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The 5 Best Small Soundbars Today

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The 5 Best Small Soundbars Today

Key Points

  • Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Small Soundbar is the Sonos Beam (Gen 2)
  • Small soundbars are way cheaper than traditional home theater speaker systems. You can find a powerful soundbar for less than $200.
  • A small soundbar is convenient for your living room as it can perfectly fit under your TV or desktop. Because it is portable, you can use it while working outdoors. 
  • When shopping for the best small soundbar, consider the following factors: the size, soundbar channels, connectivity, and where your soundbar will live. 

Several small sound bars are available in today’s market, each promising better sound quality and excellent connectivity. Major brands such as Sonos, Samsung, Bose, and JBL have made soundbar marketing very competitive, each introducing better models with advanced sound technologies and significant features. But it’s not all about the brand.

Finding the best small soundbar today can be tough if you won’t know what you want in a soundbar. Fortunately, we have done all the hard work for you. Below we highlight the best small soundbars and tell you their pros and cons. Here is our ranking for the top small soundbars today:

  1. TCL Alto 6+  Sound Bar
    $175.62
    • Quick, hassle-free set up
    • Stream music via Bluetooth
    • Enjoy deep, rich bass sounds
    • Uses Dolby Digital for sound clarity
    • 1 HDMI port, and 1 USB port
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 01:04 pm GMT
  2. Roku Streambar
    $99.00
    • Built-in 4K streaming
    • Massive selection of free, live, and premium TV
    • Dolby Audio calibrated for boosted volume and crisp dialogue
    • Customizable home screen
    • Advanced audio engineering within the Roku OS
    • Comes with a Roku remote
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/24/2024 11:43 pm GMT
  3. Sonos Beam (Gen 2) (Black)
    $494.88
    • Offers crystal-clear dialogue, vibrant bass, and a full panoramic soundstage.
    • Dolby Atmos for 3D sound
    • Stream audiobooks, podcasts, radio, and music over WiFi
    • Compact smart soundbar for TV and more
    • Control the soundbar using Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, your TV remote, and your voice.
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 01:00 pm GMT
  4. JBL BAR 5.0
    $341.22
    • 5-channel Multibeam soundbar
    • Enjoy immersive and exciting 3D sound experience
    • Delivers a deep, punchy bass
    • Wireless music streaming via Bluetooth
    • AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music and Chromecast built-in
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 03:00 pm GMT
  5. YAMAHA SR-C20A Compact Sound Bar
    $179.95
    • Built-in Subwoofer with passive radiators
    • Clear voice in your TV shows and movies
    • Stream music and podcasts via Bluetooth
    • Simple setup with HDMI, aux, and optical connections
    • Wall-mountable with built-in keyholes
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    02/23/2024 01:04 pm GMT

Best Overall: Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

3D Surround Sound Effect
Sonos Beam (Gen 2) (Black)
$494.88
  • Offers crystal-clear dialogue, vibrant bass, and a full panoramic soundstage.
  • Dolby Atmos for 3D sound
  • Stream audiobooks, podcasts, radio, and music over WiFi
  • Compact smart soundbar for TV and more
  • Control the soundbar using Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, your TV remote, and your voice.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 01:00 pm GMT

With Sono’s advanced sound technologies, it’s no surprise that the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) stands to be the #1 best overall small soundbar in our review. It is beautifully designed with rounded edges that look amazing when placed below your TV. This 5.0 soundbar enhances the surround sound experience while maintaining vocal clarity with its center tweeter.  One remarkable feature of the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is the Dolby Atmos support. This enables the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbar to produce sounds from all directions, resulting in an immersive listening experience. TruePlay room correction tech is another nice feature that ensures your soundbar sounds great despite where it sits. 

The Sonos app comes with incredible features that give you complete control of your soundbar’s sound quality. For instance, you can use the Speech Enhancement feature for greater clarity, especially when watching movies. Additionally, you can use the Night Sound feature to control the intensity of loud effects while watching your TV at night. Still, on the control, you can sync the Sonos Bean (Gen 2) with your existing remote for streamlined control. Touch controls allow you to tap or swipe the top of the soundbar and adjust the volume or skip tracks.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) has excellent connectivity. You can connect to your TV using the HDMI eARC/ARC port. It also includes the Sonos Optical Audio Adapter in its package, which will be helpful if your TV has only an optical output. You also get the Ethernet 10/100 port and infrared (IR) receiver to sync the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) with your TV remote.  The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) supports Apple AirPlay 2 and voice assistants (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant). You can connect to Wi-Fi but not Bluetooth

ProsCons
A powerful 5.0 soundbar gives an immersive sound that’s loud enough to fill a large or crowded room.It doesn’t support Bluetooth connectivity, unlike other soundbars in the market.
Includes Dolby Atmos audio sound that’s effective even without rear speakers for better listening.
Effective sound control features using the Sonos app. For example, the Speech Enhancement feature for audio clarity and the Night Sound feature to control loud volume during the night.
Easy controls such as the Touch control and the ability to sync the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) with your existing remote. 

Best for Affordability Small Soundbar: Roku Streambar

Best Budget-Friendly Option
Roku Streambar
$99.00
  • Built-in 4K streaming
  • Massive selection of free, live, and premium TV
  • Dolby Audio calibrated for boosted volume and crisp dialogue
  • Customizable home screen
  • Advanced audio engineering within the Roku OS
  • Comes with a Roku remote
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/24/2024 11:43 pm GMT

Roku Streambar is our top choice for the best budget-friendly small soundbar. It has remarkable features and powerful sound for the price. The built-in 4K streaming makes Roku Streambar perform better than most soundbars. It maintains the quality of your Ultra HD content when you connect the bar to your TV.  Additionally, Roku Streambar is designed with Dolby Audio, providing crystal clear audio when gaming or watching your favorite content on TV. It also includes the Roku OS Boosted volume and speech clarity that enhances your listening experience with clear dialogues in TV shows, movies, and podcasts. 

Using Roku mobile app, you can easily control your soundbar. Moreover, it has an excellent user interface. So you can cast videos, music, and photos on your TV and search for anything with your voice or mobile keyboard. Besides the Roku mobile app, you also get the voice remote with TV controls. The modern remote performs various functions, such as turning on captions using your voice.  

Roku Streamer has a rich media streaming option from the Roku channels, which includes Apple TV, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Thanks to the four drivers in the bar, you get to enjoy all this content with powerful sound. However, despite having a bass boost feature, the soundbar has a weak bass which can be a turn-off if you are a bass lover. 

ProsCons
A budget-friendly model compared to other small soundbars with similar features.It’s not perfect for bass, as its bass boost feature isn’t very effective.
The built-in 4K streaming delivers premium sound when the bar is connected to a 4K device. 
Rich media streaming options from the Roku channels ensure you get all your favorite content on a single search. 
Voice remote with TV controls enables you to use your voice to browse or control your TV.

Best Small Soundbar With Subwoofer: TCL Alto 6+

Best Small Soundbar With Subwoofer
TCL Alto 6+ Sound Bar
$175.62
  • Quick, hassle-free set up
  • Stream music via Bluetooth
  • Enjoy deep, rich bass sounds
  • Uses Dolby Digital for sound clarity
  • 1 HDMI port, and 1 USB port
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 01:04 pm GMT

TCL Alto 6+ should top your list for the best small soundbar with a subwoofer if you are looking for something that won’t crowd out the area below your TV. Usually, a standalone small soundbar will struggle to produce deep bass even if it has a built-in subwoofer. So, if you love deep bass, you should take a closer look at the TCL Alto 6+. Although it doesn’t have an integrated subwoofer, its external subwoofer is small and compact to fit a small space in your living room. 

TCL Alto 6+ is a 2.1 setup with a powerful sound that fills a large or crowded room. However, it doesn’t have a good sound customization feature, which is essential in adjusting bass sounds and loud volumes at night. 

ProsCons
Both the soundbar and the subwoofer are small and compact to fit into a small space. Lacks sound customization features, which are significant in adjusting volumes and selecting favorite sound modes.
Loud enough to fill a large room with booming bass from the subwoofer. 

Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar: JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar
JBL BAR 5.0
$341.22
  • 5-channel Multibeam soundbar
  • Enjoy immersive and exciting 3D sound experience
  • Delivers a deep, punchy bass
  • Wireless music streaming via Bluetooth
  • AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music and Chromecast built-in
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 03:00 pm GMT

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is the cheaper option with Dolby Atmos and MultiBeam surround sound, making it the best small Dolby Atmos soundbar on our list. The in-built virtual Dolby Atmos feature adds realism to your movie-watching and gaming with its immersive 3D sound experience. Additionally, the JBL MultiBeam technology enables the soundbar to project sound in all directions, filling your room with music irrespective of your soundbar’s position.

This soundbar features AirPlay and Alexa Multi-Room Music. Chromecast is built-in too. These allow you to stream all kinds of content online and still enjoy quality sound. Whether playing games or watching content in 4K, you will enjoy the experience. JBL Bar 5.0 soundbar is developed with Ultra HD 4K pass-through to give the best audio quality.  

One drawback with this model is it lacks EQ settings, which allow you some control over the audio output. So, adjusting the bass and frequencies of sound can be quite challenging.

ProsCons
Multiple streaming features thanks to the built-in Chromecast.No EQ settings make it hard to adjust the soundbar’s audio quality.
Ultra HD 4K pass-through that maintains premium audio quality while watching 4K content.
Dolby Atmos makes gaming and watching movies more realistic with immersive 3D sound.
All-round sound projection thanks to the MultiBeam technology.

Best for Dialogue: Yamaha SR-C20A

Best for Dialogue
YAMAHA SR-C20A Compact Sound Bar
$179.95
  • Built-in Subwoofer with passive radiators
  • Clear voice in your TV shows and movies
  • Stream music and podcasts via Bluetooth
  • Simple setup with HDMI, aux, and optical connections
  • Wall-mountable with built-in keyholes
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/23/2024 01:04 pm GMT

The Yamaha SR-C20A is our choice for the best small soundbar for dialogue. Although it comes with a heavy price tag, Yamaha SR-C20A has advanced features to make it the ideal small soundbar for clear dialogue and narration. Yamaha’s Clear Voice technology boosts the soundbar’s vocal clarity, ensuring you get crystal-clear sounds when watching TV shows or listening to podcasts. Additionally, virtual surround technology helps project sound in all directions.  

You also get complete audio control thanks to the effective sound modes that boost your listening experience in music, movies, games, and TV shows. The special gaming mode is one of the sound modes specially designed for gamers to make their gaming experience more of a reality. 

Finally, Yamaha SR-C20A is famous for its small and compact size; therefore, it can fit in that small space in your TV stand without major adjustments. However, considering its price, we expected the Yamaha SR-C20A to have DTS, but instead, it only offers support for Dolby Digital.

ProsCons
A compact soundbar that can easily go below your TV.Cost more than other models with similar features and sound technology.
Excellent audio quality that fills your large roomLacks DTS support which would have provided higher bit-rates for a better listening experience. 
Complete control of audio output via sound modes feature. 

How to Pick the Best Small Soundbar: Step-by-Step

Choosing the best small soundbar might be challenging if you don’t know what to look for in your next soundbar. Keep these four things in mind when looking for the best small soundbar in the market. 

  • Soundbar channels
  • Connectivity
  • The size
  • Soundbar controls

Let’s explore each in more detail.

Channels

The soundbar channel is crucial as it determines its sound projection and audio quality. The channel indicates the number of speakers contained in the bar. For instance, a 2-channel soundbar means it has two speakers; left and right, while a 3-channel soundbar has three speakers; left, center, and right. A 7-channel soundbar is considered the most powerful model. 

However, there are great advancements in modern small soundbars, such as the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), which includes Dolby Atmos technology. That means the soundbar has 7 channels with upward-firing speakers that reflect sounds above your head to give an immersive listening experience. 

A soundbar with more channels is expected to give better results than one with fewer channels. So, aim for a soundbar with more channels if you plan to use the soundbar in a large or crowded room. The 2-channel and 3-channel soundbars will be ideal for smaller spaces. 

Connectivity 

Check on the connectivity options of the soundbar before buying. This will save you the trouble of buying additional devices, such as adapters, in the future. One connectivity to look out for is the HDMI ARC which will connect to your TV using the HDMI cable. If your TV has only the optical port, find a soundbar model with an optical input or check if the soundbar includes an HDMI ARC to the optical adapter in the package. 

Also, check on the Bluetooth and WI-FI connectivity of the small soundbar. Finding a soundbar that supports both Bluetooth and WI-FI connectivity would be best. Be cautious when checking the wireless connectivity of a soundbar because you might find some that only support WI-FI connectivity, such as the Sonos Beam (Gen 2). 

The Size 

Consider the soundbar size you are planning to buy for easy installation. You need to figure out the perfect spot for your soundbar. For instance, if you plan to place your soundbar below the TV, find one that has the same length as your television’s width. Ideally, finding a small soundbar about 10 inches less than your TV would be best. 

Soundbar Controls

Some soundbars don’t include a remote, meaning you will have to set it up so that it receives commands from your TV’s remote. This might sometimes be a challenge, especially for some TV models. With that in mind, we recommend you get a soundbar with a remote.

What to Know Before Buying a Small Soundbar

Small soundbars are better suited to upgrade your TV audio and are usually placed below the TV for a better listening experience. So, think about the soundbar’s size in relation to your TV. This will help you pick the best soundbar that will fit perfectly below your TV. 

It would help if you know why you want a soundbar to pick the best one today. If your goal is only to upgrade your TV’s audio quality, then you shouldn’t spend much. You can get an affordable small and compact soundbar to boost your TV’s audio output. However, if you want the best listening experience, especially in 3D (for gaming and watching movies), you’ll want to get a modern soundbar with significant features such as Dolby Atmos support and Trueplay technology. 

Using a Small Soundbar: What it’s Like

Soundbars provide a better listening experience than TV speakers. They are designed with speakers that can project sounds in a broader range, unlike most TVs with either downward-firing or backward-firing speakers, which limits their audio output.  Soundbars have different types of speakers, including tweeters, drivers, and woofers, which boost the sound quality depending on the playing content. On top of the speakers, soundbars are developed with powerful sound technology that makes watching movies and playing games more realistic. Most come with sound adjustment features that allow you to enjoy your favorite songs with deep or low bass.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do small soundbars sound better than TV speakers?

Most small soundbars will sound better than TV speakers because they are purposely made to improve audio quality. They include several speakers and advanced sound technology to provide an immersive audio experience. However, you need to buy a high-quality soundbar to get a unique listening experience that your TV speakers can’t achieve.

Should I get a soundbar for a small room?

Soundbars are perfect solutions for small rooms. Unlike traditional surround sound systems, small soundbars take up a small space and don’t look crowded in your small room. Soundbars have excellent audio quality and have surround sound despite their small size, enabling them to fill your room with immersive sound.

How do I choose the best small soundbar?

When choosing a small soundbar, consider factors such as sound quality, connectivity options, size, and compatibility with your TV or audio system. You may also want to consider the brand reputation and customer reviews.

Can a small soundbar replace a home theater system?

While a small soundbar may not provide the same immersive experience as a home theater system, it can certainly improve your TV’s sound quality and provide an enjoyable listening experience. It’s a great option if you have limited space or are on a budget.

What are some popular brands for small soundbars?

Some popular brands for small soundbars include Bose, Yamaha, Sony, Samsung, and Vizio. These brands offer a variety of options at different price points, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget.

How much should I expect to spend on a small soundbar?

Prices for small soundbars can vary widely depending on the brand, features, and sound quality. You can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $500 or more. It’s important to choose a soundbar that fits your needs and budget.

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