2.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar [Detailed-Comparison]

For a better quality audio experience, it is advised that you surround your home theater with an additional sound supporting system that would modify and enhance the quality of the sound that reaches your ears up to an extreme level. To serve that purpose, you can consider having a soundbar. 

Soundbars are devices that provide the much-needed bass and depth to the audio, which otherwise would be boring to listen to! When it comes to having a soundbar, there are two prominent choices: 2.1 vs. 5.1. 

The significant difference between the two loudspeakers is the number of audio channels they support. For instance, in a 2.1 channel, you would get two speakers and a subwoofer. In the 5.1 speaker system, you will get five different audio channels and an additional soundbar.

In order to clarify your confusion regarding a 2.1 soundbar and a 5.1 soundbar, we are here to assist you with the much-needed information regarding the two so that you can make a wise decision.

2.1 & 5.1 Soundbars Overview

Although both 2.1 and 5.1 are highly modest soundbars yet there are specific differences between the two that need to be brought into account to make a clear decision before you purchase a soundbar.

First and foremost, the 2.1 soundbar supports two audio channels, those are a left one and a right one, along with a subwoofer. This means that the bass and audio quality provided by the speaker will be super-amazing.

But, a 5.1 soundbar has a lot more to it. In a 5.1 soundbar, you get five different audio channels, three on the soundbar itself and two that are to be placed somewhere in the room, meaning that you will get a three-dimensional audio experience.

Also, you get a subwoofer with the soundbar too! Having this feature sets the 5.1 soundbars away ahead of the 2.1 ones.

2.1 vs 5.1 Soundbar – Comparison

A brief comparison will let you understand better. I’ve drawn one based on certain considerable factors which are mentioned as follows:


Price being the first factor that a user looks for before purchasing anything, needs to be placed at the top. Consequently, 5.1 speakers are more costly than the 2.1 ones.

The apparent reason for that is the fact that 5.1 speakers are embedded with more and better-enhanced features as compared to a 2.1 speaker.


Up next is the problem of placing your speakers correctly. For that, you need enough space. 2.1 speakers are less bulky in comparison to 5.1 speakers because they have three speakers less, and so they occupy less area in your home theater than what is done by a 5.1 speaker.

Audio Quality

Again, because 5.1 speakers are better equipped with features, they offer a three-dimensional realistic audio quality.

This does not mean that the 2.1 speakers lag behind; it’s just that in comparison, 5.1 has a better sound experience for the user. But if you look for a compactly built sound system, go for 2.1.


Now, this is another crucial factor that requires attention. An improper installation process often results in the malfunctioning of the speakers.

Bringing that into account, 2.1 speakers are easier and simpler to assemble when brought into comparison with 5.1 speakers. 5.1 speakers have several wires that make the assembling process challenging and complex.


With a 2.1 speaker system, you can experience features such as Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI compatibility, and Dolby Atmos. All these features are highly effective in the better functionality of a sound system. 2.1 speakers being equipped with them to turn out to be a prime choice for significant users.

On the other hand, the 5.1 speaker system provides you with surround sound features, making it one of a kind. Also, you get to make multiple connections, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, clear and crisp dialogue delivery, and ultra-fine satellite speakers.

The 5.1 sound system is a complete combination of features, and therefore, it is better, more efficient, and much more durable than other of its alternatives.

Which is Better, 2.1 or 5.1 Soundbar?

If you have to place a speaker in a packed space, be it your room or a four-walled small area, you should go for having a 2.1 soundbar. The audio quality that you will get to experience will be crisp and clear. Enhanced sound will be heard by you when it passes through the 2.1 speakers.

Also, the attached subwoofer with the setup modifies the speaker even more! It makes the sound next to real, so you can’t differentiate whether the audio is virtual or not. Moreover, solid bass and sturdy device are also promised to you by the 2.1 speakers.

Talking of 5.1 speakers, they are a complete package of features, qualities, and everything you can expect from a well-designed and perfectly functioning speaker. For instance, 5.1 speakers offer you a 3-D crystal clear sound quality with a depth to the sound that makes the user’s experience satisfactory and better.

Besides that, 5.1 speakers feel realistic, like the harmonium played in a movie was being done right next to you! The beauty of the sound in the 5.1 speakers is unmatchable to any other surround sound system. If cost is not your concern, you must try having 5.1 speakers.

You can also check our detailed guides on the 2.1 Soundbars:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I play 5.1 on 2.1 speakers?

Precisely not. You can try to mix and match specific other speakers being combined with the 2.1 speakers, but overall, the quality of the sound experienced by you will be more or less like that of a 2.1 speaker. You will not get to have a perfect 5.1 speaker-like feel and audio quality on the 2.1 speaker system.

Shall I purchase a 2.1 speaker or a 5.1 speaker for listening to music?

If listening to music is your prime task to do after having a speaker, then you must consider buying a 2.1 speaker because it serves the purpose well. Not only this, you will save a part of your money as well.

You can also visits our guides on our 5.1 sound bars:

  1. Best Settings for VIZIO 5.1 Soundbar
  2. JBL 9.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar
  3. Dolby Atmos VS 5.1 Soundbar
  4. 3.1 VS 5.1 Soundbar
  5. 5.1 vs 7.1 Soundbar


Having gone through enough regarding the 2.1 and the 5.1 speakers, you would hopefully be able to conclude which sound system fulfills your needs and requirements. Accordingly, you can try experimenting and experiencing the most suitable one.

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