The 4 Best Stereos for Small Spaces in 2021

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.

Your apartment is the size of a walk-in closet and the best stereos for small spaces can fill every square inch with premium quality sound. These minimalist speakers aren't just about being loud, they should also pack a ton of functionality into a small space, giving you a variety of listening options as well as providing you smart hub functions.

Besides how much space each unit takes up, you'll want to pay attention to the connectivity options, while nearly all speakers and stereos feature some type of Bluetooth pairing option, depending on your setup, you may want to keep an eye out for Toslink or RCA connectivity.

If you're just getting started with your home audio setup and want a few pointers, make sure to read our beginner's guide before investing in one of our best stereos for small spaces.

The Rundown
Sleek and at-home in your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
Supports AirPlay 2, for the ultimate Apple Music experience.
The One II is easily one of the prettiest smart home speakers available.
The Edifier R1700BT gives speakers twice their price a run for their money.

Best Overall: Bose SoundLink Revolve+

What We Like
  • Great aesthetics

  • Water-resistant

  • 16 hours of play time

  • Excellent 360-degree audio

  • Supports Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts

  • Can be synced with a second speaker

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Rubber-coated buttons collect dust/dirt

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.

Size: 7.25x4.13x4.13 inches | Weight: 2.0 pounds | Controls: On-speaker, app | Input: 3.5mm, micro-B | Wired/Wireless: Bluetooth

"A threaded universal mount on the underside of the speaker means the SoundLink Revolve+ can be used with almost any tripod."Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Bose SoundLink Revolve+

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Best for iPhone: Bose Home Speaker 500

What We Like
  • Looks great anywhere

  • Excellent audio quality

  • Connects via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Apple Airplay 2

  • Integrated services like Spotify, Pandora, and Audible

  • Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No on/off button

  • Bose Music app needs work

Less is more, and with the Bose Home Speaker 500, what takes up less space can make significantly more sound. The wireless speakers are sleek, modern, can be a piece of décor in their own right, and are unobtrusive even in small offices or rooms. Two custom drivers point left and right, intended to negate the need for a second speaker. Depending on your commitment to audio quality, however, it might not be sufficient. Though the speakers are pricier than others, from them emerge clear high frequencies, thumping bass, and impeccable overall balance, no matter the song.

The screen on the front speakers is a little old-school compared to the smart displays offered by Google and Amazon products, showing only album artwork and the time. However, the technology is far from outdated, with built-in Google Assistant and Alexa along with an eight-microphone array that can pick up your voice even when you’re across the room or drowning in vibes. The Home Speaker 500 also supports AirPlay 2, for the ultimate Apple Music experience.

Size: 8.0x6.7x4.3 inches | Weight: 4.75 pounds | Controls: On-speaker LCD, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, app | Input: 3.5mm, micro-B | Wired/Wireless: Bluetooth

"The Bose Home Speaker 500 has an easy and simplistic design that is a joy to use." Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Bose Home Speaker 500 portable bluetooth speaker

Best Design: Klipsch The One II

The Klipsch The One II, may have a confusing name but is superbly designed. The sound fanatics at Klipsch have combined uncompromising sound quality with attractive aesthetics and somehow compressed that into a speaker that easily fits on just about any bookshelf.

The One II measures 6x5x13 (HWD) and weighs 8.5 Lbs, this makes it comparable to the Google Home Max in terms of its footprint and weight, but it's sharp angles and wood finish make it a far more attractive edition to your shelf.

Boasting walnut or matte black wood finishes, the One II also features metal hardware that is incredibly satisfying to use but unfortunately lacks the ability to fine-tune bass or treble. Regardless, the One II still packs remarkable sound quality thanks to its dedicated bass driver and pair of 2.25-inch full-range stereo drivers.

It may lack smart hub functionality built-in, but this speaker can still pair with smart hubs and other devices via Bluetooth and can be tethered to its source via 3.5mm audio cable as well. While it may not be the most compact, or most affordable, the Klipsch The One II is easily one of the prettiest smart home speakers available.

Size: 12.68x5.83x5.51 inches | Weight: 8.38 pounds | Controls: On-speaker | Input: 3.5mm | Wired/Wireless: Bluetooth

Best Budget: Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Speaker
What We Like
  • Great sound quality

  • Beautiful design

  • Bluetooth included

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy, bulky footprint

  • A lack of sound-shaping options

  • Bargain brand name

Edifier has updated its R1700 speakers with Bluetooth compatibility to make the R1700BT, a pair of some of the most affordably priced standalone speakers available. Featuring a robust and attractive wood construction, each speaker measures 9.75x6x8 (HWD) and weighs in at a comparably heavy 14.5Lbs. While they may demand more real-estate than most of the options on our list, they feature excellent stereo sound quality and can still handily fit on nearly any standard shelf.

Each speaker features a dedicated 4-inch bass driver and dedicated tweeters, providing rich, deep sound. The R1700BT, true to its name, can connect to its source via Bluetooth, but can also serve as an excellent pair of supplementary speakers through RCA or 3.5mm audio jack connections.

To complete the aesthetic the R1700BT feature bass, treble, and volume adjustment knobs on the right channel speaker that are so fun to use, you might just forget about the included remote. Bringing together versatility and affordability, the Edifier R1700BT gives speakers twice their price a run for their money.

Size: 5.71x9.45x6.89 inches | Weight: 12.5 pounds | Controls: On-speaker | Input: 2x RCA | Wired/Wireless: Wired bookshelf

"Edifier has put its classic spin on these speakers by putting two walnut/cherry planks on the sides of each speaker." Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Speaker
Final Verdict

If you're looking to fit high-quality sound and versatility into a small space, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (view at Amazon) is an amazing option that brings together robust sound quality and pairs it with Siri and Google Assistant functionality. However, if you're looking to build out your home audio without breaking the bank, the Edifier R1700 BT (view at Amazon) is an excellent and affordable alternative.

About Our Trusted Experts

Benjamin Zeman has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry and as a musician, he has a strong background in audio products.

Jason Schneider is Lifewire's audio expert. With a background in music technology, a decade of experience covering tech, and previous publications in Greatist and Thrillist, Jason has spearheaded Lifewire's audio coverage.

FAQs

What's the best cheap and compact stereo?
If you don't want to break the bank but you still want solid sound, we're fond of the Edifier R1700BT. It's a pair of bookshelf speakers meaning you get left and right speakers, Bluetooth, and great sound quality for a relatively modest price compared to other options on this roundup. If that's still too rich for your blood, take a look at our overview of the best affordable bookshelf speakers.

Do you need a dedicated subwoofer for a compact stereo?
A dedicated subwoofer can take your audio quality to the next level since the built-in subwoofer on compact stereos tend not to be that great. That said, there's a big trade-off that comes from overall footprint and design, so a 360-degree speaker might offer the best of both worlds due to its room-filling sound and compact build.

Is Bluetooth important for a compact stereo?
Bluetooth is a great feature to have on a compact stereo. With its 33-foot range, it lets you stream audio from multiple devices and helps you cut the cord so you aren't always tripping over wires. Bluetooth and a built-in battery also makes it more portable, giving you some options for placement. That said if you don't plan to move the stereo around much, not having Bluetooth can save you some cash.

Bose SoundLink Revolve+

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

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. 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. Your choices will basically come down to wired and wireless connections. Wired connections include 3.5mm audio jacks, RCA cables, and optical input if you have a stereo that can connect to a home theater system. For wireless connectivity, you have Bluetooth, with the newest standard being Bluetooth 5.0, though Bluetooth 4.2 and 4.1 are also likely to be common.

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. Our top choice measures 4.2tx4.2x7.3 inches for instance and weighs a modest 2 pounds. Larger options like Yamaha Black Micro come with all the aforementioned bells and whistles resulting in a size that's nearly double and a weight that tips 7 pounds on the scale.

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. You can get two distinct left and right speakers, or a speaker with 360-degree audio if you want room-filling sound without the bigger footprint. One measure you'll want to keep an eye out for is the speaker's power output which can measure anywhere from 15W or higher.

Bose Home Speaker 500

Lifewire / Emily Ramirez 

Was this page helpful?