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Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: Full Comparison, Specs, Which is the Better Value?

sonos sub vs sub mini

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: Full Comparison, Specs, Which is the Better Value?

It’s only natural to be thinking about buying something new during the holiday season, and often that something is a new piece of tech. But if you’re happy with your latest smartphone, computer, and speakers, what else is there? The answer is simple… subwoofers!

Maybe you’re a music fanatic or movie buff, or you have a special someone who is. If so, you know exactly how important a good quality subwoofer is for picking up the full range of sounds and providing an immersive experience.

Some of the best on the market are courtesy of Sonos. So, if they’re on your radar, you’ll want to check out our full Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini comparison below to make sure you’re armed with the information you need.

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: Side-by-Side Comparison

Sonos Sub Gen 3Sonos Sub Mini
Size38.9 x 40.2 cm30.5 x 23.0 cm
Weight13.15 kg6.35 kg
ColorsBlack, WhiteBlack, White
ConnectivityWi-FiWi-Fi
CompatibilityAndroid, iPhoneAndroid, iPhone
Frequency response25Hz25Hz
PriceFrom $749From $429
Infographic Sonos Sub vs Sonos Sub Mini

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: What’s the Difference?

Design

Sonos Sub (Gen 3) - The Wireless Subwoofer for Deep Bass - White
$747.00
  • No buzz, just bass Two force-canceling drivers at the center of Sub eliminate vibration and rattle so you get powerful bass without any distortion.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 02:02 am GMT

We can see some clear differences between the Sub Gen 3 and Sub Mini just at a glance. Firstly, instead of a squared-off cutout, we get a pill-box design in the center of the Sub Mini, as well as more curvature.

Clearly, the dimensions are vastly different as well, which is what we’d expect. The Mini is substantially more compact, particularly in its width and its weight. Both models come in either black or white, but the Mini has a matte finish. Meanwhile, the standard Sub Gen 3 is more glossy.

Some users report that the glossy finish scratches easier than the matte, so there is a practical difference as well as an aesthetic one. The Mini must be used vertically, whereas the Sub Gen 3 can be used horizontally as well. This is handy for hiding it if you don’t want it to be on show.

Hardware

The two models’ hardware features are the same in many ways. Both subwoofers can pick up frequencies as low as 25Hz, and both have an Ethernet port, power port, and a pairing button on the rear.

The Mini also has the option of pairing with your pre-existing system via NFC on the top, so this is a little easier to handle than the Sub Gen 3. They also differ in their Wi-Fi support; the Mini only supports 5GHz Wi-Fi but the Sub supports 2.4GHz as well.

Both subwoofers have class-D amplifiers and drivers that face inward to cancel effects such as buzz and rattle. They can also be paired with a Sonos soundbar or speaker, and have automatic tuning to adjust the bass to the room they are in.

A key difference is that the Sub Gen 3 can be paired with other Subs to further enhance the bass, but the Sub Mini can’t be paired with another Sub Mini. If you’re after the ultimate bass experience, this is definitely in favor of the Sub over the Mini.

All in all, the features are similar. But, as expected, the Sub is more powerful than the Mini.

Sound Quality

Both subwoofers can give an impressive performance. The Sub Mini holds up really well despite its smaller size, particularly at mid-low volume ranges. A lot of the sound quality depends on the environment you’re intending to use the subwoofer in.

Generally, the Mini is more suited to small to medium-sized rooms, whereas the Sub Gen 3 will outperform its more miniature relative in larger spaces. Especially if paired with some of the larger Sonos speakers (think the Arc or the Five).

If having the subwoofer out of the way is important to you — tucked underneath the sofa, for example — the Sub Gen 3 is superior in this regard. But in a small space, the Sub Gen 3 is likely going to be excessive, and you won’t get the full value of its acoustics.

Pairing and Performance

Best Customization
Best Customization: Sonos Sub Mini (Black)
$460.50
  • Noise-canceling woofers reduce rattle and buzz
  • Easy customization via Sonos app
  • 5 GHz connectivity
  • Works well with movies, games and music
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 12:52 am GMT

Whichever subwoofer will be the better value for you largely depends on the setup of your sound system. While the Sub Gen 3 can be paired with any Sonos speaker, soundbar, or amplifier, it can’t be paired with Sonos Port, Connect, or their range of portable speakers.

The Sub Mini, on the other hand, is compatible with all Sonos products running the Sonos S2 app, but is also incompatible with portable speakers, Port, and Connect. In fact, the Sub Mini has been shown to give surprisingly good results when paired with a Sonos Beam, Ray, or Playbar.

This is particularly positive news for those on a tighter budget or with especially thin walls. Opting for the Sub Gen 3 may be too expensive or impractical, so the way it performs with a soundbar is definitely a good thing.

This is partly because offloading the lower frequencies to the subwoofer frees up the soundbar, enhancing vocals and higher frequencies for a dramatically improved experience. It should be said the Mini won’t provide as much of a difference when paired with the Sonos Arc soundbar or Sonos Five speakers.

So, using the Sub Gen 3 will be the better option in these cases. The Mini does pair very nicely with the Sonos One or One SL speakers though, so if these are already part of your setup or on your wishlist, this is something to keep in mind.

Price

Clearly, these subwoofers have a big contrast when it comes to pricing. You’re going to have to shell out at least an extra $300 to opt for the Sub Gen 3 over the Mini, so you’ll want to be completely sure of your choice.

Generally, a very large space is going to benefit greatly from the Sub Gen 3. And if maximum bass at any cost is your priority, the option to pair multiple Sub Gen 3s is a big bonus.

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: 5 Must-Know Facts

  1. The Sub Gen 3 is significantly more expensive than the Sub Mini.
  2. The Sub Gen 3 can be used vertically or horizontally, whereas the Sub Mini must be positioned vertically.
  3. The Sub Gen 3 can be paired with more Subs, but the Mini can only be used alone.
  4. While the Mini performs well with the Sonos Beam and Ray soundbars, as well as the Sonos One and One SL speakers, other pairings are less than optimal. 
  5. Color options for both models are the same, but the Sub has a glossy finish while the Mini has a matte finish.

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: Which One Is Best?

Depending on your space and other components of your sound system, you’ll experience different results with these two subwoofers. Generally, particularly large spaces will benefit greatly from the Sub Gen 3, as well as those using Sonos Arc soundbars and Sonos Five speakers.

The Sub Gen 3 tends to be more compatible with a wider range of speakers and soundbars. If your space is smaller and/ or you have limitations on the noise and bass coming out of your home, the Mini is the preferable choice.

Coupled with its much lower price, the Mini is certainly an attractive option; especially if you already use Sonos One or One SL speakers and the Sonos Beam, Ray, or Playbar. There are also some big design differences.

So, fans of a smooth, curved exterior and a matte finish will be drawn more to the Mini. Both have the option of tuning sound via Trueplay in the Sonos app, making for an easy and customizable setup.

Sonos Sub vs Sub Mini: Further Reading

Want to check out some other sound options? Have a look at these other articles to see how the competition compares.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Sonos Sub and Sonos Sub Mini come out?

The Sonos Sub Gen 3 came out on June 8, 2020, and the Mini arrived on October 6, 2022.

Which subwoofer provides better value?

For smaller spaces and those already with a Sonos Beam or Ray soundbar, the Mini provides a lot better value. The sound quality is going to be almost as impressive in this sort of environment.

Those who are devoted to their Sonos Arc and Sonos Five, and those with a much larger space, will find the increased cost of the Sub Gen 3 more than justified.

What's the difference between a speaker and a subwoofer?

The difference is that subwoofers are only used for lower frequencies and bass, while speakers tend to cover mid and high range frequencies. For a more accurate and immersive listening experience, using both is recommended.

What phones are these subwoofers compatible with?

Both models are compatible with Android phones and iPhones using the Sonos S2 app.

What products do these subwoofers pair well with?

The Mini is best paired with a Sonos Beam, Ray or Playbar, and Sonos One or One SL speakers; the Mini doesn’t pair well with Sonos Arc soundbars or Sonos Five speakers.

The Sub Gen 3 pairs a lot better with these, as well as everything the Mini pairs with. Neither pair with Sonos Port, Connect, or their range of portable speakers.

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