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 80 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're looking for the best soundbar for computer 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 TCL Alto 6+ is the best compact soundbar with a subwoofer that we've tested. This small 2.1 setup comes with a dedicated subwoofer, and it's designed to be compatible with TCL Roku TVs. It can get loud without a lot of compression, so you can listen to your audio in large, crowded rooms.
It has a pretty neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for lots of different audio content, though it's lacking a bit of low-bass. There are a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound, including a 'TV' preset that doubles as a dialogue enhancement feature. This bar is also Bluetooth-compatible, so you can stream audio from your phone or tablet to it wirelessly.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a full HDMI In port, so you can't use it as a hub between your TV and other devices. It doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, and it has to downmix surround content into stereo, which doesn't sound very immersive. However, if you're looking for a soundbar with a subwoofer that won't take up too much space in your existing setup, it's a solid choice.
If you prefer a soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, consider the Sony HT-S200F instead. 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. Like the TCL, it's lacking a bit of low-bass, but its balanced mid-range makes it suitable for vocal-centric content like podcasts and TV shows. You can even customize its sound using its EQ presets and its bass adjustment feature. It gets pretty loud, and there aren't a lot of compression artifacts present at max volume, which is good. You can also use the dialogue enhancement feature and auto-volume mode to improve your TV-watching experience.
If you want a soundbar with a better-balanced sound and a dedicated subwoofer, check out the TCL. However, if you prefer a bar with an integrated subwoofer and a bass adjustment feature, consider the Sony instead.
12/15/2020: Replaced the TCL Alto 5+ with the TCL Alto 6+ as 'Best with Sub'.
10/20/2020: 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.