The Seven Best TV Antenna Amplifiers for 2022
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Just because you want to cut the cord doesn’t mean you have to go without TV altogether. People have been using TV antennas since the birth of the television, and cable is a later development than some people realize. And while many people swear by cable and its multitude of channels, it isn’t for everyone. Some people only are interested in mainstream network shows. Others have little. And others still are put off by the price and complications of cable.
So it’s time to get the rabbit ears out of the garage and hope for the best with a static screen, right? Wrong. The rabbit ears’ time has long passed, and wireless signals can provide great pictures on modern televisions with a good antenna.
Speaking of good antennas, there’s one major difference between the antennas of today and the antennas of years ago: today are much, much better. While not all of them are perfect, on average, they are much better at picking up signals from a wide range and providing you with the best possible viewing experience on your television. And given that television resolutions have gone up and more to enjoy from broadcast TV than ever, it stands to reason that the reception should improve to match.
Here’s what you need to know when considering using a TV antenna and then our top recommendations for one for 2022:
Pros and Cons of Using an Antenna for TV
If you’re still making up your mind about whether to switch to an antenna, here are a few pros and cons to consider:
- Using an antenna is cheap, especially when stacked against a monthly cable bill. While a couple of the products we mention in this article will be expensive, they aren’t needed to set yourself up at a basic level with broadcast TV. While we wouldn’t recommend most of them, you can find an antenna for $10-$20!
- You might get more channels than you think. You can expect the major broadcast channels, and it would be a huge surprise if your antenna didn’t pick them up. Yet if you have a great range and a strong antenna, there’s a lot more you can pick up locally. You might get a channel dedicated to old movies or more niche offerings not available anywhere else. Not everything on these channels is good by any means (the budget probably isn’t too high), but it will be interesting nonetheless.
- We’ll state again that antennas are much better than they were even a decade ago and that if you were disappointed or worried in the past, you have much less reason to be now. Ranges are improving for indoor and outdoor antennas, and technology will continue improving in the coming years. If you so desire, buying a replacement antenna will still be significantly cheaper than a cable subscription.
- You will obviously have limited channels compared to cable and other paid TV packages. However, if you are interested in an antenna, you likely know this. If you still need video entertainment, a streaming service or two combined with a good internet connection can often fill the gap.
- There will be no default way to record shows as they are happening; watch them later. If you want to do so, you will need to buy some extra equipment and perhaps pay a monthly fee, which is probably against the point of you buying a TV antenna. However, as mentioned, online options are usually available if you absolutely must watch a show. There aren’t one-time watch events anymore.
- It’s not nearly as bad as it used to be, but the weather and environmental conditions can affect the signal quality (or, more lately, whether you get a signal at all). It should be granted that satellite TV has many of the same concerns, though broadcast TV is the most vulnerable. Additionally, as opposed to programming at the whims of a cable company’s infrastructure, you need to worry about something happening to the broadcast infrastructure in the case of an emergency.
- It might not work perfectly everywhere. The range of your antenna matters, but if you’re in a place where there aren’t many towers, or they are too far away, you could find yourself with little to watch, even with the best antenna. And a digital signal (we’ve started using them mainly in the United States since 2008) means a pretty much all-or-nothing deal when it comes to getting a channel.
What to Consider When Buying an Antenna
An antenna can seem like a simple device, but there’s a bit more than picking one you think looks good and plugging it in.
Indoor or Outdoor Setup: You should perhaps start with these criteria. You also need to consider whether you are going to buy an outdoor antenna or an indoor antenna. If you live in a high-up apartment with no balcony or anything like, then an indoor antenna is the one for you. Indoor antennas are also much easier to set up and adjust. Outdoor antennas are, on average better for reception and have a more extensive range but can be more of a hassle to install and work with.
Single or Multi-Directional: Antennas can be meant to face one direction or get signals from multiple directions. What the right choice here is for you might depend on your intended setup and area. Can you get a good signal if you need to keep your antenna in one direction? Are there stations in opposite directions that you want to tune into? We think that multi-directional antennas are best, though they can be pricier.
VHF and/or UHF Compatibility: There are two antenna options for frequency, VHF and UHF. They stand for very high frequency and ultra-high frequency. VHF frequencies can travel farther if not interrupted, and UHF frequencies can travel with less interference from other signals.
Generally, this doesn’t matter as much as you think. Most high-end antennas made today work for UHF, and it would be made a much bigger deal if you could not get reception if you only had one or the other. Nonetheless, note it and let it be a factor if you think it will be necessary.
Size: Not everyone has a lot of space for an antenna. If you only have a small TV nook, you might have trouble finding a spot for a massive bar of an antenna. Larger antennas are generally better, but remember that your antenna will be on your property for the foreseeable future.
Price: Obviously, price matters when it comes to purchasing anything. However, when thinking about cost, don’t go too cheap with your antenna if you plan to use it often. It’s a one-time purchase (at least until you want a new antenna) that will provide hours and entertainment. This is perhaps a time you want to invest in your setup and your own experience. A difference of even $50 can be huge.
Design: It might not be the most important consideration, but how the antenna looks can matter, especially if it’s going to be in your living room or outside your house in perpetuity. A truly ugly one can ruin your aesthetic, which some people will rightfully simply not have. On average, indoor antennas look nicer than outdoor ones, which are built to last and are a bit more functional in nature. It’s up to you what will fit in your home. Alternatively, some designs are flatter and meant to be placed on a wall or hidden away. Whatever works for you, go for it. It’ll be in your home for a long time.
Range: You cannot control the range of local broadcast stations (at least, we don’t think you can). What you can control is the range your antenna will pick up from. If you want to get into the details about what you can get with each range, you can do some more research. However, we think your time is better spent thinking of the range more abstractly and just equating a broader range to generally more channels and balancing that against the other factors here.
Note that this isn’t a perfect measurement. Some stations might be on the border and get a limited signal. The placement and direction of the antenna can adjust the actual regular range of an antenna. There are more factors at play than what the box the antenna comes in says.
Amplification: If you want your antenna to work at its best, you will want to ensure it is amplified. Some antennas might have amplification equipment installed, and others might require you to buy a separate amplifier. The ones without an amplifier are cheaper and often easier to install, but you get out of your antenna what you put in. All else being equal, an amplified antenna is better.
Your Use Case: All the above can only be measured by what you want to use your antenna for and what you value most. Some people might just want the cheapest antenna possible to watch the local news. Most of these factors won’t matter then. Others want to push the limits, in which case everything matters, and this will be a more detailed process.
The 7 Best TV Antennas
So now that you know the vocabulary and what you should be looking for, let’s go over our top choices for TV Antennas. We picked out the best in seven different categories instead of an overall top seven because who would want the seventh-best option? Here are the picks:
1. Best Premium Indoor Antenna: Antop HS Smart Bar AT-500SBS
Let’s start with one of the more exciting options. If you are looking to pay a premium for one of the best antennas on the market, then you will want the Antop HS Smart BAR AT-500SBS. It provides excellent reception and has a range of 80 miles, one of the best ranges we could find for an antenna indoors or outdoors. Though it is only a bit better than other choices on this list, it still hits the premium spot for us due to its specialization, commitment to top performance, and extra features.
It can connect to two devices at once, has a built-in adjustment dial for better reception, has an integrated FM antenna, and uses a bar design that allows for either vertical or horizontal setup. A 4G LTE filter is included, and it has a multi-directional reception pattern. If there’s an antenna that can clearly provide a better signal and be more reliable, we’d like to see it.
Though the features and range can make it an instant buy for some, if you look at the antenna, you’ll notice a few things. The first is that the antenna is large and bulky, and the second is that you probably won’t be able to find a place to hide it away. And given that it is an indoor antenna, you will need to think about and plan a space for it.
As for pricing, that is premium as well. As of writing this, you can get it for $120, and we doubt you’ll be able to get it for less than $100 unless you are lucky.
We recommend that Antop HS Smart Bar AT-500SBS if:
- You want a great broadcast television experience and are willing to pay for an antenna that provides it and more.
- You have the location and total space to utilize this antenna to the fullest and intend to watch a lot of broadcast television.
- You want an excellent range from your indoor antenna.
2. Best All-Around Antenna: Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro
At first glance, the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro doesn’t look like much of an antenna. It looks kind of like a mouse pad. But we assure you that it is an antenna. Not only that, it is one of the best on the market. It has a 65-mile range from broadcast stations and is multidirectional. It uses UHF/Hi-VHF options to provide the best experience possible, and you can easily expect a 1080p resolution with this antenna. It includes amplification, though you will need to ensure it’s powered.
The antenna has a built-in amplifier to grab as many stations as possible, and it is straightforward to set up (you might want to let it sit out unfurled for a bit first, though, as it’s been rolled up in the packaging for a while). You generally mount it on a wall and let it do its thing, though there is a 16-foot cable so you can pick your spot on the wall without interfering with the décor too much. It has black and white sides, so it hopefully won’t stick out on your wall like a sore leaf. Hooks, tabs, and other installation tools made getting everything set up easier than most antennas of this quality.
While another great option would have been the MoHu ReLeaf for its price and performance, it is discontinued, and as such, we feel reluctant to recommend it given its rarity. If you get the chance to get your hands on one, however, we recommend at least taking a look.
We recommend the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro if:
- You want a slightly outside-the-box antenna design that works marvelously well to provide maximum range and picture quality.
- You are perfectly fine with or even prefer the flat design you can attach to your wall, even if it is a little large.
- You are looking for an antenna that can provide the quality of an outdoor antenna with less of the setup indoors.
3. Best Outdoor Antenna: Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna
Do you want an excellent outdoor antenna? Then you will want to look at the Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna, which stands out from the rest of the pack.
The antenna comes with a long cord, making setup much easier, and you should be able to install it in a few different types of locations outdoors to suit the needs of your home. It generally has a range of 70 miles, and it can provide a 1080p picture. It includes a low-noise amplifier to improve performance and is lightweight at about one pound.
The antenna is also good with outdoor weather, if not extreme outdoor weather. You can only do so much about the signal, but the antenna itself will be fine and good to receive another day. Though the antenna has fantastic reception, it is an outdoor antenna built to be put in an outdoor space. Some might also question the integrity of the roof mounting kit (mostly plastic), though the antenna itself is sturdy enough.
We would like to know that we were slightly torn between the Elite model and the Elite Pro Model, which has a connected app you can use, some extra features, and a little bit more performance. However, we think, given the price, the Elite is the best option for most (if not all) households looking for an outdoor antenna.
We recommend the Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna if:
- You are looking for an antenna that can take the outdoors and remain light enough to move without worrying too much (though you’ll still have to go on the roof).
- You want a fantastic range for an antenna and 1080p picture quality on top of that.
- You still have faith in the construction and stability of the device despite a few flaws and want a great outdoor antenna with a solid range.
4. Best Budget TV Antenna: Mohu Leaf Metro
On the opposite side of the scale from the ones we’ve mentioned thus far, there is the Mohu Leaf Metro. It is highly affordable (you can probably find it for under $25 if it is in stock), still receives a 1080p picture, and picks up a fair number of channels. It looks simple, it is simple, and it doesn’t have too many extra features (at least compared to the other options here). Nonetheless, it is a reliable antenna that should serve you well for some time and get you the basics you are looking for.
It also has the benefit of being a small, easy antenna to set up and store. You could probably make it something of a travel antenna if you take good care of it and don’t mind making a few adjustments with each new setup. It can easily fit in a bag, and the antenna does come with a 10-foot coaxial cable which should be enough for most users.
However, know that you are still eventually getting what you pay for, and that means that the signal might not be as consistent as you would find with other antennas. This antenna is not amplified. The range is only about 25 miles or so (a third of some of our other picks). Nearby stations you should pick up just fine, but anything in the distance or far out in the world might not be accessible.
We recommend the Mohu Leaf Metro if:
- You want to get a cheap antenna to see how well broadcast television works for you.
- You only would watch television occasionally and don’t care about getting the absolute maximum range.
- You live in a tiny apartment or dorm room and do not have the space for a large antenna but still want to get a few channels.
- You already live relatively close to broadcast towers or are in a major city, reducing the need for a high-end antenna.
5. Best Indoors/Outdoors Antenna: Antop AT-800SBSHD Smart Panel Antenna
Sometimes you aren’t exactly sure what your setup will be in the coming months; otherwise, you know you are on the move a fair bit. In these cases, you need a TV antenna that can adapt on the fly. For such situations, we recommend the Antop AT-800SBSHD Smart Panel Antenna.
This antenna has a fantastic 85-mile range (it’s hard to beat that currently), the ability to connect to two devices at once, and options to fine-tune the signal so you can work the precise correct settings for your home. The antenna also has a built-in 4G LTE filter to make the signal come in with less interference and a multi-directional reception. With the right placement and settings wherever the stations are, this antenna should be able to pick them up. For those who worry about how it looks, it has a sleek design that somewhat makes up for this large device (one of the largest home antennas we’ve seen).
Note that your eventual setup and placement of the device will affect its performance somewhat. It will try its best, but you need to consider your plans for it just as much as any other antenna. It’s just that you can easily change those plans to your living situation as needed. The good news is that it has waterproof features and a reasonably sturdy build to take what the weather dishes out.
However, note that this is an expensive piece of equipment and part of the expense goes into the outdoors functionality. And as mentioned, it bears repeating: this device is large. Tiny homes and apartments might want to find something else. If these problems are an issue, you can do better with another option on this list. Otherwise, it’s an excellent choice for most homes.
We recommend the Antop AT-800SBSHD Smart Panel Antenna if:
- You want an antenna that can adjust to your move so that you’re less likely to need another one in the long run.
- You want an all-around excellent antenna and are not as interested in the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro.
- You do not mind paying a premium for more antenna placement and setup flexibility.
6. Best Alternative Indoor/Outdoor Antenna: ClearStream MAX-V HDTV Antenna
Indoor/Outdoor antennas can be tricky to compare, but they are among the most flexible options and a great investment if you haven’t worked with an antenna before. With that in mind, we also recommend readers consider the ClearStream MAX-V HDTV Antenna. It has a range of at least 60 miles, has a bracket for wall mounting inside or outside, and receives UHF and Hi-VHF signals from both the front and back of the antenna. Wherever the towers are, you should be able to catch most, if not all, signals in range.
For what you are getting, the $70 price tag as of this writing is reasonable, and the antenna will save you time as it doesn’t require much assembly. It provides excellent OTA reception and will deliver many stations to your home.
And while aesthetics are often a matter of taste, this is a weird-looking antenna, and most people would agree with that. It would not look great in most living rooms, resembling an experimental modern art piece rather than the antennas you’re used to. Also, you may need to buy some helpful accessories for the antenna separately, boosting the cost depending on your intended setup.
We recommend the ClearStream MAX-V HSTV Antenna if:
- You like the idea of an indoor/outdoor antenna, but the Antop AT-800SBSHD did not look like the choice for you.
- You live in an area with broadcast towers in multiple directions and would like an antenna that can be set up outdoors to handle all those signals.
- You don’t mind the antenna looking rather odd or can find a good space where it will be out of the direct line of sight while still getting good reception.
7. Best Antenna with Additional Functionality: Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301
While sometimes you want specialized devices, in other cases modernizing and combining devices is the way to go. If you feel this way about your TV antenna, we recommend the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301, which comes with a built-in FM antenna for your convenience and enjoyment.
Yet just because it does double-duty doesn’t mean it slacks on either. It is amplified with an adjustable amplifier, has a range of about 70 miles, and has 1080p reception, keeping it in line with other top antennas. In terms of the design of the device itself, we find it not too bulky or obtrusive, ranging in the middle of the pack. It is certainly a device to be noticed in your home, but it wouldn’t look any more out of place than a DVR setup or a gaming console, and it’s much smaller than most of those. If you want to attach it to a wall or window, there are also options for that type of setup.
Other features include being able to connect to two devices at once, a 4G LTE filter to help prevent pixelation, and it also happens to be incredibly thin.
It is a bit on the pricier side, costing around $80-100 as of this writing, depending on the store, but for all the features involved, we think it’s an alright deal, if not an excellent one. If the FM receiver and all-around stats appeal to you, consider this. If not, consider another option listed above.
We recommend the Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 if:
- You are looking for a radio receiver on top of your TV antenna, whether for emergency purposes or recreation.
- You like to have as few devices as possible in your home and prefer a minimalist aesthetic.
- You like the idea of having an adjustable amplifier included with your antenna.
On Installing Your Antenna
Installing your antenna should be a relatively easy process, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The easiest thing to do when installing your antenna is to follow the instructions. You might need to adjust slightly based on your television.
- If you’re still uncertain, it is time to look up more instructions or aids online. Searching for the model antenna you bought will do the trick, and you can also look at the relevant product pages. You will certainly get the help that you need and get everything adjusted right in the end.
- Remember that there is an adapter for everything, though ideally, everything can get installed without an adapter.
- Take your time and be safe. While it’s generally a safe process, there could be a slight risk if you install it on a balcony or roof.
- Have a space ready for it ahead of time. It can be disorienting quickly clear out a space for the antenna while you’re in the middle of installing it.
- You may need to try out a few different spots around your home to get the perfect reception. This is normal, and you might need a few minutes. Make sure you get the reception you want before you screw anything into the roof or wall.
Antennas won’t be for everyone, and that’s ok. Similarly, not every antenna listed here will be a good fit for your household. You need to consider your needs and budget and pick out a couple of top recommendations to look further into. Though we promise that you will not regret it if you put in the time. We hope you find the perfect antenna quickly and invite you to bookmark and return to this page as you need to.