Complete Soundbar Buying Guide – What to Look for a Sound Bar in 2021

Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by SoundBarScan

Previously people enjoyed a loud and clear sound on their TV speakers. With the advancement in technologies, that’s not the case anymore. Modern days TV has become so slim that there is no space left for any good quality speakers.

Obviously, it would not make any sense to spend hundreds of bucks on a TV and hear a crap sound. That’s where soundbars come into play.

These magical TV speakers bring back life to your TV shows and music. Hence, you enjoy the clear sound with deep bass.

The problem is, there are hundreds of different brands popping out newer soundbar models on market shelves every single month. It makes choosing the right soundbar for your needs a headache.

Therefore, we came up with this buying guide. In this guide, we have put together all the different points that you should keep in mind before parting with the money. Hence, you can get the best bang for your buck.

Type of Soundbars


Active soundbars have integrated everything into them. These soundbars are plug and play. They have a built-in amplifier and do not require anything from external sources.


The passive soundbars require an external amplifier. These soundbars have different variations of speakers like central channel speaker, left speaker, and right speaker.


Subwoofers are the sound-drivers that are responsible for the low-frequency response. These drivers produce deep bass that is thrilling and creates a cinema-like experience.

Not all the soundbars have a dedicated subwoofer. Some soundbars come with an integrated subwoofer, some have an option for a wireless subwoofer, and some soundbars have the functionality to add a wired subwoofer.

If you want to get most out of your TV shows, and music, then get a soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer. Thus, you can enjoy electrifying sound that can amaze your senses.

If you are planning to buy a soundbar and a subwoofer separately, make sure that the soundbar and the subwoofer are compatible with each other.


Connectivity is one of the key features that you should be looking at in a soundbar. Different soundbars come with different connectivity options. Mainly there are five connectivity options for soundbars—namely, HDMI, Optical, Bluetooth, and HDMI ARC, and RCA.


HDMI ports are one of the best ways to connect your soundbar to the TV. This port supports a variety of different surround systems, such as a 5.1 channel sound system and a 7.1 channel sound system.

HDMI ports are also able to carry data at a much higher rate than the normal cables. Moreover, they support cinematic experiences, such as DTX and Dolby Atmos.

HDMI connections are hassle-free. You will need to make sure if your TV supports HDMI ARC to use it directly with the TV. The sad part is, not all the soundbars come with a dedicated HDMI port. This function is exclusive to mid-high end soundbars.


If your soundbar or TV does not support HDMI input, the next best option for connecting your soundbar with the TV is Digital Optical Input.

Optical cables have a square connector, and these cables convert the electrical signal into an optical signal, and when the optical signal reaches back to the other end of the wire, its again converted into an electrical signal.

The optical input can support up to 5.1 channel surround system. It’s also an excellent connectivity method for your soundbar.


Wireless connectivity is the future. If you want to stream your music on your soundbar right from your phone wirelessly, always make sure that the soundbar you are going to choose supports Bluetooth connectivity.

Bluetooth connectivity is also very hassle-free. You only need to pair your mobile phone with the soundbar, and you are good to go.


3.35mm lineout is the oldest type of connectivity option available in soundbars. It’s an analog connectivity option. This option lets you enjoy your music when none of the other options are available.


While researching for soundbars, you may stumble upon different numbers such as 2.0, 2.1, and 3.1 etc. These numbers represent the number of speakers that are included with the soundbar. 2.0 channel consists of two speakers, while 2.1 channel soundbar has left speaker, right speaker, and a central channel speaker for dialogue clarity.

The higher the number of speakers, the better the sound is. Always try to get a soundbar with a decent number of speakers for a better experience.


Another crucial factor that you should take in the count is your budget. Soundbars come in different price brackets ranging from 50 dollars to several hundred bucks. You should definitely know your budget before you start your research for your next soundbar.

Remote Control

If you want to wirelessly control the soundbar, get a soundbar that comes with an IR sensor and a remote. In this way, you can tweak the sound, and change volume from the comfort of your couch.

Smart Soundbars

Soundbars are not just about sound anymore. A lot of companies are making innovation in the soundbars. The latest soundbars come with their own OS and built-in voice assistants. Hence, you can use these soundbars for hands-free operation and home automation.

These soundbars are new in the market and thus expensive than the traditional soundbars available in the market. If you want something that is futureproofed, then we will highly recommend you to get the smart soundbars.

Final Verdict

Modern-day TVs have low-quality speakers that take away all the fun. Soundbars are a great alternative to the native TV speakers. These high-quality speakers take low space and produce amazing sound.

In this buying guide, we have mentioned all the important factors that you should take in the count before making a purchase. We have also made a separate blog post on the best soundbars under 150.

You can check all the best performing soundbars and make a purchase accordingly. You can also tell us about your favorite soundbar features in the comment sections below. We would love to hear back from you.

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