What’s the downside to an omni antenna?

This Winegard Metrostar is a great little antenna. It can pull in signals from 25-30 miles away in every direction at once. It’s perfect for urban dwellers, because the closer you are to the broadcast towers, the more likely it is that you’ll need to point in several directions to get the stations you want.

But you have to ask yourself, if omnidirectional antennas are so good, why isn’t every antenna omnidirectional? It turns out there are a few good reasons.

Omni antennas get big (and heavy) fast.
Sure it’s great to have an antenna around two feet in size on your roof. It’s not so heavy and it works well. But, if you’re going to amp up the range, that antenna needs to get big, and fast. I don’t know for sure how the math works out but I could imagine a 60 mile antenna being 4 or 5 feet wide. In addition to probably being too heavy for the average antenna mast, that would also run afoul of most homeowner associations, making this antenna less desirably and hurting sales.

Omni antennas are prone to noise.
One nice thing about directional antennas is you can aim them to avoid any noisy interference. You can stop problems from signals that bounce off nearby hillsides and buildings from getting to your antenna. Obviously, omni antennas can’t be aimed so this doesn’t work. As you get a bigger and bigger antenna, sources of noise are received just as well as the signals you want, so this could create a real problem.

Omni antennas are expensive.
It’s actually harder to build an omni antenna so they tend to be more expensive. Would you pay $200 for a long-range omni antenna? Most people wouldn’t.

When it comes right down to it, an omni antenna is a great choice for some people but not really a good choice for everyone. That’s why you should choose the best antenna for your area, and if it’s not an omnidirectional one, point it properly for best results!

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.