After conducting a comprehensive survey of Wirecutter subscribers and combining those insights together with the results of our prior testing, we think the Sonos Playbar or Playbase is the ideal soundbar for most individuals, based on the kind of TV you have. Both audio excellent, and are simpler to install and function than any other soundbar we’ve tested.
The Playbar and Playbase don’t offer the exact same quantity of bodily or wireless connectivity as other, higher-performance soundbars we’ve tested in the past, which restricts their usefulness a bit if you have a large library of Blu-ray movies or use other resources. But if you use your amusement system primarily for watching TV, enjoying video-streaming services, or playing digital music (and as best we could tell from our survey results, that’s most of our subscribers), their absence of inputs shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. And though they do not have built-in Bluetooth or AirPlay support, these soundbars are a part of the easiest-to-use, best-sounding whole-home audio system we’ve tested.
If high-performance sound is your primary concern and you do not want to be locked into the Sonos ecosystem, we believe our past top select, the Paradigm Soundscape, is your all-around best soundbar you can buy today. It offers the best combination of sound quality, features, and usability of any soundbar which we can find, and when we pitted it directly against other leading models in our hands on testing, it handily beat them all. If you want high-quality sound with no hassles of numerous boxes and wires, the Paradigm Soundscape is hard to beat. Really, the only drawback is its price, which is beyond the budget assortment of most of our readers.
If $700 to $1,500 is too rich for the blood, we also carry a guide to funding soundbars. Stepping down to the degree means giving up a number of the benefits of our high-performance picks, especially in build quality and sound functionality, but even our low-priced picks will provide you an experience far better than the speakers built into your TV may provide.