Any surround sound speaker can add a new level of detail to your favorite movies, but the best Dolby Atmos soundbars add overhead channels and come in a compact, easy-to-setup form factor.
As more and more soundbars come with support for the Dolby Atmos format, the big difference between Atmos and traditional surround sound soundbars is that (with the right content), you'll hear sound move up and down and not just side-to-side. This brings an extra sense of cinematic realism to your viewing at home when, say, a car flies overhead in an action movie.
With multiple drivers covering a wide sound area in front of your screen, as well as side- and upward-firing speakers driven by sophisticated digital signal processing to bring an extra dimension to movie soundscapes, a Dolby Atmos soundbar makes an effective sound upgrade for most screen's built-in speakers. A Dolby Atmos soundbar generally costs a bit more, but prices are getting more competitive, and in many cases could even form the basis of a much more ambitious surround sound setup, incorporating dedicated wireless surround speakers and a wired or wireless subwoofer, for example.
We’ve reviewed the best Dolby Atmos soundbars in real-world domestic situations just as they would be used at home, and ranked each based on their sound performance with all kinds of movies (including Dolby Atmos movies) and music, features, and value. To make sure you’re choosing the right model for your immersive TV sound needs, read on...
Read more: Check out the 5 best TV sound upgrades I've tested that blew me away
Top 3 best Dolby Atmos soundbars
Best Dolby Atmos soundbar overall: Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
A brilliantly immersive soundbar that's superb at handling all kinds of TV and movie soundtracks. Music is part of the British hi-fi company's DNA, so it's not surprising that the Panorama 3 also doubles as an effective music system, making it one of the most versatile movie and music speaker systems at the price.
Best Dolby Atmos soundbar for value: Sonos Arc
The Sonos Arc optimizes its sound to your room like few others, thanks to its Trueplay auto-tuning capabilities and means you're always sat in the best seat in the house for movie sound. It also has voice control support via Alexa and Google Assistant. The price may be high but this is one of the smartest soundbars you can buy right now.
Best Dolby Atmos soundbar for smaller screens: Sonos Beam
An upgrade to one of the best soundbars available, the second-gen Sonos Beam brings a new CPU, tweaked profiles, more audio formats, and HDMI eArc support. Dolby Atmos and other home-theater sound formats bring numerous ways to experience wide 3D sound, and pairs perfectly with 55-inch (or smaller) TVs.
The best Dolby Atmos soundbars you can buy right now
Although the most expensive model, the Panorama 3 is Bowers & Wilkins' most affordable soundbar to date. It's more costly than the Sonos Arc but if it’s sound quality you prize, then the Panorama 3 is worth every penny. The 3.1.2 speaker configuration integrates forward-firing left, right and center channels and for cinematic rumble and punch there a two built-in subwoofer drivers along with Dolby Atmos Elevation drive units.
Powered by a total of 400 watts of Class D amplification, means the Panorama 3 can deal with those big dynamic shifts so beloved of cinema the world over without breaking sweat and is expressive and articulate where music is concerned too. It's extremely well judged and coherent with all kinds of music and movie content, while Dolby Atmos content projects well beyond the confines of the speaker cabinet, and in all directions. There’s real width to the soundstage the Bowers & Wilkins establishes, and there’s a proper sensation of movement as effects pan from one side of the stage to the other as soundtracks are served up with plenty of confidence and no little style.
Read the full Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 review.
The Sonos Arc is the best soundbar you can buy if you’re interested in making it part of a Sonos eco system integrated with existing Sonos speakers dotted around the house. This premium speaker stands out with its gorgeous curved design, which is built to be a centerpiece of your living room as much as it’s meant to enhance your TV’s sound. And it certainly doesn’t skimp on sound performance, delivering deep bass and clear treble for your favorite movies and TV shows complete with Dolby Atmos support.
Thanks to Sonos’ TruePlay technology, the Arc can automatically tune itself to whatever room it’s in to deliver the crispest, most accurate audio possible. It also supports voice controls via Alexa and Google Assistant, making it one of the smartest soundbars you can buy. If you have a larger entertainment area — and the budget, the Sonos Arc is one of the top premium soundbars out there.
Read the full Sonos Arc review.
An upgrade to one of the best soundbars available, the second-gen Sonos Beam brings a new CPU, tweaked profiles, more audio formats, and HDMI eArc support into the mix. The drivers have been re-tuned, resulting in a crisper central channel that emphasizes vocal clarity and dialog. Dolby Atmos and other home-theater sound formats grant you numerous ways to experience wide 3D sound in your living room. Other unique features like NFC for seamless setup, as well as TruePlay to curate sound to your space and optimal couch position, bring more value to this small speaker system. It also pairs perfectly with 55-inch (or smaller) HDTVs.
You should know that Sonos products don’t come cheap and the price tag on this beauty might be a bit steep for the average consumer. Even so, we think it's great value particularly if you're interested in adding it as part of multi-room setup, and is easily expandable with matching Sonos wireless surround speakers and/or a subwoofer.
Read the full Sonos Beam review.
Bose’s first soundbar to support immersive surround sound technology through Dolby Atmos, also offers multiroom audio, integrated voice assistants and there's even room for expansion via wireless Bose surrounds and a wired subwoofer. Like the Sonos Arc it's priced at $899, but the Bose separates itself with a smaller and more sleek design.
Easy to setup with plenty of options to help you tune the sound to your own surroundings, the Bose performs well with movies, although the addition of a subwoofer would give movie soundtracks a useful further boost. Dolby Atmos effects come across well, but bass levels can get a bet overzealous when playing music. All-in-all, the Bose is well-featured and a good choice for those already signed up to its ecosystem but ultimately is outperformed by the Sonos Arc at the same price.
Read our full Bose Smart Soundbar 900 review
Like its predecessor (HT-ST5000), the HT-A7000 is a full-featured home-theater speaker system designed to be the mainstay of any home TV, music, and gaming setup for years to come. Its feature-laden spec highlights include full support for Dolby Atmos soundtracks and hi-res audio, music streaming, as well as two HDMI 2.1 ports that enable users to connect both a PS5 and Xbox Series X to the soundbar at the same time.
The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar is an elegant TV speaker solution with impressive sound that enhances the performance of even the best TVs. It achieves a wrap-around cinematic effect with the right content, and Dolby Atmos material has a more enveloping effect thanks to the Sony's format handling and up-firing speakers — the only downside is the difficult to decipher display showing the audio format. Dialog was clear and has enough weight to give booming voices gravitas to carry them with conviction, but for real cinematic performance and satisfaction, you're really going to have to factor in a wireless sub.
Read the full Sony HT-A7000 review.
Yet more proof that you don't need to spend big to get quality Dolby Atmos integration, the JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam defies its standalone form factor with a respectable attempt at digital surround sound — not to mention powerful bass, even without a subwoofer.
Although we'd have liked a few more ways to manually adjust the sound output, the Bar 5.0 MultiBeam also features a handy auto calibration process that tunes Atmos playback for the dimensions of your living room specifically. This helps contribute to a strong sense of audio positioning, again something you can't always be sure about with single soundbars. Still, it works, and is just another reason the Bar 5.0 MultiBeam is one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars.
Read our full JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam review.
How to choose the best Dolby Atmos soundbar
As with selecting any soundbar, it is important to consider a number of factors when deciding which particular model is right for you.
Size will likely be prohibitive for many customers — you obviously need a soundbar that will fit neatly with your TV in terms of screen size and available space, and that looks right as the centerpiece of your home theater setup. Some of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars in this guide are particularly wide (the Sony measures around 51-inches), which is how they manage to achieve such an immersive soundstage that appears extend far beyond the width of your TV screen.
It is also important to consider in the size of the room you're dealing with, and the distance viewers would typically be sitting from the TV. If you have a large space, it's probably best to target soundbars that come with or where you can add a subwoofer — we think you'll appreciate the extra bass this will bring.
Connectivity is crucial too, both in terms of wired and wireless access. You're going to want HDMI with eARC/ARC to set up your soundbar with a single physical cable, and your going to want to make sure the latest wireless connectivity is available with Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth support.
For Dolby Atmos features, you're going to want to consider how you access this kind of content — support for the audio format is growing but it's not available everywhere yet. You may need to subscribe to a particular plan to get access to Dolby Atmos content, so check what your particular plan offers.
Also, make sure you understand how to test Dolby Atmos is working on your soundbar, and whether there are any height adjustment controls or settings to get the full effect from the soundbar's Atmos speakers.
How we test the best Dolby Atmos soundbars
When testing for inclusion in our best Dolby Atmos soundbars page, we play a range of media — including movies, music and games — in order to evaluate overall sound quality. We also test any companion software that may come with a soundbar, and factor in how easy it is to set up and use each device.
Other features we consider include a soundbar's inputs, outputs and ability to be wall mounted, all of which determine how well it will work with your home entertainment setup. We also take into account each soundbar's wattage, its supported audio channels and whether it includes a subwoofer — all factors that greatly affect how each speaker will sound in your living room.
Once testing is completed, we rate the best soundbars based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Products that hit nearly every mark are awarded an Editor's Choice badge.