Our pick

Sonos Beam

Big and mighty

Sonos Playbar

The Sonos Beam is a great option for those who want to upgrade the sound system for their TV. The compact size will fit just about anywhere without being too intrusive, and it will fill the room with fantastic, high-quality sound thanks to the woofers and tweeters inside the speaker. It also has built-in Alexa support and it works with Siri through AirPlay 2.

$399 at Amazon

Pros

  • Small and compact size that delivers big, rich sound
  • Great for small and medium-sized rooms
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa integration, works with Siri through AirPlay 2.
  • Plugs in via HDMI-ARC and supports CEC.
  • Good value

Cons

  • Won't fill larger rooms with sound

Sonos Playbar is designed to deliver full theater-quality sound to large rooms in your home. It's equipped with plenty of drivers to do so and can be used flat or upright on the wall without distorting the audio. It also works with Amazon Alexa, but that requires more setup than the Beam.

$699 at Amazon

Pros

  • Has angled drivers that allow it to be used in any position
  • Works best for larger rooms
  • Features more power and drivers than the Beam
  • Angled woofer at ends disperse the sound wider
  • Has an Ethernet port

Cons

  • Larger size may require its own shelf or a wall mount setup
  • Alexa not built in.
  • Very expensive

While Sonos has two great products with the Beam and Playbar, the Beam is the overall better option for most people because of its size, sound quality, built-in Alexa support, integration with AirPlay 2, and price. However, if you have a large room for your TV, and need theatrical sound without any possible distortion, then you should probably go for the Playbar.

The Breakdown

For most people, the Sonos Beam is going to be a great option. The Beam is small and compact, making it easy to move around if necessary, and it should not take up much space with your current setup. Despite the Beam's smaller size, it still delivers rich audio all throughout the room and works best for small and medium-sized spaces.

Sonos Beam Sonos Playbar
Size 2.70 x 25.625 x 3.94 in. (68.5 x 651 x 100 mm) 3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 in. (85 x 900 x 140 mm)
Weight 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg) 11.9 lbs. (5.4kg)
Optimized for Small to medium rooms Large rooms
Amazon Alexa Built-in Requires Echo or Echo Dot with Sonos skill
AirPlay 2 Yes Only if another speaker that has it is grouped with Playbar
Pairs with other Sonos speakers Yes Yes
Third-party streaming services Yes Yes

The Playbar is bigger and heavier, which may require some additional setup on your part, such as having a dedicated shelf or being mounted to the wall. However, it is capable of giving you a full theater-like experience with the audio, since it produces higher quality audio due to the drivers and woofers inside. The angled drivers also make sure that no noise is ever distorted and it gets dispersed in a wider area, no matter how you set it up.

Setting up the Beam is also much easier because it connects through HDMI-ARC and HDMI-CEC, allowing you to control the TV and soundbar together as one unit. The Playbar only uses an optical cable, so you would need to control it separately.

Built-in Alexa integration in Beam also makes it a better choice for those who want to simplify things. The Playbar also works with Alexa, but only if you have separate Echo or Echo Dots around the house. You also have to use the Sonos skill through the Amazon Alexa app. The Beam also supports Siri voice commands through AirPlay 2, which is missing from the Playbar. A workaround for the Playbar is grouping it with other speakers that do support AirPlay 2, which allows the audio to play anywhere.

Again, for most people, the Beam is the better buy due to the features and price. Plus, the audio quality is still great for what it's worth. It's built around simplicity, making it easy to set up, store away, and use with Alexa and your TV without any extra devices. However, if you want the best sound that's capable of making the room shake, then Playbar is the way to go. Just remember that it costs almost twice as much as the Beam. although the price is justified by the sound quality.

Our pick

Sonos Beam

Our favorite soundbar

Sonos Beam is an excellent soundbar for your home entertainment system. It's small enough to fit virtually anywhere, provides great sound for smaller rooms and has built-in Amazon Alexa integration and Siri through AirPlay 2.

Home theater

Sonos Playbar

Make the entire room shake with powerful sound

The Sonos Playbar is a bit older, but it's immensely powerful in terms of sound quality for your home entertainment setup. The powerful drivers will make the room shake with sound, and it works in both flat and upright positions without ever having audio distortion.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.