Whether you’re on a budget or have cash to burn, there’s a soundbar that will deliver excellent audio within your price range.
We test soundbars priced from $149 to $3,999, and while some expensive models stand out, there are plenty of reasonably priced soundbars that also perform well in our tests.
Don’t make the assumption that more money buys you better audio
Don’t make the assumption that more money buys you better audio: Our experts weren’t impressed with some expensive models, but were surprised by others that come in under the $400 mark.
CHOICE home entertainment expert Dennis Gallagher shares his tips for finding the best soundbar for your money, plus, exclusively for CHOICE members, we’ll reveal the top-performing soundbars at the low, mid and high end of the market.
Why buy a soundbar?
For movie buffs and TV lovers, a full-fledged home theater is the perfect solution. But they can be complicated, bulky and expensive. A soundbar is a much more streamlined alternative that will give you the next best thing, but without a big hit to your wallet.
Essentially a thin box containing several speakers, a soundbar sits just below your TV screen and enhances your audio experience. It’s not a direct replacement for a professionally installed and calibrated home theater system, but some do a pretty good job of mimicking the surround sound effect.
The best placement for your soundbar
Soundbars perform best in small, enclosed spaces, but not so well in large, open areas. Ideally, they should be used in situations where you are sitting several meters away from the TV.
It’s best to place them right in front of or below the TV screen, about the same height as your ears when sitting in the lounge.
If you have a model with a wireless subwoofer, you can place it anywhere in the room.
Not sure what all the audio formats are? Our expert soundbar buying guide breaks down all the terminology.
When you’re ready to set up, check out our article on connecting your soundbar to a TV for a step-by-step guide.
How we test soundbars
Our rigorous testing means you can be confident in our reviews. They will help you buy the best soundbar for your needs.
We use a group of experts who have years of experience in testing audio equipment. They evaluate sound quality for movies, music and spoken word audio. We also take into account the ease of connecting and using the soundbar and remote control, and how much power the soundbar uses when it’s in standby mode.
Our experts rate each soundtrack on these metrics to calculate an overall score. All the details are included in our soundbar reviews, and you can filter by price, brand, features and more to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The best soundbars: budget, mid-range, premium
Just for CHOICE members, we reveal our expert’s top soundbar picks for your budget. If you’re not already a member, join CHOICE to get instant access to all our expert, independent reviews.
Don’t waste your money on an expensive model that doesn’t deliver performance, or a budget soundbar that sounds worse than your TV speakers.
No matter your budget, there’s a high-performance soundbar for you.
These three models are in different price groups – low, medium and high – but they are all recommended by the experts at CHOICE.
Unlock this article and more
- Information you can trust
- Check out the best brands
- Avoid the worst performers