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Best Outdoor TV Antenna for Local Channels to Save Costs

by Ledmond Team

In searching for the best outdoor TV Antenna for local channels, most people ask themselves, “What is the best antenna for free TV?”. After all, a primary motivation behind this cord-cutting phenomenon is to cut cable costs and save a few hundred dollars each month. With an outdoor TV antenna, you get to watch your favorite shows on local stations, yet you incurred a one-time purchase and installation cost. Plus, with TV antennas, you will not have to pay for channels you don’t actually watch, as it often happens with cable TV.

Before choosing your outdoor wireless TV antenna, consider your location. First, the HOA laws in your location may not allow you to have an outdoor antenna. Second, your location will determine the distance from broadcast towers as well as signal obstructions or interferences you may have to consider. This will determine your signal strength and picture quality, which will subsequently decide the type, size, and height of your outdoor antenna. We have a few options here for you to consider. 

Best Outdoor TV Antenna for Local Channels

Best Overall: RCA Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF signals
  • 80-mile reception range
  • Multi-directional
  • Full HD and 4K UHD ready
  • 16-foot coaxial cable

Over 8,000 Amazon reviewers agree that the RCA Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna is the best outdoor HDTV Antenna. The best outdoor antenna has a spiral design that boosts weak signals and provides superior signal reception over an 80-mile range. 

This antenna will receive low-UHF, UHF, and VHF signals within that range and deliver them to your television in full HD. The RCA outdoor antenna is 4K UltraHD ready in anticipation of NextGen TV. This antenna is compact enough to fit your attic and durable enough so you can mount it outdoors. It also has its generous 16-foot coaxial cable that allows you that choice. 

It also comes with a mast, mounting bracket, and other mounting hardware, making installation easy. Further, with your purchase of this antenna, you get free access to the RCA Signal Finder App. This app will help you position your antenna perfectly to receive your favorite local channels in excellent HD. 

Best Budget: ViewTV Outdoor Amplified Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF signals
  • 150-mile reception range
  • 360° rotation
  • Full HD and 4K UHD ready
  • 40-foot coaxial cable

It is amazing the features you will get with the ViewTV Outdoor Amplified Antenna at its current price point. From as far away as 150 miles, you will receive both UHF and VHF signals in full HD. The remote offers increased viewing options. This is mainly because the antenna has a remote-controlled motor that turns the antenna 360° in either direction to keep wires from tangling. 

This gives you access to more broadcast towers and more of your favorite channels. The antenna also has a built-in low-noise and high-gain amplifier that ensures you have the clearest viewing experience. This HDTV antenna is built for the outdoors as it is lightning protected and made from durable plastic and anodized aluminum. 

For best results, you should mount the antenna at least 30 feet off the ground, and its 40-foot coaxial cable certainly ensures that. Along with the wireless rotator remote, you also get a control box that allows you to connect at least two TVs to this antenna. Assembly is quick and easy as long as you get your own mounting pole and ensure you have someone present for safety purposes.

Best Runner Up: Vansky Outdoor Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF signals
  • 150-mile reception range
  • 360° rotation
  • Full HD broadcast
  • 32.8-foot coaxial cable

Based on Amazon reviews, the Vansky Outdoor Antenna is the second-best TV antenna in this category. Once you open the package, you get the antenna, a wireless remote, a power supply adapter, a mounting pole, and a 32.8-foot coaxial cable. It’s recommended that this antenna be mounted about 20 feet of the ground, which the 32.8-foot coaxial cable covers more than adequately. 

The wireless remote turns the antenna rotator 360°, offering you all your favorite local channels and so many more. After all, this antenna has a 150-mile signal reception range of both UHF and VHF signals.

To further ensure great picture quality, the antenna comes with a built-in low noise amplifier powered via the adapter in the package. The antenna can sustain two TVs without a splitter or adapter, giving you twice the viewing pleasure. With all the parts provided, assembly and installation can be completed quickly and easily. 

Just mount the antenna, plug in all the cables, run a channel scan, and you are good to go.

Best for Multiple TVs: Five Star Outdoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF/AM/FM signals
  • 200-mile reception range
  • 360° motorized rotation
  • Full HD broadcast, Supports 4K UHD 
  • 40-foot coaxial cable

One highlight feature of the Five Star Outdoor Amplified HDTV Antenna is its capacity to support an impressive 5 TVs via its 4-way splitter. This way, you get five times the entertainment in full HD from up to 200 miles away. In addition, a remote-controlled motor can turn this HDTV antenna 360° both ways to give you unmatched access to your favorite local channels and more. 

Not only will you have access to UHF and VHF channels, but you will also receive AM and FM radio via this antenna, supported by the built-in low noise amplifier. The antenna has an MMIC smart chip that enhances weak signals and an LTE filter that removes cellular interference for better signal clarity. 

It also has two extra UHF elements and larger VHF elements to help enhance signal reception. Designed for the outdoors, the antenna is made from durable, windproof material that is water and UV-resistant. A 40-foot coaxial cable and multiple cable clips ensure the antenna can be mounted easily outdoors for excellent performance.

Best UHF Signal Reception: Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF only frequency
  • 70-mile reception range
  • Multidirectional
  • Full HD broadcast 
  • Passive

The Antennas Direct 8-Element Bowtie Antenna is your best bet for capturing weak signals, making it excellent for rural areas with signal obstructions and interferences. This UHF-only antenna consists of two Antennas DB4 antennas that make it multi-directional, picking up towers within a 180° arc when pointed in different directions. 

It also has an impressive signal reception range of 70 miles and is compatible with HDTV, supporting full HD picture quality. This bowtie antenna is relatively simple to install as most parts come pre-assembled (and with a lifetime warranty). You will have to purchase a coaxial cable and mast, but you get a heavy-duty U-clamp to affix this rather heavy antenna to your mast. 

Made for the outdoors, the antenna has a sturdy, wind-resistant frame. Its plastic parts are UV resistant, and the coaxial cables are protected by rubber. Due to its weight and size, it may be wise to have a professional install this antenna for your safety.

Best Portability: Luxtronic Digital HDTV Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF frequency
  • 50-mile reception range
  • Omnidirectional
  • Full HD broadcast, 4K UHD ready
  • 10-foot coaxial cable

Without a doubt, the best HDTV antenna for people on the go is the Luxtronic Digital HDTV Antenna. It is a diminutive 3.87 inches tall with a 2-inch magnetic base which means you can easily pack it in a bag. The setup and take-down are very easy. 

Simply connect the 10-foot coaxial cable to your TV, place the antenna at the most ‘signal-rich’ spot, run a channel scan, and enjoy. It is so compact that you can fit it behind your TV so it won’t mess with your room’s decor.

This lightweight 7.4 ounce, omnidirectional antenna has a 50-mile signal reception range within which it can receive both UHF and VHF frequencies. It currently supports full HD broadcast and is prepared for NextGen TV by being 4K UHD ready. This antenna can function as an indoor and outdoor antenna and is reasonably priced, given its features. It is certainly an excellent option for those starting a cable-free life.

Best Long Range: Five Star Yagi HD Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF frequency
  • 200-mile reception range
  • Directional
  • Full HD broadcast, 4K UHD ready
  • 40-foot coaxial cable

Yagi antennas are popular for television, and that can certainly be said of the Five Star Yagi HD Antenna. With an impressive signal reception range of 200 miles, this directional antenna has a built-in smart chip that can receive Hi-VHF and UHF frequencies while reducing noise interference. It currently supports full HD broadcast and is also ATSC 3.0 ready, meaning that it supports 4K UHD picture resolution. 

The Five Star Yagi Antenna has been designed with larger receiving elements and extended length to improve signal reception further. This durable, windproof, and weather-resistant antenna is quite simple to install. Its pre-assembled design features snap-lock and fold-out parts that are easy to manipulate. 

The installation kit includes a mast and mounting hardware to ease the installation process further. You will have to buy a high-quality coaxial cable of adequate length to help set up the antenna at a place with optimal signal strength. Once that is done, attach the cable to your TV, run a channel scan, and begin viewing your favorite local channels.

Best Attic/Outdoor: GE Outdoor TV Antenna

Specifications

  • UHF/VHF/DTV reception
  • 70-mile reception range
  • Directional
  • Full HD broadcast, 4K UHD ready
  • Signal enhancing reflectors

The compact size of the GE Outdoor TV Antenna makes it the ideal indoor/outdoor TV antenna. You can literally mount this directional antenna anywhere as long as it is within the light of sight for broadcast towers. Its signal-enhancing reflectors are designed to amp up signal reception of both VHF and UHF signals while reducing dropouts for a smooth viewing experience. 

You will receive full HD picture quality from up to 70 miles away and a 4K UHD broadcast once it is ready to air. Installation is not at all difficult as the installation kit comes with a mounting bracket, mast clamp, and J-mount to secure the antenna. As with most outdoor antennas, you will have to get a coaxial cable and mast, but the instruction manual will easily guide you through the installation. 

You can even get a splitter and connect this antenna to multiple TVs in your home. The GE Outdoor Antenna is made of durable materials to ensure its longevity as it withstands the elements outdoors. 

Best Outdoor TV Antenna for Local Channels FAQ

1. Which is better for rural areas: passive or amplified antenna?

This is an important consideration as you decide if an antenna will work for your house. A passive antenna does not use a power source to assist signal reception. On the other hand, an amplified antenna uses a power source or an integrated amplifier to boost your antenna signal

Passive antennas do better in areas close to broadcast towers and have limited signal obstruction and interference. So for rural areas, the best outdoor TV antennas are amplified antennas as they can draw signals from distant boosters and overcome obstructions. 

2. I keep seeing ‘4K ready’ on antennas. What does it mean?

4K ready refers to image resolution. Also known as ultra HD, with a 4K-ready antenna, you will receive a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution on your screen. This allows you to have exceptional picture quality that brings the images on your screen to life for the ultimate viewing experience. 

One of the features of the soon-coming NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0 standard) is to have broadcast TV at 4K UHD resolution. Therefore, it’s probably a smart idea to have a 4K-ready antenna.

3. Should I point my multidirectional antenna towards the broadcast towers?

Multi-directional antennas are designed to receive channel signals from many different directions. Unlike directional antennas, you don’t have to point a multi-directional antenna towards a specific tower. What is recommended is that you aim the front of your antenna towards your area’s largest cluster of broadcast towers. That way, you will receive most of your local channels.

4. How high should I mount my outdoor antenna?

As a rule, the higher you place your antenna, the better the signal reception. This is because, at increased heights, you are more likely to avoid obstructions like hills or buildings. As a result, there will be a better line of sight between your antenna and the broadcast towers and a better signal overall. You could start with about 30 feet off the ground, giving you good results with your antenna.

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