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 100 soundbars, and below you'll find the best small soundbars to buy. Also, 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 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.
If you're looking for a soundbar that offers more sound customization features, consider the Samsung HW-S60A instead. While its soundstage performance isn't as impressive as the Sonos Beam, and it lacks a room correction feature, this 5.0 soundbar offers a graphic EQ so you can adjust its sound based on your preferences. It comes with Side Horn Speakers that fire sound towards your walls and back to you to help create a more immersive sound, resulting in a better surrounds performance than the Sonos. Out-of-the-box, this soundbar offers a pretty neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Unfortunately, like many small setups, it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass.
If you want a 3.0 soundbar with a better soundstage that offers a room correction feature, check out the Sonos. However, if you prefer a 5.0 setup with a better surrounds performance and a graphic EQ, consider the Samsung instead.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is the best soundbar for computers with a small design that we've tested. This well-built 3.0 setup has a compact design that you can easily add to your existing computer setup, and it shouldn't block your computer screen. It gets pretty loud for its small size, and it also offers Bluetooth connectivity, making it easy to wirelessly stream audio from your phone.
Out-of-the-box, this soundbar offers a slightly v-shaped sound profile that adds a little extra thump and punch in the bass range while making vocals and lead instruments sparkling and bright. If you prefer a different sound, there are also bass and treble adjustment features available. It also has a good soundstage performance, which helps you feel immersed in your audio from many angles.
Unfortunately, this soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and its surrounds performance isn't very impressive. Also, it struggles to reproduce a rumbling low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like to feel the thumping sound effects in your games. That said, you can upgrade the setup with a dedicated subwoofer, sold separately.
The TCL Alto 6+ is the best compact soundbar with a subwoofer that we've tested. This 2.1 setup shouldn't take up a lot of space, and it still gets loud enough to use in large rooms or at crowded parties. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can wirelessly stream audio from your smartphone to the bar.
Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content, though it struggles to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. There are even a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound. This includes a 'TV' preset that enhances dialogue in podcasts and TV shows. Also, if you have a Roku TV, you should be able to use your TV remote to control the bar, though we don't currently test for this.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo to play it, which doesn't sound as immersive. It also lacks more robust sound customization features like a graphic EQ or a room correction mode, which can be disappointing for some listeners. However, if you don't have a lot of space in your setup, it's still a solid choice.
If you prefer a soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, consider the Sony HT-S200F. While its sound profile isn't as balanced as the TCL Alto 6+, it has a sub integrated into the bar, so it takes up less space in your setup. Out-of-the-box, this soundbar offers a balanced mid-range that can reproduce clear and accurate dialogue in podcasts and TV shows. However, its overall sound profile is a bit dark, and it struggles to reproduce thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like bass-heavy music. Fortunately, there are a few EQ presets, as well as a bass adjustment feature to help you customize its sound more to your liking. It also gets pretty loud, and there isn't a lot of compression when you play it at max volume.
If you want a soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer with a better-balanced sound out-of-the-box, check out the TCL, but if you don't have a lot of space and prefer a bar with an integrated sub, consider the Sony.
Jun 11, 2021: Added the Samsung HW-S60A as 'More Customizable Alternative'. Removed the Bose Solo 5 and the Bose Soundbar 500 as they're no longer widely available. Added the Denon Home Sound Bar 550 and the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam to Notable Mentions.
Apr 13, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Feb 12, 2021: Replaced the Yamaha YAS-108/ATS-1080 with the Bose Smart Soundbar 300, as the Yahama is getting hard to find in stock, and added the Roku Streambar to Notable Mentions. Also verified product availability and updated text.
Dec 15, 2020: Replaced the TCL Alto 5+ with the TCL Alto 6+ as 'Best with Sub'.
Oct 20, 2020: Added the Bose TV Speaker 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.