The best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2024: home theater upgrades for all budgets

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best Dolby Atmos soundbars allow you to hear your favorite movies and TV shows in a way that’s more immersive and natural. That's because Dolby Atmos is a surround sound audio format that isolates audio to individual objects – someone screaming, a dog barking, a helicopter overhead – that can be mapped in 3D space, rather than being attached to a particular speaker in a setup. 

So if you can see a helicopter on screen flying above your head, it’ll sound as if it’s flying over your head, too. Essentially, sound is placed where it naturally would be based on what you’re watching on the screen, with more precision and effectiveness than regular surround sound.

You won’t get the same uncompromised presentation of Dolby Atmos soundtracks that the best AV receivers deliver when paired with a surround sound speaker system, but those setups take up a lot of space and can be expensive. That’s where the best soundbars show their advantage, and the best Dolby Atmos soundbars are the easy way to deliver a powerful home theater experience. 

Written by
Matthew Bolton headshot against grey background
Written by
Matt Bolton

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, and has over a decade of experience in tech publishing. He has been writing about the latest TVs and soundbars since 2017. CES 2024 has been and gone, which gave us a glimpse of all the new soundbars on the horizon. Matt was most impressed by the announcement from Samsung about the HW-Q990D. 

The quick list

In a hurry but need to find the best Dolby Atmos soundbar for you? Take a look at our quick list below which covers a soundbar that will suit every budget and situation. You can still check out more detailed reviews of each soundbar below. 

The best soundbars of 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The best Dolby Atmos soundbar for most people

The Samsung HW-Q800C soundbar

(Image credit: Future)
The best Dolby Atmos soundbar for most people

Specifications

Dimensions: Soundbar: 1111 x 60 x 120mm / 43.7 x 2.4 x 4.7 in ; Subwoofer: 210 x 403 x 403mm / 8.3 x 15.9 x 15.9
Speaker configuration: 5.1.2
Claimed audio power: 360W
Connections: 1x HDMI input, 1x HDMI eARC support, digital optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Phenomenal power and projection
+
Can be upgraded for full surround
+
Aggressively priced for what it offers

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K/120Hz HDMI passthrough
-
Not as musical as some rivals
-
Not the prettiest soundbar around

If you're looking for a Dolby Atmos soundbar with a powerful performance that exceeds its price tag, then the Samsung HW-Q800C is our top pick that we think will suit most people. The HW-Q800C supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, with two upfiring drivers to deliver the height channels. It also boasts support for a wide range of music files, like hi-res FLAC. You also get an HDMI passthrough system, and if you use the soundbar with a recent Samsung TV you can use Samsung's Q-Symphony tech.

During our testing we found that the Q800C delivers spectacular power and excellent channel steering for movies and TV shows. Bass is also deep, the dialog is clear, and spatial effects are convincing, even without any rear speakers.

Looks-wise it's got an industrial aesthetic. The Samsung HW-Q800C’s main soundbar component looks a lot like its