What is a weather boot and why do you need one?

A weather boot is a little bit of rubber that slides over your cables or connectors. It doesn’t make them completely weatherproof, but it does keep the majority of water away. It’s totally unnecessary inside, unless you’re running your cables through a swimming pool or cold water line or something. But, it’s really critical outside unless you live in Death Valley where it never rains.

How does a weather boot work?

In parts oonesf the country that aren’t total deserts, rain and snow are the most destructive forces to hit your outdoor electronics on a daily basis. The rain and snow themselves aren’t so terrible but the water they leave behind can be lethal. Water makes it easier for metals to oxidize — everyone who’s seen a rusty bicycle outside knows how destructive rust can be, and rust is just a form of oxidation. When metals combine with oxygen, they form new compounds that are generally weaker and conduct electricity less well. This is especially true with copper, the primary conductor of signal from your antenna and satellite systems. Copper oxide is a fairly poor conductor so avoiding it is very important.

That’s where a weather boot comes in. The most important thing it does is keeping water away from the little gaps and cracks in the cable and connector. The water that’s on the outside generally dries quickly but the water on the inside takes a much longer time to dry. The more time a surface stays wet, the more it’s going to oxidize, and the more it oxidizes the less effective it gets. It’s simple as that.

How do you get weather boots?

Generally, weather boots come attached to all equipment designed for outside use. Larger connectors use more expensive, specialized ones, and those ones are sold separately. It’s easy to tell what equipment is actually designed for outdoor use, because it generally comes with a weather boot.

All weather boots for home use tend to be interchangeable. That’s because almost all home equipment uses RG-6 cable, and that means the cable will be very close to the same diameter. The same is true with the weather boots used on the connectors. You can take a weather boot off one connector and it will generally work on another one. You can also take weather boots off things if you’re not going to use them outdoors. This can make installation easier.

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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.