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 big. Some soundbars are too wide to keep on your desk underneath your computer monitor or below your TV stand, so the best soundbars for computer use are typically smaller than sets designed for use with your TV. 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 170 soundbars, and below, you'll find the best soundbars with a small design 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 (Gen 2) is the best soundbar with a small design we've tested. It has the same compact design as the original Sonos Beam, measuring less than 26 inches in width. Thanks to its small footprint, it'll fit easily beneath your computer monitor or TV stand without crowding the space. Also, unlike the first-gen model, this soundbar has Dolby Atmos support, meaning you can enjoy object-based formats on Blu-ray discs and streaming services. If you move to a bigger space, you can upgrade it with a subwoofer and satellites.
Despite its small size, this premium 5.0 bar uses psychoacoustics principles to widen its soundstage past the edges of the bar itself, providing a wide and cinematic feel that makes it seem like you're right in the middle of the action. Its bass and treble are adjustable, meaning you can customize its sound, and there's even a TruePlay room correction feature to optimize its output based on your room's unique acoustics. There are even built-in voice assistant capabilities to control the bar using only your voice. It's the best in terms of small soundbars, so it's worth checking out, especially if you're a movie lover.
If you're looking for a more affordable option, consider the Samsung HW-S60B. This standalone 5.0 soundbar offers a pretty versatile performance for the price, along with Dolby Atmos support for users who watch a lot of content on streaming platforms and Blu-rays. It has a sleek design that's easy to integrate into your home decor and built-in Alexa support for hands-free control. At less than 27 inches in width, the bar doesn't take up a lot of space in your setup, either, and it's even available in all-white as the Samsung HW-S61B.
This soundbar has many customization tools to maximize your listening experience. As with most premium soundbars, it has a room correction feature to optimize its sound and a 7-band graphic EQ if you prefer to manually customize its sound. Unlike the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), it supports Bluetooth connectivity, too. That said, its stereo soundstage isn't quite as impressive as the Sonos, meaning you don't get the same immersive feel in the space around you. It's especially noticeable with audio formats like Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos, as sound effects don't stretch into the space around your couch in the same clear and real way. That said, for the price, it's a great bar and worth checking out if you're on a tighter budget.
The Roku Streambar is the best compact soundbar in the budget range that we've tested. For an affordable price, this 2.0 soundbar offers many great features and functions to improve your existing home theater setup. It connects you to Roku's media streamer, which organizes all your streaming services, like Netflix and Disney+, into one easy-to-use interface. This well-built soundbar measures a little less than 14 inches in width, too, so it easily fits into your living room without crowding up the space. iPhone users can stream to the bar via Apple AirPlay 2, and it also supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for wireless playback.
Given that it's a 2.0 bar, it's ideal for listening to vocal-centric content like podcasts, sitcoms, and documentaries. Dialogue is clearly and accurately reproduced right out of the box, and the Speech Clarity feature enhances dialogue in the mix, so it sounds more crisp. This soundbar doesn't support Dolby Atmos content like the Samsung HW-S60B/S61B, though, and its surround sound performance isn't quite as impressive. Still, it's worth checking out if you don't watch much of this content.
If you're looking to use a soundbar with a computer, you'll want a small bar that'll fit easily underneath your screen without taking up too much room on your desk. In that case, the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is your the best soundbar for computer use. Its price is comparable to the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). While it doesn't support Dolby Atmos content, it comes with Bluetooth support, so you can connect the bar to your computer more easily over a wireless connection. It's under 28 inches in width and less than 3 inches in height, which will work with most computer setups, so you don't have to worry about the bar blocking out your screen.
This soundbar offers great sound quality, so it's a solid pick for listening to music or gaming on your PC. Dialogue is clearly and accurately reproduced, and lead instruments are present and punchy in the mix. Plus, with a wide soundstage, you feel immersed in your favorite games. The bar's bass and treble adjustments also give you some control over its sound. There's even built-in voice assistant support for hands-free control, and you can mute this feature if you prefer not to use it. It's great for computer users who want to enjoy the best possible sound.
Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio format commonly found on streaming platforms—but if you're mostly listening to stereo content like music and sitcoms, getting a bar that supports this format isn't necessary. You can check out a bar like the Bose TV Speaker in that case. It's a well-built 2.0 bar that offers a fairly balanced sound out-of-the-box, especially in the mids, where most voices and lead instruments reproduce. As a result, dialogue in your favorite shows is clear and easy to understand, and you can enjoy detailed vocals and instruments when you listen to music. Naturally, since it's a standalone bar, you don't get much rumble in the low-bass—but you can always add a separate subwoofer to improve bass reproduction, which the manufacturer sells separately.
The bar isn't as impressive as our top picks with movies. While it can playback some 5.1 surround sound formats like Dolby Digital, since it's a 2.0 bar, it has to downmix this audio into stereo to play it. The resulting sound isn't very impressive, and it seems like audio simply comes from a speaker in front of you. There's no Dolby Atmos support to use more immersive object-based formats, either. However, this might not make much of a difference if you aren't a movie fan. If you already own products in the Sonos ecosystem and want a small bar with a similar performance, you can also check out the Sonos Ray, which is available for roughly the same price. However, the Ray lacks a little low-bass compared to the Bose, so it's not ideal for everyone.
May 19, 2023: The Samsung HW-S60B/S61B replaces the Bose TV Speaker as 'Best Mid-Range' since it offers Atmos support. The Bose TV Speaker moves to the 'Best Without Atmos' pick. Added the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 as the 'Best For Computers'.
Mar 24, 2023: Product picks remain accurate. Minor text updates for clarity.
Jan 24, 2023: We've made some small updates to the text for clarity, but there are no changes in the product picks.
Nov 25, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Sep 27, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability. Minor updates to the text for clarity.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best compact soundbars, the best mini 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.