Technology

The 12 Best Soundbars for Every Budget (2021)

You’ve probably already shelled out for a nice big TV, and maybe a streaming gadget to play your Netflix, but what about your audio?

It doesn’t matter how large your screen is or how much it cost—it probably sounds awful. You’d be surprised by how much more you enjoy those Netflix Originals with a halfway decent soundbar or surround system. Explosions pop, dialog sounds far crisper, and you may even notice details you’ve never picked up on before.

Why You Need a Soundbar

We have yet to test a modern TV that didn’t sound crummy without some kind of audio accessory added. That’s mostly due to the way they’re designed: Great-sounding speakers are bulky, and as TVs have gotten thinner, with shrinking bezels and sleeker designs, manufacturers are having a harder time building them in.

Even if you can only afford to spend $150 on a new soundbar with a subwoofer, it’s essential to getting the most out of your viewing experience. To help, we put together this list of the best soundbar bundles we’ve tested, and a little advice on how to make the most of them.

Updated March 2021: We’ve added the Vizio SB3621NS-H8, Vizio Elevate, and Sony HT-X8500, as well as updated links, prices, and honorable mentions.

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