Adding the right soundbar to your Samsung TV can make a world of difference to your home cinema setup – especially as sets get thinner and thinner.
That’s because as our TVs get slimmer, there’s simply less room for manufacturers to include decent built-in speakers, which can leave your TV’s audio sounding tinny and underwhelming. It can also mean that some sound elements, such as voices, get more lost in the overall mix than you'd like.
If you've gone for a mid-range TV especially, the speakers are often where money is saved, with the investment put into prettier pictures and fast smart features instead. But that's an easy fix: just add soundbar.
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If you don’t want the hassle (or the expense) of a huge 5.1 speaker setup, a soundbar is the perfect way to make your Samsung TV’s audio punchier and more immersive – what’s more, the best soundbars can also double up as Bluetooth speakers to soundtrack your parties, or just furnish your living room with a little mood music.
Our choices here are informed by our list of the overall best soundbars, naturally, but we've also included some extra Samsung models.
In general, any soundbar can work with any kind of TV, because the connection types are neutral. However, there are some that work particularly well with Samsung TVs – but it's more that they add features, rather than that you need a specific type of soundbar to work with Samsung TVs.
As an example of these added features, many of Samsung’s 2020 TVs come with an audio feature called Q Symphony, which allows the TV’s built-in speaker to work in tandem with compatible Samsung soundbars. As well as adding some extra oomph to the audio output, Q Symphony also adds a little more directional sound to proceedings.
That means that, if you buy a 2020 Samsung TV when they come out in a few weeks' time, it might be worth waiting until the Samsung HQ-Q800T, the first soundbar to support this technology, is released later this year. Pricing is still to be confirmed, but they'll be fairly high-end options.
Otherwise? The whole world of soundbars is open to you, which can be a little overwhelming. That's why this roundup will focus on not only the very best soundbars you can buy in 2020, but also the best models for your Samsung TV specifically.
How to choose the best soundbar for your Samsung TV
Before we get on to our top picks, there are a few things that are worth considering when it comes to picking a soundbar to go with your Samsung TV.
First and foremost, you should think about how much money you’d ideally like to spend on your new soundbar. These days, soundbars can be bought for under £100, but the really high-end models can cost well over £1,000 – we’ve included a range of prices in this guide, but if you’ve got your eye on a pricier soundbar than your budget allows for, don’t forget that truly brilliant soundbar deals pop up all the time, particularly between November and January.
Something else to consider is the design of your new soundbar. Samsung TVs are known for their sleek builds, so it’s worth looking for a soundbar that compliments your TV. Some soundbars can be wall-mounted or placed in front of your TV on a cabinet or stand, while some act as a stand for your TV to sit on – these are known as soundbases.
If you choose to place your soundbar in front of your TV, make sure it isn’t so tall that it obscures the infrared light from your remote control, or even that it edges into the picture – some TVs stand higher from the surface than others!
Be sure to look into the type of wired connections your soundbar offers, too. HDMI is the easiest way to hook your soundbar up to your Samsung TV, and can handle Hi-Res Audio formats; for this, your TV needs to support HDMI-ARC, which means the audio can travel in both directions along the cable.
Another benefit of HDMI-ARC connections is that you can use your regular Samsung TV remote to control the soundbar, instead of adding yet another control to your collection.
However, not all soundbars, and indeed, not all TVs, support HDMI-ARC, particularly cheaper models. And if they do, they may not support it on every HDMI connection, so you'd need to make sure you're plugging it into the right one. On new higher-end TVs, this doesn't tend to be a problem, but on some older TVs it's a pain to lose an HDMI port. However, many soundbars will have HDMI passthrough inputs themselves, meaning you can plug something into your soundbar, connect the soundbar to your TV, and the video will still make it to your TV, so you don't lose any connectivity.
If you can't or don't want to use HDMI-ARC, you can connect it to your Samsung TV using an optical digital cable or coaxial cable – again, check the back of your TV to see which is supported. Optical is the most common.
Another connectivity feature to consider is whether your new soundbar supports Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for wireless music streaming from your phone or tablet, and whether you’re interested in having that anyway.
But the most important thing to consider when choosing a new soundbar, is the kind of audio quality it can offer. Some soundbars come equipped with immersive virtual Dolby Atmos, which makes it feel as though the sound is coming at you from all angles, while others offer simple stereo playback, though all will be designed to give a wider, more natural sound than your average TV can manage.
Some come with a subwoofer built-in, while others rely on a (usually better-sounding, but large) external subwoofer that blasts rumbling bass frequencies for an impactful sound.
The best soundbars for your Samsung TV
If you want to keep it in the family, the HW-Q90R is the best soundbar you can buy for your Samsung TV – at least until the HQ-Q800T is released later in 2020.
With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, this soundbar has actual upward-firing tweeters and rear speakers, providing a truly immersive sound that comes at you from all angles – ideal for watching films. For audiophiles, there’s also support for Hi-Res Audio codecs, including FLAC and WAV.
It’s undoubtedly pricey, and as such, you might expect it to have more than two HDMI inputs, but with an optical digital input and wireless connectivity in the form of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you shouldn’t find yourself yearning for more connection options overall.
The HW-Q90R comes with support for Samsung’ SmartThings app, which means you can control it using a single hub for all your compatible devices. The icing on the cake? It also works with Amazon Alexa, so you can use your Amazon Echo speaker to control it hands-free.
If you’re looking for a versatile, easy-to-setup soundbar that includes Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, the Sonos Beam is a great choice – it’s also not prohibitively expensive, sitting in the lower mid-range of the soundbar price scale.
Its sleek, compact design (in white or black) lends itself to smaller spaces, while its support for HDMI-ARC makes it super simple to get started with (as long as your Samsung TV supports this connection type).
As a member of the Sonos ecosystem, the Beam can form part of a wireless multi-room setup (either through the Sonos app, or Apple AirPlay 2), so it’s a good option if you already have other Sonos speakers and want to fill your entire home with sound – or to start building a multi-room setup.
The Sonos Beam doesn’t support Dolby Atmos or other 3D audio options, and it's not trying to emulate surround sound – it's a fantastic sounding soundbar that massively improves what almost an TV is capable of, for a great price.
Love the sound and multi-room functionality of the Sonos Beam but want a soundbase your TV can sit on? Look no further than the Sonos Playbase.
This good-looking soundbar makes an aesthetic statement as well as making your TV sound incredible, with a nuanced presentation that works just as well for your music as it does for TV and film.
It only has an optical connection, which as we mentioned, doesn’t allow for Hi-Res Audio codecs and isn’t supported by all TVs – be sure to check the back of your display before you buy. It also means it isn't controlled by your regular TV remote.
Setting up the Sonos Playbase can be a little annoying, because it wants you to wave your phone around the room to 'tune' its sound. Even so, the audio quality is fantastic, particularly when it comes to deciphering mumbled dialogue.
It may not be the highest-spec soundbar out there, but the Q Acoustics M4 is a simple solution that represents really good value for money. Plug it in over optical connection and you're good to go, though there’s also support for aptX Bluetooth for high-quality music, a 3.5mm audio port, and even stereo RCA inputs.
It sounds great in any of these situations, too; it may only support stereo sound, but it's tuned to really get the most out of its 2.1 setup. You should find that your favourite TV shows and films sound great when played through this hardworking bar, especially thanks to the meaty elliptical subwoofer (though the unit is fairly deep, so as to accommodate all that bass).
Prefer a soundbase design? Check out the Q Acoustics M2, which puts the sound of the M4 into a soundbar you can place your TV on.
The Sony HT-X8500 is perhaps the best value Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy right now, and it could make a great addition to your Samsung TV.
Now, because this soundbar doesn’t include upfiring drivers, it doesn’t deliver ‘true’ Dolby Atmos, which bounces sound off of your ceiling and down to your ears. However, Sony’s Vertical Sound Engine means that the HT-X8500 works with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content to create an illusion of immersive sound – and it does this really convincingly.
Despite its relatively low price, this Sony soundbar feels like a premium product, with a solid build and sleek look; and it has plenty of connectivity options with an HDMI input, an HDMI-ARC output, analogue audio in/output, Ethernet, optical audio input, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi support.
Despite being a little older than the HW-Q90R, the Samsung HW-K950 is still a superb option if you want to boost the sound of your Samsung TV.
It comes with two stereo rear speakers and a subwoofer that work alongside the upfiring drivers in the soundbar itself, for truly immersive Dolby Atmos surround sound. It can even upscale standard surround sound to 5.1.4 Atmos, making any audio source sound fantastically immersive.
A 4K HDMI passthrough means that you can hook it up to sources like a 4K Blu-ray player, and the picture will pass through the soundbar and into your Samsung TV.
There are lots of easy streaming options if you want to listen to music; the Samsung smartphone app means you can stream Tidal, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more through the HW-K950.