What is the best antenna for me?

At Solid Signal, we’re asked that question dozens of times every day. You know what, it would be so great to write this article with one definitive answer. The truth is that the answer is different for different people. That’s why we offer a free service to recommend the right antenna just for you. There are so many factors to consider that there’s no one answer that fits everyone. Here are some of the things you should consider:

How far away are you from the broadcast towers?
This is probably the most important question. People in big cities may be only a few miles from a tower, while out in the “burbs” you might be 50 miles or more from the broadcast sites. The further away you are, the more likely it is that you’ll need a larger, outdoor antenna.

Do you need VHF?
About half of the US is still served by at least one VHF station. It may be a station you don’t care about (like a network you don’t watch) or there may be a UHF channel with some of the same programs. If you need to receive VHF signals, it’s more likely you’ll need one of the old-school antennas you see above.

What’s between you and the towers?
If you need to put an antenna inside, it’s not only being blocked by your walls but probably also the walls of your neighbors. On the other hand if you have the luxury of putting an antenna up 20 feet from the roof, the only worry you’ll have is a hill or mountain in front of you.

Do you need an amplifier?
Antenna amplifiers used to be a lot more popular than they are now. Digital signals tend to have a lower need for amplification except in very specific circumstances, so you may not need one. If your signals are far away and you can’t use a large antenna, or if you need to send the signal to multiple rooms, an amplifier might still be needed.

Does my homeowner’s association have anything to do with it?
Your homeowner’s association can force you to keep your antenna smaller than 39″x39″. They can’t force you not to put up an antenna in your private area, and if they do, you can fight it. If you do need a smaller antenna, you might consider one with a built-in amplifier to try to compensate for any problems you might have.

Of course, the easiest way to know what antenna you need is to call or e-mail Solid Signal, we’ll be happy to go through all your options! Or, just browse our selection of hundreds of options if you have some idea what you want.

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.