July 2021

Sound Bars: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Sound Bar rankings posted by key online experts, as of July 2021.

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Sound Bars.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Sound Bars, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for July 2021 ranking

At a glance - July 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Sound Bar
CNET
World Wide Stereo
TechRadar
Rtings.com
SoundGuys
WIRED
CNN Underscored
Tom's Guide
PCMag
TechHive
1
- $879 Sonos Arc
9
3
1
3
-
9
2
2
3
-
2
- $2500 Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar
7
10
7
5
1
12
-
-
9
-
3
- $399 Sonos Beam
-
5
8
6
2
-
7
6
4
-
4
- $300 Vizio M-Series 5.1
-
-
-
7
-
-
13
8
6
2
5
- $350 Yamaha YAS-209
4
15
-
-
-
6
-
1
-
-
6
- $849 Vizio Elevate
6
-
-
4
-
3
14
-
-
-
7
- $99 Roku Streambar
10
-
-
-
-
10
5
7
-
-
8
- $180 Roku Smart Soundbar
-
-
-
-
4
7
1
-
-
-
9
- $499 Klipsch Cinema 600
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
10
- Check price Samsung HW-Q950T
-
-
2
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
11
New * $199 Polk Audio React
-
14
-
-
-
4
-
9
-
-
12
-1 $1698 Samsung HW-Q90R
-
-
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
3
13
-1 $549 Vizio SB36512-F6
5
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
14
-1 $799 Bose Soundbar 700
-
6
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
15
-1 $180 Roku Streambar Pro
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
2
-
16
-1 $249 Polk Signa S3
8
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
-
17
- $1498 Sony HT-ST5000
-
8
-
-
-
-
11
-
-
-
18
- $1000 JBL Bar 9.1
-
9
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
-
19
- $298 Sony HT-X8500
-
-
4
-
-
8
-
-
-
-
20
- $278 Sony HT-S350
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
-
5
-

We ranked Sonos Arc #1 in July 2021 because:

  • 8 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sonos Arc as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best All-In-One Soundbar Under $1,000

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World Wide Stereo

The Best All-in-One Soundbar

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TechRadar

The Best Soundbar You Can Buy Right Now

Pros
Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus
Discrete all-in-one soundbar
Amazing surround sound and music playback

Cons
Doesn’t suit every room

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Rtings.com

Best 5.1 Soundbar

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WIRED

The Smartest Soundbar

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CNN Underscored

Best Upgrade Pick

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Tom's Guide

The Best Premium Soundbar

Pros
Clear vocals and focused sound
Strong, Sonos-quality bass
Alexa and Google Assistant built-in

Cons
Very large

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PCMag

Our Favorite High-End,All-in-One Soundbar

Pros
Large sound field with powerful bass, even without a subwoofer
Supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Can easily be expanded with satellites and a subwoofer
Dolby Atmos compatibility with angled tweeters

Cons
Expensive
Only works with pricey Sonos subwoofer

Go to ranking

We ranked Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar #2 in July 2021 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar Under $1,000

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World Wide Stereo

The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar

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TechRadar

Dazzling 3D Sound – But at Quite a Price

Pros
Superb sound quality
Effective Dolby Atmos

Cons
Humongous price, size and weight
No AirPlay or AptX for Bluetooth

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Rtings.com

Best Standalone Soundbar

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SoundGuys

Best All Round

Pros
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Number of Inputs
Chromecast built-in

Cons
Price
Fairly large soundbar

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WIRED

Absolute Best Soundbar (If Price Is No Object)

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PCMag

Immersive All-in-One Audio

Pros
Powerful audio with rich bass depth, crisp highs, and listening modes tailored to music, film, and TV.
Ambeo modes widen stereo field and create immersive listening experience.

Cons
Wildly expensive.
Big and heavy.
We'd still like to add a subwoofer.

Go to ranking

We ranked Sonos Beam #3 in July 2021 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Smartest Soundbar

Go to ranking

TechRadar

This Is The Smart Soundbar We've Been Waiting For

Pros
Great compact design
HDMI ARC compatible
Superb sound

Cons
No Dolby Atmos

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Rtings.com

Smaller Alternative

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SoundGuys

Best Smart Soundbar

Pros
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support
Size
Dolby Digital Support
Easy Setup
Simple to connect other Sonos Speakers

Cons
Doesn't support any object based codecs
Overpriced

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Big Sound And Smart Home Controls

Pros
Easy set up
Alexa inside
Wide soundstage

Cons
Bass lacks detail
No Bluetooth audio

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PCMag

A More Affordable Sonos Soundbar

Pros
Powerful sound for its size.
Built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant.
Easily expanded with additional Sonos speakers.

Cons
No Bluetooth.
Optional subwoofer is expensive.

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We ranked Vizio M-Series 5.1 #4 in July 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Rtings.com

Best Soundbar Under $500

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best soundbar, subwoofer and satellite system on a budget

Pros
Affordable
Full surround sound with Atmos
Lots of input options

Cons
Takes work to get the right sound
No upfiring speakers

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PCMag

Affordable 5.1 Surround

Pros
Powerful, theater-like sub-bass and solid overall balance
EQ and dedicated levels for individual channels
5.1 surround with Dolby Atmos support
Generous array of included cabling

Cons
Can distort on deep bass at high volumes
Rear surrounds are wired to subwoofer

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TechHive

Best mid-range soundbar / Editor's Choice

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We ranked Yamaha YAS-209 #5 in July 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Yamaha YAS-209 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar Under $400

Go to ranking

World Wide Stereo

The Best Sound Bar Under $400

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WIRED

Best Smart Soundbar With a Dedicated Sub

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Tom's Guide

The Best Soundbar And Subwoofer Combo

Pros
Clear and resonant dialog
Excellent for music
Alexa inside

Cons
Lacks low-frequency effects when movies are playing
Only 1 HDMI input

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We ranked Vizio Elevate #6 in July 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar Under $1,000

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

More Customizable Alternative

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WIRED

A Luxury Bar With Atmos (the Grooviest Bar)

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Streambar #7 in July 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar With Built-In Streaming Video

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WIRED

For Small Spaces

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The Best Soundbar For Cord-Cutters

Pros
4K streaming
Clear, loud sound
Compact design

Cons
Relatively weak bass
No Ethernet port

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We ranked Roku Smart Soundbar #8 in July 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Roku Smart Soundbar as #1.
Critic endorsements:
SoundGuys

Best Features

Pros
Integrated Roku Player
HDMI ARC output
Google Assistant and Alexa Support
Bluetooth and WIFI Streaming
Remote access via Roku App
Vslue

Cons
Sound clarity lacking

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WIRED

A Bar With Roku Built In

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CNN Underscored

Best Soundbar

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We ranked Klipsch Cinema 600 #9 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Klipsch Cinema 600 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Best For The Money Soundbar

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PCMag

Powerful,Affordable 3.1 Audio

Pros
Powerful audio performance with deep, theater-like sub-bass and crisp high-end definition
Wireless subwoofer
Bluetooth streaming
Virtual surround mode sounds good
Can be expanded to a true 5.1 system

Cons
No user-adjustable EQ

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We ranked Samsung HW-Q950T #10 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Samsung HW-Q950T as #1.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

One Of Best Soundbars Just Got Better

Pros
Outstandingly powerful sound
Unprecedented channel support
Tasteful and slender design

Cons
Expensive for a soundbar
Unhelpfully positioned display
No auto-calibration system

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Rtings.com

Best Soundbar

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We ranked Polk Audio React #11 in July 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Best Sound Bar Under $300

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WIRED

Build a Bar

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Tom's Guide

The best soundbar for getting Alexa on a budget

Pros
Lots of bass without a sub
Built-in Alexa
Slim design

Cons
Narrow soundstage
Limited modes
No Atmos

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We ranked Samsung HW-Q90R #12 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

Be Afraid,Traditional Hi-Fi Speakers. Be Very Afraid

Pros
Impressive sound quality
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Easy to install and setup

Cons
Expensive

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TechHive

Best high-end soundbar / Editor's Choice

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We ranked Vizio SB36512-F6 #13 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar Under $500

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WIRED

Best Audio for Under $500

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We ranked Bose Soundbar 700 #14 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Smartest Soundbar for Surround Sound

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Streambar Pro #15 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A soundbar/streamer combo with virtual surround sound

Pros
Easy to set up and use
Wide sound
Built-in Roku 4K streamer

Cons
No Dolby Atmos
Low streaming app performance

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PCMag

Best for Roku Media Streaming

Pros
Affordable
Solid audio performance
Lots of media streaming options
Remote with headphone jack

Cons
Relatively weak bass response

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We ranked Polk Signa S3 #16 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best For Music Listening

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PCMag

Affordable 2.1 Audio

Pros
Powerful audio performance with deep bass and crisp highs
Wireless subwoofer
Voice Adjust mode for clearer dialogue
Supports Chromecast audio and Google Assistant voice commands
Ships with both HDMI and optical cables

Cons
No EQ
Lacks visual indicators for various audio modes

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We ranked Sony HT-ST5000 #17 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Best Premium Soundbar

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CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

We ranked JBL Bar 9.1 #18 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Best Soundbar And Wireless Sub

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PCMag

Best for True Surround Sound

Pros
Powerful audio with thunderous bass depth
Dolby Atmos drivers
Wireless rear channel speakers
Easy setup

Cons
Expensive
Large
Could use more precise EQ controls

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We ranked Sony HT-X8500 #19 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

Sony’s All-In-One Dolby Atmos Bar May Be The Best Value Of The Year

Pros
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible
Compact all-in-one form factor
Integrated subwoofer

Cons
No upfiring drivers

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WIRED

Best Cheap Atmos Bar

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We ranked Sony HT-S350 #20 in July 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

PCMag

The Best Affordable 2.1 Audio

Pros
Relatively affordable.
Powerful, clear audio with multiple sound modes and adjustable subwoofer levels.
Easy to set up and operate.

Cons
Sound signature is quite sculpted, regardless of mode.

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