- Our pick for the best soundbar at Walmart is the Samsung HW-Q990B
- Active soundbars are powered by built-in amplifiers compared to Passive amplifiers.
- A 5-channel soundbar provides surround sound through rear speakers.
- Optical ports are common on soundbars, but HDMI ARC ports are the best.
When you want to add big sound without sacrificing space, soundbars are a great choice. The best soundbars at Walmart can accomplish that feat, and there is truly something for everyone. With that in mind, we rounded up 5 of the top options from the retailer. Whether you’re interested in a small, compact soundbar or one in the premium class, we have you covered.
- Best Soundbar Overall: Samsung HW-Q990B Adaptive Soundbar
- Best Soundbar Runner Up: VIZIO M-Series 5.1.1 Soundbar M512a-H6
- Best 3.1.2 Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q800A
- Best Compact Soundbar: Sonos Ray with Sub Mini Subwoofer
- Best Budget Soundbar: iLive 2.0 Soundbar ITB196B
|Samsung HW-Q990B||VIZIO M512a-H6|
|Number of Components||4?||4|
|Samsung HW-Q800A||Sonos Ray|
|Number of Components||2||1|
|iLive 2.0 Soundbar|
|Number of Components||1|
The Best Soundbars at Walmart
Walmart may not be the first brand that comes to mind when consumers are shopping for high-end AV equipment. Well, this big-box retailer has plenty of big names in stock locally. You can also find premium brands online through third-party sellers, so there is a broad selection of soundbars at any given time.
1. Best Soundbar Overall: Samsung HW-Q990B
Samsung has produced stereo components for longer than most people realize, but their newer products have gotten a lot of attention. If you’re looking for the best high-end system, it’s hard to go wrong with the Samsung HW-Q990B adaptive soundbar.
This well-received soundbar is an 11.4-channel system that’s just as versatile as it is powerful. You can use Q-Symphony with an existing Samsung TV or ask Alexa to turn on a podcast. The soundbar has AirPlay 2, along with Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity. Samsung’s HW-Q990B also has 4K pass-through with HDR 10+.
As for the power, it produces 656 watts across four components. There are a total of 22 speakers in all including upward-firing rear speakers. This smart soundbar is capable of analyzing a room and calibrating itself and is suitable for any type of content. Thanks to Samsung’s tech, you can enhance voices on Podcasts or enjoy the full DTS X Dolby Atmos experience with films and television shows.
The Samsung HW-Q990B is in the premium class but still considered a bargain by audiophiles given what it brings to the table. It’s one of the easiest systems in this class for consumers to get going out of the box, and Dolby will make the audio come alive. While it’s disappointing there are no Chromecast capabilities, it checks the right boxes across the board and is one of the best soundbars at Walmart.
|It has 11.1.4-channel surround sound.||There is no Chromecast support.|
|The HW-Q990B has Dolby Atmos stereo.||The price could be cheaper.|
|There is Adaptive Sound technology.|
|It is easy to setup and use.|
2. Best Soundbar Runner Up: VIZIO M-Series 5.1.2 Soundbar M512a-H6
VIZIO has always been a great brand to turn to when your budget is tight compared to companies like Sennheiser, Samsung, and Sony. This VIZIO 5.1.2 soundbar doesn’t have as many channels as our top pick, but it provides impressive performance at half the price.
The VIZIO M512a-H6 is a soundbar with four wireless components and 11 speakers from the bar to the 6” sub. The audio is crisp and there’s plenty of boom with this system. VIZIO utilizes up-firing speakers like Samsung, and it’s capable of Dolby Atmos DTS Virtual as well. The company added plenty of modes along with tech like X virtualized surround sound.
There are a number of presets EQs to choose from along with Dual Stereo Mode. This utilizes all 11 speakers for maximum impact, but there’s also a built-in voice assistant from VIZIO. It’s not comparable to Siri or Alexa, but a nice touch nonetheless. There’s one HDMI eARC port and Bluetooth 5.0 for use with streaming services as well.
Consumers have been impressed with this soundbar in a variety of ways making it a top option for Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 systems in this range. From the price to the sound quality with Dolby, the VIZIO M512a-H6 packs a punch. It has an attractive design, and while it only has half the channels of the HW-Q990B, it’s considerably cheaper.
|It features Dolby and Virtualized Surround Sound.||There is no Wi-Fi connectivity.|
|There is an HDMI eARC port.||It has an underwhelming app.|
|The soundbar has Dual Stereo Mode.|
|There are Voice control capabilities.|
3. Best 3.1.2 Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar
If you’re not concerned with extra channels, and just want a solid sub and soundbar, there are dozens of solid 3.1systems. One of the best options comes from Samsung, and you’ll find plenty of impressive features on the company’s HW-Q800A 3.1.2 channel soundbar.
Samsung’s Q series soundbars have always been popular, and the HW-Q800 is no exception. It’s a punchy system comprised of a soundbar and subwoofer. It has around half the power of the company’s premium system but with only 3 fewer speakers than the VIZIO M512a-H6. This soundbar is also capable of producing 3D-like sound thanks to the up-firing speakers and Dolby DTS X.
As you’d expect, this system is packed full of technology from Samsung. It has premium features like SpaceFit Sound calibration, Adaptive Sound, and Q-Symphony. Gamers will appreciate Game Pro Mode, and connectivity is top of the line outside of the exclusion of Chromecast. That means you’ll get HDMI eARC, Bluetooth, Alexa, and Apple’s AirPlay 2.
While there are other solid 3.1-channel soundbars in this range, none have the number of features you’ll find with the HW-Q800A. It’s got ample kick for its size, and consumers have been pleased with its performance. The only downside is the price when compared to similar 3.1.2 soundbar systems from LG and Philips.
|It has Dolby Atmos with DTS:X.||It is pricey compared to other 3.1 systems.|
|It offers a full array of premium features.||There are Samsung TV-specific features.|
|There is Alexa integration.|
|it has Wi-Fi connectivity.|
4. Best Compact Soundbar: Sonos Ray Compact Soundbar
Soundbars are designed to take up less space than a full stereo system, but multiple components can still cause issues in any room. There’s no shortage of soundbars at Walmart built to save space, but none do it better than the compact Sonos Ray.
At only 22 inches wide and 2.7 inches tall, the Sonos Ray certainly won’t take up much space. The minimalistic design will fit with any décor considering it’s available in Black or White. It’s a connected system with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and an optical jack. It doesn’t have an HDMI port, however, which may rule this soundbar out for some.
As you’d expect, Sonos has included a number of flagship features in this soundbar. You can stream podcasts through the Sonos App and Wi-Fi or use Night Sound mode to tone things down during the evening. Speech Enhancement helps clear up an unintelligible dialogue — a feature Christopher Nolan fans can appreciate.
Sonos only used four speakers in this soundbar, but the design allows for maximum impact. It’s proved popular with consumers in need of a space-saving device and certainly doesn’t disappoint with audio quality. The only negative is the lack of an HDMI port, which could be a deal breaker if you’re not partial to optical ports.
|It has a space-saving design.||There are no HDMI ports.|
|There is a great sound range.||The soundbar lacks a sub for the price.|
|It has speech enhancement and Night Sound.|
|The soundbar has Wi-Fi.|
5. Best Budget Soundbar: iLive 2.0 Soundbar ITB196B
iLive is a brand that may not ring too many bells depending on your preference in tech. The manufacturer is a popular choice in the budget niche and has a range of audio equipment from headphones to home theater components. That includes soundbars like the iLive ITB196B, which is the best budget-friendly option from Walmart.
The ITB196B isn’t as eye-catching as soundbars from Samsung but sports a modern, if somewhat boxy, design. It’s 32 inches in length with onboard controls mounted on one end. You can also control the soundbar with the included remote, although it’s one of the few rough spots in this system. Consumers wished it came with a better remote control, but were impressed with the sound for the price.
iLive didn’t include details on what’s inside this soundbar, but a wealth of positive reviews prove it’s more than capable. The 2-channel system has a wireless range of around 60 feet through Bluetooth although it doesn’t have Wi-Fi or an HDMI port. You’ll need to connect to modern TVs through an optical cable, but there are also RCA stereo inputs and a 3.5mm audio jack.
This soundbar is an excellent choice for a secondary TV or consumers just looking to get improve the audio of their television set without breaking the bank. It comes with everything you need to get started out of the box as well as an optical cable and wall-mounting hardware. Just keep the ports in mind along with the mediocre remote.
|The price point is fantastic.||It has no HDMI ports.|
|There is solid audio across the board.||It’s a passive soundbar.|
|It features optical and RCA inputs.||There is a mediocre remote.|
|The soundbar is easy to use.|
How to Find the Best Soundbar at Walmart
Purchasing a soundbar isn’t as easy as it was a decade ago due to the endless amount of options. Everyone knows to look for a soundbar that sounds fantastic, but that generally boils down to a handful of factors. The number of channels the system has along with the features and your budget.
This is an area that can confuse consumers new to the world of home audio equipment. To keep things simple, think of a channel as “speakers” with a soundbar. Whenever you see a soundbar listed as a 2.1 system, that typically means there are two speakers; a left and right channel along with a subwoofer.
A 3.0 soundbar adds a center channel into the mix, while a 3.1 system tacks on a sub. The more channels a soundbar has, the more immersive the experience it will provide. Soundbars with 2-3 channels tend to be budget-friendly, while a 5-channel system has been the starting point for many high-end audio systems.
A 5.1-channel system has a center channel, left and right channels, two rear speakers, and a subwoofer. It’s the benchmark for home theater systems and the most common. You can find 7.1 soundbars and also add additional speakers to some existing systems to expand their capabilities. That said, you can’t always take those numbers at face value.
Samsung’s HW-Q990B soundbar doesn’t actually come with 11 external speakers, although it’s sold as an 11.1.4-channel system. It’s just four components, engineered with 22 speakers including four upward-firing channels.
Every soundbar manufacturer has flagship features designed to lure consumers in. That could be touch-sensitive controls, special modes, or even the design itself. While those are important and vary depending on your needs, consider these features beforehand.
HDMI connections are the most common with premium soundbars, but something companies can exclude or enhance. The Sonos Ray doesn’t have one, but Samsung’s premium sound has two. It also has 4K pass-through — something found on premium soundbars.
If you want the best connection currently available, look for a soundbar with at least one HDMI eARC port. The other type of connectivity you’ll want to consider is the wireless kind. Soundbars are designed to be cable-free or kept to a minimum, but how they connect to other devices varies considerably.
The best soundbars at Walmart and other retailers generally have Wi-Fi built in. This allows you to connect to streaming services and other devices without having to rely on Bluetooth. That’s a feature every modern soundbar has, but smart home functionality is hit or miss.
Audio quality and the number of channels a soundbar has are tied to pricing. Branding plays a large part in that as well, although that goes hand-in-hand with the audio quality.
If your budget is tight, you’re probably considering a soundbar in the 2.0 or 3.1 class. They pack some punch for the price, but can’t measure up to a true 5.1 soundbar system. They will give you a theater-like experience from the comfort of your home.
You may need to spend extra time configuring soundbars with separate speakers along with 7.1-channel systems. Once you get beyond 5.1 with a soundbar, you may want to consider buying individual components.
Keep your budget in mind when looking for the best soundbars. There are some impressive models, but none can replicate the sound you’ll get from receivers and floor-standing speakers designed for home theaters.
What to Know Before Buying a Soundbar at Walmart
Walmart has become a go-to destination for consumers in more than 20 countries across the globe. With more than 9,000 stores, they have always had plenty of reach, and that’s expanded considerably through online sales.
While they aren’t on the same level as Amazon in that regard, they carry almost anything you can imagine. That includes soundbars at Walmart, along with those from third-party sellers. That’s the first thing to know before you buy a soundbar from Walmart — pay attention to where it’s coming from.
As you can see, not everything listed comes directly from the company. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, although they aren’t a substitute for a stereo shop. When you want high-end components for your home theater systems, Walmart’s selection is sparse compared to Crutchfield, Best Buy, and others. Official webshops from companies like Bowers & Wilkins or Bose are options as well.
Using a Soundbar: What It’s Like?
The first thing you’ll want to know about using a soundbar is that it is incredibly easy to use. That’s part of the draw of these all-in-one systems. You can set one up in a few minutes without any technical knowledge, and all of the components are easy to move around.
The biggest two challenges you may face during the initial setup come into play with connectivity and the layout of your home. Acoustics matter when you want optimum performance, so placement matters more when you’re dealing with rear speakers and subs.
Connected soundbars are a bonus, but only if they stay connected. That’s a common complaint with some users and certain models or brands. It’s also something that’s easily alleviated if you have a solid router or the soundbar has an Ethernet port.
Adding a soundbar to your home can bring content to life, and will put any TV’s built-in speakers to shame. They are cheaper than a traditional home stereo system in most cases, but they don’t take up nearly as much space. Just remember to keep the width in mind with placement unless you plan to mount your new soundbar on the wall.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©MAV_malaga/Shutterstock.com.