Book Shelf Stereo Buying Guide

Between tablets, computers, music players and smartphones, you can now stream and listen to all your favorite music while away from your home. As those devices may not have the audio clarity that you want or the speaker levels that you need, adding a book shelf stereo to your home is an alternative to those devices. These stereos provide you with great sound in a small package.

Types of Book Shelf Stereos

A book shelf stereo, also known as a shelf stereo, refers to any type of stereo that has a compact size designed to take up less space on a shelf. One common type is a boombox, which has a carrying handle that pops up or slides out from the top. This gives you the chance to take the stereo with you instead of only using it in your home.

There is also something called a connected unit. This became more popular in the 2000s and 2010s. All the components that come with one of these stereo systems connect to the next. This lets you save even more space.

If you prefer creating a surround sound effect, you might opt for a stereo unit that comes with individual components. Instead of having one big unit, you'll get the stereo receiver itself and two or more speakers. You can place all the components side by side or place the speakers away from the receiver. Though some stereos use wired speakers, others use a wireless connection between the speakers and receiver.

Pay Attention to

Media type

Look first at the type of media that the book shelf stereo can play. Most modern stereos come with a built-in CD player and a radio, but some models come with a cassette player too. You may even find a few models that still have a turntable on top for playing records.

Modern media compatibility

Modern media compatibility refers to the way in which the stereo can work with modern forms of media. Some stereos feature an auxiliary port that lets you connect your MP3 player, an iPod, a tablet or a smartphone. Some are also Bluetooth-enabled and will work with Bluetooth devices within the surrounding area.


Depending on where you want to put the stereo in your home, size may be more important than anything else. Companies that make micro stereos create sound systems that are or even half the size of other stereo units. There are also wall mounted stereos that you can buy and mount to a wall in your room to save some space.

Playback format

All of the stereo systems that you see online and in stores today will play the typical compact discs that you have in your collection. If you have discs that you burned or created of live shows you attended, compilations you made from your own collection or songs you recorded with your own band, you'll need one that is compatible with CD-R and other formats.


Some of the highest rated and best reviewed book shelf stereos cost under $150 and even $100, but you can spend more or less based on how much you have in your budget. Professional models can cost up to $400 or more, but some basic stereo units cost around $50.

Optional features

The optional features that you might see in some of these stereos include a CD changer that lets you load up to five discs inside and switch effortlessly between those discs. You may also find units that come with an AM/FM radio tuner, a remote control or the ability to connect to wireless devices in your home.

Top Brands and Product Lines


One of the leading names in the stereo world today is Sony, which makes a number of book shelf stereos for home use. Its micro line features all the same great components you would find in larger models, including an MP3 hook up, CD player and subwoofer. Some even come with a remote control to easily switch between songs or stations.


Samsung makes affordable stereo units that will fit any budget but deliver the clear audio sound you expect from a more expensive model. While some models are more traditional in nature and only feature a CD player and radio, others will actually work with Bluetooth-enabled devices to let you share music from your tablet or phone.


LG combines modern music devices with classic stereos in its line of mini shelf systems. Designed for sitting on a book shelf without taking up a lot of room, these radios come with a built-in subwoofer that delivers great sound quality. Many of its book shelf stereos also come with Bluetooth connectivity that lets you stream music through the speakers.


Formerly known for creating larger stereos that took up a lot of space and products that were popular among professionals, Yamaha now offers compact stereo systems. Also known as micro components, these stereos feature speakers that are twice the size of the stereo itself and a stereo that comes with simple buttons to let you switch between stations.


To set itself apart from the competition, Sylvania introduced a line of micro system book shelf stereos that provide the same sound quality as larger models but in a smaller package. Many of these come with a built-in CD player, a tuner to switch between AM and FM and two small speakers. Some models also feature easy to use tuners and LCD colored bulbs on the front.