March 2021

Sound Bars Rankings Report

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

#1. Vizio V21

We ranked Vizio V21 #1 in March 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

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WIRED

Best Value

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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

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#2. Yamaha YAS-209

We ranked Yamaha YAS-209 #2 in March 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

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World Wide Stereo

The Best Soundbar Under $500

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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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#3. Sonos Arc

We ranked Sonos Arc #3 in March 2021 because:

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

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

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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.

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World Wide Stereo

The Best All-in-One 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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#4. Sonos Beam

We ranked Sonos Beam #4 in March 2021 because:

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

Smaller Alternative

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

Cons
Poor surrounds performance.

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World Wide Stereo

The Smartest Soundbar

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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

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CNN Underscored

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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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#5. Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar

We ranked Sennheiser Ambeo 3D Soundbar #5 in March 2021 because:

  • 3 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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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.

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SoundGuys

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

Cons
Price
Fairly large soundbar

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#6. Roku Smart Soundbar

We ranked Roku Smart Soundbar #6 in March 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

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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#7. Roku Streambar

We ranked Roku Streambar #7 in March 2021 because:

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

Best Soundbar With Built-In Streaming Video

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CNN Underscored

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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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#8. Vizio SB36512-F6

We ranked Vizio SB36512-F6 #8 in March 2021 because:

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

Best Soundbar Under $500

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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.

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#9. Vizio Elevate

We ranked Vizio Elevate #9 in March 2021 because:

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

Best Soundbar Under $1,000

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CNN Underscored

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#10. Vizio M-Series 5.1

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

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

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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

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#11. Bose Soundbar 700

We ranked Bose Soundbar 700 #11 in March 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

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#12. Sony HT-ST5000

We ranked Sony HT-ST5000 #12 in March 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

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