Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2022: huge audio upgrades for all budgets

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
best Dolby Atmos soundbar against a TechRadar background
(Image credit: Future)

The best Dolby Atmos soundbars allow you to hear your favorite movies and TV shows in a way that’s more immersive and natural. 

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound audio format. Each sound is recorded as an individual object – someone screaming, a dog barking, a helicopter overhead. It also supports height channels. What this means is that those individual objects can be engineered to sound like they’re coming from all around you and above you as you watch a movie.

This means 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.

It’s worth considering one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars if you love the home theater experience when you’re watching your favorite TV shows and movies. Most of the major audio brands are creating soundbars with Dolby Atmos built-in these days, including LG, Samsung, Sonos, Sony and more. Like all soundbars, they come in a range of varying sizes and styles with different features – though be warned that Dolby Atmos soundbars tend to lean towards the large, because doing all this advanced 3D sound wizardry well requires lots of speakers.

Of course, not all new soundbars are Dolby Atmos soundbars. But upgrading your TV with a soundbar is an excellent idea, whether you choose a Dolby Atmos soundbar or not. That’s because, despite the fact TV tech has evolved a lot over the years, the built-in speakers are often lacking. Take a look at our best soundbars guide, which includes both Dolby Atmos soundbars and a few budget options without. 

EDITOR'S NOTE November 2022

The Samsung HW-Q930B remains at the top of our best Dolby Atmos soundbars guide because this device is best-suited for most people with its powerful sound and expansive channel count, all for under £1,000/$1,000. We also highly rate the Sony HT-G700 for a more affordable option that packs a punch and pairs well with bigger TVs.

There's never been a better time to look for a new soundbar. Sales season is fast approaching, which means the best Black Friday deals are already rolling in. We can never say with certainty which devices will be reduced, but we're hoping several of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars in this guide will get decent reductions ahead of the big day on November 25.

Matt Bolton, Senior Editor, TV & Audio

Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2022: the list

The Samsung HW-Q930B soundbar pictured on a wooden table.

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

Specifications

Dimensions: 1110.7 x 60.4 x 120.0 mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 9.1.4
Claimed audio power: N/A
Connections: HDMI input (eARC), optical in, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Most immersive sub-£1k Dolby Atmos soundbar 
+
Powerful but nuanced and balanced sound
+
Expansive channel count

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive by general soundbar standards
-
Not great with music

Samsung creates excellent soundbars, including expensive models and more affordable, mid-range devices, like the Samsung HW-Q930B.

This soundbar represents a change to the tech company’s approach to Dolby Atmos. Up until now, only Samsung’s flagship soundbars give you more than the main soundbar and a subwoofer. The HW-Q930B gives you both of those and two rear speakers. 

It delivers an impressive 9.1.4 audio channel count that’s only two channels down on the Q990B’s class-leading 11.1.4 configuration, making it the best Dolby Atmos soundbar in our opinion, especially for its price.

During our testing, we were thoroughly impressed by the HDMI passthrough with support for both of the Dolby Vision and HDR10+ HDR formats, and playback of both of the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound formats that currently represent the best the film and music worlds have to offer.

We found that the sound on offer here is truly in a different class to its two-piece Samsung soundbar predecessors. Now it has good quality rears, we found the sound is be truly immersive, it’s no longer locked to the front of the room only. 

In our experience, no similarly-priced soundbar we’ve heard to date rivals the Samsung HW-Q930B soundbar. Or combines such an immersive surround sound experience with so much raw power. To beat it, you’d have to pay much more money. But if you do want better performance and you’re willing to part with more cash, check out the stellar Samsung HW-Q990B further down in our list below. 

Read our full Samsung HW-Q930B review

The Sony HT-G700 soundbar pictured in living room below a TV on a wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Sony)
The best affordable Dolby Atmos soundbar with a subwoofer

Specifications

Dimensions: Soundbar: 980 x 64 x 108mm (W x H x D); Subwoofer: 192 x 387 x 406 mm
Speaker configuration: 3.1
Claimed audio power: 400W
Connections: HDMI eARC x 1, HDMI input x 1, optical digital x 1, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Impressively wide and tall sound
+
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
+
4K HDR HDMI passthrough

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't manage true height
-
Not as dynamic as higher priced options

We think the Sony HT-G700 hits an excellent sweet spot for features, price and the scale of its sound. It's a Dolby Atmos soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo in one, and it’s a good size for TVs that are 48 inches and bigger.

As we've come to expect from Sony devices, there's more to this soundbar than just stereo, as good as that is. For it to make this list, it obviously supports both the Dolby Atmos surround sound format, as well as DTS:X. Sony uses its excellent sound processing and acoustic wizardry to create a wall of sound we were truly blown away by. It stretches way beyond the limits of your TV screen, but with convincing positioning and direction of specific sounds. Admittedly, we don’t think it’s as good sound-wise as the Sonos Arc in the guide below, but it's definitely up there.

Sony hasn't forgotten about the basics, though. The subwoofer gives it depth in bass that something like the Sonos Arc can't match on its own, and we found speech to be really clear even in busy action soundtracks — that's without the speech-boosting mode turned on.

Downsides? There aren't any dedicated upfiring channels here, so we found the Atmos performance a little lacking at times compared to our Sony AV amp with its dedicated Atmos speakers. And if we're being really picky we'd say that it's also slightly less dynamic for sudden explosions and swelling soundtracks than the likes of the Sonos Arc or Samsung HW-Q800A — but it's a lot cheaper than either. So for the price, it's the most cinematic experience you can get.

Read our full Sony HT-G700 review

Sonos Arc placed under a TV on a cabinet.

(Image credit: Sonos)
The best Dolby Atmos soundbar for Sonos fans

Specifications

Dimensions: 1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 5.0.2
Claimed audio power: N/A
Connections: HDMI input (ARC), optical digital audio to HDMI converter, Bluetooth, Ethernet port, 802.11b,g Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver

Reasons to buy

+
Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus
+
Discrete all-in-one soundbar
+
Amazing surround sound and music playback

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs TV of 55 inches or bigger
-
No HDMI passthrough

Sonos has managed to cram an entire surround sound solution into its Arc soundbar. 

The Sonos Arc draws on Dolby’s latest TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to deliver the best quality lossless audio found on cutting edge Blu-ray disks and some of the leading streaming services. We were truly impressed with how it uses Dolby Atmos to enhance the 3D soundscape, which is really delivered on — sounds really do come at you from all angles.. We thought the effect was pretty convincing in our tests, and while it's not as immersive as overhead speakers mounted on your ceiling it's a lot easier to install. 

We also liked the simple setup on offer from Sonos here, which involved just a couple of steps on the smartphone app, and as you'd expect it's easy to hook it up to other Sonos speakers. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to this no-fuss feeling and streamlined aesthetic – making it the best Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy in 2022.

No, it isn't cheap. The Samsung HW-Q930B soundbar at the top of our list is a better and capable option if you need to save cash. But if you're already a fan of Sonos then we think you're going to love the way this soundbar delivers really impressive surround sound. 

Read our full Sonos Arc review

The Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar units pictured on a grey rug in a living room

(Image credit: Future)
The best soundbar for high-end Dolby Atmos immersion

Specifications

Dimensions: Main soundbar 1232 x 69.5 x 138 mm / Subwoofer 220 x 413 x 410 mm / Rear speaker 129.5 x 201.3 x 140.4 mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 11.1.4
Claimed audio power: Not listed
Connections: 1x HDMI eARC, 2x HDMI input, 1x optical digital, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+
Astounding Dolby Atmos positioning
+
Great connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
HDMI passthrough isn't 4K 120Hz
-
Music isn't as strong as movies

The Samsung HW-Q990B is the high-end Dolby Atmos soundbar system from Samsung's 2022 range, and it's essentially the upgraded version of the Samsung HW-Q950A in the guide above — which should suit you if you’re looking for a cheaper soundbar. Like the HW-Q950A, it delivers 11.1.4 channels of audio that it directs around and above you, delivered from a combination of soundbar, subwoofer and two wireless rear speaker units.

There are some significant refinements from the previous model. We found that the new 'acoustic lens' on the subwoofer diffuses the sound better around the room. What’s more, the rear speakers have been redesigned to better help the precision of the upfiring drivers, there's now 'Space Fit' automatic room compensation to help maintain detail in the sound as it reflects around, and the sound has generally been tweaked and re-engineered.

And the result is that, in the words of our review, "the Q990B creates the most fully rounded and immersive surround sound experience we’ve ever heard from even the best Dolby Atmos soundbars." The way it steers parts of a movie around and right above you is unparalleled. It's so really big and fulsome in its sound, without being overly heavy – it's a heavy sledgehammer and a deft fountain pen, depending on the need.

Read our full Samsung HW-Q990B review 

The Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar resting on a TV cabinet in a home theater setup

(Image credit: Future)
The best Dolby Atmos soundbar for mid-range cinematic thrills

Specifications

Dimensions: Main soundbar 980 x 60 x 115mm / Subwoofer 403 x 210 x 403mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 3.1.2
Claimed audio power: 330W
Connections: HDMI input and output with eARC, optical digital audio input, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful, immersive, room-filling sound
+
Excellent bass support from the subwoofer

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features only available with newer Samsung TVs

If you want a Dolby Atmos soundbar but don’t have space for any rear speakers or a big budget, then the Samsung Q800A is a superb way to get Dolby Atmos sound in your home that you can really feel without putting a big dent in your wallet. It's not too big either — we'd recommend you can use it with TVs that are 48 inches and up.

One of the reasons we like this soundbar so much is because it has actual upfiring drivers. That means it can deliver more convincing Dolby Atmos height than soundbars without upfiring speakers, and we found that the horizontal sound stage was nice and wide too. Add in some impressively meaty bass and you've got the ideal home entertainment experience without having to fill your room with hardware.

There are some useful tricks for new Samsung TV owners on offer here too: you can combine it with the sound optimization features of the new Q70A or higher Samsung TVs, enabling you to get an even bigger and clearer sound. 

Don't worry if you don't have those TVs, though: we think the Q800A soundbar is more than good enough to stand on its own.  It provides you with room-filling sound that's wonderfully immersive. It's precise, powerful, and dynamic enough to ensure that you feel the full weight of every one of its available 3.1.2 channels. As an added bonus, you can add wireless rear speakers later if you're ready to upgrade.

Read our full Samsung HW-Q800A review

LG S95QR soundbar in living room

(Image credit: LG)
LG’s flagship soundbar is its most immersive yet

Specifications

Dimensions: Main speaker 1200 x 63 x 135mm
Speakers: 9.1.5
Claimed audio power: 810W
Connections: Optical, 2x HDMI out, 1x HDMI in, USB, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+
Delivers a true surround sound experience
+
Extremely powerful and dynamic sound
+
Appealing design

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K 120Hz or HDR10+ passthrough
-
Dialogue occasionally sounds over-exposed
-
The soundstage can sometimes feel distant

The LG S95QR stretches the definition of a soundbar by including four separate speaker units and delivering a channel count that would embarrass most separates-based systems. With 810W of output power and an unusual 9.1.5 channel configuration – there's an up-firing centre speaker as well as the expected surround ones – it's designed to deliver the clearest possible dialogue without sacrificing surround performance or that all-important low-end thump. It's been designed in conjunction with high-end speaker maker Meridian, and includes a special Meridian music mode that reconfigures stereo music to take advantage of more of the S95QR’s channels.

This is without a doubt LG's best-sounding soundbar to date, with phenomenal power, huge dynamic range and an impressively realistic soundstage. It's up there with the very best Dolby Atmos soundbars available today, and it's as good with music as it is with movies.

The only real negative here is the price, which is considerably more than the similar Samsung HW-Q930B. But it's a powerful, compelling and convincing soundbar that's a particularly good match for one of the best LG TVs.

Read our full LG S95QR review

The Sonos Beam gen 2 soundbar in white on a wooden TV stand

(Image credit: Sonos)
The best small soundbar with Dolby Atmos for compact rooms

Specifications

Dimensions: 69 x 651 x 100mm
Speaker configuration: 3.1.2
Claimed audio power: N/A
Connections: HDMI input (ARC), optical digital audio to HDMI converter, Bluetooth, Ethernet port, 802.11b,g Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver

Reasons to buy

+
Wide soundstage with Dolby Atmos
+
HDMI eARC support
+
Hi-res audio compatibility

Reasons to avoid

-
No upfiring drivers
-
No HDMI passthrough

If you're tight on space, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is the best compact Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy. Its small size means it will easily slot beneath your TV, whether you pop it on a TV stand or mount it to your wall, and a sleek design means it won't look out of place with your decor. It's compact enough to work with 32-inch TVs (just about), but it's a perfect fit with 40-inch TVs up to 50-inch TVs.

During our testing, we found that it certainly improves on the company’s original Sonos Beam soundbar with virtual Dolby Atmos, HDMI eARC compatibility, and a refreshed design. 

We were disappointed that it doesn't have the upfiring tweeters necessary for 'true' Dolby Atmos (and as a result, we found the sonic height isn't as impressive as the Sonos Arc), the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) boasts a wide soundstage and an immersive audio performance. But it's very detailed, impressively dynamic for switching between loud and quiet suddenly, and is just as good with music as it is with movies.

In fact, you can stream music to it over Wi-Fi (AirPlay 2 or Sonos' own wireless system), and it works as a smart speaker – it has Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant built in (you can choose which).

Of course, if you have the cash and the space, the Sonos Arc soundbar in the list above will give you a superior experience. But for a compact soundbar that does the basics well, we’d recommend the 2nd generation Sonos Beam.

Read our full Sonos Beam (Gen 2) review

The panorama 3 soundbar pictured beneath a tv on a shelf

(Image credit: TechRadar)
An excellent rival for the Sonos Arc

Specifications

Dimensions: 65 x 1210 x 140mm
Speaker configuration: 3.1.2
Claimed audio power: 400W
Connections: 1 x HDMI eARC 1 x Digital Audio In (Toslink) 1 x RJ45 Ethernet 1 x USB-C (service connection only)

Reasons to buy

+
Precise and engrossing sound with movies
+
Genuinely adept with music
+
Nice selection of control options

Reasons to avoid

-
Dolby Atmos could be more effective

If you're looking for a convincing alternative to the Sonos Arc at a similar price, the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 soundbar is a great choice to bring Dolby Atmos into your home. 

This sleek-looking soundbar was a joy to test, offering 3.1.2-channels of cinematic sound, Dolby Atmos support, and lots of control options, including a touch-sensitive panel on the bar itself. 

During our review of the soundbar, we found it to be engrossing, punchy and dynamic without sacrificing the natural and coherent sound Bowers is known for. The soundstage is wide and spacious, although we felt the Dolby Atmos feature could have been more convincing. What we mean by that is we didn't get the same sense of height that you'd get with other high-end soundbars, like the Samsung HW-Q990B soundbar, for example, or a pair of overhead speakers. 

Still, the Atmos performance does make the sound more three-dimensional and the soundbar sounds just as good for music as it does for movies. With Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth (with aptX Adaptive), you've got plenty of connectivity options, too. Unfortunately there's no HDMI passthrough, but that's a small bugbear for a soundbar that's otherwise so feature-rich.

You'll be able to hook the Panorama 3 up to a multiroom system with Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, Formation, or other Panorama speakers — but this feature came with a software update, so we weren't able to test that particular feature for ourselves. 

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 review

the devialet dione dolby atmos soundbar pictured beneath a tv in a white room

(Image credit: Devialet)
The best Dolby Atmos soundbar for home theater sound in one box

Specifications

Dimensions: 1200 x 77 x 165mm (w x h x d)
Speaker configuration: 5.1.2
Claimed power: 950W
Connectivity: 1x HDMI eARC, optical digital, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+
Bass like a subwoofer without a subwoofer
+
Excellent Dolby Atmos positional sound
+
Wonderful with music as well

Reasons to avoid

-
No option for rear speakers
-
No HDMI passthrough

The Devialet Dione might be the ultimate single-unit soundbar. You get excellent, Dolby Atmos sound but with no subwoofer and no rear speakers, just plug it in and go. 

The reason for that is Devialet has packed eight(!) woofer drivers in this soundbar to create bass as full and deep as a subwoofer can manage, and it really works. It means the soundbar is a beast, but it's only as wide and tall as something like the Sonos Arc — it’s actually a little shorter than the Arc — so as long as the depth isn't a problem, it'll still fit in most rooms. 

It's got a clever spherical center speaker enclosure too, which enables this driver to rotate, so that it always faces you no matter whether you have it flat on the TV table, or wall mounted in an upright position.

After testing it, we said that it produces "a massive but also beautifully constructed and balanced soundstage underpinned by arguably the finest bass performance we’ve heard from a soundbar that doesn’t deploy an external subwoofer." Its ability to position treble sound at exact points in space, while underpinning it all with directionless (as it should be) low-end is just astounding.

It's not perfect. We thought it was a shame that you can't add any rear speakers for genuine surround sound if you’d like to, since it can't really recreate that. It’s also frustrating for something so expensive to not offer HDMI passthrough. But when it comes to sound alone, this is as premium as it gets.

Read our full Devialet Dione review

Philips TAB8905 soundbar on TV stand

(Image credit: Future)
Superb Dolby Atmos sound for a low, low price

Specifications

Dimensions: Main speaker 1120 x 64 x 113, sub 230 x 400 x 407
Speakers: 3.1.2
Claimed output power: 600W
Connections: HDMI eARC, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, optical-in

Reasons to buy

+
Precise and strong Dolby Atmos positioning effects
+
Great speech clarity out of the box
+
Two HDMI passthrough ports, plus Wi-Fi
+
Excellent value after a price drop

Reasons to avoid

-
Bass stands out from the overall sound
-
Lower-mid range is a little soft
-
Slightly confusing menus

The Philips B8905 (which can also be found with the model number TAB8905) is a big Dolby Atmos soundbar that launched with a similar price to Dolby Atmos bars from the likes of Sonos and Samsung. It was impressive enough then, but a huge manufacturer price cut means it's now in the same price bracket as more mid-range soundbars, many of which it punches way above.

The Philips is best suited to TVs of 55 inches and up, and it delivers up to 600W across its 3.1.2 speaker channels. It's up there with much more expensive soundbars when it comes to Dolby Atmos audio: it's the strongest implementation of this we've heard from a mid-priced soundbar. Speech clarity is excellent too, which is always vital for a TV speaker. Two HDMI passthrough ports, Wi-Fi streaming and Bluetooth too add to the considerable appeal.

It's not perfect, though. The sub feels as if it isn't quite integrated with the rest of the audio, and as a result it makes its presence felt a bit too much sometimes – and while you can dial it back a bit with the remote, that demonstrates how fiddly and confusing the remote menus can be.

Despite these flaws, the Philips is a very impressive soundbar system with superb Dolby Atmos that's as good as many much more expensive models. If you're looking for a big soundbar with a big sound and a relatively small price, it's well worth considering.

Read our full Philips B8905 review

The denon Home soundbar 550 in a living room below a TV on a wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Denon)
The best smaller soundbar for big, bold Dolby Atmos sound

Specifications

Dimensions: 650 x 75 x 120mm
Speaker configuration: 4.0
Claimed audio power: N/A
Connections: 4K HDMI (1 X in / 1 x out with eARC), 1 x digital optical, USB port, 3.55mm aux input

Reasons to buy

+
Well specified and flexible
+
Poised, large-scale sound (at reasonable volumes)
+
Nicely made and finished

Reasons to avoid

-
Becomes socially aggressive at higher volumes
-
Dolby Atmos effect is lacking

There are many big, expensive Dolby Atmos soundbars to choose from, and plenty inexpensive, smaller soundbars for upgrading your TV. The Denon Home Sound Bar 550 sits somewhere in the middle, bringing you Dolby Atmos-style audio thrills in a smaller form factor.

It’s a compact, well-specified soundbar whose looks are quite understated but we found that its sound is anything but. Offering plenty of connectivity options, great audio (including hi-res audio ability and some processing wizardry to deliver a sense of spatial audio) and a genuine facility as a music speaker.

We found the sound the Denon serves up to be tall and quite wide, which makes for an engrossing and entertaining listen. However, we also found that this isn't a soundbar that wants to go too loud: turn it up too much and things quickly get out of hand, with the Home 550 baring its teeth and becoming overly aggressive. 

It's not the best Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy, the immersive effects are solid but not stellar. But for a small soundbar it delivers big on sound and features.

Read our full Denon Home Sound Bar 550 review

the sony ht-a7000 soundbar below a TV in a grey living room

(Image credit: Sony)
The best high-end Dolby Atmos soundbar from Sony

Specifications

Speaker configuration: 7.1.2
Claimed audio power: 500W
Connections: HDMI eARC / ARC, Optical In, USB, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+
Supremely clear dialogue
+
Two HDMI 2.1 ports
+
Atmos, DTS: X and 360 Reality Audio

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited height channels

The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar may have a massive sticker price, but it promises a long shelf life thanks to its two HDMI 2.1 ports and support for all of the major spatial audio formats.

At this price we wish it came with the surround and subwoofer units, but those with incredibly deep pockets can tack those on for a few hundred more later down the line.

What helps make the price tag here feel a little more justified is the fact that the HT-A7000 comes with upfiring drivers. What that means is it delivers true and impressive Dolby Atmos, although we did feel the height channels could be a little more convincing during our testing. 

In terms of musicality, though, the HT-A7000 is a very talented soundbar, with excellent stereo imaging and a really room-filling sound — especially if you take advantage of its support for Sony's 360 Reality Audio.

Connectivity is very good, too. The soundbar supports HDMI, of course, but it also has 3.5mm auxiliary, Bluetooth audio, USB devices, Spotify, Chromecast, Amazon Alexa and 360 Reality Audio via Deezer, Tidal and Amazon Music. That's a very wide selection of sources, giving you lots of flexibility in terms of what you want to connect. 

Read our full Sony HT-A7000 Dolby Atmos soundbar review

Dolby Atmos soundbars FAQ

How to choose the best Dolby Atmos soundbar

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If you love the slim aesthetic of your new 4K TV, we can bet it doesn’t have the audio needed to match the visuals. That means picking the best soundbar to go with your TV is your best option to get the most out of your favorite TV shows and films. But how do you choose the best Dolby Atmos soundbar for you? 

The first consideration is where it'll go. Most of the soundbars in this guide are sleek, minimal and designed to sit flush against a wall or home cinema set-up. You'll need to pick out a space for it and ensure it'll fit. With that in mind, you'll need to consider a soundbar that'll pair well with your TV. 

For example, the long Sonos Arc soundbar is designed specifically for large screens, so won’t look right with a smaller 50-inch TV. You’ll need to know the size of your current TV and the size of the space you have to fit it and compare those figures to the dimensions listed alongside the soundbar you want to buy.

You should also think about the kind of connection you need. Most modern soundbars have HDMI connectivity, but there's also optical connectivity—so what's the difference? These are two ways that audio is passed from your TV to your soundbar, but HDMI passes high-resolution audio, including Dolby Atmos. If you want a premium, immersive listening experience you’ll want to be sure you have an HDMI connection to use from your soundbar and an HDMI ARC (that's audio return channel) port on your TV for it to connect to.

If you're looking for an alternative solution to a soundbar, check out the Sony HT-A9 Home Theater System. It comprises four speakers that communicate with each other wirelessly via a tiny box that's slightly larger than an Apple TV, working together to create a further 12 "phantom" Dolby Atmos speakers. 

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you should also take a look at our guide to the best AirPlay speakers. These allow you to stream music directly from your devices to your speaker. That means room-filling sound from your phone without the need for a more complex entertainment set-up. Some are small and portable, but plenty of soundbars come with AirPlay integration baked in too. 

Soundbar FAQs

Are Dolby Atmos soundbars worth it?

If you want the most immersive soundbar experience, then they absolutely are – mostly at the the more premium end of things, though. They're designed to create spatial audio with 3D effects, which means speakers that have lots of angled drivers and advanced processing make the most of them. It's nice for cheap soundbars to be able to access the audio quality of Atmos, but it's much less essential because they won't create the same kind of 'dome of sound' effect.

What are the key features of a Dolby Atmos soundbar?

Any Dolby Atmos soundbar has to use HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC to get sound from your TV – this is the only way to transmit Atmos sound between the two. Otherwise, the most effective Atmos soundbars will have upfiring drivers – that means two (or more) speakers pointing upwards, as well as  speakers facing forward. One of the big features of Dolby Atmos is that it can add height as well as surround sound, and upfiring drivers are the best way to create this from a soundbar. Some Dolby Atmos soundbars don't have upfiring drivers, but use clever digital processing to add height to the audio… but it's never as fully effective as having real upfiring drivers.

How we test

How we tested the best Dolby Atmos soundbars

We've reviewed hundreds of audio devices over the years and plenty of the best soundbars and best Dolby Atmos soundbars. This means we know what to look for in a soundbar, the level of audio performance to expect and how specs stack up.

However, there are a few key things we consider when we're testing Dolby Atmos soundbars. The first is, as you might expect, sound. Does the speaker deliver on its audio promises? And does it knock our socks off with a performance that sounds like immersive Dolby Atmos? We spend time comparing what a tech company says a soundbar can do with our own experiences playing, and listening to, a range of content. 

Design is also important. We compare how a soundbar looks to others we've tested in the past, assessing whether it's likely to appeal to people and fit well under, or beside, their TV. We also know that user experience design is just as important as aesthetics. We paid close attention to the set-up process, too. Although we're pros when it comes to setting up audio tech these days, we want to be sure we're recommending devices that anyone can get up-and-running out of the box.

We also consider any smart or additional features that could be a nice-to-have and make you choose one device over another. Ultimately, we picked the soundbars above because we wanted to showcase the best Dolby Atmos tech has to offer, as well as the best value soundbars for your home.