The 5 Best Stereos to Buy in 2018 for Small Spaces

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

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 size, it can still fill the room with sound and offers up deep bass, clear mids and splashy highs. Amazon reviewers have awarded this unit an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars and have said they love how compact the unit is.

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: Velour Slim Boombox

The Velour Slim Boombox stereo system offers a bevy of features, including a CD player, support for SD cards, as well as an FM radio. Controlling the Velour is a snap with the included remote control that allows you to quickly change songs or stations from across the room. Ultimately, the budget price does mean some tradeoffs and notably missing is Bluetooth connectivity, but the Velour makes up for it with AUX line-in 3.5mm input that can easily connect to a smartphone or dedicated MP3 player for hours of music playback. An earphone jack assists with a more private musical experience, while 10 FM station presets help you quickly find the latest hits across a variety of musical offerings.

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 WiFi 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: Panasonic SC-HC39 Micro Home Audio Sound System

The combination of sleek looks and booming sound help make the Panasonic SC-HC39 Micro Home Audio Sound System a must-own if you're looking for a stereo that can be mounted. The mirror-finish design across the Panasonic’s entire front-panel complements nearly any décor (especially in rooms where space might be limited). The Panasonic system has a high-quality diaphragm that combines with distortion reduction technology for an audio experience full of rich, warm tones. The addition of Bluetooth technology allows the crystal-clear playback to originate from any compatible device, including tablets and smartphones. Brighter vocals and clear dialogue are assisted by the LincsD-Amp that helps the nano-sized bamboo speaker cones punch well above their pay grade and deliver sound that feels like it’s coming from a full-sized stereo system.

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.