The best HDTV antenna can unlock a whole host of new TV channels without you having to sign up to expensive cable subscriptions. This includes many channels and networks that you might have assumed were premium; we’re talking about networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, The CW, and NBC to name but a few, and these are all available for free if you have the capability to receive them. Cable networks know this too, but they’ve done their best to make sure that consumers don’t.
When you have one of the best HDTV antennas, you can also gain access to a ton of local stations that your cable or satellite provider might not carry, so you’ll be gaining channels even if you do already have a cable subscription. This can even include local news and weather stations, along with sports and kids TV stations too.
You can also get a better signal quality on the TV stations you do have access to with the best HDTV antennas. This is because cable networks often compress the signal to save bandwidth, so by using your own antenna you’ll be able to get better sound and video quality on your favorite stations. Some HDTV antennas can be mounted indoors, but if you get an outdoor antenna you’re likely to get better signal. The downside is that they’re tougher to install and subject to the weather conditions of your area. Conversely, an indoor HDTV antenna will be easier to setup and they're usually cheaper too.
You should also look to future proof yourself with an antenna that can support 4K signals, especially if you have one of the best TVs with a 4K resolution.
1. XFTREE Antenna - Best HDTV antenna overall
The XFTREE HDTV antenna is our top pick for the best HDTV antenna as it offers exceptional signal quality, a sleek design and 24/7 tech support, all for a very reasonable price.
You’ll be able to pick up all the major networks with the XFTREE Antenna thanks to its impressive range, with XFTREE claiming that it can capture strong signals from over 100 miles away thanks to its signal amplifier, while still hoovering up low power local signals from within 40-60 miles. You can also get improved picture quality, with the HDTV antenna being able to broadcast both HD and standard definition signals. It also comes with a 17ft coaxial cable, so you should have no issues connecting it to your TV and finding a spot with a good signal in the house.
Customers have been incredibly impressed by the XFTREE Antenna, with an average Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 3,523 reviews. Positive reviews praised the ease of setup, great picture quality and cheap price.
2. Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna - Best cheap HDTV antenna
If you’re looking to get access to more TV networks without paying the big bucks, then chances are you’re all about saving money. If that’s the case, then the Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna is the best budget HDTV antenna there is.
For less than $20 (at time of writing), you can grab a HDTV antenna with a 30 mile range that can give you free access to major TV networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC. The Mohu Leaf Metro TV antenna’s sleek, paper thin design means it can be attached to your wall, and you can eve paint over it to disguise it further. It has a 10ft cable so you can position it in the best spot while still connecting easily to your TV too.
User reviews for the Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna are largely positive, with an average rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Positive reviews noted that the Mohu Leaf works well and unlocks new channels as advertised, but some negative reviews pointed out that the 30 mile radius is only for Ultra High Frequency signals (UHF), not Very High Frequency (VHF).
3. Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna - Best outdoor HDTV antenna
The other HDTV antennas on our list have all been indoor models, but if you have the space to get an outdoor antenna installed, you can get much greater range than your typical indoor antenna. The Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna has a range of 70+ miles for both VHF and UHF signals, meaning you’ll be able to pick up TV networks even in remote locations.
The Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna needs to be mounted on the outside of your house and it is a directional antenna, so you’ll need to point it towards the signal’s you’re trying to pick up. It has an LTE filter to block interference from other signals, and comes with a mounting pole and foot bracket so you can mount it on your roof. Winegard states that it has been tested in up to 100mph winds too, so it should be fine as long as you don’t have a hurricane.
User reviews are mostly positive for the Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna, with an average score of 3.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon. People said that it was easy to put together and gave them access to more stations than they expected, but some people pointed out that it’s much more expensive than indoor antennas which can achieve similar results. But if indoor models won’t work for you, this is your best bet.
4. Mohu MH-110822 ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna - Best discrete HDTV antenna
If you’re looking for a HDTV antenna to boost your home singal and expand your access to more free TV, but don’t want to have an ugly device lying around in your living room then the Mohu ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna is the best choice for you. It has a 30 mile radius, which is smaller than some other options but it’s still more than enough to pull in local
The Mohu ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna has a sleek, flat panel design that means it can be mounted to your interior walls without sticking out or ruining the aesthetics of your living room. It comes with a 10ft coaxial cable which means you can connect it to your TV and still have plenty of range to find the best spot for it too. And as an added bonus, it’s made with 30% recycled plastic so you’re doing your bit for the environment too.
Amazon user reviews rate the Mohu ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna with an average score of 3.9 stars out of 5. Positive feedback includes easy set up and good reception and people were pleased with how it helped them escape the grasps of cable networks. Negative reviews focused on the device not working, which could be down to its limited range.
5. ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100B - Best amplified HDTV antenna
Another flat panel HDTV antenna that is designed to fit snugly and securely on your living room wall, the ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100 is a fantastic choice for users who are worried about interference from other devices in the house. The ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100 comes with a built-in 4G LTE filter which blocks unwanted 3G and 4G signals that might interfere with your TV signal. This is ideal if you have other devices nearby, including smart speakers, wifi routers, and even smartphones.
The ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100 offers around a 40 mile range for picking up network signals thanks to amplification from it’s Smartpass technology. It’s quick and easy to install, coming with both suction cups and a double-sided sticker to let you attach it to the wall.
Users have been mostly positive about the ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100, but there are very few reviews at time of writing. It has an average rating of 3.6 starts out of 5 on Amazon from 16 ratings. On the ANTOP webstore it has a rating 4.7 stars out of 5 from 31 reviews. People note that it’s easy to set up and gives access to many more channels, but some negative reviews noted it did not work for them (though they acknowledged they might be too remote).
Why Trust Us?
We’ve all fallen victim to unreasonable cable bills and thought, “Do I really need this?” Many of our experts have cut the cord altogether and turned solely to the best TV streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. So when we had the chance to test and evaluate a cheaper way to access live TV, we were pumped.
Our experts know you’re used to a clear, crisp picture, so antennas with spotty output scored lower. It’s important to get the most for your money, so the more channels these antennas picked up, the better.
In short, we don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars every month for quality TV channels, and we don’t want you to have to, either.
Key Features to Look for When Buying a HDTV Antenna
Most of our top-performing antennas cost about $50 or less, so great antenna TV reception isn’t very expensive. Non-amplified antennas tend to cost a little less than amplified ones, but the extra performance is worth the price, since you’re likely to get more channels and a better-quality signal for your money.
Location, Location, Location
Your HDTV antenna's placement is key for optimal television enjoyment. Fewer obstructions between the antenna and the broadcast tower equal better reception. One way to figure out the best place to put your antenna is through trial and error. Try several locations near enough for the antenna’s cables to reach your TV and evaluate how many channels you can pick up and the quality of the channels you’re interested in watching.
One helpful tool is antennaweb.org. You can type your ZIP code or address into the system, and it gives you a map of the stations broadcasting nearby. It also includes information about how far each station is from you and the station’s broadcast channel. The map is meant for use with outdoor antennas, but it can give you an idea of what channels you can expect to pick up and which direction you want to aim your antenna.
Amplified vs. Passive
Non-amplified antennas, also called passive antennas, don’t require external power sources, have shorter ranges and costs less than amplified antennas. Amplified antennas require an external power source, like a wall plug or USB connection to your TV, and they cost a little more. But amplified antennas provide a generally higher quality and greater number of channels. They are ideal for suburban and rural areas that are farther from broadcast stations, whereas passive antennas work better in cities, as they’re close enough to pick up signals.
However, not every amplified antenna has better range than every passive antenna, so it’s important to check the antenna’s advertised range. The products we tested have 35- to 50-mile ranges. It’s also important to remember that both types of antennas benefit from optimal placement. Even with a long-range, amplified antenna, you should take care when choosing where to put it.
Design and Accessories
HDTV antennas come in a wide range of shapes and types. They can stick to your wall, sit behind your TV or hang on a window: It’s up to you and the service you’re able to get in various locations throughout your home. Keep in mind you might need to place your antenna in a very visible spot to pick up the maximum number of channels, so get one that is the right color and design to fit your living space.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Antennas
We mostly stuck to indoor antennas for our tests, but outdoor antennas also allow you to tune in to local TV channels. Outdoor HDTV antennas are larger and sturdier devices that are designed to be mounted on your roof. As such, the installation of outdoor antennas is more complicated. Because the installation requires mounting the antenna to your home’s exterior and running cables from the antenna to your TV, it's important to find the ideal placement for your antenna prior to installation. Many outdoor antennas are motorized, however, and can rotate to aim in different directions. The main advantage of an outdoor antenna is better signal reception, due to sturdier hardware and better placement. Outdoor antennas also have longer ranges and generally pick up more – and better-quality – TV stations. However, they cost more than indoor antennas.
But indoor antennas have pros as well. They're less expensive than outdoor antennas, and less of a commitment, if you’re just looking to try it out. The installation process is much simpler, so indoor antennas are better for apartments and spaces without roof access. If you live in a city or close to a TV tower, the extra range of an outdoor antenna isn’t necessary to receive a great signal. For both indoor and outdoor antennas, however, placement is the key to getting the most channels and the best picture.