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  • The 4 Best Sound Bars

You can't be a full home theatre system. But, sound bars have come a long, long, way. Not only are sound bars far more compact, but many of the best-selling sound bars today also put out some impressive sound.

Buyer beware, though -- the stores are full of expensive sound bars that aren't worth a dime. Before you visit your local electronics store, take a look at this list.

Vizio SB4021M

This sound bar was chosen to grace the top of the list for one good reason: it is a decent sound bar option under the $500 mark. This Vizio sound bar can be purchased for around $250, and that's a price that most people can live with. What do you get for $250?

Vizio has put a good deal of effort into this sound bar, and it offers up excellent movie sound; a simplistic remote control; standard buttons; and a sleek enough look. The drawbacks here are a lack of Bluetooth connectivity and the fact that it's not quite the same as a $500 sound bar. Still, the Vizio SB4021M is definitely the best sound bar on the current market under that $500 mark.

Harmon/Kardon SB16

If you can spend a few extra bucks, the Harmon/Kardon SB16 retails for around $599. This sound bar lives up to Harmon/Kardon's excellent reputation by providing sound quality that's really tough to beat, and an overall design that is one of the best on the market. I'll forewarn you, though, that this sound bar comes with a rather hefty subwoofer.

The included subwoofer is wireless, so connectivity is easy, but it is a big and bulky. This sound bar also relies on your TV remote for volume control, so keep this in mind too. Otherwise, the Harmon/Kardon SB16 is absolutely one of the best sound bars on the market.

JBL SB 300

I'm not a huge fan of the way that JBL has designed the subwoofer that goes along with the SB300. But, those of you who are into futuristic designs may enjoy the pyramid-shaped subwoofer. Design aside, JBL's sound bar retails for around $480, comes with a separate remote, and is really easy to set up.

Drawbacks include that awkward design; few features included; and a front panel display that's downright ugly. JBL could have worked harder on the design aspect of this sound bar. That said, the sound quality here is top-notch.

Bose Solo

Few speaker lists of any kind are complete without a Bose entry, and the Bose Solo rounds out this list. Bose created a pedestal sound bar design, which is definitely unique, but also quite nice to look at. The no-frills sound bar is sleek and will add to any living room decor quite well.

This sound bar includes a remote; that legendary Bose sound quality (the sound here comes to life when listening to TV or watching movies); and this sound bar includes a simple setup.

Drawbacks include weight limitations (the pedestal can only hold up to 40 pounds); no subwoofer; and no font panel display (so it's tough to tell where your volume is at). Bose did price the Solo reasonably at $399.