JBL vs Harman Kardon: Which Sounds Better for Your Ears?

Both JBL and Harman Kardon have similar audio equipment, and depending on your audio needs, you might prefer one manufacturer over the other. Although you’re bound to miss out on some features when you choose one brand over the other, both companies provide top-notch features and high-quality audio.

At audiosk, considering that both brands are a subsidiary of Harman International Industries, one may ask, is JBL Harman Kardon? And does JBL own Harman Kardon?

In this review, we help you get answers to such kinds of questions and compare top audio categories from both manufacturers as well as some of their top products. But first, here is a brief history of both brands.

Overview of JBL vs Harman Kardon

Harman Kardon makes sound devices for home and car use. They are from America. Two business partners, Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon, made it. That’s why it is called Harman Kardon.

The company is well-known for creating high-quality and costly speakers, wireless sound tools, earphones, soundbars and car radios. One reason people pick Harman Kardon for sound gear is because they have stylish designs and team up with famous experts.

JBL is a big company in the sound business and their devices are widely loved by music fans around the world. Long ago, James Bullough Lansing created JBL. He used his name (JBL) to make the brand famous.

The company’s first product was small 6 inch/8 inch speakers for different radio gadgets. Nowadays, the company produces lots of sound gear. They have things for almost any need, like headphones and speakers. Even some work with home entertainment systems.

JBL vs Harman Kardon: Which is better?

Harman Kardon and JBL speaker are both famous audio gear makers. You’ll never make a mistake choosing either one of them. But, with so many talkers and other sounds to pick from, it can be very hard to choose the best brand between these two.

JBL vs. Harman Kardon comparison
JBL vs. Harman Kardon comparison


We checked the Harman Kardon SB 20 with the JBL Bar 5.1 Surround Soundbar. The SB 20 is a two-part soundbar with a strong wireless subwoofer. It also has wide HDMI connection, Bluetooth linking and it works with your TV remote.

The SB 20 uses two sets of modules that both have two big midrange drivers and a tiny dome tweeter. It works with Dolby Digital sounds and you can use the Harman Kardon app on your phone for it.

On the other hand, JBL Bar 5.1 uses “Multibeam” technology to improve surround sound performance. It provides a strong bass that is great for EDM and action movies.

The JBL Bar 5.1 has options for room correction and wireless music streaming, but it does not support Dolby Atmos. It also has a small number of EQ choices.


Harman Kardon speakers are very nice to look at and have modern styles. They fit in well with any decor while making great sound.

Their famous look and best sound quality please both music-lovers and new people, with choices from Bluetooth to computers. They also offer home theaters and soundbars for bigger rooms.

On the other hand, JBL speaker is really good at making modern audio gear that has lots of nice features. They do better than Harman Kardon and other rivals in this area.

Wanting to give high-quality sound for a low price, JBL has made some of the top-selling audio items in history.

Even though some big-name brands have come out, none match JBL’s sound quality. So it’s still a good buy even if the price is a bit higher than others.

Looking at the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 4 and JBL Flip 4, the Onyx Studio 4 is easy to move around because it has a built-in battery and doesn’t need cords. But it is bigger and harder to carry than the JBL Flip 4.

On the other hand, the JBL Flip 4 has a longer battery life, is small in size and sounds better. Moreover, the Flip 4 costs less than $100. That makes it a great deal.

This is due to its weather-protected design, bigger 20mm driver unit, dustproof building, extra live Bluetooth linking and 4 hours more battery life. It also has a much lighter weight making it easier for people to use.


We looked at the Harman Kardon Go+Play and the JBL Boombox. These are two popular choices for small, portable speakers.

The Go+Play is good at giving nice, soft high sounds and big warm bass especially when playing it quietly. This makes it a great pick for someone who likes more calm and softer listening times.

However, the JBL Boombox makes clear high sounds and strong bass tones. When these two are mixed together, they give a really live music feeling for vocals and high notes in songs. This is great for listening while doing energetic entertainment with all your focus on it.

Most people prefer this choice because it has stereo speakers, two extra drivers, a subwoofer, small size andpassword radiator. It is sealed against the weather. Also it shows how much battery life there is and comes with a rechargeable battery. This makes it a powerful option for listening to music in many places.

Power and Frequency Response

JBL and Harman Kardon speakers are similar, but JBL ones can handle more power. For example, the 840 Cinema Surround Speaker from JBL can take up to 350 watts continuously while still working well. Also, the Stage 1210 speaker with a 12-inch woofer made by JBL can play smoothly

JBL’s sound range changes. The ES Series can work from 65 Hz to 40 kHz, and the 840 Very High Power Cinema Surround Speaker can use sounds from 60 Hz to up to 19 kHz.

On the other hand, Harman Kardon’s power range is different for each product. Their Automotive Mini gives 360 watts while their HKTS 15 provides only 100 watts.

Their range also varies, from the AVR 1610 receiver’s range of 87 to 108 megahertz to the portable Onyx Studio 4 speaker’s range of 50 hertz to 20 kilohertz. Make sure to look at the details of the specific Harman Kardon product so you know its sound range.

Overall Sound Quality

Harman Kardon is famous for giving clear and true sound. They show little details in audio just like moving from a flip phone to an iPhone does.

Unlike that, JBL is all about strong bass and big sound. It’s great for people who love loud music like being at the very front of a concert.

Both of these brands have their own sound, but JBL’s loud bass makes it better in terms of music quality. It is more attractive to people who want a deep and lively listening experience.

Pricing and Warranty

JBL Bluetooth speakers are good for every budget. They offer cheaper choices that still sound great and are simple to carry with you.

Instead, Harman Kardon’s costs are like other companies. But normally, their goods cost more than the others. Some people might think they are too expensive, but they work well and sound nice.

JBL concentrates on producing great sound to everyone. They ensure if you don’t want to spend much, you can still get the best sound without costing too much. This means JBL is a better pick if you want nice noise at a cheaper cost.

Why Use Harman Kardon Speakers?

Harman Kardon gives cool-looking, good-sounding speakers that fit in any room. They’re famous for speakers that have great sound quality. If you like music or are new to it, they have Bluetooth speakers and more for everyone.

Their speakers are cool and small, great for any room. Bluetooth lets you play music without wires and connect many gadgets.

What we like best is their 360-degree sound for an all around listening experience. They also provide a surround sound setup with 5.1 and no wires, all because of Bluetooth. Moreover, their batteries that can be recharged last for as long as eight hours and can also charge other devices.

Put on speakers from Harman Kardon
Put on speakers from Harman Kardon

Harman Kardon not only makes speakers but also AV receivers, CD/DVD players, Blu-ray players for the home theater. They make computer speakers too just like soundbars and headphones.

Why Use JBL Speakers?

JBL is the best at making great sound equipment and is famous for its products with lots of features that often beat Harman Kardon and others. They want to give great sound at a high cost.

Make use of JBL speakers
Make use of JBL speakers

JBL has some of the best-selling sound gear ever. Even though they cost more, JBL sound systems are a good investment because of their top-notch sound quality.

Here’s what JBL offers:

  • Home Audio Speakers: JBL makes high-quality speakers, Bluetooth portable ones you can carry around, big speakers for parties, kids’ fun speakers, and smart ones too. They use complex engineering and special technologies to make strong, long-lasting speakers.
  • Home Theater Systems: JBL’s home theater range has big floor speakers, soundbars and center channel speakers. They all use fancy sound tech to make a great surround sound experience.
  • Car Audio: They offer many types of car speakers, big sound makers called subwoofers, power boosters known as amplifiers, and machines that make the sound better-called processors. This helps to make your car’s music much nicer to listen to.
  • Marine Speakers: JBL also makes strong marine speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers made to deal with hard marine conditions.


JBL is known for its strong bass and big sound, great for people who like loud music. It’s also cheaper, giving a selection of tough and good sound products. Harman Kardon, famous for its good and true sound and cool looks, makes top-quality speakers and audio devices. But they cost more than other brands might.

At audiosk, if you want good music without spending too much, choose JBL. But if design and good sound are your top choices, then Harman Kardon is the better option to spend more money on. Both give great sounds, so you can’t make a bad choice with either.

Ciaran Gonzan

Ciaran Gonzan

Ciaran Gonzan is the CEO and founder of Audiosk. He has 25+ years of experience and expertise in audio production, mixing, and mastering across music, film, and gaming.