We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Best wireless and wired sound bars for music

By Haddi Browne

Could you save space and money by using a sound bar as your living-room sound system? We tell you what you need to know. 

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Why waste space on another speaker when a sound bar will do? In this guide, we’ll show you what to look out for when buying a sound bar for music - ideal if you’re looking for a more capable speaker for voice assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, or to use with your smartphone.

The ideal sound bar for you will depend on the music set-up you’ll be using and how much you want to spend. Browse our recommended products in the table below, and find out more about how to decide which type will best suit the task.

Below, you'll see our top recommendations for wireless sound bars and wired models with advanced connectivity options including Bluetooth and HDMI. Then, we take you through what you need to know about setting up your sound bar for music.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Best wired sound bars for music

87%
£329.00
Reviewed

This sound base may be relatively small, but somehow it manages to pack a massive bass punch. With two built-in subwoofers that give a powerful and controlled output this model will give you plenty of depth when you're watching the latest blockbusters. It's not all brashness though - it'll sound equally good playing a TV drama or just some music.

87%
£900.00
Reviewed

This beast of a sound bar includes Dolby Atmos technology, which can bounce sounds off the walls to give them impression of them coming from different places around you. Aside from this impressive technical wizardry, this is quite possibly the best-sounding model we’ve ever tested. Bass is strong yet refined, and there’s plenty of detail in the top end.

Best wireless sound bars for music

87%
£900.00
Reviewed

This beast of a sound bar includes Dolby Atmos technology, which can bounce sounds off the walls to give them impression of them coming from different places around you. Aside from this impressive technical wizardry, this is quite possibly the best-sounding model we’ve ever tested. Bass is strong yet refined, and there’s plenty of detail in the top end.

83%
£699.00
Reviewed

The Playbar is part of Sonos’ range of multi-room system speakers and is specifically designed to enhance your TV's sound. It uses wi-fi to integrate with your home network, so you can control it and stream music from smartphones, tablets and computers. Is this premium model just an expensive add-on to the Sonos system, or does it deliver TV-boosting sound in its own right? Read on to find out with our full review.

75%
£100.00
Reviewed

We're really impressed with this big-brand model. It manages an impressive sound and even comes with a separate subwoofer for a bit of extra bass. It's easy to use, just make sure you have it set up dead-centre for where you'll be listening from, as quality drops off as you move off-centre.

72%
£119.00
Reviewed

For a model of this calibre, this sound bar performed very well in our tests. Its sound has warmth that not all in this price range can manage, plus the bass is powerful but not so much that it drowns out speech and detail. It’s also easy to use.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of May 2018.

Sound bars with Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a versatile standard that’s built in to all smartphones these days and, indeed, most sound bars. If you use your smartphone to play music, this is the easiest way to use your sound bar as a speaker.

Some more expensive sound bars support the high-quality aptX music codec, which allows you to play your music files at a higher bitrate, making them sound even better. This depends on your smartphone supporting aptX and your music being high enough quality.

The Amazon Echo Dot also has built-in Bluetooth, meaning you can easily connect this smart home assistant to your sound bar for better-quality interactions and music playback.

Wi-fi sound bars with multi-room capabilities

High-end sound bars from big brands have wi-fi connectivity. This doesn’t mean you can settle down and browse the web on your sound bar, but it does mean you can hook it up to a multi-room music system if you have other compatible speakers from the same brand.

Indeed, you may already have a wireless speaker that can work in a multi-room system, so it might pay to invest in a sound bar from the same brand so you can have music synchronised in multiple rooms.

Brands include Samsung Multiroom, LG Music Flow, Sonos and Yamaha MusicCast.

Browse our wireless speaker reviews.

Airplay and Google Cast

Occasionally you'll find sound bars with Apple Airplay and Google Cast (also known as Chromecast) built in. The latter will be very useful if you have a Google Home, as you’ll be able to command your assistant to play music from your sound bar. This will also work if you plug in a Chromecast Audio to your sound bar's 3.5mm jack (see below).

Apple Airplay will be useful if you want to play music from an iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Sound bars with 3.5mm aux

Most smartphones, MP3 players and laptops have a 3.5mm jack, making it a useful feature to have.

Not all sound bars come with 3.5mm connectors, however. In fact, it tends to be only cheaper models that get this connection.

If you want to smarten up an older sound bar, you could buy a Google Chromecast Audio, which lets you play music from apps such as Spotify from your sound bar, without having to connect over Bluetooth. The Chromecast Audio connects to your wi-fi itself and handles everything.

Read our review of the Google Chromecast and other Internet TV boxes.

SHARE THIS PAGE

Related products

See all sound bars