Surrounds

Our Favorite Small Home Theater Speakers


Very often people ask us about small speakers. Normally, because they bought into the marketing that small speakers can make big sound (from a company that we will not name here). That’s largely untrue. If you really want big sound, you need big speakers. But you don’t always need big sound. Sometimes, you just need some sound from speakers that you can discretely place – namely surround and Atmos speakers. To this end, we’ve found our favorite small home theater speakers for you.

But what do we mean by “small?” Well, we’ve limited our options to speakers that have no one dimension larger than 10 inches. In every case, we’ve listed the price and size of the speakers. Most of them you can order individually, some are only sold in pairs, and a few only come in 5.1 sets. This should help you choose the best speakers for you, your room, and your budget. All of these speakers have great sound for their size, price, and form factor.

Our Favorite Small Home Theater Speakers

These speakers are listed from least to most expensive. You can expect better performance from the higher-priced speakers. That said, for Atmos and most surround duties, all of these offerings should be fine.

Monoprice HT-35 System

  • Price – $200/set
  • Size – 6.0″ x 4.1″ x 4.1″

Our first offering is the Monoprice HT-35 speaker system. Yes, we know it is a full 5.1 set. No, we don’t care. You can use all of it if you like. We would, at the very least, toss or sell the subwoofer and get something much more capable. More than likely, we’d sell the center too and just use the four satellite speakers for surround or Atmos positions.

The Monoprice HT-35 makes our favorite small home theater speakers list not just because of the small size of the speakers, but for the low cost of the set. A home theater speaker system for $200 is nearly unbeatable. At $50 a pop for the four speakers we’d actually use is still a huge value.

Q-Acoustics 3010

  • Price – $209/pair
  • Size – 9.4″ x 5.9″ x 8.11″

The Q-Acoustics 3010 made our list for a number of reasons. First, they are some of the lowest-priced small home theater speakers we can find. Second, and more importantly, they are available outside the US. Many people in the UK are familiar with the Q-Acoustics brand, and for good reason. They sound great for the price.

The Q-Acousts 3010 are fairly deep for a satellite speaker and are rear ported. There is no included wall mounting hardware nor is there a keyhole or other mounting system on the back. They do come in multiple colors, however, which is nice for those worried about aesthetics. At just over $200 a pair, these are a great value.

NHT SuperZero

  • Price – $125/each
  • Size – 9” x 5” x 5.5

I need to be honest. The NHT SuperZeros are some of my favorite small home theater speakers to recommend. They are literally my go-to speaker for those looking for small satellite speakers. The recent problem with them is that they are often out of stock.

I recommend them often because the price is right ($125 a pop) and they sound great. They are a little plain looking but they do sport a threaded insert on the back for wall or ceiling mounting. Lastly, they have a sealed design so you don’t have to worry about ports. Very flat response, good extension down to where you’d cross them over into a subwoofer, you can buy them one at a time…these are just great speakers. When you can find them.

Polk ES10

  • Price – $250/pair
  • Size – 5.4″ x 8.4″ x 6.1″

The Polk ES10 speakers share a lot of similarities with the NHT SuperZeros. They are the same price, about the same size, and get the same rave reviews from owners.

The Polk ES10s, however, have the advantage of having two different styles of mounting options on the back. There is a keyhole mount and a threaded insert. These are rear-ported but there is a port plate on the back which should allay any concerns about wall mounting. Lastly, they come in black, walnut, and white finishes.

Monoprice Monolith THX Satelite Speakers

  • Price – $250/pair
  • Size – 6.0″ x 6.3″ x 5.9″

Monoprice has been shaking the AV world lately by pumping out impressive speaker offerings nearly daily. It seems every time I open my email, I’ve got another announcement from them about a new speaker, subwoofer, or headphone offering. All of them have been superbly priced and every one I’ve been able to get my hands on has sounded wonderful.

Monoprice has recently announced their Monolith THX Certified Satellite Speakers. They just became available to order at $250 a pair. They are one of the smaller offerings at about a 6″ cube but they play down to 70Hz according to the specs. There is a keyhole mount on the back and they sport a generic black finish. These might be nothing to look at but with the THX certification, they will play flat which is what we want. These are brand new so reviews are scarce but we expect that, for the price, they will sound pretty darn good.

SVS Prime Satellites

  • Price – $175/each, $1200/5.1 set
  • Size – 8.85″ x 4.9″ x 6.3″

SVS is one of the few companies that we’ll recommend both their speakers and their subwoofers. That’s why we’ve listed the price for the satellites and for the 5.1 set. Both are a great deal (but only get the set if you are sure the subwoofer is right for your room).

At $175 each, the SVS Prime Satellites are getting into the more expensive territory. But, in this case, you definitely get what you pay for. They are rear ported but need very little room for the port. Wall mounting is fine with either an aftermarket mount or using the keyhole mount included on the back. The SVS Prime Satellites are one of our favorite small home theater speakers because their size belies their performance. These are speakers that will absolutely impress you!

Martin Logan Motion 2i

  • Price – $200/each
  • Size – 10″ x 4.7″ x 4.6″

The Martin Logan Motion 2i speakers are one of the more unique on our list of our favorite small home theater speakers. At 10″ tall, they barely made the cut. They have a unique shape and a folded tweeter.

The big knock against the Motion 2i is their bass. They don’t have much. As we assume you’ll be pairing these with a subwoofer, that shouldn’t be a problem. You just might be crossing over that subwoofer a little higher than you expect (120Hz or higher). They have a threaded insert on the back for wall or ceiling mounting.

Focal SIB Evo

  • Price – $500/pair
  • Size – 9 15/16″ x 6 3/8″ x 6 3/8″

The Focal SIB Evo look very much like tiny desktop speakers. But the images can be deceiving. These speakers are nearly 10″ tall. The Focal SIB Evo speakers come with small stands and wall mounting hardware.

The SIB Evo speakers have great extension (all the way down to 70Hz) making them perfect for surround duty. The included wall mounts are a plus as is the fact that they can be placed on their side (the Focal logo rotates). They cost $500 a pair and you can’t buy them individually. We really like that the port is on the top of the speaker. This makes wall mounting a breeze.

Paradigm MilleniaONE

  • Price – $350/each
  • Size – 7.75″ x 4.5″ x 5.75″

If you’ve spent any time in the home theater world, you’ve heard of Paradigm speakers. They are well-loved and reviewed. The MelleniaONE is one of their smallest offerings and, honestly, they are kind of goofy looking.

The upside? They are some of the smallest speakers on this list and they sound great. They measure quite flat down to 120Hz and have a small stand (pictured) as well as wall mounting hardware included. You can get them in gloss black or white.

Orb Audio Mod 1

  • Price – $1000/set
  • Size 4.2″ diameter

If you are looking for something a little different, look no further than Orb Audio. Their round speakers are very distinctive and come in many finishes. More than that, they sound very good! If you need more volume, you don’t buy different Orb Audio speakers, you just buy more Orbs!

The downside of the Orb Audio Mod 1 speakers is that they only come in sets, and those sets are quite expensive. The cheapest (the one we’ve linked) is $1000. Since all the speakers are identical, you can use them all (though we don’t know what you’ll do with that fifth speaker). The subwoofer isn’t really very good so, like the Monoprice set, we’d recommend selling it and getting something better. But if you want something small, unobtrusive, and doesn’t look like a traditional speaker, Orb Audio is for you.

Special Mentions

We have a couple of favorite speakers that might interest those that want small home theater speakers. They don’t fit all of our parameters, but we think they are worth a mention.

Ascend Sierra Luna

  • Price – $1150/pair
  • Size – 10.625″ x 5.75″ x 6″

The Ascend Sierra Luna speakers are easily the best sounding speakers on this list. Their cabinets are constructed out of vertically laminated bamboo and come in five different finishes (we prefer the natural).

The Lunas have a front slot port, a keyhole mount on the back, and a RAAL true ribbon tweeter. They are flat down to 60Hz making good use of the extra cabinet volume. If you really want phenomenal sound in a relatively small package, the Ascend Sierra Lunas are the ones you want.

KEF T101

  • Price – $650/pair
  • Size – 13″ x 5.5″ x 1.4″

The KEF T101 are a speaker that we often end up recommending to people. It isn’t one of our favorite home theater speakers because of its sound. It is because of its shape. At just 1.4″ thick, the KEF T101s are just about as thin as you can get in a commercial speaker.

Don’t get us wrong, we love KEF speakers in general. But the T101s had to make a lot of concessions to get that very thin form factor. As you’d expect, there is stand and wall mounting hardware included. They can be wall-mounted horizontally as well. The frequency response isn’t as even as we’d like but, if you are considering these speakers, it is for their form factor. If what you meant by “small home theater speakers” was really “thin home theater speakers,” the KEF T101s are our favorite.


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