August 14, 2022

Most budget soundbars can’t support Dolby Atmos soundtracks, and those that do often struggle to convincingly recreate the cinematic bubble of sounds you’re used to in a theater. Soundbars like the VIZIO 36″ 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar, however, manage to achieve an impressive Atmos sound without screaming through your savings. We’ve tracked down the best “budget” Atmos-compatible soundbars that best straddle the line between quality and affordability.

The best cheap Dolby Atmos soundbars

(Image credit: Shootmepeter2016 / Vizio)

VIZIO 36-inch 5.1.2-Channel Soundbar

Rear discrete speakers with upward drivers

Google Assistant, Bluetooth and Chromecast support

HDMI ARC connection

Compact design slots under most TVs

No DTS:X, Alexa or AirPlay

Subwoofer and speakers wired to one another

The SB36512-F6 is the only soundbar to also justify a place on our best overall Dolby Atmos soundbars list, with specs that almost stack up against devices that cost twice as much or more. Vizio pairs a soundbar with good sound quality with a 6-inch wireless subwoofer and two discrete rear speakers with upward-facing drivers (soundbars without side speakers can only imitate its excellent surround sound). The speakers connect via wires directly to the subwoofer, so make sure you have somewhere to place them in the rear of your living room.