Are Soundbars a Waste of Money? (2022)

Nowadays, media systems are pretty expensive. If you want to buy an excellent Television, it can cost you a good amount of money. Other media equipment such as home theater setup and soundbars are also expensive. So after buying a nice TV with a sticker price to match, you may think that purchasing a soundbar is a luxury or even a waste of money.

Soundbars are specifically designed for use with home TVs. Most soundbars will not have the proper output to work well in a small room, but they can be effective at projecting higher-quality audio than standard TV speakers. It is worth buying a soundbar because you can hear the audio better than tiny speakers. The soundbar is not a waste of money, but it can be used when there is no TV in the room.

Adding a soundbar with your TV can make your media experience better at a reasonable price. It is a great way to add quality to your media system. Simply adding the left and right channels of a soundbar or an entire surround sound system can enhance your media watching experience.

Nowadays, there are different kinds of home theater electronics available. You have to know the details. You also have to know what are features of a soundbar you really need to get. So let’s get started.

At first, you have to know that how soundbars enhance your media experience. Then you can build up from there and explore what you need and what you don’t so that you can pick the right soundbar for you with full of confidence.

Read More: Are Soundbars Worth It?

The Value of Soundbars

Are Soundbars a Waste of Money?

When you are looking for components to build a home theater for yourself now, it is clear to you that there’s more in play than just the TV or screen. While building a home theater system, people mostly start from getting a big, nice screen or even a projector. TVs almost always come with built-in speakers. Moreover more expensive and higher-end TVs may come with good quality stereo speakers. But projectors won’t have any built-in audio components.

If you are using a high-quality TV or screen, you also need to keep your audio at a standard level. And adding a soundbar to your system is a very easy and affordable way to do that. Even you want to upgrade your sound system to an entire stereo surround sound system; you can start with a soundbar. Some soundbars are designed to add more speakers when you need them.

The Sonos Arc (on Amazon) and more advanced soundbars like the Nakamichi Showkwafe Ultra 9.2.4 (on Amazon) system even come with a whole stereo system of wireless speakers.

If you are interested in any stereo surround sound system, then remember that buying a soundbar isn’t a step backward or away from having an entire stereo surround system. It is very beneficial. It can give you more options and a better user experience.

So as we have mentioned above, there is a lot of option available in the world of soundbars. And the pricing of these units starts from below 100 dollars. Some stereo systems with this type of pricing will provide you with two-channel stereo sound with lots of limitations. You ever visited an electric store or Amazon, then you may know that prices can get very serious very quickly.

So you may be thinking about which option will be the best for you. At first, you have to make sure what features you really need in a soundbar and which ones you can leave for a later upgrade.

The Soundbar Features you Really Need

Are Soundbars a Waste of Money?

You’re really going to want some very useful features in your soundbar, while there are many unnecessary features also. A great example of that is a voice assistant. Some available soundbars come with a built-in voice assistant. Whether it’s Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, it will be very useful to make your soundbar a little futuristic and enjoy futuristic services. There are also some other more obvious features you need. But first, let’s talk about the most important feature you’ll have to decide on, and that is the number of channels.

How Many Channels Do I Need on My Soundbar?

If your TV comes with a stereo sound system, then there will be two channels. But unfortunately, the quality of those drivers on the TV is not going to be so good. Because the TV manufacturer is just checking the box when they design the speakers in. The TV has to have them, but they know that most of the cost needs to be dedicated to a high-quality panel.

Why Purchasing a Simple Soundbar is Such a Great Upgrade

Moreover, Manufacturers also know that spending a good amount of money on a high-end TV will not rely on the internal built-in speakers only. They will add a soundbar to their system. So if you want to replace the TV’s stereo with a two-channel system with a simple budget soundbar, it will definitely be an upgrade. So if you do not have a big budget, you can start out with a simple stereo soundbar. Moreover, in the future, you can always upgrade.

Next Big Step For Home Theater Upgrade: 2.1 Channel with Wireless Subwoofer

If you want something better than a simple stereo soundbar, then you should look for a 2.1 channel sound system with a wireless subwoofer. There is no subwoofer built into your television. It is mainly an external speaker, and it adds a whole additional dimension to the soundscape and enhances your hearing experience. So if you want a nice upgrade but at an affordable cost, you can go for a soundbar with two channels and a wireless subwoofer.

Next Upgrade: Going From 2.1 to 5.1 Surround Sound and Beyond

The 3.1 channel systems-based soundbars come after the 2.1. But going to 3.1 from 2.1 is really not a good upgrade. If you want to upgrade your sound system, then you can upgrade it up to 5.1 from 2.1. It is a surround sound system. The 5.1 channel soundbar system adds two wireless speakers behind you, making the sound more realistic. If you are looking for something to upgrade your sound system but within an affordable budget, then you can go for a 5.1 channel system.

There are many 7.1 channel systems available on the market, and more modern 7.1.2 systems also add vertical dimensions for Dolby Atmos support. There are also 9.2.4 channel systems like the SHOCKWAFE. Sound systems like this one will really give you the experience of something close to the theater quality. But it would be best if you remembered that you have to make sure that the soundbar system has the feature you wanted. So you need to look for and understand.

Other Soundbar Features You Should Look For

A soundbar system comes with plenty of other features that the manufacturer includes. Here we are reviewing some of the features that are important for a soundbar.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a very important feature that you will really want to consider. If you want to connect your sound system with your phone or any other device wirelessly, you will need to have Bluetooth in your sound system. For some people, it is a very important feature. But if you do not want to use your sound system for any other circumstance instead of using it with your TV, then you can ignore this one. But whatever this feature is very useful. If you decide you don’t want and need to have it, at some point, you will end up kicking yourself.

HDMI ARC

Are Soundbars a Waste of Money?

HDMI ARC is another useful feature. With the HDMI ARC system, your soundbar will be able to communicate back with your TV and, sometimes, act as the full-on receiver taking your other HDMI channels in before connecting to the TV so that you can control the soundbars with your stock TV remote.

Wi-Fi Support and Expandability

It is another important feature to know about. As with Bluetooth, you can also think about whether you need this feature or not. You have to think about it before you start building the system you really want. If your soundbar does not have any Wi-Fi, it will not connect with more speakers. So it will limit your ability to build a larger system. The Sonos Arc (on Amazon) is able to connect with new Sonos speakers whenever you’d like to add them. So you have to plan before you buy one.

Do You Need A Soundbar?

Are Soundbars a Waste of Money?

After all, we want to say that buying a soundbar is really up to you. If you have a nice TV and you are happy with the built-in speakers of your TV, then that’s great, and that’s why you may think that buying a soundbar would be a waste of money. Maybe that’s a good thing because once you start upgrading your sound system regularly, you’ll likely never be able to go back.

But consider how you want to use your television. Are you just want to watch some boring news, or do you really want to enjoy cutting the lights and putting on a great movie? If you want to have a great home theater experience, you have to spend some money. You have to upgrade your sound system.

Just think about how often you are going to use your setup and for what purpose you are going to use it. It will help to figure out which soundbar will be the best for you.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List of Sound Bars:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Sony S100F 2.0ch Soundbar with Bass Reflex Speaker, Integrated Tweeter and Bluetooth, (HTS100F),...
  • Straight from the theater to your home: easy set-up, built-in tweeter, 2-ch speaker with simple Bluetooth connection
  • Deep sound with Bass Reflex speaker
  • High power with a slim design that matches any room and is perfect for small living spaces
  • Voice enhancement feature is great for TV content with hushed dialogue, or to make conference call participants easier to hear
  • Easy TV set up with HDMI ARC
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sound Bar, Soundbar 32-inch TV Speaker Home Theater Surround Sound System Bluetooth 5.0 TV Sound...
  • Sound Bar Upgrade Your Home Theater Experience: Powerful full-range drivers (total 40-watt output) deliver a more realistic, richer sound from a compact soundbar. It is a perfect TV speaker that optimizes sound clarity and creates incredible room-filling virtual surround sound.
  • Easy Setup Wireless or Wired Connection: The sound bar can be connected to the most types of your devices via Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 connection , Optical, or RCA/Coaxial connection (Optical, RCA/Coaxial audio cables are included), Easily connect to your TV, PC, phone, projector, DVDs, laptop, desktop, tablets, computer monitor and so on. It can also connect to older style devices with AUX port.
  • 3 Sound Modes via Remote Control: This compact soundbar comes with 3 equalizer modes : Music, Movie and News modes. Use remote control to select your favorite specialized mode for providing you a wide stereo effect throughout the room, allowing you to enjoy cinematic surround sound at home.
  • What You Get: TV Sound Bar, Remote Control, Power Adaptor, Optical Cable, RCA Audio Cable, 3.5mm to RCA Cable, User Manual and Wall Mount Kit are included. If you have any question, please feel free to contact us immediately.
  • An Ideal Soundbar for TVs or Gaming. It works well with all TVs sizes. For optical connection, please set your TV audio output to "Optical" and set the digital audio format to "PCM" (PCM is a digital recording of analog audio, and is an optional audio format in many televisions), and make sure the protective caps at the ends of the optical cable are removed before plugging it in.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar | Works with 4K & HD TVs | Wireless Subwoofer | Includes...
  • A PREMIUM ULTRA-SLIM SOUND BAR WITH INCLUDED WIRELESS SUBWOOFER – 5 powerful full-range drivers deliver BEAUTFUL RICH SOUND WITH DEEP BASS. POLK’S EXCLUSIVE VOICE ADJUST TECHNOLOGY & Dolby Digital Decoding maximizes sound clarity & reduces voice delays
  • EXCELLENT SOUND AND VALUE on par with any mid- to high-range sound bars available in the market. At just over 2" tall, it fits most spaces — easily wall-mount it or place in front of your TV. It won’t block your TV’s bottom edge or IR remote sensor
  • UPGRADE YOUR HOME THEATER EXPERIENCE – Watch your favorite shows on your 4K HD Smart TV with exceptional picture quality & crystal clear sound. With numerous connection possibilities, plug in any audio source via HDMI ARC, optical input & AUX
  • WIRELESSLY STREAM MUSIC from your favorite streaming apps like Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, and others directly from your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device through the built-in Bluetooth technology
  • SET UP YOUR SOUND BAR IN MINUTES — With the included subwoofer, HDMI and optical cables quickly connect your TV to the sound bar. Get set up and listening in minutes
SaleBestseller No. 4
TCL Alto 6+ 2.1 Channel Dolby Audio Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth – TS6110, 240W,...
  • DOLBY DIGITAL: Dolby Digital decoding maximizes sound clarity and creates incredible room-filling virtual surround sound.
  • DEEP BASS WITH WIRELESS SUBWOOFER: Experience deep, rich bass to make movies and music truly come to life.
  • STREAM MUSIC WIRELESSLY: You can use your Bluetooth-enabled device to wirelessly stream music on your sound bar.
  • SPECIALIZED SOUND MODES: Specialized sound modes bring Movies, Music, and News to life.
  • QUICK AND HASSLE-FREE SETUP: With HDMI, optical, or Bluetooth connections, you can go from unboxing to listening in minutes.
Bestseller No. 5
Sonos Playbar - The Mountable Sound Bar for TV, Movies, Music, and More - Black
  • The mountable soundbar for TV, movies, music, and more
  • Enjoy crisp dialogue and impressive bass from wall to wall with Playbar. Control it with the Sonos app, your remote, and more
  • Whether you mount it on the wall or place it below your TV on a stand or console, Playbar automatically tunes itself for the best possible sound
  • Playbar was specially tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers to emphasize the sound of the human voice so you can always follow the story
  • Easily connect Sonos speakers in different rooms over WiFi to create a home sound system that brings every room and everyone together
Bestseller No. 6
Polk True Surround III 5.1 Channel Wireless Surround Sound System, Includes Sound Bar, L & R Rear...
  • A FULL SOUND SYSTEM IN A BOX - Elevate your traditional home theater experience with Polk True Surround III that includes a sound bar, a wireless subwoofer, and L & R surround speakers for immersive audio and deep bass without the clutter of speaker wires
  • HIGH-PERFORMANCE 5.1 CH HOME THEATER - With a performance-tuned driver array, the sound bar features (2) 1.75" x 4.5" full-range drivers and (2) 3/4" tweeters, the surrounds feature a 2.75" full-range driver each, and the wireless sub features a 7" woofer
  • MAKE VIIRTUALLY ANY TV SOUND GREAT - Features Dolby Digital Surround Sound Decoding that delivers rich, room-filling audio. Hear every word clearly with Polk’s patented Voice Adjust Technology that ensures crisp dialogues for all your movies and TV shows
  • MULTIPLE CONNECTION OPTIONS - With built-in Bluetooth, pair your compatible iOS/Android devices and wirelessly stream music from your music library or popular streaming services. Features a HDMI ARC, an Aux, and an Optical Input for versatile connectivity
  • SIMPLE, QUICK SETUP - Connect the sound bar to virtually any TV with the included cable and sync the surround speakers and the subwoofer with the sound bar by just pressing a few buttons. Works with its own remote control and virtually every TV remote
Bestseller No. 7
Vizio V51x-J6 36-inch 5.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar System (Renewed)
  • Low-Profile Design and Brilliant Clarity with 6 Full-range Speakers
  • Powerful 5" Wireless Subwoofer and Bluetooth Music Streaming
  • Complete Immersion with Discreet Volume Adjustable Surround Speakers
  • Optimized for 4K TVs with Dolby Audio 5.1 and HDMI (Cable Included)
  • Control with TV Remote using HDMI, Audio Cables Included for Easy Setup
Bestseller No. 8
VIZIO V-Series 2.1 Channel Soundbar System with 5-inch Wireless Subwoofer - Black (Renewed)
  • Turn your living room into a captivating home theater. DTS Virtual:X sound enhancement adds room-filling, floor-to-ceiling virtualized 3D sound.
  • 3 full-range speakers in the sound-bar create brilliant clarity. Place the 5" wireless subwoofer anywhere in the room to add deep booming bass.
  • With HDMI cable, use the highest-quality audio available and allows you to control the soundbar with your TV remote.
  • Connect Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant devices. Pair with any device via Bluetooth.
  • US Warranty. Package Includes: SoundBar, Subwoofer, HDMI Cable, Digital Optical Cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm, Stereo RCA to 3.5mm, Power Cable, Subwoofer Power Cable, Remote Control, User Manual, Wall Mounting Screws, Wall Mounting Template.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar with Powerful Wireless subwoofer, S-Force PRO Front Surround Sound, and...
44 Reviews
Sony HT-S400 2.1ch Soundbar with Powerful Wireless subwoofer, S-Force PRO Front Surround Sound, and...
  • S-Force PRO Front Surround and Dolby Digital create cinematic style surround sound
  • 2.1ch front surround sound with X-Balanced speaker delivers clear, rich dialogue
  • Wireless subwoofer delivers deeper, richer bass sound
  • Powerful 330W of total output brings your content to life
  • Simple and easy operation with compact remote and convenient OLED display window
Bestseller No. 10
JBL Bar 9.1 - Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers (Renewed)
109 Reviews
JBL Bar 9.1 - Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers (Renewed)
  • With detachable, battery powered surround speakers you can enjoy real surround sound without the wires
  • Experience deep bass with a 300W, 10" powered subwoofer
  • Ultra HD 4K Pass-through with Dolby Vision
  • Connector Type: Optical
  • Included Components: Main Soundbar, Detachable Wireless Surround Speakers (2), Wireless Subwoofer Remote Control, Power Cords, Hdmi Cable, (2)L-Shape Wall-Mount Bracket (Main Bar), (2) U-Shape Wall-Mount Bracket (For Surround Speakers), Kit With Screws

Last update on 2022-07-05

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