The 9 Best Stereos for Small Spaces in 2019

Shop for the best-sounding and space-saving stereo systems

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System at Amazon, “All the features and booming sound you’d want, but it only weighs 6.9 pounds.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: Insignia 80W All-in-One Stereo at Amazon, “With 80W of power — 20W of RMS per channel — it will be plenty for your standard living room setup, and it actually supplies a surprising level of bass.”
  • Best Outdoor: Aiwa Exos-9 at Amazon, “An attractive option whether it’s for a neighborhood get-together or a romantic evening for two.”
  • Best Budget: Innovative Technology Retro Stereo at Amazon, “There’s Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.5mm aux input, an FM radio tuner with 20 presets available, and you can even opt for a turntable added to the unit for true all-in-one functionality.”
  • Best Design: Bose SoundLink Revolve+ at Amazon, “Sleek and at-home in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.”
  • Best for Convenience & Sound Quality: Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV at Amazon, “Allows you to stream just about anything.”
  • Best for Wall-Mounting: Jensen JMC-180 at Walmart, “At its core, the JMC-180 is a vertical-loading CD player ideal for wall mounting. It incorporates an AM/FM tuner, alarm functions, programmable features, and a bright, interactive LCD screen.”
  • Best Splurge: Marshall Woburn II at Amazon, “There are two one-inch tweeters and two 5.25-inch woofers run by class D amps, producing really nice highs and substantial bass.”
  • Best Wireless Speaker: Sonos Play 5 at Amazon, “There are six dedicated speakers and six independent class D amps that run the system, so there’s plenty of depth, body, and volume.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System

Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.9

If you don’t have much room to work with in your apartment or house, but still want a well-rounded sound system, the Yamaha MCR-B020BL is the perfect stereo for you. The Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro-Component System has all the features and booming sound you’d want in a stereo, but it only measures 11 x 11.9 x 5.6 inches and weighs 6.9 pounds.

This unit offers incredible flexibility for however you want to enjoy your music, with a CD player, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity and an AUX input. And there’s even more flexibility, as the two speakers on the side of the console detach so you can position them elsewhere or create a surround-sound effect. Despite its compact size, it can still fill the room with sound and offers up deep bass, clear mids and splashy highs.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Insignia 80W All-in-One Stereo

Insignia is Best Buy’s budget brand, and for the most part, it focuses on entertainment systems. Specifically, Insignia TVs offer a great set of features for the price, without the hefty price tag and bells and whistles. This 80W shelf system seems to do the same for stereos. The first thing that grabs you is the look: a stout rectangular construction with a vintage-style metallic front plate, held up by four short legs. Even the giant circular dial that controls volume on the front makes it look like a vintage vinyl stereo. With 80W of power — 20W of RMS per channel — it will be plenty for your standard living room setup, and it actually supplies a surprising level of bass. There’s a built-in radio tuner for listening to FM/AM stations. It also has Bluetooth connectivity for syncing with your phone or computer, but if you’d prefer a wired connection, there are USB and aux line-in inputs as well. There’s a headphone jack for private listening, and with the included remote it’s really easy to control. It isn’t the most modern option out there, but on looks and connectivity, it’s great for the price.

Best Outdoor: Aiwa Exos-9

When it comes to outdoor sound, the Aiwa Exos-9 is an attractive option whether it’s for a neighborhood get-together or a romantic evening for two. Powered by 200 watts of sound, five drivers and a 6.5-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer help the Aiwa system deliver exceptional sound. While the Aiwa accepts AC power for endless playback, the inclusion of a lithium-ion removable battery pack allows it to play audio for up to nine hours sans power cord. Beyond battery life, the Aiwa excels at offering you the opportunity to personalize your music listening with an onboard graphic equalizer. It also offers Bluetooth and NFC connectivity technology, as well as a standard 3.5mm audio jack input for a direct connection to the unit.

Best Budget: Innovative Technology Retro Stereo

The bedroom stereos of the early 2000s have gone a bit by the wayside, mostly due to the popularization of connected wireless and smart speakers. As such, many of the best options at the entry level price point on Amazon are decidedly cheap, and usually specifically designed to look like something they’re not. This Innovative Technology system doesn’t provide the best sound quality you can get, but it does offer a surprising number of features, even considering its slightly gimmicky design.

First, the look hearkens back to 80s-era units, supported by the fact that there’s a built-in CD player ready to play any collections you've been holding onto for sentimentality's sake. Each of the included speakers is 50W, which should provide a good amount of oomph, and you can choose whether or not to use them with speaker grills. There are even backlit VU meters to show you your sound level and further solidify the retro vibe. There’s Bluetooth connectivity, a 3.5mm aux input, an FM radio tuner with 20 presets available, and you can even opt for a turntable added to the unit for true all-in-one functionality. This all comes at a price that’s under $70, which is pretty impressive when you consider the costs commanded by older Sony and Aiwa units.

Best Design: Bose SoundLink Revolve+

Somehow, Bose has become a go-to name not only for sound quality but for aesthetically pleasing design, as well. One of the most recent additions to the SoundLink line, the Revolve+ features a cylindrical, kettle-like design — available in Triple Black and Lux Gray — which looks sleek and at-home in your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. Plus, a flexible fabric handle on the top means that taking the three-pound speaker on the go is no issue.

Bose promises deep, striking sound, and because the speaker works a circular silhouette, it fires in all directions, giving you 360 degrees of coverage. The seamless aluminum body offers IPX4 water resistance, and the rechargeable battery offers up to 16 hours of straight play time. It works with a wireless range up to 30 feet, connects via Bluetooth, and even employs a built-in mic that allows it to sync up to Google Play and Siri. You can also control it using the Bose Connect app, and if you pair it with a second one, you can create stereo surround sound for larger settings.

Best for Convenience & Sound Quality: Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV

Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Wave SoundTouch Music System IV pairs with your home Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth enabled devices allowing you to stream just about anything. You can send music from your smartphone or tablet through music applications like Pandora, your music library or YouTube. If you’re old school and not familiar with Bluetooth, the system includes both a CD player and AM/FM radio. This is the system that plays it all.

Included with this stereo are six station presets that you can access via on the unit itself or through its included remote control. Virtually any application that allows for Bluetooth connectivity can be streamed to the stereo as well. Bose has its own independent application you can download to your smartphone or tablet so you can organize and control all your music. This makes it easier for you to access your favorite stations, playlists or albums on standby. Like a traditional clock radio, the stereo comes with two alarms.

Since it’s a Bose, you can extend your audio channel outputs by pairing it wirelessly with one of the many other Bose Bluetooth speakers available. Included is an AC power cord, USB cable remote control, owner’s guide and demonstration CD. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Best for Wall Mounting: Jensen JMC-180

Jensen JMC-180

 Walmart

Jensen is a name that does command a certain amount of respect in the industry, even if it isn’t known for splurge-worthy audio quality. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many standalone speaker systems that are designed to be mounted to walls. Sure, bookshelf speakers can be hung, and you can even get built-in stereo receivers to put in your wall, but if you’re looking for a truly mountable system, the JMC-180 is a pretty good buy for a surprisingly affordable price.

At its core, the JMC-180 is a vertical-loading CD player ideal for wall mounting. It incorporates an AM/FM tuner, alarm functions, programmable features, and a bright, interactive LCD screen. There’s an aux input for playing music from an external media player, but we have to admit, we were disappointed not to see Bluetooth included. The accompanying remote runs on AA batteries, and the speakers, while basic and thin, do afford an all-in-one system, without the need to buy extra gear. Plus, this kit comes with all the necessary equipment needed to mount the stereo system right to the wall. 

Best Splurge: Marshall Woburn II

Just a few years ago, Marshall started dabbling in the Bluetooth speaker and headphone space, and even though the brand is known for their guitar tech, they’ve made quite some strides. It’s not really fair to call the Marshall Woburn a Bluetooth speaker; it’s a full blown stereo cabinet with a great design and some solid features. There are two one-inch tweeters and two 5.25-inch woofers run by class D amps, producing really nice highs and substantial bass. It all amounts to 110 watts of power that come from the warm wooden cabinet. There’s Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for the most modern tech, and they’ve even included Qualcomm’s aptX protocol, a compression algorithm that gives you superior sound quality even when transferred over Bluetooth. There’s also an onboard EQ system, an aux input, and the option for RCA to set it up with your entertainment system. Fold that in with an iconic Marshall design and beautiful construction, and you have a great system for your living room.

Best Wireless: Sonos Play 5

Many tech companies have their own smart speakers. Apple, Amazon, and Google all have entries in the voice-controlled space, and they do, themselves, technically constitute a speaker system. But, if you want superb sound quality and voice-control support, Sonos is the brand to turn to. The Play 5 is their flagship stereo speaker, and it does a lot really well. At its core, it’s part of the Sonos Connect protocol, which means that if you have multiple Sonos speakers, you can control them all and play different music between them using the Sonos Connect app. If you have an Alexa, you can control the Sonos Play 5 seamlessly with your voice, too.

There are six dedicated speakers and six independent class D amps that run the system, so there’s plenty of depth, body, and volume. Three of those speakers are bass-optimized woofers, allowing for a truly impressive bass response given the unit's small size. And, because it’s an app-controlled system, you can access more than 30 streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and more. Beyond this, there’s also an aux line in for more added control, and you can mount it on the wall should you choose.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent three hours testing one of the top-rated small stereos available. To get the most thorough results, our testers set it up at home, played all their favorite music, and experimented with its various features. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important factors when using this stereo — from its sound quality to its footprint — and we've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Stereo for a Small Space

Connectivity - When shopping for a stereo, think about how you’ll be listening to music. Do you love showing off your CD collection or are all your tunes on your smartphone? If they are, what kind of connectivity options do you have on your phone? Take a look at your music library and purchase a stereo that will play all the music you want it to — in all the formats you have.

Footprint - Because space is a major consideration for this purchase, pay attention to how much room the stereo takes up. While all the systems on our list are small, those without built-in CD players or AM/FM radios are by far the smallest. Translation: if you don’t need those features, you can likely buy a more compact stereo.

Sound quality - Sometimes, small speakers have incredibly poor sound quality. While that’s not a problem with any of the speakers we’ve selected, audiophiles may be more choosy. If getting the best sound quality is a top priority, you may want to opt for a model with a built-in subwoofer.

Test Results: Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System (Best Overall)

3.9

What We Like

  • Great sound quality

  • Easy connectivity

  • Plastic cover to protect cable port

What We Don't Like

  • Cumbersome wires

  • Bulky design

Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System
Yamaha MCR-B020BL
Yamaha Micro Component System
Yamaha MCR-B020BL System

This stereo impressed our testers with its “excellent” sound quality and easy connectivity. In terms of design, our reviewers liked that there was a plastic cover on the device’s cable port, but still thought its overall build was bulky and that there were too many wires. “For those who still use CDs and local radio, I would recommend this stereo,” concluded one tester.