The best soundbars produce excellent sound quality. They're easy to set up, look great, and are user-friendly. But there's other features of sound bars that are necessary to consider when purchasing sound bars. Including: price, wattage, channels and other special features.
Sound bar speakers began with Altec-Lansing, an American company founded in 1941. Altec-Lansing invented the sound bar speaker in 1998. But their first attempt wasn't ever followed up with a modern system. Perhaps because at that time, consumers preferred the home theater box system. At the time, sound bars didn't produce quality sound like separate speakers. However, it’s a different story today. Technology has improved and sound bar speakers are very popular. Modern sound bars are savvy, compact, and easy to set up. They're also less expensive, and look great delivering excellent sound quality!
Here is a list of 2018's top rated and reviewed soundbar speakers to help you choose the best products for your home theater or TV setup.
Best Soundbar Speakers | Top 6
|Our Rank||Soundbar||Size (in)||Bluetooth||WiFi||Subwoofer||Price|
|2.||Yamaha YAS 203||40"||Yes||No||Yes||$$$|
|3.||JBL Cinema SB100||32"||No||No||No||$$$|
|5.||Arcam Solo Bar||40"||Yes||No||Yes||$$$$$|
Before you dive into research for the ideal sound bar speaker, it's important to brush up on a few things. There are different types of sound bars with unique features. Learning more about the key components of a sound bar before you buy is a great idea. To start, there are a few questions to ask yourself.
- What sound bar is best for your home?
- What features are most important?
- Are you better off with another stereo system like bookshelf speakers or floor standing speakers?
These are all questions you should ask yourself before you commit to purchasing a sound bar.
Pedestal v. Traditional
There are two common types of sound bar designs: pedestal and traditional. Traditional sound bars are what you'd expect: a long, thin bar with speakers. Some come as a package with a subwoofer. Others have a full surround system package. Some just come with the sound bar itself. These types of sound bars can mount on a wall, sit on your TV stand, or in other suitable areas. They're typically low maintenance and easy setup. The most frequent complaint about this type of sound bar is that it can block your TVs remote signal.
Pedestal type sound bars sit underneath your TV. They typically end up looking like they are a part of your TV stand. Most pedestal sound bars lack a separate subwoofer and don't keep up with the low-end frequencies very well. But, since they are always placed below your TV, it'll never block the remote signal. Make sure you measure your TV stand so that it fits on top of the pedestal sound bar if you decide on this style.
Active v. Passive
Another important topic we think is important to understand is the Active v. Passive sound bar. They're typically broken down as one of these two. Each come with their positives and negatives.
Active sound bars are an all inclusive package. It comes with speakers, amplifiers and all of the necessities in one sleek bar. This gives the unit a bit more of a streamlined look and it's easy to install and setup. Plug and play, easy mounting, these are all benefits of an active sound bar.
Passive sound bars don't come with built-in power and require you to purchase a separate amplifier or receiver and run wires to the bar. They are a little more difficult to set up, but many people like this type of sound bar because it gives them control of the type of amplifier and amount of power they'd like to have. It gives a bit more customizability to the buyer. But, in many cases passive sound bars produce better sound because they do not have to cram other devices in the bar.
When you're shopping for a soundbar, make sure you check for Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth simplifies installation and setup exponentially and gives you the option to play tunes directly from your smart device, computer, or other music device without having to turn on the TV.
Other Features to Consider:
- Frequency Response
- Package inclusions (Subwoofer, Speakers, etc)
How We Tested
Our list of top rated sound bar speakers were selected from the hundreds of available choices in the market today. This review focused on sound bar speakers available in the United States. Each sound bar speaker and accompanying software was tested on different mediums including games and movies.
The following criteria were considered:
- Design and Style
- User Friendliness
- Price and Value for Money
- After Service
Here's a great video that walks through the basics of finding and choosing a sound bar: