A sound bar can make a world of difference to your TV-watching experience, but it could be more hassle than it's worth if you buy one from the lowest-scoring sound bar brand in our latest reliability survey.
As part of our annual survey of more than 10,000 Which? members, we calculate a reliability rating for each brand, as well as a customer score that relates to whether its customers would recommend it.
While sound bars don't have a significant difference in reliability, compared with other tech products, we did uncover stark differences in the customer scores given to brands by owners.
We take a look at the lowest-rated brand in our survey below, plus how customer score compares with the results from our lab tests, along with the common sound bar issues reported by users.
In the above chart you can see the difference between the best and worst brands from our latest tests and 2019 tech reliability survey.
British-based audio brand Orbitsound has a limited range of sound bars, including the Orbitsound One P70. It claims that its products are crafted from natural materials.
However, in our latest reliability survey it was awarded the lowest customer score and reliability rating of any sound bar brand. Customer score relates to whether a user would recommend the brand, and Orbitsound received just two stars out of five.
Customers weren't impressed with value for money either, also rating it as two stars.
The sound bar brand that customers liked the most got an impressive customer score of 82%. It was also rated the most reliable brand in our survey, with 93% of users reporting no faults after seven years.
But that's not the whole story. When we've tested sound bars from this brand, we've found results are mixed - the highest-scoring sound bar has a test score of 83% and is a Best Buy, but the lowest-scoring model received a disappointing 49%.
In fact, we've found that there isn't always a correlation between the brands you rate and those that perform well in our expert lab tests. That's why we list customer and reliability scores in the results for every review.
You don't need to spend more to get a brand that impresses customers and is reliable, either. Owners of the third most-liked sound bar brand, which is also the second most reliable, spent an average of £220 on their sound bar.
The top two most common sound bar faults were problems with the audio connection and problems with the remote control - 14% of users had experienced each of these annoying issues. And 13% of users had experienced a deterioration in sound quality.
A faulty connection could be anything from mildly annoying (on a port you don't use, for instance), to catastrophic (the only audio connection breaks).
Deterioration of sound quality can be caused by a number of factors, including faulty connections.