Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound format that supports height channels, which means sound can come from above your head. This results in an even more immersive listening experience since, depending on your home theatre setup, you can hear sounds coming from all directions. Many 4k Blu-rays, and even some streaming services like Netflix, support Dolby Atmos — but not all soundbars do. The ones that do tend to be more expensive than most, but if you're after a more natural listening experience, they're worth considering.
Note that soundbars usually use up-firing speakers to simulate an illusion of height by bouncing the sounds off the ceiling, back to the listener. This won't be as accurate or immersive as down-firing speakers with a more traditional home theater setup.
We've tested over 30 soundbars so far, and below you'll find the best Dolby Atmos soundbars to buy in 2020. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars for music, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.
The Samsung HW-Q90R is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested so far. Coming with a main soundbar, subwoofer, and two satellite speakers, the 7.1.4 setup ensures you'll get an immersive listening experience all around you.
This setup has impressive sound: its fairly neutral sound profile has just enough bass extension to deliver rumble and thump, making it suitable for all kinds of audio. If you like to further fine-tune your sound experience, it comes with a graphic EQ. This soundbar comes with a variety of inputs such as 4k HDMI passthrough, HDMI ARC, and optical. You can also stream wirelessly using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi if you want to play music or podcasts from your favorite streaming platform.
As this soundbar comes with satellite speakers, they'll need to be plugged into a power source, which could clutter your setup. Fortunately, they connect to the soundbar wirelessly. While they underperform when compared to dedicated down-firing speakers, this soundbar does a decent job of creating a sense of height in Dolby Atmos content, making this one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars available.
If you're looking for an even more immersive setup, then go with the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch. While it might have a warmer and more bass-heavy sound profile than the Samsung HW-Q90R, its unique 9.2.4 set up means you'll get excellent and accurate object localization. Those who like to crank up their audio will also rejoice: it's one of the loudest soundbars we've tested so far, although at max volume there can be noticeable distortion in the bass range. Unfortunately, the soundbar itself and the four satellites are up-firing speakers, so you won't get as might height like that of the Samsung.
If you're looking for a soundbar with a fairly neutral sound profile that can still be customized, then get the Samsung. However, if you don't mind the dark, warm sound profile and want additional speakers to surround you in your audio, then get the Nakamichi.
The best 5.1 Dolby Atmos Soundbar that we've tested so far is the Samsung HW-Q80R. If you don't have space for separate rear speakers and would prefer a 5.1 setup that just comes with a bar and a subwoofer, this is a good choice.
This soundbar looks and feels premium, thanks to its solid build. With its balanced sound profile, it's suitable for everything from action movies to audiobooks. Those who like to fine-tune their sound will appreciate the graphic EQ. This soundbar also has great connectivity options such as two fill HDMI-in ports, HDMI ARC, and optical-in. Still looking for more? You can expand this soundbar's system with two additional rear speakers sold separately.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to pass the aux cord with this soundbar as it doesn't have a regular audio jack. There's also no USB port. However, you can play audio from your phone or tablet wirelessly, which is great when you're having a party. If you're tight on space at home, this is a good 5.1 option.
If the price of the Samsung HW-Q80R is out of your budget, the Vizio SB36512-F6 is an affordable option that has impressive performance. There are some compromises, however; the first is that the satellite speakers can't be connected wirelessly, so you'll have to plan out their positioning and cable routing to the subwoofer. Second, even though the sound profile is very neutral, in fact, more so than the Samsung, it doesn't get very loud. The Vizio does have some redeeming qualities, though, such as the inclusion of a 3.5mm analog audio input, USB input, and even ethernet, as Chromecast is built-in for easy streaming or voice control through the Google Assistant.
If you want the best Dolby Atmos performance a soundbar can provide, the Samsung is still our top pick. However, if your budget is limited and you're looking for something a bit more affordable without too many compromises, the Vizio is a great option.
The best standalone Dolby Atmos Soundbar we've tested so far is the Sennheiser AMBEO soundbar. Its unique 13-speaker integrated design creates an immersive experience with only a standalone bar.
While not as great as dedicated down-firing speakers, it still produces good surround sound thanks to its unique 3D audio mode. Its room correction feature helps to adapt audio to your room too: using an external microphone, the soundbar can correct some sound and enhance your listening experience. This soundbar has an impressive amount of connectivity options including Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in. This soundbar also has a standby mode triggered by 20 minutes of inactivity. If you need to clean them, you can remove the fabric covering the speakers.
On the downside, this soundbar is large and its positioning is quite difficult. If you don't have AMBEO mode activated, the sound signature also lacks bass and instead leans more bright. On the upside, if you don't like this sound profile, you can customize the EQ with the companion app. If you're looking for a standalone soundbar that can do it all without a dedicated subwoofer, this one is a good choice.
The LG SL10YG is a decent soundbar but has poor Dolby Atmos performance. Its default sound profile is pretty good overall, with overemphasized bass and treble that can make music sound more exciting, but isn't ideal for TV shows. It feels very well-made, though, with a premium design and a couple of different customization features.
This soundbar has an overall great bass performance and will be able to recreate the deep thump and rumble from bass thanks to its dedicated wireless subwoofer. It also performs quite well at its max volume, but the bar seems to be limited when it comes to volume output, as it performs noticeably quieter than other models we've reviewed. Some people might also hear a bit of distortion on higher frequencies when pushing the bar to its limits. However, we don't expect people to use the max volume with real-life content, so this shouldn't be an issue for most.
This soundbar has a V-shaped sound profile with overemphasized bass and treble ranges. Although some may prefer this exciting sound signature, it won't be the best for a more neutral or accurate listening. The sound profile also changes drastically with Atmos content: the bass seems lower than usual and there's a lot of detail missing in the treble range. However, this soundbar seems to go on sale often and could be worth considering if you can find it at a good price but note it won't be as good for Atmos content as the Samsung HW-Q90R or the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best Atmos soundbars for most people to buy. We factor in the price (a cheaper soundbar wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no soundbars that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews of soundbars with more than 5.1 channels. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. No soundbar is perfect. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.
03/13/2020: Changed some picks as we reviewed more products. The text has been updated.
01/13/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
11/01/2019: Added the Vizio SB36512-F6 as a 'More Affordable Alternative' to the Samsung HW-Q90R.