If you have decided to ditch the cable TV and completely turn to on-air TV broadcast, you are probably more than familiar with the utilities such as TV antennas and digital converter boxes. Unfortunately, if your signal reception is weak, you will have to add another device to the list – an antenna amplifier. Its main purpose is to turn your poor TV signal into a usable one.
Of course, finding the best TV antenna amplifier won’t be an easy task, since there is a vast number of lookalike devices, with similar specifications, but completely different performances, not noticeable at the first glance. Nevertheless, this can be managed with a little bit of research or advice. That’s why we have created this guide in the first place: to help users, especially newbies in the subject, find their best match.
How to Choose the Best TV Antenna Amplifier
Finding the ideal amplifier can be a tricky task, but luckily, like many other hardware types, amplifiers also have their particularities, which make things much easier and let you focus on the important stuff. In other words, you should focus on the following:
Noise levels are one of the most important aspects of a TV antenna amplifier. Lower values mean that the device has better sensitivity and therefore, will provide much better signal amplification.
When talking about the exact numbers, noise levels around 2dB or lower are very good, while the values between 4-6dB are too high.
Gain is probably even more important than noise levels and basically should be equal to or higher than your signal loss. In other words, if your signal loss is around 10dB, your gain should be at least 10dB or more.
Regular gain values for amplifiers go between 12 and 30dB, but be aware that higher gain values aren’t always a good option, since they can amplify the signal too much and create more harm than good. For that reason, if your cable loss is 10db, for example, go for devices with a gain between 15-20db and not the one with 30dB.
In other words, don’t automatically go for higher values, but try to balance things.
Things are pretty straightforward considering frequencies support. If your TV antenna supports UHF and VHF broadcasts and you want to amplify both of them, choose the device that passes them both.
If you decide for only one frequency range – for instance, UHF, chose the amplifier that supports UHF and be aware that, even if you antenna supports both UHF and VHF reception, you will only be able to consume the UHF one, since the VHF broadcast will be blocked and unusable.
Although the majority of people don’t pay much attention to this aspect, fact is that this is the part where you actually save the most money. If you decide for a device that has a five-year warranty, you are safe and sound for that period, without a need for additional investment.
Yes, this usually means that your initial investment needs to be larger, but once you put everything on paper, you are going to realize that a longer warranty is worth the money.
7 Best TV Antenna Amplifiers
Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+
An Antenna Amplifier Built For High-Demanding Users
If you are searching for the best outdoor TV antenna amplifier that offers professional quality and features, Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ is the right deal for you.
This device includes a mounting kit and highly durable, weatherproof housing that makes it ideal for use at harsh climate conditions. Also, it is equipped with numerous features that guarantee a quality performance, such as LTE filtering for blocking the 3G/4G interferences, adjustable amplification, EMI & FM out of band filtering, both VHF and UHF inputs and a lot more.
The amplifier itself allows for gain adjustments and drastically improves the quality of the received signal (among other things, it significantly reduces the pixelation and it can even increase the number of obtained channels). Moreover, it is very silent, with only 1.5dB of produced noise and with a maximum gain of up to 26dB and low gain of 16dB, which altogether makes it a great device for users who demand sheer quality.
On the other hand, its price is a bit high, but quality usually costs, and Channel Master CM-7778HD Amplify+ is definitely worth it.
- LTE filtering
- Weatherproof design
- Easy to install
- No USB power connection for inside use
Lindsay LSA84-EQ8 4-Port Amplifier
Best Value for Money
If you’re shopping for the best bang for the buck, the Lindsay LSA84-EQ8 is the droid you were looking for. It’s worth mentioning that this $50ish port amplifier is highly popular among US customers, and for good reason: this TV signal amplifier is affordable, well built, has 1 input and 4 outputs, which allows you to connect multiple cable boxes or TV sets, and also allows for multiple devices to connect to a cable or an antenna without compromising in terms of signal quality.
Moreover, the amplifier comes with an integrated equalizer for varying gain; this works by boosting high-frequency signals, and all ports deliver an amplified signal, featuring a minimum gain of +0dB @ 54MHz up to +7.5dB gain @ 1000MHz.
The amplifier is suited for both cable and antenna TV use, and is fully compatible with all standard and digital cable TV services, but will not work with systems with an existing amplifier or pre-amplifier. Build quality is nice, and the device looks and feels durable. Functionality-wise, once installed, you’ll see noise and static gone with the wind so to speak, hence picture quality will be dramatically improved, as the port amplifier eliminates signal losses caused by splitters and long cable runs.
It’s very important to feed it with a clean signal, and the end result will be fantastic. If the signal is sub-par, it will only amplify that bad quality signal, so you should be using an antenna properly designed and located to suit your particular situation.
- Well designed
- Easy to install
- Solid build quality
- Gets the job done
- OTA Antenna Reception
- None really at this price
Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier
An Affordable Preamplifier with a Premium Performance
Great devices at a fair price have always been welcome on the market, and Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier is the prime example of such a product. Reliable, with low noise levels (typically 1dB), and most importantly, excellent signal amplification that drastically increases the number of received channels as a result.
The amplifier itself is, among other things, equipped with Bandpass filtering that keeps the RF interferences to a minimum and a TwinAmp Technology, which amplifies VHF and UHF signals separately. Also, it works with all types of non-amplified antennas and consumes power through a coax connection, which eliminates the need for additional cabling and just adds to its overall ease of use.
Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV Preamplifier has a maximum gain of 20dB and altogether, it is one of the best antenna preamplifiers available and a great upgrade for some of the older Winegard models, such as AP 8700 or HDP 269. Moreover, it is fully USA-built and comes with a one-year warranty. Overall, it represents the ideal solution for users who want reliability at an affordable cost.
- Fair price
- Easy install
- Great performance
- Not that great quality control
A Preamplifier Destined for Rural Areas and Places with Poor Signal Quality
If you are living in a remote area with weak reception, RCA TVPRAMP1Z might be exactly what you are looking for. It is affordable, with some decent features, and more importantly, highly efficient in signal strengthening thanks to SmartBoost technology implementation.
Unfortunately, its reliability isn’t at its best and there are more faulty devices than there should be, but luckily not on a level that should cause additional worries.
The device itself is supplied with an FM trap for reduction of the FM signal interferences, it has a VHF/UHF separate amplification and offers a maximum gain of 22dB. Also, it is powered through the coaxial cable and is primarily built for outside use and the enhancement of the poor signal of an outdoor TV antenna.
RCA TVPRAMP1Z is fully USA-developed and comes with a one-year warranty, as the majority of other amplifying devices. Although it isn’t the most reliable unit, and surely not the best antenna amplifier you can find, it is still a decent option for a weak signal build-up and overall offers a good value for the money.
- Good value for the money
- Decent performance
- Not the best build quality
- Not that reliable
Channel Master CM-3410
An Amplifier that Does the Job
Channel Master CM-3410 is a simple and compact device, built with the primary goal to improve your TV reception, and that is something that it does flawlessly. It has a decent price, is easy to install, it comes with a nice set of features that, among others, include very useful 6000-volt surge protection, and most importantly, do proper amplifying work.
The amplifier itself comes with a 15dB gain and produces noise levels of around 2dB, which isn’t among the best in the class but is still acceptable. It is power-supplied through an AC/DC power supply and more importantly, it has a sturdy construction and weatherproof housing, with advanced corrosion protection, which makes it ideal for outside use at harsh weather conditions.
Channel Master CM-3410 comes with a one-year warranty and works with HDTV, off-air, digital and analog RF broadcasts. Mostly thanks to its professional-grade performance, it represents one of the best HDTV antenna amplifier units available.
- Easy to mount
- Good performance
- Not that reliable
ANTRONIX Amplifier MRA4-08/AC
An Affordable and Highly Multifunctional TV Antenna Amplifier
ANTRONIX Amplifier MRA4-08/AC is an affordable antenna amplifier that efficiently improves the TV channel signal and fixes the problems with inferior noise figures. It comes with four output ports, with 7.5dB per port, and offers a traditional design that makes it practical for any use. Moreover, it is equipped with a 6 kV surge protection and short-circuits protection and overall provides nice durability that is backed up by its amplifier’s five-year warranty.
ANTRONIX Amplifier MRA4-08/AC is made out of 360 aluminum housing and works only with non-amplified and non-pre-amplified antennas. Unfortunately, its limitations also include its inability to work with certain antenna models such as Winegard RV one. These compatibility issues are rather rare, but they do exist. Therefore, have that in mind before the purchase.
Altogether, ANTRONIX Amplifier MRA4-08/AC is a device that brings solid performance and basically delivers everything you may need from a TV antenna amplifier. In other words, it delivers a pretty good overall value for a fair price.
- The amplifier itself comes with a five-year warranty
- Surge protection
- Four output ports
- It doesn’t work with certain antenna types
Antennas Direct CDA4 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier
A High-Capacity Amplifier with a Premium Performance
Finding a professional high-quality unit is never easy, but it can be managed, and Antennas Direct CDA4 4 Port DTV Distribution Amplifier is a proof of that. This device allows for connection of up to four TVs and is built for safe use, both inside and outside, but because of its sturdy and weatherproof design, it is probably more intended for outside exploitation.
CDA4 offers very low noise levels and can be used for both professional and home purposes. Overall, it delivers great performance, with 7.5dB amplification per port that will satisfy even the most demanding users. Also, it comes with a lifetime warranty that just adds to its whole positive impression and surely makes a convincing argument for its quality.
In other words, if you are looking for the best TV antenna amplifier that can support multiple devices, CDA4 is the device to go for. You surely won’t be disappointed.
- Good price
- Weatherproof design
- Great quality
- No surge protection
- It gets very hot
This guide is made with a purpose to help you find yourself the best TV antenna amplifier and give you the proper advice on that road. If it managed that and made your search at least a little bit less stressful, its function is more than fulfilled.