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 90 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 like 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 a soundbar that can connect to your home network, check out the Bose Smart Soundbar 300. While it's a bit longer than the Bose Solo 5 and lacks an AUX port for a wired connection, it supports Wi-Fi. It also has built-in Google Assistant and Alexa, which is handy if you like to control the bar with your voice. Although it has a slightly brighter overall sound profile, it does a good job of reproducing vocal-centric content clearly and is suitable for a variety of audio content. Its sound profile can also be tweaked using its bass and treble sliders if you prefer a different sound. This bar can get pretty loud, which is great. However, there are some compression artifacts at max volume.
Try the Solo 5 if you prefer a more compact soundbar with an AUX port. However, check out the Smart Soundbar 300 if you have a bit more room on your table and want to connect to your bar via Wi-Fi.
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, including 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 a 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 that has 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.
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.
Aug 21, 2020: Added the Samsung HW-S60T to Notable Mentions.
Jun 23, 2020: Added the Vizio SB2020n-G6 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.