Best 5.1 Soundbars of 2020 (Reviews)

No matter which reason you have for improving your sound, the home theater system is one of the best ways to improve your sound. However, it is not always the best buy when you are strapped to a budget or you have issues with space. A soundbar is a smaller, yet still effective method of improving the sound at an affordable price.

Through hours of research, we have created a list of the best 5.1 soundbars you can get, taking into account sound quality, price and other features.

Top Pick: Soundbar HW-Q60R Review

Soundbar HW-Q60R
Source: Amazon

Samsung is one of the leading brands when it comes to sound quality and it is also a brand that many people stick to. The Soundbar HW-Q60R is a 5.1.2 channel system with an integrated subwoofer on the side. The acoustic beam is one of the main features that actually stand out and allow it to give you a natural sound.

With adaptive sound technology, the soundbar will analyze the sound type and adjust the setting automatically to give you the best possible sound that you might be looking for. The powerful subwoofer is an excellent addition for gamers. However, you can automatically switch to the game mode feature.

Since most new television systems lack the same quality sound as the picture they present, the 4K UHD pass-through offers you the best sound quality for these systems. It can be set up automatically and the subwoofers will simply follow the quality of the unit. You can also find the unit in a wireless setup if you need it.

It is not as expensive as many people might think, at a reasonable price. If you keep in mind that the unit is Bluetooth 5.1 compatible and features a decent power output of 360-watts, it is easy to see why it is highly regarded. The Soundbar HW-Q60R is a great unit for your UHD 4K TV systems and gaming in surround sound.

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • 360-watt power output
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • A little heavy to wall-mount
  • Not the best manual for sound modes

Soundbars vs Speakers – What’s the difference?

JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Review

JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar
Source: Amazon

If you don’t want to spend a lot on a new home theatre system, the next best thing can be the JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar. The unit does not only feature a single soundbar, but it can be taken apart to give you smaller speakers around you. According to the manufacturer, it can be transformed into a true home theatre system.

One of the top features is the wireless connectivity for the unit. Yes, you might need a TV system that is compatible with Bluetooth, but it gives you a massive 10 hours for the two detachable speakers that can be moved around. Additionally, the subwoofer is also wireless and gives you an adaptable amount of bass to ensure your sound is perfect.

The SoundShift feature is something that many people overlook due to the high price. However, it allows you to move between devices without having to change the connection settings. With the JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar, you don’t need to have a singular connection, but you can connect all of your devices to the soundbar.

The biggest downside is the price. Unfortunately, it is one of the most expensive soundbars. However, you won’t find all of these features for a more affordable price. Mounting can be slightly tricky due to the weight and the size of the unit. However, it comes with clear mounting instructions in the manual to set it up on your wall.

Pros:

  • Detachable speakers
  • Easy to change between devices
  • 10-hours speaker battery life
  • 4K connectivity

Cons:

  • Expensive

Also read: Best soundbars for under $100

VIZIO SB4451-C0 5.1 Review

VIZIO SB4451-C0 SmartCast 44" 5.1 Sound Bar System
Source: Amazon

Most of the top soundbars with detachable features are expensive. However, the VIZIO SB4451-C0 SmartCast 44″ 5.1 Sound Bar System is an affordable system when you take into account all the special features the brand has added. It is a stylish 44-inch system that will give you the perfect sound for your large television units.

Connectivity is what the unit thrives on. Instead of only giving you a simple Bluetooth connection, you now also have a Wi-Fi connection. SmartCast technology transforms the unit into a smart system, giving you remote operation capabilities. It also makes it much easier to connect the unit to different devices in your home.

Much like JBL, the unit comes with two separate speakers that you can place anywhere you like. These speakers are battery-operated, but each of them can be used individually if you don’t need the complete surround sound. The only downside is the large sound, which means you need to find a large TV to complement it.

As for the price, it is not as expensive as you would think. Yes, it is priced higher than your standard soundbar, but having a soundbar with detachable speakers and a quality subwoofer can be pricey. We should mention that the bass can go as low as 40-hertz, giving you a deep sound for heavy music and action movies.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price tag
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Feature remote speakers
  • Smart connectivity
  • Low bass

Cons:

  • You need a big TV
  • 10.8-pounds is heavy

LG SL10YG 5.1.2 Review

LG SL10YG 5.1.2 Channel High Res Audio Sound Bar

If you are in the market for the best, you need to be willing to pay for the best. The LG SL10YG 5.1.2 Channel High Res Audio Sound Bar is one of the leading soundbars on the market today. It has a total power output of 570-watts, allowing the unit to give you clear and crisp sound at the highest volumes of your music player.

Much like the top soundbars, it comes with 4K pass-through enabled and if you need to convert it into a smart unit, you also have access to ChromeCast. The unit features Meridian Technology features that improve the hardware design to something sleek and stylish. It features advanced audio capabilities for gaming.

DTS: X or Dolby Atmos are two of the top features when it comes to sound quality. With such functional sound, it becomes easier to improve the sound quality of normal units. Unfortunately, not all of the hardware is included to make it easy to mount on your wall and you need to visit your local hardware store.

The other downside is the price of the unit. It is one of the most expensive 5.1 channel sound systems on the market today. However, you will rarely find something that has the same sound capabilities and adaptive features. If you are serious about music and sound, it is one of the best sound systems that you can find.

Pros:

  • DTS X and Dolby Atmos compatible
  • Adaptive sound technology
  • Features ChromeCast
  • Clear and crisp sound

Cons:

  • Mounting is tricky
  • Expensive 
LG SL10YG 5.1.2 Channel High Res Audio Sound Bar

Here are the best LG soundbars you can get today.

VIZIO SB4051-D5 5.1 Review

VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System

The main reason for investing in a soundbar is the affordable price. The VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System stands true to this logic, giving you something affordable that looks stylish. The 40-inch slim design is stylish. It is easy to connect and set up, making it functional to use for almost any TV setup.

The SmartCast application is available for his unit, reducing the need for you to use the remote control. With the app, you can control the sound and output with your smart device. The sound quality is what most people might be looking at. It has a less than 1% distortion for the sound quality that you are provided with.

The feature that probably stands out the most is the additional speakers that can be used. These speakers do not need to be attached to the soundbar and they provide a home theatre sound emulation for the user. More than 100 audio apps give you versatility and a lot of value for your money when you use the soundbar.

As we mentioned, it is one of the most affordable options on the market today. If you need a 5.1 channel unit, you cannot go wrong with something as effective as the VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System, We do recommend that you have a large TV to help improve the visual elements.

Pros:

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Less than 1% harmonic distortion
  • Affordable price
  • Features ChromeCast

Cons:

  • Detachable speakers lack quality features

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1Ch Review

Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1Ch 400W 45" Sound Bar
Source: Amazon

When we think of anything more than 5.1 channel soundbars, the price in our heads are generally what deters us from buying. However, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1Ch 400W 45″ Sound Bar has the same price as many of the other affordable options. It is a 7.1 channel soundbar with top quality features and a 45-inch size.

The unit has 2 separate speakers that can be placed around the room as you desire. It features 11 speaker drivers that will allow the unit to have a variety of different sounds and give you a lot of bass. The large subwoofer does the size some justice and it packs a massive punch when it comes to low sounds.

The reason that we have added it to the list is due to the affordable price. While you might get some excellent deals on the product, it has an annual affordable price due to the brand being new in the market. We would recommend it to users that want to save a lot of money but are willing to take the risk of durability.

Pros:

  • 7.1 channel unit
  • Affordable
  • Stylish design with detachable speakers
  • Multiple sound drivers

Cons:

  • The brand is still new and untested

How To Choose The Best Soundbar

There are a variety of different features that are important when you select a soundbar. Not all of these features apply to every situation, but the best soundbar brands try to incorporate as many of them as they can. To ensure you, as a beginner understand all of the features that you need to buy a great soundbar, we have designed this list:

Brands

It might not be a popular opinion to start the buyer’s guide with the brands, but the brands offer you a variety of benefits. By choosing a top-quality brand, you can tap into a warranty if something goes wrong. The top brands are renowned for great products due to having their reputation on the line.

Design

The design of the soundbar can play a big role in the type that you choose. The design not only extends to the slim or thick base but is also refers to the additional accessories that the manufacturer might include. Most soundbars have a standard design that will allow them to look stylish when they are in your home.

Having additional accessories like speakers can allow you to create your type of surround sound effect. These additional speakers might not be the best, but they do enhance the sound quality of the unit. The bass feature allows you to emphasize those low notes that will be effective when you are watching action movies or playing rock music.

Connectivity

Unfortunately, the connectivity is as important as the rest of the soundbar. Yes, you might be able to mount it to the wall or place it in front of your TV, but the connectivity is an important part of buying a soundbar. There are three types of connections that come with soundbars and they all have their own benefits:

  • Wired: If you are going for something cheap, you will probably have a wired connection. While these connections are great, they limit your portability and you might have issues with bent wires, etc.
  • Bluetooth: Modern devices should all have Bluetooth to ensure that the unit can connect to the TV or your mobile devices. However, Bluetooth might lag a little bit and it could also have a few connection issues.
  • Wireless: Even though Bluetooth is wireless, we are talking about Wi-Fi connectivity. The wireless connectivity allows you to control it via multiple devices and even remotely. It is like a smart device.

Smart Features

In the modern era, many people are adapting their homes to become smart. Instead of having to move around and do everything, they can now control every aspect of the home from a singular location. If you are willing to spend a little extra, you can buy a smart soundbar that works with Alexa or even Google Assistant.

Price

The last vitally important feature is the price. It is important to find a soundbar that is not overly expensive but still allows you to save a couple of bucks. The soundbars mentioned above are great value for money and we have tried to find options that are affordable for the average household. Keep in mind, that your soundbar should never be bigger than your TV unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

For most people, the features don’t matter, as they generally have an idea of what they are looking for. During the research phase of this article, we came across a couple of questions that many people might have. If you are new in the sound game and you want a decent soundbar, you might need to look at

these questions:

What is the difference between 2.1 and 5.1 soundbar?

The difference between the 2.1 and 5.1 soundbars all comes down to the number of speakers present. At first, we had the 2. Soundbar with only 2 speakers. These speakers were found on either side of the soundbar. However, the 5.1 soundbar features 5 different speakers that all work together to give you the best possible sound quality.

With the 5.1 soundbars, you have 3 speakers built into the unit. Generally, the manufacturer will give you two additional speakers that can be placed around the sides of the unit. The benefit of having 2 separate speakers is that you can create your own home theatre system. However, these speakers are not the best quality.

Are TV Soundbars Worth It?

Most people only buy soundbars for their television units. The reason for this is the multitude of portable speakers with great sound available for music. However, these speakers might not do your TV justice. The soundbar has a better sound than your standard TV unit. We have seen that even 4K UHD television units struggle to compete with a mid-range soundbar.

What Is The Best Size For My Soundbar?

The size of the soundbar is something that people often get wrong. If you have an older TV, you might be tempted to pay for a brand new modern soundbar that might even be bigger than your TV. The downside is that it does not look good, even if you have great sound. It is important to consider the size of your TV and find a soundbar that is smaller than the TV.

Do You Need A Remote Control?

Not all soundbars come with remote control. However, it is good to have one if your soundbar comes with a display. Modern soundbars do not come with displays anymore. The reason for this is smart connectivity. An application like ChromeCast is great for connecting your mobile device to your soundbar. Now, you can control the soundbar with your remote control.

Which Brands Are The Best?

In the buyer’s guide, we briefly mentioned the brands and why they are important for your soundbar. When it comes to brands, you will be looking for recognizable brands in the music industry. JBL, Samsung, LG, and Sonos are some of the top brands. While we have not added one from Bose, you might want to consider them as well. However, Bose is one of the most expensive soundbar brands.

Which Soundbar Would We Recommend On This List?

All the soundbars we selected have some great features, allowing them to stand out from the competition. However, the Soundbar HW-Q60R  is widely regarded as one of the top soundbars to ever make it to the market. Nowadays, you can find an upgraded version of this soundbar with a 7.1 channel system. However, it will be a little more expensive to buy.

Wrap-Up

The best 5.1 soundbars will make your life a little easier when it comes to improving your sound quality. Ideally, we would recommend a home theatre system, but if you are strapped to a budget, any of these soundbars will do the trick. They are easy to connect to your devices and the brands stick to the products.

If we missed any of your favorites, we would love to read about it in the comment section. These are only six of the top options with many more that you might already be using.