Bacterial inoculation of soybean seeds to improve biological nitrogen fixation is a well-known practice to achieve higher seed and protein yield with reduced fertilization. The optimal inoculation strategy in temperate regions is unknown because soybeans are rarely cultivated under colder growing conditions. The aim of the present work was to determine the most suitable inoculation strategy for soybean cultivation in Belgium. Field trials were set up with four Bradyrhizobium inoculants (HiStick, Force 48, Biodoz and Optimize) at two locations over 2 years (2014–2015) and compared with a non-inoculated control treatment. In addition, HiStick was tested at three doses and Optimize at two time periods prior to sowing. Under Belgian conditions, all inoculants were effective in establishing rhizobial symbiosis, resulting in increased yield, protein content, protein yield and thousand-grain weight compared with the non-inoculated control. A single dose of HiStick was sufficient to establish symbiosis. Pre-inoculation with Optimize 2 weeks before sowing gave an intermediate performance for most parameters between the non-inoculated control treatment and inoculation with Optimize 24 h prior to sowing. Among the four products tested, Biodoz seemed the best product for inoculation under cool growing conditions. Based on the atpD gene, the bacterial strain of Biodoz showed complete similarity with Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens, while strains of other products were identified as Bradyrhizobium japonicum. In vitro growing capacity of the Biodoz strain at 8 °C was higher compared with the other strains. Better cold adaptation of the Biodoz strain might be a possible explanation for the better performance of Biodoz in Belgium.