Which indoor antenna is best?
In these days of streaming, it’s increasingly little-known that you don’t have to pay to pick up local TV stations. All you need is a good antenna with enough range to pick up signals being broadcast. You don’t even need an ugly rooftop antenna. You can use an indoor one.
The best indoor TV antenna is the Gesobyte Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna. It’s got excellent range and can pick up 4K-quality signals.
What to know before you buy an indoor antenna
Most indoor antennas can pick up the same range of signals, including most standard-definition signals as well as high-definition and even 4K signals. It’s still wise to double-check what kind of signals your antenna can pick up before you purchase, with special attention given to ensuring it can pick up signal qualities that match your TV’s quality. It won’t help you to have a 4K TV if the best quality your antenna can offer is HD.
Multidirectional vs. unidirectional
Indoor antennas can be one or the other, not both.
- Multidirectional antennas can pick up signals coming from any direction. However, they usually can’t pick them up from far away. They’re best used by those in cities or other urban environments.
- Unidirectional antennas need to be pointed in the direction of the signal you want to pick up. They can only receive signals coming from that direction but can get signals from much further away. They’re best used by those in rural environments or who only want a certain signal.
Indoor antennas need to be plugged into your TV with a coaxial cable. The longer the included cable, the more options you have when it comes to where you set your antenna up. Most included cables are 10-20 feet, though some can be shorter or longer. You can also purchase a shorter or longer coaxial cable if necessary.
What to look for in a quality indoor antenna
The best indoor antennas should have enough range to comfortably pick up the signals you want. Most can get signals from at least 50 miles away. The best can receive them from 300-plus miles away.
That said, stated mileages past 50 are typically the best-case scenario. For example, your antenna may have a maximum range of 200 miles but struggle to cleanly pick up signals from more than 100 miles away.
Check the user reviews before purchasing to get an idea of an antenna’s true range.
Indoor antennas come in a few designs, so you can choose one that blends in or serves as an attractive conversation piece. Most are flat and either square or circular, though some look like towers. In any form, colors outside white or black are rare.
How much you can expect to spend on an indoor antenna
They can cost as little as $10 or as much as $50. Basic low-range antennas run no more than $15 while mid-range antennas cost up to $25. Antennas with the largest range typically start around $30.
Indoor antenna FAQ
Can I install an indoor antenna outside?
A. Depending on the antenna, yes. Most indoor antennas aren’t meant for this, however, so triple-check that yours is rated for it before you put it out there and ruin it. It’s worth looking for an antenna that can pull double duty, as placing an antenna outdoors can help boost its signal pickup when you need the extra help.
Can I find out what signals an indoor antenna will pick up before I buy one?
A. Yes. The Federal Communications Commission has a page where you can search your address and not only get a list of signals you may be able to pick up but also how strong the signals can be, so you don’t need to buy a stronger antenna than necessary.
Will storms interfere with an indoor antenna?
A. They shouldn’t interfere with your antenna’s ability to pick up signals, but there’s no telling what else the storm may interfere with — for instance, a TV station’s ability to broadcast. That said, you should still be able to pick up emergency signals.
What’s the best indoor antenna to buy?
Top indoor antenna
Gesobyte Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna
What you need to know: This is an excellent antenna with a great range.
What you’ll love: It has a maximum range of 250 miles and can pick up signals in up to 4K quality. Its coaxial cable is 18 feet long to give you more installation location options. It comes in a square shape in black or white and a circle shape in black.
What you should consider: A few consumers reported it feeling flimsy. Others found it didn’t pick up as many signals as they hoped, nor from as far away.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top indoor antenna for the money
U Must Have Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna
What you need to know: It’s another great antenna that’s just a touch less expensive.
What you’ll love: It has a maximum range of 250 miles and can pick up signals in up to 4K quality. Its coaxial cable is 18 feet long and it uses a standard USB — with a built-in overvoltage protector — for its power supply.
What you should consider: It comes with tape to use if you want to hang it on a window, but the tape leaves residue behind and some customers found it ineffective.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Antier Amplified Indoor Outdoor Digital TV Antenna
What you need to know: This antenna has a high range for those outside the city.
What you’ll love: It has a maximum range of 270 miles. It can pick up signals in up to 4K quality and has a lifetime warranty. The stand design looks sleek and blends in well with other pieces of equipment such as a router.
What you should consider: It’s multidirectional, so it’s best used by those in cities rather than rural areas. Some purchasers found it didn’t pick up as many channels as expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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