If you live in an area that receives weaker signals, you will need a TV antenna booster to increase the quality of your reception. Antenna boosters amplify TV signal strength, helping you get clearer pictures and sounds, and sometimes more channels.
This post investigates the best TV antenna boosters in the market so you can make an informed buying decision.
- 1 Why You Need TV Antenna Boosters
- 2 How to Choose the Right TV Antenna Booster
- 3 Best TV Antennas You Can Buy Right Now
- 3.1 1. ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier
- 3.2 2. RCA TVPRAMP1Z
- 3.3 3. Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify
- 3.4 4. Antennas Direct CDA4 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier
- 3.5 5. Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier
- 4 The Best Pick
Why You Need TV Antenna Boosters
A TV antenna booster can come in handy if:
- You live in remote areas far from TV transmitters
- You are surrounded by hills, buildings or forests that block TV signals
- You wish to receive more free to air channels
- You have many TV sets in your home and want to distribute signals from one antenna to all of them
How to Choose the Right TV Antenna Booster
The fact that you wish to or have freed yourself from the financial burden of cable doesn’t mean that you should be cut off from your favorite TV stations. Finding the right TV antenna booster is all it takes to receive more channels and with enhanced clarity.
I live in a remote location with weak signal strength, and so about 3 channels were all I could get without an antenna booster. On a rainy day, that number would trickle to one channel, which would be plagued by pixelation.
I get better reception now, after trying several antenna boosters in the market.
Internal versus external
Most TV antenna boosters are made for indoor use. If you buy an external booster for mounting on the TV mast, ensure that it is made with sturdy weatherproof materials. If any moisture enters the amplifier, it will automatically fail.
The most crucial specification to look at when buying a TV antenna booster is its gain capacity, which is measured in decibels (dB). Too much gain will overload your reception with signals from other sources.
Signal gain that falls between 10 and 12 dB is recommendable. The rule of the thumb is that the gain should always be equal to or higher than your signal loss.
The noise levels should be low
Noise or attenuation is one of the factors that can imbibe the reception quality of your TV. A higher noise level means that the amplifier has reduced sensitivity and will, therefore, give an unreliable performance. Experts recommend that the noise levels be 2dBs or lower.
Today, there are so many LTE (mobile broadband) towers, and this negatively imbibes the reception of over-the-air broadcast television signals. Cellular phone signals often lead to pixelation and channel loss on TV reception.
The best TV antenna booster should be able to clean your TV signals from LTE 4 G and 3 G interference.
Frequency modulation refers to the radio waves used in FM radio reception. If there is a radio transmitter mast near your area, radio signals could eat into your TV’s VHF (very high frequency) signals.
The right TV antenna booster should be able to boost your reception by removing FM interference.
The right antenna booster should support both VHF and UHF antennas
For a TV that uses both VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultra-high frequency, you might need an amplifier that works with both of these signals. If your new antenna booster fails to pass both VHF and UHF signals, you might miss out on some channels.
Best TV Antennas You Can Buy Right Now
1. ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier
- SMARTPASS AMPLIFIERAn exclusive technology offered only by ANTOP, uses an all-in-one design to allow an easier connection between a non-amplified/passive antenna and your TV delivering the correct...
- built-in 4G filter ANTOP was the first antenna Manufacturer to include a built-in 4G filter in all their amplified products to block 3G and 4G wireless signals to ensure noise-free digital TV...
- HIGH GAINIt is designed to Amplify VHF and UHF SIGNALS with a LOW NOISE level, less than 2dB. Fit for any non-amplified TV antenna. Not recommended for use with an amplified antenna.
For a budget-conscious buyer, the ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier seems like a worthwhile option. It doesn’t pack advanced features like some of the antenna boosters coming up in the review, but it works considerably well.
There is a built-in LTE filter that helps to block 3G and 4G signal interference. This antenna booster can also amplify long and short-range signals, making it ideal for persons that live in remote areas.
The ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier supports free over the air broadcasts on 1080P TV, HDTV, 4K and others. It is also compatible with many non-amplified antennas.
What I find most appealing about this TV antenna booster is its low noise level. The noise level is less than 2dB when receiving UHF/VHF/FM signals, meaning that you might be able to catch all channels clearly regardless of how far you are from the transmitter.
The maximum gain with this booster is 16Db. As seen in the buying guide, this range of gain is good enough, since higher values can over-amplify the signal and drastically diminish reception quality.
This antenna booster is powered via a USB port. When delivered, the package often includes the Smartpass amplifier plus USB cable, adapter and user manual. These complimentary accessories could minimize installation costs.
ANTOP Pros & Cons
- Low noise levels
- An acceptable gain
- Supports many over the air channels
- Installation is a breeze
- It has limited features
- Cases of pixelation (signal loss) in bad weather
2. RCA TVPRAMP1Z
This signal booster is designed for outdoor antennas and could be ideal for those living in areas with weak signal strength.
If you have previously had channel reception problems, it could be that a local frequency modulation signal is eating into your TV waves. The RCA TVPRAMP1Z TV antenna booster has the FM trap that could help you cut through FM interferences.
This TV antenna booster uses the SmartBoost technology that can boost signal range in remote areas. You, therefore, might be able to get many more channels and a much clearer picture quality.
The device engineering entails separate VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultrahigh frequency) amplification. If you use a combination of these two signals for your TV reception, the RCA amplifier might be what you need to get a clear picture/sound on both of them.
The maximum UHF gain here is 22dB, while the VHF gain is 16dB. That means that you can be able to effectively work with longer coaxial cables.
According to the manufacturers, the RCA TVPRAMP1Z antenna booster is compatible with all types of outdoor antennas that use coaxial cables. It also needs a source of power between the antenna and the TV to work.
There have been cases of faulty RCA TVPRAMP1Z units, but not to an alarming degree. There might be some limitations to what this amplifier can accomplish, but on average, it does offer value for money.
RCA Pros & Cons
- Might help you get local channels with improved clarity
- Works for UHF and VHF signals simultaneously
- Its extensive gain means that you can work with longer coaxial cables without excessive signal loss
- If your power inserter doesn’t work correctly, the amplifier will not work at all
- It mainly amplifies existing signals so you might not get any new channels
The Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ might be ideal if you want a device that may increase the number of channels you receive.
It might also give you a clearer reception by cleaning out the noise and strengthening signals, just like in the previously reviewed antenna boosters.
Like the RCA TVPRAMP1Z TV antenna booster, this unit also has the potential to boost both VHF and UHF signals. The device is engineered with UHF and VHF inputs to help with that.
There is an included adjustable FM trap switch. What that means is that you can rid FM signal interference from your TV reception using this device. This process can help you get more channels with improved clarity.
Additionally, the Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ also blocks out interferences from 3G and 4G signals. This device could, therefore, give you the combined performance of the ANTOP Smartpass Amplifier and RCA TVPRAMP1Z TV Amplifier at a go.
The device has a weatherproof housing that might be able to weather down harsh climatic conditions in your locale. That is an admirable quality to have in an outdoor TV antenna booster.
The amplification capabilities of the Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ are adjustable. As mentioned in the buying guide, sometimes too much gain can also play hobs with your reception quality.
This antenna booster helps you customize the gain you want by toggling between high or low. In times of bad weather that might drastically affect your TV signals, you can simply select the high amplification setting to get better reception.
The noise levels in this antenna booster are kept at a minimum of 1.5dB, which is lower than what the previously reviewed amplifiers provide. That’s good news. The gain, in this case, is 16dB, which strikes a decent balance with the noise level, one can say.
Despite its glowing resume, this amplifier might need a professional to help with installation. The manufacturer states that without following the installation instructions, the booster might not perform as expected.
Channel Pros & Cons
- LTE filtering
- FM trap
- Weatherproof design
- Adjustable gain
- Works with both VHF and UHF antennas
- Occasional quality control issues
- Requires a professional to install
4. Antennas Direct CDA4 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier
If you need improved performance and versatility with your TV antenna booster, the Antennas Direct CDA4 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier might come in handy.
What you have here is a unit that can connect up to 4 TV sets on the same antenna. All these TV sets get an equal signal strength boost.
Like the Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+, this antenna booster is made with weatherproof housing material. That could help with the durability of the device under the harshest of weather conditions.
7.5 dB is the amplification per port. Although this signal boost is lower than what you get with the other boosters, its kept in a harmonious balance with the noise levels.
The package comes with a power supply, 3ft coaxial cable, and the amplifier. According to the manufacturer, this antenna booster can be used with longer coaxial cables (up to 50 feet).
Beware: Longer coaxial cables have more loss, and with this device’s degree of amplification, their assertion might not be accurate.
Antennas Pros & Cons
- Sturdily built
- Can work with up to 4 TV sets at once
- Gives an acceptable level of amplification
- No LTE or FM interference filtering
- It overheats
5. Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier
- The Winegard Boost XT TV signal booster enhances any non-amplified antenna, delivering a clearer signal, more range, and more available channels; works with any passive/non-amplified antenna; antenna...
- TwinAmp Technology separately amplifies VHF and UHF signals for maximum performance and lowest noise and interference levels on any non-amplified outdoor antenna.
- Boost Clear Circuit Technology features the lowest noise figure (1db typical) to deliver more range and reduce signal dropout and pixelation
The Winegard LNA -200 is compatible with many non-amplified antennas. It has the potential to boost reception quality by improving range and delivering clear signals.
This TV antenna booster might help you get more channels, but that largely depends on the geography of your location.
Its noise level is the least in this review (1 dB), and that means that your channels might stream much clearly. Also, this amplifier comes equipped with a Bandpass tech system that filters radio frequency interferences.
Another feature of note here is the TwinAmp Technology that helps to amplify both VHF and UHF signals. You, therefore, might not have to sacrifice any channels when you use this booster.
It gets its power via coax connection, which might help to de-clutter your television setup by eliminating the need for additional cables. Beware though that like the previous model in this review, this unit tends to overheat too.
The Winegard LNA-200 amplifier has a maximum gain of 20dB. This degree of amplification could help you cancel out much of the noise and interferences from your antenna.
Winegard Pros & Cons
- It is relatively easy to install
- It performs reasonably well on both VHF and UHF antennas
- Can work with longer coaxial cables
- It features RF interference cancellation technology
- Quality control issues
- Durability is not assured
The Best Pick
The Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify is the pick of the bunch. This antenna booster can work with both VHF and UHF antennas.
It helps in signal amplification and noise cancellation—you might, therefore, be able to catch more channels and with improved picture quality.
The antenna booster also uses an FM trap switch that helps to remove FM interferences from your TV reception path. On top of that, the device is engineered with an ability to filter out LTE signals from 3G and 4G devices.
The result will likely be better reception and more channels.
The CM-7778HD Amplify+ noise level is 1.5dB, which is one of the lowest in this review. The maximum gain is 16dB. The cherry on top is that this gain is adjustable by toggling between High and Low buttons on the device.
That can help you customize your reception as appropriate because too much gain can be just as bad as too little gain.
The Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ might also serve you for long owing to its sturdy build. It is made with weatherproof housing that might enable it to withstand harsh weather conditions in your area.
These features and more make the Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ antenna booster worth your consideration.
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