Onkyo Home Audio System puts a classic twist on its modern stereo. With 40 watts of power, this three-piece unit is compact enough to sit on a bookshelf but powerful enough to fill a room with quality sound, with the Onkyo speaker’s full digital audio processing—coupled with an efficient digital amplifier—ensuring even sound distribution. The system includes a single-disc CD player, AM/FM tuners, a remote control, and two-channel configuration. Also featured are 30 radio resets and Super Bass Control.
The Best Home Stereo System for Your Entertainment
Enjoy high-quality audio and listen to your favorite music with the best home stereo system for your space and your budget.
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- Best OverallOnkyo Home Audio System CD Hi-Fi Mini Stereo SystemCheck Latest Price
- Affordable FavoriteBoytone BT-210FB Wireless Bluetooth StereoCheck Latest Price
- Upgrade PickNakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W SoundbarCheck Latest Price
Stereos deliver audio entertainment to your home theater area, and with their modern designs, they can also contribute to its overall aesthetic appeal. In performance and likewise in look, there are plenty of options. Systems vary in their volume output, sound quality, size, and features. Some audio systems even incorporate smart technology such as Bluetooth connectivity and voice control.
Read on for shopping considerations that will help you choose the best home stereo system for your space, and why the following picks are among the top models available.
- BEST OVERALL: Onkyo Home Audio System CD Hi-Fi Mini Stereo System
- AFFORDABLE FAVORITE: Boytone BT-210FB Wireless Bluetooth Stereo
- UPGRADE PICK: Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2.4 Channel 800W Soundbar
- SPACE-SAVING PICK: Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System
- BEST WITH TURNTABLE: DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player Turntable
- LOUDEST SYSTEM: LG CM4590 XBOOM Bluetooth Audio System
- HONORABLE MENTION: Sony Micro Hi-Fi Stereo Sound System
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Home Stereo System
Home stereos have a singular purpose: to play music. Precisely how they play music is the critical point of differentiation between models. It’s important to pinpoint the functions you’re looking for in a home stereo system, namely digital technology and sound quality. Consider the following factors when choosing a home stereo system.
The size of your home stereo system should take into account where you anticipate placing it. The system’s weight and dimensions must be suitable for the tabletop, bookshelf, TV stand, or other intended surface.
Home stereos come as a single-piece system or as a three-piece system with detached speakers. If you plan to purchase a larger system but have limited space, a stereo with detachable speakers allows you to place the base and speakers in separate locations. If a smaller model is a better fit, keep in mind that a smaller stereo often means reduced sound quality.
Wired vs. Wireless
Choosing a wired or wireless system is an important factor when it comes to portability. Most home stereos are powered via an electrical outlet, whereas smart speakers operate on a rechargeable battery.
While wireless set-ups offer more convenience and can be controlled from your smart device, wired systems provide better sound quality––since Bluetooth technology wasn’t originally designed to produce high-quality audio, but rather voice signals. Additionally, wired systems provide uninterrupted signals, while wireless networks can lose connection from time to time.
Sound Quality & Volume
Sound is measured in watts, so knowing the wattage output that a home stereo delivers can determine which sound level is ideal for a particular area. Ranging from 25 watts on the low end of volume to 800 watts on the high end, you can choose sound power that will fill, but not overwhelm, a listening space.
Some stereo systems have subwoofers, which are speaker components that enhance low-frequency bass sounds. Adjustable treble and bass also manipulate sound quality to match individual preferences. The type and quantity of speakers also impacts sound quality and volume––for example, home theaters often feature additional speakers to create a surround sound effect.
Home stereos have controls for volume and settings directly on the unit. While some manual features are simple turn knobs or digital buttons, most home stereos come with a remote control. Control functions are one of the major differences between home stereos and smart speakers, as smart speakers don’t usually come with accessories but are instead operated using a smartphone app.
The technology “hub” is quickly becoming the digital control center of the home. Controlling lighting and audio from your iPad or smartphone are just two examples, so devices with Bluetooth technology are increasingly in demand.
Many home stereo units use intelligent technology to pair with additional smart speakers. USB ports allow for listening to music from wired devices. Bluetooth connectivity enables you to use the stereo system with smartphones and tablets to stream playlists. Some even integrate with Alexa, allowing voice commands to control the unit.
When choosing a home stereo, consider its aesthetic. For example, think about whether a compact, modern design will complement your home decor or if a larger system with a concert presence is a better fit. Home stereos can come with decorative colored lighting for a DJ experience and alarm clock functions as well.
A home stereo’s position isn’t only about aesthetic appeal. Its placement can also affect the quality of the sound. Leave at least 2 to 3 feet between the speakers and any walls to avoid reflecting the sound off the wall or overamplifying the bass. Angling the speakers toward the listening area (called a toe-in) also helps enhance the sound.
The elevation of your home stereo can also affect sound delivery. Common places for situating a home stereo are tabletops, bookshelves, and TV stands. Don’t hesitate to experiment with arranging the stereo and its components—every space is acoustically different. The best rule regarding your stereo’s placement is that the spot you choose produces the sounds you want.
Our Top Picks
The Boytone BT-210FB wireless stereo uses Bluetooth technology to stream music and is compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, computers, or tablets. These devices remain connected up to 33 feet away from the stereo. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack for non-Bluetooth devices as well.
This budget-friendly stereo features two speakers, both with a subwoofer, a built-in amplifier, and a 30-watt audio output. A wireless remote control is included and the entire system measures 22 by 10.25 inches.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite’s superior performance just might be worth its price tag if you’re looking for high-quality sound. Two rear speakers, a soundbar, a subwoofer, 800W of power, and 106 dB volume create a cinema-like experience in your living room or home theater.
The subwoofer features a tweeter that reproduces high frequencies with precision and clarity. The rear speakers each feature a full-range driver to enhance directional sound accuracy. All the while, Nakamichi’s exclusive Spatial Surround Sound Elevation (SSE) technology further improves directionality, helping unlock subtle details of audio soundtracks.
The Yamaha MCR-B020BL is a three-piece system that offers Bluetooth wireless streaming, a USB port, and an auxiliary input for connecting your devices. The system also includes a single-disc CD player and AM/FM radio. The Yamaha fits easily on a tabletop or bookshelf, and the detachable speakers provide a rich listening experience, especially when positioned for a wider stage sound. The stereo boasts a range of extra features as well. You can also dim the LCD display, set the clock and timers, and activate power-saving modes.
The DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player Turntable is simple in design, brining a modern appeal to turntable technology. This model is equipped with two detachable speakers, 36 watts of power, and the ability to stream music from your favorite devices via wireless Bluetooth connection. In addition, the DIGITNOW includes a single-disc CD player, a cassette player, AM/FM radio, an auxiliary input, and a remote control.
The LG delivers powerful sound with a whopping 700 watts of audio. Plus, you can wirelessly sync your audio devices (or compatible HDTV) directly to the stereo without without having to worry about wires, thanks to the system’s Bluetooth capabilities. The dual-USB ports let users connect multiple devices at the same time, and the onboard Auto-DJ feature ensures a smooth transition from track to track.
The Sony Mini Hi-Fi Stereo System’s sleek, three-box design allows for individual speaker placement to produce a broader stereo effect. Those speakers use Mega Bass technology for enhanced low-frequency tones and are capable of 12 watts of output. With a CD player, radio tuner, Bluetooth functionality, and USB compatibility, this Sony audio system can be controlled via on-unit controls or the remote control.
FAQs About Your New Home Stereo System
Choosing and setting up a new home stereo needn’t be complicated. Here are a few questions and answers to help you make the most of your home stereo listening experience.
Q. What is the loudest home stereo system?
If you’re looking for the loudest home stereo, it will reach around 800 watts. The LG CM4590 XBOOM Bluetooth Audio System is one of the best options with 700 watts.
Q. What is the best small stereo system?
Ideally, a small stereo would fit nicely on a countertop or bookshelf. One of the best options when looking for a small stereo system is Yamaha MCR-B020BL Micro Component System.
Q. What do I need for a home stereo system?
Your home stereo will likely come with all the necessary components to make it operational. You’ll need an electrical source, and possibly an extension cord to power it if it’s a wired system. Consider a surge protector to shield the stereo from damage during storms and power surges.
Q. How do you set up a home stereo system?
Your new home stereo will come with the manufacturer’s instructions for set-up. Before putting it together, consider factors such as accessibility and stability. Have your WiFi password ready for Bluetooth connectivity. Once you determine which space is right for your system, follow the guide for installation.