We talked with electrical engineers and a professor in antenna engineering to find that, simply put, there is no “best” TV antenna. The right antenna for you depends on where you live and what you watch, and you’ll probably have to test multiple antennas to find your perfect fit. We dug into 60,000 user reviews to help give you the best odds of hitting a home run on the first try. To get started, you’ll need to download a personal TV Signal Analysis Report and do a bit of legwork to figure out what channels you want to watch and where they’re broadcast from. To make it easy, we’ve created a five-step guide below.
Finding the right TV antenna almost always takes trial and error, but to maximize the chances that you find the right antenna on the first (or second) try, you’ll need to know a few key specifications. Whether the TV antenna is active or passive, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, and what type of signal it picks up all have a huge impact on its performance. (Check out our glossary for the full list of specs we looked for.)
To our surprise, several companies couldn’t provide even this basic information, either online or when we called them up to clarify. We cut any antenna without verifiable basic specifications. This left us with 86 antennas, most of which receive both Ultra High Frequencies (UHF) and Very High Frequencies (VHF). These are the two types of signals used to broadcast channels to your TV antenna. There’s a good chance that your favorite channels will use UHF and VHF, so it’s important to have an antenna that can receive both.
Proven track record
Since an antenna’s efficacy is so highly dependent on a person’s individual circumstances, we knew that bringing in even a fraction of our 86 contenders was unlikely to help us find the “best” TV antenna. To figure out which TV antennas work for most people, most of the time, we collected data on 66,805 user reviews from retail websites like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. We also wanted to make sure we weren’t including fake reviews either written or paid for by the manufacturers themselves so we checked each review page against Fakespot and ReviewMeta, which analyze each review and reviewer for signs that their review is ingenuine. Most TV antennas did fairly well: Their adjusted star rating after removing fake reviews was either the same or a fraction of a star lower.
Once we had our adjusted list, we cut any antenna that had less than a three-star rating and a low number of reviews (fewer than 100). While people might be purchasing these antennas, they tend to be dissatisfied. The remaining 57 antennas all worked well enough that people recommended them and had enough reviews that we felt we could trust the recommendation’s value. To find the best of these antennas, we compiled each TV antenna’s average star rating, the percentage of its reviews that received five stars, and its number of reviews. This gave us a personalized “score” for each antenna indicating how likely it worked well or worked poorly.
Directional and multi-directional antennas
From here, we grouped each antenna according to its specific category (e.g. “indoor directional antennas, both frequencies”) and sorted them according to their rankings. One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when shopping for a TV antenna is whether you need a directional or multi-directional model. Directional antennas pick up signals from a narrow range typically between 50 to 60 degrees, while multi-directional antennas go up to 100 to 200 degrees, albeit often with worse signal quality. To find out which type is best for your home, see our guide below.
Top 5 Best Outdoor HDTV Antennas:
BOOSTWAVES Outdoor Remote Controlled HDTV Antenna
BoostWaves Outdoor Amplified HDTV Antenna uses robust materials and is well constructed to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions. It comes complete with a rotor builtin that provides a full 360 degrees of rotation, therefore, you should have no trouble dialing in channels inside of 125 miles provided there is a clear line of site to the tower. This antenna is designed to receive HDTV via UHF and VHF broadcasts and also boasts FM radio reception.
BoostWaves Outdoor Amplifier HDTV Antenna allows all local broadcasts from networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, with HD programming of channels for kids, news, weather, sports, etc. This antenna comes complete with an installation kit that includes 50ft. of RG6 coaxial cable, 20 cable clips and 20 ties. Installation and assembly is a breeze using the provided kit.
Builtin Gain Boost and the Low-Noise Amplifier provide full 1080p HDTV signals with its superior amplification. The foldable design for maximum portability. This antenna is backed by a 1-year limited warranty and is ideally suited for outdoor installations.
- Durable ABS material construction and water-proof design of antenna
- Builtin rotor, controller and Infrared remote controller
- Full 360 degrees rotation of the rotor
- Upto 125 miles of coverage
- 1 year limited warranty
- Easy and quick to install
ClearStream 2V HDTV Antenna with Mount
The ClearStream Antenna is suitable for indoor and outdoor installation. This antenna can pick up HD channels from your local broadcasters although its range is limited to 60 miles. That said this compact antenna outperforms many of its competitors in this range.
With this Cleartream 2V Antenna, expect to pull in stations such as ABC, CBS, PBS, FOX and the like. You can also watch local channels, both HD or regular transmissions. Since it picks up both VHF and UHF signals, you can receive many local channels without a problem.
ClearStream’s patented antenna design gives excellent signal strength and actively cancels interference that could weaken signals. While it’s not technically an omni-directional antenna you will find the beam ClearStream antennas to be quite large, meaning, you will have more success picking up broadcast signals from different directions when compared to more traditional uni-directional antennas.
This antenna is ideally suited for both indoor and outdoor installations, however, as always whenever possible place the antenna outdoors. Its patented design leverages multi-directional elements that give you exceptional reception with minimal interference in the harshest of weather conditions. Backed by a lifetime warranty on all parts you really can’t go wrong with this antenna.
- 60-mile range
- Receives UHF and VHF signal
- Comes with mounting hardware
- Supports 1080p HD video
- Patented loop design gives exceptional reception with minimum interference
8 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna
Touted as the most powerful 8-Element Bowtie Antenna on the market it is capable of picking up HDTV signal from towers 70 miles away. This makes receiving UHF frequency ranges, 470 MHz to 698 MHz, US Channels 14 – 69 a breeze. It is one of the easiest antennas to mount if you follow our detailed guide below and the provided instructions. It is a very flexible product so you can install it indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs, however, for best results it is highly recommended that you install this antenna outdoors.
This antenna is a solid choice for the users living in rural areas where they are surrounded with tall trees. Its multi-purpose arrangement provides flexibility and easy installation in areas with transmission towers in different directions. The reflector ensures to boost up antenna’s power and prevents any kind of interference as well. Antenna comes included with 2 coaxial cables with 28” length for connecting panels of antenna. Boasting the best warranty on the market – Antenna Direct gives you a Limited Lifetime Warranty on all parts.
- 8-Element Bowtie design for picking up TV signals from 70 miles of range
- Flexible brackets design- Receives signals from towers in different directions
- High gain of 17.4dBi
- Easy to install; Compact in size
- Reflector avoids any sort of multipath interference
- Lifetime warranty on parts
The Mohu Curve 50 amplified indoor HDTV antenna propels antenna design to new heights with a clean and graceful arched structure reminiscent of popular Smartphone docking stations. Catering to consumers who want access to free over-the-air (OTA) HDTV in their homes. But desire a unique, designer feel, the modern look of the Curve 50 is on display whether it’s placed on a shelf, countertop or table.
- 20 dB amplified unit
- 16 ft. coaxial cable
- 50-mile range
- Designer curve edition with stand
Eagle Aspen Directv Approved 2-Bay UHF Outdoor Antenna
The Eagle Aspen Outdoor HDTV Antenna is classically designed 2-bay antenna and is touted as being one of the most powerful antennas in its class. It is fully HDTV compatible and will receive all UHF channels in the 14-69 range.
Eagle Aspen 2-Bay Antenna’s compact design makes it super easy to install using its one-cable solution for receiving superior reception. This antenna is built for outdoors, however, can be used indoors or in an attic. Once you’ve completed the required connections perform a channel scan and you should be picking up all local broadcasts from networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, etc. with HD programming of channels for kids, news, weather, sports, etc.
The product has been backed with a 90 Day Limited Warranty by Eagle Aspen.
- 2 Bowtie design picks up all UHF channels
- HDTV compatible; DirecTV-approved
- Digital as well as analog reception
- Outdoor balun included with antenna
- Quick and easy to assemble and install
- 90 Day Warranty period