Dolby Atmos is an object-based surround sound format that supports height channels, which means sound can come from above your head. It 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. Soundbars usually use up-firing speakers to simulate an illusion of height by bouncing the sound off the ceiling and back to the listener. It won't be as accurate or immersive as down-firing speakers with a more traditional home theater setup.
We've tested over 130 soundbars, and below you'll find the top 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 Atmos soundbar we've tested is the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. This premium 5.1.2 setup is available as a standalone bar, but we recommend adding the subwoofer and satellites to get a more immersive sound with Dolby Atmos movies. The sub adds more thump and rumble in the bass during action-packed scenes, and the satellites improve the localization of sound objects for a more clear and real feel.
The bar offers an impressive soundstage performance that makes it stand out in comparison to other soundbars. Like most premium models on the market, it uses psychoacoustic principles to widen the soundstage, with a feature that Bose calls PhaseGuide technology. It does a great job, so the action in your favorite movies seems to come from all around you. Dialogue is reproduced clearly, too, thanks to its balanced mids that ensure you can hear the voices in the midst of all the action.
Unfortunately, the bar doesn't offer a lot of sound enhancement features compared to other premium setups. There's no EQ, so you can't customize its sound throughout the range. Its neutral sound out-of-the-box means that you aren't likely to need these features, and there are still some basic bass and treble adjustments that offer some control over the bar's sound.
If you want a similar setup with DTS support, check out the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers. This 5.1.2 setup isn't as well-built as the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module, and its soundstage isn't as impressive, but it can support DVDs, CDs, and Blu-rays formatted as DTS content. DTS is a surround sound format that's not very common on its own, but it's the fallback for higher-quality DTS-HD MA content found on a lot of Blu-ray discs. As a result, this soundbar gives you more flexibility when watching movies since there's support for more types of content. It's also an impressive choice for Dolby Atmos content. Thanks to its up-firing drivers, sound seems to come from all around you, meaning you feel like you're sitting in the middle of the action. Its focus is pretty good, so sound objects like cars in a chase scene seem like they're racing past you from one pinpoint location to another.
You can't go wrong with either of these setups. But if you want a Bluetooth-compatible bar that's better-built with a better soundstage, check out the Bose. If you want a bar that supports DTS content, consider the Sonos instead.
If you're looking for a premium Atmos soundbar that gives you more control over the bar's sound, check out the Samsung HW-Q950A. This premium 11.1.4 setup comes with a fantastic selection of sound enhancement features, including a 7-band graphic EQ that lets you adjust the bar's sound more to your liking. There are lots of EQ presets available, too, so you can change the bar's settings with the touch of a button.
With Dolby Atmos content, the bar uses up-firing drivers built into the bar and the satellites to bounce sound off the ceiling and back down towards you, which creates the illusion of height. Thanks to its neutral sound profile, this soundbar reproduces dialogue in your favorite movies accurately and with detail. Its dedicated subwoofer reproduces an extended low-bass, so you feel the thump and rumble in action-packed scenes.
When you compare it to the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module and the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers, you notice that the bar's soundstage isn't quite as wide and immersive-sounding. Also, if you have an LG TV, the bar has issues streaming Atmos content via passthrough, which is disappointing if you want to connect the bar to an Xbox, PS5, or Apple TV. If you don't use passthrough, it's still a solid pick.
The shape and size of your living room impact how you perceive sound. For those with a larger, more open space, there are soundbars available with two subwoofers like the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2Ch, which helps to even out the bass response throughout your room. This means that you don't notice as many "holes" in your soundstage - or spaces in your room where the bass is absent.
This 9.2.4 setup is unique: in addition to its two subwoofers, it comes with four satellite speakers. As a result, sound objects in Dolby Atmos movies seem to come from a really clear and accurate location in the soundstage. For example, a helicopter flying overhead seems to move from one pinpoint location to another, so you feel like you're in the middle of the action from the comfort of your living room.
Unfortunately, the bar's sound profile isn't as balanced as the Samsung HW-Q950A or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module. It reproduces dialogue with clarity, but the recessed treble makes audio seem dark and dull. There's a treble adjustment feature available, but it can't replicate the same detail in the treble range as other premium models. If you want to fill up a large space with powerful bass, it's a solid choice.
The most immersive Dolby Atmos soundbar we've tested is the Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module. This 4.1.4 setup has a unique design with a small control box and four discrete surround speakers that you can move around your room based on your preferences. As a result, it has a really impressive Atmos performance that fills your room with sound from your favorite movies.
Like many other premium bars on the market, it uses psychoacoustic principles to make it seem like the soundstage is much wider than the bar itself - Sony calls this technology 360 Spatial Sound Mapping. It results in a really wide and immersive soundstage, so you feel like you're sitting in the middle of the action from the comfort of your living room. You can even use its virtual surround feature to activate the up-firing drivers for a wider soundstage - Sony calls it the Immersive AE feature.
Unfortunately, you may notice some holes in the soundstage. That's because the bar doesn't come with a discrete center channel. You can connect the bar with a compatible BRAVIA TV to use the TV's speakers as a center channel, but the volume level between the TV and the bar differs, which decreases the overall sound quality. Even without a discrete center, voices still seem clear and present in the mix, so it's probably best to use the bar on its own.
The best budget Atmos soundbar that we've tested is the TCL Alto 8i. This standalone 2.1 setup is one of the few bars in this price range that supports Dolby Atmos content. While its performance isn't quite as impressive as the more premium models on the market, it's still a decent pick for wallet-conscious listeners.
When you listen to Atmos content, the bar uses up-firing drivers to ricochet sound off the ceiling to create the illusion of height, just like the premium options on our list. The soundstage is fairly wide, so you get a more immersive sound, but it can sound overprocessed at times. While its standalone design is also quite useful for listeners who don't have a lot of space for a subwoofer in their room, the lack of low-bass is noticeable, so you don't feel the deep rumble in the low-bass during action-packed scenes.
That said, there's a definite difference when you compare this setup with more premium models. It has a dark and boomy sound profile, due to the extra emphasis in the high-bass and the recessed treble range. Vocals aren't as clear as a result, especially higher-pitched dialogue. There aren't a lot of sound enhancement features, either, so you're pretty limited when it comes to customizing the sound.
May 06, 2022: Moved the Samsung HW-Q950A to 'Best Customizable' and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 to 'Best Soundbar' as we've identified some compatibility issues with Atmos content when using the Samsung for passthrough with LG TVs. Minor updates to the text for clarity.
Mar 08, 2022: Added the Vizio SB46512-F6, the Klipsch Cinema 1200, and the Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1 SSE to Notable Mentions. Minor updates to the text for accuracy.
Jan 07, 2022: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Dec 10, 2021: Replaced the Sonos Arc with Sub + One SL Speakers with the better-built Bose Smart Soundbar 900 with Speakers + Bass Module since it has a better soundstage. Added the Sony HT-A9 with Bass Module as the 'Best Immersive'. Replaced the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar with the more immersive Bose Smart Soundbar 900 as 'Best Standalone'. Added the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar and the Sony HT-A7000 with Speakers + Bass Module to Notable Mentions.
Oct 19, 2021: Replaced the Vizio M Series M51a-H6 with the Vizio SB46514-F6 as it has a better Atmos performance.
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.