There’s no doubt that a 4K flat-screen TV can really pack a visual punch these days. But for a truly immersive experience, you want the impactful sound to really bring the pictures to life.
The trouble with most flat screen TVs is that their in-built speakers are somewhat limited due to their restricted space. What’s more, the sound comes from the rear of the TV rather than hit you head on, which can make it sound a little flat.
This is where soundbars come in – a fantastic way to upgrade your audio and boost your TV’s potential. And they’re getting better all the time, with 2020 rolling out some of the best we’ve ever heard. So here are five of the best soundbars of 2020 with full reviews to help you decide which is best for you.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Soundbar?
A soundbar is more than just another speaker. It can take your TV and music experience to the next level. Before we look at those top 5, there’s a few little things you may want to consider before making your decision on which one to buy.
Soundbars these days are relatively thin, but still thicker than your TV, so they may stick out slightly. This could be an issue if you were to mount it on the wall, but most soundbars will happily sit beneath your TV, spanning the length across.
The sizes do vary, but the main thing is it fits seamlessly into your home as part of your complete TV setup.
The sound quality can also vary quite a bit with soundbars. While some say they produce surround-sound, it can be a little misleading.
That’s because true surround sound can only be achieved with multi-channel speakers placed in each corner of the room. A soundbar sits in front and projects the sound around you, which works really well.
Some soundbars come with the addition of a subwoofer for that extra boom-boom bass. It can really elevate the impact of the sound where you almost feel like you in the midst of the action. Subwoofers come in the form of a separate box speaker that usually connects wirelessly and can sit away from the soundbar unobtrusively. If you’re after those big bassy, heavy-hitting sounds for movies and games, then a subwoofer is what you want.
First off, nobody wants to add even more wires to their TV setup. While some are wired and make for better connectivity, the less wires the better. So you’ll see most soundbars come with Bluetooth integrated.
This is great if you want to connect other devices such as your phone, in order to play music through it. What’s more is that you can create multi-room sound systems to stream music all over your house if you want, and even pair it with smart home devices too.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Soundbars For Your TV
We scoured the internet for the latest and greatest in soundbar technology to determine our selection. This includes some of the best brands in the business, showcasing various specifications, prices, and unique features, to help you make the best decision when buying.
#1: Sonos Beam
Dolby Digital 5.1 | HDMI ARC and optical digital | Dimensions: 70 x 650 x 100mm
Sonos are well-known for their superior sound in wireless speakers, and the Sonos Beam is their best. Producing full-depth and three-dimensional sound, it’s an affordable soundbar that really delivers a high-quality immersive experience.
The Sonos Beam features touch controls and can also be controlled with Alexa and Google Home. It is quite small and light, can be wall-mounted, and allows for multi-room streaming. The only downside is there’s only one HDMI port, but this should be sufficient for most. All in all, a fantastic soundbar package for all your audio needs.
#2: Yamaha YAS-207
Dolby & DTS surround sound | HDMI & Bluetooth Connectivity | Subwoofer | Dimensions: 60 x 930 x 108mm, subwoofer 440 x 140 x 400mm
Yamaha have really outdone themselves with this soundbar. It comes pretty close to bringing that fully immersive, dynamic surround sound from its sleek design.
It achieves this with its ‘sound projection’ technology and DTS Virtual:X, which has the power to simulate a setup of 11.1-channels. And if that wasn’t enough, it comes with a wireless subwoofer and app, so you can tailor your sound just how you like it.
For an affordable and effective soundbar with a boost, this may be the one for you.
#3: Sony HT-ST5000
Dolby Digtial, Dolby Atmos |3 x HDMI in, 1 x HDMI out |Bluetooth | Subwoofer | Dimensions: soundbar 80 x 1180 x 145mm, subwoofer 400 x 250 x 430mm
To step things up a bit, Sony has come up with a soundbar with some really sophisticated sound. Want to feel as though you’re in a movie? The sound quality is excellent, and with its Dolby Atmos effect and subwoofer, you really get a sense of sound flow all around you.
It comes with more connectivity options, including Bluetooth and smart connections. But a nice addition is that it comes with a dedicated service for music, with Spotify, Google Chromecast, and Google Play built-in for complete audio integration.
Dolby Atmos & DTS:X surround sound | 4 x HDMI, optical digital, RCA line in | Bluetooth | Dimensions: 140 x 1270 x 170mm
For Sennheiser’s first consumer speaker, this is one that gives you some really impressive output. While it is larger than other soundbars, its surround sound is really rich and impressive, and it achieves this without a subwoofer. That’s probably because everything is packed into this beast of a unit.
It is one of the pricier systems, but you do get as close to that immersive surround sound as possible. Dynamics are balanced and on point, bringing clear-cut clarity and quality audio all-round. If you have the space, it works best mounted so as not to obstruct the directional speakers. It also comes with Bluetooth and Chromecast support and HDMI auto-calibration. Superb 3D sound with the latest in audio technology.
Dolby Atmos & DTS:X surround sound | 2 x HDMI inputs, 1 x HDMI output with eARC, optical digital audio input | Bluetooth & WiFi connectivity | Dimensions: 1226 x 83 x 136mm
While Samsung are at the higher end of our price range, you can be sure that they deliver on quality. And boy do they! This is one of, if not the closest you can get to that truly convincing audio experience that’s incredibly simple to set up.
It does this with its unique speaker system which includes rear and upward-firing drivers. Coupled with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, you’ll feel pretty close to the authentic cinema experience. Samsung are giants in the tech world and have even had this soundbar tuned by Harman Kardon, making music sound spectacular.
If you can afford to splash out on a reliable brand that you know produces high-quality products, this Samsung soundbar is up there with the very best.
Verdict: The Best Soundbars of 2020
So there you have our selection of the top 5 soundbars of 2020. While each has its own unique sound, look, and different features, whichever one you decide on, you will not be disappointed.
And if you’re still unsure, here’s one last summary of them.
First up we had the Sonos Beam. An excellent all-round soundbar that suits all needs for a very affordable price. It’s one of the smaller and lighter units that delivers really great audio.
Then we had the Yamaha YAS-207. Still on the more affordable side, but with a much heftier sound. Comes with a wireless subwoofer and app to tailor your sound how you want it.
Next up is the Sony HT-ST5000, which also has the subwoofer for some really impressive and immersive surround sound. Great for movies and streaming music.
Then we had the Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar. The beefier of the lot but still packs a punch without a subwoofer. Rich and clear 3D sound with all the added extras.
Lastly, there was the Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar. At the high-end of the price range, but with reliable and impressive sound technology, especially when it comes to music and movies.
That brings us to the end of our guide to the best soundbars of 2020. If you’re looking to really ramp up your TV experience, a soundbar is a must. And with this list of the top five, you’ve got an excellent range to help you decide which is best for you and your budget.
And once you’ve decided and you’re all set up, you’ll wonder how you ever watched TV without one!