But sometimes, getting loud and rowdy isn’t the goal. There are many night watchers out there and there are also many parents who have to put their kids to bed early. If this is the case for you, you’re likely looking for a device that can give you stellar sonic boom during the day and silent listening via headphones during the night.
Listening with headphones used to mean your device needed to have a headphone jack, but thanks to the development of wireless technology you can also go the Bluetooth route, investing in a pair of wireless headphones that can save you the hassle of finding a soundbar with a jack installed—not a feature traditionally included on most soundbars on the market. The list below includes two options from each (i.e., 2 soundbars with headphone jacks and 2 soundbars with wireless headphones), all of which will give you an excellent listening experience.
Dell AC511 USB Wired SoundBar
We’ll kick things off with the small yet astonishingly powerful Dell AC511 soundbar. This item seems so tiny that many people don’t ever notice it until they are blasted with the enormous sonic wave it produces. Folks who prefer to keep things silent are well covered with an on-board headphone jack, of course.
Simplicity is the word of the day here, as the manufacturer opted to provide the users with an elegant and sleek solution – no extra software, no batteries, no power chord, just this little monster. All you need is a trusty USB port. The gizmo is compatible with many devices present on the market, features a super light weight of 1 lbs, and comes with a total size of 16.5 x 1.9 x 1.5 inches.
When it comes to value for money, we say that this budget option delivers the best punch on the entire list—and is easily one of the best soundbars with headphone jacks period.
GOgroove UBR USB Computer Soundbar Speaker
Getting back to budget-friendly realm, we have a nice little gizmo from Gogroove. A tad more powerful than the previous two items, this fella packs a solid punch, loaded with strong mid-range frequency power and bright treble section. The basses lag behind a bit, but nevertheless offer a well rounded audio experience.
We are looking at an elegant product with minimum tweak knobs and a big volume button as a focal item of the control board. Also included in the mix is a set of on-board front-facing 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports for headset use and private listening, which just happens to be one of our key priorities.
The item is durable, reliable, and very easy to use. No additional drivers or anything along those lines is required, you just plug this baby in and enjoy the groove. Hands down, it’s one of the best soundbars with headphone jacks period.
ZVOX SoundBase 770
Not all headphones have to be plugged into a jack. The development of ever-better wireless technology has led to a host of Bluetooth-compatible wireless headphones, and if you own (or are willing to buy) a pair of these, your soundbar options open up significantly.
The SoundBase from ZVOX gives you fantastic sound and full Bluetooth connectivity, making it a great addition to your entertainment system. It’s the perfect soundbar for large TVs, supporting screens from 55” to 85” with ease. At only 3.5” high, it’s compact and unobtrusive. You can also stream music straight to the soundbar from your laptop or phone, or listen to music through the soundbar and your wireless headphones at the same time by plugging a Bluetooth transmitter into the stereo signal output on the back of the device.
For as compact as it is, the 770 puts out an impressive amount of sound. It gives you audiophile-level quality at a wide range of dynamics and frequencies. The three built-in subwoofers generate powerful low end rumble, perfect for massive and realistic movie sound effects. The AccuVoice feature enhances human voices, helping you to better hear soft dialogue without cranking up the volume. The combination of features makes this one of the best soundbars with wireless headphones.
Vizio SB4051-C0 Sound Bar System
Buying a soundbar that gives you the option to use headphones doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your daytime listening experience. This sound bar system is much more than a speaker you can use your headphones with. It takes full advantage of its wireless Bluetooth technology and incorporates not only a subwoofer but also a pair of rear satellite speakers. This gives you the option of having a full surround-sound experience without having to worry about any complicated or unsightly wiring, and without spending time shopping for peripheral devices that work well with your system.
What’s especially impressive about this Vizio system is the fact that it can produce such a powerful and accurate sound from very compact speakers. The 6” driver in the included subwoofer handles the low-end with ease and clarity, but is still small enough to fit comfortably on a TV stand or bookshelf. The soundbar itself is wall-mountable, further reducing the footprint of the entire set. That makes this the perfect choice for small spaces, like dorm rooms and apartments—especially since they let you use headphones at night, so you don’t disturb your neighbors. Bar none, this is one great soundbar with wireless headphones.
Wired or wireless?
A quick glance through the four products on this list will highlight the main difference between using Bluetooth headphones and buying soundbars with headphone jacks: the price. The addition of wireless capability alone does tend to increase the overall cost of the soundbar. The Bluetooth-compatible headphones themselves are also more likely to be an added expense; most of us have quite a few pairs of wired headphones around the house, but that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to wireless models.
On the flip side of that, because it’s a more modern technology, the models that feature wireless connectivity also have a tendency to be better speakers overall. The units that do feature headphone jacks are more often than not intended for use with computers rather than TVs or other entertainment systems, and are not as well-equipped to handle things like movie sound effects or even television dialogue with the same level of accuracy.
There is also the convenience factor to keep in mind. Using wired headphones on your computer may not be inconvenient because they won’t have to stretch very far from your desk up to your head. Most people don’t sit directly in front of their TV when they’re watching it, however—something you would have to do if you were listening through headphones plugged directly into the soundbar, unless you invest in headphones with an exceptionally long cord.
Getting soundbars with wireless headphones may mean a larger initial investment, but for most people the improvements to the listening experience end up being well worth that investment in the end. Ultimately, of course, the decision is up to you. Assessing your personal listening needs—and your budget—will lead you to the right choice for your situation on the list above.