Soundbar vs. Speakers – Which one should you buy?

How many times have you watched a TV show and found the sound to be lacking? In reality, you are missing out on so much of what’s happening in the background. When it comes down to choosing between a soundbar or speakers for your TV, there are pros and cons for both choices. A speaker set will give you better sound quality but may not look good with your TV setup. Soundbars provide more flexibility when it comes to placement but don’t offer as great of audio quality. The choice is up to you! Soundbar vs. speakers, the ultimate choice!

What is a soundbar?

A soundbar is a single bar that contains multiple speakers. These days, most of them are wireless or HDMI, which means you can place them anywhere around the TV and get better audio quality without having to worry about wires or cables running across your room.

soundbar vs speakers - design

What are regular speaker sets for TVs?

Speaker sets look like small cabinets containing two or more separate speakers inside each one. You have an external subwoofer as well in some models but they all connect to the television with a wire (usually digital optical or coaxial). Speaker sets usually come with surround effects which makes watching movies more immersive! They may be bulky so placement isn’t always ideal depending on where your TV sits and how much space there is behind it.

Are soundbars or a speaker set better than the integrated TV speakers?

A soundbar is definitely better than the built-in speakers on your TV. But honestly pretty much any speaker will be better than the built-in speakers. They provide a much richer and fuller sound, in addition to giving you more options for placement around the room without having wires or cables running all over the place.

A speaker set would be best if you’re going to have them sitting directly underneath or behind your television because they will give you great audio quality and surround effects. A decent 2.1 speaker set will do wonders and you can always choose a surround sound setup if you have the space and budget.

Soundbar vs. speakers set – Sound quality

A soundbar would give you better audio quality than the speakers built into your TV. But most people feel that a speaker set gives much, much richer and fuller sound with more depth. If you’re watching action movies or dialogue-heavy shows then definitely go for a speaker set!

A good set of speakers has stereo sound (2.0 or 2.1 at least) and a subwoofer, which will give you much better sound quality than a simple soundbar. If you’re a gamer, music lover, or love watching movies or TV shows with great sound effects then you should definitely go for a speaker set.

soundbar vs speakers - sound quality

There are “surround sound” soundbars but they are usually expensive and don’t provide the best experience. If you’re a gamer or movie enthusiast then soundbars are not for you, get yourself some good speakers!

In terms of sound quality, a good set of speakers (2.1 or above) will always defeat the soundbar and crush the built-in audio. Check out our top speaker brands here.

Soundbar vs. speakers – Design and comfort

A soundbar can be placed anywhere around your TV if you choose a wireless model but may still block other HDMI ports or make some remotes hard to reach depending on placement. It will definitely look better than a clunky speaker cabinet though!

Speaker sets often come with subwoofers which are usually separate boxes that sit underneath furniture, so they aren’t very pretty to look at from an aesthetic standpoint. You should probably put those in cabinets or somewhere where they blend into the background because otherwise, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb! Not to mention hiding speaker cables can be a daunting task! Even worse for surround sound setups with 6-9 speakers!

In terms of design and comfort, the soundbar wins hands down.

Soundbar vs. speakers – Pricing and upgradeability

A soundbar is usually less expensive than a speaker set. However, they aren’t upgradable like a good quality speaker set which will stay with you for years to come!

Speaker sets are definitely the most expensive choice but if you choose wisely then an entry-level one won’t break your budget and can last several years depending on how much use it gets. You can also get better models later down the line when funds allow or upgrade certain components as time goes by (speakers, subwoofer, add an amp., etc.).

In terms of pricing, short-term the soundbar wins but if you think long-term a set of speakers is the better choice.

Pros and cons of a soundbar

The soundbar offers better quality sound than the built-in TV speakers. It also frees up space from bulky speaker cabinets and gives you more options for placement around the room due to the lack of wires or cables!

A soundbar is convenient but doesn’t give as good audio quality as a decent set of speakers, lacks surround effects which can be awesome when watching movies or playing games, it won’t have upgradeability like a speaker set will, and isn’t aesthetically pleasing if placed in front of your television on top of furniture.

Here are the main pros and cons of a soundbar.


  • Better sound quality than the built-in TV speakers.
  • Frees up space from bulky speaker cabinets.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Easy to install and connect without too many cables.


  • Lacks surround effects which can be awesome when watching movies or playing games.
  • No upgradeability.
  • Some soundbars can be as expensive as a good speaker set.
  • Limited features.

Pros and cons of a speaker set

A speaker set will give you much better sound quality than the built-in TV speakers. It also gives you more freedom of placement around the room and is aesthetically pleasing to look at if placed underneath your television on top of furniture!

soundbar vs speakers - pricing

The disadvantages are that it can be pricey, bulky, it requires decent cable management, especially if you’re going for a surround sound speaker set.

Here are the main pros and cons of a speaker set.


  • Much better sound quality than the built-in TV speakers.
  • Free up space around the room if placed on top of furniture underneath the television.
  • Customizable surround sound with multiple speakers if you will.
  • Upgradeable components in addition to regular speakers like subwoofer and amplifier.
  • Great for music and movie lovers.
  • You’re not tied to a single manufacturer.


  • It can be a pricey investment.
  • Bulky if you need to hide speaker cables from the television to speakers around the room (especially with surround sound setups).
  • Installation can be more complex if you’re not tech-savvy

Final thoughts – which one should you buy?

As you can see there are pros and cons for both soundbars and speaker sets. Both options offer better sound quality than the built-in TV speakers but at a cost! In order to make an informed decision, it’s important to look at your needs as far as budget, space around the room (if you have limited space), design preferences (do you want something that looks discrete or bold?), how much use do you plan on getting out of them? and how much do you care about sound quality?

If you’re looking for something more permanent and have a bit of cash to spend then the speaker set is probably your best bet but if you just want better sound temporarily or on a budget, go with the soundbar. Remember that even though both options are far superior to integrated speakers they won’t compare to dedicated floor-standing speakers!

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