Can you put an antenna in the garage?

Sometimes, you have to improvise.

Cord-cutting has become a massive phenomenon in the last year or so. All over the country, people have started putting up antennas and saying goodbye to the cable company. Who can blame them, when there’s so much great stuff out there?

Unfortunately, not everyone can mount an antenna on the roof. Not everyone can make do with a small indoor antenna. What can you do if you need to improvise? I’ve recently been asked if it’s ok to put an antenna inside a garage.

Of course you can mount an antenna in the garage,just like you can mount an antenna in the attic if you want. There are just a few things you need to know.

You’ll lose about half the signal.

That’s right, bringing an antenna into the attic or garage cuts its ability to receive signals in half. That’s not as bad as it sounds, though. We call that a “3dB loss” and while you are losing about half the raw signal strength, you aren’t losing half the channels. As long as the signal is still strong enough to be detected, you’ll be fine. It may mean you need a larger antenna in order to get the same reception you’d get if you put something up on the roof.

You’ll have to be careful.

If you put an antenna in the garage, you’ll have to be careful to put it where it’s not going to get banged up or bumped into. It’s also important to make sure the antenna doesn’t get buried by all the other things you put in the garage. Everything you put in front of it will block the signal just a little bit more.

Aiming might be a challenge.

The biggest issue with putting an antenna in the attic is going to be aiming it. If you’re looking at a panel-style antenna like the HDB4X,  you’ll want to aim it at the towers. That may mean it sits away from the wall. If you put it up against the wall, you might miss some of those signals you want to get.

The best way to do it

The best way to put an antenna in the garage, in my opinion, is to mount a j-mount from the ceiling and suspend the antenna from it. This keeps it high in the rafters where it’s not likely to be covered up or jostled. This does mean it’s going to lose some signal due to the roofing material and you should definitely try some tests to see if that’s a problem before you mount permanently. Spanish tile roofs like the ones you find in 1980s and 1990s homes have a lot of iron in them which deflect antenna signals.

However, if it’s possible you should definitely mount an antenna as high up as it will go in the garage. This will let you aim it properly and keep it out of the hands of people and things that might bend the delicate elements.

One of the best antennas for attic or garage mounting is the HDB91X. It has a fairly low profile so it will not take up a lot of vertical space. It’s identical top to bottom so you can actually mount it upside down if you need to. And, of course, it’s very powerful to make up for the losses caused by having the antenna inside.

If you’re thinking of cutting the cord and need some advice, call the antenna experts at Solid Signal at 888-233-7563. They’ll help you choose the right one for almost any situation!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.