Are Soundbars a Waste of Money? (2023)

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
Amazon Fire TV Soundbar, 2.0 speaker with DTS Virtual:X and Dolby Audio, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Amp up your audio - Fire TV Soundbar enhances TV audio with dual speakers for fuller sound, clearer dialogue, and deeper bass—all in a compact design.
  • Immersive sound - Enjoy a three-dimensional virtual surround sound experience with DTS Virtual:X and more detail with Dolby Audio.
  • Easy setup - Just plug in the included HDMI cable to the HDMI eARC/ARC port on your TV to instantly enjoy audio that's always in sync.
  • Compact design - With a length of 24“ and a height of just 2.5", Fire TV Soundbar fits most entertainment consoles and TV stands.
  • Stream audio with Bluetooth - Connect your phone or tablet via Bluetooth to fill the room with your favorite music.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Saiyin Sound Bars for TV, 40 Watts Small Soundbar for TV,Surround Sound System TV Sound Bar Speakers...
  • 【Ultra-Compact Design】The 17-inch soundbar is a compact and sleek audio device that great for desktop space especially small to medium-sized living room or bedroom.Our sound bar takes up less space and is effortlessly moveable, making it an ideal TV speakers sound bar!
  • 【Loud and Clear】 This soundbar is built with 2 full-range speakers that provide a more realistic, spatial audio experience to make movies and music truly come to life, allowing you to enjoy all details of music and movies.
  • 【Multiple Input Connections】 Our small sound bar has various connectivity options, including Bluetooth, optical,and auxiliary input, which allows you to connect it to your TV, smartphone, PC ,tablet, or other devices to stream music or watch movies. Besides, the home audio sound bars has a "SUB OUT" port, which supports the connection of an active subwoofer.(Press the M button on soundbar can switch the three connection modes of Optical /AUX/ Bluetooth)
  • 【Optimize Entertainment With Different Sound Modes】The sound bar can be switched to three equalizer modes (Music, Movie, News) with remote. This soundbar not only produces clear and detailed sound regardless of the content you're watching or listening to, but also enhances the dialogues, bass and treble of music, movies, and TV shows,and makes them sound more realistic and engaging.(Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes )
  • 【Set Up In Minutes】You can put the soundbar on desktop or mounted on the wall directly with rovided wall mounting kits. The TV soundbars size is: 17" * 3.5" * 2.5". What’s inside: soundbar, remote control, wall mounting kit, optical cable, 3.5 to 3.5mm audio cable, Power adapter and user manual.
SaleBestseller No. 4
SAMSUNG HW-C450 2.1ch Soundbar w/DTS Virtual X, Subwoofer Included, Bass Boost, Adaptive Sound Lite,...
  • DTS VIRTUAL:X: Expand your listening experience; DTS Virtual: X creates spacious 3D sound putting you at the center of the action for an elevated and immersive home theater experience
  • SUBWOOFER INCLUDED: Get that big boom with our included subwoofer; Bring home intense sound with rich, powerful bass; Elevate the action and take things to the next level
  • BASS BOOST: Bass you can boost with a tap; Feel the depth of distant thunder as your listening experience is taken to another level; Tap the button Feel the power
  • ADAPTIVE SOUND LITE: Enjoy all your favorite video content with dynamically optimized audio and enhanced voice clarity so you can follow along with action packed games and blockbuster films
  • GAME MODE: Optimize your gaming experience with perfectly synced directional audio that moves with the onscreen action; Game Mode eliminates distractions so you can hear better and play harder
Bestseller No. 5
VIZIO V-Series All-in-One 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Built-in...
  • America's Sound Bar - VIZIO has been filling homes with truly immersive audio for over 10 years, and our sound bars just keep getting better. We are proud to provide our customers with top-tier audio products that bring movies, shows, podcasts, music, and more to life like never before. (* Sound Bar Brand in 1H 2022 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., based on units, Jan. - June 2022 combined.).Waterproof : No
  • Complete, All-in-One Design - Experience the performance and features of a traditional home theater system in a simple, all-in-one solution designed to blend seamlessly into any home.
  • Striking Performance - Brilliant clarity, startling dynamics, and Dolby Audio and DTS Digital Surround support combine for performance that defies its size.
  • Simple Setup, Streaming and Control -Get setup and listening in minutes with HDMI ARC and Bluetooth connectivity for unparalleled ease of use, control, and access to your content.
  • Minimal Modern Design - A clean, angular, low-profile silhouette seamlessly blends into any environment.
SaleBestseller No. 6
TCL Alto R1 Wireless 2.0 Channel Sound Bar for Roku TV, Bluetooth,Wifi TSR1-NA 31.5-inch,...
  • EXCLUSIVELY FOR ROKU TV: Requires a Roku TV. Expandable with Roku Wireless Subwoofer. Does not work with Roku Wireless Speakers.
  • SIMPLE WIRELESS SETUP WITH ANY ROKU TV: The simple wireless setup means no running cables or drilling holes in your wall. Just plug it into power and pair it for clearer, louder TV sound.
  • UNBOXING TO LISTENING IN MINUTES: Inside the box you’ll find a quick start guide, power cable, and sound bar.
  • ONE REMOTE IS ALL YOU NEED: There’s no need to juggle an additional remote every time you want to adjust the volume or sound settings. Just use your existing Roku TV remote.
  • QUICK ACCESS TO SOUND SETTINGS: Press the star button on your Roku TV remote to access your sound bar and Roku TV settings all in one place.
Bestseller No. 7
Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote...
  • Hear your TV better: Designed with simplicity in mind, the Bose TV Speaker is a small soundbar that clarifies speech and is a simple fix for better TV sound
  • Wide, natural sound: 2 angled full-range drivers deliver a more realistic, spatial audio experience for overall better TV sound from a small soundbar
  • Enhanced dialogue: This TV speaker is designed to specifically focus on clarifying and elevating vocals and pronunciation
  • Bluetooth TV Speaker: Pair your device to this Bluetooth soundbar to wirelessly stream your favorite music and podcasts. Connect up to 3 devices through the inputs (HDMI, Optical in, and AUX in); the first powered on device will automatically connect
  • Simple setup: A single connection from this compact soundbar to the TV via an optical audio cable (included) or an HDMI cable (sold separately) has you up and running in minutes
Bestseller No. 8
1,698 Reviews
Saiyin Sound Bars for TV with Subwoofer, 2.1 Deep Bass Small Soundbar Monitor Speaker Home Theater...
  • 【Enjoy Deep Bass from Dedicated Subwoofer】The deep rich bass from our new generation sound bar(20Watts*2 output)and subwoofer(30Watts) will activate every cell in your body.The large cavity space of the subwoofer makes the bass punchy and full of magnetic. The surround sound of soundbar and subwoofer collide with each other in every corner of your room like waves, which allowing you immersed in music, movie and gaming.
  • 【Multifunctional LED Indicator&Soft Light】Unlike other sound bars, The three-color LED lights help you better identify which the connection mode the sound bar is on(Optical-Purple, Bluetooth-Blue, Auxiliary-Green). Not only that, the volume progress bar below soundbar reminds you the volume level of total or bass.The soundbar's hidden LED indicator and soft lighting make it possible for you to watch TV without distractions.
  • 【3 Equalizer Modes】You can adjust soundbar to three different equalizer modes according to different TV shows like news, movie and music. It is an excellent sound bar for your TV. In addition, we provide replace remote control for free. (Remote control is not compatible with universal or TV remotes)
  • 【Wireless&Wired Connection】The Bluetooth chip can help you connect devices such as computers and cell phones to the sound bar. Auxiliary input model and optical input model are also available as an option for you to connect your computer, TV and speakers.(We also provide Auxiliary cable and Optical cable for free)
  • 【What's You Get! 】The package contains the following products:Soundbar*1, subwoofer*1, remote control*1, user manual*1, 3.5mm to 3.5mm auxiliary cable*1, optical cable*1, brackets*2 expanded plastic pipe*2 and screws*2. In addition, you will receive our product quality guarantee for more than one year and professional after-sales service.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Polk Audio Signa S2 Sound Bar & Wireless Subwoofer – Exclusive VoiceAdjust Technology, Ultra-Slim...
  • A PREMIUM ULTRA-SLIM SOUND BAR WITH INCLUDED WIRELESS SUBWOOFER – 5 powerful full-range drivers deliver beautiful rich sound with deep bass. Polk’s exclusive VoiceAdjust 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
Bestseller No. 10
VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with DTS Virtual:X, Bluetooth, Voice Assistant Compatible, Includes...
  • America's Sound Bar - VIZIO has been filling homes with truly immersive audio for over 10 years, and our sound bars just keep getting better. We are proud to provide our customers with top-tier audio products that bring movies, shows, podcasts, music, and more to life like never before. (* Sound Bar Brand in 1H 2022 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., based on units, Jan. - June 2022 combined.)
  • Ultra-Compact 2.0 Design - Experience the performance of larger, more complex home theater systems in a simple, ultra-compact solution designed fit anywhere and blend seamlessly into any environment.
  • Bold Performance - Experience rich, clear sound with up to 91dB of total SPL output for performance that belies its size.
  • Essential Connectivity and Control - Get setup and listening in seconds with the included cables plus Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming of your favorite music and podcasts.
  • 2.0-Channel Sound - Experience a powerful room-filling, true stereo experience ideal for movies, music, and gaming.
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Last update on 2024-05-23

Leading authority in the field of home theaters and home electronics. With a passion for sharing unique discoveries and personal experiences, I’m dedicated to providing valuable insights to enthusiasts and experts alike.

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