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Best Cell Phone Boosters
Choosing the Best Cell Phone Booster
We spent 40 hours looking at 20 products to find the top 10 cell phone boosters for your commute. We specifically looked at products geared towards automobiles, though home signal boosters are available on the market as well. Our pick for the best overall cell phone booster is the weBoost Drive 4G-M, which we chose for its flexibility and performance.
The Drive 4G-M has five bands of frequency coverage, a good range of data enhancement, low-profile antenna and easy installation – all of which make it a great option if you often lose your signal due to physical obstructions like mountains or buildings.
If your main signal concern is distance, the SureCall TriFlex2Go might be a better fit. And if you’re on the budget-conscious side, the weBoost Drive 4G-S offers signal boosting and 4G compatibility at half the cost of wireless cell phone boosters.
The weBoost Drive 4G-M provides an excellent balance of performance and ease of use. What sets it apart from the other products we reviewed is its combination of five-band frequency coverage and a 50 dB amplifier. This means that it has the widest range of supported signals of any product on the market, and these signals can be broadcast to your devices at the legal maximum amplification, so you and everyone else in your vehicle has best compatibility to wireless networks and the strongest possible signal, wherever you are.
Best for Rural Areas
If your signal suffers more from distance obstacles than physical ones, we’d recommend the SureCall TriFlex2Go. This cell phone booster supports 4G, 3G and 2G frequencies. In addition to its Auto Gain Control setting, it also features three independently controllable gain settings. The 12-inch antenna has an average forward gain of 5dBi, giving it a long, narrow range which is ideal for rural areas without physical objects to interfere with the signal.
Best Budget Option
Cradle cell phone boosters have the advantage of being much cheaper than their wireless counterparts. The weBoost Drive 4G-S offers the same range of frequencies supported by the 4G-M and is the only cradle booster we reviewed to support 4G. With low signal noise and a durable antenna, you’ll get comparable performance to the best wireless boosters for one phone at a time, making the weBoost Drive 4G-S a great, cost-effective option.
Why Buy a Cell Phone Booster?
Cell phone boosters take an existing signal and amplify it, turning the one bar on your phone’s reception meter into five. This change drastically improves call quality, minimizes the chances of calls being dropped, prevents your maps app from crashing and leaving you lost and saves your phone from wasting its battery continually trying to find a reliable signal.
Cell Phone Boosters: What to Look For
Wireless vs. Cradle
There are two types of cell phone boosters for vehicles: wireless boosters and cradles. Both work, but depending on your needs, each has advantages over the other. Wireless boosters create an amplified signal within a wireless coverage area, so both you and your passengers can take advantage of its effects. Cradle boosters only provide amplified signal to the connected device but are much cheaper than wireless products.
Signal boosters for cars max out at a 50 dB gain, in accordance with restrictions laid out by the FCC to prevent over-amplified signals from interfering with cell towers. All but one of the wireless boosters we reviewed feature 50 dB amplifiers (and the one still comes close at 45 dB). Cradle boosters generally provide lower amplification that is still perfectly serviceable for the one connected device.
Another signal-boosting factor to consider is the range of frequency bands supported by the signal booster. The best ones cover five bands and support 4G.
Cell phone boosters have both outside and inside antennas. The first sends and receives signal from the nearest cell tower and the second transmits the boosted signal to your phone. High-gain (5dBi or higher) antennas have a long range and are ideal for rural areas where distance is the main factor weakening your signal. Lower-gain antennas are better for mountainous terrain and places where there are physical barriers blocking signals.
Cable length is key when determining where to install each component of your signal booster. Wireless boosters have two antennas that connect to the signal amplifier with coaxial cables. Longer cables make installation easier in larger vehicles like RVs. Cradle cell phone boosters house the amplifier and inside antenna within the cradle, so the only thing to consider is the length of the coaxial cable for the outside antenna.
Help & Support
Most of the cell phone boosters we reviewed have a two-year warranty and helpful informational materials available online. The best products’ manufacturers offer phone, email and live chat communication for help registering your device with your cellular provider, technical difficulties or any questions or concerns.