May 2022

Sound Bars: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Sound Bar rankings posted by key online experts, as of May 2022.

At a glance - May 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Sound Bar
Tom's Guide
World Wide Stereo
TechRadar
Rtings.com
What Hi-Fi
SoundGuys
CNN Underscored
PCMag
TechHive
WIRED
1
- $898
Sonos Arc
2
3
1
2
3
-
2
3
-
-
2
- $554
Sonos Beam Gen 2
7
5
5
5
2
-
-
8
4
4
3
- $1498
Samsung HW-Q950A
-
-
3
3
17
-
-
-
5
3
4
+1 $99
Roku Streambar
10
-
-
-
14
-
5
-
2
8
5
-1 $4268
Sennheiser Ambeo 3D
-
8
-
-
8
1
-
-
-
11
6
- $324
Vizio M-Series 5.1
-
-
-
6
-
-
13
5
3
-
7
- $150
Roku Streambar Pro
-
-
-
-
-
4
1
2
-
-
8
+1 $899
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
5
-
-
1
11
-
-
-
-
-
9
+16 $954
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
1
-
6
-
6
-
-
-
-
-
10
-2 $350
Yamaha YAS-209
3
14
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
10
11
-1 $527
Sonos Beam Gen 1
9
-
-
-
-
2
7
-
-
-
12
+12 $498
Sony HT-G700
-
-
2
-
15
-
9
-
-
-
13
-2 $549
Klipsch Cinema 600
-
2
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
14
New * $399
Polk Audio Signa S4
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
15
-3 $240
Polk Audio React
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
-
16
-3 $1398
Sony HT-A7000
-
-
11
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
17
-2 $400
JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam
8
-
-
-
10
-
-
-
-
-
18
-2 $649
Denon Home 550
-
4
10
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
19
-2 $1200
JBL Bar 9.1
-
6
-
-
-
-
-
6
-
-
20
-2 $999
Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+
-
11
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
-
21
-1 $690
Samsung HW-Q800A
-
-
4
-
12
-
-
-
-
-
22
-1 $1297
LG SP11RA
-
-
9
-
19
-
-
-
-
-
23
-1 $849
Vizio Elevate
-
-
-
-
-
-
14
-
6
-
24
-1 $278
Sony HT-S350
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
4
-
-

We ranked Sonos Arc #1 in May 2022 because:

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

The best smart soundbar

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

Cons
Will takes up quite a bit of space on a TV stand

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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
Needs TV of 55 inches or bigger
No HDMI passthrough

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Rtings.com

Alternative With DTS Support

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What Hi-Fi

Easily one of the best soundbars we've heard at the money.

Pros
Convincing Dolby Atmos
Dynamic, detailed and weighty
All of the usual Sonos smarts

Cons
Music could be better projected
Heavily reliant on your TV’s specs

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CNN Underscored

The upgrade pick

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PCMag

Best All-in-One Model / Editors' Choice

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

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We ranked Sonos Beam Gen 2 #2 in May 2022 because:

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

The best-sounding soundbar for small TVs

Pros
Impressive sound for its size
3D audio with support for Dolby Atmos
Reliable TruePlay tuning
Best option for 55-inch and smaller TVs

Cons
Expensive
Some new formats not available at launch

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World Wide Stereo

The Best Smart Sound Bar

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TechRadar

The best small soundbar – great Dolby Atmos for 32 inches and up

Pros
Wide soundstage
HDMI eARC support
Hi-res audio compatibility

Cons
No upfiring tweeters

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Rtings.com

Best Small Soundbar

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What Hi-Fi

The dinky Sonos Beam delivers a refined sound and excellent Dolby Atmos interpretation

Pros
Effective handling of Dolby Atmos
Warm, refined sound
Streaming smarts

Cons
No additional HDMI ports
Doesn’t support DTS:X

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PCMag

A More Affordable Sonos Soundbar

Pros
Big sound field for its size
Full and crisp sound, from low-mids to highs
Dolby Atmos audio sounds precise and immersive, even without rear speakers

Cons
Not much deep bass without optional (and pricey) subwoofer
No Bluetooth support
Trueplay audio tuning only available for iOS

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TechHive

Best mid-range soundbar, runner-up

Pros
Expansive sound
Dolby Atmost and HDMI eARC support
Can be upgraded to a full surround sound system with extra speakers and a subwoofer
Apple AirPlay 2 support in addition to Sonos' own fabled multi-room audio support

Cons
Virtualized height cues are subtle, and occasionally hissy
Drivers begin to struggle at high volume
DTS update didn't include DTS:X

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WIRED

The Smartest Soundbar

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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 May 2022 ranking

We ranked Samsung HW-Q950A #3 in May 2022 because:

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

The best soundbar for total Dolby Atmos immersion

Pros
Hugely powerful movie playback
Remarkably well-rounded Dolby Atmos soundstage
Dolby Vision and HDR10+ passthrough

Cons
Expensive compared to rivals
A little unrefined with music

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Rtings.com

Best Customizable Soundbar

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What Hi-Fi

Samsung’s HW-Q950A soundbar fires on all cylinders at all times

Pros
Extremely present centre channel
Room-filling sound
Excellent feature set

Cons
Rears can be distracting
Subwoofer not well integrated
Not the most nuanced or dynamic

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TechHive

Best high-end soundbar

Pros
Thrillingly immersive sound with deep but controlled bass
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Alexa built in
Apple AirPlay 2 support
SpaceFit and Auto EQ room calibration

Cons
Annoyingly short power cords for satellite speakers
Alexa needs a discrete volume control
SpaceFit and Q-Symphony features only work with Samsung TVs
Pricey

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WIRED

Best Dolby Atmos Bar

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We ranked Roku Streambar #4 in May 2022 because:

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

The best soundbar with integrated media player

Pros
4K streaming
Clear, loud sound
Compact design

Cons
Relatively weak bass
No Ethernet port

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What Hi-Fi

This streamer-cum-soundbar represents very good value.

Pros
Direct, well-projected sound
Great feature list
Can go loud

Cons
Doesn't sound cinematic

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CNN Underscored

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TechHive

Best budget soundbar, runner-up

Pros
A pretty good soundbar integrated with a very good media streamer
Excellent remote control, with support for voice commands
Can be upgraded with a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers
Can also stream content from a NAS box or USB drive

Cons
Not as good as a speaker as it is a streamer
A little weak on bass response
HDR support does not include Dolby Vision

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WIRED

For Small Spaces

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We ranked Sennheiser Ambeo 3D #5 in May 2022 because:

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

The Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar

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What Hi-Fi

You'll need plenty of space, but this is the best soundbar for those with deep pockets.

Pros
Rich, balanced sound
Excellent dynamics
Impressive surround effect

Cons
Large
Fussy about positioning

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SoundGuys

Best All Around/Editors Choice

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

Cons
Price
Fairly large soundbar

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WIRED

Best Luxury Soundbar

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We ranked Vizio M-Series 5.1 #6 in May 2022 because:

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

Best Soundbar Under $500

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CNN Underscored

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PCMag

Affordable 5.1 Surround/Editor's Choice

Pros
Well priced for a system with a subwoofer and rear satellites
Good surround imaging with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Powerful bass

Cons
Treble isn't quite crisp as it could be
Small visual control panel on the remote

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TechHive

Best mid-range soundbar

Pros
Aggressively exciting audio performance
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
HDMI with eARC
Can be augmented with a smart speaker via 3.5mm input or Bluetooth

Cons
Bass can be boomy versus tight
No Wi-Fi adapter

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We ranked Roku Streambar Pro #7 in May 2022 because:

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

Best Features

Pros
Integrated Roku Player
HDMI ARC output
Google Assistant and Alexa support
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming
Remote access via Roku app
Value

Cons
Sound clarity lacking

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CNN Underscored

Best Soundbar

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PCMag

Best for Roku Media Streaming/Editors' Choice

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 Bose Smart Soundbar 900 #8 in May 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Bose Smart Soundbar 900 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

Best soundbar with Dolby Atmos and multiroom

Pros
Slim and sleek design
Automatic room correction
Alexa and Google Assistant built-in
Dolby Atmos support
Good overall levels of sound for movies

Cons
Bass output is so-so
Not so great for music listening

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Rtings.com

Best Plug-and-Play Soundbar

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What Hi-Fi

An impressively wide-sounding, articulate and crisp Dolby Atmos soundbar

Pros
Expansive breadth
Sleek design
Clear vocal projection

Cons
No DTS support
Noticeably processed sound
Not as Atmos-y as the best

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We ranked Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 #9 in May 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

The best soundbar overall for movies and music

Pros
Lively, muscular and expansive movie sound
Properly accomplished with music
Useful touch controls and app

Cons
Dolby Atmos effect not as pronounced as some
Close rivals cost less

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TechRadar

An excellent rival for the Sonos Arc

Pros
Precise and engrossing sound with movies
Genuinely adept with music
Nice selection of control options

Cons
Dolby Atmos could be more effective

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What Hi-Fi

A competent, detailed and weighty soundbar

Pros
Sleek low profile design
Weighty bottom end
Self-contained

Cons
Voices lack clarity
Not a particularly expansive soundstage
Tonally inconsistent

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We ranked Yamaha YAS-209 #10 in May 2022 because:

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

Best soundbar speaker with a subwoofer and Alexa

Pros
Clear and intelligible dialog
Excellent for music
Alexa voice control

Cons
Subwoofer lacks punch with some movie effects
Only 1 HDMI input

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World Wide Stereo

The Best Sound Bar Under $400

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WIRED

A Smart Soundbar With a Sub

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We ranked Sonos Beam Gen 1 #11 in May 2022 because:

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

The best soundbar for sound and smart features at the price

Pros
Easy set up
Alexa inside
Wide soundstage

Cons
Bass lacks detail
No Bluetooth audio

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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

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We ranked Sony HT-G700 #12 in May 2022 because:

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

The best affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar with a subwoofer

Pros
Impressively wide and tall sound
Dolby Atmos & DTS:X support
4K HDR HDMI passthrough

Cons
Can't manage true height
Not as dynamic as higher priced options

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What Hi-Fi

A good entry-level soundbar with plenty of bass and Dolby Atmos support.

Pros
Big, weighty sound
Impressive Atmos effect
Solid and stylish

Cons
Lack of crispness and clarity
No streaming functionality

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CNN Underscored

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We ranked Klipsch Cinema 600 #13 in May 2022 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

Best Affordable 3.1 Audio / Editors' Choice

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 Polk Audio Signa S4 #14 in May 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Polk Audio Signa S4 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
World Wide Stereo

The Best Compact Sound Bar

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WIRED

Best Soundbar-Subwoofer Combo

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We ranked Polk Audio React #15 in May 2022 because:

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

The Best Soundbar With Virtual Surround Sound

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TechHive

Best budget soundbar

Pros
Clean, nuanced sound given its price tag
Alexa onboard, including multi-room audio support
Expandable with wireless subwoofer and surround speaker options
Night mode and dialog volume level adjustments

Cons
No support for Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, or DTS Virtual:X
HDMI ARC only (doesn't support eARC)
Remote control buttons are flat and difficult to find in the dark

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We ranked Sony HT-A7000 #16 in May 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sony HT-A7000 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

Sony’s newest flagship is a big ‘bar for big bucks

Pros
Supremely clear dialogue
Two HDMI 2.1 ports
Atmos, DTS: X and 360 Reality Audio

Cons
Limited height channels

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What Hi-Fi

Powerful and muscular room-filling Dolby Atmos from a single soundbar

Pros
Robust low-end
Excellent Atmos performance
Feature-rich

Cons
No VRR or ALLM at launch
EQ controls would be nice
Slightly confused styling

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We ranked JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam #17 in May 2022 because:

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

The best soundbar for affordable Atmos

Pros
Good Dolby Atmos performance
Auto calibration
Doesn't need a subwoofer

Cons
Limited sound controls
No mobile app

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What Hi-Fi

This compact soundbar won’t blow a hole in your budget

Pros
Big, full-bodied presentation
Dolby Virtual Atmos
Multi-room options

Cons
Could be more detailed
Dynamic expression poor
Slovenly sense of timing

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We ranked Denon Home 550 #18 in May 2022 because:

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

The Best Wireless Soundbar

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TechRadar

The best smaller soundbar for bigger, bolder sound

Pros
Well specified and flexible
Poised, large-scale sound (at reasonable volumes)
Nicely made and finished

Cons
Becomes socially aggressive at higher volumes
Doesn’t feel as nice as it looks
Dolby Atmos effect is lacking

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We ranked JBL Bar 9.1 #19 in May 2022 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 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 Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ #20 in May 2022 because:

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

The Best Sound Bar for Hi-Res Audio

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What Hi-Fi

The Soundbar+ deftly handles virtual Dolby Atmos with precision and directness

Pros
Satisfying Dolby Atmos delivery
Direct and solid presentation
Detailed, open sound

Cons
Music lacks drive and drama
No 'native' sound mode
No auto-detect of HDMI input

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We ranked Samsung HW-Q800A #21 in May 2022 because:

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

The best soundbar for mid-range cinematic thrills

Pros
Powerful, immersive, room-filling sound
Excellent bass support from the subwoofer

Cons
Some features only available with newer Samsung TVs

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What Hi-Fi

This Dolby Atmos soundbar packs a punch

Pros
Spacious presentation
Weighty, articulate sub
Good range of features

Cons
Could be more insightful
Height channel lacks precision

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We ranked LG SP11RA #22 in May 2022 because:

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

A soundbar that revels in the details

Pros
Exceptionally detailed sound
Adapts well to music as well as films
Very attractive and compact design

Cons
Sound can lack grunt at times
Doesn’t quite justify its price

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What Hi-Fi

An enjoyable and immersive top-end soundbar package

Pros
Detailed top end
Large, well-spread soundscape
Comprehensive feature set

Cons
Looks don’t match the price tag
Lacks a little punch
Sub feels one dimensional

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We ranked Vizio Elevate #23 in May 2022 because:

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

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TechHive

Best high-end soundbar, runner-up

Pros
Thrilling 3D sound
Rotating height drivers can also bolster stereo channels
Chromecast built in
Three HDMI ports, with eARC support on one

Cons
Bass is a bit overdone
SmartCast app frequently disconnected from the soundbar
Clunky, non-backlit remote control
No native music service support (e.g., Spotify Connect)

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We ranked Sony HT-S350 #24 in May 2022 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/Editor's Choice

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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