April 2021

Sound Bar Rankings Report

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

We ranked Sonos Arc #1 in April 2021 because:

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

Go to ranking

CNET

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

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

Best 5.1 Soundbar

Pros
Sleek and very well-built design.
Room correction feature.
Very well-balanced sound profile.
Low latency.

Cons
No full EQ.

Go to ranking

World Wide Stereo

The Best All-in-One Soundbar

Go to ranking

CNN Underscored

Best Upgrade Pick

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

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 Sonos Beam #2 in April 2021 because:

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

Pros
Great compact design
HDMI ARC compatible
Superb sound

Cons
No Dolby Atmos

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

Smaller Alternative

Pros
Well-balanced sound profile.
Great center channel performance for dialogue in movies.

Cons
Poor surrounds performance.

Go to ranking

World Wide Stereo

The Smartest Soundbar

Go to ranking

SoundGuys

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

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

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.

Go to ranking

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

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

Dazzling 3D Sound

Pros
Superb sound quality
Effective Dolby Atmos

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

Go to ranking

CNET

Best Soundbar Under $1,000

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

Best Standalone Soundbar

Pros
Impressive immersive sound for a stand-alone bar.
Good performance with surround content.
Supports all audio formats.
Well-built design.

Cons
Very heavy.
Disappointing bass performance, especially on stereo content.

Go to ranking

SoundGuys

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

Cons
Price
Fairly large soundbar

Go to ranking

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 Yamaha YAS-209 #4 in April 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 Soundbar Under $500

Go to ranking

WIRED

Best Smart Soundbar With a Dedicated Sub

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Smart Soundbar #5 in April 2021 because:

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

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

Go to ranking

WIRED

A Bar With Roku Built In

Go to ranking

CNN Underscored

Best Soundbar

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for Roku Media Streaming

Pros
Affordable.
Solid audio performance.
Lots of media streaming options.

Cons
Relatively week bass response.

Go to ranking

We ranked Vizio V21 #6 in April 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Sound Bars” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Vizio V21 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Soundbar For The Money

Go to ranking

WIRED

Best Value

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The Best Cheap Soundbar And Subwoofer Combo

Pros
Great value
Wide soundstage
Can add voice assistants

Cons
Bass can overwhelm
Dolby Audio only works over optical connection

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Streambar #7 in April 2021 because:

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

Best Soundbar With Built-In Streaming Video

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung HW-Q950T #8 in April 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

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

Best Soundbar

Pros
Well-balanced sound profile.
Can get loud.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible.
Supports Atmos.

Cons
No room correction.

Go to ranking

We ranked Klipsch Cinema 600 #9 in April 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

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Vizio M-Series 5.1 #10 in April 2021 because:

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

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

A Full Dolby Atmos Kit At A Great Price

Pros
Affordable
Full surround sound with Atmos
Lots of input options

Cons
Takes work to get the right sound
No upfiring speakers

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Samsung HW-Q90R #11 in April 2021 because:

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

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

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best High-end Soundbar

Go to ranking

We ranked Bose Soundbar 700 #12 in April 2021 because:

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

The Smartest Soundbar for Surround Sound

Go to ranking

CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

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

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

Best Soundbar Under $500

Go to ranking

Rtings.com

More Affordable Alternative

Pros
Great stereo performance.
Decent soundstage.
Atmos support.
Amazing connectivity options.

Cons
No Dialog Enhancement feature.
Surround speakers need to be wired to the wireless sub.
Slow, buggy, and laggy app.

Go to ranking

We ranked Vizio Elevate #14 in April 2021 because:

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

Best Soundbar Under $1,000

Go to ranking

CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

We ranked Polk Signa S3 #15 in April 2021 because:

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

Best For Music Listening

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Sony HT-ST5000 #16 in April 2021 because:

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

The Best Premium Soundbar

Go to ranking

CNN Underscored

Go to ranking

We ranked JBL Bar 9.1 #17 in April 2021 because:

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

The Best Soundbar And Wireless Sub

Go to ranking

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

Go to ranking

We ranked Sony HT-S350 #18 in April 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.

Go to ranking