Are you currently aiming to finally be a cord cutter and finally say goodbye to the hefty cable or satellite TV bills? Then you have mainly two options: subscribing to an online TV streaming service or getting a TV antenna to get OTA (over-the-air) FREE TV.
Of course, you can also combine the two to get an even better experience – which is highly recommended.
In getting a TV antenna, however, we also have two different options: indoor and outdoor.
The general rule of thumb is, where the installation is possible, an outdoor TV antenna is always the better option for receiving OTA TV signals, and you might want to check out our previous guide for the best outdoor TV antennas.
However, if installing an outdoor antenna is simply not an option (i.e. if you live in big cities or apartments), then today’s modern indoor antenna can still be a viable option.
They are more powerful and reliable than ever before, and we can easily fit it in any room without eating too much space.
In this guide, we will review the very best indoor HDTV antennas available right now based on our tests of various different products available in the market today.
Best Indoor HDTV Antennas
#1. Winegard FL5500A FlatWave Amped
- 50-mile long-range multi-directional indoor amplified TV antenna
- Ultra-low noise with only 1db noise compared to more 3db or more noise levels from its competitors
- Multi-directional amplified HDTV antenna, delivering 50 miles range in both directions (so twice the coverage)
- 4K and ATSC 3.0 ready
- Receives VHF and UHF signals
- Embedded ultra low noise digital amplifier
Pros and Cons
- Strong reception with 50-mile reception range
- Clear picture quality due to its low 1db average noise
- Can be powered with your electrical output and your TV’s USB port
- 4K ready and ATSC 3.0 ready, so a great long-term investment
- Not the best looking, aesthetics wise
- Can’t receive clear signals when there are obvious obstructions
#2. Free Signal TV Marathon Indoor Antenna
- 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 performance drop
- Excellent customer service reputation
- One of the most reliable performance for high range
- Slightly heavy
#3. EpicDev Amplified Indoor TV Antenna
- 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 250+ miles
- Slim design with a black color tone can complement most home decors
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to install
- 16.4-feet coaxial cable for more versatility in placements
- Our tests showed some noise (interference) on long-range setting
#4. GE UltraPro HD Amplified TV Antenna
- Unique design that can hover above the TV, allowing more mounting options to optimize signal reception
- Superior reception for both UHF and VHF signals, receiving uncompressed 1080p signal
- Pure Amp Technology increases signal strength and reduces dropouts
- 55-mile reception range
- Versatile and can be placed anywhere in your home
Pros and Cons
- Built-in signal finder, easy to find OTA signals
- Inline signal amplifier allowing a 55-mile reception range
- Lightweight and compact design
- Great UHF reception
- Unique design can be mounted above your TV
- VHF reception not very reliable (despite the manufacturer’s claim)
- Average overall performance
#5. Aurturco [Upgraded] 200-mile Indoor Antenna
- Can receive OTA signal channels within a 200-mile range, featuring an amplified signal booster. Receives free HD channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision, and more.
- Extra-long 16.5ft coaxial cable, you can place the smart TV antenna where the signal is stronger
- Detachable amplifier, you can either connect or not connect the HDTV antenna amplifier
- 100% lifetime warranty with 24/7 technical support
Pros and Cons
- Pretty affordable for an amplified indoor antenna
- Detachable booster amplifier, so you can choose to disconnect the amplifier when necessary
- Easy to setup
- Versatile with an extra-long 16.5ft coax cable
- Pre-taped two circular dots for easier placement
- Some users complaint about low reception quality in bad weather
- We were not able to pull in any signals from greater than 60 miles away
- The included cable is not detachable, so you can’t replace it with a longer one
#6. GE Ultra Edge Indoor HD Antenna
- 35-mile reception range from broadcast towers, receives OTA signals for CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision, and more
- Reversible, black/white sides to match your decoration, can be painted over
- 1080p HD support
- Multi-directional and reversible signal receiving, don’t need any pointing
- 10-foot coaxial cable
- 30-day no questions asked return and refund policy
Pros and Cons
- Affordable price, but pretty sturdy and durable
- 35-mile reception range, pretty decent for its price
- 30-day no questions asked return policy, not offered by its competitors
- A multi-directional signal receiving, so you don’t need to point it in any direction
- Excellent reception, very sensitive
- No signal amplifier, so not a good pick if you live too far from the broadcast tower
- Not the most powerful option
#7. 1byOne Indoor Amplified Digital HDTV Antenna
- 4K-ready, very reliable in receiving HDTV signals
- Built-in 4G LTE Filtration, resulting in a purer signal, lower noise, and clearer picture quality
- Smart boost technology, can grab more signals weakened by obstructions
- Ultra-thin and super lightweight, allowing more versatility in installation
- Easy plug-and-play setup
- 20-foot, premium coax cable included with 0.2-inch thickness to minimize signal loss and maximize durability
- 90-day full refund and 24-month warranty
Pros and Cons
- Can power via outlet or USB (from your TV) providing an additional option to power the antenna
- 20-foot coaxial cable for more versatility in placement
- Easy to install and set up
- 50 miles reception range
- Compact and ultra-lightweight
- Included sticky tabs are not reusable
- Non-detachable cable
#8. Chaowei Indoor Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna
- 120 miles reception range
- Supports 720p, 1080pi, 1080p/ATSC
- Supports VHF 174-240MHz, UHF 470-862MHz
- Slim design with high-performance reception, you
- Versatile, you can switch the amplifier to “short range” if your house is very close to the broadcast tower (below 35 miles)
- 16.5 foot coaxial cable
Pros and Cons
- Easy to install and setup
- Decent signal reception in the 120-mile range
- Great quality overall, sturdy and durable
- Slim, compact design
- 16.5 foot coax cable included
- Some people have reported issues with consistent signal
Indoor HDTV Antenna Buying Guide
Below, we will discuss four key factors to consider when planning to get an indoor HDTV antenna:
Indoor vs Outdoor Antennas
The main difference between the two HDTV antenna types is size. Indoor antennas are generally small, lightweight, and easier to install. On the other hand, outdoor antennas are significantly larger and heavier and are designed for attic or roof mounting.
However, most outdoor antennas will outperform even the best indoor antennas in reliability, noise levels, reception range, and virtually all other aspects.
Indoor antennas also often suffer from height disadvantage: that is, their reception can be affected by even the movement of people in the house, and interference’s like thick walls, computer signals, and fluorescent lights can also affect their performance.
So, in general, outdoor HDTV antennas are always the better pick, provided you have space and budget (since they tend to be significantly more expensive). You might want to check out our previous guide on the best outdoor antennas here if you think installing your antenna outdoor is an option.
An indoor TV antenna, can still be a good solution if you can’t mount your antenna outdoor.
Also, if you live near the TV’s broadcast towers, you might not need the reception range of an outdoor antenna so an indoor HDTV antenna might be a more cost-efficient option.
Unidirectional VS Omnidirectional Antennas
A unidirectional antenna focuses its energy in just one (can be two) direction, and so will allow the signal’s bandwidth to be smaller and will cover a smaller overall area. However, it will increase the overall strength of the signal and the distance covered in that direction.
An indoor unidirectional antenna with 14dBi power can reach 2 miles indoors and 4 miles outdoors. However, they have to be pointed directly at the broadcast tower’s location and so the installation can be much more complex.
An omnidirectional antenna, on the other hand, emits and receives signals in a 360a-degree plane equally well in all directions. However, because the signal reception is not focused, the distance covered is relatively small to a unidirectional antenna.
For instance, an omnidirectional antenna with a 9DBi power can only reach up to 0.2 miles in all directions. However, since you don’t have to point it anywhere, an omnidirectional antenna is much easier to install and setup.
Amplified vs Non-Amplified Antennas
The key difference between the two types of antennas is the presence of a signal amplifier. An amplifier amplifies the incoming signal and so can overcome the size or height disadvantages of an indoor antenna. The amplifier might be built-in (integrated) to the antenna’s design, or can be a separate device that installs between the antenna and the TV unit.
So, an amplified antenna will have a longer reception range compared to a non-amplified one. However, obviously a non-amplified antenna tends to be more expensive. Also, the potential downside of an amplified antenna is that they also amplify the incoming noise along the with the HDTV signal, which can potentially make reception worse.
So, our advice is to only use an amplified antenna when you absolutely need to.
UHF VS VHF Antennas
OTA (Over The Air) TV signals come in two different frequency bands: VHF (Very High Frequency) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF). Frequencies between 54 MHz and 216 MHz are deemed as VHF, While UHF channels include frequencies between 470 MHz and 890 MHz, a much higher frequency range.
In the U.S., there are around 1,300 TV channels running UHF signals, and only around 500 run VHF signals (50 of them run low-band VHF). The VHF channel range is 2-13 (2-6 are low-band VHF and 7-13 are high-band VHF), while channels 14-51 are UHF channels.
So, in most cases, you’d want a UHF antenna, but if you want local channels that are below channel 13, you’d want a VHF/UHF antenna. It’s important to note that since VHF frequencies are lower (and so, longer wavelength), they will require a larger antenna to receive them.
Choosing the Best Indoor TV Antenna For Your Location
Choosing the best indoor TV antenna for you would ultimately depend on how far the TV broadcast towers are from your location.
For this purpose, you might want to check our TV Station Locator tool here, where you can simply enter your ZIP code and check what towers and stations are available in your area.
With this information, you can figure out whether you’d need an antenna with a longer reception range (possibly those with amplifiers) or not. So, you can make a more cost-effective choice.
Below is a video on how you can use our TV Station Locator tool.
TVFool is also a free, great tool to use for this purpose, with some advanced features. However, it might be a little difficult to use for beginners (and our site’s tool is much simpler to use).
How to Install Best Indoor HDTV Antennas: Tips and Tricks
Know Where To Install Your Antenna
Your antenna’s ideal position can be quite difficult to figure out, and you might need some trial and error run before you can ensure the best possible reception.
In general, here are some important principles when figuring out the ideal position for your antenna:
- The closer to the broadcast tower, the better: pretty obvious, you should aim to capture a direct signal rather than reflections (i.e. reflected off nearby houses). You can use our TV Station Locator tool here, as discussed above for this purpose.
- In a window: the portion of the antenna without the metal screen tends to work best if you decide to install the antenna in your window
- Behind the TV: some smaller antennas with strong enough reception can be hidden behind your TV. However, in most cases, it’s better to place the antenna near the top of the TV since electronics tend to be placed on the bottom of the TV.
- High on a wall: higher is usually better since the antenna can avoid more obstructions
The Higher, The Better
One of the things you’ll notice when you use our TV Station Locator tool here as well as other similar tools like AntennaWeb, TVFool, and others, is that they’ll ask you to input the height of your antenna. Why? Simply because it’s very important.
The higher your antenna is, the better and clearer your reception since it can avoid obstructions. This is also part of the reason why outdoor antennas perform better than indoor antennas because they are positioned higher on your roof.
With that being said, you should try to position your antenna as high as possible in the house (while keeping it as close to a window our outside-facing wall as possible).
This is why antennas that come with longer coaxial cable is preferred. However, keep in mind that long cables will translate to signal degradation. So, don’t use overly long cables.
Use Better Coaxial Cable
Some indoor HDTV antennas (including the ones we have reviewed above) offer detachable coax cable. So, you can replace the existing cable with a longer or better coax cable.
Most affordable indoor antennas come with RG59 cable (it should be printed on the cable itself). If that’s the case, consider switching to an RG6 cable. RG6 cables offer better insulation, better shielding, and a thicker conductor. So, RG6 cables are better at receiving higher UHF frequencies.
Since an RG6 coax cable is fairly affordable, don’t hesitate to ‘upgrade’.