Upgrade your television’s sound with our pick of the best soundbars you can buy
If you’re seeking to recreate a cinematic experience at home, there are no two ways about it, you need the best soundbar you can afford.
Audio is just as important as visuals when watching TV, but a lot of manufacturers overlook sound quality when producing televisions. By buying one of the best soundbars, you will significantly enhance your audio experience while watching movies, sports and TV shows. Dialogue will sound clearer, sound effects more impactful and music much richer.
Best of all, a decent soundbar doesn’t need to cost a fortune and, unlike stereo speakers, soundbars blend much more discreetly into your living room decor, resulting in a cleaner, more minimalist look.
We’ve tested numerous soundbars and this article will break down the very best of them across a range of prices. More expensive soundbars typically offer a wider range of features and connection options, so it’s important to work out which you need and those that you can live without. To help you do so, we’ve put together a handy buying guide detailing all of the things to consider when buying one of the best soundbars available, which is located under the “At a glance” list below.
Best soundbar: At a glance
|Best soundbar under £100||Creative Stage V2 | £80||Check price at Amazon|
|Best standalone soundbar under £1,000||Sonos Arc | £799||Check price at John Lewis|
|Best multichannel soundbar system||Samsung HW-Q990B | £908||Check price at Amazon|
|Best cheap Atmos soundbar||Creative Stage 360 | £200||Check price at Amazon|
How to choose the best soundbar for you
How do I choose the best soundbar?
It’s important to pick a soundbar that suits your TV and living room. The first thing to look at is the size of the bar. Too wide and it may not fit on your AV cabinet; it might also be wider than your TV, which could look odd, especially if you plan to wall-mount the bar. Height is also a consideration if you’re going to be placing the bar in front of your TV on your AV cabinet. You will want to be sure it’s not so high that it obscures the bottom part of the TV screen.
Next, consider whether you want a standalone soundbar or one with extra speakers to enhance the audio experience. A standalone unit is easier to set up and looks more elegant, but these bars can lack the dynamism and sense of immersion that a more complex setup can deliver. Standalone soundbars can struggle to deliver convincing bass, which is why many are supplied with subwoofers.
A separate subwoofer delivers more convincing bass, adds richness and body to audio in general and can deliver room-shaking low-frequency sound effects. Look for a wireless subwoofer, which will allow you to hide the subwoofer away, out of sight. Certain soundbars also come with rear speakers that deliver truly enveloping 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. If you’re not sure you want these, some bars allow you to upgrade your soundbar further down the line by adding wireless rear speakers.
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What’s the best way to connect a soundbar?
Having a wide array of connection options is always a bonus as you will never know what you might want to connect to your soundbar in the future. The most convenient is HDMI: this is the connection favoured by most modern soundbars, even cheap ones. You will most often see an HDMI input (or maybe even two or three), which you connect your sources to (games console, Sky box etc) and an HDMI output, which passes the video signal to your TV. As ever, the more connections, the better, as it gives you more flexibility in the future.
Another thing to look out for is HDMI ARC (audio return channel) support, which typically uses the HDMI output on the soundbar to ferry audio back from the TV. HDMI ARC is most useful for getting audio from on-TV apps such as Netflix back to the soundbar. It’s also handy if you run out of HDMI inputs on the soundbar as it reroutes any audio that would otherwise play through the TV speakers back to the soundbar.
Other than this, it also may be useful to look for an optical digital (also called TOSlink or S/PDIF) connection. Although optical digital can’t carry a lossless surround-sound signal such as Dolby True HD or DTS:X, it’s often the easiest way to hook up a music source, console or TV if the soundbar doesn’t support HDMI ARC. Optical digital is always preferable to coaxial digital connections, although it is possible to purchase a simple adapter that will convert from one to the other if you need it.
Less useful these days are analogue connections such as stereo RCA and 3.5mm inputs, and they’re becoming less common on soundbars, too. They’re still worth having for emergency use, but don’t worry too much if your soundbar doesn’t have these.
As well as wired connections, many soundbars also support Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting phones and tablets and some also have Wi-Fi, allowing for higher-quality music streaming, potential integration in a multiroom wireless speaker network and support for digital voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant.
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Is it worth buying a Dolby Atmos soundbar?
Dolby Atmos is a relatively new surround-sound standard that expands upon the 5.1- and 7.1-channel setups previously offered by soundbars and other surround-sound systems. The main thing that Atmos adds is audio height: where other systems aim to surround you with audio to the side and rear, horizontally, Atmos extends that to sounds that come from above you.
Soundbars with Atmos generally have upwards-firing speakers that bounce audio off the ceiling to achieve this audio height and this can be very effective, although how effective they are depends on how high your ceilings are. There’s usually an optimal height, which you can find in the specifications.
Dolby Atmos soundbars also tend to be more expensive than simpler 5.1-enabled units and they have a nasty habit of neglecting support for other, non-Dolby, surround-sound standards. This can be a problem if you watch a lot of movies on Blu-ray discs. Many Blu-ray movies come with the surround-sound soundtrack encoded in some form of DTS standard and have no Dolby surround track at all. In this case, you will have to opt for the stereo soundtrack, which might be of lower quality than the surround track.
How we test soundbars
We assess every aspect of a soundbar during testing, from build quality and ease of setup to audio performance and customisation options.
Once a product has been unboxed, we measure and weigh it and give it a good going over to gauge its sturdiness and quality of finish. It’s then typically connected to a 4K TV via HDMI, though we also test soundbars with laptops and desktop computers if that’s what they’re designed for use with. We then put the soundbar through its paces by feeding it a wide range of content, including films, sports and TV shows.
Close attention is paid to sound reproduction across the frequency spectrum, with a focus on the three cornerstones of soundbar performance: bass response, dialogue clarity and crispness of treble. If there are different EQ presets available, we’ll try these out with appropriate content and all tests are run at a variety of volume levels, including maximum volume to push the product to its limits.
We use 4K Blu-ray players and the latest blockbuster movies to test how soundbars deliver audio formats such as DTS:X, which aren’t widely supported by streaming services, while a soundbar’s handling of Dolby Atmos content is evaluated using compatible content available on Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus.
In addition to testing out a soundbar’s ability to deliver sound to accompany onscreen action, we take time to try out any wireless streaming capabilities it may have, be that via Tidal over Bluetooth or Spotify Connect over a Wi-Fi network. Content is also streamed via features such as Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2 to ensure they work as intended.
Smart soundbars with voice assistants built-in have all manner of commands thrown at them to see how accurately they pick up and execute requests, and we’re always sure to check whether there are features hidden away inside a companion or control app. If such features include being able to integrate the soundbar into a multi-room speaker system, we’ll do just that so we’re able to let you know how easily achieved (or otherwise) it is.
READ NEXT: The best soundbars under £300
The best soundbars you can buy in 2023
1. Sonos Beam (Gen 2): Best soundbar under £500
Price when reviewed: £449 | Check price at John LewisThe original Sonos Beam delivered superb sound quality in a compact package, and the second-generation iteration sounds even better thanks to the addition of Dolby Atmos.
The Beam 2 looks identical to its predecessor, but the processor has been upgraded and that facilitates a couple of new features in addition to Atmos. NFC allows for a faster, more reliable setup, while support for Amazon’s 3D Audio allows you to enjoy spatial audio on compatible platforms.
Smart assistant support extends to both Alexa and Google Assistant and works effectively, negating the need for a remote, though you can use the Sonos app to control the bar if necessary.
The Beam 2’s Achilles heel is that it has only one HDMI port and requires a TV with an eARC HDMI port to make use of Atmos. So those with older TVs will probably want to avoid it, but if you do own a TV with eARC, you will struggle to find a better-sounding standalone soundbar.
Read our full Sonos Beam 2 review
Key specs – Channels: 2.0; Total power output: Unspecified; Dimensions (WDH): 651 x 100 x 68mm; Weight: 2.8kg; Connectivity: 1 x HDMI (eARC), 1 x optical
2. Samsung HW-Q990B: Best soundbar system for immersion
Price when reviewed: £908 | Check price at Amazon
The HW-Q990B may be pricey, but it’s worth every penny if you’re after a truly cinematic experience at home. The package is comprised of a soundbar, wireless subwoofer and pair of wireless rear speakers and these combine to create a supremely immersive 11.1.4-channel system. Support for both the Dolby Atmos and DTX:X object-based surround sound formats enable the HW-Q990B to take full advantage of its 22 drivers and sonic performance is fantastic, with impressive stereo separation, tight, controlled bass, uncongested mid-range and clean treble.
The soundstage is pleasingly wide thanks to the soundbar’s side-firing speakers and the dedicated centre channel ensures dialogue remains clearly intelligible. Alexa built-in provides a decent level of smart functionality to complement the HW-Q990B’s first-rate sound, while the new design of the bar, sub and rear speakers mean it looks a lot better than its 2021 predecessor. We would have liked to have seen a couple of additional HDMI inputs and support for 4K/120 and Variable Refresh Rate passthrough, but the HW-Q990B is a roaring success regardless. There’s a newer model available – the HW-Q990C – but given the price difference, we’re still recommending last year’s model.
Read our full Samsung HW-Q990B review
Key specs – Channels: 11.1.4; Total power output: 650W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1232 x 138 x 70mm, subwoofer – 220 x 410 x 413mm, rear speakers – 130 x 140 x 201mm; Weight: Soundbar – 7.7kg, subwoofer – 11.7kg, rear speakers – 3.4kg each; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI in, 1 x HDMI out (eARC), 1 x optical digital input, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2
3. Creative Stage V2: Best soundbar and subwoofer for £100
Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at Amazon
Value-for-money soundbars don’t get much better than the Creative Stage V2. It may not be as cheap as the original Stage 2.1, which is available for £80, but it features two new sound modes, Surround and Dialog, both of which are welcome additions. Surround mode widens the soundstage to increase immersion, while Dialog mode does a top job of enhancing voices on screen. The discrete subwoofer helps deliver rich, impactful bass, and the bar itself articulates mid-range and treble frequencies very capably.
The Stage V2 has connection options aplenty, too. Optical, HDMI ARC and AUX connections are all supported, while a USB-C port allows you to hook the bar up to your PC and use it as a desktop soundbar. Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth is also available for those wanting to stream content from external devices.
If you want a wallet-friendly way of improving your TV’s audio, the Creative Stage V2 is the best bang for your buck.
Read our full Creative Stage V2 review
Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 160W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 680 x 100 x 78mm, subwoofer – 116 x 250 x 423mm; Weight: Soundbar – 2kg, subwoofer – 3.3kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (ARC), 1 x optical, 1 x 3.5mm, 1 x USB-C
4. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus: Best standalone soundbar
Price when reviewed: £1,149 | Check price at AmazonThe original Ambeo Soundbar set a new standard for sonic immersion from a single-speaker solution but was inconveniently large and extremely expensive. That bar was renamed the Ambeo Soundbar Max to coincide with the arrival of the Plus, which offers a similarly impressive audio performance but is significantly smaller and cheaper. No standalone soundbar of the Ambeo Plus’ size can match the way it delivers spatial audio via its virtual 7.1.4 channels. Height effects are convincing, the movement of sound is described clearly, and the deep, wide soundstage is suitably enveloping. In addition to its exceptional sound quality, the Plus offers up a pleasing range of connection and control options.
Physical buttons, a remote, a companion app and voice assistant support mean you’re spoilt for choice in terms of control, while Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect provide wireless streaming options to complement the numerous physical ports. Sennheiser’s Ambeo feature is the Plus’ only real weakness, with its more spacious presentation detracting from the bar’s otherwise laser-focused and detailed delivery. But even with this shortcoming, there’s no price-comparable alternative that performs as well as the Ambeo Soundbar Plus.
Read our full Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus review
Key specs – Channels: Virtual 7.1.4; Total power output: 400W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,051 x 121 x 75mm; Weight: 6.3kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, 1 x HDMI (eARC), 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x digital optical, 2 x stereo RCA inputs, Ethernet, 1 x USB-A
5. Sonos Ray: Best compact soundbar
Price when reviewed: £249 | Check price at AmazonThe Ray is the smallest and cheapest soundbar in the Sonos lineup, but still delivers the kind of high-quality sonic performance we’ve come to expect from the American audio manufacturer. It’s no match for the more expensive Beam 2 or Arc, both of which also feature on this list, but for a compact 2.0 bar, it sounds superb.
There’s great tonal balance across the frequency spectrum, bass is well articulated and punchy despite the lack of a subwoofer, and treble is crisp. All of that sound is delivered by an elegant bar that will fit just about anywhere and is available in either black or the striking white pictured above. The Ray isn’t without fault – it lacks Bluetooth and only has a single optical port – but can be tuned to suit the acoustic needs of your room and controlled via the excellent Sonos app.
If space is at a premium and you want an inexpensive soundbar that can pack a punch, the Sonos Ray is exactly that.
Read our full Sonos Ray review
Key specs – Channels: 2.0; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): 559 x 95 x 71mm; Weight: Soundbar – 2kg; Connectivity: 1 x optical, Wi-Fi
6. LG S95QR: Best soundbar for LG TV owners
Price when reviewed: £1,700 | Check price at John LewisIf you’re lucky enough to own one of LG’s premium OLED televisions, this is the soundbar system to pair it with. The S95QR is the first soundbar in the world to feature a centre height channel, and this ensures crystal clear dialogue that’s backed up by a clean mid-range and crisp treble. The overall experience is an extremely immersive one thanks to a huge soundstage bolstered by a beefy wireless subwoofer and a pair of large rear speakers.
When used with an LG TV packing the company’s latest Alpha9 Gen5 processor, the soundbar benefits from additional processing horsepower and AI-powered upscaling to deliver an even more impressive experience. That said, even if you don’t own an LG OLED, the S95QR is a soundbar capable of transforming movie night into something more closely resembling a trip to your local cinema.
Read our full LG S95QR review
Key specs – Channels: 9.1.5; Total power output: 810W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,200 x 135 x 63mm, Subwoofer – 202 x 403 x 407mm, Rear speakers – 159 x 142 x 223mm each; Weight: Soundbar – 5kg, Subwoofer – 10kg, Rear speakers – 4kg each; Connectivity: 2 x HDMI input, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2
7. Sonos Arc: Best standalone soundbar for multi-room setups
Price when reviewed: £799 | Check price at John LewisWe loved the minimalist excellence of the Sonos Beam, but the Sonos Arc is something else when it comes to outright sound quality. It’s a standalone bar, with no subwoofer supplied, but it delivers such astonishing depth and breadth of sound that most of the time you simply won’t care that some of the really low frequencies are a little absent. And if you find you want more dynamism in the future, you can add a Sonos Sub (and Sonos 1 speakers at the rear for full surround sound) to supplement its already accomplished audio output.
The Arc supports Dolby Atmos (although only via eARC) as well as both Google Assistant and Alexa. It can be fully integrated into a Sonos multiroom audio system and controlled via the excellent Sonos S2 app. The only caveat is that physical connectivity is limited to a single HDMI ARC/eARC port, with no HDMI or optical digital input available. Otherwise, this is an astonishing achievement in AV audio engineering.
Read our full Sonos Arc review
Key specs – Channels: 5.0.2; RMS power output: Unknown; Dimensions (WDH): 1,142 x 116 x 87mm; Weight: 6.25kg; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 1 x HDMI ARC/eARC
8. JBL Bar 1300: The most versatile premium soundbar
Price when reviewed: £1,300 | Check price at JBL
The JBL Bar 1300 takes a very different approach to creating a true surround sound setup than other soundbars. While its rivals typically include discrete rear speakers that require mains power, the Bar 1300 has battery-powered wireless rears that can be detached from the main bar when needed. These can also be used as standalone Bluetooth speakers or as a stereo pair for streaming, making the whole package an extremely versatile one.
When the soundbar, subwoofer and rears are working in tandem, the sound created is powerful and highly immersive. The various channels are all pulled together cohesively, there’s ample detail and sound effects are steered effortlessly around the room. Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks are handled brilliantly, and the 11.1.4-channel soundstage really makes you feel as though you’re sitting in the middle of a bubble of sound.
A slick companion app offers numerous ways in which you can customise your experience and is the icing on what is a very tasty cake.
Read our full JBL Bar 1300 review
Key specs – Channels: 11.1.4; Total power output: 1,170W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 1,000 x 139 x 60mm, Subwoofer – 305 x 305 x 440mm, Rear speakers – 202 x 139 x 60mm each; Weight: Soundbar – 4.3kg, Subwoofer – 10kg, Rear speakers 1.25kg each; Connectivity: 3 x HDMI inputs, 1 x HDMI (eARC) output, 1 x optical, 1 X Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2
9. Creative Stage 360: Best cheap soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at AmazonDolby Atmos soundbars are becoming more and more popular as the amount of supported content increases and the Creative Stage 360 is our pick of the options available under £250. It’s only a 2.1-channel system but the soundbar and subwoofer combo do a good job delivering Atmos content. The soundstage is nice and wide, audio cues to the left and right are positioned accurately and you get a sense of sound coming from above you, too.
In addition to Atmos support, the Stage 360 offers a decent range of connection options, including two HDMI 2.0 inputs and Bluetooth, and isn’t short of audio options either. There are four sound modes to choose from: Music, Movie, Wide and Night, along with near-field and far-field profiles which take into account how close you are to the bar. If you want to enjoy Atmos content but can’t stretch your budget to a true surround sound system, the Creative Stage 360 is your best bet.
Read our full Creative Stage 360 review
Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 120W; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 566 x 88 x 75mm, subwoofer – 115 x 250 x 422mm; Weight: Soundbar – 1.7kg, subwoofer – 3.4kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (ARC), 2 x HDMI input, 1 x optical
10. Devialet Dione: Best-looking premium soundbar
Price when reviewed: £1,800 | Check price at Devialet The Dione is the first soundbar from Devialet and an extremely strong debut. The French manufacturer has a reputation for combining striking design with innovative audio technology and that’s evident in a patented “Orb” that houses the centre channel speaker and can be rotated to fire forwards regardless of the bar’s orientation. The 17 drivers that make up the 5.1.2-channel arrangement take on different roles depending on whether the bar is wall mounted or on a shelf and the sound quality delivered is nothing short of superb, regardless of where you’ve got it positioned.
Dialogue clarity from the aforementioned Orb is first-rate, while the upwards-firing drivers generate height effects that help create a convincing sense of verticality, particularly when watching content with an Atmos soundtrack. The Dione’s bass response is wonderfully impactful, too, hitting hard when necessary but also able to handle less dramatic scenes with suitable subtlety.
The absence of an in-built voice assistant and the decision not to include a remote sting a little, particularly given how much the Dione costs, but in terms of style and performance, few standalone soundbars get close to the Dione.
Read our full Devialet Dione review
Key specs – Channels: 5.1.2; Total power output: 950W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,200 x 165 x 88mm; Weight: 12kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI (eARC), Ethernet, optical TOSLINK
11. Denon DHT-S216: Best soundbar under £200
Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at AmazonThe Denon DHT-S216 is an affordable soundbar that prioritises audio performance over bells and whistles. There’s no Wi-Fi connectivity or smart functionality but it delivers where it matters, providing an immersive audio experience no matter what you’re watching or listening to. Connect the DHT-S216 to your TV via its HDMI ARC port and you will be able to use it as an all-in-one sound hub for every other device plugged into your TV. Should you wish to hook up a subwoofer there’s an output for that, in addition to an HDMI input, an optical port and in-built Bluetooth 4.2.
The DHT-S16’s big selling point is the incorporation of DTS Virtual: X technology, which gives the impression of surround sound with height effects. It doesn’t match the audio experience you would get with a full set of surround-sound speakers, but the effect is noticeable. Toggle the mode on and you will soon find yourself swept up in the onscreen action. There are other modes to play around with too, with specific settings for watching movies, listening to music and watching TV at night, but DTS Virtual: X is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch. A great soundbar for not much cash.
Read our full Denon DHT-S216 review
Key specs – Channels: 2.1; Total power output: 120W; Dimensions (WDH): 890 x 120 x 66mm; Weight: 3.4kg, Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI, HDMI (ARC), optical, 3.5mm
12. Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 1100: Best soundbar for music under £1,000
Price when reviewed: £795 | Check price at AV.comThere are plenty of standalone soundbars capable of delivering an engrossing film soundtrack and many that excel when it comes to musical reproduction, but few balance both as well as the Citation Multibeam 1100. When handling films with Dolby Atmos mixes, its raw power, Multibeam technology and up-firing drivers help create a big, broad soundstage complete with convincing height effects. Switch over to streaming a playlist via Apple AirPlay 2, and the bar sensibly reins in its potent bass response while modifying its scale and tone appropriately for music content.
The Multibeam 1100 looks as good as it sounds, too, with an attractive and relatively compact design that houses a beautifully detailed LED display. Sadly, that display is positioned on top of the bar rather than on the front of it, meaning you can’t see it when watching TV. That minor gripe aside, there’s very little not to like about the Multibeam 1100. The absence of DTS:X support will be an issue for those with large Blu-ray collections, and adding rear speakers and a subwoofer for true sonic envelopment is costly, but neither issue prevents the Multibeam 1100 from rising above almost all of the single-speaker solutions on the market.
Read our full Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 1100 review
Key specs – Channels: 3.0.2; Total power output: 630W; Dimensions (WDH): 1,150 x 130 x 65mm; Weight: 4.6kg; Connectivity: Bluetooth, HDMI, HDMI (eARC), optical, USB-A, Ethernet
13. Samsung HW-S800B: Best slimline soundbar
Price when reviewed: £590 | Check price at AmazonThe HW-S800B proves that immersive soundbars don’t have to be bulky things that look ungainly on your TV cabinet. It’s relatively long, so is best paired with televisions of 55in and above, but at just 38mm high, will slot under almost any set of that size. Sound quality is impressive, with the HW-S800B delivering 3.1.2-channel audio that belies the slender nature of the bar.
There’s a pleasing amount of detail in the mid-range and treble is articulated very cleanly, too, while the compact subwoofer packs plenty of punch. Dolby Atmos is delivered with a decent sense of scale and the S800B’s upward-firing drivers create convincing height effects. The S800B only features a single Mini HDMI port, which is a little disappointing, but with great sound, Alexa built-in and a solid range of features, it’s a decision that’s easy enough to overlook.
Read our full Samsung HW-S800B review
Key specs – Channels: 3.1.2; Total power output: 330W; Dimensions: Soundbar – 1,160 x 40 x 38mm (WDH), subwoofer – 238 x 238 x 241mm; Weight: Soundbar – 1.4kg, subwoofer – 6.6kg; Connectivity: 1 x Mini HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
14. Polk MagniFi Mini AX: Best compact soundbar with a subwoofer
Price when reviewed: £365 | Check price at AmazonThe Sonos Ray may be our top pick if space is at a premium and you’re happy to make do with a single speaker, but this compact option from Polk offers a more impactful and immersive experience for those willing to accommodate a subwoofer. The bar leaves a very small footprint on your TV cabinet yet delivers sound that belies its size, while the larger sub adds a guttural low-end punch to proceedings. The 3D sound mode handles Atmos and DTS:X content pretty well too, with onscreen audio cues and the movement of sound articulated precisely. The lack of up-firing speakers does mean height effects aren’t all that convincing, however.
Still, when it comes to diminutive soundbars capable of room-filling sound, you won’t find a better option than the MagniFi Mini AX. Just make sure that it will fit underneath your TV, as although it’s extremely narrow, it’s a little taller than many other soundbars on the market.
Read our full Polk MagniFi Mini AX review
Key specs – Channels: 3.1; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions (WDH): Soundbar – 366 x 104 x 79mm, subwoofer – 182 x 396 x 371mm; Weight: 1.7kg; Connectivity: HDMI (eARC), 3.5mm, optical, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi
15. LG GX: Best soundbar for wall mounting
Price when reviewed: £999 | Check price at John LewisIf you’re after a soundbar to mount on your wall, you will be hard-pushed to find a better option than the LG GX. It’s a mere 33mm deep and designed for use with LG’s GX OLED TV, but regardless of which TV you have positioned above it, you can expect crisp sound from its 3.1 audio setup. There are a choice of five preset sound modes to choose from – AI Sound Pro, Bass Blast, Standard, Movie and Music – though you will only be able to make use of these if you’re not watching Dolby Atmos or DTS:X content.
The GX delivers well-balanced sound, with high frequencies articulated with clarity and ample detail in the mid-range. Deep bass isn’t handled quite as well by the wireless subwoofer, which struggles when reproducing sound below 50Hz. Sound quality is impressive overall, however, and the GX does an admirable job at conveying front-to-back depth, particularly when you’re listening to music. It doesn’t create the same level of immersion you would get from a 5.1 soundbar, but it’s compatible with LG’s wireless rear speakers if you want to transform your setup into one capable of delivering surround sound.
Read our full LG GX soundbar review
Key specs – Drivers: 8; RMS power output: 420W; Dimensions: 1,440 x 150 x 32.5mm; Weight: 5.8kg; Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 1 x HDMI 2.1, Bluetooth, USB
16. Polk React: Best budget soundbar with Amazon Alexa
Price when reviewed: £149 | Check price at AmazonSmart functionality is becoming increasingly important in the world of soundbars, and the Polk React offers built-in Alexa at a competitive price. Alexa may be a tad loud for some people’s liking, but the integration is comprehensive, with support for voice commands, Alexa Communications, which enables you to use the soundbar as an intercom, and Alexa Multi-room Music. Our commands were picked up and executed consistently with one exception – trying to switch to the React’s sports EQ mode, which for whatever reason couldn’t be accessed using voice commands.
Sports mode is one of four EQ presets available, with movie, music and night modes also on offer. They all do a good job at enhancing your audio experience when watching the content they’re designed to cater to, while Polk’s Voice Adjust technology allows you to increase how prominent dialogue is in the audio and works very well.
If you’re part of the Alexa smart home ecosystem and want an affordable soundbar to slot neatly into it, the Polk React is the best choice around. If you’ve got a bit more cash to play with and want superior audio quality, we recommend you take a look at the Sonos Beam 2.
Read our full Polk React review
Key specs – Channels: 2.0; Total power output: Not stated; Dimensions: 940 x 120 x 50mm; Weight: Unknown; Connectivity: Bluetooth, 1 x HDMI output (ARC), optical