The 11 Best TV Antennas to Buy in 2018

Cut cords with cable and still get reception with these top antennas

photo from amazon

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If you have a cable subscription you may think TV antennas are a relic of the past, but did you know broadcast stations (CBS, ABC, PBS, NBC, FOX) continue to send out their TV signals for anyone to pick up — for free? All you need is an antenna. For cord-cutters — folks who have decided to ditch cable in favor of streaming and Internet-based media—antennas are increasingly popular because they deliver the few remaining advantages of cable TV over streaming media — namely, live television. If you’ve already cut the cord or are considering doing so, take a look at these antennas and make the transition with ease.

Most Popular: Winegard FlatWave FL-5000

When it comes to finding the perfect TV antenna for 21st century needs, there’s very little room for nuance and stylistic preference. Most people just want the darn thing to work, right? Well that’s exactly what makes the Winegard FlatWave FL-5000 such a competitive option for the best TV antenna for modern digital entertainment systems. Aside from boasting a simple but modest design, it offers some of the strongest signal reception you can find for the money. Specifically, it’s built to pick up signals from towers broadcasting 35 miles away. It comes with a 15-inch coaxial cable, allowing you to position the antenna from a variety of optimal locations. And there’s no assembly required — just plug it and and start searching for that optimal signal. The Winegard FlatWave shows some of the best performance for the category, and it only costs a little over $30. If you’re a cable-cutter looking to hold onto some of those broadcast stations, this is your best bet.

Runner-Up, Most Popular: RCA Ultra-Thin, Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

If you live in a remote area with poor broadcast signal reception, and you don't want to install an outdoor antenna—and, for whatever reason, the ​Wineguard FlatWave Amped is unavailable—then we would recommend picking up the RCA Ultra-Thin, Multi-Directional, Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna. Through the in-line signal amplifier with SmartBoost technology, this thing is designed to deliver a clear television signal from up to 60 miles out. It includes a 12-foot coaxial cable and can be found for around $60. The price tag and some so-so online reviews led us to believe the RCA is not as reliable of an antenna as the Winegard FlatWave Amped, but sometimes your options are limited—especially when you’re talking about antiquated broadcast technology. One of the good things about analog tech, however, is that its pretty much reached its limit—you don’t have to worry about anything being outmoded within a few years. Just plug it in and forget it.​​

Best Indoor Antenna for Areas w/Poor Reception: Winegard FlatWave Amped FL5500A

If you live in an area with poor signal reception but don’t have the will or means to install an outdoor antenna — and you want to spend as little money as possible — you should look into the Winegard FlatWave Amped FL5500A. This is more or less the same antenna as our top pick, only it includes a signal amplifier that broadens the reception range to 50 miles. This also increases the price tag by a few bucks.

The FlatWave Amped features Clear Circuit Technology, which helps cut out unwanted signal intrusions from cell phones and radio stations, ensuring an optimal broadcast signal at very long distances. It comes with an extra long 18.5-foot coaxial cable and a USB power supply, delivering a variety of connectivity options for your entertainment setup.

Best Long Range: ClearStream 2MAX UHF/VHF Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna

While the ClearStream 2MAX antenna is pricey compared to others on this list, the extra dollars take you a long way. Sixty miles, to be exact. Its unique, figure-eight design stands upright and has dipole antenna bars on the back to pull stations most other antennas won’t pick up, and its UHF and VHF multi-directional elements yield reliable HD reception in even rural areas. It can be positioned indoors or outdoors, plus, it’s a non-amplified antenna so it doesn’t have to sit near a power outlet.

The antenna comes with an indoor base stand and a 20-inch mount with pivoting foot, but it doesn’t come with the coaxial cable required to connect to your TV. How long of a cable you need will depend on your setup, but that cost will be fairly negligible.

Best Budget: HDTV Antenna, 1byone Indoor Amplified TV Antenna (50-Mile)

Not only is the 1byone indoor antenna one of the best budget antennas on the market, but it’s one of the best on Amazon, period. It’s super easy to set up (just connect the antenna to 'ANT IN' on the back of any HDTV and place it in an optimal position) and will score you all your local channels for free. The antenna is lightweight, so it can be hidden and hung easily, but it’s also white and sleek so that if you don’t tuck it away, it’s not obnoxiously obtrusive.

The antenna comes in four different models, ranging from 25 miles for $12.99 to 50 miles for $29.99, with 50 miles being the strongest and thus picking up the most channels. Not confident buying a budget product? It’s 30-day return policy and 12-month warranty should calm your worries.

Best Value: ClearStream Eclipse

The Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse balances numerous features, convenience, and a sleek, discrete design, all at a reasonable price. Its Sure Grip technology makes for easy installation on any flat service, including windows, and it comes with a 12-foot-long high-performance coaxial cable. Boasting full HD 1080 where available and a circular shape that makes it more capable at picking up UHG signals, its multidirectional element means that no aiming or adjusting is necessary. The antenna has both a black side and a white side to match your décor, and the surface can be painted to match your interior.

The ClearStream Eclipse can even be taken on the road, picking up signals within a 35-mile range of broadcast towers to stream live TV broadcasts to a smartphone or tablet. An option with a range of 50 miles is also available for those hoping to find more channels.

Best New Release: SKYTV Indoor Amplified Digital TV Antenna, 50-Mile Range

With more than 50 miles of range, the Skytv Digital TV Indoor Antenna offers terrific picture results up to 4K (most shows are 1080p). Once installed, Skytv offers access to free channels that include news, weather, sitcoms, kids programming and more. The aluminum foil material construction feels durable and sturdy (and it can potentially reach out beyond the promised 50-mile range, up to 60 miles). It will also filter out cellular and FM signals that could reduce image quality.

The included 13.2-foot coaxial cable makes it easy to place the Skytv against a window for the best possible signal and have enough cord length left over to go directly into a television. Support for channels such as ABC, NBC, FOX and PBS are available. Telemundo and Univision are also available for foreign language speakers who reside in a metropolitan area.

Best Outdoor Antenna for Areas with Poor Reception: Mohu Sky 60 TV Antenna

If your nearest broadcast tower is between 35 and 60 miles away, don’t panic — you can still capture those distant vestiges of urban civilization. You just need a signal amplifier. Most of these devices come equipped with the antenna; they’ll just cost you a bit more. If price is no concern, the Mohu Sky 60 TV Antenna is worth looking into. It delivers free broadcast television from a range of up to 60 miles — all of it boosted through an internal 15 dB amplifier. It features something called CleanPeak Filter technology, which filters out cellular and FM signals and limits noise. This provides a clearer picture, as well as access to free HD (1080p) channels. A note, however: this thing is intended for outdoor use. While you can install it in an attic and receive optimal signal, it is not exactly plug-and-play. It includes a 30-foot high performance cable, as well as dual power options: USB or power cube.

Best Design: Mohu Curve 30 TV Antenna

If you’re in the market for an indoor antenna but you want to make sure the thing won’t be an eyesore for you and your guests, consider the Mohu Curve. This thing offers an elegant, curved design that not only looks sleek and modern, but may actually help conserve space. The antenna offers signal reception of up to 30 miles. It also includes a 10-foot coaxial cable. Like any other modern TV antenna, it’s super easy to install: All you need to do is plug it in and begin searching for an ideal signal location. But, most importantly, this thing evokes the feel of a modern home, with a design that may even make guests wonder what it is. If you want, you can lie and tell them it’s a work of modern art.

Best HD: Mohu Leaf 30

Though it's barely bigger than a piece of paper, the Mohu Leaf 30 is a smart antenna solution for anyone who lives in an area with strong television signals. Manufactured by Mohu, one of the best-regarded names in the antenna space, the Mohu Leaf 30 is reversible to match black and white walls, as well paintable to match the decor of any home. Its paper-thin construction might seem flimsy at first, but you'll quickly discover the Leaf 30 features a quality build (and there's a one-year warranty to ensure added peace of mind).

Unlike a number of its competitors, the Mohu lacks distracting antenna parts that stick out like an eyesore, instead opting for a clean design that disappears into the background. Installation happens instantly by plugging the antenna into the back of the television with the included 10-foot cable. Fix the Mohu somewhere near a window and you'll begin receiving HD channels. With nearly 40 miles of range available, the Mohu picks up local news, weather, and kids programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision, and PBS — all in 1080p high definition.

Best Digital: Cshidworld HD Digital TV Antenna

Buoyed by an all-star range of 35 miles that can be pushed outward as far as 80 miles with the included amplifier, the Cshidworld HD digital TV antenna is a great buy. While the manufacturer isn’t a household name, the reviews speak for themselves as this digital antenna is a bonafide hit. Once connected to a television via a 13-foot coaxial cable, picking up the usual suspects like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and Univision is done quickly and with minimal user setup.

The thin design of the antenna doesn’t hinder signal reception though placing the Cshidworld near a window or anywhere that receives a strong signal is recommended for the best quality picture. The included signal amplifier adds its own cable to the existing coaxial cable to increase the range and signal reception to ensure that a high-quality picture lasts indefinitely. A lifetime warranty also guarantees top-notch performance. Whether it’s for kids cartoons or Sunday sports, the Cshidworld antenna is a smart digital option that does everything right.