Soundbars have come into their own, because they are extremely easy to set up, they look great, don’t take up much space, no ugly wires, and they sound good—a lot better than you will get with your flat panel TV.
There are an awful lot of soundbars to choose from so selecting the right one can be a challenge. Paying attention to what other consumers have experienced and learning their views can be an enormous help as they are the toughest critics. Here are the top 5 soundbars based on ratings by actual users.
When picking the top 5 my minimum criteria was at least 6 reviews (most had many more) because one or two just isn’t a big enough sample size. There were a lot of sound bars highly rated and of the top 5 the range is between 4.5 and 4.7 out of 5.0, so they are all very well liked.
This Sony HT-CT260H is praised for its low price and great sound by a large number of the people who took time to rate it. Consequently it has the highest marks for “best value.”
Adrian from Norman Wells, NT praised the Sony HT-CT260H and offered advice for customers:
The sound bar sounds fantastic, and audio is very clear. Great improvement over TV speakers. Be aware that the unit sounds terrible out of the box with factory settings, and the bass is overpowering as well. However after spending about fifteen minutes fine tuning the settings everything is nicely balanced and sounds great. Bluetooth is ultra convenient for streaming music. Note: the sound bar does only have one HDMI port not 3 as the specs page shows.
Bose CineMate 1 SR Home Theatre Speaker System
The Bose CineMate is at the opposite end of the spectrum, as the most expensive of the top 5. But it is Bose we are talking about and every review raves about the sound quality – the depth of sound, and the power without loss of any clarity. It is a quality unit, with advancements like a wireless subwoofer with Acoustimass technology, and automatic sound calibration that adjusts for your room’s acoustics. Plus wireless features to stream music on to the speaker system.
Iftekhar from Mississauga sums it up:
Best I’ve ever heard
In the beginning I was skeptical of whether or not to purchase the sound bar from Bose because of its high price point. However after testing the product out at home, it was easily the best decision I’ve made in a while! With the superior sound quality you would expect from Bose comes the amazing sound bar. Loud, crisp surround sound from the bar and booming theater like vibrations from the sub create the perfect home theater system! Perfect for watching movies, sports and playing games. Changes your viewing experience completely, you wont regret it!
JBL 2.1 Channel Sound Bar (SB300)
The JBL is a mid-range model that has equally high ratings as the Bose and Sony above. It has a unique design in that both the bar and the wireless subwoofer are shaped slightly different than you expect and they have shiny casings. Its’ customers love the sound that the system produces. No surprise as JBL has designed it with special surround sound processing, crossover and phase controls, and a dual position equalizer.
BDD from Red Deer said it very simply:
Very easy to set up, fantastic sound that brings life to movies!
LG 300W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer (NB3530A)
The LG NB3530A is also a mid-range soundbar with very high customer ratings. It has a wireless subwoofer, and comes with Bluetooth so you can wirelessly play music from your mobile devices. It comes with two optical inputs so you can connect multiple devices to it, and hear the great sound. With 140 Watts of power it does a great job filling the room with sound.
Ryan from Oshawa says:
Picked this up on sale, great sound quality for the price. Setup was easy and goes well with my LG TV in my room. Soundboards Bluetooth easily pairs with my mobile devices so I can easily stream music anytime. Definitely worth the purchase
Polk Audio 280W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer (5000IHT)
Polk is yet another mid-range soundbar with a full sound, and more proof that you don’t have to buy a super high-end bar to get effective sound. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth to stream music from your favorite devices. Polk are audio experts as that is all they do, and they don’t disappoint as the sound is rich, clear, and powerful.
Graham from Vaudreauil, QC says:
A nice upgrade from ** Flat ** Panel Sound !
Added this sound bar to upgrade bedroom sound and results are positive. Took only minutes to hook up and other than having to dial back the sub output a bit, sounded great right out of the box! A few notches of positive treble adjustment was required on the LCD to enhance centre voice imaging, but after this adjustment I am quite happy. Nice touch is support for Bluetooth connectivity, which was also quick and easy to get multiple devices connected. I will work a bit more with Sub placement to see if I can improve the lower end but really no complaints! Well done Polk!
So if you are in the market for a soundbar, have a look at what to look for in a soundbar, and find one in your budget – any of these top 5 should make you happy.
One thing to consider is how many channels you want supported. 2.0 is just stereo. 2.1 comes with a subwoofer.
However there are are also surround bars like the Yamaha YSP2200. With 7.1 channels, it uses your walls to reflect sound around the room.
Many new TV’s are curved… have you heard about the Sammy curved bar?
I guess if you sit too far back, the left and right channels would get reversed?
Thank you for pointing out the 7.1 channel surround bars. I also wanted to bring up this point for those who are in the market for one.
I should also add… for those having problems hearing dialog… Soundbars with a center channel (3.1, 5.1 or 7.1)…. there is a dedicated dialog channel that you can turn up without raising the volume of the music.
Great for this senior’s ears.
Hi XL and Oldschool,
I agree that 7.1 channel soundbars like the Yamaha YSP2200. They are great alternatives that do add another sound dimension to soundbars that is better. The reason that they didn’t make this post is because it was all about the TOP rated soundbars and the 7.1’s haven’t hit that list yet. I suspect because they are typically a much higher price point and so don’t get bought or rated quite as often. Nevertheless, I do really like them.
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