Polk Soundbar

Last updated date: January 22, 2019

DWYM Score
6.9

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Soundbars and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including Tom's Guide, TechHive, CNET, Trusted Reviews, Top Ten Reviews, Wired, PC Magazine, Best Reviews Guide, New York Times Wirecutter, The Verge and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Soundbar you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 54 expert reviews, the Polk Audio Polk Soundbar placed 10th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note March 17, 2019:
Checkout The Best Soundbar for a detailed review of all the top soundbars.

Expert Summarized Score
7.2
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
6.4
218 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The soundbar also includes a powered USB port, which is extremely handy for connecting the USB cable that provides power to an Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast. The Command Bar comes with a remote, which includes buttons for volume, bass and voice levels, as well as ways to switch sound modes (Movie, Music or Sports). However, you can also just ask Alexa to make the change for you.
- Tom's Guide
September 6, 2018 | Full review
The Command Bar sounds good, with a subwoofer that doesn’t try to overpower you even when cranked to the max. Instead of a treble control, there’s a “voice” control that accents the frequencies of the human voice, seemingly applying some cut to the surrounding frequencies.
- TechHive
The Polk Command Bar offers built-in Alexa control that "hears" your voice more reliably than in competing Sonos speakers. With the help of a wireless subwoofer, sound quality is better than the Beam for both music and movies. A feast of connectivity options includes dual HDMI and the ability to mount a Fire TV Stick onboard.
- CNET
July 20, 2018 | Full review
That ring of light will pop on when you call for Alexa, so you know you’re being listened to. It works well on a smart speaker, but can prove distracting whilst watching a movie. The light ring is a good way to show that updates are happening.
- Trusted Reviews
November 15, 2018 | Full review
This sound bar has an Alexa smart speaker built-in. In addition to the helpful voice control options, the Command Bar also has the best physical remote in our test group. It has separate volume controls for overall volume, subwoofer level and the Voice Adjust feature that allows you to adjust the volume of midrange frequencies such as movie dialogue and vocals in music.
- Top Ten Reviews
October 10, 2018 | Full review
Good sound for the $300 price. Wireless subwoofer included. Alexa setup and operation is a little easier than some speakers, and adds a lot of value if you use Fire TV.
- Wired
July 26, 2018 | Full review
Adding a hands-free voice assistant to a soundbar seems like a natural step, considering any soundbar will likely be the main (or only) speaker system in your living room. Sonos pulls it off admirably with the Alexa-equipped Beam, though it lacks an included subwoofer for real low-end thunder. The Polk Command Bar also features hands-free Alexa voice assistance, along with a wireless subwoofer and a very reasonable $299.95 price tag.
- PC Magazine
July 27, 2018 | Full review
The Polk Command Bar and Sonos Beam are the first soundbars to eliminate the middleman through their built-in microphones and Alexa support. Of the two, the Command Bar delivers a more dynamic, full-range sound. Its inclusion of a wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth, and multiple input options gives it the edge.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Less expensive than the Sonos Beam, two HDMI inputs work with many TV setups and Alexa integration works well.
- The Verge
What experts didn't like
However, I found that I sometimes needed to say, "Alexa," twice before it started listening, and occasionally it would freeze when trying to execute a command. When the soundbar froze, it would take about a minute to become responsive again.
- Tom's Guide
September 6, 2018 | Full review
It can be difficult to get Alexa's attention when the speaker is being used for movies or music. Needs more granular EQ capabilities.
- TechHive
The Polk has a narrower soundstage than Sonos Beam and lacks its ability to add rear speakers. It isn't (yet) compatible with Alexa multiroom. It's big, and not the most attractive sound bar on the market.
- CNET
July 20, 2018 | Full review
No multiroom support, yet
- Trusted Reviews
November 15, 2018 | Full review
It doesn’t sound as good as the best performers in our audio tests.
- Top Ten Reviews
October 10, 2018 | Full review
Sound isn’t as expansive or crisp as some soundbars. Sub can thud a bit. Alexa has limitations and lacks some key Echo features.
- Wired
July 26, 2018 | Full review
Average high frequency response. Doesn't produce a very large or dynamic sound field.
- PC Magazine
July 27, 2018 | Full review
Annoying lights and awkward with a Fire TV 4K.
- The Verge

From The Manufacturer

The Polk Command Bar – The home theater sound bar system with Alexa built-in. • Integrated far-field microphones and Alexa voice services • Automatically updates itself as new features are made available • Use your voice to control the sound bar • Control your smart home devices and stream music — “Just Ask” • Patented Voice Adjust technology for crystal clear dialogue • Wireless subwoofer for deep bass • 4K HDMI ports • Fully compatible with Fire TV (sold separately) • Includes HDMI and Optical cables for quick and easy setup

Overall Product Rankings

1. Sonos Playbar
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 8
2. Sonos Playbase
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 4
3. VIZIO 28-Inch Sound bar
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 2
4. LG Electronics High Resolution Audio Sound Bar
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 4
5. Sony Sound Bar Speaker
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
6. Samsung Soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 5
7. Sony Ultra-slim 300W HTCT290 Sound bar
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 2
8. Bose Solo 5 TV Sound System
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 3
9. TaoTronics Sound Bar
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 2
10. Polk Soundbar
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 10

An Overview On Soundbars

Now that you can order a film at the press of a button, movie night has moved from the cineplex to living rooms. For that reason, it’s likely no surprise that consumers report they’d rather watch a movie at home than leave the house. But getting the same experience at home as you do in a theater can be challenging.

Even if you take advantage of the low prices on high-quality big-screen TVs, duplicating true movie theater surround sound can get expensive. In recent years, soundbars have advanced to the point where they now can simulate surround sound for a fraction of the cost of a speaker set. But one soundbar can differ dramatically from another, so it’s important to do your research before you buy.

Soundbars can range in price from $50 to thousands of dollars, but do you really need to spend that much? You can get adequate sound at a lower cost, and some of the moderately-priced soundbars can rival those that top $1,000 in price. When shopping for soundbars, pay close attention to the range of tones you’ll get. Some soundbars can’t handle bass as well as others, even when they’re promising the best sound quality.

Once you get your soundbar home, you’ll generally be on your own to make it work with your existing systems. One of the best things you can do is take note of the equipment you already have and make sure the soundbar you choose is compatible. Many of today’s speakers use Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to eliminate unsightly wires. So if you have an older TV or receiver, you may find the soundbar you’ve bought won’t connect.

Finally, stop to think about where you’ll set up your new soundbar, as well as any speakers you plan to add on to it. There are soundbars you can mount on the wall, while there are many others that can set on your furniture in front of your TV. Whichever option you choose, note the dimensions of your soundbar in advance to ensure you know how much room it will take up.

DYWM Fun Fact

As you set up your home theater, it’s important to consider the size of your room. Soundbars are more than adequate for smaller rooms. But if your home theater is in a large basement or an oversized bonus room, you’re likely going to find that you need additional speakers to truly immerse your audience with sound. This is also true if you’re a movie buff who expects to feel like you’re on the Millennium Falcon, not just watching it on a screen. But many soundbars are designed for add-ons, so you should be able to build your home theater gradually if you aren’t quite ready to jump in fully just yet.

The Soundbar Buying Guide

  • If your soundbar doesn’t sound good, there’s no point in even having one. If you’re going for the best sound, consider either the Sonos Playbar or Sonos Playbase. Both have great sound and great ranges. However, the Sonos Playbase performs better in the deeper ranges, with bass you can feel in your chest. The VIZIO 28-inch soundbar also offers deep, rich bass that can take on even the much pricier Sonos speakers.
  • For those interested in building a true home theater, adding on extra speakers is the key to success. Sonos allows you to easily buy extra speakers to connect to your soundbar. The Sonos Playbar does best with this, letting you expand to a true 5.1 wireless sound system. Even without extra speakers, though, Sonos does a better job at simulating surround sound, while VIZIO’s soundbar struggles with that.
  • Setup can be intimidating if you don’t consider yourself a tech guru. The TaoTronics soundbar is among the easiest to use, whether you’re wiring it up or using its Bluetooth-pairing capabilities. With the VIZIO 28-inch soundbar, you’ll need to follow the owner’s manual, but it’s fairly simple to connect it to Bluetooth and get things going. Sonos can be tricky to set up, especially when it comes to pairing with other equipment.
  • One of the biggest concerns when shopping for any speaker is where it will be. The Sonos Playbar is designed to hang on a wall, but it can also rest in front of your TV. The Sonos Playbase can be mounted, but it looks great in front of your TV. If you’re limited on space, you may want to avoid the VIZIO 28-inch soundbar, since it comes with a separate subwoofer that you’ll need to place.
  • If you’re looking for the smallest soundbar, the Sonos Playbase is the shortest, at only 2.28 inches tall. Lengthwise, though, it’s a tie between the Sonos Playbase and VIZIO 28-inch soundbar, which both are around 28 inches long. However, the VIZIO has that separate subwoofer, while the Sonos Playbase comes with no additional speakers.
  • One size benefit to the Sonos Playbar is that it can be easily mounted horizontally or vertically, with the sensor automatically adjusting the sound depending on how you’ve oriented it.
  • If you have an Amazon product that uses Alexa, Sonos soundbars have an additional benefit in that you can connect them to your device and play music on command.
  • With Sonos soundbars, you’ll have access to an app that you can then use to control your speakers. However, the Sonos Playbar and Playbase don’t come with a remote control, which means you’ll need a universal remote if you can’t connect it to an existing smart remote. The TaoTronics soundbar comes with a remote, but it’s a bit bulky. You’ll also need to have two AAA batteries on hand since they aren’t included in the box.
  • If you plan to regularly switch the sound from your soundbar to your TV, note that there have been some complaints with the Sonos Playbar that the shift can be tricky at times.
  • The TaoTronics soundbar is built to last with durable ABS plastic beneath the soft cloth cover. The VIZIO, on the other hand, has been known to ship the occasional problematic unit that will begin producing static after only months of use. Although the Sonos soundbars are durable, if you choose the white model of the Playbase, be aware that it can scratch easily.
  • When it comes to price, you’re going to pay much more for a Sonos soundbar than other speakers. In addition to the $500-plus price tag for the Playbar or Playbase, the soundbars are meant to be used with other speakers, which will up the price considerably. However, even the VIZIO 28-inch soundbar, which retails for just over $100, and the TaoTronics soundbar, which retails for considerably less than $100, will see a price increase if you plan to create surround sound. But keep in mind that the VIZIO soundbar also includes a wireless subwoofer, saving you even more than the lower asking price.