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 45 soundbars so far, and below you'll find the best small soundbars to buy. See 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 so far. This well-built soundbar has a slim, rounded design that looks sleek and stylish in any home. You can also easily upgrade this soundbar to a full surround setup down the line too 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" TVs and it shouldn't block your view either unless your screen sits flush to the table. As its a standalone soundbar, it has an easy setup which allows you to quickly plug-and-play. Although it lacks an EQ, it has a fairly well-balanced sound that's slightly bright. 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 to date is the Bose Solo 5. This short, compact soundbar 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 either 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.
On the downside, 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 being 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 so far.
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 soundbar 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 TCL Alto 5+ is the best small soundbar with subwoofer that we've tested so far. It's slightly larger than some of the other soundbars on this list, but its wireless subwoofer delivers a thumpy, punchy bass. Although some may find it too boomy, it also has a couple of EQ presets available, which is nice if you prefer a slightly different sound.
All the cables you'll need are right in the box, which is surprising at its price point, and there's even a full wall-mounting kit in it, so you don't need to scramble to find additional pieces like screws or brackets. You can use Bluetooth to stream your favorite audiobooks or podcasts to it and its dialogue enhancement feature can help make voices sound a bit clearer. It also has a good overall build quality as it has a long, metal grill that covers the entirety of the bar's speakers, and there's even a USB port so you can play music directly stored on a USB thumb drive.
On the downside, the glossy plastic top of the bar is prone to collecting fingerprints. It also lacks any HDMI ports, and you won't be able to play DTS audio formats either, which can be a problem if you like to watch movies on Blu-ray. Still, if you're looking for a compact soundbar that packs a punchy bass, this is a suitable choice.
If you're limited on room and like the design of a soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, then get the Sony HT-S200F. While its bass range falls a bit short, some may prefer its underemphasized sound to the more thumpy and rumbly TCL Alto 5+. On the downside, as the Sony is also lacking in the treble range, this soundbar sounds dark and muddy. Still, it's great for watching TV or listening to podcasts as its dialogue enhancement feature reproduces clear and accurate voices. Unlike the TCL, the Sony also has an HDMI ARC, which is good for a TV-oriented setup.
Get the TCL if you like to have more bass, especially coming from a separate subwoofer, but if you need a soundbar with a smaller footprint and don't mind the underemphasized bass, go for the Sony.
06/23/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy. 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.