If you don't have a lot of space in your living room, a standalone soundbar is a great option for upgrading 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, too.
We've tested over 130 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 soundbar without a subwoofer that we've tested is the Sonos Arc. This soundbar has a very premium design, and it offers a really impressive Dolby Atmos performance compared to other standalone bars we've tested. Even without satellites, the bar creates a wide and immersive-sounding soundstage that makes it seem like the action in your favorite movies and TV shows is taking place all around you.
Like most premium options on the market, this bar comes with a room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio based on your room's unique acoustics, which Sonos calls TruePlay. With this feature on, it has a fairly neutral sound profile that reproduces clear and accurate vocals and lead instruments, with a touch of extra brightness in the treble that makes your audio sparkle. It also has built-in support for voice assistants, meaning you can control it with your voice from the comfort of your couch.
Unfortunately, compared to other premium bars, there's a lack of sound enhancement features like an EQ for sound customization. Also, it doesn't have as many wireless playback options as other setups we've tested, and there's no Bluetooth support. That said, it offers Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can still stream audio from your phone to the bar over this connection.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is another versatile standalone bar on the market, and it offers a similar overall performance to the Sonos Arc. While it doesn't support DTS content like the Sonos, it offers more wireless playback options, including Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay, so you have more flexibility when casting audio to your bar over a wireless connection. This soundbar has a really wide, immersive-sounding soundstage, and it also comes with a room correction feature, which Bose calls ADAPTiQ. With it on, its sound is neutral with a touch of extra boom in the bass, and vocals and lead instruments are clear and present thanks to its balanced mids. As a result, it's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, from music to movies. Speaking of movies, it also has impressive performance with Dolby Atmos content. However, like the Sonos, there's no EQ for sound customization.
You can't go wrong with either of these bars. However, if you watch a lot of Blu-rays and want a bar with DTS support, check out the Sonos. If you want to stream music to the bar via Bluetooth, consider the Bose instead.
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, but the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar offers a solution, thanks to the subwoofer that comes integrated into the bar itself. As a result, it's able to bring the rumble in your audio right to your living room.
Overall, it's a well-built soundbar that comes with lots of premium sound enhancement features, including a room correction mode as well as 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. There's also a virtual surround feature called AMBEO 3D that can enhance the listening experience, especially with surround sound.
Unfortunately, although it's a standalone bar, it's not really ideal if you're looking to save space in your room - it has a large and bulky design, and it can block out the bottom of your TV screen. It's quite heavy, too. Also, when you compare it to the Bose and the Sonos, its soundstage performance is decent, but it doesn't get the same immersive sound to make it seem like your audio is coming from all around you. If you want better bass reproduction, you may prefer to add on a separate sub to the Bose or the Sonos instead.
If you don't have a lot of space in your living room, check out the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), which is the best all-in-one soundbar with a small design that we've tested. Despite its small size, this premium soundbar offers a really wide and immersive soundstage thanks to its side-firing speakers that beam sound throughout your room. Its soundstage performance actually rivals that of the larger Sonos Arc, making it one of the best small soundbars we've tested.
It has the same design as the original Sonos Beam, but the next-generation model comes with support for Dolby Atmos content that's found on lots of different streaming platforms and Blu-rays. You can also find a room correction feature, which Sonos calls Trueplay, that you can access via the app on compatible iOS devices. With it on, vocals and lead instruments are reproduced pretty clearly, and there's a touch of extra boom in the bass. If you want to customize it, there are bass and treble adjustments available.
That said, this soundbar doesn't come with an EQ, so you aren't able to customize its sound across the range. It doesn't get as loud as the Arc, and its Atmos performance isn't quite as impressive, either. Still, if you want a small standalone bar, it's a really solid choice.
There are some standalone options available at a more affordable price, including the TCL Alto 8i, which is the best standalone soundbar in the budget category that we've tested. It's a 2.1 setup, and it's one of the few options in this price range that we've tested with Dolby Atmos capabilities. Though it doesn't come with as many features as the more premium options on our list, it's still a solid pick compared to other models in this price range.
Out-of-the-box, this soundbar has a fairly neutral, though somewhat dark and boomy sound profile due to the extra bass and recessed treble range. As a result, vocals and lead instruments are reproduced pretty clearly, but they can also sound veiled. Fortunately, there's a standard selection of sound enhancement features available to help you customize its sound, including bass and treble adjustments as well as some EQ presets.
Unfortunately, since it's a 2.1 setup, this soundbar doesn't offer a very immersive experience with surround sound, as it has to downmix it into stereo in order to play it. Its soundstage isn't as immersive as our top picks, either, so you don't get the same feeling of sound wrapping all around you. Without a room correction feature, it sounds a bit different depending on the room you're in, too. That said, if you want a simple, affordable standalone bar, it's a fair pick.
Apr 22, 2022: Minor updates to the text for accuracy. No changes in product picks.
Feb 21, 2022: Replaced the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with the Sonos Arc.
Feb 03, 2022: Minor updates to the text. Added the Sony HT-A5000 to Notable Mentions.
Jan 13, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Dec 24, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
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.