Which entertainment center is best?
For many years, the television was the focal point of living rooms everywhere. But in today’s connected world, entertainment centers also need space for sound bars, media players and game consoles. With the revival in popularity of vinyl records, more and more people also need space for a turntable, amplifier, and speakers.
No matter what style and design you choose, the most important dimensions to consider are the width and weight of your TV. If you are looking for an entertainment center made of solid wood and with lots of storage space, take a look at the Simplihome Amherst Solid Wood Universal Entertainment Center.
What to know before you buy an entertainment center
Entertainment centers are pieces of furniture that can be anything from shelves to consoles and cabinets. In living areas and media rooms, they are typically the dominant feature.
Measure your room
Small entertainment centers seem lost in large rooms and large entertainment centers overwhelm small rooms, making the space seem cramped and crowded. Bigger means room for more things, but at the expense of more weight, bulk, and cost.
Measure your TV
Televisions wider than the entertainment center overwhelm it visually. TVs are often heavier than you think, so make sure you know what yours weighs before choosing an entertainment center. Most manufacturers list a weight limit in their product descriptions, and you should never exceed it.
Traditional entertainment centers are wider than they are tall.
Width: The wider your choice, the more shelf space you have for holding and displaying items. Wide entertainment centers take up more floor space and are stable platforms for heavy loads.
Height: Entertainment towers stack things on top of each other. With their narrower footprint, they don’t take up a lot of floor space and are a good choice for small rooms. Be careful to use wall anchors to keep tall entertainment centers from tipping over.
As with any furniture used to store things, the number of shelves can vary from one to many. How many do you want, how do you want them configured, and do you want to be able to adjust them?
What to look for in a quality entertainment center
Open vs. closed
Some like the look of open shelving while others prefer the clean look of keeping the contents behind cabinet doors. Look for doors that open and latch smoothly, easily and securely. Choose see-through doors if you want to show what’s inside while keeping it from getting dusty.
Some people like to put remote controls, charging cords, auxiliary cables and the like in drawers. Lots of people still have DVD players, Blu-Ray players, and VCRs, and need storage space for discs and tapes. And if you’re into vinyl, you’ll want a place to store your albums in the recommended vertical position.
Look around back
You’re going to need a lot of room for power cords and miscellaneous wiring. Better entertainment centers are designed with built-in cable management ports so you don’t have to deal with a rat’s nest of cords and cables.
You can find plenty of information online about sight lines and the optimum angles from which to view TV screens. But when you’ve considered all of that, what really counts is where you want to watch your TV from and the angle at which you want to view it.
How much you can expect to spend on an entertainment center
The cost depends upon the materials, craftsmanship and size. Most are in the $100-$200 range. Larger and better-made versions that are considered fine furniture cost in the thousands of dollars.
Entertainment center FAQ
How much assembly will I have to do?
A. The bigger the center you buy, the more things there are to be put together.
What kinds of wood are entertainment centers made of?
A. Just about every kind you can imagine, including such favorites and pine, oak and walnut. Most are made of manufactured wood, which isn’t as structurally sound as solid wood because it’s made by bonding wood chips together with glues and resins. Manufacturers refer to this particle board as “engineered wood” or MDF, the industry term for medium-density fiberboard. Real wood costs more and is sturdier.
What’s the best entertainment center to buy?
Top entertainment center
Simplihome Amherst Solid Wood Universal Entertainment Center
What you need to know: This 72-inch-long cabinet is made of solid pine, hand-finished in a dark brown walnut stain and protected by a coat of clear lacquer.
What you’ll love: It’s got a large open area in the center with cord-management cutouts at the back. There are two medium-sized drawers and two cabinets, with adjustable interior shelves and space inside for all your stuff. With a solid wood base, it can hold up to 220 pounds.
What you should consider: Assembly is too difficult for some.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top entertainment center for the money
Yaheetech Open Entertainment Center Console Table
What you need to know: This 55-inch console holds up to 110 pounds.
What you’ll love: The X-shaped design of the metal frame adds stability and the adjustable feet are great for leveling on uneven floors. There are two open shelves in the center with cutouts in the back for easy cable management.
What you should consider: The surfaces are made of particleboard. The 110-pound weight limit is for everything on the shelves, not just for the TV.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Elibeauty LED Entertainment Center with Media Layers
What you need to know: This nearly 5-foot-long all-black entertainment center is equipped with a 44-key remote control, 20 colors and five flashing modes to make the games you play even more exciting and dynamic.
What you’ll love: The LED lights are a peel-and-stick strip you can put on the top, bottom or in the back to add light to the wall. The two transparent shelves in the center adjust to five heights and the two cabinets below have doors.
What you should consider: The top shelf is only 14 inches deep, and some TVs need a wider base. The manufactured wood is rated to hold up to 100 pounds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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