Improve your TV sound: Which soundbar is right for you?

If your TV looks amazing but sounds a little flat, why not add a soundbar to your home entertainment setup? We round up space-saving speakers to suit all budgets.

If you want to improve the sound quality of your TV but don't want bulky speakers dominating your lounge, a soundbar might be the best option.

Unlike speaker systems, they usually don't require separate units to be positioned around the room, reducing the number of cables snaking around the floor and minimising trip hazards as a result.

But which soundbar is right for you? We've broken them down by type so you can find your ideal soundbar based on your viewing and listening needs.

If space is limited

Soundbars are already great space-savers, but some are more compact than others. This could be a vital consideration if space is at a premium.

Sonos Beam

The Sonos Beam is a small soundbar with big sound. At 65cm (26 inches) wide, it'll fit perfectly under a smaller TV, and it packs a surprising amount of bass considering its petite size. The LG SK1 is slightly wider, but only slightly, and it has three enhanced sound modes to suit whatever you're watching.

For those on a budget

Cramming a lot of sound technology into a product small enough to fit under the telly is no mean feat. But that doesn't mean soundbars have to be expensive. Sure, you can spend hundreds on them (and you'll notice the improvement in sound quality), but most won't demand a big outlay.

One of the best value soundbars available is the JVC TH-W513B. Shop around, and you can find it for just £60.

JBL Bar Studio

Happy to spend a little more? The LG SK1 mentioned above can be had for under £100, as can the JBL Bar Studio. The lattter boasts plenty of features like Bluetooth so you can wirelessly play music from your phone on it. It sounds very good too - proof that you don't need to spend £1,000+ on a TV sound system.

Do you want a built-in smart assistant?

Some soundbars come with smart assistants built in. These are the likes of Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, and let you do a range of things just by speaking, from setting timers and reminders to looking up trivia and reading the news and weather reports. Of course they can change channels for you, find your favourite TV show and switch between audio modes, all on your say-so. 

The Sonos Beam mentioned above offers Amazon's Alexa personal assistant, and will soon add Google Assistant too. 

Samsung Sound+ MS550

The Samsung Sound+ HW-MS550 is a little cheaper than the Sonos, and comes with Amazon's Alexa personal assistant built in. But the Netgem SoundBox might be the best bargain in this category. It costs just £149 and has Alexa onboard, but despite its low price it has surprisingly decent sound.

Is multiroom a must-have?

Multiroom means sending the sound wirelessly throughout your house to other speakers in other rooms. It's not that useful when you're watching TV - unless you want everyone else in the house to know what's on - but it is if you're playing music.

Sonos is the current king of multiroom - its systems are simple to set up and sound fantastic. Its Beam soundbar mentioned above offers multiroom, but if you want to take a step up, check out the Sonos Playbar. It's bigger than the Beam, more powerful and  - sadly - more expensive, clocking in at around £600.

Sonos Playbar

Thankfully the Sony HT-XT2 is a bit cheaper, and can still connect to other speakers around the house. But it's technically a soundbase rather than soundbar - that just means it's designed to have the TV stand on top of it.

If money is no object

Of course the more you spend, the better sound quality you'll get. If you are shopping around at the top end of the market, you're spoiled for choice.

Dali Kubik One

The Dali Kubik One is an £800 beast that comes with a bright paint job. It's not exactly subtle, but that's not what you're paying for - you're paying for bold, brash sound and a design statement for your lounge. For something a little sleeker, there's the B&O Beosound 35, which has touchscreen controls on the front. And for over a grand, it certainly should do.

Pair your soundbar with some great TV. Sign up to BT TV today

Got broadband? Add BT TV

More from BT