The 10 Best Cell Phone Signal Boosters
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in May of 2015. If you live in an area that suffers from weak or poor-quality cellular reception, a signal booster might be the answer to your problems. Also called repeaters, they amplify your existing connection, giving you more bars, fewer dropped calls, and a longer battery life for your devices. The following list can help you select the right one for your space, usage, and carrier. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 16, 2020:
Whether the area where you live has limited cell coverage or you're frequently on the road, it can be difficult and frustrating to maintain a reliable signal. For the sake of safety, productivity, and overall sanity, a tool like a cell phone signal booster can come in handy.
Significant advances continue to be made in the technology used in these devices, prompting us to update our list to reflect the latest options on the market. In some cases, brands have simply come out with better models. For instance, the SolidRF 4G was replaced by the SolidRF Multiroom due to improved coverage and more powerful performance at a relatively similar price point.
Another consideration was the longevity of the value presented by the device. While 5G service may not be available in all areas as of yet, the fact that products like the weBoost Drive 4G and weBoost Home Multiroom are prepared to operate at that level make them attractive options.
In some instances, products with lesser-known brand names like the Phonelex Booster and Obdator Booster, despite boasting some impressive specifications and pricing, simply did not have enough market exposure and evidence of performance for us to confidently recommend them as options. As time has gone on, those issues have been resolved.
Where and how you intend to use a signal booster may influence which one is best suited for your needs. For instance, the weBoost Drive 4G makes a lot of sense for truckers, but a family of four with kids constantly streaming on their phones might do better with something like the Phonelex Booster. The SureCall Flare might be appealing for the fashion-focused apartment dweller, but won't do much good in a large office building. A company with multiple floors and a huge workforce might benefit from the HiBoost Smart Link, but a small accountant's place of business may only need the power of the SureCall Fusion4Home. And while someone living in a more rural location might be able to justify the cost of the powerful Cel-Fi Go X, most city dwellers don't need that kind of reach.
It's worth noting that different boosters work with different networks. While most of the picks on this list work with all major North American service providers, the weBoost Drive 4G, for example, won't do you much good in Canada. It's crucial to check the product specifications and with your carrier before making a purchase.
Finally, it's important to remember that sometimes there is no booster on the planet that's going to be able to help you. If you live in an extremely remote area or like to do a lot of backpacking, your best and safest bet may be to look into a satellite phone for reliable communication.
February 03, 2019:
There are a few different reasons why you might have poor signal; maybe you live in a rural area, or you spend a lot of time traveling through one. Some locations' geography, like hills and mountains, can drastically affect signal strength. Maybe your provider of choice doesn't have any towers nearby; in fact, even being too close to multiple towers at once can cause static-inducing interference. SureCall makes a variety of excellent products, and their Fusion4Home is a good all-around performer, at quite a reasonable price. Larger homes, and mid-size offices, should consider the WeBoost Connect, while offers a specialized unit that's ideal for large commercial and industrial operations. Of particular note is the Cel-Fi Go X, which takes advantage of a carrier-specific focus to provide a stronger link than is legally allowed by all-provider models. For that reason, it's one of the most powerful, and it's most useful in corporate-driven situations where everyone in the building shares the same provider. The Smart Link comes in three models, with distinct maximum coverage areas, for businesses of various sizes. The Fusion2Go, SolidRF, and Flare are decent low-cost solutions, and travelers will appreciate the WeBoost Drive Sleek, which is compact and omnidirectional, and works great in cars, trucks, RVs, and even boats (though, not on the high seas).
Ubiquiti AirMax Omni Antenna If you're in a location where boosters may still not be strong enough to reach a cell tower, radio communication is often a dependable alternative to provide safety through reliable contact with necessary parties. The Ubiquiti AirMax Omni Antenna can amplify the signal on your radio to help make sure you can always reach outside stations when needed. cdw.com
Can You Hear Me Now?
The signal amplifier takes the signal pulled from the external antenna and amplifies it.
Cell phone signal boosters, also known as cellular repeaters, are a relatively new enhancement to cell phone technology. Before you purchase a cell phone signal booster there are many factors to take into account. The hardware of the booster itself, the area needing coverage, and the cell phone carrier should all be considered before you grab any old one off the shelf.
Before we continue, let's slay this myth right now: a cell phone signal booster can only amplify the existing signal. It cannot create a signal, only boost a weaker one. So before you show up to the Nevada desert thinking you'll finally get those emails handled, I must let you know that you have been warned.
A cell phone signal booster is exactly that, a piece of hardware designed to boost your cell phone signal. The booster consists of three components: an external antenna, a signal amplifier, and an internal antenna. There is a cable, as well, that connects these pieces together.
An external antenna is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle. It is designed to pull the signal from the nearest cell phone tower that your carrier supports. I'm afraid a booster won't help a T-Mobile customer latch onto one of Verizon's coveted towers.
The signal amplifier takes the signal pulled from the external antenna and amplifies it. The amplification is measured in decibels (dB), and every increase in 3 dB is technically doubling in its strength. Hence, 6 dB is twice as strong as 3 dB. The strength of the amplification depends on the signal amplifier and the signal that the external antenna was able to pick up from the cell phone tower.
The last step is the internal antenna which now re-broadcasts the new and amplified signal. At this point, your cell phone will recognize this stronger signal, resulting in fewer dropped calls, faster-loading data, etc. This will be reflected in the bars on your cell phone. Usually, each bar signifies five to ten times the amount of signal strength.
Do not forget the cable. As a general rule, you want the shortest, highest quality cable you can get. A subpar cable can and will affect your signal.
Good! Why Do I Need a Cell Phone Signal Booster?
Simply put, if your signal isn't strong enough your calls will drop frequently. Why is that happening? The first reason is that your phone is too far away from a cell phone tower. Secondly, there are obstructions in your path. An obstruction can be a tree, hill, mountain, or basically anything that comes in contact with the signal on its path from the cell phone tower to your cell phone.
These will obviously be the most affordable options operating within a limited range.
Can I boost the signal without a cell phone signal booster? I'm afraid your only option is to get a booster if you plan to remain in the same location, unless you are in transit. Cars, RVs, and even boats can have boosters, though given the fast locomotion of these vehicles, the external antenna is not as precise.
First, determine the size of coverage. Some boosters are designed for small areas such as only one or two rooms. These will obviously be the most affordable options operating within a limited range. I recommend getting a signal booster that covers at least 10 percent more of the coverage area. This will ensure a safe margin.
Other cell phone signal boosters are designed for households, covering entire properties, and the ultimate booster can cover commercial properties such as work buildings or large, outdoor, wooded areas.
There are two types of external antennas: omni and yagi. The omni is an all-directional antenna, picking up equal strength in every direction. The yagi is pointed in one direction, much like a shotgun. If you know the tower is south of your location, the yagi antenna can point south for a more powerful signal receptor.
There are also two types of internal antennas: panel and dome. Panel antennas can operate and boost the new signal through multiple floors and they usually point in one direction. Dome antennas perch on a ceiling and give equal strength on all below them. They are not ideal for operating on multiple floors.
A Brief History of Cell Phone Signal Boosters
As previously mentioned, boosters are relatively new. The FCC officially endorsed cell phone signal boosters in 2013, deeming them helpful for areas lacking strong cell phone signals.
Almost all major cell phone carriers have compatible cell phone signal boosters, though they have not made it easy.
The first boosters focused on 2G and 3G networks, but obviously with the age of the internet, 4G LTE networks are today's standard. However, 2G and 3G networks are still supported.
Almost all major cell phone carriers have compatible cell phone signal boosters, though they have not made it easy. Confirm with your cell phone provider; they might change signal frequencies of their cell phones.
This industry is constantly changing. Make sure your cell phone is compatible with the booster and double check if a booster is even needed at all. Perhaps a new cell phone tower has risen close to you recently and eliminated the need. Overall, we are headed towards global coverage, and years from now, cell phone signal boosters may be a thing of the past.