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Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters 2020

If you’re a newbie cord-cutter looking for free local channels, check out these five TV antennas.

Best budget antenna

Mohu Leaf Metro

Price: $17.99
Range: 25 miles
Resolution: 1080p and 4K UHD

Small size, so it’s easy to conceal
Reversible and paintable surface
Short range
Expensive amplifier accessory
Best indoor antenna

1byone Indoor Antenna 

Price: $25.99
Range: 120 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Foldable panels (for expanded range, better signals, and more channels)
Large size
Best outdoor antenna

ViewTV Outdoor Antenna

Price: $36.99
Range: 150 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Dual TV outputs for multiroom viewing
Motorized 360-degree rotation w/remote
Roof mounting (may require professional installation)
No mounting pole included

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Bottom line

Congratulations, cord-cutter! Our guide to the best TV antennas recommends models from Mohu, 1byone, ViewTV, Winegard and FiveStar. And they’ll all have you back to watching your local channels (and subchannels) in no time—and with no monthly payment.

Best TV Antennas

Recommended TV antennas

Swipe Left to See All →
AntennaPrice*RangeResolution
Best budget antenna
Mohu Leaf Metro
$15.9925 miles1080p HD and 4K UHD supportView on Amazon
Best indoor antenna
1byone Indoor Antenna
$25.99120 miles1080p HD and 4K UHD supportView on Amazon
Best outdoor antenna
ViewTV Outdoor Antenna
$36.99150 miles1080p HD and 4K UHD supportView on Amazon
Best amplified indoor antenna
Winegard FL5500A Indoor Antenna
$51.9050 miles1080p HD and 4K UHD supportView on Amazon
Longest range
FiveStar Outdoor Antenna
$68.95200 miles1080p HD and 4K UHD supportView on Amazon

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Best budget antenna: Mohu Leaf Metro

Price: $17.99
Range: 25 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Specs:

  • Indoor
  • 25-mile range (expandable w/ separate amplifier)
  • Multidirectional
  • Dual-band VHF/UHF
  • 1080p HD and 4K UHD support
  • 10-ft. cable

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Small size, so it’s easy to conceal
  • Reversible and paintable surface

Cons

  • Short range
  • Expensive amplifier accessory

If you’re in an apartment, dorm room, or other smaller city-space, we recommend the Mohu Leaf Metro. It’s a low-cost, low-profile gem of an antenna. Slap it on your wall or window, plug it in, scan for channels, and you’re all set.

If the Leaf Metro’s 25-mile range isn’t quite enough, you can goose the reception with the Mohu Jolt amplifier. That said, the Jolt is nearly twice the price of the Leaf Metro for up to a 20-mile extension. So, if you’re not sure that 25 miles will do, go with our next rec.

Best indoor antenna: 1byone Indoor Antenna 

Price: $25.99
Range: 120 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Specs: 

  • Indoor
  • Multidirectional
  • Dual-band VHF/UHF w/VHF signal enhancement and advanced filtering
  • 1080p HD and 4K UHD support
  • 16.5-ft. cable

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Superlong range
  • Foldable panels (for expanded range, better signals, and more channels)

Cons

  • Large size

This long-range, foldable antenna from 1byone is actually cheaper than the Jolt amplifier mentioned above. And with a 120-mile range—plus dual-band VHF/UHF, VHF signal enhancement, and advanced filtering—it should provide great reception for city, suburban, and rural households.

It’s kinda big and ugly, though. While the foldable panels boost your range, reception, and channel count, this antenna’s gonna look like a big ole bat on your wall or window. So we suggest leaving it flat or propping it up on a shelf like a picture frame.

Best outdoor antenna: ViewTV Outdoor Antenna

Price: $36.99
Range: 150 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Specs: 

  • Outdoor
  • 150-mile range
  • Multidirectional
  • Built-in low noise, high gain amplifier
  • Dual-band VHF/UHF
  • Full HD (720p, 1080i, and 1080p) and 4K UHD support

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Extra long 150-mile range
  • Dual TV outputs for multiroom viewing
  • Motorized 360-degree rotation w/remote
  • Free bonus mini indoor antenna
  • Weather resistance

Cons

  • Roof mounting (may require professional installation)
  • No mounting pole included
  • No advertised range for free mini indoor antenna

ViewTV’s outdoor antenna looks like a futuristic Jetsons-style raygun (or just a fancier antenna), and it has so much bang pew-pew-pew for your buck.

The antenna’s 150-mile range will work best for rural areas but also cities and suburbs. Plus, with its low-noise, high-gain amplifier, and full HD—and UHD—support, you’ll get a crystal clear picture. There’s even a 360-degree rotating base with wireless remote for extra-fine tuning from your couch.

There’s more: ViewTV’s antenna has dual TV outputs for multiroom viewing, and it comes with a free mini indoor antenna that you can use on another TV. ViewTV doesn’t advertise the freebie antenna’s range, but its indoor antennas cover 25–65 miles. So expect at least 25 but consider anything longer than that a bonus.

But before buying this, be sure that you’re comfortable doing the roof-mounted installation yourself. It’s risky and technical, so it’s probably best left to a professional. Our next recommendation has the same issue.

Best amplified indoor antenna: Winegard FL5500A Indoor Antenna

Price: $51.90
Range: 50 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Specs: 

  • Indoor
  • Ultralow noise 1db amplifier
  • Multidirectional
  • Dual-band VHF/UHF
  • 1080p HD and 4K UHD support
  • 18.5-ft. cable with power supply

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Good range
  • ATSC 3.0-ready
  • Winegard app

Cons

  • Not as much range as similarly priced antennas

Winegard’s Flatwave amplified antenna is $0.32 cheaper than the 1byone and has half the range—but still enough to be a good choice for folks living in the cities and suburbs.

Anyway, the FlatWave makes up for its less impressive range in a couple of ways. Ultralow noise amplification increases signal clarity. And ATSC 3.0/Next Gen TV readiness (when it rolls out) provides more clarity, better sound, higher resolution, and a host of other benefits.

Also, it’s nice and plain, unlike the 1byone’s blocky Minecraft bat-wing thing.

Longest range: FiveStar Outdoor Antenna

Price: $68.95
Range: 200 miles
Resolution: 1080p HD and 4K UHD support

Specs: 

  • Outdoor
  • Multidirectional
  • Auto gain control
  • Built-in super low noise amplifier
  • Full-band DTV/VHF/UHF
  • Full HD (720p, 1080i, and 1080p) and 4K UHD support
  • 40-ft. and 4-ft. coax cables

Amazon.com price as of 8/06/20 11:15 MST. Read full disclaimer.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Super long 200-mile range
  • Motorized 360-degree rotation w/remote
  • 4-way splitter for multiroom viewing
  • Larger VHF element
  • 2 extra UHF elements
  • Weatherproof

Cons

  • No mounting pole included
  • Possible signal degradation due to splitter

Actually, that ViewTV outdoor antenna and this one from FiveStar have more than cons in common. They’re both good for city, suburban, and rural households. And they each have long ranges, low-noise amplifiers, rotating bases, and support for multiple TVs.

But there are little differences. The two most prominent are range (FiveStar’s range is 50 miles longer) and multiple TV support. FiveStar’s multi-TV support comes from a splitter, which could degrade your signal. Also, the FiveStar is nearly double the price of the ViewTV antenna and includes no freebies.

The FiveStar is still a solid choice, though, if you’d prefer an extra 50 miles of range on your primary antenna instead of ViewTV’s free indoor antenna of indeterminate range.

What to look for in a TV antenna

The most important considerations when buying a TV antenna are antenna type/mounting and range—and it doesn’t hurt to know how to accessorize. Allow us to explain in more detail.

TV antenna type 

There are three main types of TV antennas: indoor, outdoor, and indoor/outdoor. Picking one for your home will depend on your location and the channels you want to watch.

Swipe Left to See All →
IndoorIndoor/OutdoorOutdoor
  • Best for strong signals (cities)

  • Best for apartments and homes

  • Easy to install (window/wall-mounted)

  • Best for medium signals (cities, suburbs)

  • Best for apartments and homes

  • Easy to install indoors (window/wall-mounted)

  • Harder to install outdoors (roof mounting is ideal)*
  • Best for weak signals (rural areas)

  • Best for homes

  • Harder to install outdoors (roof mounting is ideal)*
  • * May require permission from property owner.

    City dwellers are likely reasonably close to most broadcasting locations, so you should have a strong signal. For you, we recommend an indoor antenna with a 25–35 mile range.

    Folks living further away in the suburbs should get an indoor or indoor/outdoor antenna with a 35–50 mile range.

    For those living in rural areas, we suggest an outdoor, roof-mounted antenna with a 50–150 mile range. Note: roof mounting may require a skilled professional.

    Renters should always check with their landlord before mounting an outdoor antenna. They’ll probably have rules about antenna installation.

    How easy is it to install an indoor TV antenna? Well, my technophobic mom only recently learned to connect her TV to her VCR.* But she installed her Mohu Leaf 30 antenna with no help—not even a text to her son. She now has 67 clear channels. YMMMV (your mom’s mileage may vary), but indoor antennas are that easy to install.

    * Late 20th Century home entertainment device used for watching SD movies.

    TV antenna range

    When it comes to range, a little homework goes a long way. Sure, you could guesstimate the range, buy the corresponding antenna, and hope for the best—it worked for my mom. But that was lucky.

    You see, besides distance, topography also affects reception. You might be within 25 miles of a broadcasting station, but buildings, hills, mountains, and 5G poltergeists can block the signal.

    Luckily, some simple online tools can help you get the stations you want.

    • AntennaWeb.org: Enter your address to see channels available in your area and—we love this—a color-coded antenna-type recommendation for each channel.
    • RabbitEars.info: Move a pushpin to your location on the RabbitEars.info Signal Search Map to see available channels as well as signal strengths, distances, and directions.
    • TV Fool: Enter your address or GPS coordinates to view channels, etc.

    These resources don’t guarantee you’ll get your favorite channels—but they definitely increase your chances. If you have the time, we recommend using one of them before buying an antenna.

    But if you already own an antenna and want to improve your signal, you can try a couple of TV antenna accessories. We’ll look at those next.

    Pro tip: Range specs on antennas can be inaccurate. Choose an antenna with a longer range than you think you need—like 50 miles instead of 25. The price difference shouldn’t be too bad, and you’ll avoid disappointment. Heck, you might even pick up a few extra channels.

    Antenna accessories

    Do you want to soup up your antenna so it works even better? Try one of these two accessories.

    • Antenna rotator: Many outdoor, roof-mounted antennas already include a rotator, but they’re also sold separately. The device allows you to remotely aim your antenna in any direction, improving reception.
    • Signal amplifier: If your current antenna doesn’t quite pick up the channels you want, you can try boosting the signal with an amplifier.

    Our final take

    City folk, especially apartment and dorm-dwellers, will love the affordability and size of the Mohu Leaf Metro as well as the Winegard FlatWave. They’ll enjoy the same things about the 1byone antenna—but its 120-mile range is also suitable for suburban and rural areas.

    Outdoor antennas work great for people in the city, suburbs, and rural areas, and our two picks both have a lot going for them. If you seek value, the ViewTV antenna is what you’ll want. If range matters more to you, go with FiveStar’s antenna.

    Best antennas for cord-cutters FAQ

    What is the best outdoor TV antenna?

    The ViewTV Outdoor Amplified Digital HDTV Antenna is our pick for the best outdoor TV antenna. It has a 150-mile range (good for cities, suburbs, and rural areas), a low-noise/high-gain amplifier, full HD and UHD support, and a 360-degree rotating base with wireless remote. It also has dual TV outputs and a free mini indoor antenna—all for only $36.99.

    What is the best TV antenna for local channels?

    All antennas pick up local channels—cue inspiring music—because that’s what they’re born to do.

    What is the best HD antenna?

    Resolution isn’t determined by the antenna but by the broadcaster. Any antenna will allow you to watch HD—and even 4K UHD—programming as long as you have the right TV and a good signal.

    How can I check TV signal strength in my area?

    To check TV signal strength in your area, visit AntennaWeb.org and enter your full street address. You’ll get a list of available channels that shows distances, GPS coordinates, and color-coded antenna-type recommendations for each. There’s also a map to help you visualize station locations.

    Can you still get TV over the air?

    Getting TV over the air requires an over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna. Indoor OTA antennas are the most common, and they’re as cheap as $20. They’re also supremely easy to install.

    In what direction should I point my over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna?

    Point your over-the-air (OTA) antenna in the direction of the signal, which comes from the station. You can find specific location and signal info by entering your address at AntennaWeb.org.

    Why is my TV antenna not picking up channels?

    A few different factors can cause bad—or no—reception when using a TV antenna. The first thing you should check is if your antenna is properly installed. Grab your manual and go over the steps again.

    The following factors can also cause poor reception or signal degradation:

    • Coaxial cables longer than 100 feet
    • Splitters
    • Nearby electronic appliances, topographical obstacles (buildings, hills, mountains, etc.)
    • Insufficient antenna range (brand-advertised ranges can be inaccurate)
    • Bad antenna placement
    • A defective unit

    Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to this product. CableTV.com utilizes paid Amazon links.
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