A home theater sound system can give you a cinematic sound experience, but when you want something compact a 5.1 channel soundbar should be the thing. If you can find the best 5.1 soundbars, you will never feel like you need a large home theater setup. Moreover, it won’t cut your pocket for sure.
A 5.1 channel soundbar usually comes with a subwoofer for better and deep bass. Some products even come with up-firing speakers to deliver 3D surround sound. To pick the best 5.1 soundbar system, the main obstacle is the extensive collection of products.
An overwhelming number of products make it challenging to find the right one within the budget. This buyer’s guide is going to solve the issue. Besides the buying guide, we have reviewed the top 7 items.
Here is my list of the top rated 5.1 soundbars for your quick look:
- Best under $200 – Vizio V51-H6 36″ 5.1 Ch Home Theater Soundbar
- Best under $300 – SAMSUNG HW-Q60T 5.1ch Soundbar (2020)
- Best under $500 – JBL Bar 5.1 with True Wireless Surround Speakers
- Best with Wireless Subwoofer – JBL Bar 5.1 (2019 Model)
- Best for PC Gaming and Music – Razer Leviathan Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
- Best 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar – Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q80R
- Best 5.1.2 Hi Res Audio Soundbar – LG SN10YG 570W
Best 5.1 Soundbar under $200: Vizio V51-H6 36″
- Minimal design and easy to install
- Center speaker for dialogue clarity
- Optimized for 4K TVs with Dolby Audio 5.1 and HDMI
- Surround speakers for room-filling audio output
- Compatible with a smartphone for music streaming
Within a tight budget, you will get the taste of real home theatre style audio output. Vizio V51-H6 is a complete setup of audio features – 5 channels, 1 wireless subwoofer, and two speakers. For a medium-size living room, it would be the best pick.
Considering the price and the low-profile design, its performance is beyond expectation. This 5 channel soundbar comes with two rear speakers for real 3D surround sound at home. Regardless of room size, audio optimization would be the same. For high-resolution streaming, the audio system is optimized for 4K.
The Vizio V51-H6 comes with optional surround modes to stream music with room-filling output. From the floor to the ceiling, the audio output will be from all dimensions. Even in the high volume, audio distortion won’t happen.
Multiple connections are available in the soundbar including HDMI. Directly connect your television with this port to enjoy HD audio. Moreover, for wireless streaming through the soundbar, it features a Bluetooth connection to connect your smartphone or tablet. Operating the soundbar is easy, and you can do it either with the TV remote or the soundbar remote.
Best 5.1 Home Theater Soundbar System under $300: SAMSUNG HW-Q60T (2020)
- Q-SYMPHONY to combine with QLED TV speakers
- Adaptive sound technology for best output based on scenes
- Compatible with Samsung TV remote for easy operation
- Multiple connections to connect your devices
- Comes with wireless surround kit to extend the audio
If you wish to have all the advanced features like an expensive product, we recommend the SAMSUNG HW-Q60T. This is the best 5.1 soundbar for your living room. It is compact and fits any narrow space. No need for any mounting, just place it on the tabletop, and that’s it.
The built-in audio system delivers 3D surround sound without rear speakers. However, with the wireless surround kit in it, you can extend the audio system by adding more speakers. The DTS Virtual: X covers large living rooms. For movies and extreme gaming, the sound level is satisfactory.
Its adaptive sound technology optimizes the sound for each scene for a clear voice. This is really exciting when you are watching movies or TV shows late at night. Even in the lowest volume, you won’t miss anything. Its acoustic beam technology delivers audio from the precise area where the action is happening.
The soundbar comes with multiple connectivity – Bluetooth and HDMI connection. The Bluetooth connection allows connecting two devices simultaneously. With one click, you can switch between devices, like mobile and television. So, you can directly stream music from a mobile device.
Best Soundbar 5.1 Surround Sound for under $500: JBL Bar 5.1
- Designed to connect any 4K device for Ultra HD
- Works with all modern TV remotes
- Supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS
- Detachable surround speakers for 3D sound system
- 10-inch high power capacity subwoofer for bass
JBL Bar 5.1 features a 5 channel soundbar with a 10-inch subwoofer. The combination of the soundbar and subwoofer ensures the best theater-style sound system at home. It is compact and easily fits a tabletop, or you can install it wherever you want. The sound system is perfect for movies and video games.
The rear speaker is not very common in the 5.1 set-up, but this JBL Bar comes with two detachable speakers. These speakers are wireless and battery operated. Set them as rear speakers, and you can enjoy music or movies for up to 10 hours with a full charge.
It is Dolby atmos and DTS compatible for realistic sound output. Three HDMI inputs allow connecting the soundbar directly with any 4K device. The soundbar features JBL SoundShift that allows you to instantly switch between sound from TV, Tablet, and phone.
For music lovers, the device has Bluetooth connectivity to directly stream music in the soundbar. You don’t need an additional remote for controlling as it supports all standard TV remote. The overall audio performance is satisfactory considering the price.
Best 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Rear Speakers: JBL Bar 5.1 (2019 Model)
- Wireless 10″ subwoofer for deep bass
- Built-in Chromecast and Airplay2
- 4K pass-through connection with HDMI input
- Comes in a compact design to fit on a tabletop
- Ideal for movies and enjoying sports
This is the best 5.1 soundbar under 300 with some attractive advanced features. The soundbar comes with a subwoofer for hip-hop and rock music lovers. The 10″ wireless subwoofer delivers thrilling and deep bass for music streaming.
With 550W output, you will enjoy an immersive audio setup at home. When the soundbar combines with the subwoofer, it makes the audio realistic. Whether it is a movie or sports, you can hear each detail. It features Dolby Vision and HDMI input for 4K pass-through support.
Though the soundbar doesn’t come with rear speakers, it features virtual surround sound. This is an advanced feature that works like rear speakers and virtually gives the feel of real 3D. The audio is loud enough and has clarity for a good experience for all purposes.
The Wi-Fi connection allows for a flawless connection with Chromecast and Airplay2 for direct music streaming. You can also connect your smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth connectivity. The only thing that may bother you is its lack of rear speakers, which is okay for the price range.
Best 5.1 Soundbar for PC Gaming and Music: Razer Leviathan Surround Sound
- Floor standing design to save space
- Deep bass for music streaming
- The audio output best suits for PC gaming
- Audio output is comfortable for ears
- Easy operation and one tap connecting system
Do you need something versatile but with less price that delivers high-quality audio regardless of the content? If so, I would highly recommend this unit from Razer. 5 channel soundbar with a powerful subwoofer, from music streaming to playing games, everything would be enjoyable.
Unlike some cheap soundbars in the market, it won’t disappoint you in the audio quality. Whether watching movies or playing games, 2 full range drivers keep the audio loud and clear. Moreover, the deep bass gives a rich feel to the sound output.
It doesn’t have any rear speakers for the surround audio system at home. However, you can set the subwoofer in a place where the bass comes with better output. Considering the price, it is okay to have only the soundbar and the subwoofer.
Though it seems like a regular soundbar, it won’t perform its best with TVs. The design is more suitable for PC gaming and music streaming. I would suggest picking something else from this list.
The only connectivity of this Razer Leviathan soundbar is Bluetooth. As a result, you must have to set the soundbar within a short distance from the PC. However, with Bluetooth v4.0 aptX, there won’t be any interruption in the audio output. For music streaming in a small apartment, it could be your best companion.
Best 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos Soundbar: Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q80R
- Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatible
- Four up-firing speakers for surround sound
- Wireless subwoofer for users’ convenience
- Audio optimization for clear sound for each scene
- Suitable to perform with UHD 4K resolution
If you have a good budget the Samsung HW-Q80R is the best 5.1 soundbar for you. It comes in 5 channel soundbar, wireless subwoofer, and 13 built-in side speakers. Besides, it supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS: X technology for immersive audio output for all purposes. Considering everything, this is the best 5.1 soundbar with a wireless subwoofer.
You will get a theatre-style cinematic sound from this unit. Besides the up-firing speakers, it features two side speakers. As a result, sound comes from all dimensions and gives the real 3D style audio output. For music lovers, it features a wireless subwoofer with thrilling bass.
Whether you are watching TV in a low volume or high volume, you won’t miss any detail of the scenes. The adaptive sound technology analyzes the sound signal and optimizes it to clarify each detail. Even in low volume, the voice output will be clear.
It is optimized for Samsung QLED televisions and has a 4K passthrough technology. For gamers, the soundbar features a dedicated game mode. The best part is it’s easy to operate, and despite a high-end product. You can even go for a hands-free operation with Alexa.
Best 5.1 Soundbar System for TV: LG SN10YG 5.1.2 ch 570W
- Delivers cinematic surround sound
- Suitable for high-resolution audio streaming
- AI-based audio optimization based on the content
- Supports HDMI eArc for higher bitrate
- It balances sound according to the room setup for the best output
LG SN10YG is a versatile soundbar that fits for all purposes. With the 5 channel audio setting and a powerful subwoofer, movies to gaming, everything feels exciting with thrilling bass. The 570W audio output is comparable with the home theatre system. It can cover medium to large living rooms without sound distortion.
Whether watching television programs or streaming content from online-based services, the Dolby Atmos and DTS: X technology ensures room-filling sound. Upward firing speakers deliver sound from a variety of dimensions for a 3D surround sound setting. Want to go to the next level? Add an expansion kit for rear speakers.
LG’s meridian audio technology is implemented in it for top-level audio signal processing. It is a smart soundbar with AI-based audio technology. The soundbar captures and analyzes the room setting and optimizes the sound for voice clarity. On the other hand, AI Sound Pro technology automatically changes the bass level based on the content type.
It does have both Bluetooth connectivity and HDMI eArc, so direct music streaming is possible in it. For hands-free control, you can use the google assistant. Unlike some cheap soundbars, it won’t deliver jarring sound. The overall performance is quite impressive and satisfactory.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best 5.1 Soundbar
Choosing the best 5.1 soundbars requires deep research, and that takes time. When you have less time and you don’t want to get the wrong product, consider the following things.
The Speaker Setup: As you are going to buy a 5.1 soundbar, the selected item obviously will have 5 channels and 1 subwoofer. But what about other speakers? Yes, all 5.1 soundbars won’t perform equally. It depends on the number of speakers and the setup. If you wish to get 3D surround sound or room-filling audio output, go for a soundbar that comes with rear speakers.
If rear speakers are not available but the soundbar comes with an extension kit, I would suggest going for it. You can easily add speakers using this extension whenever you want. At least you will have the chance to go for a better sound setup.
Audio Output: The audio output depends on various things including wattage. For a top-class audio output, the soundbar should have at least 300-watt output. If this range goes higher, you can expect to have a better audio output. Some sound bars also have special features to optimize the audio.
For instance, some soundbars come with AI technology that can enhance the audio quality. It can emphasize the voice part of the audio and emphasize it for dialogue clarity. Audio adoption technology also auto enhances the audio quality according to scenes and room size. These are some handy features and if your selected item has these, go for it.
Dolby Atmos Compatibility: To enjoy theater-quality audio at home, Dolby Atmos technology is the best way. You won’t get Dolby Atmos audio quality with a random soundbar even if the television allows it. The audio device must have to be Dolby Atmos supported for streaming the audio with high res.
Besides the Dolby Atmos technology, DTS: X technology also helps in getting better audio output and enjoying movies or TV programs at home from third-party streaming platforms.
Connectivity: How you connect the soundbar with television can impact the audio output. A soundbar connected with an HDMI port could deliver better audio without any interruption. On the other hand, a regular connection or 3.5mm connection won’t give the right audio output.
Besides HDMI, the selected items should have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection for direct streaming of music. It allows users to play music from smartphones and tablets.
Price: You can’t deny that price plays a major role in choosing the best 5.1 soundbars. While a basic 5.1 soundbar could be under 200 when it comes with high-end features, it will go higher, and it could be 1K. So, the decision is yours what you want to do. If you seek my advice, I would suggest going for a high price when you have a large living room and a modern 4K television.
But if you are buying the soundbar just because the TV speaker is not performing well, go for soundbars with low to mid-range prices.
FAQs on 5.1 Channel Soundbars
Is a 5.1 soundbar worth it?
Yes, it is worth buying a 5.1 soundbar. A typical 2.1 soundbar delivers audio from two distinct sides, but that won’t feel like theatre. On the other hand, 5.1 soundbars could deliver audio from different dimensions for real 3D sound.
Which is the best brand for the 5.1 soundbars?
It depends on your budget. If your budget is high, go for soundbars from Samsung, LG, or JBL. For affordable pricing, you could consider some other brands as well.
Does a 5.1 soundbar work with any television?
The short answer is yes. But some factors are related to this matter. If your television supports the connectivity of the soundbar, you can use it. Usually, soundbars come with compatibility for most standard televisions.
Is it mandatory to have a wireless subwoofer?
Nope! You can go for a wired subwoofer soundbar as well. But remember that wireless one is more convenient.
Here I have recommended the best 5.1 channel soundbars only based on a detailed research process. You may find products with similar features, and that is okay. But the above products are best performing for all purposes. So, you can go for any of these items. Before placing an order, check the authenticity of the brand to avoid further hassle.