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Which outdoor TV antenna is best?

Those looking for a television option alternative to cable and satellite often look toward outdoor TV antennas as a more affordable solution. However, depending on where you’re located and what your needs are, the antenna that you end up with may vary in quality — especially if you aren’t sure what you need before you buy.

Those who aren’t sure will find their needs met with the Antennas Direct ClearStream 4V Outdoor TV Antenna, as it offers both UHF and VHF broadcasting options, as well as a sturdy, weatherproof mount.

What to know before you buy an outdoor TV antenna

How you’ll use your outdoor TV antenna

The best outdoor TV antennas do have some similarities, but finding out whether you want specific channels or need to mount your antenna in a particular way may affect which model is best for you. Certain websites will also let users look up what antenna channels they may be able to receive in their area, which can be a good idea to look into before you make your purchase.

Omnidirectional antennas vs. directional antennas

Outdoor TV antennas usually come in either directional or omnidirectional options. While omnidirectional antennas can pick up signals from multiple directions to a similar degree, directional antennas are specifically designed to be pointed at their broadcasting source. Others, still, may also include 360-degree directional rotation, which can also be a handy upgrade option.

Antenna channel frequencies

Antenna channel frequencies usually come in a few formats: very high frequency (VHF) low, VHF-high, or another format set called ultra-high frequency (UHF). Those wanting to watch specific broadcasting will want to make sure their antenna is compatible with those frequency bands, or else they may not have access to the channels they want.

What to look for in a quality outdoor TV antenna

Broadcasting range

Those living beyond a certain distance from their preferred broadcasting channels will need to purchase an antenna with adequate range to reach that far. While most outdoor antennas will offer at least 50 to 70 miles of range, you can also find upgraded options with up to 150 miles of range, or use signal boosters to increase the reach of your antenna.

Weatherproof and sturdy

Since your TV antenna will be mounted outdoors, it will need to withstand the weather in your region. For that reason, it isn’t recommended to try using indoor TV antennas outside, though most outdoor TV antennas are specifically rated to be weatherproof, and sturdy against the elements.

Easy installation

For the average person, installing something like an outdoor TV antenna isn’t the most natural skill, so easy installation can come in handy. While most outdoor TV antennas do offer instructions and a somewhat straightforward setup, others may require a little bit of extra time and handiwork to be fully operational.

How much you can expect to spend on an outdoor TV antenna

Outdoor TV antennas can cost a fairly wide range of prices, though most come at a reasonable price point. In most cases, you can find cheap outdoor TV antennas for as low as $35. Still, it’s probably best for those that can afford it to consider an outdoor TV antenna between $50-$100, while upgrade picks may cost as much as $200.

Outdoor TV antenna FAQ

Do I need a tuner for my outdoor TV antenna?

A. Depending on what kind of TV you have, you may need a tuning device to search for channels. If your TV doesn’t have one built-in, then you can find external TV tuners available at a handful of retailers.

Are outdoor TV antennas better than indoor antennas?

A. While every circumstance is different, many outdoor TV antennas end up working better for buyers than indoor antennas. In general, however, outdoor TV antennas also just offer better range than their indoor counterparts, making them pick up on long-range broadcasting signals better.

What’s the best outdoor TV antenna to buy?

Top outdoor TV antenna

Antennas Direct ClearStream 4V 1080p 70+ Mile Range Outdoor TV Antenna

Antennas Direct ClearStream 4V 1080p 70+ Mile Range Outdoor TV Antenna

What you need to know: With 70 miles or more of range, free 1080p TV from a wide range of channels and dedicated UHF and VHF multi-directional elements, this outdoor antenna is a no-brainer.

What you’ll love: The ClearStream outdoor TV antenna is a top pick for users needing an antenna within a 70-mile range, offering clear connections for 1080p quality. It also comes with a 20-inch mounting kit and access to ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Univision and more channels for free.

What you should consider: Some buyers found this antenna to be heavier than they were hoping for when installing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top outdoor TV antenna for the money

GE Long-Range 4K 1080p 70-Mile Digital Outdoor TV Antenna with Mount Included

GE Long-Range 4K 1080p 70-Mile Digital Outdoor TV Antenna with Mount Included

What you need to know: For buyers on a tight budget, this long-range outdoor antenna from GE is a great affordable pick for those needing up to 70 miles of antenna range.

What you’ll love: Beyond the super-low price, this 75-Ohm antenna can broadcast a number of free TV channels in 4K or 1080p, and features a robust mounted antenna design for optimal connectivity and long-term outdoor weather resistance. 

What you should consider: This model isn’t compatible with VHF signals, which may be a dealbreaker for some buyers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

MATIS Digital Amplified 150-Mile 4K 1080p Outdoor TV Antenna with Mounting Pole

MATIS Digital Amplified 150-Mile 4K 1080p Outdoor TV Antenna With Mounting Pole

What you need to know: For just a little bit more than the economy-level antenna, this amplified TV antenna from MATIS can reach a broadcasting source up to 150 miles away for those that need an extra-long-range antenna.

What you’ll love: This affordable outdoor antenna is great for those that need a longer range for broadcasting, without sacrificing 1080p and 4K video options. It includes a built-in amplifier, as well as a weatherproof outdoor design that holds up well and protects the components.

What you should consider: Some users didn’t like the build quality of this unit, though most were able to make it work just fine.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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