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Which compact soundbar is best for small living spaces?

Soundbars are a great alternative for those who don’t want to deal with the time and expense associated with creating a surround sound system. You can skip the measurements, the room treatments and purchasing multiple components in favor of a single device that still dramatically improves the quality of the sound.

Despite their convenience, many soundbars are too long for those who live in compact spaces or want to upgrade their listening experience at their gaming or workstation. To enhance your audio without losing valuable living or workspace, you need a compact soundbar.

Compact soundbar pros

  • Lower price. Compact soundbars are generally less expensive than their larger counterparts. You can use the money you save to put toward a subwoofer if you want to add some additional bass to your audio.
  • Portable. Small soundbars are easier to move around. You can take one from your desk to your entertainment center with ease or even bring one outdoors with a small projector to enjoy louder audio for movie night.
  • Discreet. While rooms packed with electronics aren’t unusual, most would agree that soundbars aren’t aesthetically pleasing. Compact ones are less visible and easier to hide in a cabinet or on a shelf.

Compact soundbar cons

  • Smaller sound. Almost any soundbar is an upgrade over a TV’s built-in speakers, but compact models won’t be able to produce sound as big and wide as larger options.
  • No included subwoofer. Many large soundbars include a subwoofer, but compact models typically forgo this additional speaker. If you want to experience deep bass, you will likely have to purchase a subwoofer separately. Make sure that the model you choose lets you add one.
  • Fewer EQ options. Small soundbars tend to have fewer audio customization features than large ones. 

What to look for in a compact soundbar

A proper fit

Make sure that your soundbar will fit where you want it to go. Carefully measure the shelf or cupboard you intend to keep it in while keeping in mind that it will likely have two or more cables running to your devices.


A soundbar with Bluetooth lets you listen to your phone or tablet wirelessly. A small, Bluetooth-enabled soundbar used primarily for movies or gaming can also function as a portable speaker.

Surround sound

Most compact soundbars feature 2.0 surround sound, which takes the audio from your media source and mixes it down to stereo. A Dolby Atmos or 5.0 surround sound bar is ideal. It retains the immersive characteristics of the format and still allows for detailed audio panning despite it only coming from one part of the room.

Audio modes

Choose a soundbar that features selectable audio modes so you can tailor its output to your liking. Many bars include options that prioritize speech over background audio or are designed specifically for gaming, sports, etc.


Select a sound bar that has the ports needed to connect to your devices. From optical ports to HDMI, the more options you have the more uses you will find for your speaker. Select a bar that includes an output for a subwoofer to allow for further expansion and immersion.

Best compact soundbars

Top compact soundbars

Bose TV Speaker 

What you need to know: Bose delivers on its reputation for premium audio with this soundbar.

What you’ll love: Compatible with Bose subwoofers, this little soundbar can be the hub of your audio entertainment center. With selections for bass or speech enhancement right on its remote control, you can choose how you want to listen to your content. 

What you should consider: Some users have noticed that other remote controls interfere with this speaker’s operation, resulting in accidental volume spikes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Home Theater Soundbar 

What you need to know: This soundbar is small enough to be mistaken for an alarm clock and includes a subwoofer.

What you’ll love: With six multi-directional speakers, this diminutive soundbar creates a room-filling audio experience. It includes a wireless subwoofer and even the HDMI and optical cables you need to connect it to your TV right out of the box.

What you should consider: Some buyers expected brighter, crisper sound from a soundbar at this price.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

LG Eclair QP5 Soundbar 

What you need to know: LG’s compact soundbar is the smallest speaker to feature Dolby’s immersive Atmos technology.

What you’ll love: This sleek-looking soundbar comes with a subwoofer and is available in either black or white. It features two HDMI ports and its Dolby Atmos audio is enhanced with speakers that point upward to deliver room-filling, moving sound.

What you should consider: This soundbar requires LG’s app for proper speaker calibration and the best audio.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top compact soundbars for the money

Roku Streambar

What you need to know: You can access Roku’s streaming content with this smart soundbar.

What you’ll love: Small enough to fit in most backpacks, this Bluetooth-enabled soundbar also lets you connect a subwoofer.

What you should consider: The additional smart features in this soundbar make it less simple to use than more basic models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl's

VIZIO V-Series 2.0 Compact Soundbar

What you need to know: This soundbar is thin enough to fit under most computer monitors.

What you’ll love: This soundbar features Bluetooth and can also be connected to an external subwoofer. You can use it to control Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. It’s so thin that it can slide directly under your TV or go unnoticed perched on your desk.

What you should consider: Some users find the audio from this speaker to be muffled, especially when it comes to dialogue.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Vizio Compact Soundbar with Subwoofer

What you need to know: A subwoofer is included with this budget-friendly compact soundbar.

What you’ll love: This soundbar features Vizio’s DTS Virtual: X audio technology, providing detailed, multidimensional audio that mimics surround sound. Its included subwoofer is wireless, making it easy to hide anywhere in the room.

What you should consider: While the included subwoofer is a major selling point for this soundbar, many users are disappointed in the quality of its build and audio output.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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