$130 at Roku Roku Streambar Best overall $130 at Roku Price alerts on for Roku Streambar $150 at Amazon Yamaha SR-C20A Best for dialogue $150 at Amazon Price alerts on for Yamaha SR-C20A $250 at Best Buy Polk Audio MagniFi Mini Best for music $250 at Best Buy Price alerts on for Polk Audio MagniFi Mini $279 at Walmart sonos ray Sonos Ray Best for Sonos fans $279 at Walmart Price alerts on for Sonos Ray CNET logo white on red background CNET logo white on red background NEW! CNET Shopping Extension Get the lowest price on everything Add CNET Shopping

Despite what some people may think, bigger isn’t always better. You can still get an exceptional audio experience without buying a huge speaker setup. If you don’t have the room or just don’t feel like spending an arm and a leg on speakers, you should consider some of the best small soundbars instead. 

If you have a small TV or only have a tiny place to fit an external speaker, a small soundbar can still deliver exceptional sound quality. The best small soundbars can fit into cramped spaces and come with a surprising number of features. For example, the Roku Streambar isn’t only a compact soundbar but also a capable video streamer, making it great for a bedroom setup. Or if making dialogue easier to understand is your aim, the Polk or Yamaha speakers below could be a great fit.

All the systems here feature single soundbars ranging between 1 and 2 feet long, while the Polk also includes a separate subwoofer

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Streambar

Best overall


If there was ever a solid gold bargain, it’s undoubtedly the Roku Streambar, which combines both audio and streaming in one device. This is a two-channel soundbar with a fully fledged 4K streamer onboard, and even if you don’t use the streaming functions it works well as a standalone soundbar. As a smaller soundbar it doesn’t have the deepest bass, but it does offer an expressive midrange with a dedicated voice mode for clearer dialog. It’s an unbeatable value and frequently on sale for under $100.

$130 at Roku$110 at Walmart$100 at Amazon Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Yamaha SR-C20A

Best for dialogue

Yamaha is one of the most consistent makers of soundbars, but this also means its designs tend to cost a little more than competitors. The SR-C20A, on the other hand, is affordable and also manages to sound great when paired with your TV.

$150 at Amazon$150 at Best Buy$150 at Crutchfield Sarah Tew/CNET

Polk Audio MagniFi Mini

Best for music

At 13 inches wide, the soundbar part of the Mini fits the moniker, even if you do need somewhere to put the gallon-sized subwoofer. The inclusion of the sub is worthwhile, however, as the system punches well above its weight with great sound in movies and with music. In addition, having Google’s Chromecast built-in enables a wealth of streaming and multiroom capabilities.

$250 at Best Buy$299 at Crutchfield$295 at Amazon sonos ray sonos ray Sonos

Sonos Ray

Best for Sonos fans

Sonos’ entry-level soundbar features the company’s excellent multiroom music system onboard while being smaller than the Sonos Beam. We were impressed with the sound quality for both music and movies. It delivers a surprisingly wide soundstage through the use of proprietary waveguides. Connection is simple with a single optical connection, while users seeking HDMI or Atmos should look to the step-up Beam Gen 2.

$279 at Walmart$280 at Best Buy$279 at Crutchfield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *