If you’ve decided to ditch cable or satellite service, you may want to consider investing in a reliable HDTV antenna for your home. A quality HD antenna can pick up over-the-air programming from popular networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, the CW, and a host of others for free — without the hassles or rental restrictions of an unwieldy outdoor antenna. And if you’re going to shop around, you’ll need some help finding the best indoor HDTV antennas on the block.
Not everyone lives in a neighborhood ripe for antenna viewing, however. Before you kiss cable goodbye, we recommend taking a look at TV Fool’s TV Signal Analysis tool, which offers in-depth analysis and simple color coding to rate the signal quality of stations in your area. If your neighborhood looks good to go with HD viewing opportunities, it may well be time to supplement your chosen streaming services with a top-notch antenna. We’ve combed through the sea of available models and found eight of the best — plus one outdoor antenna just in case — to help you bring crystal-clear HD programming straight to your TV.
Follow below to find the best HDTV antennas you can buy. And if you want to be able to save those broadcasts for later, don’t forget to peruse our favorite over-the-air DVRs as well.
Why you should buy this: It’s the highest-rated flat HD antenna, and it comes in various models to suit your specific needs.
Who’s it for: Those who don’t mind paying a little extra for the best.
How much will it cost: $40-$60
Why we picked the ClearStream Eclipse:
The ClearStream Eclipse is a powerful antenna, with top-rated performance when it comes to flat, multi-directional HD antennas. This is true of all four available Eclipse models, which come in estimated signal ranges, from 35 miles up to 70. The antenna is two sided — a black side and white side — to match your decor. The material is not only adhesive on both sides meaning no tape), but it also can be painted over, so it can easily become a discreet addition to any room. Even better, the multidirectional nature of the ClearStream Eclipse means it can be mounted virtually anywhere, and doesn’t require precise aiming to catch a signal. Unlike many indoor antennas, most of which use a square or rectangular design, the circular design of the ClearStream Eclipse is better at picking up UHF signals, which can be a struggle for many indoor antennas. Those specs make it a great choice for those ready to cut the cable, regardless of where you live, especially if you pair it with a streaming service like Sling TV.
We’re recommending the 35-mile-range model, which runs about $40, but if you live further out from a tower and need a wider range, the amplified models might be what you’re looking for. Keep in mind, however, that we’ve found amplifiers to have a minimal effect on signal reception.
The best flat antenna
Why you should buy this: The Winegard Flatwave, when in the optimal setting, is one of the best performing antennas on this list.
Who’s it for: Those in urban areas who want a light and simple antenna.
How much will it cost: $25-$55
Why we picked the Winegard Flatwave:
The Flatwave antenna from Winegard boasts some of the strongest performance of any antenna on our list, but you’ve got to mount in an area with minimal interference and a relatively direct line of site. Capable of receiving broadcasts from towers approximately 30 miles away (depending on the surrounding terrain), the Flatwave comes with a 15-foot coaxial cable, making it easy to install the antenna near the best possible signal reception area.
On of the most enticing aspects of the Flatwave is its simple and diminutive design. The antenna measures just 2/100 of an inch in thickness, making it incredibly inconspicuous no matter where you install it. However, should you live in a more remote area or need to mount it in a sub-optimal location, you may not get performance on par with what we experienced in our downtown Portland, OR office. (And if this is the case, fret not; we’ve got plenty more on this list to suit your needs.)
The best indoor/outdoor antenna
HD Frequency Cable Cutter Mini
Why you should buy this: Being metal, this antenna works well in virtually any environment.
Who’s it for: Those who want a more versatile antenna with a sturdier design than the competition.
How much will it cost: $30-$55
Why we picked the HD Frequency Cable Cutter Mini:
Frankly, we’ve been shocked by what this little antenna can do. It may not look like much more than just a few metal bars stuck together, but the HD Frequency Cable Cutter Mini is a very capable antenna, matching up with the best on our list. It’s super affordable, easy to hide behind a television, and it’s even suitable for outdoor use.
While the antenna’s metal design makes it a sturdy device, it’s also larger, heavier, and bulkier than most every other antenna listed here, so users will want to keep that in mind before pulling the trigger. If you live in the boonies, it may also be worthwhile to look into the larger $100 full-size version of the antenna, should you need something more suitable for long-distance signals.
The best budget antenna
Channel Master FLATenna
Why you should buy this: It’s cheap, small, and works nearly as well as pricier competitors.
Who’s it for: Those who want the cheapest, though still reliable, option available.
How much will it cost: $10
Why we picked the Channel Master FLATenna:
You likely cut your cable in order to save yourself some cash, so why not look for the cheapest (yet still reliable) option out there? Thankfully, one of the cheapest antennas around — the Channel master FLATenna — is a sturdy option for the budget-conscious user. While testing the FLATenna at our downtown office, it to routinely beat out older, more expensive antenna options. The FLATenna pulled in almost all of the available stations in our area (albeit from within 3 miles of the broadcast locations), and proved itself a worthy upgrade over traditional rabbit ear antennae. It’s small, simple, and will likely fit well in any setup thanks to its flat shape and all-black color. Plus, with that save cash, you could pick up a streaming device, or maybe subscribe to one of the numerous streaming services out there?
The best tiny antenna
Why you should buy this: The Leaf Metro is the smallest antenna of the bunch, but it’s no less capable of providing quality HDTV signals.
Who’s it for: City apartment dwellers who need something compact.
How much will it cost: $20
Why we picked the Leaf Metro:
Though admittedly weaker than Mohu’s larger Leaf antenna, the Leaf Metro antenna is the perfect fit for compact living spaces. Mohu designed the Leaf Metro for discreet installation in homes located close to broadcast towers, so those living in downtown or urban areas are most likely to get the best results from the Leaf Metro, which has a range of approximately 25 miles.
To compound the versatility enabled by its tiny size, the Leaf Metro antenna also comes in either black or white, or users have the ability to paint it to match their interior. Plus, its adhesive coating means it’ll stick to most any surface and can be moved to other locations with ease. An included 10-foot coaxial cable allows for fairly flexible installation.
The best free-standing antenna
Why you should buy this: The Mohu Curve can hide in plain sight while it tunes into HDTV signals.
Who’s it for: Those as concerned about decor as performance.
How much will it cost: $30-80
If inconspicuous and discreet locations are at a premium in your residence, then you might as well opt for a good-looking antenna. Enter Mohu’s Curve lineup, which look as good as they perform. This free-standing antenna can sit on tables, entertainment centers, or on shelves without drawing much attention. The curved design is simple and attractive, and the fact that the antenna doesn’t require mounting means it can be moved to wherever the signal comes in the best. With performance similar to Mohu’s Leaf, the Curve model comes in either a 30-mile range edition, or a 50-mile amplified option. An included 10-foot coaxial cable aids in placement flexibility. Throw in an OTA DVR, and you’re likely to question why you ever paid for cable in the first place.
The best green antenna
Why you should buy this: You care about the environmental impact of your purchases, or are looking for a future-proofed product.
Who’s it for: The eco-minded cord cutter looking toward the future.
How much will it cost: $35
Why we picked the Winegard Flatwave:
This eco-friendly antenna is unlike most other antennas on this list. Instead of metal or plastic, it’s made from recycled, “post consumer” cardboard and chlorine free colors, as is the packaging it comes in. It’s also devoid of any extra paper instructions, which are instead printed on the packaging to eliminate excess paper waste. The cables and minimal plastic components are made with Mohu’s “MohuGrind” plastic, composed of crushed and ground up recycled cable boxes (take that, cable companies). Just to go the extra mile, all of these components are crafted using renewable energy.
In addition, the Mohu Releaf is the only 4K-ready antenna on our list. Despite there not being any 4K signals to pick up at this point, the Releaf has been future proofed, so once 4K signals are flying through the air, this antenna will be ready. You can count it among the list of other places to watch 4K content, including entry-level 4K streaming devices like Chromecast Ultra.
The best amplified antenna
Why you should buy this: The Flatwave Amped has the best signal amplification we’ve tested.
Who’s it for: Those who live in farther out or heavily obstructed locations.
How much will it cost: $55-$60
Why we picked the Flatwave Amped:
While we’ve found amplifying or “boosting” HDTV signals to have varying degrees of success (these amps are best in cases where the signal must run over long lengths of coaxial cable) the Flatwave Amped is the most powerful indoor antenna on our list. Winegard’s claims the Flatwave can pull in broadcasts from as far away as 50 miles, making it ideal for those living in smaller communities far from local broadcasts.
Further, the antenna’s 18-foot coaxial cable is the longest of any on our list, allowing for placement in the best possible location in your home. The Flatwave Amped also features a razor-thin design — like the standard Flatwave — making it both functional and discreet.
The best outdoor antenna
Why you should buy this: Your home falls outside the reception range of the best indoor antenna on our list.
Who’s it for: Those for whom an inside antenna simply won’t cut it.
How much will it cost: $117-$150
Why we picked the Mohu Sky60:
For most users, an indoor HDTV antenna will nab the channels you desire, as long as you live in a decent broadcast area. However, there are times when only an outdoor antenna will do the job. With a reception range of approximately 60 miles (sometimes more depending on your location), the Sky60 provides incredible performance and impressive signal quality, thanks in part to its FM and cell-signal filters. With its precision low loss cable that stretches 30 feet, and intuitive mounting bracket, this model installs easily either on a rooftop, an upstairs attic, or in a tree. It’s also smaller and lighter than many outdoor models of the past, making it easy to find the proper location for mounting. Users also have the ability to power the Sky60’s amp using either a USB connection or the provided power cube. With an outdoor antenna, you’ll have one less device to worry about in your home theater, opening up the possibility to fill that space with a new TV.