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, 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 110 soundbars, and below you'll find the best compact 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 mini soundbar that we've tested. This well-built soundbar has a sleek design with rounded edges, and it won't take up a lot of space in your existing setup. Despite its small size, it has an impressive stereo soundstage that's perceived to be almost as wide as the soundstage for home speaker towers.
This soundbar comes with a room correction feature that automatically optimizes audio reproduction based on the unique acoustic characteristics of the room you're listening in. With this feature turned on, it has a pretty neutral, though slightly bright, sound profile that's especially suitable for listening to dialogue-centric content like TV shows. It also has built-in support for Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can control the bar using your voice.
Unfortunately, like many small soundbars, it struggles to reproduce a deep, thumpy low-bass, which can be disappointing if you like to feel the rumble in bass-heavy music and action-packed movies. Also, while it comes with bass and treble adjustments, it lacks premium sound enhancement features like a graphic EQ. That said, you can upgrade this setup with a subwoofer and satellites down the line, which is nice.
If you're looking for a soundbar that offers more sound customization features, consider the Samsung HW-S60A instead. While this 5.0 soundbar lacks a room correction feature and doesn't offer as impressive of a soundstage performance as the Sonos Beam, it has a graphic EQ and presets like 'Music' and 'Adaptive Sound' so you can customize its sound. It's well-built, and its neutral sound profile is suitable for listening to many different types of audio content. It also has built-in support for Amazon Alexa, which is handy. However, like the Sonos, it struggles to reproduce a deep, rumbling low-bass, so it's best-suited for dialogue-centric content like podcasts and TV shows.
If you want a 3.0 setup with a better stereo soundstage and a room correction feature, check out the Sonos. However, if you want a more customizable setup with a better surrounds performance, consider the Samsung instead.
The Bose Smart Soundbar 300 is the best soundbar for computer use 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 budget-friendly 2.1 setup should easily fit into your existing setup, and its subwoofer isn't much bigger than a desktop PC. Despite its small size, it still gets loud enough to use in large rooms and at crowded parties without a lot of compression.
Out-of-the-box, this soundbar has a balanced mid-range that can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly, though they can also sound a bit dull due to its recessed treble range. There are EQ presets to help customize its sound, including a 'TV' preset that enhances dialogue. It's also advertised to work seamlessly with your Roku TV, meaning you can control it with your TV remote.
Unfortunately, this soundbar has a poor selection of sound enhancement features. It doesn't have bass and treble adjustments or more premium features like room correction, meaning it may sound different depending on your space. However, thanks to its subwoofer, it can still reproduce a punchier bass than many other small bars we've tested.
If you prefer a soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, consider the Sony HT-S200F. While it doesn't get as loud as the TCL Alto 6+, this soundbar's subwoofer is built into the bar itself, so it takes up less space in your setup. This 2.1 bar has a balanced mid-range that reproduces voices and lead instruments clearly, though they can also sound a bit dull. Its low-bass isn't as extended as the TCL, so you feel a little less thump and rumble in your audio. However, it does come with EQ presets and a bass adjustment feature to help you customize its sound, which is nice.
If you want a soundbar that gets louder and offers a more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, check out the TCL. However, if you prefer a bar with an integrated sub and more sound enhancement features, consider the Sony instead.
Oct 08, 2021: Minor updates to the text for accuracy. No changes to product picks.
Aug 10, 2021: Minor updates to the text for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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.
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.