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6 September 2021

Top three best mini hi-fi systems for 2021

Listen to the radio or your CD collection with a great-sounding Best Buy mini hi-fi system that will give you years of listening pleasure
Oliver Trebilcock
Best micro hifis 2015

In an ideal world we would invest in the best possible sound system to do our favourite songs justice. But that’s not always practical, especially when it comes to price and space. If you don’t want a full-sized, audiophile's hi-fi but you also don’t want a pint-sized wireless speaker, a mini hi-fi system is ideal.

The best models cram a lot of features into a compact box, without compromising on sound or becoming too complex to use. Put one in your living room and you can relax with your favourite artists, or tune into Gardener’s Question Time while you’re putting your feet up. Which? tests a wide range of mini hi-fi systems every year, from simple, budget mini systems to high-end models with internet streaming and Bluetooth capabilities, so you can find the most suitable one for you.

In the table below you’ll find our top-recommended mini hi-fis, and further down the page we’ve highlighted what you should avoid and watch out for. So you can make sure you don’t end up with a mini hi-fi system that sounds awful or is a pain to use when all you’re looking for is some easy listening.

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Best mini hi-fi systems

  • 85%

    This mini hi-fi is certainly appealing, earning a Best Buy award for matching great sound with simplicity. There’s a CD player, DAB/FM radio and Bluetooth, as well as a range of inputs so you can run your TV, set-top box, games console or Blu-ray player through it.

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  • 73%

    If you're looking for a truly modern mini hi-fi with all the latest features - including music streaming and voice assistant compatibility, this mini hi-fi will be the perfect audio system for you. Sound quality is exceptional and it's easy to set up and use. It's a fantastic Best Buy.

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  • 64%

    You can buy this popular mini hi-fi just as the receiver main unit, or with separate speakers included as we did. With the standard speakers, it sounds great, but audiophiles can also look for other bundled speaker offers to reach Best Buy sound quality. The main unit is an exceptional piece of kit, with all the standard features you’d expect, including Bluetooth so you can stream audio to it from other devices, DAB+/FM radio and a CD player.

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Pricing and recommendations correct at September 2021.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our mini hi-fi system reviews.

And here is one to avoid

Mini hi-fi systems aren’t cheap, ranging in price from around £100 up to £500. So, if you make a mistake, it’s most likely going to be a costly one. Not only do Don’t Buy mini hi-fi systems sound awful, but they’re often also poorly built and difficult to use. The below model is an example of the pitfalls to watch out for when buying a mini hi-fi. It has very few redeeming features and the sound quality is so poor we would recommend you stay well away and invest in a better-sounding system.

Mini hi-fi features to look out for

The very best micro hi-fi systems offer a wide range of playback options, which cater to how your music is stored - whether it’s on CD or a digital audio file. They play the radio you want to hear, whether it’s AM/FM, DAB or internet radio. They offer wired and wireless streaming, and have a range of inputs so you can run your TV, set-top box, games console or Blu-ray player through it. Here are the main features you might want to consider if you’re investing in a new mini hi-fi system.

External aerial
If you want to listen to FM/AM or DAB radio, you’ll be best off getting a mini hi-fi that comes with an external aerial. If the aerial it comes with isn’t up to the job it is possible to switch it for another one, but check with the manufacturer before buying one to check it would be compatible.

Built-in wi-fi means easy access to your existing internet connection, so you can stream from music and radio subscription services, as well as get internet radio.

Line input
For wired streaming from smartphones, tablets and other devices, you’ll need a mini hi-fi with a 3.5mm line-input socket and a line-input cable to connect it to your hi-fi.

Bluetooth and NFC
These are useful if you want to wirelessly stream music from your mobile or tablet. Mini hi-fi systems that have Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication) will easily sync with, and play audio from, your smartphone, tablet or MP3 player.

If you’re looking for a mini hi-fi that can play tunes and get you out of bed in the mornings, a model with good alarm options is essential. The best will let you select which days to set the alarm for and how the alarm will sound - be it a buzzer or a radio station. If you and your partner need to get up at different times, look for a model with multiple independent alarms.

CD player
It’s less common than it was, but many mini hi-fi systems still offer a CD player. Some can hold multiple CDs and have internal storage so you can digitise your CD collection and save hundreds of songs to the hi-fi unit.

Remote control
Not everyone will think this is essential but, if you’re picking a mini hi-fi system for a living room as opposed to the bedroom, it can be handy so you don't have to get up every time you want to adjust the volume or switch stations. Look for one with prominent, well-labelled buttons. Some audio brands have a free app you can download to turn your smartphone into a remote control if it doesn't already come with one.

A USB port can be useful, as it allows you to plug in other devices, such as a phone or tablet. The hi-fi can then charge your devices or play music stored on them.

SD card
Similar to a USB stick, some mini hi-fi systems will have an SD-card slot so you can play digital music files stored on an SD card.

Coaxial input
If you want to connect your mini hi-fi system to your sound bar or Blu-ray player to improve the sound coming from your TV, you’ll need to make sure it has a coaxial input.