Technology has enabled TVs to become ever flatter, thinner, and lighter, but it can’t overcome the laws of physics when it comes to audio. Filling a room with sound requires substantial speakers that can move a lot of air, and those types of speakers just won’t fit inside a thin TV chassis. That’s where soundbars come in.

We’ll explain all the latest soundbar technology, show you the most important features you should look for, and name our top picks in budget, mid-range, and high-end categories. We’ll also provide links to all our reviews of soundbars currently on the market, so you can find exactly the right one for your needs.

Here are our current top picks, with brief summaries explaining our reasoning. These will change over time as new models come in for evaluation. Our soundbar reviews will go into some depth, so we encourage you to follow the links to read them in their entirety. Beneath our top picks you’ll find some general guidance about soundbars, followed by explanations of the features you should consider when choosing one. Links at the bottom of the page will take you the rest of our soundbar reviews.

Editors’ note:  JBL unveiled its all-new Link Bar soundbar at Google I/O on May 8. TechHive staff writer Michael Simon got a demo and shot a video with the new speaker, which will run Android TV and feature Google Assistant when it ships later this year.

Best budget soundbar: Yamaha YAS-107

Like its predecessor, the Yamaha YAS-106, the Yamaha YAS-107 has a feature list that’s shorter than many, and you won’t find a subwoofer in the box, but you won’t be disappointed with this soundbar’s performance. If you’re looking for a significant upgrade over your TVs current audio that won’t break the bank then Yamaha’s YAS-107.

Runner-up

This slim-profile soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo’s all-around performance caught our attention, but it’s unusually rich feature set made this our easy choice for runner-up. The HW-M450 supports additional wireless speakers for a full wireless 5.1-channel surround sound, and you can connect the soundbar to compatible TVs via Bluetooth for an entirely wireless setup. It’s hard to believe you get all this at an entry-level price point.

Best mid-range soundbar: JBL SB 450

Our top pick for best mid-priced soundbar is JBL’s SB 450. This soundbar and wireless subwoofer tandem packs a one-two sonic wallop. It also features some enhanced Bluetooth streaming options with certain model JBL Bluetooth speakers that differentiate it from the pack. If creating a theater experience at home is your primary goal, then you’ll be incredibly satisfied with this package.

Runner-up

Q Acoustics wowed us with its sonic performance. While it doesn’t come with a separate subwoofer, the 100x150mm dual voice coil that’s built into its cabinet handles low-end frequencies with aplomb. We also like its design aesthetic. If you’re intrested in a soundbar in this price range that can handle object-based soundtracks, you’ll want to consider the Yamaha YAS-207, which is capable of decoding DTS Virtual:X.



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