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Best Home Stereo Systems Reviewed
Home Stereo systems are the king of the castle when it comes to entertaining yourself at home. With so many people spending so much more time in their living rooms, the importance of home entertainment has become ever more evident.
With most cinemas closed, everyone has had to make do with streaming services, DVDs, youtube events, and more. Although we might have missed the big screens and popcorn-crunching neighbors (alright, not really), it has become incredibly clear that the main benefit of watching movies in a public space is, of course, the sound.
Without the super-surround, booming, crisp delivery of a cinema system, even the most exciting action sequences can fall flat when watching movies at home. The answer to this is simple; invest in one of today’s best home stereo systems. With a good one of these, you can enjoy that cinema-experience at home, as well as filling your house with your favorite musical artists, podcasts and more.
However, it’s not quite that simple. There are literally hundreds of options out there for home stereo systems, and the simple truth is that most of them… aren’t quite up to scratch. Buying a home stereo system can be a big investment, and finding out you’ve accidentally bought a dud is a hugely disappointing moment.
These stereo systems produce unbalanced sound quality, with poor ranges and a propensity to hiss and crackle at every opportunity – none of which is ideal as you try to escape reality with the latest superhero movie.
If you contrast one of these with a truly quality home audio system, they almost feel like they belong completely different species. A quality home stereo system should provide crisp, clear sound, with plenty of bass, a huge and slick range of volume, all through an easy-to-operate interface. Now that’s the kind of investment worth making.
Check out our favorite Home Stereo System
When it comes to searching for a genuinely good home stereo system, the market can feel overwhelming. That’s where this list comes in to help. These five systems are some of the best around. Though they have different features and benefits, they have all been well reviewed, and they all comfortably surpass the level of quality you should be looking for in a home stereo system.
Take a look to see which one most fits your own specific requirements, but you can rest easy in the knowledge that each system produces quality output with minimal distortion.
Top Home Stereo System Comparison Chart
Best Home Stereo System
For super high quality, wireless surround-system, you need look no further. The JBL Bar 5.1 is on the upper end of the market, but it definitely earns its place as a premium home stereo system. The speakers are designed as a long, thin soundbar.
Though it might seem delicate, the bar and its two detachable surround-sound speakers use an impressive 510 watts of power, allowing them to provide a rich, quality sound. It also comes with a 10” wireless subwoofer, enabling you to experience that bassy cinema-sound you’ve always dreamed of hearing in your own living room.
Of course, as you might have guessed, the main feature of this system is that it can operate completely wirelessly through Bluetooth. You can attach any 4k device and play from anywhere in the house, which is also perfect if you want to play music from different rooms whilst you get on with your daily tasks!
The batteries in the detachable speakers last for 10 hours of continuous playback, so if you’re planning that Lord of the Rings marathon, you don’t need to worry about your sound cutting out halfway through.
If you’re looking for a high-quality sound system able to cope with movies and music, and you’re particularly interested in a stylish, easily locatable and wireless option, the JBL Bar 5.1 should be your first port of call.
- JBL 5.1 surround sound with 510W of power
- Detachable, battery-powered wireless surround speakers
- Thrilling bass from a 10 Inch (250mm) wireless subwoofer
- Wireless music streaming with Bluetooth
- True 4K connectivity with 3 HDMI in/1 HDMI out (ARC)
The main selling point of the Bose Wave SoundTouch Home Music System IV is that it is fully compatible with Amazon’s Alexa software, meaning you can integrate it in with your other systems and operate it by voice command.
The access options don’t stop there, and the Bose Wave can also be operated by a slim, infrared remote control, or even a dedicated app downloaded to your phone. This all sounds great, particularly for those who favor convenience in their home stereo systems.
But what about the sound itself? Well, it uses Bose’s exclusive waveguide technology to produce a rich, expansive sound that might seem incredible for a relatively small speaker system.
Another benefit of the Bose is that it can connect directly to the internet and play your music from sites such as Spotify, iTunes, or Pandora (and more), as well as from your own private library, and internet radio stations. This makes it the perfect companion for anyone who values their music above all else, as you can use it to access literally millions of tracks simply by pressing a button, or speaking a command.
To make full use of its capabilities, you will need to own or buy an Alexa device, but if you’re willing to make this extra investment, the Bose Wave Soundtouch is a must-have for convenience, music playback and full-house coverage.
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) ; Wireless network compatibility: 802.11 b/g/n
- Enjoy all your music easily: online music services, Internet radio, your stored music library, CDs and AM/FM radio
- Exclusive Bose waveguide speaker technology delivers lifelike, room filling sound; Supported audio formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless
- Wireless connection via your home Wi Fi network; also works with Bluetooth.
- One touch access to music services (Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora), Internet radio and music library playlists with six personalized presets on the remote or SoundTouch app. 8 foot (2.4 m) AC power cord. Power supply: 120V 50/60Hz 60W max
The Sony Compact Music Home Stereo System is stuffed full of more capabilities and add-ons than you can shake a stick at. No, really. The all-in-one system has Bluetooth and NFC connection abilities, access to AM and FM radio, a USB port, a CD player (if you’re feeling old school!), and an aux cable, plus a remote control for operation.
It even comes with a cleaning cloth. What all of this means is that you can use the Sony Micro Music Home Stereo System for almost anything. Playing music? Check. Watching movies? Check. Radio? Check. Linking up to your phone? Check.
The sound quality is also not to be sniffed at. The system boasts a 50w amplified power output, and its bass levels are supported by 2-way bass reflex speakers, meaning you’ll get a deep, rich sound as full-bodied as you’d expect in a club or cinema. The higher ranges use built-in S-Master R digital amps, so they remain clear and crisp whatever the volume.
There’s almost nothing the Sony Micro can’t do, from working with mp3 players, tablets, and smartphones, to playing through your TV, to offering over 30 preset audio stations. Whilst this may seem overwhelming, it’s actually helpful. If you’re someone who knows you need a home stereo system, but you’re not yet feeling specific on how you’ll use it, or if you require any special features, this option is the perfect catch-all solution for most possible requirements.
- This Bundle includes: Sony Micro Music Stereo System, Remote Control, AA Alkaline Batteries, AM/FM Antenna, Speaker Cable, Speaker Pads, Auxiliary Cable, HeroFiber Ultra Gentle Cleaning Cloth & Operating Instructions
- Exceptional quality, Powerful, dynamic sound, in an easy-to-use, compact contemporary design that fits beautifully just about anywhere in your home
- Stream and control your Bluetooth audio streaming experience with your compatible music devices, digital music player, smartphone, tablet, or computer. Built-in AAC and apt-X codec support avoids signal quality loss when streaming music wirelessly
- One touch listening with NFC (Near Field Communications), Listen to your favorate AM/FM Radio with 30 station presets (20 FM / 10 AM). Clock with separate sleep and play timers
- Play your favorite CD/CD-R/CD-RW discs, Play MP3/WMA/AAC audio files stored on USB devices. Selectable Bass Boost and adjustable Bass/Treble
The first thing you notice about this system is the way it looks. The Sharp XL-BH250 is a classic monolith of a speaker system, comprising three mini block towers with a black wood finish that somehow manages to look sleek and sturdy at the same time.
This is the opposite of the JBL Bar system – this is a statement piece, and perfect for anyone who wants to make their sound system a central feature. Of course, it doesn’t just look good; it sounds good as well. This home speaker system belies its size with a powerful output that can easily fill a room.
Many reviewers have praised the radio capabilities of this system, as it holds 40 present channels within a digital tuner, and consistently provides crisp delivery.
However, one of the main features of the system is definitely its CD capabilities. The central system can hold up to 5 discs and cycle seamlessly between them, so it is perfect for anyone who loves their CD collection, but never wants to listen to a full album at a time!
This feature is fairly unique to this system, so if this describes you, it could be the perfect match. The Sharp XL-BH250 also offers Bluetooth streaming, a remote control for easy operation, and a headphone output, perfectly if you need to keep the tunes to yourself for an afternoon whilst still enjoying top quality sound.
- Digital AM/FM tuner with 40 presets
- Works with CD-RW, CD-R, WMA and MP3s
- Bluetooth streaming for all Apple and Android compatibility
- Includes: Headphone output and Remote control
- Connect external devices via USB or the unit's optical input and pair Bluetooth-enabled gadgets in seconds via the system's convenient NFC touchpoint
The last entry in this list is the premium choice for enabling that home movie-watching experience. After all, it’s right there in the name, and the Rockville HTS56 Home Theater System certainly doesn’t fail to deliver on its promise.
For one thing, it looks incredible, with a geometric design and LED lighting mode that will feel especially at home with anyone who loves watching sci-fi movies – with this adorning your living room, it’ll feel like an immersive experience. And adorn is the right word.
This system has five (yes, five) separate speakers that can be placed around a room for the ultimate surround-sound experience. It also has an incredible range of volume, with up to 1000watts at peak power, which is a sound level you’ll probably never even want to use – but you’ll know it’s there if you need it. Each Rockville speaker also has its own volume control so you can adjust as necessary.
Unlike many other speaker systems, the Rockville will use all 5 speakers, plus its 8” subwoofer, to play from any source. This means your surround-sound will stay working even if you’re playing music, listening to the radio, or using any other non-HD source.
The system also has Bluetooth, FM radio, SD or USB input, and a remote control for access. It even has two mic inputs, so if you want to make full use of the LED lighting for a bit of karaoke, you can. If you’re looking for a true home theater system with added capabilities and a sprinkling of fun, this is the stereo system for you.
- 5.1 Channel 1000-Watts Peak Power. 500-Watts Program Power. 250-Watts Continuous RMS Power. 8” Subwoofer with Built-In Receiver. 1x 3” Center Channel Speaker. 2x 3” Full Range Front Channel Speakers. 2x 3” Full Range Rear Channel Speakers.
- 8" Subwoofer with Built-In Receiver. 1x 3" Center Channel Speaker. 2x 3" Full Range Front Channel Speakers. 2x 3" Full Range Rear Channel Speakers. Top Quality MDF Wood Cabinets with Plastic Front Panels.
- Built-In FM Receiver with Amazing Reception. Digital Display. Selectable preset equalizer curves. You can independently control the volume of each speaker and the subwoofer. Bluetooth v2.1. USB Input (max file size 16Gb).
- SD Input (max file size 16Gb). 2 ¼" MIC Inputs with Echo function for karaoke. 5 RCA Audio Outputs. 6 RCA DVD Audio Inputs. 2 RCA AUX Inputs. FM Antenna Input. Full Function Remote.
- The Subwoofer unit has 4 LED lighting modes: selectable with 7 colors or multi-color mode. Zero distortion can be heard even with volume and bass settings all the way up!
Top Home Stereo System Features To Consider
There are many aspects to a quality home stereo system, and it can feel overwhelming picking the right one for you. Here are some ways to break down your requirements so you know exactly what you’re looking for.
Sound Quality and Volume
Your first, ultimate priority should be sound quality. After all, this is the main factor that distinguishes a good quality stereo system. Sound quality can be discerned using various methods.
Firstly, the wattage. This will depend on the size of your room, as you’ll need less power to fill a smaller room, but simply speaking, the higher the wattage, the better the sound quality will be at higher volumes.
It’s also good to look out for descriptions of ‘rich’ bass and ‘clear’ high frequencies, and if you can find a system that offers EQ options, this will help you tweak the sound yourself, which is always a plus.
What do you want to use your home stereo system for? If you’re primarily looking to connect it to your phone or laptop, it’s no good choosing a system without Bluetooth or a USB port!
It’s important to consider your specific requirements and make sure the product you’re choosing is capable of meeting your needs. The best quality systems will tend to have a large range of connectivity methods, and it’s always useful to have as many options as possible.
After all, you may have one use in mind for your speakers now, but this could always change down the road, and you want to be prepared.
Many quality home stereo systems will come with add on features, and these can add huge value to your experience.
A completely wireless system offers the luxury to set up your own surround sound system however you want, whereas internet connectivity, Bluetooth, and voice control can add a whole host of other options to your playback.
As seen above, some systems will even add extra features such as karaoke capabilities, so you can use it to party the night away as well as watch your favorite movies. Pay attention to these features, as they can make the difference between a good stereo system, and one you’ll fall in love with.