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8 of the best soundbars for your TV and home theater

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It’s rare for a TV to sound good right out of the box — these soundbars will help.

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Best of 2018

LG SK10Y

With Dolby Atmos surround sound and Google Home compatibility alone, LG has one of the best sound bars of 2018 with the SK10Y.

As great as TVs are today, the audio leaves a lot to be desired. Most speakers are built into the back or bottom of a flatscreen, which aren’t ideal locations for quality audio.

That’s why you need to invest in a soundbar.

Besides delivering generally better audio, a soundbar can become the foundation for turning your living room into a personal movie theater. But with all the options available, what’s the best for you?

Obviously, the first thing to think about is audio quality. More affordable options will offer a vastly better audio experience than the TV ever could, but you may still need to look into additional speakers to really fill out the room. But if you invest in something just a little more expensive, it could be the first piece in a home audio system that makes your house the envy of the neighborhood.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not a soundbar is smart home compatible. If so, that’s one less remote you have to deal with. 

Here are our top picks to really up your home theater game:


Booming, room filling audio • Available device connections through WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth • Easily expandable

Limited selection of music services • Need to make sure attachable bass and speakers are compatible with model

Whether you just need a soundbar or want to fill out the whole room, the SoundTouch 300 is the go-to for anyone who wants the best audio performance available.

1. Bose SoundTouch 300

Bose has long ruled at the top of the audio space, and the SoundTouch 300 is just another example of why.

  • Speaker channels:
    3
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    No
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, HDMI, optical input

It’s fair to say Bose is the undisputed king of audio, and their soundbars are no different.
Sporting a three-channel design, the SoundTouch easily fills the room with clear and booming audio. The wide field means that everything from movies to games are going to sound like you’re right in a theater. It even delivers solid bass on its own, which is more than most soundbars can say.
But as good as the SoundTouch is on its own, expanding it can make your home theater that much better. The Acoustimass 300 will deliver booming bass while the Virtually Invisible 300 speakers will provide true surround sound. Sure, it’s may not be the cheapest, but the quality speaks for itself.
And the TV isn’t the only thing you can connect to the soundbar. The SoundTouch 300 allows for connectivity through Bluetooth, WiFi, and NFC for anyone who wants to enjoy their music. 
Then there’s the SoundTouch App to streamline all your music enjoyment on the 300. From browsing your personal library and music services to managing presets so you don’t have to dig around for the latest hits, you won’t have to look for 20 minutes to find Camila Cabello’s new single. The only downside is that the available services are limited, but when that group includes popular services like Spotify, you won’t miss the latest hits.
Even with the limited selection of services, it doesn’t take away from just how good the SoundTouch 300 is. It lives up to Bose’s long history in the space and is just further proof that it’s the first company everyone should go to when it comes to home audio.


Booming virtual surround sound on its own • Access to 30+ music streaming channels • Can easily pair with Sonos speakers for whole home audio network

Audiophiles will notice more processed sounds • No means of Bluetooth connection

While not an audiophile’s first choice, the Sonos PLAYBAR is still the best soundbar on the market for whole home audio thanks to a variety of add-on speakers and plenty of music streaming options.

2. Sonos PLAYBAR

With a selection of add-on speakers and over 30 music streaming channels, the Sonos PLAYBAR is the perfect heart of a whole home audio setup.

  • Speaker channels:
    3
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    No
  • Connectivity:
    WiFi, optical input

Interested in whole home audio? If the answer is yes, Sonos is the brand for you. 
While it’s one of the younger companies in the space, founded in 2002, it has become one of the best, alongside Bose. A big reason is the flexibility the speakers provide in building out a home audio system. And at the heart of that system will be the Sonos PLAYBAR.
Sonos’ answer to the Bose’s Soundtouch line, the PLAYBAR easily lives up to the company’s standards. Nine speakers spread across three channels offer multi-directional sound that easily fills out the room. In simpler terms, the PLAYBAR delivers virtual surround sound as-is without any additional speakers. 
But if you want to expand your home theater setup, it’s easy. First is the Sonos SUB, the wireless subwoofer that offers booming bass from where you like in the room. Then for rears, you can do a pair of Sonos Ones or Play:1s for true surround sound. 
Our suggestion? Do the Sonos Ones because Amazon Alexa is built-in. Basically, it’s an Amazon Echo on steroids. The Play:1s are also good, but you’ll still need separate Echo devices to link up with the speakers.
Once that’s done, you can fill out the rest of the house with other Sonos speakers and have zones set up, which lets you play what you want room by room. For example, if it’s Super Bowl Sunday, you can have the game playing in your home theater while kitchen speakers can switch between the game and music as you wish.
And aside from whatever you’re enjoying on TV, the PLAYBAR has access to over 30 music streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, and SiriusXM. Just download the Sonos App on your phone, link through your WiFi, and enjoy. And before you ask, there’s no Bluetooth built-in, so WiFi is the only way to connect smart devices to the PLAYBAR.
Now admittedly, as good as the sound quality is, it’s still not the best on the market. That’s a crown still held by Bose at this point and audiophiles will likely notice. But considering everything else the Sonos PLAYBAR allows for, it more than makes up for it.


Great combination of size and power • Whole home compatible • Amazon Alexa built-in • Plenty of music services on the Sonos app

Size does prevent sound from filling larger rooms • Not a Bluetooth device • May still need Sonos SUB for better bass

A killer combination of size and power shows why Sonos is near the top in the audio space.

3. Sonos Beam

Bigger isn’t always better, and the Sonos Beam is the perfect representation of that.

  • Speaker channels:
    3
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    No
  • Connectivity:
    WiFi, HDMI, optical input

Just because you don’t have the space for larger soundbars doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. In fact, most compact options are, typically, as good as their larger brethren. And of those, the new Sonos Beam is easily the best available.
Despite the size, the Beam packs in five speakers to provide crisp three-channel sound. Keep in mind that the best rooms for the Beam are smaller or mid-size rooms. Not to say it’s lacking in power, but the physical size does prevent it from filling out a large room the way the PLAYBAR would.
On its own, most audio will come through clearly. Dialogue is where it shines the best, so you can really enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch’s annunciating in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Bass will be better than average, too, but you may still want something to handle the bass output independent of the Beam.
Whether you plan to put the Beam in a smaller or larger room, it’s easily expandable with Sonos’ available speakers. There’s the Sonos SUB for vastly improved bass from anywhere in the room, and the Sonos Ones or Play:1s to act as rears. These can easily make up for the lack of filling sound, especially if the Beam is going into a larger space.
Despite the size, Sonos packs in plenty more to the Beam besides just killer sound. One of the biggest additions comes in the form of Amazon Alexa. Most other Sonos devices are only Alexa compatible and still need an Echo device to pair up with. Essentially, the Beam doubles as a bigger and louder Echo device that hooks up to your TV.
Then there’s all the music available thanks to the Sonos App. Simply download it on your device and pair up to the Beam via WiFi, and you’ll have access to all the music streaming services you can imagine. The one downside is that there’s no Bluetooth connection, so just be sure the WiFi can handle these devices piggybacking on it.
Like most Sonos devices, it can easily be integrated to a whole home audio network, too. You can connect and zone it with the rest of the Sonos speakers you have throughout the house. Once set up, you’ll enjoy all those speakers playing some great music or going room to room with something different in each.
Sometimes, bigger isn’t always better, and the Beam proves that. Clear sound, whole home capability, and Alexa built-in, it delivers everything you could want to complete your home theater. 


Big improvement over TV speakers • Expandable setup • Bluetooth connections to smart devices or compatible TV • Subwoofer included

Lower power compared to other sound bars • Only one set of compatible speakers • No additional features, such as Echo compatibility

Whether you’re new to soundbars or are looking for something basic, the Samsung M360 easily delivers and lives up to Samsung’s standards.

4. Samsung M360 Soundbar System

Simple and reliable is the mantra of the Samsung M360 soundbar, offering a good place to start for anyone who needs an upgrade to their home theater system.

  • Speaker channels:
    2.1
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    Yes
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, optical input

Considering the quality of most TV speakers, even basic soundbars are massive upgrades. After all, speakers that are built into the back or bottom of the TV aren’t exactly going to deliver what one would call “good” sound. But if this is your first time looking for a soundbar, the number of choices available can be a bit overwhelming.
You can relax, because Samsung has a soundbar that delivers quality and simplicity in one package with the M360. It’s fairly straightforward with a simple setup that will get the job done. Sure, it’s not a $1000 Bose system, but not everyone is looking for that.
It’s a 2.1 channel system providing louder and clearer audio than most modern TVs ever could. The two speakers in the soundbar will handle most of the acoustic fairly well, so dialogue and general audio comes through. 
The wireless subwoofer will handle the majority of the bass output. Plus, since it’s a wireless connection to the soundbar, you can place the subwoofer anywhere in the room to optimize the bass output. That way, you can shove it right under your chair so you REALLY feel the bass while you relax.
There’s enough power to ensure good sound quality, just don’t expect full virtual surround sound like some high-end bars. But if you want surround sound, the set can be expanded with the SWA-8500S Wireless Surround Kit.
The M360 also follows suit with other Samsung home theater products in limiting the amount of connections from the TV to other home theater devices. You can still plug in the soundbar with a digital optical cable or HDMI, but if the TV is Bluetooth compatible, the soundbar and TV can be paired up with no extra cables. Sticking with the physical input may still be better because it leaves that Bluetooth connection open to enjoy music from your phone or tablet.
As long as you’re not looking to shake the room to its foundation, the M360 will deliver on all fronts. You still get clearer audio than the TV, easy setup, and an expandable system that will please the average user. And at $200, it won’t be too demanding on the wallet, either.


Clear, loud audio for the price • Wired and wireless setup options • Wireless sub included for solid bass

Audio won’t fill out room on it’s own • SWA-8500 speakers are only compatible rear speakers • Not smart home compatible

The M55 sound bar proves that even affordable sound bars can pack an extra punch over similar sound bars.

5. Samsung M55/ZA Soundbar System

The Samsung M55 soundbar offers a good balance of power and price for those who can’t invest in the far more expensive options.

  • Speaker channels:
    3.1
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    Yes
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, optical input, HDMI

If you’re like me, you may not have the money lying around to drop $1000+ on a home theater sound system. That doesn’t mean missing out on a quality soundbar, just balancing price and power becomes a little more important. If that’s the case, Samsung has just the thing.
The Samsung M55 soundbar offers that balance of power and price. Packed into it is a three-channel setup with six speakers split between them. These provide solid and clear audio that will be a vast improvement over your TV’s speakers.
The M55 will also out perform more bass model soundbars as well. Though that makes sense, since it is pumping out more power through more speakers than most 2-channel and even some 3- channel soundbars. Granted, it may not fill out the room the way some more expensive options will, but there are still ways around that.
One way is thanks to the included wireless subwoofer, providing booming bass wherever you want to in the room. You can also attach the SWA-8500S rear speakers to help fill out the room with true surround sound.
You’ll also enjoy an easier setup thanks to Samsung’s design choices. The safer option is just connecting the soundbar to your TV via a digital optical cable or HDMI cable. But if you don’t want to deal with extra cables, the M55 can connect to your TV via Bluetooth, as long as the TV has it built-in. The hard link might be better to go with if you want to maintain a smooth signal between the two. Plus, it leaves the Bluetooth connection open to connect your smart device to the soundbar.
And like most Samsung home theater devices, the M55 is compatible with the Samsung One Remote. The One Remote streamlines your setup to run all your compatible devices through this remote. That way, you won’t have to bumble between six different remotes just to turn your TV on. And considering how many devices fill out a home theater, that’s extremely useful for the adamant Samsung fan.


Clear, adaptive sound quality • Dual speaker design allows for flexible setup • Bluetooth to pair with smart devices

Cannot be expanded with additional speakers • Bass can be overpowering at times

The SJ7 manages to blend power with flexible setup that is good for any room, regardless of how oddly shaped it is.

6. LG SJ7 Flex

Its flexible shape means this soundbar can be used traditionally or moved around to fit oddly-shaped rooms.

  • Speaker channels:
    4.1
  • Expandable:
    No
  • Subwoofer included:
    Yes
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, HDMI, optical input

Because most soundbars are just that, bars, you can’t do much when it comes to setup. All you can do is lay it in front of the TV, plug it in, and turn it on. However, factors like room layout can make setup tricky and require a system that’s more flexible.
If that’s the kind of soundbar you want, the LG SJ7 Flex is what you need.
From a distance, the SJ7 looks like any traditional soundbar. Set it up under the TV, plug it in and enjoy. But once you actually look at it, you catch the magic act that LG pulls with this soundbar. The bar is split in half, allowing for more freedom in setup.
Because of that choice, you can set up the SJ7 to fit a room’s layout. It can follow a traditional setup, laying them together right under the TV, if that’s what you’d prefer. You can also stand the two bars up on each side of the TV to get a wider output range a fill out the room better. Or, set one half up under the TV and set the second one up behind you for out of the box surround sound.
One feature that also helps with audio output is Adaptive Sound Control. This enhances the audio, based on what’s playing, so you get the most out of it. For example, if you’re watching an Aaron Sorkin film, the dialogue will be optimized to meet your standards. On the flip side, if you’re enjoy some music, you’ll get far better bass than most other soundbars available. Even then, the included subwoofer will easily make up for any loss in bass quality you might experience.
Unfortunately, one downside to the SJ7 is the lack of expandable speakers. Given the freedom the SJ7 affords, you won’t be able to add on additional speakers to fill out the room for true surround sound. Granted, LG does pack a surprising bit of power into the SJ7, but having the option to add on extra speakers would have been a nice way to really fill out a room.
Even with that one cut corner, the SJ7 lives up to LG’s name and is definitely an excellent soundbar, especially for those oddly shaped rooms.


Clear and loud audio that easily fills the room • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity available • Smart home compatible

Bass is a bit underwhelming • WiFi to TV connection can be a hassle setting up

With this all-in-one soundbar from Samsung, you’ll enjoy room-filling audio without the need for additional speakers. (Just don’t expect the bass to shake the room.)

7. Samsung One Body Sound+

Whether you have space issues or don’t want to deal with additional speakers, the Samsung One Body Sound+ will give you room-filling audio in one body.

  • Speaker channels:
    3
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    Built-in
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, optical input

If you’re having space issues in your home theater, a traditional soundbar might not be the way to go. You could buy one, just to find there’s no place to setup a rear speaker kit or an ideal spot to place the subwoofer. That’s where an all-in-one comes in, and Samsung has one that sure to fulfill those needs.
The Samsung One Body Sound+ is the poster child of an all-in-one sound bar. The soundbar comes packing nine speakers split between three channels for high-quality audio. Together, they will provide booming audio that can fill the whole room without the aid of any additional speakers.
Don’t worry, you won’t be losing bass performance with the Sound+, after all, it is an all-in-one. The soundbar has a built-in subwoofer, ensuring solid bass performance without the need for a separate sub unit. The one catch is that bass won’t be as powerful as it would be if there was a separate unit. It’s the one downside to being an all-in-one, but the rest of the audio makes up for it.
Thankfully, Samsung didn’t lock the Sound+ from pairing with other speakers if you wanted to. The Sound+ can be joined with the SWA-9000S speakers to provide true surround sound over the bar’s virtual surround sound.
Samsung also made sure not to skimp on all the features modern soundbars typically include. This starts with the connective options to the TV and other devices. You’ll have the wired and Bluetooth options available along with WiFi to connect the bar to your TV. While having the wireless options are nice, you may want to keep it wired into the TV to avoid setup hassle and leave the soundbar open to connect with your phone.
And smart home owners can relax, the Sound+ is compatible with Amazon Alexa. You’ll still need a separate Echo device to pair up with it, so you might want to stick with something small like the Echo Dot.


Dolby Atmos surround sound • Google Home compatible • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity options

Sheer size can make setup difficult • Bass and acoustic can mix oddly at times

Among the newest soundbars to release this year, the LG SK10Y offers one of the best out of the box options available with Dolby Atmos surround sound.

8. LG SK10Y

With Dolby Atmos surround sound and Google Home compatibility alone, LG has one of the best sound bars of 2018 with the SK10Y.

  • Speaker channels:
    5.1.2
  • Expandable:
    Yes
  • Subwoofer included:
    Yes
  • Connectivity:
    Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, optical input

Every year brings a slew of new products and updates on everything from iPhones to TVs. The same goes for soundbars, that come out right around the same time as the new wave of TVs.
Among the many new soundbars in 2018, the LG SK10Y is easily among, as Macho Man Randy Savage would say, “the cream of the crop.”
This powerhouse sports a 5.1.2 channel setup, a big step up from other soundbars out there. First are the five channel speakers that take up the front of the soundbar, operating as you would expect. Then you have the wireless subwoofer to offer that extra punch on the bass.
But the real extra oomph this soundbar gets is in the last two channel speakers. These are a pair of ceiling firing Dolby Atmos speakers that help the SK10Y fill out the room on its own better than most soundbars out there, even among 2018 models.
Dolby Atmos sound quality is a reason for the price tag the SK10Y sports, but you can relax, because it definitely lives up to it. 
Like most other soundbars, the SK10Y is also expandable with rear speakers for even better surround sound. The SPK8-S rear kit just offers extra icing on the cake, considering how much power the soundbar alone packs.
And if your house has a few Google devices set up, the SK10Y will easily integrate into the smart home. Once paired with a Google Home, you can ditch the remote in favor of voice commands.
If there’s one downside to the SK10Y, it’s the sheer size of the the whole setup. The sound bar is thicker and longer than the average bar, and the sub takes up more floor space than you may want to give it. This can make setup a little tricker compared to other soundbars. 
If you can get past that, you’re left with one of the best home theater experiences LG has to offer in 2018.

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