It is difficult to choose between soundbars and home theatre systems. Where the former offers a package that needs less space, the latter gives versatility. Additionally, soundbars are usually the more affordable option amongst the two.
Even if you are short on budget, you can buy a decent sounding bar at $150, or you can buy one with Dolby Atmos that will significantly amp up the sound. So if you watch a lot of content on your big screen, we recommend you get one for yourself.
Why do you need a soundbar?
In their tryst to match paper when it comes to slimness, modern TV comes with a disappointing speaker system. Speakers take a lot of space, and the OEMs do not find them important enough to accommodate them anymore. The screen-to-body ratio is excellent, carbon fiber finish looks elegant, but the sound that comes out of them is underwhelming for every scenario.
People spending even $200 to get a budget soundbar makes a lot of difference to the overall TV watching experience. These bars come in a different configuration, but if they lack a subwoofer, you won’t get the thumpy bass more often than not.
Even if the bar has an integrated sub, it is unlikely to match a system with a dedicated box for the woofer. If space is not an issue, you should always prefer it (unless you are buying the Sennheiser Ambeo).
Today, we thought of compiling a list of soundbars that offer subwoofers across varying price points.
Best budget soundbar with subwoofer – TCL Alto 7+
- A significant upgrade over your TV speakers
- Sturdy build quality
- Great dialogue reproduction
- Lacks sub-bass
- Performance at max volume is passable.
What do you get when you barely have the budget to improve on your barely-audible lackluster TV speakers? You get the TCL Alto 7+. It is a decent sounding bar with an excellent overall sound and good build quality.
The soundstage is quite good, and you get an excellent stereo frequency response. Being a 2.1Ch configuration, it downmixes stereo content, and the additional subwoofer is hardly found in the budget range.
Best soundbar with subwoofer under $300 – Yamaha YAS-209
- Neutral sound
- Good build for the price
- The subwoofer produces ample bass
- The hardware limits the surround sound effect
- Not enough sound enhancement features
Yamaha’s YAS-200 series of soundbars have always been known for being feature-rich and offer tremendous value for money. The YAS- 207 has a legendary status, and it was a tough ask to provide something better in the next iteration. But Yamaha YAS-209 does so and is the go-to option for those who have only $300 to spend.
It is a 2.1Ch configuration with unexpectedly right stereo frequency, making it great for action movie lovers and gamers-on-a-budget. It sounds very focused and doesn’t have extra speakers to widen the soundstage. It may not get deafening, but it maintains the same sound quality throughout, which we don’t find in most devices. The package comes with Wi-Fi and Full HDMI In to give more options to the users.
Best soundbar with subwoofer under $600 – Sony HT-G700
- Dolby Atmos support
- Solid, minimalistic design
- Atmos Virtualization
- Misses out on room correction
- No support for Sony Music Center app
A 3.1Ch configuration soundbar, the Sony HT-G700, is a unique device. It doesn’t come cheap but is happy with offering a traditional setup. It offers Atmos Virtualization, which no one in the budget does, but has a confusing choice of ports.
It follows a minimalist design and offers a sound that is good for mixed usage. It has a lot of power and comes with decent soundstage and an excellent THD. There is a dedicated center channel that enhances dialogues, and the HDMI ARC ensures that it supports everything you throw at it.
Best soundbar with subwoofer under $800 – LG SN8YG
- Gets very loud
- Integrated virtual assistant
- Solid build
- Surround sound is passable
- Too wide for most scenarios
The LG SN8YG is a 3.1.2Ch configuration soundbar with a punchy sound. It has a bass-heavy profile, which is excellent for action-packed content. The overall tone is neutral, and LG provides a lot of sound enhancement features to let users tweak the sound.
It gets pretty loud for a home setup, and the upward-firing speakers make it a unique proposition. Also, it has Google Assistant built-in to control your bar wirelessly. Unfortunately, the surround sound isn’t the best, and users may find it lacking in that aspect.
Best soundbar with subwoofer under $1000 – Sony HT-Z9F
- Premium build
- Excellent selection of ports
- No distortion at max volumes
- Lacks Graphic EQ
- Atmos content has to be downmixed
A 3.1Ch configuration, the Sony HT-Z9F, is an excellent choice for those looking to use it for mixed purposes. It has a dedicated subwoofer and a center channel, which makes dialogue reproduction a treat. It is Dolby Atmos-compatible and uses Vertical Sound and S-Force technology to get the maximum out of the available hardware.
The bar itself is made of premium plastic encased in a removable-metal grill, and the woofer is made of wood. It has Wi-FI and Chromecast built-in and supports all the major audio codecs. Unlike the budget Sony soundbars, it is compatible with the Sony Music Center app and sounds excellent overall.
Best soundbar with subwoofer under $1200 – Samsung HW-Q80R
- Well-balanced sound profile
- A plethora of audio ports
- Comes with height channels
- Lacks room correction
- The display is small and doesn’t feel ergonomic
The Samsung HW-Q80R is a 5.1Ch soundbar for all those who don’t have space for rear speakers. It is a toned-down version of the now-discontinued HW-Q90R and misses out satellite speakers. It has upward-firing speakers and supports Atmos to try and compensate for it.
The bar is made of plastic, and the woofer is wood-made. It feels robust and premium in all aspects. It has a neutral sound profile and is excellent for mixed usage. It doesn’t compensate for loudness either and performs amicably well at max volumes too.
The lack of rear speakers means that it has a sub-par surround sound performance. It also lacks room correction but allows users to control manually every aspect of the output via a graphic EQ. The Full HDMI port means that the soundbar supports all the major audio formats, and you get an immersive sound experience every time you switch it on.
Best premium soundbar with subwoofer – Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch
- Sophisticated design
- 9.2.4 setup configuration
- Creates a significant surround sound impact for a soundbar
- Some compression at max volume
- The sound is on the warmer side
Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is for those who have large rooms and have no issues accommodating more accessories. It is a 9.2.4Ch soundbar with two subwoofers instead of the one we find in most cases. The package comes with four up-firing speakers for creating an impeccable surround sound effect.
The build quality is top-notch, and it looks unlike most in the market. It supports all major audio codecs and has 4:4:4 Passthrough to seamlessly connect your consoles and Blu-ray players to your big screen.
The overall sound is excellent for mixed usage, and the bar overemphasizes bass, which kills a bit of detail. It can be tricky at times, especially when you are not playing Atmos content. The unique configuration makes it useful for music too, with the right amount of details and four rear speakers giving you a surround sound feeling. It is amongst the best you can find in the market, and that speaks volumes about how much we like it.
Alternative – Sony HT-ST5000
- 7.1.2Ch configuration at a reasonable price
- Solid build and a lot of ports
- Fast bass with a lot of heft
- Not enough sound enhancement features onboard
- Surround sound could have been better
The Sony HT-ST5000 is a 7.1.2Ch configuration soundbar that doesn’t have dedicated surround speakers. It instead opts for more speakers within the bar. The bar has a balanced sound profile with a lot of bass. It is suitable for mixed usage but tends to distort at higher volumes. There is a dedicated center channel onboard for harping on dialogue delivery.
It has a good soundstage and has a plethora of ports that allow it to support all modern audio codecs. Even though its build is as good as you will find in the market, it has a passable surround-sound impact. We wished that Sony had opted for dedicated speakers or at least side-firing ones in the bar. It produces crystal-clear audio with a lot of details at average volume across genres.
Soundbars can be tricky. They offer different configurations and have a different sound profile. You need to understand your usage and preference before zeroing on to your perfect sound enhancement partner.
But whatever your preference, a dedicated subwoofer is a must. It adds the necessary bass and makes the output more enjoyable. We hope that our list will help you sort your mind and find the one that’s more suited for your needs.