(Pocket-lint) - Investing in a top soundbar is essential to get the most out of your TV, else you risk sluggish sound wasting the potential of your setup.
Luckily, what was once an area only accessible to serious Hi-Fi fans has now become wildly more accessible for the average TV watcher, making it easier than ever before to ditch the flat sound filtering out the back and instead put audio front and centre.
The only hard part is deciding which soundbar is best for your home, as there are stacks of options for every budget. To take some of the hard work out of this process, we've compiled some of the top options you can buy - let's explore them below.
Best cheap soundbar for your home
Bose Solo 5
Bose's Solo 5 setup may be a little long in the tooth, but it's still a very solid audio bar - and for an affordable price, too, considering the brand's pedigree.
The 2.6 x 21.6 x 3.4-inch device is simple but effective, giving you a singular optical audio input, coaxial audio input, and a 3.5mm aux port, meaning you should only require a single lead into your TV to instantly receive better sound.
As with many options on this list, it also offers Bluetooth support, which means it can be used as a standard speaker for your music.
Don't forget to use the included universal remote to tweak the audio settings and control your Bluetooth devices, too.
TCL manages to pack a powerful soundbar and a bass-boosting subwoofer into one affordable package, making this an ideal consideration for those looking to really elevate their setup.
The 36.20 x 3.90 x 2.50-inch bar itself isn't the smallest on this list (and you may want to consider mounting it if your TV bench isn't quite big enough), but what you get in return is enough audio components to deliver rich, crisp sound and modes specifically for music, movies and speech.
The 8.3 x 12.9 x 9.8-inch subwoofer can also be placed anywhere in the same room to handle the low frequency and give you a more complete range of sound.
Zvox's mid-level soundbar is compact, smart-looking, and comes with a few very neat audio features.
The 17 x 3.1 x 2.9-inch unit is powerful enough to outperform any TVs standard audio, offering a simple setup, and delivering rich sound.
It's particularly strong for the hard of hearing, too, with modes available to both emphasize speech and automatically balance audio.
The only regrettable omission is the lack of Bluetooth support, which means this exists solely to boost your TV sound.
You want to improve upon the audio quality from your TV but you don't want to stretch too far - if that's you, then meet the TaoTronics SK023.
Considering the budget price tag, you get plenty for your money here: good, balanced audio with support for Bluetooth and three different sound modes (gaming, music, and movies).
It's not the most discreet design - clocking in at 31.50 x 2.36 x 2.36-inches - but it still very much looks the part, whether you have it mounted or resting on a TV bench.
Polk Audio Signa S3
Polk's latest installment in the Audio Signa range is the S3, with the package, as with previous generations, giving you the chance to easily pair a subwoofer and soundbar.
The two work together excellently to provide wonderfully balanced audio, whether you're streaming something from Netflix, taking advantage of the Bluetooth support by listening to some music, or even playing something through a Google Chromecast-supported app.
The 35.4 x 3.2 x 2.1-inch bar can also be mounted or rested on a TV bench, with just a sole HDMI ARC input required to get things started.
Polk Audio Signa S2
Polk's Audio Signa S2 may sit in the shadow of the newer S3 model, but the differences between the two are small and allow you to pick up this model for a cheaper price tag.
The 35.4 x 3.2 x 2.1-inch bar is paired with an excellent subwoofer, letting you experience rich and balanced sound, with support available for HDMI ARC, optical input, AUX, and also Bluetooth (meaning you can stream music from your phone).
You don't get the Chromecast support of the newer model, but, for most, this is a top-sounding, smart-looking package that's easy to set up and enjoy.
Majority Snowdon II
The majority may not boast the household name of other brands, but the price of its Snowdon II soundbar is hard to argue with.
For an ultra-low outlay, you can experience richer TV sound via the device's RCA cable, optical input, AUX port, or even Bluetooth, allowing you to stream music wirelessly from your phone or tablet.
The 3.2 x 31.8 x 3.2-inch bar can also be mounted or rested atop a TV stand, with the included remote letting you tweak treble and bass settings, as well as select modes for music, movies, and speech.
Samsung has plenty of different soundbar packages to explore, but, in our view, the HW-T650 is one of the best overall packages to explore.
The 38.6 x 3.5 x 2.3-inch bar is able to produce very crisp 3D sound and detailed dialogue thanks to the center channel speaker (something that doesnt feature on the rest of the HW-T range), with the bass pumped up considerably by the wireless subwoofer.
It can also handle multiple Bluetooth connections, as well as being linked via HDMI, which helps it seamlessly switch between outputs.
Vizio Sound Bar for TV
Vizio has a reputable name in the world of TVs and soundbars, and it's not hard to see why when you test out its 5.1 setup - headlined by its three-channel soundbar.
The 36 x 3.2 x 2.1-inch bar is able to easily link up with rear surround speakers, a wireless subwoofer and boost your TV audio considerably - all while doing so wirelessly over your home's Wi-Fi network.
This connection remained stable for us during testing, and, for the price, it's very easy to recommend this as a sound experience.
JBL Bar 2.1
If you want a soundbar and subwoofer pair that can provide an instant and easy upgrade from your current TV audio setup, the JBL Bar 2.1 is exactly that.
It's designed with a slim profile - measuring in at 38 x 2.3 x 2.7-inches - and features Dolby Digital, JBL's proprietary Surround Sound technology and a peak power output of 300W. The wireless subwoofer, like others on this list, is also a very welcome addition, adding deep, rich bass to make this a balanced setup.
For those who want to easily switch between their HDMI output, too, there's plenty of user control available. As well as being able to be managed by the included remote control, AUX, Bluetooth, USB are all on board.
Whether you have a gaming desk setup or you just simply want to save some space near your TV, a more compact soundbar like the Yamaha SR-C20A is a great one to consider.
Rather than billing itself as the key unit in a surround sound setup, this 28 x 3 x 3-inch bar is an all-in-one driver, with a built-in subwoofer and passive radiators.
Considering it's lack of support from other speakers, it does a mighty impressive job of providing room-filling, rich and balanced sound.
There's also plenty of options when it comes to connections, with Bluetooth, HDMI, optical and AUX all available.
Klipsch Cinema 600 Sound Bar
For those who have an ample amount of room and a bit more money to spend on their initial setup, Klipsch's Cinema 600 set is among the more premium picks on this list.
The 45-inch bar and 10-inch subwoofer provide an outstanding 600W of peak power, with the company packing the bar with a trio of tweeters, its own Tractrix horns and four composite mid-range cones to help deliver some of the best sound we've experienced from a bar.
Considering the ease of connections, as well, which include HDMI ARC and Bluetooth, and this is a dream pairing for your TV.