To own a full home theatre speaker system may involve a lot of extra cables and boxes, not to mention a fair bit of furniture rearranging, but we think the pay-off of a full, immersive home theatre experience is well worth the hassle and needn’t cost the earth.
Best home theatre speaker systems Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up of the best speaker systems you can buy in 2021.
The first thing to consider is the number of channels. A 5.1 system is most common and comprises five speakers (two pairs of either floorstanding or standmount speakers and one centre speaker) and one subwoofer.
Dolby Atmos systems tend to include up-firing speakers that can help deliver more immersive surround sound, but make sure your speakers are compatible and they’re paired with a capable AV receiver. Alternatively, you can achieve Atmos with in-ceiling speakers.
Other arrangements are also available, from 7.2, which adds surround back speakers behind your seating position and an extra subwoofer, up to pretty much whatever your room can hold.
More speakers usually mean more convincing surround sound, although they can take up quite a bit of space. You’ll also need to factor in the cost (and positioning) of speaker cable. Keeping your selection of speakers to one brand will help keep the sonic balance.
This is especially the case with the centre speaker, which should be from the same brand and ideally from the same range as the rest of your home theatre speaker system. This will help ensure the best sound possible.
Finally, price is key. You can spend a few hundred or tens of thousands, so make sure you peruse this list and find one that fits your budget. If you own a budget AV receiver there’s no point partnering it with a high-end speaker package.
As a general rule of thumb, we’d suggest spending around double the cost of your surround sound amp on a standard 5.1 speaker set up. All the speaker packages recommended below have been through our thorough testing process and they’ve passed with flying colours. So whether you’re after a budget set-up or the kind of home cinema system that would make Bruce Wayne green with envy, we should have something for you.