Getting a soundbar for your home-theater setup gives you the best of both worlds: You don't have to settle for built-in TV speakers — which we've found to be consistently lackluster — but you also get to enjoy quality audio without the cost (or clutter) of a traditional speaker setup. And whether you're setting up for the ultimate Netflix binging party or just want sports games and movies to be more immersive, pairing your soundbar with the right TV can make all the difference.
Of all the soundbars we've reviewed, we've found the $799 Sonos Playbase to be the best overall pick for those willing to spend a premium thanks to its rich sound and versatility as a home theater speaker. If you're on a budget, the $179 Yamaha YAS-106 and $99 Vizio SB3820-C6 are great options. There are plenty of soundbars built for specific purposes, such as the gamer-centric Razer Leviathan and the audiophile-focused Sony HT-NT5. If you love syncing up all of your gadgets, you can check out Vizio's SmartCast soundbars, which let you beam music right from your phone via Google Cast.
After testing a wide range of soundbars on the market, we chose our top picks for every need.
How We Evaluate Soundbars
When testing soundbars, we play range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.
Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.
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