The 10 Best TV Antennas

Updated March 26, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best TV Antennas
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Cutting the cord has never been more popular, thanks in part to the incredible quality of modern over-the-air television broadcasts. After all, why should you pay $100 every month for channels that are already being beamed to your home at no charge? Simply pick up one of these antennas, and your digital TV will have access to potentially dozens of channels at high-definition resolutions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best tv antenna on Amazon.

10. Mohu Curve 50

The Mohu Curve 50 is an elegant way to bring 1080p over-the-air entertainment into your home. It's very light, and you can mount it flat on a wall or on the included stand. You won't have to worry about which way it's facing thanks to its omnidirectional technology.
  • 4k-ready for the future of broadcast
  • not great for wooded areas
  • costs a lot for such a simple unit
Brand Mohu
Model MH-110567
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. GE Attic Mount

The GE Attic Mount is specifically designed for installation in the crawlspace above your home. It's powerful enough to bring full-HD shows to your living room even without a powered amplifier. It'll even be ready when broadcasters introduce free 4K channels in the future.
  • light in weight and on the wallet
  • full assembly required
  • not intended for outdoor use
Brand GE
Model 33692
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Mohu Leaf 30

The popular Mohu Leaf 30 is an unamplified model that mounts to a wall or any flat surface near your TV. It's a good choice for people who are in major markets and near powerful transmitters. You can even paint this one to match your decor without hurting its performance.
  • no specific pointing required
  • one of the least expensive choices
  • doesn't fulfill its 30-mile promise
Brand Mohu
Model MH-110583
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Antop UFO

If you live and watch TV on the road, the Antop UFO might be the choice for you. Its waterproof, UV-resistant, and aerodynamic body make it perfect for campers and RVs. You can switch the amplifier on or off to access regional or local channels anywhere you go.
  • filters out 4g lte interference
  • no pointing required
  • compact and easy to install
Model AT-414B
Weight 21 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Free Signal Marathon

The Free Signal Marathon is a powerful unit that offers plenty of local and regional channels thanks in part to its industry-leading 40 dBi gain. While it is heavier than standard metal units, it's a very effective way for suburban or rural households to cut the cord.
  • works best in the attic
  • pristine picture clarity
  • relatively expensive
Brand Free Signal TV
Model CA-2600
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Channel Master CM-4228HD

The Channel Master CM-4228HD is an outdoor unit that gets great reception from transmitters in the UHF to high-VHF bands. It's a bit of a monstrosity, but it doesn't actually weigh very much, and it's a great value for the money.
  • impressive 80-mile range
  • higher gain than most options
  • not a very attractive design
Brand Channel Master
Model CM-4228HD
Weight 11.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. 1byone Super Thin

The transparent 1byone Super Thin is intended to adhere directly to a window, avoiding the interference from the drywall, pipes, and wiring inside your walls. It's multidirectional, so it gets the same great picture no matter which way your house faces.
  • very budget-friendly
  • removable amplifier adds distance
  • extra-long 20-ft coax cable
Brand 1byone
Model OUS00-0568
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Antop Paper Thin

The Antop Paper Thin is a versatile choice for anyone on a slim budget. It contains the brand's signature Smartpass amplifier that switches on or off to focus on channels far away or close to you. There's also an integrated 3G/4G filter that helps reduce interference.
  • very lightweight and easy to mount
  • robinson-projection world map design
  • incredible value for the money
Model AT-122B
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. RCA Yagi

The RCA Yagi is a whole-house antenna designed for attic or outdoor installation. It's particularly good at receiving distant stations, ideal for those who live far from the city center. In the right situations it can even pick up channels from the next town over.
  • hardware and transformer included
  • stands up to harsh weather
  • arrives fully assembled
Brand RCA
Model ANT751Z
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Antennas Direct ClearStream

The newest iteration of the Antennas Direct ClearStream has a reputation for the best signal strength on the market. From the unobtrusive single-antenna version to the much larger 4Max, this line offers the perfect choice for users in urban or rural areas.
  • long-term weather resistant
  • ranges vary from 40 to 70 miles
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
Brand Antennas Direct
Model C1MV
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Unscrambling The Signal

It is no secret, cable and satellite television can be expensive. The next time you get your cable or satellite bill, take a look at all those fees, taxes, and channel bundles your company has forced you to maintain. Does that make the dish or cable box a bad thing? Of course not, but you may find that you'd like to keep things simple while maintaining access to the major networks, without having to pay absurd amounts of money to your provider each month. For that reason, why not go back to basics with a television antenna?

Also referred to as a television aerial, a television antenna is an antenna specifically designed for the reception of over-the-air broadcast television signals. These signals are typically transmitted in a frequency range between forty-one and two hundred fifty megahertz in the very high frequency (VHF) band, which is still currently used for digital television. In order for a television antenna to accommodate such a frequency range, it must be equipped with conductor elements of varying lengths. The length of an antenna's conductors corresponds to the wavelengths the antenna is capable of receiving. Conductors are usually half the wavelength of their intended signals.

Television antennas are created for either indoor or outdoor use. Indoor antennas are usually placed in close proximity to your television set, while outdoor antennas are mounted on a mast outside the home on the roof for the best reception. Dipole and loop antennas are the most common types of indoor antennas.

The dipole antenna is immediately recognizable when we talk about rabbit ears, which always seem to need adjusting. The loop antenna is so named due to its construction of looped wire or tubing with its ends connected to a balanced transmission line. The balanced transmission line may sound complicated, but it's simply a specialized cable used for carrying and distributing cable television signals.

With respect to the outdoor television antenna and its placement atop your roof, the higher it can be installed, the better off you'll be if you live in valleys or among other tall structures that may interfere with the integrity of the television signal itself. However, there is still a potential trade-off, given that a high-placed antenna is difficult to reach when it needs servicing. There is also a vulnerability to bad weather conditions.

When analog broadcasting evolved into digital broadcasting, so too did the indoor antenna from its traditional rabbit ear counterparts to a flat, square-shaped, thin antenna. The evolution of this modern television antenna eliminated the need for constant manipulation and adjusting when trying to enjoy programming. Modern indoor antennas now rival the quality of many outdoor and attic antennas.

Finding The Best Reception

Achieving the appropriate balance between directional capabilities and your environment are two important factors to consider when investing in a television antenna. For example, multidirectional television antennas will work well for you if your transmission towers aren't centrally located, if you want to be able to pick up signals from other cities, and if you live in a rural area with a lot of foliage that interferes with your signal quality. When considering such an antenna, one must also be sure to purchase it with sturdy, all-weather mounting hardware.

By contrast, if you live in a city apartment and are relatively close to your transmission towers, then a flat indoor antenna may be all that you need.

If a high-definition signal is important to you, many antennas allow you to pick up local high-definition signals for a fraction of the cost of maintaining your cable service or satellite dish.

Some indoor antennas are also optimized for supporting surround sound and even feature USB power supplies for maximizing your home's energy efficiency when the television is turned off.

A Brief History Of Television Antennas

The birth of television antennas dates back to the time of German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who was the first to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves by testing James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light. The theory predicts that electromagnetic waves move at the speed of light, and that light itself is also a type of wave. By 1887, Hertz developed an apparatus for generating and detecting radio waves. He also developed his first radio transmitter around that same time by using an induction coil-driven spark gap and a pair of one-meter copper wires to act as a radiator.

Hertz placed capacity spheres at either end of the wires for adjusting resonance. He then discovered that when an induction coil applied a high voltage between the two sides, the resulting sparks across the spark gap would generate radio frequency currents in the copper wires. These wires would then release radio waves at very high frequencies similar to those found in modern television transmitters. This transmitter was a precursor to the dipole antenna.

Credited as being the catalyst for one of the biggest television booms in history, the first practical dipole antenna was invented in 1953 by Marvin P. Middlemark. This invention revolutionized the television signal and how it was watched. While the dipole antenna is still in use today, the popularity of high-definition signals has created a niche for high-definition antennas with flat screen televisions that have built-in digital tuners.

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Last updated on March 26, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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