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The best soundbars at every price

The best bargain buys, mid-range marvels and premium purchases for your home entertainment system.

illustration of three differently priced soundbars with ticks
Last updated: 17 March 2023

Whether you're on a budget or you've got money to burn, there's a soundbar that will deliver excellent audio in your price range. 

We test soundbars ranging in price from $149 to $3999, and while some expensive models are standouts, there are plenty of reasonably priced soundbars that also perform well in our testing. 

Don't make the assumption that more money buys you better audio

Don't make the assumption that more money buys you better audio: our experts were unimpressed by some expensive models but blown away by others that come in under the $400 mark. 

CHOICE home entertainment expert Denis Gallagher shares his tips for finding the best soundbar for your money, plus, exclusively for CHOICE members, we'll reveal the best scoring soundbars at the lower, middle and upper end of the market. 

Why buy a soundbar?

For movie buffs and TV bingers, a full home theatre is the ideal. But they can be complicated, bulky and expensive. A soundbar is a much more streamlined alternative that'll give you the next best thing, but without the big hit to your wallet. 

Essentially a slim box containing several speakers, a soundbar sits just below your TV screen and boosts your audio experience. It's not a direct replacement for a professionally installed and calibrated home theatre system, but some do a pretty good job of mimicking the effect of surround sound. 

Best placement for your soundbar

Soundbars perform best in small, enclosed rooms, but not so well in large, open-plan areas. Ideally, they should be used in situations where you're sitting a few metres away from the TV. 

They're best placed just in front of, or below your TV screen, at around the same height as your ears when you're sitting on the lounge. 

If you have a model with a wireless subwoofer, you can place it anywhere in the room. 

Not sure what all the audio formats are? Our expert guide to buying a soundbar breaks down all the terminology. 

When you're ready to set up, check out our article on connecting your soundbar to a TV for a step-by-step guide. 

How we test soundbars

Our rigorous testing means you can be confident in our reviews. They'll help you buy the best soundbar for your needs. 

We use a panel of experts who have years of expertise testing audio equipment. They assess sound quality for film, music and spoken-word audio. We also take into account the ease of connecting and using the soundbar and remote, and how much energy the soundbar uses when in standby mode. 

Our experts score each soundbar on these metrics to calculate an overall score. All of the details are included in our soundbar reviews, and you can filter by price, brand, features and more to find exactly what you're after. 

The best soundbars: budget, mid-range, premium

For CHOICE members only, we reveal our expert's top soundbar picks for your budget. If you're not yet a member, join CHOICE to get instant access to all of our expert, independent reviews. 

Don't waste your money on an expensive model that doesn't deliver on performance or a budget soundbar that sounds worse than your TV speakers. 

No matter your budget, there's a high-performing soundbar for you. 

These three models sit at different price points – low, medium and high – but they're all recommended by CHOICE experts. 

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