To choose the best TV antennas, we considered a mix of range, size, number of channels picked up, and of course, price. We also looked at extra features like signal amplification, signal-strength meters, and smartphone apps, all of which make nice bonuses. To learn more, see our full methodology.
The best TV antennas
#1: Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro
Our pick for the best overall TV antenna is the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro. The Mohu Leaf was the original flat-style antenna, and it remains a classic. The Supreme Pro model offers a thicker, larger design that pulls in more channels. It also packs a built-in signal amplifier that helps boost reception.
The Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro can pull in over 40 channels, which is quite good. The amplifier also has an integrated signal strength meter, so you can more easily find the best placement for the antenna. Finally, at around $70, the price is quite reasonable.
Of course, not everything about the Leaf Supreme Pro is perfect. Despite the flat design, it’s quite large for an indoor antenna, which makes tucking it out of sight more difficult. The included power cable (for powering the amp) is short, which can further restrict placement. Finally, although the price is reasonable, you can get a very capable antenna for a lot less.
All that said, we still think this is the best overall HD TV antenna you can buy. Highly recommended.
#2: 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna
If you prefer to spend less money and still get a ton of channels, the 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna is a fantastic choice. This antenna packs everything you need to get local TV channels in a simplified and affordable package.
It’s much more compact than the Mohu Leaf, which helps keep it hidden out of sight. It’s also amplified, which helps ensure solid reception. Compared to our top pick, the 1byone antenna offers comparable channel reception but a bit less range (50 miles). Overall reception may be less consistent and clear. That said, it’s also less than half the price and should be more than capable for most users.
#3: Winegard FlatWave Amped Pro
Those who don’t mind spending a little more to get better performance should look at the Winegard FlatWave Amped Pro. This indoor antenna manages to be both compact and powerful, combining the best parts of our first two picks.
The FlatWave Amped Pro is (obviously) amplified and also features a Bluetooth-enabled signal meter that connects to a smartphone app. This lets you quickly and easily find the best spot in your home to mount the antenna for maximum signal strength. This can make a big difference in the number of channels you get.
The antenna is also specifically designed to reduce noise and increase reception and clarity. The Winegard FlatWave Amped Pro is a bit pricey compared to the Mohu Leaf or 1byone antennas, but if you want the clearest picture, you won’t be disappointed with this indoor antenna.
#4. Winegard Elite 7550
Finally, if you don’t mind mounting your antenna outside, the Winegard Elite 7550 is a powerhouse of an antenna. It’s an outdoor antenna, as opposed to the others on the list. As such, it offers outstanding reception with good range and the ability to pull in a large number of channels.
There are two main disadvantages with this antenna. First, since it’s an outdoor antenna, it needs to be mounted somewhere, typically on a roof or on the side of a home—obviously, this won’t be for everyone. The second is that it’s expensive—twice the cost of our top pick. However, the Winegard Elite 7550 the way to go if you want maximum signal strength.
What to consider when choosing a TV antenna
Let’s dive into the different antenna types and some of the optional features you might want to consider.
Price is a consideration in any purchase. It was not the main criteria we used to rank our choices, but we did take it into account. After all, we’ve all had the experience of spending more to get what we thought would be a nice product and then wondering what exactly we paid for. TV antennas can range in price from as little as $20 to well over $100.
An antenna’s range is important—it correlates directly to signal strength, which in turn impacts the number of channels you can receive and the quality of the programming (a weak signal makes for a poor picture, in other words). Size has an impact on antenna range—a bigger receiving surface usually means a longer range (though this isn’t the only factor).
Range is typically advertised when purchasing an antenna. Signal amplification, covered below, can also have an impact on range. Amplified antennas may include that extra boost in their advertised range. A typical range is 40–80 miles, although some antennas can far exceed these distances.
Indoor vs. outdoor
A large consideration for antenna purchases is whether you want to mount your antenna indoors or outdoors. This choice is important—outdoor antennas are more rugged and designed to handle poor weather, but they’re often more expensive than their indoor counterparts.
The advantage of outdoor antennas is that you can potentially get stronger signal reception—outdoor models aren’t as concerned about sleekness, and the signal doesn’t have to pass through walls. However, this comes at the cost of needing to mount something to your roof, which isn’t always possible (or desirable).
Indoor antennas, on the other hand, tend to be slim and sleek and can be hidden away easily. Many are designed to tuck right behind your TV. Indoor antennas can be more affordable than outdoor options, but not always. It really depends on the specific antenna.
Directional vs. omni-directional
HDTV antennas can also be divided into directional and omni-directional variants. Directional antennas are designed to pick up a signal from one direction. Omni-directional antennas, as the name implies, pick up signals from all directions.
The majority of popular antennas are directional. Omni-directional options tend to be more expensive and bulkier than directional antennas, even when comparing outdoor options. The range is also typically shorter. Omni-directional antennas are easy to spot—they almost universally look like UFOs.
The main advantage of using an omni-directional antenna is that you don’t need to know where the broadcast tower is. You also don’t need to worry as much about an unobstructed line of sight. In practice, however, this is less of an issue than you might think. Omni-directional antennas are okay if they meet your other needs, but we wouldn’t go out of our way to specifically purchase one.
The last feature to consider is signal amplification. Many antennas have a built-in amp to boost the signal, so weak reception is less of a problem. The main con of signal amplification is that it requires power, whereas non-amplified antennas don’t. This can make them a little less convenient because you need to set them up near enough to an outlet for the power cord to reach.
On the other hand, it can be worth it if you struggle with reception. For example, if you live far from any of the local broadcast antennas, a signal amplifier can help compensate.
UHF and VHF reception
Something that you’ll sometimes see advertised on antennas is a UHF or VHF designation. This refers to the frequency of the signal received and can impact the channels you’re able to pick up. The long and short of it is that you want an antenna that supports both of these frequency ranges in order to ensure that you get a full range of channels.
Pick up a better signal with the best antennas
If you want to pick up free broadcast TV, you need a great antenna. The Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro is our pick for the best TV antenna on the market. It offers excellent reception and clarity for a reasonable price. Other solid choices include the 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna, the Winegard FlatWave Amped Pro, and the Winegard Elite 7550.
If you’re looking for ways to access TV for free, check out our complete guide on how to get it.
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Dave Schafer is a freelance writer with a passion for making technical concepts easy for anyone to understand. He’s been covering the world of gadgets, tech, and the internet for over 8 years, with a particular focus on TV and internet service providers. When he’s not writing, Dave can be found playing guitar or camping with his family and golden retriever, Rosie.
Bri Field has a background in academia, research writing, and brand marketing. She has edited scientific publications, conference papers, digital content, and technical communications. As Assigning Editor, she enjoys ensuring all content is accurate, clear, and helpful. In her free time, you can find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, out on a hike, or working through her massive TBR list.