Top five sound bars for 2019
By Haddi Browne
Enjoy incredible movie sound, crystal-clear TV audio and all the latest features by going for one of our recommended sound bars.
A great sound bar will take your home entertainment to the next level, giving you exciting bass and audio clarity that mean you won’t ever miss a word of dialogue.
However, if you don’t do your research, it’s all too easy to end up with a dud. We’ve tested the latest models from all the biggest brands to help you avoid making a costly mistake.
More sound bars are coming equipped for wireless multi-room music streaming. By pairing speakers together around the house, you can enjoy seamless access to your music library in multiple rooms. But if you’re thinking about making a sound bar your living-room media hub, it’s crucial that you choose one with audio pedigree.
The table below rounds up our top choices but, further down the page, we’ve also picked out a few models that you will definitely want to avoid.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the tables below.
Top five sound bars for 2019
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.
The Canton DM 60 is a sound base with a stylish glass surface. It includes Lip-Sync technology for accurate synchronisation between images and speech. With virtual surround sound technology and loudspeaker fittings, this sound bar alternative should have enhanced speech definition and powerful bass tones. Read our full review to see whether our listening experts were impressed by this sound base.
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.
The Samsung harman/kardon HW-N850 is a smart sound bar with Dolby Atmos and dts:X, the latest innovation in surround sound technology. With 13 individual custom designed speakers built into the sound bar, Samsung promises a powerful audio experience. This model offers an array of features, including wireless music streaming and a wireless subwoofer that should provide plenty of bass. But is it worth the jaw-dropping price? Read our full review to find out.
This 2017 model isn’t huge, but it still packs a serious punch. Sound is exciting and clear, whether you’re listening to the latest Hollywood blockbuster or the 10 o’clock news. This sound bar confirmed its Best Buy status in our tests by impressing us with its ease of use.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our sound bar reviews.
And here are three sound bars to avoid
While the models above will make your TV experience all the richer, there are plenty of sound bars out there that won’t improve things at all. In fact, our testing has found that the worst sound bars don’t actually sound any better than even the worst built-in TV speakers. To help you avoid wasting your money, we’ve rounded up three of the worst-offending models in the table below.
Three sound bars to avoid in 2019
Sound bar trends to watch
It’s another year of evolution rather than revolution for sound bars. The basic concept, of course, remains the same: to pipe your TV’s sound output through a bigger (and hopefully better) set of speakers, making films and TV more enjoyable to watch. Manufacturers are generally moving in a few key directions though.
Blurring the divide with wireless speakers
We’re starting to see more manufacturers marketing their sound bars as part of a family of wireless speakers, rather than something that you just plug into your TV. Wi-fi connectivity has trickled down to mid-range models from big brands, with many now able to connect to your TV wirelessly as well.
More high-end sound bars
The rise of the sound bar in recent years has meant that manufacturers have stopped focusing on multi-speaker surround sound systems. However, this has left a bit of a gap in the market. Sound bars were at first marketed as cheaper, simpler alternatives to surround sound, but now we’re being encouraged to spend more on ‘premium’ sound bars that will do the job better than the more basic models.
Wireless multi-room features are one thing that manufacturers are throwing in to persuade people to plump for these high-end models. We’ve also recently seen even some larger sound bars that come with rear speakers and cost more than £1,000 – effectively a surround sound system masquerading as a sound bar.
Wireless subwoofers becoming more common
The latest feature that’s been trickling down the product ranges is wireless subwoofers. Without a cable connecting the separate subwoofer to the sound bar, you have more flexibility in where you place it. Not having to trail cables around is useful, and you could even hide the subwoofer in a more discreet location (as long as it’s near a power socket).
Previously, wireless subwoofers were found only on more expensive models, but we’re starting to see them included with mid-range sound bars too.