2.0 vs. 2.1 Soundbar – What Is The Difference?

If you’ve been searching for the best soundbar for your home, chances are you’ve seen the numbers 2.0 and 2.1. These numbers can be confusing when you just need a soundbar to watch John Wick the 11th time.

It turns out that there’s one significant difference between a 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar. We will cover that in this post and other helpful tips for choosing your soundbar.

What is the difference between 2.0 and 2.1 soundbars?

Let’s get this out the door- the difference between 2.0 and 2.1 is the addition of a plus one. While your 2.0 soundbar has two channels for reproducing audio, the 2.1 has three channels. The third channel is in the extra subwoofer that comes with the soundbar.

What does this all mean?

Well, it means a 2.1 soundbar comes with an additional subwoofer in the box, and this can make a world of difference.

What does the 2.0 channel mean on a soundbar?

If you find the number 2.0 written on your soundbar of choice, know that it’s got two channels (speakers). This is for simulating a surround sound effect. The number of channels determines what angles your soundbar can direct sound. 

Soundbars with more channels offer you a more cinematic experience. But depending on your budget, the 2.0 soundbar will improve your TV audio without breaking the bank. 

For soundbars, know that the first digit indicates the number of speakers. While the second digit after the ‘.’ refers to the numbers of subwoofers in the package. So a 2.0 soundbar means you’ve got two speakers but no subwoofer.

If you’ve got little space to work with, the 2.0 soundbar is your best bet. You won’t have to find some extra space to place a subwoofer. However, you will be missing out on the lower frequencies that the subwoofer handles.

What does the 2.1 channel mean on a soundbar?

As mentioned earlier, a 2.1 soundbar comes with something extra- the subwoofer. This extra piece plays a significant role in enhancing your audio experience. 

While soundbars should capture all audio frequencies, they do little for low frequencies. This is where a subwoofer becomes important.

The subwoofer helps to reproduce sound within lower frequencies. If you’ve felt vibrations in a cinema during action scenes, that’s the work of a good subwoofer. Asides from hearing the bass, you get to feel every ‘pow!’ in the family-friendly John Wick.

Is a subwoofer necessary for your soundbar?

Well, it all depends on what you want out of your setup. If you only need to improve your TV audio, then the 2.0 soundbar will do the job. If your primary concern is bass levels, consider getting a 2.1 soundbar. Keep in mind that you will need some space to place the subwoofer. 

Are 2.0 soundbars worth it?

A good soundbar takes your movie experience from a six to a nine. So Yes, 2.0 soundbars are worth it. It is the best way to get the most out of your flatscreen TV. 

This is because most TVs do not come with great speakers. They focus on providing the best display. A soundbar fixes this problem so that you can get the best of both worlds. 

A 2.0 soundbar fires audio through its left and right channels. This creates a more immersive viewing experience. It also comes with an amplifier that provides more transparent dialogue. You won’t have to read subtitles to catch what actors say on TV. 

If you’ve got some extra bucks, a 2.0 soundbar is a worthy investment.

Are 2.1 soundbars worth it?

Just like the 2.0 soundbar, 2.1 soundbars are worth the money. Asides from the separate channels and amplifier, you get a subwoofer. This enriches the bass levels in any content you watch. 

If you’re a fan of good bass, then a 2.1 soundbar will scratch that itch. But if you are on a tight budget, a 2.0 soundbar will improve your TV’s sound quality.

Is 2.1 good enough for a home theater?

It all depends on what you want out of your home theater. If you don’t want to go all out, then a 2.1 soundbar can do fine for your home. But if you want something more, consider a 5.1 surround sound system for your home theater.

A 5.1 soundbar has five multidirectional speakers and a subwoofer. There are three speakers for the left, right, and center channels. It also has two satellite speakers on the side to create a surround sound experience. The entire package comes with a subwoofer to handle low frequencies. 

The 5.1 soundbar creates a better cinema experience. This makes it a better option for your home theater. Most 5.1 soundbars also offer additional features. This includes wireless connectivity with multiple devices and voice control.

Keep in mind that the 5.1 soundbar has a more complex installation process. It may also not be compatible with older devices. But if you’re looking to step up your home theater, it’s your best option. 

Are there price differences between a 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar?

Price is an important factor since you want the best bang for your buck. Luckily, there’s little difference in the prices of a 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar. You may even find a 2.0 soundbar that costs more than a 2.1 soundbar. It all depends on the quality and durability of the brand. 

It all comes down to your personal preferences. If you have a small space to work with, consider getting a 2.0 soundbar. But if your interest is in rich bass, a 2.1 soundbar is your friend.

Can I add a subwoofer to a 2.0 soundbar?

While it may be tempting to upgrade your 2.0 soundbar with a subwoofer, it’s a big gamble. There is a high chance that a standalone subwoofer will not work with a 2.0 soundbar. 

This is because 2.1 soundbars automatically connect to their subwoofers. That is why they come together in the box. So it would be best to buy a 2.1 soundbar and save yourself the hassle. 

Should I get speakers or a soundbar?

Again, this depends on the kind of setup you are going for. If you are a fan of surround sound, speakers can help you achieve that. However, a 5.1 soundbar can also achieve decent surround sound. 

Speakers are much more expensive than soundbars. They may also require more space for installation. This is unlike soundbars that can sit under your TV. 

You should also consider the size of your room. If you are looking for better audio in the bedroom or living room, a soundbar should do the trick. But if you have a bigger space for entertainment, a speaker will offer a more immersive experience.


Soundbars can be the difference between good and excellent TV sound. The distinction between a 2.0 and 2.1 soundbar is the extra subwoofer that comes with the latter. 

If you want a better TV audio experience, a 2.0 soundbar is a great option. But if you need the extra bass, consider getting a 2.1 soundbar. Just remember that you’ve got neighbors.

Anita Jones