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The best soundbars you can buy: Sony or Bose?

Tired of having to guard the volume for action-packed sequences followed by quiet dialogue? It's time to invest in a better soundbar.

You don't have to be an audiophile to enjoy good sound. The truth is that many TVs today just do not have the best sound, meaning you are sacrificing your audio every second that you skip using a soundbar. A soundbar can bring your programs to life and transform your favorite songs with heavy bass and clear details.

Not all soundbars are created equal, though. Depending on what you're looking for, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons of each soundbar. Do you prefer a more surround-sound feel? Consider upgrading to a soundbar with more channels. You'll also want to consider the pros and cons of some soundbars in terms of connections, voice-enabled support, and much more.

Choosing the perfect one for your space can be daunting. That's why, ahead of March Madness and the 2023 Academy Awards, I've scoured the internet for my expert picks on the best soundbars. With most TVs sacrificing great audio today, a soundbar can be the answer to that awesome surround sound that will keep you right in the moment. Check out my picks for the best soundbars for your home below.

Also: The best TVs you can buy right now

Pros & Cons
  • Phenomenal sound
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Discreet design
  • No HDMI pass-through ports
  • Lacks DTS/DTS:X support
More Details

Sonos Arc tech specs: Connectivity: Wi-Fi, HDMI | Type: Dolby Atmos | Dimensions: 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches | Bluetooth: No | Voice assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri

Sonos Arc is hands-down the best soundbar overall, thanks to its fantastic sound and reliable performance. To begin, you can connect via the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2 and enjoy Trueplay™ optimization with smart EQ adjustments for incredible sound. The Sonos Arc is also easily pairable, so you can add more Sonos speakers for a surround-sound effect. There is easy voice control with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, and when you are finished, you can turn it off with one easy tap. 

The soundbar has 3D sound with Dolby Atmos for full immersion. Dolby Atmos maps sound in 3D space so that you feel the music and you hear sounds where they would be spatially oriented. For example, you might hear planes as if they were flying overhead. You can record and playback videos in full HD, and there are multiple ways to control it, including voice control and your TV remote. It's a versatile device for streaming music, radio, podcasts, and more with high-quality audio. 

Pros & Cons
  • Excellent connectivity
  • 300+ free channels
  • Dialogue enhancement
  • Mediocre bass
  • Limited volume
More Details

Roku Streambar tech specs: Connectivity: Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB | Dimensions: 14 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches | Bluetooth: Yes | Voice assistant: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

Roku is already famous for its best streaming devices, so it makes sense that it would make one of the best soundbars, too. The Roku Streambar is not just a soundbar -- it includes 4K streaming of all your favorite programs, including over 300 live TV channels and access to Roku Originals. Dolby Audio brings movies and shows to life with a 4K resolution for a better picture. Benefit from wide connectivity that includes Bluetooth, USB, HDMI, and WiFi connections. A remote control comes included in case you prefer that over voice control. 

You can customize your home screen with your favorite streaming services, like Netflix and Disney Plus, so that you don't have to scroll as much to get to your favorite entertainment. Roku says that this soundbar is "smarter than your average soundbar" because of better engineering within the Roku operating system. What that means for you, if you're considering purchasing this device, is that you'll get better volume and speech clarity whenever you watch a show or listen to music.

Pros & Cons
  • Compact design
  • Fantastic sound
  • Exclusive Samsung features
  • Mediocre music performance
  • Pricey
More Details

Samsung HW-Q990B tech specs: Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Type: Dolby Atmos | Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.7 x 48.5 inches | Bluetooth: Yes | Voice assistant: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa

Samsung already offers some great TVs on the market, and if you've been sleeping on its soundbars, it's time to take a serious look at them. If you are looking for quality bass, the Samsung HW-Q990B is the best soundbar with a subwoofer. This wireless soundbar provides Dolby Atmos sound with room-filling Q-Symphony audio and SpaceFit Sound+ for a more powerful experience that puts you right in the action. It includes 11 channels, with four up-firing channels in addition to the subwoofer, and a rear speaker kit. For greater convenience, use Alexa or AirPlay2 to control your soundbar.

The soundbar does not require HDMI cables to deliver surround sound. It has a built-in wireless Dolby Atmos connection (the world's first, according to Samsung) that allows for immersive sound without any cables. The soundbar takes in the room and automatically calibrates audio to create the best atmosphere for your entertainment. The up-firing speakers that are included with the soundbar go behind you and project audio up and around so that you truly feel immersed in the sound that you're hearing. 

Pros & Cons
  • Phenomenal sound
  • Excellent surround sound
  • Crisp detail
  • Oversized
  • Very expensive
  • Wired
More Details

Sennheiser Ambeo tech specs: Connectivity: Wi-Fi, HDMI, RCA | Type: Dolby Atmos | Dimensions: 49.8 x 6.73 x 5.31 inches | Bluetooth: Yes 

The splurge-worthy Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar comes with a series of services already built in, including Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect. Thirteen premium drivers mean better sound for your home, which you can easily adjust using the built-in equalizer. There is also the option to tune your music using three AMBEO 3-D technology modes. Use Bluetooth to get the music going and feel 3D surround sound with deep 30Hz bass. DTS:X and MPEG-H are compatible, as well. However, just keep in mind that this is a wired model and not wireless like some of the other best soundbars on this list.

The sound quality of this soundbar is top-notch. You don't need an additional subwoofer for immersive 5.1.4 channel 3D-quality sound, because of Sennheiser's AMBEO audio technology. You can still connect a subwoofer to this device if you want, through the mono subwoofer pre-out. The soundbar comes with a calibration microphone, remote control, and an owner's manual.

Pros & Cons
  • Dolby Atmos sound
  • Smart capability
  • Room correction for iOS
  • No DTS:X support
  • Limited bass
More Details

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) tech specs: Connectivity: Wi-Fi, HDMI | Type: Dolby Atmos | Dimensions: 25.59 x 3.94 x 2.76 inches | Bluetooth: Yes | Voice assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri

Another Sonos option, the Sonos Beam has the smart features you want in a soundbar and incorporates Dolby Atmos for a superior, panoramic sound -- a new addition to this second-generation model. Advanced audio processing makes for better-balanced sound, plus there is Speech Enhancement to enunciate dialogue, so no more mumbling during your shows. You also have the option of Night Sound in order to switch to a quieter volume when the rest of the house is sleeping, too.

There's a 40% faster chip in this small device so that its audio capabilities are pushed to the max. It's put together well and elegantly designed so that it fits well with the rest of your setup whether you mount it or place it on a TV stand. This soundbar is equally made for music as well as home theaters. You can stream music, radio, audiobooks, and podcasts easily with high-quality sound. This is not only the best smart soundbar, but also a compact option to consider.

What is the best soundbar?

The best soundbar is the Sonos Arc, offering the latest technology at an affordable price. To see how it compares, here is an overview of the size and cost of the best soundbars.

Soundbar PriceWhere to BuyConnectivityTypeDimensionsBluetoothVoice Assistant
Sonos Arc$900Amazon, Best BuyWi-Fi, HDMIDolby Atmos3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inchesNoAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Roku Streambar$125Amazon, Walmart, Best BuyWi-Fi, HDMI, USB-14 x 4.2 x 2.4 inchesYesApple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Samsung HW-Q990B$1498Amazon, Best Buy, WalmartWi-FiDolby Atmos5.4 x 2.7 x 48.5 inchesYesApple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa
Sennheiser Ambeo$1700Amazon, Best BuyWi-Fi, HDMI, RCADolby Atmos49.8 x 6.73 x 5.31 inchesYes-
Sonos Beam (Gen 2)$470Amazon, Best Buy, WalmartWi-Fi, HDMIDolby Atmos25.59 x 3.94 x 2.76 inchesYesAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri

Which is the best soundbar for you?

Here's expert recommendations to help you find the best soundbar for your home. 

Choose this soundbar...

If you want...

Sonos Arc

Overall value and performance. The Sonos Arc is the best soundbar choice for those who want a reliable, high-quality device.

Roku Streambar

Something that doesn't break the bank. The Roku Streambar is an affordable soundbar option, while still providing excellent connectivity and a wide range of free channels.

Samsung HW-Q990B

A subwoofer combo.  The Samsung HW-Q990B is a wireless soundbar for those who are looking for a powerful bass experience.

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

The best soundbar money can buy. The Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar is the ultimate choice for those who want high-quality 3D surround sound and deep bass.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Smart technology with your soundbar. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) offers voice control with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as Dolby Atmos sound and sleek, elegant design.

How did I choose these soundbars?

In choosing these best soundbars, I kept a number of factors at the forefront.

  • Channels: Most soundbars have anywhere from two up to 16 sound channels. Those soundbars with five channels or more incorporate surround sound for a more immersive experience.
  • Wi-Fi: The best soundbars offer wireless capability, which means that you can connect to music or TV via a Bluetooth or WiFi connection. 
  • HDMI inputs: If you have additional devices, you may need to consider the number of HDMI ports available. Consider whether you will have any gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, or other devices that will need a home in your soundbar.
  • Voice commands: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit are all examples of voice command compatibility usually available with the best soundbars. 
  • Price: Budget is an important factor to keep in mind when shopping. 

Do all soundbars work with all TVs?

Most soundbars are compatible with all TVs, allowing you to connect using the HDMI ARC connection to channel audio. Before you decide on the best soundbar for you, check to make sure that it is compatible with the TV you plan on using.

How much do the best soundbars cost?

Soundbars can vary significantly in price, depending on the build and features included. The cost of the best soundbars ranges anywhere from $120 to almost $2,000. 

Are soundbars worth the money?

Soundbars are worth it if you watch TV or listen to podcasts or audiobooks often. If you know you would benefit from having a higher-quality audio experience on a daily basis, they are worth it. They have far better audio quality than your average TV speakers would, and many of them prioritize surround sound, so you can immerse yourself in the audio experience of your choice. Many of them have add-ons, like rear speakers, that create a better listening experience. Soundbars also benefit from advanced capabilities afforded by apps and automatic sound calibration systems.

A soundbar should last for 6-16 years, so even if the technology improves, you can still keep using your soundbar of choice until it needs to be repaired. A soundbar doesn't need a subwoofer to generate great audio, so if you're hesitant about the additional costs associated with soundbars, know that you do not have to purchase add-ons. 

Are there alternative soundbars worth considering?

While searching for the best soundbars, I also found these options that may be worth a second look.



JBL Bar 9.1 Channel Soundbar System - Save $200

This soundbar was originally priced at $1,200 but is now $1,000 on Amazon. It brings Dolby Atmos and 3D surround sound into your home for an elevated home cinema sound experience. Just place the two detachable surround sound speakers behind you without worrying about extra wires or power connections.

View at Amazon


Sony HT-A7000 - Save $202

This soundbar brings in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and also manages to add 360 spatial sound with optional speakers. The device calibrates to your environment for a sound that goes beyond the four walls of your living room, with enhancement features that elevate the quality of regular audio. 

View at Amazon


Vizio Elevate - Save $401

The Vizio Elevate is now less than $700 for a soundbar with a subwoofer and Bluetooth. It has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for cinematic sound, plus adaptive height speakers that automatically rotate to create the best audio experience. The speakers upfire, meaning they reflect sound off your ceiling. 

View at Amazon

For more options, check out our expert picks for the best speakers, the best Bluetooth speakers, and the best stereo speakers

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