When choosing your OTA TV antennas, we always have two options: directional and omnidirectional. In this article we will focus on omnidirectional TV antenna variety.
The main difference between the two is that a directional antenna must be pointed in the direction of the TV transmission tower, while an omnidirectional antenna can receive signals equally from all directions.
The trade-off is that typically a directional antenna can pull in signals from one direction better.
However, today’s omnidirectional antennas are getting better in the design and signal strength department, and they always have the ability to pull signals from more than one direction, eliminating the need for an antenna rotator.
In this buying guide, we will discuss all you need to know about omnidirectional TV antennas, as well as our review of the best omnidirectional TV antennas available in the market today.
What is the Best Omnidirectional TV Antenna?
Before we get to our complete list, we thought we’d share our top pick. Our #1 pick for the best omnidirectional antenna is the ANTOP UFO 720°Dual-Omni-Directional Outdoor HDTV Antenna.
This omnidirectional antenna is the only true 720-degree omnidirectional antenna based on our tests (meaning it is omnidirectional in both horizontal and vertical planes). This allows for very reliable reception in both the UHF and VHF frequencies with a true 65 mile range.
However, if you are still not sure whether the ANTOP UFO 720° is the right choice for you, below we have reviewed several other great options that may be a better fit.
Best Omnidirectional TV Antennas
- 9 x 12 x 3.4 inches
- 4 pounds
- 50+miles digital reception range, 360° Omnidirectional
- Compatible with all HDTVs and 4K TVs
- Designed for indoor or outdoor use (RV compatible)
- Easy installation
- Includes mounting bracket for wall-mounting, or mounting to a mast pole or existing satellite mount
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight at just 2.4 pounds
- Unique modern look
- Compact size, great for indoor installations or to use in your RV
- Sturdy, the base is made of powder-coated metal
- Doesn’t come with mounting screws or bolts
- 50 miles reception range might not be enough in some locations
- Omnidirectional antenna receives UHF and VHF signals from any direction
- Up to 55 miles reception range
- Built-in preamplifier boosts the signal right at the antenna, making up for the signal loss from splitters.
- Winegard’s Clear Circuit Technology offers the lowest noise (1dB average) to ensure less signal dropout and pixelation
- Discreet, minimalist, storm-resistant design. Wind-tunnel tested at 100 mph.
- Low-profile design, perfect for apartments, condos, and homeowner’s association neighborhoods
Pros and Cons
- Innovative low-profile design, easy to install, but suitable for apartments and condos
- Very reliable for UHF and VHF signals (slightly better for UHF)
- Great performance, can accept signals from up to 70 miles of range despite the advertised 55 miles range
- Sturdy, wind tunnel tested at more than 100 MPH
- Built-in 20 dB preamplifier with Clear Circuit (interference filter) technology
- Integrated Channel Finder software with App
- A lot of plastic materials used
- The screws on the middle antenna rods are rather flimsy
- 720° Dual Omni-directional reception for weak/moderate signal strength areas. No signal blind zone. Perfect for outdoor, attic, RV and marine used.
- Innovative, lightweight design emphasizing easy set up in under 5 minutes. Tools-free installation with minimum effort
- Built-in 4G LTE filter, shields against interference and blocks unwanted 3G and 4G wireless signals for stable performance.
- ANTOP Smart Pass technology, allowing easier adjustment between short and long-range reception. Intelligent switch can avoid signal overload
- UV-coated, weather-resistant exterior design combined with anti-interference internal tech. Protects signal reception to provide clear pictures and full channel capacity even during bad weather.
Pros and Cons
- Unique 720-degree dual omnidirectional design without any blind zone. Much better at receiving signals than other omnidirectional antennas
- Pretty compact, doesn’t require any room for installation
- Very easy installation, tools-free assembly
- Built-in 4G LTE filter, blocks unnecessary 3G and 4G wireless signals so you can enjoy better HDTV reception
- Weather-resistant design and UV coating, very reliable
- Included coax cable might not be long enough
- Build quality could be better
What is an Omnidirectional TV Antenna?
As the name omnidirectional antenna suggests, the antenna is designed to receive signals equally from all directions.
However, it’s worth noting that most omnidirectional antennas are only omnidirectional in the horizontal plane (North, South, East, and West), but can’t receive signals from above and below it.
Omnidirectional TV antennas are also called isotropic antennas because they emit the signal uniformly in all directions (isotropic means having the same value when measured in all different directions).
So, at the same distance from the antenna, the transmitted signal power will be the same when measured in any direction.
In a directional antenna, on the other hand, the signal strength at a specific distance is stronger in one or more directions than in other directions.
Omnidirectional TV antennas are easy to identify due to their more ‘vertical’ design.
They don’t need to be pointed in a certain direction, so don’t need the horizontal reflector and director we often see in directional antennas.
Do Omnidirectional Antennas Really Work?
In a word, Yes!
While it’s true that a directional antenna typically has better signal receptions than a comparable omnidirectional antenna, there are certain applications where an omnidirectional TV antenna would perform better than its directional counterpart:
- For vehicles on the move, for example on top of your RV or even if you are trying to receive OTA TV in your car.
- If you are unsure where the signal originates from, for example when you can’t access a TV station locator tool for one reason or another.
- You are trying to receive signals from more than one direction, so you don’t need to use an antenna rotator.
Pros and Cons
- Omnidirectional antennas are very easy to install since you don’t need to point them anywhere.
- Versatile, you can mount it upside-down from a ceiling when installing indoor, or attach the antenna to your TV.
- You don’t need to use a TV station detector tool or other ways to figure out the location of the nearest TV transmission tower.
- The area below the antenna wouldn’t have any coverage, which can be an issue when installing the antenna from a high point.
- Vertically polarized, so you can’t use cross-polarization to fight interference.
- While you can increase the gain so it can receive signals from further away, it will also receive more noise from all directions.