How long should a consumer cell booster last?

One of the less fun things about today’s culture is that tech stuff breaks pretty quickly. We know that we’ll want a new phone in two years or less, so we’re not too worried about the one we have getting beat up before that. We know the next TV will have great new features, so maybe we’ll hold onto this one for 5-7 years but probably not longer than that.

But what about a consumer cell booster? You’ll pay about $400 for one, so how long should it last?

There are a number of factors. The outdoor antennas, usually covered in plastic, can have issues after a few years of harsh UV exposure. The cables, often lower-grade than satellite, can decay as well. But often it’s the base unit that gives out. I’ve personally found that 4 years is about the sweet spot for a cellular booster. If you get 4 years before it starts getting flaky, you’re doing pretty well.

What do I mean by “flaky?” Sometimes your booster will sense an overload when there isn’t one and stop working. Sometimes it will just stop working. In most cases, unplugging and replugging tends to solve things but it’s a pain to do and it makes you a little paranoid. You want to set this thing up and forget it.

A lot of people are afraid to change out a cell booster because they think that the next big thing is just around the corner. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s boosters cover all five common cellular bands and there isn’t going to be another band opened up for several years, when the 600MHz band is moved from over-the-air TV to cellular. By then, the booster you buy today will probably need replacing anyway.