The 7 Best TV Antennas to Buy in 2017

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

Winegard FlatWave FL-5000
Photo from Amazon

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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