Good balance of sound quality, usability and affordability is what the most users are expecting from the best home theater system. However, that is not the only aspect that distinguishes a good product from a bad one. There are numerous characteristics that make an impact on the overall quality of a home theater system and if you are a newbie on the subject, that might present an issue.
Nevertheless, all of that can be fixed in no-time and all you need to do is act according to the following guidelines, and your perfect device will show up eventually.
Last update on 2023-11-05 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Home Theater System
In order for you to make your search for the best home theater system as simple as possible, you should focus your attention on a few important characteristics that make the biggest difference and separate quality products from the rest.
One of the most important home theater characteristics is definitely surround sound; however, it’s not just its configuration (5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 9.1, etc.), but also supported formats (Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, DTS, etc.).
7.1 surround sounds is usually a better option than 5.1, just like support for various formats usually provides a much better sound experience. You should, however, choose your best fit based on your room size or needs, not just performance.
For instance, 7.1 would probably be too much for a tiny room, and also many surround sound formats wouldn’t have enough space to show their best sides. Therefore, be reasonable and choose the combination that will give you the best possible experience in accordance with your needs and circumstances.
As you can guess, connectivity is one of the most important aspects of a home theater system; however, it’s not because of its general use, but mostly because of its versatility.
If you have a variety of connections available, you will have the opportunity to connect it to other devices and as a result, expand the usability of the system. In other words, there are never enough connectivity options.
More power allows you to efficiently use your home theater system in a larger space. For instance, 50W subwoofer in combination with 50W speaker, or smaller, is usually good enough for small rooms, while for larger rooms you would probably need a subwoofer with more than 100W and a set of speakers that goes along with that. Have in mind: the larger the space, the more power is needed.
Best Home Theater Systems
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 Surround Sound System
A Highly Compact, but Efficient Home Theater
Finding a practical home theater system that combines a compact size and quality performance is desired by many, and Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack delivers precisely that. It offers a rich sound, common for much bigger systems and overall small size that makes it perfect as a discrete home theater solution.
Unfortunately, its 50W subwoofer, paired with 50W satellites and 75W center speakers doesn’t supply enough power for use in large rooms, but still, it represents a respectable starter pack that will ideally suit most living rooms.
Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack provides a 5.1 surround sound, offers a reliable 2.4GHz wireless connection and is equipped with LFE/Stereo inputs. Also, it has an input impedance of 8 Ohms and offers a sleek, black look, which makes it suitable for all sorts of interiors.
On the other hand, its price is a bit too high. However, if you are searching for a stylish and efficient system that presents one of the best wireless home theater systems at the same time, Klipsch Black Reference Theater Pack 5.1 is an ideal fit for you.
- Rich sound
- No AV receiver
Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D
Impressive Compact Home Theater For the Money
Even if Definitive Technology is not exactly one’s run off the mill brand when it comes to audio gear, the ProCinema 6D home theater speaker system is pretty interesting. One of the main advantages of the ProCinema 6D is not the 6D thing, as you may be inclined to believe, but the asking price.
If you find a good deal, for way less than one grand you’ll get a state of the art 5.1 speaker system with a 250-watt powered subwoofer, a center channel plus four speakers respectively, not to mention sleek design and modern aesthetics, i.e. this home cinema will look great in any living room.
What’s very important about the ProCinema 6D is the sound quality, and here Definitive Technology really excels. This compact home theater system has it all: a killer subwoofer that will shake your foundations, crystal clear satellite speakers and a high-performance center channel equipped with a 1″ Tweeter, (2) 3.25″ Mid/Woofer BDSS Drivers & (2) 3.25″ Bass Radiators for precise sound reproduction.
In terms of bang for the buck, nothing can touch the Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D home theater system, and if you want great sound to complement your cool OLED TV, just give it a shot and thank us later.
- Great sound
- Minimalist design
- Easy to install
- None really at this price
Small System Big Sound
When it comes to Hi-Fi gear, Onkyo is one of the best out there, but this time we present you with a budget option if you’re looking for a no-nonsense 5.1 home theater system: the HT-S3900. This compact home theater package retails for less than $500 currently, and it makes for the little brother of the higher-end HT-S9700THX.
Truth be told, this is one of Onkyo’s cheapest receivers, and it includes five satellite speakers plus a subwoofer. Basically, this is a complete budget-oriented solution for your living room, and despite the low asking price, you’ll benefit from more than decent audio quality for watching movies. Just to give you a taste, ach speaker has a 3’’ full range driver, and it’s capable of delivering 50 W of power.
It’s worth mentioning that there are no mounting points to speak of, so you’ll have to use them as shelf/stand-mounting speakers. The 6.4’’ sub delivers 100 W of power, and that’s more than enough to rock your world. Despite its very affordable price and compact dimensions, the Onkyo HT-S3900 is better in terms of sound quality than many of its competitors in its price range, and the best thing about it is that it’s compatible with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio for an immersive in-movie experience.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for the complete (and affordable) solution for movies and gaming, the Onkyo HT-S3900 comes highly recommended.
- User friendly
- Bluetooth compatible
- Great sound for the price
- Perfect for movies and gaming
- Amazing value for money
- Underpowered for big rooms
Sonos Beam, Sonos One SL, Sonos Sub
Perfect For TV, Movies, Music, And More
If you hate cables and/or you don’t have enough space for a “proper” 5.1 home theater system, this Sonos package is the answer you were looking for. Even if this is basically a glorified wireless soundbar helped along the way by a tiny sub and a couple of tiny speakers, the overall package punches way above its weight, and offers high definition sound and hassle-free installation at an affordable price.
Did we mention it also looks glorious? Well, it does, but that’s not very important in our book. What is important is that you’ll get a wireless smart TV sound system that has the potential to dramatically improve your listening experience for basically peanut money.
This Sonos 5.1 package comes with some cool specs, including a voice control assistant (Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant), a HDMI connection and, most importantly, fantastic sound with deep bass for music and movies.
The slick-looking sound bar can be either mounted or plonked in front of the TV; moreover, the sound department is taken care of by 4 full-range drivers, a center tweeter and 3 passive bass radiators, plus a wireless subwoofer, everything juiced-up by 5 Class-D digital amplifiers.
To make a long story short, the Sonos 5.1 is a fantastic wireless home theater for the money, packed with innovation and making for a great addition to your TV set.
- Free smart speaker included
- Impressive sound performance
- Slick compact design
- Easy setup
- HDMI Arc compatible
- Mediocre UI
Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System
A High-quality Home Theater Speakers Ideal for Sitcom Devotees
Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System is the best example that beautiful design and a quality performance go head to head. Although a bit bulky, this system offers an attractive appearance, and more importantly, one of the strongest home theater speakers builds, which, among others, involves the usage of concave metal grills.
When talking about performance, this device comes fitted with Acoustimass module that significantly improves its bass, but unfortunately, it doesn’t give it enough punch, which makes the whole system not that suitable for action and bass-heavy tracks. On the other hand, the clarity of the vocals and dialogues is amazing, therefore, sitcom and movie fans will love it.
Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V Home Theater Speaker System has a five-year warranty, offers full 5.1 surround sound experience and can handle 200W of power per every channel, which is highly respectable for this sort of system. Also, it comes supplied with multiple tweakable controls and cables that are labelled for easy setup, which isn’t that important, but certainly presents a nice detail.
All in all, this system isn’t perfect and has its drawbacks. However, if you need a durable and efficient system for your drama or comedy nights, this is the best home theater sound system you can find.
- Great clarity of vocals and dialogues
- Not that great bass performance
- No A/V receiver
An Affordable All-around Home Theater System
A combination of good performance, familiar brand and affordable price has been a winning combination for a long time and Yamaha Yht-4950U is the proof for that. This system doesn’t bring anything spectacular; still, it delivers just the right amount of everything to provide more than a satisfying experience for the user.
This system offers full 4K compatibility, followed by HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and 3D support. Also, it is equipped with YPAO Sound Optimization that adjusts the whole system in accordance with your room acoustics and offers support for Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital Plus. More importantly, although it isn’t amazing, its delivered sound is balanced, with rich bass reproduction and overall results in excellent 5.1 surround sound experience.
Unfortunately, Yamaha Yht-4950U has no Wi-Fi, nor Ethernet connection. However, it is fitted with Bluetooth, which allows for music streaming from the compatible devices and is equipped with a USB port that just adds one more playback option to its already highly versatile nature.
Along with that, this system is packed with connectivity options (five HDMI ports, four RCA and one Optical TOSLINK connection, two Digital Coaxial connections, etc.), it is equipped with 50W YST II subwoofer and provides up to 145W of total output power.
Altogether, the best home theater system for the money is in front of you.
- Good price
- Easy setup
- Great performance
- No Wi-Fi, nor Ethernet connection
Samsung HW-Q70T with SWA-9000
Good Midrange Home Theater System from Samsung
Here comes another versatile home theater system, this time from Samsung. The HW-Q70T is the answer to all your sound problems if you’re looking for a no-nonsense upgrade for your OLED TV’s stock speakers. What’s very cool about the HW-Q70T is that it supports Dolby Atmos/DTS:X, while producing a neutral and well-balanced sound.
It’s important to mention that the HW-Q70T can get surprisingly loud with low distortion at max volume, which is kind of neat in this price range. Due to the fact that it has 2 firing up speakers to simulate height, the HW-Q70T basically downmixes surround to stereo, hence you won’t benefit from that immersive movie watching experience which is specific to 5.1 home theater systems.
However, the HW-Q70T does a pretty good job if you’re looking to boost your TV viewing experience, as its dedicated center channel works great for TV shows and podcasts, i.e. dialogue-heavy content. But that’s not all, because the package includes the SWA-9000 rear speaker system, which brings wireless surround sound for a near-perfect cinematic experience, plus a whiff of bass, though a dedicated sub would have been nice.
Overall, in terms of value for money, this is an awesome home theater system for movies and music, and it’s very easy to recommend.
- Good value for money
- Well designed
- Supports Dolby Atmos/DTS:X
- Mediocre surround performance
Enclave CineHome II
Awesome Wireless Home Theatre System
Our next pick is the Enclave CineHome II, a “proper” home theater system this time. The CineHome II makes for a high-def/complete plug-and-play true 5.1 home theater, boasting advanced features like 24 Bit Dolby Audio & DTS, not to mention the fact that it’s WiSA Certified.
What’s really great about the CineHome II is that it’s very user friendly and as easy to install as a banal soundbar; on top of that, everything’s cable-free/hassle-free, as the CineHome II has a CineHub wireless transmitter which communicates with six custom-tuned speakers, each of them powered by 24 Bit class-D amps, and delivering room-filling crisp clear sound.
The system is composed of 2 vertical towers, 2 satellite speakers for “surround” effect and a center channel, plus a sub-woofer that features a downward-firing eight-inch driver. The best way to connect the system to your smart TV is via HDMI eARC/ARC, and by that we mean for the best SQ possible. If that’s not an option, you can go for optical, 3.5mm AUX and even Bluetooth 5.0., especially if you want to use the system for listening to music from Spotify or whatever via your smartphone.
The aforementioned WiSa certification refers to wireless 24bits at 48kHz/96kHz technology to transmit zero-latency high-quality signal to the speakers, and also to the fact that the speakers are always in sync with each other. Moreover, the CineHome II can automatically recognize 2.0 to 5.1 configs and can set itself up accordingly.
There’s also a cool app that controls speaker settings, sound and volume, and bottom line, if you want a proper true 5.1 wireless home theater system that sounds good and looks the part, the Enclave CineHome II would definitely fit the bill.
- Great sound
- Plug-and-play wireless technology
- WiSA certified
- 24 Bit Dolby Audio & DTS
- Cool Enclave App
- Nothing we can think of
Polk Audio 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Powered Subwoofer
No-nonsense 5.1 Home Theater System From Polk Audio
If you’re looking for a classic 5.1 home theater system from a reputable company, yet you’re not willing to spend thousands of dollars on high-tech bells and whistles, Polk Audio’s offer is a no-brainer. For less than 400 bucks you’ll get massive sound courtesy of two T15 bookshelf speakers + 2 complementary T50 tower speakers, not to mention the solid PSW10 sub and the T30 center channel.
If you’re into well balanced room-filling sound, the Polk Audio 5.1 home theater system is definitely the answer, that provided you already own an AV receiver to power up the show. For the money asked, this system sounds excellent, and it can also be used for listening to music, as the speakers do great with both acoustic and electronic musical elements.
Soundstage is present, and there’s a clear separation between frequencies. Despite the low price, this 5.1 system works great both as a home theater and as a “tool” for music aficionados, and bottom line, considering the price asked, this is a no-brainer. But then again, you’ll have to spend extra on a decent AV receiver if you want to get the most out of your speakers.
- No-nonsense 5.1 solution
- Solid sound quality
- Versatile and well built
- None really at this price
If you want to watch the next movie with a new home theater system, compare the products we have listed above and we are sure that one of them will be the right fit for your living room. Just consider all of our advice and you simply can’t go wrong! Good luck!