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Best Small Soundbar (2022): Compact Home Theater Alternatives

Since TVs are getting thinner by the day, one of the casualties is their speaker quality. There’s just not enough room to house decent speaker drivers and still maintain a thin design. That’s where soundbars come in. They don’t sound as good as true speakers, but they also don’t take as much space as them. That said, they are definitely a step up when compared to built-in TV speakers. Today, we’ll be listing our top picks for the best small soundbars to help you choose which one is best for you. For those in a hurry, our best overall pick is the Sonos Beam, followed by the Samsung HW-S60A.

Best Small Soundbar Comparison Chart

ModelPriceCategoryDimensionsPorts
Sonos BeamCheck Price at AmazonBest overall soundbar2.72 x 25.63 x 3.94 inchesHDMI ARC, ethernet port
Samsung HW-S60ACheck Price at Amazon Alternative to the Sonos Beam2.6 x 30.1 x 4.9 inchesHDMI ARC, optical in
LG Eclair QP5Check Price at Amazon Best compact soundbar with subwoofer2.3 x 11.6 x 4.9 inches (bar)
11.2 x 15.4 x 7.3 inches (subwoofer)
HDMI ARC (out), HDMI in, optical in
Sony HT-S200FCheck Price at Amazon Best budget soundbar2.4 x 22.8 x 3.7 inchesHDMI ARC, optical in

Sonos Beam

Best overall small soundbar

At just 25.63 inches wide, the Sonos Beam (2nd Gen) is our pick for the best small soundbar.

If you’re looking to get the best compact soundbar and you don’t mind spending the money to do so, there’s no better choice than the Sonos Beam (2nd Gen). The brand has been specializing in smart speakers with seamless connectivity to their other speakers and the Sonos Beam is no different. It is a 5.0 soundbar with support for Dolby Atmos and it can be paired with other Sonos smart speakers and subwoofers wirelessly for a complete surround sound setup.

Some of its features include Trueplay room correction when used with iOS devices and Apple AirPlay 2 streaming over WiFi. In addition, it also supports both Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls. As for the audio output, it has a fairly neutral sound profile with a bit of extra punch in the bass range. It’s the best sound soundbar in this list and it’s great on its own when watching movies and listening to music. When paired with the Sonos Sub, it will deliver an even fuller sound.

The only downside to the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is that it has limited ports at the back. It only has one HDMI port, but it does come with an HDMI to optical adapter if you need to use the optical out of your TV.

Samsung HW-S60A

Cheaper alternative to the Sonos Beam

Measuring 30.1 inches, the Samsung HW-S60A is the widest in our list, but it is still considered a small soundbar.

The widest soundbar in our list, the Samsung HW-S60A is a great alternative to the Sonos Beam Gen 2 if you want to save a bit of money. Similar to the Sonos Beam Gen 2, the Samsung HW-S60A is a 5.0 channel soundbar. However, it has a wider sound due to its increased width and its side horn speakers.

The Samsung HW-S60A has built-in Alexa support and it also comes with adjustable EQ settings. You can tweak how it sounds so that it aligns with your preferences. The default sound is on the neutral side and it can deliver clear speech/dialogue. However, the bass is on the weaker side, so it won’t produce deep rumbles when watching content such as action movies. Also, it doesn’t support Dolby Atmos.

LG Eclair QP5

Best small soundbar with subwoofer

The LG Eclair QP5 is the most compact soundbar in this list.

The LG Eclair QP5 is our most recommended compact soundbar with a subwoofer. It’s a 3.1.2 channel sound system that delivers a wide surround sound despite only measuring 11.6 inches in width. You’d think that with this soundbar, all sound will come from the front, but that’s not the case. With LG’s SoundField Expander technology, the soundbar can produce excellent surround sound.

While the soundbar is very compact, the subwoofer isn’t. At 11.2 x 15.4 x 7.3 inches, it’s a bit bulky and it will take up a bit of space. However, if you can hide it and blend it in with the furniture, it certainly helps with the overall low frequency response of the system.

If you’re considering this soundbar, you are doing so because of its size and not because of its audio quality. It has a slightly recessed treble, so it won’t produce as much detail, but the mid-range is good, so dialogue in movies can be heard clearly. The LG Eclair QP5 comes with bass and treble adjustment and it also has a dialogue enhancement mode.

Sony HT-S200F

Best budget small soundbar

The Sony HT-S200F is our pick for the best budget soundbar without compromising sound quality.

For those on a budget, the Sony HT-S200F is the best compact soundbar to get. It doesn’t have as much features as other soundbars, but that’s expected at its price point. This soundbar is a 2.1 channel system with no Dolby Atmos or surround capability. That said, it does have a built-in woofer for extra bass.

When it comes to sound quality, the mid-range is on-point, so dialogue and speech are clear. However, the bass, even though it has a built-in woofer, is quite weak and the highs are a bit lacking in detail. Fortunately, there’s EQ presets to adjust the sound. All in all, this soundbar will not be the first choice for a lot of people, but for those on a budget, it’s a very good compact soundbar option.

Verdict

The Sonos Beam (2nd Gen) is our top recommendation if you’re looking for a compact soundbar to improve the sound coming out of your TV.

Sonos Beam

Best small soundbar

Samsung HW-S60A

Good alternative

If you want the best small soundbar, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 is the best that you can buy. It delivers excellent sound for its size, it comes with features such as Dolby Atmos support and voice controls, and it can be upgraded to a 5.1 system by adding the Sonos Sub and Sonos One speakers. As far as compact soundbars go, this is the best one in the market. A good alternative to it is the Samsung HW-S60A, but it’s not as compact and it’s not as feature-rich. However, it’s much more affordable and it can go toe-to-toe with the Sonos Beam Gen 2 when it comes to sound quality. In fact, it can even produce a wider sound due to its side horn speakers and a wider build.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Are small soundbars worth it?

If you don’t have enough space for a wider soundbar or full-range speakers, small soundbars can be worth it, as long as you choose the good ones. They won’t beat wider soundbars and speakers when it comes to sound, but they will still be a significant upgrade over built-in TV speakers.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do I need a soundbar for my Smart TV?

You don’t need one, if you’re satisfied with how your TV sounds. However, if you want something better sounding, then you’ll want to consider a soundbar or a traditional speaker set.

๐Ÿ“Œ How much should you spend on a soundbar?

It will depend on your budget. You don’t have to buy the most expensive one as there are a lot of affordable soundbars that can deliver excellent sound. There are a lot of great soundbars in the $200 and $600 range.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are small soundbars good for a small room?

Yes, small soundbars are great in small rooms since you don’t have to turn the volume all the way up to hear them.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.