Soundbars are often seen as a more convenient alternative to traditional home theater speaker systems. As more speakers and sound-enhancing technologies are packed into a soundbar setup, they can get really big. Some soundbars are too wide to keep on your desk underneath your computer monitor or below your TV stand. Smaller soundbars generally don't sound as spacious as their wider counterparts, but their more compact form makes them easier to travel with or set up wherever you'd like.
We've tested over 70 soundbars, and below you'll find the best small soundbars to buy. Make sure to check out our recommendations for the best budget soundbars, the best soundbars 5.1, and the best soundbars for music.
The Sonos Beam is the best small soundbar that we've tested. This well-built bar has a slim, rounded design that looks sleek and stylish in any home. You can also easily upgrade it to a full surround setup down the line, as Sonos sells a compatible subwoofer and satellite speakers separately.
If you're already low on space, it doesn't take up a lot of room. It's small enough to fit between the legs of most 55 inch TVs and shouldn't block your view either unless your screen sits flush to the table. As it's a standalone bar, it has an easy setup, which allows you to quickly plug-and-play. Although it lacks an EQ, it has a slightly bright and fairly well-balanced sound. It also has an excellent dedicated center channel, so the dialogue in all of your favorite podcasts or TV shows sounds clear.
However, it doesn't offer up a lot of connectivity options. While it has an HDMI ARC, an Optical Audio In, and an ethernet port, it can be quite limiting for some users. It also lacks Bluetooth support; however, you can still wirelessly connect to it using Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay. Without its separate dedicated subwoofer, it struggles to produce a thumpy bass. However, if you like the idea of a compact soundbar that you can upgrade sometime in the future, this is a great choice.
The best small soundbar for computers that we've tested is the Bose Solo 5. This short, compact model is easy to set up and has a fairly well-balanced sound profile right out-of-the-box so you can quickly plug-and-play your favorite tunes. It shouldn't block your view of the screen unless you have a monitor that's flush to the table.
While it may look a little simple and unassuming, it has a solid plastic body that feels well-built. Thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, you can wirelessly connect to your smartphone and stream audio content. Although it doesn't get as loud as other soundbars on this list, its volume should be more than loud enough for a computer setup or if you like to listen to audio at your desk.
Unfortunately, it has a limited amount of inputs, and it lacks newer connectivity options such as HDMI, which is a little disappointing. As it doesn't have a subwoofer, it also struggles to produce deep, rumbly bass. That said, this is still a solid choice thanks to its balanced sound and small design, making it the best soundbar for computer use that we've tested.
If you prefer a soundbar with an HDMI port, check out the Yamaha YAS 108/ATS-1080. Unlike the Bose Solo 5, this 2.2 channel model has built-in subwoofers to give its bass a boost. Although it's convenient for small spaces, it simply doesn't sound as good as a dedicated subwoofer. The overall sound is decent, but it's much more suited to dialogue-heavy content. The HDMI port lets you plug in another device such as a Blu-ray player or a gaming console; additionally, it can send a 4k signal at 60Hz and supports HDR10 passthrough. You can also stream content wirelessly through Bluetooth, but sadly, not through Wi-Fi. Lastly, though it doesn't have an EQ, it does have a dialogue enhancement feature and allows for adjustments to the subwoofers.
Overall, the Bose is a simple soundbar that's easy to set up and sounds good, but if an extra HDMI port is important to you, then you should consider the Yamaha.
The best compact soundbar with a subwoofer that we've tested is the TCL Alto 5+. While it's a bit wider than some of the other soundbars on this list, it should still fit between the legs of a 55 inch TV. It's well-built, and its dedicated sub adds an extra thump and punch to your audio.
Overall, this soundbar has a bass-heavy sound profile that's suited for listening to boomy music genres like hip-hop and EDM. If you prefer a different sound, there are a few EQ presets available, as well as a dialogue enhancement feature to help make vocals sound more clear and crisp. This soundbar can get decently loud without a lot of compression so that you can turn up the volume on your favorite tunes without issue.
Unfortunately, this soundbar's dark sound profile may be too muddy and overwhelming for some listeners. It doesn't support Atmos or DTS content, and it has very limited physical inputs, so you won't be able to use it as a hub between your devices. However, if you're a fan of bass-heavy music, this soundbar is a solid choice.
If you don't have a lot of space and want a smaller soundbar, consider the Sony HT-S200F instead. While this soundbar can't reproduce the deep thumps and rumbles in music and movies as well as the TCL Alto 5+, it has a subwoofer integrated into the bar that helps its bass performance. Its default sound profile is fairly neutral and suitable for a wide variety of audio content. There are also four EQ presets available to help you customize the sound, as well as a bass adjustment feature. You can stream music to the bar using a Bluetooth connection, too.
If you want a deep and punchy bass, check out the TCL, but if you want a smaller setup, consider the Sony instead.
10/20/2020: Minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy. Added the Bose TV Speaker to 'Notable Mentions'.
08/21/2020: Added the Samsung HW-S60T to 'Notable Mentions'.
06/23/2020: Added the Vizio SB2020n-G6 to 'Notable Mentions'.
11/05/2019: Added the Bose Soundbar 500 to 'Notable Mentions'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best small soundbars and the best soundbars for computers for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our soundbar reviews, sorted by bar width. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.