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 reviewed over 50 soundbars so far, 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 best Dolby Atmos soundbar that we've tested so far is the Samsung HW-Q90R. This well-built 7.1.4 setup comes with a soundbar, a subwoofer, and two satellite speakers. The up-firing speakers on the bar and the rear speakers help make it sound like your favorite movies are happening all around you. Overall, it provides amazing performance.
With a good, neutral sound profile, this soundbar does well with most audio content, including music, movies, and TV shows. Its extended bass can reproduce the thump and rumble found in movie scores and action-packed scenes. At loud volumes, it reproduces sound clearly and with little compression, which is excellent. There are even some options for customizing the sound profile of the bar based on your preferences, including an available EQ.
On the downside, this soundbar lacks some sound enhancement features such as room correction and night mode. It also underperforms when compared to dedicated down-firing speakers from home theater setups, although it still does a decent job of creating a sense of height with Dolby Atmos content. In 2020, the updated Samsung HW-Q950T was released, but we haven't tested that model yet and can't confirm its performance. However, this is still one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars available.
If you're looking for a soundbar that can create a more three-dimensional sound experience, consider the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 instead. This unique soundbar sounds warmer and more bass-heavy than the Samsung HW-Q90R, but its impressive 9.2.4 setup can truly immerse the listener in sounds coming from all around them. With two subs and four dedicated rear speakers, it also does an excellent job reproducing surround sound. If you like to listen to your audio at high volumes, you may appreciate that this is one of the loudest soundbars we've tested to date, although there can be some distortion in the bass range at max volume. On the other hand, this setup lets you easily reposition the many rear speakers based on your preferred listening experience.
If you want a more natural sound from your soundbar, go with the HW-Q90R. But if you prefer a more immersive setup with more speakers, the Nakamichi might be for you!
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. It 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 around 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 SB46514-F6 is an affordable option that has impressive performance. The Vizio might not be as well-built or as sleek-looking as the Samsung, but it has dedicated rear speakers, which can help a more immersive listening experience. Also, the satellites have up-firing speakers that can result in a better illusion of height elements with Atmos content. Unfortunately, you need to wire them directly to the sub, which might be a bit tricky depending on your room setup. On the upside, it has Chromecast built-in and still has a 3.5mm jack if you want to easily plug in your phone.
If you're limited on space and don't have room for rear speakers, get the Samsung. However, if you want to save a couple of hundred dollars without too many compromises, the Vizio is a great option. You can also check out the Vizio SB36512-F6, which doesn't have up-firing speakers on the satellites but is our choice for the best budget Dolby Atmos soundbar.
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. 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, 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.
07/23/2020: Added the Sonos Arc and the LG SN11RG as 'Notable Mentions'.
05/12/2020: Minor text changes for accuracy.
03/13/2020: Changed some picks as we reviewed more products.
11/01/2019: Added the Vizio SB36512-F6 as a 'More Affordable Alternative' to the Samsung HW-Q90R.
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.