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 theater 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 80 soundbars, and below you'll find the best Dolby Atmos soundbars to buy. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars for music, and the best soundbars with a subwoofer.
The Samsung HW-Q950T is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar that we've tested. This well-built 9.1.4 setup comes with two satellite speakers and a dedicated subwoofer to help provide an immersive movie-watching experience. Though we don't test for it, it comes with Q-Symphony, which can create a speaker-like sound by using your compatible Samsung QLED TV's speakers in addition to the soundbar.
Out-of-the-box, it has a neutral, balanced sound profile that can reproduce both thumps and rumbles in action-packed scenes and dialogue clearly. You can use the graphic EQ and presets to help customize its sound, and there's even a surround level adjustment for watching movies. It has a good soundstage performance, so objects in the stereo image like footsteps seem to come from an accurate, pinpoint location, and it gets really loud.
Unfortunately, unlike some of the other premium soundbars we've tested, it doesn't come with a room correction feature, so your audio may sound a bit different depending on the room you use it in. Also, the tight fabric covering the speakers seems like it could collect dust easily over time. However, if you like watching Atmos movies, it offers versatile overall performance.
If you want an extra subwoofer in your setup, consider the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch instead. While this soundbar's sound profile isn't as well-balanced as the Samsung HW-Q950T, and it doesn't offer as many sound customization features, its two wireless subwoofers can help add extra thump and punch to action-packed movies. It's better-built than the Samsung, and it also comes with four rear speakers to help immerse you in your audio. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile, but it can also sound a bit dark or dull. There are a few EQ presets to help you customize its sound, and you can also use the 'Bass' button on the remote to control the subwoofer volume. It has a bit more compression than the Samsung at max volume, but it still gets loud.
If you want a 9.1.4 setup with a neutral sound and a graphic EQ for greater sound customization, check out the Samsung. However, if you want a 9.2.4 setup with more speakers and subwoofers to really immerse yourself in your audio, consider the Nakamichi instead.
The best Atmos soundbar with a 5.1 setup that we've tested is the JBL Bar 9.1. This well-built 5.1.4 setup features two truly wireless satellite speakers that you can place anywhere in your room to get the best possible listening experience. Thanks to its dedicated subwoofer, it reproduces a present, thumpy bass that's well-suited for bass-heavy music.
Overall, it has a neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. There are some EQ presets available to help you customize its sound, as well as a room correction feature that analyzes the acoustic characteristics of your room to improve audio reproduction. It gets loud enough to use at parties, and its wide, focused soundstage is impressively immersive.
Unfortunately, unlike some of the other premium soundbars we've tested, it doesn't come with a full EQ for more sound customization options. Also, it lacks a dialogue enhancement feature to make voices sound more clear and crisp. However, if you love watching Dolby Atmos content, this is a great choice for movies.
If you're looking for a more affordable 5.1 soundbar for Dolby Atmos, consider the Vizio SB36512-F6 instead. While it doesn't have a room correction feature and its soundstage isn't as impressive as the JBL Bar 9.1, it offers an acceptable height channel performance. This 5.1.2 setup comes with a dedicated subwoofer and two satellite speakers. It has a neutral sound profile that's suitable for lots of audio content, and the extra bass helps you feel the deep thump and rumbles in action-packed movie scenes. There are even a few EQ presets and bass and treble adjustments so you can customize its sound. It gets pretty loud, too, and it also supports DTS content.
If you want a more versatile, fully-featured soundbar with room correction, check out the JBL. However, if you love watching movies but you're on a budget, consider the Vizio instead.
The best standalone Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested is the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar. Its unique 13-speaker integrated design creates an immersive experience with only a standalone bar. It's an eye-catcher with such a massive design and high-end look.
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 adapt audio to your room using an external microphone that can enhance your listening experience. It has an impressive amount of connectivity options, including Bluetooth and Chromecast built-in. It 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.
Unfortunately, it's large, and finding the right position for it 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 option that can do it all without a dedicated subwoofer, this one is a good choice.
01/25/2021: Removed the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as 'More Immersive Alt' due to changing availability. No other changes in product picks after re-evaluating and checking their availability.
12/22/2020: Replaced the Vizio SB46514-F6 with the Vizio SB36512-F6 to reflect pricing changes.
11/03/2020: Replaced the Samsung HW-Q90R with the Samsung HW-Q950T for 'Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar'.
09/21/2020: Replaced the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch with the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers as 'More Immersive' alternative to 'Best Dolby Atmos Soundbar' and added the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch as 'Two-Sub' alternative. Replaced the Samsung HW-Q80R with the JBL Bar 9.1 as 'Best 5.1'. Moved the Samsung HW-Q80R from Best 5.1 to Notable Mentions.
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 sorted by their Atmos performance. 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.