If you don't have a lot of space in your living room, a standalone soundbar is a great option to upgrade your TV speakers. These setups are designed to offer an immersive listening experience without the need for a dedicated subwoofer or satellite speakers. Thanks to side-firing and up-firing drivers built into the bar, many all-in-one setups can play surround and Dolby Atmos content.
We've tested over 155 soundbars, and below you'll find the best soundbars without subwoofers to buy. You can see our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, and the best small soundbars.
The best all-in-one soundbar that we've tested is the Sonos Arc. It's a premium 5.0.2 soundbar that supports many different audio formats, including those that are commonly found on streaming platforms like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos. With its wide, immersive soundstage, you feel like your favorite movies are playing out in the space around you, bringing the action right to your living room. Sound effects are clear and detailed, and you don't have any trouble following the action on screen, thanks to its clear and detailed dialogue reproduction.
The bar's compatible with the Sonos S2 app, which lets you control a whole ecosystem of Sonos products, meaning you can pair the bar with other speakers and devices from the brand. Also, as with most premium setups, there's a room correction tool to optimize audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics—Sonos calls it Trueplay. While it's only available on iOS devices, Android users can still use its bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound. If you're an avid Android user looking for a similar option with room correction that's available on both Android and iOS devices, check out the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. It's another premium standalone bar with a wide and immersive-sounding soundstage, though it doesn't reproduce as much low-bass as the Sonos.
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a versatile setup that's a more affordable alternative to our top picks. It's the latest version of the Sonos Beam and keeps the same small design as its predecessor, but it adds support for Dolby Atmos content that's often found on different streaming platforms. As a result, you can take advantage of more immersive object-based formats, even if you don't have the space in your setup for a larger standalone bar. Despite its small size, it still offers a wide sound thanks to its side-firing speakers that beam sound throughout your room.
You'll find a similar selection of sound enhancement features compared to the Sonos Arc. Like most premium bars, there's a room correction feature, which Sonos calls Trueplay, via the app on compatible iOS devices. With it on, vocals and lead instruments reproduce pretty clearly, and there's a touch of extra boom in the bass to bring action-packed scenes to life. If you want to customize it, there are bass and treble adjustments available. That said, given its small size, it's little surprise that it doesn't get as loud as the Arc, and its Atmos performance isn't quite as impressive. Still, for those without a lot of space who want a premium bar, it's a solid pick.
The Sonos Ray is a standalone soundbar that's a more affordable alternative to our top picks. Released in 2022, this small and sleek 2.0 bar is designed to enhance stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. Right out of the box, you get a clear and even sound, with an accurate reproduction of dialogue in TV shows as well as voices and lead instruments in your favorite songs. Of course, as a standalone bar, it doesn't bring that much rumble in the bass, which is especially noticeable with genres like EDM and hip-hop.
If you want a similarly-priced all-in-one bar with a little more bass, check out the Bose TV Speaker. Like the Sonos Ray, it's a small 2.0 bar that's great for music and dialogue-focused TV shows. It lacks room correction, though, and if you own existing Sonos products, you may prefer to add the Ray to your existing ecosystem. Still, they're both great choices, and if you don't watch Atmos content, you may find that they're a better value than the Sonos Beam (Gen 2).
The Sony HT-S100F is a cheap option with a simple design. It's a good choice if you want an upgrade over your TV speakers at a very affordable cost, and its compact design means that it doesn't take up a lot of space in your setup. That said, it still gets loud enough to fill your living room with sound, which is great. Since it's a 2.0 bar, it's best suited for listening to stereo content, which includes most music and TV shows. Its mids are fairly balanced, so you hear dialogue clearly in the mix; however, they're also a bit dark and muddy due to the lack of bass and recessed treble, especially compared to more premium setups like the Vizio M Series M213ad-K8.
The sound enhancement features available are limited as well. You'll find a dialogue enhancement mode and an auto-volume feature that balances out the highs and lows in the volume range to help you hear voices clearly without disturbing people around you, which is great if you want to watch TV at night. There's support for 5.1 surround sound content like Dolby Digital, too, though it has to downmix it into stereo to play it. It's a straightforward bar with an okay sound, but if you're on a tight budget, it lets you enhance the listening experience with vocal-heavy TV shows and documentaries.
Whether you're listening to bass-heavy music or action-packed movies, a soundbar that reproduces the deep thump and rumble in the bass range helps bring your audio to life. Most standalone options struggle to get an extended low-bass on their own; however, the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar MAX offers a solution, thanks to the subwoofer integrated into the bar. As a result, it can bring the rumble in your audio right to your living room—however, its large, bulky design isn't ideal for everyone, as it takes up quite a lot of space and can block your TV screen if you don't wall-mount it.
Overall, it's a well-built soundbar with many premium sound enhancement features, including a room correction mode and a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize its sound. With its room correction feature activated, it reproduces vocals and lead instruments clearly in the mix, and dialogue is present in your favorite movies and TV shows. It doesn't offer the same immersive feel as our top picks with its soundstage, but you can use its virtual surround feature called AMBEO 3D, which can enhance the listening experience. That said, given its size and its price, bass-lovers might find it's a better value to add on a separate sub to the Bose or the Sonos instead.
Dec 16, 2022: Replaced the Vizio M Series M213ad-K8 with the Sonos Ray as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick.
Oct 18, 2022: Replaced the TCL Alto 8i with the Vizio M Series M213ad-K8.
Aug 19, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Jun 21, 2022: Restructured the article for greater clarity and consistency.
Apr 22, 2022: Minor updates to the text for accuracy. No changes in product picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best all-in-one soundbars and the best soundbars without subwoofer add-ons for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our standalone soundbar reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.