When deciding on an OTA TV antenna, you generally have two different options: indoor or outdoor. The general rule of thumb is, an outdoor TV antenna is always the better option for receiving OTA TV signals.
If an outdoor antenna installation is an option for you, then we recommend you checkout out our previous guide for the best outdoor TV antennas.
However, if installing an outdoor antenna is simply not an option, then you may want to consider installing your antenna in your attic to maximize the elevation.
In this guide, we will review 10 of the best attic antennas right now based on our tests of top products available in the market today.
Can You Put a TV Antenna in Your Attic?
The answer is yes.
While it’s true that an outdoor antenna is always going to be better in most cases, it may not be the best option for you.
Committing to an outdoor antenna installation is typically more expensive, esthetically unpleasing to the eye, and is generally more difficult to install.
However, getting you antenna installed as high as possible is going to give you the best chance of receiving optimal signals, which is why you may be considering your attic space.
Higher elevations allow the antenna to avoid obstacles like your neighbor’s walls, tall trees and other obstructions that prevent you from getting a direct line on the TV broadcast towers.
With that being said, installing a TV antenna in your attic can be a great midway option to have your antenna as high as possible without needing to climb up on your roof.
This will eliminate the need to put holes in your roof (if rooftop mounting), adding an unsightly object to it, and placing what amounts to a lightning rod on top of your house.
So, the question remains, is setting up an antenna in your attic that much better then just placing it near your set-top in your living room?
While the answer might vary depending on your specific scenario, I decided to put it to the test with an XFTREE Digital Indoor TV Antenna.
How I Tested My Antenna Signal Strength
I first installed the XFTREE in my basement, and to my surprise the antenna actually performed pretty well: it averaged around 55% strength for local ABC affiliates in my area and around 70% for all other major networks in my area.
Then I placed the XFTREE on my main level and to no surprise the signal quality and strength improved. I averaged about 70% strength for local ABC affiliates and approximately 85% for all other major networks.
Finally, I installed the antenna in my attic, and the results were undeniable. I averaged close to 95% antenna strength for the major networks and around 90% strength for ABC affiliates.
So, does installing an antenna in your attic improve signal strength and reception quality? The short answer is yes.
I can confidently confirm that placing a TV antenna in your attic can improve your signal reception dramatically, but there are also other benefits, as we will discuss below.
Benefits of Installing a TV Antenna in Your Attic?
To answer this question, we need to break it down into two distinct cases:
- Case 1: The benefits of installing a TV antenna in your attic compared to installing it in a lower area of your home.
- Case 2: The benefits of installing a TV antenna in your attic compared to installing it outdoors.
As stated above, as a general rule of thumb it is better to install your antenna as high as possible – the higher the elevation, the better.
So it stands to reason, and as we proved during our own testing, that installing an antenna in your attic will provide better reception than installing it on the ground floor or your basement.
However, what about the benefits of mounting a TV antenna in your attic over installing an outdoor antenna? In general, there are three main points to consider:
- It just looks better: it’s no secret that placing an antenna on your or along the side of your house is not the most esthetically pleasing scenario. So without a doubt, installing an antenna in your attic is the clear winner here.
- Cost-saving: it’s cheaper to install your antenna in your attic (since it’s still an indoor installation), and you’ll also save more money from potential repair and maintenance costs as compared to outdoor installations.
- Easier Installation: you don’t need to climb up on your roof, put holes in your house, figure out robust mounting that will stand up to the elements. And perhaps the most important aspect, proper grounding so that your antenna doesn’t become a large lightning rod.
Drawbacks of Installing a TV Antenna in Your Attic?
Similar to before, we also have to consider two different conditions here as well:
- Case 1: Attic Antenna Installation vs Regular Indoor Antenna Installation.
- Case 2: Attic Antenna Installation vs Outdoor Antenna Installation.
Case 1: Attic Antenna Installation vs Indoor Installation
The main drawback here is that you’ll need to run long cables from your TV/splitter to the antenna as opposed to, for example, a set-top box installation where the antenna is placed near the TV.
The longer cable run can potentially create various issues like signal degradation, and you might need to use a pre-amplifier to help offset this issue.
Attic Antenna Installation vs Outdoor Installation
Installing a TV antenna in your attic, however, can have several drawbacks compared to an outdoor installation, including:
Your house’s materials
Most attics are typically equipped with insulation or metallic materials to protect your house from heat and cold, for example by using a reflective radiant barrier to reflect heat.
However, these materials can also block and reflect TV signals, and in such cases, you might not be able to get clear reception in your attic.
Also, some houses might have particularly thick walls and roofs, which may reduce your reception as high as 50%. A brick wall, for example, is a common culprit for signal loss.
Another common issue is that you might not have a very spacious area in your attic to store your antenna. Most attics tend to have low ceilings, so you can’t use taller antennas and might limit your options.
Also, when installing the antenna in a limited space (even if you do have space), you might have difficulties in aiming the antenna in the optimal direction.
Your neighbor’s roofs
If you live in a relatively cramped residential area, your neighbor’s rooftops can also block or reflect your signal reception. This is especially a big issue if your neighbor’s roofs are taller than yours.
How to Install a TV Antenna in Your Attic?
While different antennas from different manufacturer’s might require different installation methods, below we’ll discuss the general rundown of installing an antenna in your attic that can be applied to most antenna models.
First things first, the best way to run the cable from your attic to the TV is through your walls.
If it’s possible in your house, you should definitely do it. If it’s not possible to run your cable through the walls, then you might want to check your local regulations and code to figure out your best (legal) options.
Step 1: Get The Right Antenna
Fairly obvious, but you’ll first need to pick the right antenna to install on your attic depending on your situations (i.e. range from your nearest TV tower, insulation of your walls, neighbors’ roofs, etc.).
Follow our review section further below to help you choose the best antenna for your attic according to your exact needs.
Step 2: Survey Your Attic
Next, go to your attic and evaluate the situation.
- Check the size of your attic’s door. If it’s too small, you might not be able to get a bigger antenna even if you have enough space in the attic.
- There are a few potential solutions to this: one, make your attic opening larger (not ideal), two, assemble the antenna in your attic (can be cumbersome), three, choose a more compact antenna design as reviewed below.
- Of course, also check the space available in your attic, including ceiling height.
- Measure the thickness of the wall, the material of the insulation, and other factors that might affect antenna reception.
- Check whether there’s any old wiring, you might want an expert to check this if necessary.
- Check for signs or animals/infestations. Get help from an expert ASAP.
When surveying your attic, make sure to wear appropriate clothing (long-sleeved shirts and long pants, gloves), wear a respirator or at least a mask to protect yourself from fiberglass dust. If available, wear safety glasses.
Step 3: Installing the TV Antenna
Ensure your antenna points in the direction of the TV transmission tower. Visit our TV station locator tool page to help you with this.
Aim your antenna in the direction provided by the locator tool, and ensure it’s properly secured so it won’t shift positions and direction.
If the antenna comes with some mounting hardware, then you can use it right away, or alternatively, you might want to buy separate mounting hardware.
Step 4: Run the Cable
As discussed above, the most ideal way to run your cable is to snake the cable through your walls until it reaches your TV or your splitter.
Alternatively, you can drill a hole through your attic’s wall, then drop the cable down on the outside of the house (check your local code if this is allowed).
Another option that’s a bit more difficult is to run your cable alongside your furnace flue, but we’d recommend hiring a professional to do this.
Longer cable runs, sub-quality cabling, and poor termination can be the culprit of poor signal quality.
If you think your cable run is going to be long (i.e. above 50 feet), then you might want to consider a pre-amplifier to strengthen your antenna’s reception signal before it runs through the cable.
The article linked here will tell you everything you need to know about distribution amplifiers and pre-amplifiers.
Step 5: Configure Your TV
After you’ve properly installed everything, now you can check your TV to see if it’s working properly. Run a channel finder/scan and check the reception.
Voila! Your attic TV antenna is ready.
With that, it is time to reveal our top picks for antenna attic installations that will suit most any scenario.
Top 10 Best Attic Antennas (Our Top Picks)
- Affordable amplified indoor antenna with advanced Smart Boost technology to optimize the best signal transmission.
- Superb distance reception, can receive from 130+miles range.
- Protection against interference with other signals to maximize signal reception
- Extra-long 17ft coax cable for extra versatility
- Simple finger switch to select an appropriate mode to find more channels
- Black classic and trendy design to match your decoration
Pros and Cons
- A relatively affordable option that offers an amplified signal booster
- Impressive reception range, can receive from 130+ miles
- Slim design with a black color tone can complement most home decors
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to install
- 17-feet coaxial cable for more versatility in placements
- Some noise on long-range setting
- Issues with signals
- 720 degrees reception due to Omni-directional design of antenna
- Receives FM radio/VHF/UHF signals from 60 miles of range
- Built-in 3G/4G Filter to mitigate interference
- No tools required for assembly, easy to install
- Very stylish, nice looking design
- Anti-UV coating of antenna protects the surface from the sun
- Totally enclosed, making waterproof and sealed from the elements
- Detachable high gain Amplifier included
- It’s an omni-directional antenna so it can receive signals from all directions
- Comes with mounting assembly and high gain amplifier
- Easy installation for your attic, just bolt to any stud
- Our tests show it can’t receive signals as well as a directional antenna
- It is designed for outside so there is added cost in the enclosure and UV protection
- 75-mile reception range
- Clean Peak Filter technology, filters out cellular and FM signals resulting in lower noise and a clearer picture
- 30-feet coaxial cable included
- Dual powering options, USB or power cube
- UHF/VHF support
Pros and Cons
- 30-foot detachable cable included
- Clear HDTV reception
- One-year warranty
- High-quality, durable build
- For its price, the 75-mile reception range is relatively short
- Rather awkward design
- Newly developed circuitry for improved reception and overall performance
- Advanced dual-leg amplification with powerful 40 dB gain coupled with ultra-low-noise levels
- Advanced mid-band notch filters
- Marathon Bi-Directional whole-house antenna platform with a lifetime replacement guarantee
- Connect up to 6 TVs
- Can use existing coaxial wiring
Pros and Cons
- Powerful 100-mile reception range with amplifier
- Indoor/outdoor placement capabilities
- Can be mounted at any height level without any perfomance dro[
- Excellent customer service reputation
- One of the most reliable performance for high range
- Slightly heavy
- Plastic design not very durable
- Can be used indoor and outdoor, excellent for attic installation
- 60-mile reception range, and one of the best performance among all antennas in this category
- Receive free TV from networks like NBC, Fox, CW, PBS, ABC, CBS Univision in 1080p/4K
- 30ft coax cable included
- 20-inch mount, all-weather mounting hardware
- Lifetime warranty on spare parts
Pros and Cons
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Superior performance for 60-mile reception range
- Designed for clear reception by combating obstacles found in suburban and rural areas
- No rotation or adjustment necessary
- Pretty large to use indoors
- Relatively expensive as an indoor/outdoor antenna
- Reach up to 60 miles from the broadcast signal
- Receiving uncompressed Full 1080p signal
- 4K UltraHD Ready
- Includes: step by step instructions, mounting bracket, and antenna mast
- Increases the signal strength
- Reduced signal dropouts
Pros and Cons
- 4K-ready, great long-term investment
- Compact design, perfect for attic installation
- Easy set-up and easy mounting options
- The curved signal reflectors enhance weaker signals
- Unattractive design
- Directional, won’t be the best option to receive signals from multiple directions
- 45 miles reception range
- Outdoor, unidirectional antenna
- UHF/VHF frequency, channels 7-13 with 174-216 MHz frequency range, channels 14-36 with 470-608 MHz frequency range
- 7 lbs, 65″ L x 35″ W x 13″ H
- 90-day limited warranty
Pros and Cons
- Great unidirectional design, can receive high VHF and UHF frequencies
- Reliable in receiving up to 1080p signals and 4K-ready
- Pretty decent in terms of weight and size as an outdoor antenna
- E-coat finishing for better protection against bad weathers
- 45-mile effective range with extra clear signal reception
- Easy assembly and installation
- This is a bulkier antenna
- May be awkward or difficult to mount in your attic
- Best performance among all antennas rated in the 70 Mile category
- Multi-directional elements deliver range and reception in less than ideal locations
- Includes antenna unit, 20-inch mount, all-weather mounting hardware, and instructions (coaxial cable sold separately)
- Lifetime warranty on parts
Pros and Cons
- Great reception for both UHV and VHF-High signals for medium strength
- Sturdy and durable mount, you can easily mount outdoor if necessary
- Multi-directional reception for areas with several transmitters located separately
- No built-in amplifier, not as some others on the list (below) at receiving weak signals
- Bowtie design with 8-bay, outstanding gain of 12 dB
- Built-in 75 ohm PC balun for reducing impedance
- Multi-Directional (180 Degree Reception Span) with 80+ Mile Range
- Compact size for easy installation, including for attic installation
- Comes pre-assembled with mounting Hardware and an installation Guide (mast and coax cable sold separately)
Pros and Cons
- Optimized for reception of UHF frequencies
- Sturdy, weatherproof design
- High antenna gain (~12 dB)
- Comes pre-assembled for easy set-up
- No reception of low VHF frequencies (RF channels 2-6)
- Relatively expensive
- 70+ mile range 8-element bowtie includes special brackets to turn both antenna panels [note- location and obstructions affect reception] US channels 14 – 69
- Multi-purpose arrangement provides flexibility and easy installation in areas with stations in different directions
- The beam angle is 24.5 degrees at 470 MHz to 16.3 degrees at 698 MHz range is 70 miles
- Includes DB8e Antenna all-weather mounting hardware and instructions (mount and coaxial cable sold separately)
- Lifetime warranty on parts
Pros and Cons
- Very reliable reception of weak signals
- Broad reception of UHF signals
- Can be pointed in two different directions for versatility and precision
- Very easy to assemble
- Doesn’t need a preamplifier in most situations
- Relatively large, require a strong mount
- Can’t receive VHF signals (need an additional element to receive VHF)
All 10 of the best attic antennas we have reviewed above are a great choice.
However, each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. So, choosing the absolute best among them is going to depend on your particular needs.
However, for the sake of this buying guide, our choice goes to:
It’s not the cheapest option, but a very high-quality option with an excellent set of features. Multi-directional with a hybrid bowtie design that allows optimal high-quality signal reception.
If you don’t mind spending the money, any of our top 3 options will be a solid choice.