Best Soundbars of 2022
November 20, 2022
If you’ve never considered getting a soundbar, you might want to start thinking about it because it’s a great way to bring your TV, movies, and music to life without the need for a full home theater system. What’s more, in this guide, we’ll give you some recommendations to consider if you decide to buy one this holiday season.
What to Look For in a Soundbar in 2022
At first glance, getting a soundbar seems simple and unscientific. However, buying the right one to meet your needs will be the difference between being satisfied and being impressed with your purchase.
But to begin with, do you already have a location in mind for your soundbar? This aspect is very fundamental, because if you are thinking of placing it in a small space, you can buy something smaller and save some money.
Conversely, if you need to put it in a larger space and want something a little more impressive, it’s worth spending a few dollars more on a soundbar or perhaps buying one with a separate subwoofer for more depth. Finally, if you’re in an apartment or share a wall with neighbors, it’s probably best to omit the subwoofer.
Once you have that established, it’s only left to think about the budget you have and which subwoofer has the surround sound technology you’re looking for, such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.
Really, the differences between these approaches won’t affect the overall sound much, but you may want to pay attention to them depending on where you get your media content. So without further ado, let’s get started, and don’t forget to take notes.
Best Soundbar Overall: Yamaha YAS-109
Are you looking for a standalone soundbar? If so, it’s clear that your main goal is to enhance your current TV viewing audio experience, and in that case, the Yamaha YAS-109 will provide you with a unique experience with its integrated dual subwoofers, virtual surround sound, Alexa, and more in a minimalist form factor.
This unit is simply a well-balanced soundbar, so the subwoofers bring a lot of life to the sound, especially in action movies or with an intense score. Now, if you’re in a small to medium-sized room with this soundbar, you probably won’t feel the need for a subwoofer. On the other hand, if you are looking to enhance the sound of a home theater system, a soundbar paired with a subwoofer would be a better choice.
In addition, if during the broadcast of your favorite movies and series you find it difficult to hear certain scenes, the YAS-109 also includes a “Clear Voice” mode to increase the volume level of dialogue, making it much easier to understand. Also, in terms of surround sound, Yamaha includes the popular DTS Virtual:X digital surround sound from DTS.
But that’s not all, because this bar provides excellent quality for music, although since Yamaha has been making affordable, high-quality speakers for decades, this is no surprise.
The YAS-109 is a complete soundbar with excellent build quality for only $199. a truly convenient choice for any user, but especially for those who are new to home surround sound technology. As you’ll see, the impressive performance will take your movie nights up a notch, and the price won’t break the bank.
Best Budget Soundbar: Bestisan BYL S9920
This 40-inch soundbar can be found for around $100. The Bestisan BYL S9920 exceeds all expectations of a soundbar for this price and is perfect for beginners.
On the other hand, the S9920 provides impressively clear audio, so it becomes one of the terminals that represents a fraction of the premium selection on this list.
It definitely doesn’t sound as rich as the Yamaha YAS-109 or the Sonos Arc, but it’s a big step up from integrated TV speakers, and dialogue is very clear through this bar.
In addition, the BYL S9920 offers three modes: Movie, Music and Dialogue whose simplicity is truly captivating, considering that users want something novel but easy to use, and these modes cover the main bases.
To switch between them, you can do so with the included remote control. With this same remote, you can also adjust the treble and bass. And come on, having the ability to customize the EQ on a soundbar is always a plus.
Nonetheless, not everything is perfect with this soundbar, as it highlights the lack of an HDMI ARC port, leaving as the only connection alternatives the RCA port provided, the optical port, the auxiliary port, or the connection via Bluetooth if you have a Smart TV.
While it’s not a problem that would be a major issue, having HDMI ARC or eARC would have been a convenience that many other modern soundbars already have. Finally, we should point out that there are three versions of this soundbar, and of course, we recommend the largest and loudest of the bunch, the 100-watt model. However, smaller models are available if space for a soundbar is at a premium.
Best Premium Soundbar: Sonos Arc
The Sonos Arc has a reputation for being one of the best soundbars you can buy for under $1,000. It is also known primarily for its impressive surround sound and overall sound quality. There’s a lot packed into the Sonos Arc, though, so let’s break it all down.
For starters, the Arc includes Dolby Atmos surround sound, and while this technology often requires ceiling-mounted speakers, the soundbars achieve a similar effect by including speakers that shoot upward to bounce sound around.
Additionally, thanks to its Trueplay tuning technology, acoustically, the Sonos Arc becomes a device that delivers incredible performance. In case you didn’t know, TruePlay helps the Arc calibrate to any room, so once you install it, you can download the Sonos app to have a completely customized experience for your space.
Basically, Sonos is all about full customization experiences, so in addition to your TruePlay system, you can customize the EQ levels to your liking. and if you need to clarify dialogue, Sonos includes Speech Enhancement in the Arc. There’s also a night sound mode to reduce the volume of the loudest sound effects, so you won’t disturb housemates or neighbors.
Although if you thought that was all, you’d be wrong, as the Arc includes voice assistance via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and is also compatible with Apple Airplay 2.
While its price is quite high and you’ll be in for a surprise when you explore the other options on the list for a lower price, the difference with the Sonos Arc is that it achieves the most convincing surround sound for a standalone soundbar. Bass holds up very well without a separate subwoofer, as there are eight subwoofers built in.
Simply put, if you need a premium cinematic experience in your living room, Sonos Arc is the way to go.
Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar: JBL Bar 5.0
If you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll know that JBL is constantly putting out great audio products, and their newest release, the JBL Bar 5.0, is no exception. What’s more, it would make an excellent addition to your TV setup.
Connectivity-wise, JBL supports Apple AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music, and has Chromecast built-in. In addition, it supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections for compatible devices and if that wasn’t enough, it also includes an HDMI eARC port
For this top pick, we chose the Bar 5.0 thanks to its impressive sound performance and Dolby Atmos surround sound, which is compatible with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, so if you stream on those services, it’s vital to get an Atmos-compatible bar for surround sound and not a DTS bar.
Also, by incorporating JBL’s Multibeam technology to provide a wide soundstage in the room of your choice, you won’t be disappointed with the surround sound performance. Nevertheless, this soundbar won’t disappoint with regular audio either. JBL is known for having rich, powerful bass and crystal-clear highs in all of their products, and the Bar 5.0 is no different.
All in all, if you’re looking for overall impressive performance, superior build quality, Dolby Atmos surround sound, and plenty of connectivity options, the JBL Bar 5.0 is an excellent sound bar for you.
Best Surround Sound Soundbar: Sony HT-X8500
If you want an incredible surround sound experience in a standalone soundbar, the Sony HT-X8500 is an excellent choice. As you’ll see, its sleek, low-profile design still delivers a compelling surround-sound experience.
Plus, it also includes Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual: X, so you’ll be able to sample both leading versions of surround sound.
At first glance, Sony’s sound quality is excellent, but it has a little less EQ headroom than some of the other soundbars on this list. Yet, it is well balanced for TV and movies right out of the box.
However, this bar tends to have mixed reviews on the sound quality of the music and the clarity of the dialogue. which is probably because this soundbar is best in small to medium spaces and may not work well in a larger open area.
Plus, it also includes Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual: X, so you’ll be able to sample both leading versions of surround sound.
At first glance, Sony’s sound quality is excellent, but it has a little less EQ headroom than some of the other soundbars on this list. Although, it is well balanced for TV and movies right out of the box.
Nonetheless, this bar tends to have mixed reviews on the sound quality of the music and the clarity of the dialogue. which is probably because this soundbar is best in small to medium spaces and may not work well in a larger open area.
So, if you reside in a smaller apartment or want a soundbar for your bedroom, the HT-X8500 is a good soundbar for you, and let’s be honest, if you are in a larger space, it is still a decent option if you are sitting within 10 feet of the soundbar.
This soundbar has a wide soundstage, which means it sounds impressively three-dimensional. The larger the soundstage, the more realistic the surround sound will be, as it simulates a 7.1.2-channel surround sound system, which is impressive for under $500. Also, the HT-X8500 has a vertical surround engine to enhance the already excellent surround sound options.
Another advantage of this equipment is its connectivity capabilities, as the HT-X8500 is on par with most other modern soundbars. It comes equipped with HDMI input, HDMI output (ARC/eARC), an optical port, and USB. In addition, if your TV is Bluetooth-capable, you can also connect this soundbar wirelessly.
As for the modes it offers, there are several you can choose from for basically any situation, and it’s even better because all of these modes have dedicated buttons on the remote control, giving you the same simplicity that the BYL Bestisan sound bar provides. The feature delivery on this soundbar is as glorious as the Sonos Arc, but it still includes many features that you can often only get on soundbars that cost twice as much.
Best Soundbar with Subwoofer: JBL Bar 2.1
Here’s another excellent example of why JBL has the reputation it does. This time, for even less than the price of the JBL Bar 5.0, you can have the same great JBL sound with a dedicated wireless subwoofer and more power to bring the sound to your ears.
The JBL Bar 2.1 can boast 300 watts of power between the bar and the subwoofer, and since the audio is top-notch, whether you’re in a bedroom or a large living room, you’ll be pleased with how full your setup sounds.
So what’s the catch? Well, the difference lies in the fact that the Bar 2.1 is simply less intelligent than the Bar 5.0. So if you purchase the 2.1, you’ll skip the Alexa, Airplay, and Chromecast options as well as not getting Dolby Atmos surround sound, but JBL provides its own surround sound technology to take its place.
So, this JBL soundbar is best for someone who is more of an audio purist and doesn’t need the extras with the 5.0. If you’re looking for something to set up and not pay much attention to while enjoying a theater-like cinematic experience, this is a solid and simple choice.
Best Soundbar for Music: Bose Smart Soundbar 300
For music lovers, it is no surprise to find Bose on this list. This brand is a leader in speaker systems and has an excellent reputation. So, it’s no news that the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is a full-featured premium soundbar that produces excellent sound.
This device features a spacious soundstage and a sleek, basic design. It is a smart soundbar that comes with Google Assistant, Alexa, Spotify Connect, and Apple AirPlay.
Furthermore, for compatible Bose products, you have the ability to interconnect terminals of the same brand using Bose Simple Sync technology. And finally, you can connect the soundbar to your TV via an optical cable or HDMI inputs.
Thus, thanks to the wide variety of features and connectivity options, we consider this soundbar to be one of the best, and it would be a great overall addition to any living room. Plus, with the inclusion of other Bose products equipped with Simple Sync, you can listen to your favorite tunes in multiple rooms—the perfect way to set the mood for any occasion.
And don’t worry about the terminal settings, because with the Bose Music app you can adjust them easily and according to your needs. Also, the Bose Music app is an all-in-one hub for controlling your soundbar and the services you use with it, which is convenient because it means you don’t have to switch apps when you want to change something; it’s all there.
So now you know: if you want something with a lot of richness in sound that you can expand to enhance your home entertainment, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is the choice for you. The Bose sound quality is perfect for listening to any kind of music, and you’ll be able to listen to your music library in a whole new way.