The best HDTV antennas are ideal television buddies if you want to be able to plug in and start watching, right over the air, from anywhere you might find yourself. Crucially, these HDTV antennas can get you high-resolution picture quality but can also pick up more channels than you might otherwise have access to.
The cable companies will have you believe that the only way to get access to premium TV channels is through them. In reality you can grab those signals right out of the air using the best HDTV antennas. That can mean watching the likes of ABC, CW, NBC, CBS and Fox – all without cable. Plus you'll get access to more local networks you might otherwise not have been able to watch.
Not to bash cable networks too much but they also often compress the image quality to get the signal to you. As such you may find that using an HDTV antenna – which doesn't do all that compression – actually gets you a better quality visual, which takes full advantage of what your TV can do. If you've already spent money on one of the best TVs then following up with one of these antennas is a great option.
Since all that comes over the air for free, why don't we all have them? The catch is these can be an effort to setup, many requiring an outdoor antenna to get the best possible quality signal. Although even that varies, with some wall mounted indoors that still do the job well. So don't let that put you off. And since it's a one-time setup – presuming weather damage isn't an issue down the line – you can then enjoy free, premium and high-quality TV long-term, making it well worth the effort.
So while you may already use the best TV streaming services, at a charge, the best HDTV antennas can get you a wealth of more premium viewing to enjoy, for free. Here are the best options out there right now.
1. XFTREE Antenna - Best HDTV antenna overall
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The XFTREE Antenna may have a name that's near impossible to pronounce but what is much more clear is the picture quality this beauty will produce. That, and many other features, place this at the top of our list as the best HDTV antenna you can buy right now.
Picture quality is worth mentioning first though as this antenna can get signals from a massive 100 miles away, making it ideal for those living in more remote spots – or planning to take this when travelling. This all works well thanks to a built-in signal amplifier which also means you can get low power signals too, with a range up to 60 miles.
The antenna can broadcast to your standard definition TV as well as your HD TV in higher resolution quality. And should you find yourself struggling in any way with that otherwise superb reception and picture quality, there is useful tech support. This is setup to be available 24/7, meaning you should be able to address any potential issues right away. A great peace of mind addition that helps justify the frankly affordable price on this model.
Other areas that make this appealing are support for big name TV channels as well as the inclusion of a 17 foot coaxial cable to let you connect your TV from the best possible signal spot you can find in your home.
2. Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna - Best cheap HDTV antenna
The Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna is a great HDTV antenna option for anyone that wants to buy a model that does a decent job while remaining affordable to suit most budgets. This antenna is small in size – making it great to fit into even smaller spaces – but is also little on cost with a genuinely cheap price tag for what you get here. To be clear this is an indoor model, meaning it won't require you to spend more on mounting kit or outdoor maintenance in the long run.
This Mohu Leaf model is able to give a range of 30 miles from its relatively compact form. That means you can enjoy networks like CBS, ABC, NBC and more all directly to your TV. It also means you can view them in high definition. The very slim design allows this to be attached to your wall without taking up room or being very noticeable. You could even paint over this particular model to help it blend in even further. And thanks to a 10 foot coaxial cable, there is plenty of play to move this where it's needed in relation to external walls and your TV.
It's worth keeping in mind that for this price there is a limitation on range and, as such, you're looking at getting UHF signals only as VHF will likely not be picked up very well. Of course it does depend on your location, property type and more – so, for the low price this is well worth a try to see if it works for you.
3. Winegard Elite Outdoor VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna - Best outdoor HDTV antenna
The Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna is, as the name gives away, an outdoor-only antenna. That means this model will require a bit more effort to install and run the coaxial cable into your home. But that also means you're going to get the best possible signal quality and the widest number of networks available. It also means, even if you're in a more remote area, this will give you the best chance of receiving television signals where you are.
In fact this antenna has a massive 70 miles range for receiving TV signals. It can get a total of 73 channels (in testing – so you may get less, or even more) and does that at 1080p resolution quality. The number of channels you get where you live could be more or less but that's a high number by any standard and the quality matches that for impressiveness.
It's worth noting that while an outdoor antenna of this quality will get you more signal availability when living in remote locations, it's not only good for there. If you're in a city, where signal interference can be high, this is also a great option to help you get the most out of your TV.
The Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna is a little higher priced than some other options out there but when you see the end result in terms of quality and channel number, you'll likely be pleased you spent that money. So as long as you can mount this to your property there is very little reason not to go for this powerful HDTV antenna.
4. Mohu MH-110822 ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna - Best discrete HDTV antenna
The Mohu MH-110822 ReLeaf Indoor TV Antenna is an ideal pick for anyone that wants to hide away their unit for the best possible finish in their home decor. Plus this is actually made from 30 percent recycled materials meaning you're helping the planet at the same time as enhancing your home TV viewing experience.
The Mohu ReLeaf is super slim with a flat panel finish which can be mounted to internal walls with ease and without taking up room or making it an eye sore. The 10 foot coaxial cable should help with placement, giving you enough room to keep this on an external wall for best signal reception, while still reaching your TV. Of course you can always upgrade that coaxial separately, if you need even more cable length.
The unit has a 30 mile range meaning you can enjoy plenty of channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox and more. All will come in 1080p high definition and you can enjoy them without the need for a subscription – all helping to more than justify the price of this well designed HDTV antenna.
So thin is this antenna it can actually be peeled off your wall. Or you can paint right over it to seamlessly integrate the finish with your home. Yet this is still multidirectional, picks up both UHF and VHF signals (depending on your location) and is even reversible offering you black or white finishes as you require. Plus all the hardware to instal this is included in the packaging.
5. ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100B - Best amplified HDTV antenna
The ANTOP Paper Thin AT-100B is the ultimate option if you want a super discreet antenna that also offers signal amplification. Unlike some other indoor antenna options, this model comes with signal boosting amplification. That means that the range on this model, in spite of its very discreet form factor, is actually very good.
This antenna will give you a powerful 40 mile range, despite there being no need to struggle with setup. An installation process which can be a lot more difficult with similar outdoor versions. But it's not just all about range here, this model works in built up areas as well as remote.
Thanks to the amplification feature, the ATOP Paper Thin is also able to block interference from other devices both locally in the property and further afield from other potential signal blockers. Specifically this has a built-in 4G LTE filter which blocks both 4G and 3G smartphone signals that might otherwise stop you getting the best possible signal strength. Great if you have devices in or near your home that might otherwise cause issues.
Installation is super simple as this comes with suction cups and double sided stickers to allow you a few ways to wall mount the device where and how you need. All that and this is also affordably priced, comes with a 10 foot coaxial cable and is both 1080p HD and 4K UHD ready for the best possible picture quality. So you can enjoy the likes of ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and more all for free.
6. Antop AT-800SBS: Best for indoor and outdoor use with multiple devices
The ANTOP AT-800SBS is a really great do-it-all antenna option as this works both indoors and outdoors. It will pull in 70 networks or more, depending on your location. But thanks to an impressive 85 mile range, using the built-in amplifier, this is great for even those in more remote locations. And since you can mount indoor or outside, this allows you to try the easy indoor option before outdoor mounting, should you need even more signal strength where you're located.
This is also city friendly thanks to a signal blocker which stops interference from 4G LTE and 3G signals. That should mean no flicker, no image noise and no flashing from the picture thanks to the stable feed this can offer. All that does mean this is one of the larger and more expensive HDTV antennas on the list, but with even more features it does well to justify the price.
This model is also able to pick up FM signals so you can listen to the radio, through you device. And that need not be only one device. This antenna will output to more than one TV thanks to its Smart Boost System. That means you can use any OTA-ready device be it a TV, projector, FM stereo or even a streaming device. All that and it's finished in a smooth and minimal design which makes this look attractive wherever it needs to be placed to get the best possible signal strength. With plenty of cables and connections included, this is a very appealing antenna option.
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.