The 10 Best Outdoor HDTV Antennas in 2019
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If you think TV antennas are a thing of the past, think again.
Nowadays, many people are opting to cut the cord and switch to a modern outdoor HDTV antenna. A main reason for this is the outrageous bill they get from their cable or satellite TV subscription.
And many broadcast stations like FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC continue to send signals for free, so antenna users can rest assured they aren't missing any shows that are happening on TV.
Besides the welcome disappearance of regularly recurring monthly cable bills, you can additionally count on the higher-quality, uncompressed picture and sound you'll get from over-the-air (OTA) television signals.
Just in case you’re considering cutting the cord, here’s a list of some of the best outdoor TV antennas on the market.
Channel Master CM-4228
RCA ANT751R Compact Yagi HDTV Antenna
Our top pick of the best outdoor digital TV antenna for the money is the RCA ANT751R Compact Yagi antenna. This lightweight, long-range HDTV antenna comes preassembled and boasts a tools- and headache-free installation.
Its rugged, simple design of weatherproof, aluminium parts has helped the antenna gain a reputation of "just working" after set-up. Based on the famous Yagi-Uda design, this unidirectional antenna needs to be aimed in the direction of transmission towers for maximum OTA television reception.
The ANT 751R antenna can pick up TV signals from up to 70 miles away and doesn't include a built-in preamplifier. It receives both high and low UHF and VHF and provides a quality picture of up to full HD (1080i).
Although chiefly intended as an outdoor antenna, many users report successfully installing and using it in their attic.
ClearStream 4 Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna
If you live in a place where the nearest television transmission towers are spaced widely apart in relation to your location, a multidirectional antenna like the ClearStream 4 Indoor/Outdoor HDTV antenna might fit the bill.
This antenna has a reception range of 70 miles, and uses a patented loop design to offer a wide beam angle for picking up both UHF and VHF frequencies.
The multidirectionality and wide reception beam angle mean you likely won't need to aim it perfectly at towers -- though it should be oriented in their direction. It also features a high antenna gain of 12.25 dBi.
The ClearStream 4 supports reception of broadcasts in full HD (1080p) picture quality and isn't amplified, since in many situations a preamplifier won't be needed to pick up your favorite TV channels.
Relatively compact and small for its range and power, it's sufficiently lightweight to easily reposition if necessary. Its weatherproof, quality construction offers an aesthetic design and resistance to the elements when mounted outdoors
1byone 85-Mile Digital Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna
Some antennas come packaged with everything you need, like the 1byone 85-Mile Digital Amplified Outdoor HDTV antenna. Featuring an effective reception range of 80-100 miles (your range will depend on a variety of local factors), it includes both a mast and a built-in preamplifier for boosting your TV signal.
It also arrives preassembled for easy setup, and its simple, clean design allows it to blend in with your house structure better than most outdoor antennas.
Given its range and features, this amplified antenna packs a lot of value for the punch. It receives both UHF and VHF signals and offers a picture in 3D and full HD (1080p), and is ultra HD 4K ready. It's relatively small and lightweight, allowing you to mount it in a variety of locations around your home.
Channel Master CM-4228HD Antenna
If you need a multidirectional antenna that offers powerful UHF reception with some serious gain, then look no further than the Channel Master CM-4228HD, otherwise known as the EXTREMEtenna.
This 8-bay bowtie unit offers an antenna gain of 5-12 dB, which is among the highest sold by Channel Master. It offers an 80-mile range and is optimized for reception of RF signals broadcast on UHF and high VHF. The package doesn't include a preamp, as it won't need amplication in most situations.
Although its sturdy, aluminium frame can weather a variety of climates and its plastic elements are UV resistant, many customers choose to install it in their attics with acceptable results.
Overall it's a popular product with customers living in fringe reception areas. Channel Master has a reputation for good post-sales support and stands by its antenna with a 90-day warranty.
Antennas Direct DB8e HDTV Antenna
The Antennas Direct DB8e HDTV is one of the largest, in terms of size and antenna gain, that we've reviewed. Overall, we recommend this 8-element bowtie antenna for both its power and its adjustable panels that can increase your reception radius.
This multidirectional antenna is designed to pick up UHF signals only, but Antennas Direct sells a VHF retrofitter kit enabling reception of both high and low VHF.
The unit features large reflector panels that focus reception and minimize the interference you get from physical barriers such as hills and tall buildings in the line of sight to the transmission towers.
The antenna is best for those living relatively far away from towers (i.e., more than 30 miles' distance), and supports full HD 1080p picture quality.
GE 33692 Attic
Vansky Outdoor Amplified HD Antenna
If you're looking for an antenna that comes with just about everything you might need -- amplifier, rotator with remote control, coaxial cable for your TV, and built-in splitter for connecting multiple TVs -- we recommend the Vansky Outdoor Amplified HD antenna.
With a stated range of 150 miles, this unidirectional antenna also comes with a mounting clamp that enables you to install it just about anywhere, including on the side of your house.
This compact and lightweight antenna can receive TV signals on both high and low VHF and UHF frequencies and supports full HD picture quality (1080p).
It's relatively easy to set up and requires only a screwdriver for assembly. Although designed for outdoor use, some customers have reportedly installed it in attic spaces without issues.
1byone New Concept Series Omnidirectional TV Antenna
The 1byone New Concept Series antenna has unique design aesthetics permitting installation in a wide variety of places, from your house or apartment, to a boat or on the top of an RV.
Offering a compact and very light design (it weighs only a pound), it's an omnidirectional antenna with 360 degrees reception. It has a decent reception range of 60 miles, and comes with a built-in preamplifier to give an extra boost to your TV signal
It's coated with a white, UV-resistant paint layer and can stand up to a variety of climates, from sunny deserts to snowy weather. Its shape is also aerodynamic and offers a reduced wind load, allowing it stability and continuous reception.
Included in the package is a small mast with mount clamp, as well as a coaxial cable for your TV. The antenna features tools-free assembly, which permits convenient installation in different settings and locations.
GE 33692 Attic Mount HD Antenna
The GE 33592 Attic Mount HD antenna is specially designed for TV reception in attic spaces. Its signal reflectors boost reception and minimize dropouts to overcome common interference issues with attics, such as thick insulation, radiant barriers, etc.
The antenna is unidirectional and comes with a mounting bracket and a short mast. It's rated for a reception of 60 miles and doesn't include a preamplifier.
The unit receives both UHF and VHF signals and supports a full HD (1080p) picture. Assembly requires tools and the antenna's curved shape allows for better placement in the closed confines of attics.
1byone Antcloud Outdoor TV Antenna
The 1byone Antcloud is a larger version of the 1byone New Concept Series with a 75-mile reception range. Like its cousin, it features a modern, aesthetic design that can discreetly blend in with a variety of places around your house.
The antenna is amplified and strengthens received TV signals to overcome potential interference. At 3.89 pounds it's still a lightweight object that's easy to set up; assembly is also tools free.
It can potentially receive TV signals from towers located 360 degrees around your location, making it omnidirectional. The antenna also comes with 26 feet of coaxial cable for your television. It receives both UHF and VHF TV signals, as well as FM radio.
ViewTV DA-290 Indoor/Outdoor Compact Yagi HDTV Antenna
The ViewTV DA-290 is a long-range reception antenna that's designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Customers often install this unit in their attic, since its relatively compact size and light weight allows easy placement in confined spaces.
In fact, with its preassembled frame and dipoles that you can easily unfold and lock into place, the antenna boasts tools-free assembly. It comes with a U clamp and hand-tightened wingnuts that allow you to fix it to a mast.
The antenna's Yagi design gives it strong, unidirectional receiver characteristics. You should aim it towards the nearest transmission towers for maximum effect, but in many cases it won't need amplification and therefore doesn't come with a preamplifier. It picks up high and low VHF and UHF television signals.
Choosing the Right Antenna
Ditching your cable subscription forever and enjoying the benefits of free OTA television requires you to select the best TV antenna for your needs.
It's a small, up-front investment in time and money that will pay dividends for a long time.
But many new cord cutters often don't know where to start, or which antenna type they need.
Here we'll show you the factors to consider in choosing a TV antenna that's ideal for you. Keep these factors in mind as you go through the various antenna reviews. And feel free to send us questions or comments at any time. We're here to help!
Getting a Good Signal
If there's a single most important factor you need to know when choosing a TV antenna, it's signal power.
On the web, there are many great tools to assist with this (e.g., the DTV/maps and tvfool.com websites). You simply input your address or zip code to see a report of available stations and transmitters.
The comprehensive report includes the following information specific to your area:
This information is provided for absolutely free, and is a must for finding out which type of antenna you'll need.
Choosing Between a Directional and Omnidirectional Antenna
You'll notice in the report above (on the left side) that towers and their distances to the antenna's location are indicated in a radar-like of diagram with concentric circles.
Looking closer at the diagram, you'll also notice that while some single transmitters can be found in isolation, many more are grouped together, arrayed in a single line.
Theoretically, you could use an omnidirectional antenna to pick up all these stations. In practice, however, omnidirectional antennas offer low antenna gain for their 360-degree reception. In fact, many models are amplified to boost the TV signals they receive.
For this reason, omnidirectional antennas often work better in areas with TV transmitters close by (i.e., less than 15 or 20 miles away), than in areas with fringe television reception.
Alternatively you could choose a directional antenna, which has greater reception power in a narrower direction but can better overcome interference. Such antennas come in two varieties, either uni- or multidirectional.
A unidirectional antenna, as its name implies, has a relatively narrow beam width but powerful reception when aimed towards a transmission tower. Observing the radar plot on the left side of the signal report again, a unidirectional antenna aimed towards the line of multiple towers either north or south of the antenna's location would probably get perfect reception from those stations.
Finally, you could get a multidirectional antenna, which can pick up broadcasts from towers within 180 degrees in which the antenna is pointing. Like unidirectional antennas, multidirectional antennas typically offer high antenna gain and often don't need amplification.
With a multidirectional antenna, you'd be able to more stations from a wider reception angle, but such antennas are often bulkier and less aesthetic looking.
Picking Up UHF and VHF Channels
Basically, channels are of two types -- Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra-High Frequency (UHF). In a nutshell, radio frequency channels with lower numbers (2-13) belong to VHF, while higher-numbered RF channels belong to UHF.
In the days of analog television, many TV stations broadcast on VHF. As OTA analog broadcasts ended in 2009, they moved to UHF. The picture is actually more complicated today as some digital broadcasters have moved from UHF back to VHF due to an FCC spectrum auction.
The signal report you get from tvfool.com also provides information on which frequencies each station is broadcasting on, in order to help you determine whether your antenna should be UHF only, or dual UHF/VHF.
Outdoor vs. Indoor: What Are the Advantages?
You may also be wondering whether you should get an antenna strictly for indoor use, or an outdoor TV antenna.
Generally speaking, this should depend on how far you live from the nearest TV towers. If you live 15 miles or less from the stations you want to pick up, an indoor HDTV antenna should do just fine.
Indoor antennas today are not your rabbit ears from the 70s. They're generally small and sleek, and fit right on your bookshelf so as to not be noticeable. Due to their smaller size and inferior gain, they're almost always powered by a built-in preamplifier to boost weakly received TV signals.
Outdoor antennas are superior receivers if you live farther away from towers. They're generally bulkier and heavier, and you probably wouldn't perch one atop your television.
But what outdoor antennas lack in "compactness" and attractive design, they more than make up for in reception power and range. If you're thinking of cutting the cord and want all the benefits of free OTA television received by an outdoor TV antenna, you've come to the right place.