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Published May 16, 2022 1:30 PM

Founded in 1964 by Massachusetts-based sound engineer and professor Amar Bose, the Bose Corporation began as a means for Bose to manufacture and sell a better multi-speaker stereo system based upon his psychoacoustics research. Today, the Bose Corporation is a major player in the audio market and a leading manufacturer of some of the best noise-canceling headphones and smart speakers, including soundbars, currently available. The best Bose soundbars range from highly compact and streamlined designs to premium expandable systems loaded with cutting-edge features like Dolby Atmos, wireless multi-device connectivity, and adaptive spatial calibration. 

Whether you’re in need of a basic upgrade for your television’s sound or you’re looking to add a powerful and immersive media-listening experience to your space, this list of the best Bose soundbars is sure to fit the needs of every audiophile under the sun.

How we chose the best Bose soundbars 

When compiling this list, we compared several different models and looked at a few key criteria to determine the best Bose soundbars currently available. Many modern soundbars offer HDMI ARC or eARC support, as well as optical audio inputs and some level of wireless compatibility to make them as flexible and useful as possible. We looked at connectivity, expandability, as well as audibility (Bose’s soundbars particularly shine in the area of dialogue clarity). We culled through expert reviews and online user impressions and combined them with our own in-house experiences to determine the best options from a highly respected brand.

Things to consider when buying a Bose soundbar

What size is your television?

Soundbars are great for enhancing the stock sound of your television without taking up too much more space than that svelte flatscreen. However, soundbars come in a range of sizes and widths and, in the case of Bose’s soundbars, these widths scale directly with price and overall functionality. If the television is wall-mounted, soundbar size isn’t quite as important. However, if your television uses a tabletop stand, be sure to measure the space underneath and cross-reference the width of the Bose soundbar to ensure it fits (and, especially if you are looking for Atmos compatibility, you want enough depth to ensure the soundbar is in front of, not directly under, the TV). For quick width reference, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is 26.6 inches wide, the Bose Smart Soundbar 500 is 31.5 inches wide, the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 is 38.5 inches wide, the Bose Soundbar 900 is 41.14 inches wide, while the Bose TV Speaker is 23.38 inches wide and the Bose Solo 5 measures 21.5 inches wide.

Do you need a subwoofer or satellite speakers?

The hallmark of a soundbar is its small frame but there is a limit to the volume, frequency response, and stereo spread that can be produced in the soundbar format alone. Adding a subwoofer like the Bose Bass Module 700 can add substantial sub-bass information and add cinematic realism to audio, while adding components like the Bose Satellite Speakers 700 can bump up dimensionality and immersion to new heights. Bose’s subwoofers and satellite speakers are all wireless-compatible, so no cable runs are required to pair them with your soundbar.

Do you require Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a cutting-edge surround sound technology that adds vertical dimensionality to audio for a more cinematic, immersive effect. Atmos dramatically changes the basic approach to how sound systems “place” audio. Instead of simply assigning sounds to channels—usually five, sometimes seven, typically arranged in a horizontal plane around a viewing station—an Atmos-enabled system defines well over 100 individual sounds as “objects” that can be precisely directed in what amounts to an audio bubble. 

If you’re looking for the Dolby Atmos experience from a Bose soundbar, the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is the only product in the line that currently offers Atmos virtualization (​​using upward-firing speakers to bounce sound off the ceiling/walls to simulate physical overhead speakers). As a bonus, the Soundbar 900 features Bose’s proprietary TrueSpace analysis, which converts non-Atmos audio into virtual surround sound.

Do you use AirPlay or Chromecast?

All of Bose’s soundbars in their main product line are AirPlay- and Chromecast-compatible, but the Bose TV Speaker and Bose Solo 5 are not. Fortunately, both of those devices feature Bluetooth functionality, but you won’t be able to access the higher-quality audio streaming that AirPlay and Chromecast provide.

Best Bose soundbars: Reviews & Recommendations

So, you’ve got that stunning new OLED TV, have figured out where best to place it, and have read our guide on what to do when it’s time to connect a soundbar—all that remains is buying one. Here are our top picks in the Bose product line.

Best overall: Bose Smart Soundbar 900

Why it made the cut: The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is a top-of-the-line smart speaker that packs Dolby Atmos, voice assistants, and wireless streaming in a compact, stylish package.

Specs

  • Width: 41.14 inches
  • Channels: 5.0.2
  • Connectivity: HDMI eARC, Optical, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Pros

  • Premium, minimalist finish with glass top
  • Features immersive Dolby Atmos audio and extensive wireless connectivity
  • Powerful drivers and ADAPTiQ room calibration offer high audio clarity

Cons

  • Smartphone app required to access all functions
  • Price adds up when adding surround modules or subwoofer
  • Lacks the deep, cinematic low-end response a woofer would provide

The Smart Soundbar 900 is one of the best Bose soundbars overall thanks to its first-rate combination of build quality, upgradeability, connectivity, and immersive sound. Though it sits at a mere 2.3 inches tall, it packs a lot under its glass panel-topped frame, including state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound with up-firing speakers and PhaseGuide technology, ADAPTiQ room calibration, and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi (including AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect) into a single unit. As the newest and highest-tier soundbar in Bose’s line of soundbars, the Smart Soundbar 900 boasts a wide, detailed soundstage; support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and hi-res 24-bit/192 kHz content; and even applies Bose’s proprietary TrueSpace analysis to convert non-Atmos sound to add further dimensionality. 

The ​​Amazon Alexa- and Google Assistant-equipped smart speaker connects to your television via HDMI eARC (so don’t forget appropriate HDMI cables) and can be expanded wirelessly with Bose’s Surround Speakers 700 and Bose Bass Module 700 to add further depth and immersion to your home theater experience. Already have a pair of Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700? SimpleSync technology lets them pair with the soundbar quickly so you can watch something without disturbing anyone.

Being that the Smart Soundbar 900 is one of Bose’s best soundbars available, it’s a bit pricier than other options on the market (even more so if you want to invest in Bose’s compatible satellite speakers and subwoofer, which must be purchased separately). Users are also required to download Bose’s smartphone app to configure the Smart Soundbar 900 and access its more advanced features, which can be mildly inconvenient for less tech-oriented consumers. Notably, the Smart Soundbar 900 performs well in midrange frequency response and delivers good dialogue clarity, but you’ll definitely want to consider adding the subwoofer if you’re seeking immersive, cinema-like low-end. 

Best TV soundbar: Bose TV Speaker

Why it made the cut: The Bose TV Speaker is the perfect companion soundbar for small TVs and small spaces, with a stripped-down feature set and good expandability making it very user-friendly.

Specs

  • Width: 23.38 inches
  • Channels: 2.0 (stereo)
  • Connectivity: HDMI ARC, Optical, Bluetooth

Pros

  • Easy to set up, easy to use
  • Expandable via Bose bass modules
  • Enhanced dialogue clarity is available at the touch of a button

Cons

  • Limited to stereo sound; lacks surround sound capability
  • No wireless expandability or smart assistant integration
  • Requires separately-sold bass modules to achieve deep low end

Much of a soundbar’s fundamental appeal comes from its ability to provide improved volume and clarity while taking up very little space, and the Bose TV Speaker is a perfect example of just that. Delivering dialogue enhancement and good midrange detail in a compact 23-inch footprint, the Bose TV Speaker is a streamlined smart speaker that’s easy to set up and requires no smartphone app for configuration. It’s equipped with HDMI ARC and optical audio inputs, as well as integrated Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming audio to fuel a living room dance party, and it includes a small remote control that grants one-touch access to a speech-accentuating “dialogue mode.” 

As a side effect of its small size, the Bose TV Speaker lacks significant low-midrange and low-end response when operating as a single unit. This can be remedied by pairing it with a separately sold Bose Bass Module 700, which will bring the listening experience closer to that of a more fleshed-out home theater. Its compact footprint also comes at the cost of more advanced features like Dolby Atmos, virtual assistant integration, and wireless expandability, so there’s a bit of a trade-off to make there as well. But, compared to the sound possible from the built-in speakers of a modern flatscreen television, the Bose TV speaker should offer a big improvement for an approachable price.

Best surround sound system: Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Bose Surround Speakers 700

Why it made the cut: The Bose Surround Speakers 700 are some of the most compact, best-sounding surround speakers for soundbars on the market, making them a flexible choice for elevating your entertainment center.

Specs

  • Width: 41.14 inches (soundbar) and 1.84 inches (surround speaker)
  • Channels: 5.0.2 (soundbar), 5.0.4 (soundbar + satellites)
  • Connectivity: HDMI eARC, Optical, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (soundbar)

Pros

  • Surround speakers compatible with multiple soundbars in Bose product line
  • Wireless connectivity and compact size allow for flexible placement
  • Durable metal-and-plastic construction

Cons

  • Pricey; speakers sold separately from soundbar
  • Speaker stands and brackets sold separately
  • Not compatible with lower-end Bose soundbars

One great aspect of the Bose ecosystem is how it grants users the ability to assemble sound systems piece-by-piece. While this adds some extra work and can be a bit setup-intensive, this offers users some flexibility to mix and match models (and price points) to their liking. Plus it means you can upgrade virtual surround to actual physical surround speakers, which is a noticeably different experience. And the Bose Surround Speakers 700 are the best Bose surround sound speakers for pairing with the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 (scroll up for more specific specs on that) to add dimensionality, volume, and immersion to your home theater experience. Plus they match the Bose aesthetic. 

These speakers are also compatible with the Bose Soundbar 700, Bose Soundbar 500, and Bose Soundbar 300, so you won’t have to miss out if you’re considering any of those less-expensive alternatives. All soundbar-to-speaker pairing takes place wirelessly and requires no long cable runs (just a power outlet each), so these are a very flexible and convenient choice for adding surround sound to practically any space with little hassle.

While the Surround Speakers 700 are available for purchase in a bundle with the Smart Soundbar 900, they’re technically sold separately, which drives up the price substantially. To add further to this cost, you’ll also need to buy mounting brackets or floor stands for your speakers, which can add up to an additional $300 to the total bill. Given that the Surround Speakers 700 are part of a reliable and high-quality ecosystem with a reputation for clear and immersive sound, this is something of a given, but the cost is still important to note. You’ll also need to purchase at least the Soundbar 500 to take advantage of these surround speakers; they aren’t compatible with more stripped-down models like the Bose TV Speaker.

Best with subwoofer: Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Bass Module 700

Why it made the cut: A powerful 10-inch driver, wireless connectivity, and compact footprint make the Bose Bass Module 700 ideal for adding theater-like sub-bass to your Bose soundbar system.

Specs

  • Width: 41.14 inches (soundbar) and 11.6 inches (subwoofer)
  • Channels: 5.0.2 (soundbar), 5.1.2 (soundbar + subwoofer)
  • Connectivity: HDMI eARC, Optical, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (soundbar)

Pros

  • Wireless sub allows for flexible placement
  • Delivers detailed and immersive bass response in a small footprint
  • Compatible with a wide range of Bose soundbars

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Fine control of bass volume requires smartphone app
  • Prone to wireless interference in some settings

Just like Bose’s surround speakers, the Bose Bass Module 700 is a separate component that can pair with the Smart Soundbar 900 (scroll up for more specific specs on that), and is made to deliver one of the best Bose soundbar + subwoofer combinations on the market (the two are sold bundled). The Bass Module 700 pairs wirelessly to the main soundbar (at up to 30 feet), eliminating the need for extra cables while adding deep, extended low-end response (down to 25 Hz) from its 10-inch driver for improved immersion and a movie theater-like rumble that listeners can feel. Considering its reasonable power and low-end detail, the Bass Module 700 is a fairly compact subwoofer, measuring in at under 13 inches tall with an 11.6-inch footprint under its attractive glass panel. Like the Surround Speakers 700, the bass module is also backward-compatible with Bose’s mid-tier soundbars—the Bose Soundbar 700, Bose Soundbar 500, and Bose Soundbar 300—as well as the Bose TV Speaker.

In keeping with the reality of Bose’s piecemeal soundbar systems, the Bass Module 700 costs nearly the same price as the Smart Soundbar 900 itself. While this price is more than reflected in the system’s quality and sound, shoppers who are looking to save a bit of money (and space) might consider the $500, 5.25-inch driver Bose Bass Module 500 if they’re willing to sacrifice optical audio connectivity, DTS compatibility, and a bit of the room-shaking sub-bass that the Bass Module 700 can deliver. 

Users should note that the Bass Module 700’s dedicated volume control is only adjustable via the Bose smartphone app. Also, the unit has been reported as prone to picking up slight wireless interference when placed alongside routers and other wireless devices, but this can be remedied by using the subwoofer in wired mode using the supplied cable.

Best budget: Bose Smart Soundbar 300

Why it made the cut: The Smart Soundbar 300 is the most affordable way to step into the Bose soundbar ecosystem.

Specs

  • Width: 26.58 inches
  • Channels: 3.0
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Optical, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Pros

  • Compact, all-in-one design
  • Wireless support for streaming and expansion
  • Good for dialogue enhancement

Cons

  • Lacks EQ, Dolby Atmos 
  • Lacks extended lows and surround support

If you’re just looking to add excitement, rather than total immersion, to your entertainment system, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is an excellent choice. It’s a 5-driver 3.0 system, so you get left/center/right channels, and you can expand it to 5.1 with the same Bose Bass Module 700 and Bose Surround Speakers 700 supported by the Bose Smart Soundbar 900. You get the same Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Voice for Video control technologies, plus AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect over Wi-Fi. The Bose Smart Soundbar 300, however, costs half as much as the 900. But you also get half the features, as the 300 has far fewer drivers and no EQ, no room correction, no Atmos support, etc. You do still get well-sculpted stereo sound, with a V shape that’s good for rock, pop, and giving movies a little bit of punch (though don’t expect rumble unless you invest in a subwoofer).

If you’re looking to add enhanced volume and dialogue clarity to your entertainment center without breaking the bank, the Solo 5 is technically the cheapest Bose “soundbar,” if you can find one. It’s even smaller than the Bose TV Speaker, measuring in at 21.5 inches wide, and it features a simple 2.0-channel configuration that’s designed for streamlined, no-frills listening. It includes a universal remote from which users can engage the soundbar’s dialogue mode for an even more pronounced midrange response. While the Bose Solo 5 lacks the HDMI and Wi-Fi connectivity that’s often found in mid- to high-end soundbars, it does include Bluetooth compatibility to allow users to stream audio wirelessly from their devices. However, it lacks the frequency response and expandability of the rest of the Bose soundbar range, sitting well below the Soundbar 300.

FAQs

Q: How much does a Bose soundbar cost?

Bose soundbars cost anywhere from sub-$200 to well above $1,500 for the more fleshed-out bundles that combine soundbar, subwoofer, and speaker components. If you’re considering a Bose soundbar for home theater-like sound and the prospect of upgradeability via subwoofers and satellite speakers, you should be prepared to spend at least $400.

Q: What is the difference between the Bose soundbars?

There are plenty of differences between the Bose soundbars; some are related to size and form factor, while others are related to expandability, features, and overall sound. The Bose Soundbars 300, 500, 700, and 900 are all expandable via Bose bass modules and satellite speakers, so their differences come more into play when considered as standalone units. Each successive soundbar in the line is wider than the last, with the 300 measuring 26.6 inches wide and the 900 measuring 45.5 inches wide. Only the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 features Dolby Atmos and Bose TrueSpace technology, which is key to remember if you’re looking for that level of immersive audio from a soundbar.

Q: Is the Bose Soundbar 700 worth it?

The Bose Soundbar 700 is a high-performance soundbar that was released in August of 2018 as Bose’s top-of-the-line soundbar product and is still available today. As of September 2021, the Soundbar 900 is Bose’s new flagship soundbar, and it offers Dolby Atmos for only $100 more than the Soundbar 700. Unless you’re working within a smaller space and can only accommodate the Soundbar 700’s 38.5-inch width, the Soundbar 900 is definitely worth the small bump in price.

Q: Do you need a subwoofer with Bose soundbar?

You don’t need a subwoofer to enjoy a Bose soundbar, but if you’re looking for a more immersive, movie theater-like response, a subwoofer is a must-have upgrade. The Bose Bass Module 500 is a compact subwoofer with a 5.5-inch driver that provides decent extended low-end that users can hear, while the 10-inch driver in the Bass Module 700 is capable of delivering a more kinetic, room-shaking experience.

Q: Can I add speakers to my Bose soundbar?

You can add the Bose Surround Speakers 700 to the Bose Smart Soundbar 300, Bose Smart Soundbar 500, Bose Smart Soundbar 700, and Bose Smart Soundbar 900.

Q: How long do Bose soundbars last?

When used regularly at a moderate volume, kept in a single location, and protected from power surges, Bose soundbars (and any other speakers, for that matter) can last for decades. In the case of a device like a soundbar, which can feature modern connection interfaces, wireless compatibility, and state-of-the-art tech like Dolby Atmos, the products are technically at higher risk of becoming obsolete over time than simply ceasing to function.

Final thoughts on the best Bose soundbars

The Bose Smart Soundbar 900 is our top pick, thanks to its overall sound, wireless compatibility, and implementation of Dolby Atmos. It’s fully expandable via the Bose Bass Module 700 and the Bose Surround Speakers 700, which allow users to add further immersion to their audio without requiring hard-wired connections. If you need a smaller soundbar and are willing to forgo Dolby Atmos, the Smart Soundbar 300, Smart Soundbar 500, and Smart Soundbar 700 are all safe bets, but the Bose TV Speaker is still the best compact Bose soundbar available under 22 inches wide. Finally, if you’re on a budget, consider the Bose Solo 5, which provides decent midrange clarity and improved volume at the cost of standard features like HDMI connectivity.

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