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 25 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. This 7.1.4 solidly-built setup comes with the main soundbar itself, a subwoofer, and two satellite speakers to be positioned behind you. Although the satellite speakers do need a power source, they're connected to the soundbar wirelessly for a cleaner setup. Samsung even included wall-mounting brackets and screws in the package. The soundbar provides a variety of inputs, including 4k HDMI passthrough, HDMI ARC, and optical. If you just want to listen to music or a podcast, you can stream wirelessly through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
On the whole, this setup sounds great. It has excellent bass extension to give you that rumble and thump, while still maintaining a fairly neutral sound profile, suitable for every type of content. If it doesn't suit you, there's an EQ for further customization. The up-firing speakers do a decent job of creating a sense of height in Dolby Atmos content but don't sound as real as dedicated down-firing speakers.
If you want the most immersive Dolby Atmos experience you can get in a 7.1 soundbar setup or simply an upgrade from your TV's integrated speakers, this soundbar is worth checking out.
If the eye-watering price of the Samsung HW-Q90R 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.
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, then get the Samsung HW-Q80R. As you might expect, it doesn't provide the same surround experience of the Samsung HW-Q90R, but it's still a great option if you want a Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbar for use at home. It sounds just as balanced and has all the same great connectivity options, like two full HDMI-in ports, HDMI ARC, and optical-in. However, it doesn't have a regular audio jack, so you can only play content from your phone or tablet wirelessly. On the upside, if you like this bar enough, it's possible to purchase two additional rear speakers. However, note that this soundbar's rear speakers aren't the same as the Q90R's and don't have up-firing drivers on them, meaning it won't provide the same height illusion.
Get the Q90R if you have room for a 7.1 soundbar setup, but if you're tight on space and would rather save a couple of bucks, then go for the simpler 5.1 Q80R.
The best standalone Dolby Atmos Soundbar we've tested so far is the Sennheiser AMBEO soundbar. It has a unique design with 13 speakers integrated into the soundbar itself, which makes its size rather large and its positioning quite difficult. That said, if you have the room for it, this soundbar's 3D audio mode offers an immersive experience. It has a good build quality and the fabric covering the speakers can be removed for cleaning. This soundbar has an amazing amount of connectivity options, including Bluetooth support and built-in Chromecast.
The overall sound signature with the Ambeo mode disabled is disappointing. Though the mids and treble are neutral, it lacks a lot of bass, which results in a very bright sound. However, there are a few customization options available, such as room correction, dialogue enhancement, as well as a parametric EQ. When Ambeo mode is enabled, the soundbar offers great immersion and gives a good impression of height in Dolby Atmos content, though it still sounds diffused and not as real as dedicated down-firing speakers.
All in all, if you prefer standalone soundbars without a dedicated subwoofer, this one is the best so far.
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.
Also, this soundbar has a V-shaped sound profile, with overemphasized bass and treble ranges. Some people may prefer this exciting sound signature, but 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. On the upside, this soundbar seems to often be on sale, so it 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 even the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar.
If you need a soundbar with an analog audio input, go with the LG SK10Y. It has similar performance and feature set to the LG SL10YG, but this is an older model from 2018. It has a great build quality and tons of connectivity options, which includes three HDMI ports with support for 4k 60Hz passthrough. You can also stream content via Bluetooth and the soundbar has a built-in Chromecast. Unfortunately, this soundbar is very bass-heavy and can sound muddy at times, however, there's a decent amount of customization options to adjust the sound to suit your taste.
If you need a USB port to play audio files, the LG SL10YG is a better choice, but if you want to have the option of connecting via the analog audio input, then go with the LG SK10Y, though this model is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
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.
01/13/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
11/28/2019: 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.