Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam Gen 2 & Sonos Sub Mini: Get the most for your money

Have a budget of around £1000 and want to add a Sonos home cinema system to your space? With Sonos' premium soundbar the Sonos Arc and their more compact Sonos Beam (Gen 2) & Sub Mini bundle offering a difference of £21 in RRP, we want to help you decide which Soundbar setup is right for you. 

Since its 2022 release, the Sonos Sub Mini has caused quite a stir. An affordable access point to high-end bass performance and a great support act for the Sonos Beam. This pairing has changed the face of the Sonos product landscape. Forcing many of us to reconsider which soundbar setup offers better value for money.

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Sonos Arc

RRP: £899 (see latest pricing)

View Sonos Arc

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) & Sub Mini Bundle

RRP: £878 (see latest pricing)


Disclaimer: Prices are correct at time of publishing. Check product pages for most up-to-date prices.

Watch our full Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam Gen 2 & Sonos Sub Mini comparison video here

NEed to Knows

Launched in 2020, the Sonos Arc is a premium soundbar option. Despite it not being a brand new piece of tech, it is still relatively young in terms of its Sonos lifecycle. It’s a Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar with upwards and sideways firing drivers that work in unison to deliver its iconic and immersive Atmos effects. It’s also the largest of the Sonos soundbar trio and delivers an exceptionally wide soundstage enhanced by the sideways firing drivers. 

On the other hand, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), released in 2021 was the replacement for the Sonos Beam (Gen 1). This upgrade introduced Dolby Atmos support through virtual surround sound technology because there are no dedicated upwards-firing drivers to do so. Coming in at £449, the Beam is £450 cheaper than the Arc, but pushes a lot closer in terms of performance than the price would suggest. 

Finally, released in 2022 and Sonos’ answer to affordable low-end performance. The Sonos Sub Mini is the second Subwoofer option in the Sonos range. Much more compact than the Sonos Sub (Gen 3), the Sub Mini has surprised, and thoroughly impressed, us when it comes to bass performance. Based on price, performance and design, we have highlighted this as one of the ideal pairings for the Sonos Beam. 

So, which is the better setup? Well here are some key things to consider.

Room size and layout


When it comes to choosing your perfect setup you need to consider your room’s size and layout first. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that the Arc is used for larger, more open-plan spaces that you want to be filled with sound. The Beam and Sub Mini pairing on the other hand is something we usually suggest for those with smaller or medium-sized rooms. 

However, this is a very generic statement and as we all know, there is often more to it when you break down the specifics. During our testing, we were left impressed by how well the Sonos Beam and Sonos Sub Mini performed in our open-plan showroom when we were seated directly in front of the TV. So, if you’re wanting a setup that's great for binging TV series or films, this may be enough for you. However, we were left wanting slightly more in terms of immersion when we moved to a more off-axis seating arrangement. We noticed a slight drop-off in audio impact in the outer areas of the room which is something that you wouldn't notice if you went for the Sonos Arc which offers that wider soundstage.

We also want to highlight the importance of real-life practicality. It’s often a factor that is overlooked by a lot of tech advisors, but when you’re spending big on a product. Naturally, you want it to fit seamlessly within your space. In our experience, if you’ve got a 48” TV or smaller, the addition of an Arc underneath may be a bit of an eyesore. Whereas, if your lounge boasts a 75” TV or larger, the Beam is not only going to be dwarfed in size, but it’s also going to struggle to deliver the wide soundstage needed to accompany the visuals. 

Also, weigh up where you’ll be placing your soundbar, will you be wall mounting it? If so, is there space on your wall for the Arc? Are you going to place it on a TV stand? Is the stand wide enough to accommodate a wider soundbar? Do you have space in your room for a Sub Mini? All things to keep in mind as you’re weighing up your options.

Sound Performance


As mentioned earlier, undeniably the Sonos Arc offers a wider soundstage and more room-filling performance. The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) does offer a good soundstage but it simply can’t compete with the physics of the Arc. So, if you’ve got a widespread seating arrangement or you’re looking for an expansive soundstage, the Arc is the option you should go for in your soundbar setup. 

When it comes to Dolby Atmos effects, the Arc inevitably outperforms the Beam due to its dedicated upwards-firing drivers instead of virtual ones. However, the Beam does cope considerably well, especially when you add the extra layer of immersion with the Sub Mini. It has been upgraded to level up to the Sonos Arc in terms of vocal and centre channel performance. So, by adding the Sub Mini, not only does it take the load of the lower frequencies, but it also allows the Beam to focus more on its other arrays. Therefore, compounding the benefits we experience from the Beam in the mid and high ranges. So, although during our testing we’ve noticed a few nuances in the overhead performance of the Arc. On the whole, the vocals and bass performance are brilliant on both soundbar setups, making it difficult to split them. 

In terms of bass performance, the Arc offers an impactful low end performance but we would say that the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) receives a big upgrade in the bass department with the addition of the Sonos Sub Mini offering a punchy, powerful performance. Both setups offer great overall performances in terms of sound performances and while there are some slight pros and cons either way, we think it's the overall package that will help you make up your mind.


Another factor we think is worth considering when choosing which soundbar setup to go for is budget. Not necessarily your budget right now due to their similar price points, but your long-term funds. Are you going to want to spend more in the future on your setup? Do you want to upgrade and add more units over time? Or are you looking to make your purchase now and stop there? 

You might want to add a Sonos Sub (Gen 3) to the Sonos Arc to maximise performance and add two Sonos One SL rears too for enhanced surround audio. This full surround sound bundle of a Sonos Arc, Sonos Sub (Gen 3) and 2 x Sonos One SL would cost you £2,006 (RRP). Whereas, if you decided to add rears to your Beam and Sub Mini bundle you would only be looking at an additional cost of around £350 so, £1236 (RRP) all in for a Sonos Beam (Gen 2), Sonos Sub Mini and 2 x Sonos One SL bundle.

Sonos-Arc-Sub-One-SLFull-Immersive-Bundle Sonos-Beam-Sub-Mini-One-SL-Full-Immersive-Bundle

View Sonos Arc, Sub (Gen3) & One SL Bundle

View Sonos Beam, Sub Mini & One SL Bundle


Based on everything we’ve covered, it’s difficult to give a clear-cut recommendation without speaking to every single person about what they want from their audio equipment, their homes or their plans for the future. However, we’ve come up with three soundbar setup scenarios that may help you to break the decision down and come to an answer that suits your needs...

Scenario One:


Meet Ben. He lives in a 3-bed house with a medium-sized living room. He watches a lot of Netflix, likes films, and also listens to music regularly at home. He’s not planning on moving to a much bigger space any time soon. He wants a good soundbar setup and has got a budget of around £1000. But he is not looking for something to invest further down the road. He wants a setup that’s going to make movie night more immersive and be a big step up from his TV speakers. We would recommend that he buys the Sonos Beam Gen 2 and Sonos Sub Mini.

Scenario two:


Meet Sophie and Alex. They’ve just bought their first house together. They’ve got a 65” TV and they’ve got a medium-sized living room too. They dream of having a larger, open-plan space and may move house to accommodate this in the future. They’ve only got a budget of £1000 right now, but they both love movie night and hosting parties so they’re happy to keep investing in their system over time when they can afford to do so. We would suggest they buy the Sonos Arc. 

Scenario Three:


Finally, Meet John. He’s serious about audio. He likes the best of the best and he’s got the money to go for it. He knows he’s going to invest more into his setup over time but he wants to be sure he’s getting a premium experience, a premium setup, and doesn’t mind spending more to get it. It’s a no-brainer for John, he’s gone for the Sonos Arc. 

So which scenario do you fall into? Are you Ben, are you Sophie and Alex or are you more of a John? Of course, there are plenty of other factors that you may need to consider. But hopefully, this has given you the starting point to work from. 

Hopefully, this comparison has helped you gain a better understanding of whether the Sonos Arc or the Sonos Beam and Sonos Sub Mini is a better solution for your soundbar setup. If you feel like you’re still unsure and would like more personal advice, then feel free to reach out to our expert team of tech guides who would be more than happy to help!

View Sonos Arc


Are you torn between the Arc or the (Beam Gen 2) alone? Check out our comparison video below, where we go through everything you should know before buying either sound bar.

Watch our Sonos Arc vs Sonos Beam comparison video here


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