SX-N30 at Amazon
"A great choice for music lovers — easily stream services like Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL or Apple Music."
Best for Families:
Yamaha RX-V481 at Amazon
"Brings high quality 5.1 channel surround sound and a host of connectivity options that are easy to use for the whole family."
Best for Amazon Echo Users:
Amazon Echo Link Amp at Amazon
"A built-in 60W x 2-channel amplifier that streams and amplifies high-fi audio to the compatible Echo devices you already have at home."
"Having a great stereo system doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune."
Best Under $500:
Onkyo TX-NR595 at Amazon

Best Overall: Denon AVRX6400H 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver

What We Like
  • 3D surround sound

  • 11.2 channel support

  • On-screen setup assistant

What We Don't Like
  • Very large and heavy

  • Expensive dedicated app

The Denon AVRX6400H wireless AV receiver offers 3D surround sound from formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. You can expect to enjoy an expanded soundstage and listen to sounds delivered with pinpoint sonic accuracy.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to wirelessly stream music from any compatible mobile device or via popular services such as Spotify Connect, Pandora, and SiriusXM. You’ll have access to thousands of Internet radio stations, an AM-FM tuner, and HD radio. Dual diversity antennas allow for optimal transmission and reception, even in congested RF environments.

The Denon AVRX6400H's powerful 11.2-channel amplifier block features high current transistors that can drive low impedance on four-ohm speakers, with a per-channel rating of 140 W. Room acoustics and speakers are optimized via advanced Audyssey Platinum DSP processing technology. Denon Link HD technology creates accurate digital audio data transfers, and AL24+DSP processing delivers the high-res audio formats with the purest sound possible.

The remote control features four quick-select functions buttons, as does the front panel, allowing you to choose your favorite sources with ease. Preferred sound settings are also stored for each source.

If you’re a novice audiophile, there are no worries with this receiver. There’s an intuitive on-screen setup assistant that lets you fully configure your system with minimal effort and know-how. Connections are color-coded for the correct hookup.

Best Compact: Yamaha RX-S602 Receiver

What We Like
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity

  • Room analysis and audio optimization

  • Supports up to 20 speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Only one HDMI output

The Yamaha RX-S602 slimline receiver offers built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as compatibility with Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and even Amazon Alexa. It can also connect directly to your favorite music streaming services and has MusicCast compatibility, which allows you to create a wireless 5.1-channel surround-sound setup in your home theater. All of this comes in a surprisingly small package: the RX-S602 is only 4.5 inches tall and 13 inches deep.

If you've already invested or plan to invest in an amazing set of speakers for your home theater, you want a receiver that's going to make those speakers sound their best. That's what the RX-S602 is made for. Yamaha's YPAO technology analyzes your speaker system and the acoustics of the room to perfectly optimize your audio. There is actually a microphone included in the box that you can use to set up this feature. Also, if you've ever wanted to set up a whole-home speaker system, the RX-S602 can help you do it. Its MusicCast features mean that its capable of supporting up to 20 different speakers. You can stream playlists directly from your favorite services, or connect a computer or mobile device to the receiver via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection and listen that way.

Aside from the expected high-resolution audio playback, this receiver is also capable of handling the latest HDMI standards, delivering 4K Ultra HD video — with support for HDR and Dolby Vision — at 60fps pass-through. Your high-quality media will look fantastic with rich colors and sharp, lag-free images.

An added bonus for Amazon Echo owners: the RX-S602 is Alexa compatible. It can seamlessly integrate into your smart home system and respond to the same voice controls you use on the rest of your connected devices.

Best for Home Cinema: Sony STR-DH790 7.2 Channel Receiver

What We Like
  • 4K passthrough

  • Dolby Atmos

  • Bluetooth connectivity

What We Don't Like
  •  No Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity

  • Clunky UI

Whether it’s for Netflix binging or watching the latest Game of Thrones, the Sony STR-DH790 is as close as you can get to a theater experience in your home. Giving your entertainment system a boost, the 7.2 channel receiver adds encompassing surround sound that makes you feel like you’re in a movie with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio support. Sony adds 4K high dynamic range passthrough for an enhanced picture that offers increased contrast, color, and brightness for incredible visual quality that matches the outstanding sound.

Rather than spending time calibrating the AV receiver for optimal performance, Sony has included "Advanced Digital Cinema Auto Calibration” that automatically optimizes itself for the best results. No matter the size of the room, the inclusion of Dolby Atmos ensures 360-degrees of immersive sound. It also has four HDMI inputs on the rear, so there’s no shortage of capable devices to plug in and take advantage of the superior Sony sound. Additionally, built-in Bluetooth enables wireless streaming making it easy to stream services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music. 

Best Internet Compatibility: Pioneer Elite SX-S30 Elite Slim Receiver

What We Like
  • Four 4K UHD inputs

  • Slim and sleek design

  • Great sound

What We Don't Like
  • Only 2.0 CH support

  • No line outs

With a sleek and slim design that makes it easy to tuck away in an entertainment center, the Pioneer SX-S30 stereo receiver comes with a slew of connectivity options. The addition of built-in Wi-Fi on both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands alongside Bluetooth makes this a great choice for music lovers — easily stream services like Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL or Apple Music.

Equipped with Pioneer’s MCACC auto room tuning technology, the Pioneer creates an optimal acoustic environment that compensates for a variety of different speaker types and automatically sets the appropriate response. The Pioneer pairs quickly and effortlessly with compatible audio systems (thanks to its internet-enabled functionality) and with FireConnect powered by Blackfire it can play back music, internet radio or USB audio files. It's simple to control all of the components, equalizer and connectivity options with Pioneer’s remote app for both Android and iOS. As an added bonus, the SX-S30 is equipped with phono technology for syncing up to a vinyl record player, bringing together old school tech and new school sound. 

Good to Know

Knowing how many speakers you want to use in your home audio setup is important when choosing the right stereo receiver. Units with 5.1 or 7.1 CH support can connect to more speakers and subwoofers to produce a better listening experience.

Best for Families: Yamaha RX-V481

What We Like
  • 5.1 CH support

  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/AirPlay connectivity

  • 4K UHD passthrough

What We Don't Like
  • Only one HDMI output

This mid-level receiver from Yamaha brings high quality 5.1 channel surround sound and a host of connectivity options that are easy to use for the whole family. The receiver includes a USB input, but what everyone will really be excited for are the pain-free connectivity options. Stream music or audio over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplay, Spotify, and Pandora. If you are set up correctly, you can even cast music to different rooms in the house that are connected to “Zone B” in the receiver.

The receiver itself is sure to please those with a more discerning grasp of audio, thanks to 4K Ultra HD pass-through and high-resolution audio support for a variety of file types, including DSD, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and ALAC. The unit has 145 output wattage and plays surround on five channels. 

Best for Amazon Echo Users: Amazon Echo Link Amp

What We Like
  • Multi-room casting/streaming with compatible Echo devices

  • Sleek and minimal design

What We Don't Like
  • Only 2 CH audio support

Give your music the sound system it deserves with the Amazon Echo Link Amp, a built-in 60W x 2-channel amplifier that streams and amplifies high-fi audio to the compatible Echo devices you already have at home, or through the Alexa app. If you have multiple Echo products, you can stream music throughout your house, creating a seamless, voice-controlled sound experience. The Echo Link Amp has multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs to work with your existing devices. 

More affordable than competitors, the Amazon Eco Link Amp is sleek and minimal, with a matte black surface and little more than a black volume knob, making it fit in unobtrusively within a variety of decors. It is compatible with a variety of services including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and iHeart Radio.

Best Budget: Sony STRDH190 Stereo Receiver

What We Like
  • Slim design

  • Under $150

  • Supports up to four speakers

What We Don't Like
  • No HDMI inputs or outputs

  • Only 2 CH audio support

  • No multi-room casting

Having a great stereo system doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. The Sony STRDH190 provides big sound and plenty of power with a price tag that will make savvy shoppers happy. The 200-watt receiver can support up to four speakers, allowing you to set up a custom surround sound system. The sleek and slim design is perfect for tucking away inside a cabinet or on a small shelf when space is at a premium. 

It features a built-in FM radio and antenna so you can listen to your favorite talk radio broadcasts and music without additional media. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream digital music from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The back of the receiver has a phono input, four stereo RCA inputs, and a 3.5mm jack; this is perfect for connecting a record turntable, cassette deck, or other analog audio sources for high fidelity listening. The reinforced chassis is designed to reduce vibrations for cleaner audio transmitting.

Best Under $500: Onkyo TX-NR595

What We Like
  • Bluetooth connectivity and streaming

  • Sonos, Dolby Atmos, and DTS compatible

  • Multiple HDMI inputs

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly complicated zone setup

If you're looking for a awesome mid-range option for your next stereo receiver, check out the Onkyo TX-NR595. This two-channel, 170 watt per channel receiver is designed for universal high-res audio for both analog and digital music. It features several built-in internet radio apps like Pandora and Sirius XM, and it makes all your connected devices "smart": turn one on and the receiver is ready to pump out crystal clear audio, and powering down the receiver will also automatically power down connected equipment.

On top of the plethora of compatible streaming apps, Bluetooth connectivity means it's easy to stream songs directly from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. It's powered Zone system means you can play audio from different inputs in different pre-designated areas of your home, and the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer can create virtual surround and height environments from traditional speaker setups.

What to Look for in a Stereo Receiver

Price - Stereo receivers can cost you a pretty penny, but you don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent one. While higher-end offerings will hover in the $2,000 range, if you’re on a tighter budget you can expect to spend around $500.

Connectivity - For most setups these days, you’ll want built-in Wi-Fi. Bonus points if it includes both a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz band, plus Bluetooth connectivity — this will make it easy to stream music from your favorite services like Spotify or Apple Music. Make sure there are also ample HDMI inputs.

Sound quality - Most brands will tout superior sound quality, but stereo receivers actually don’t differ as much in this respect. This might sound counterintuitive given that your receiver is the hub of your home audio setup, but you’re likely better off investing in high-quality speakers.