If you are in the market for a new antenna for your attic, you have probably already come to the realization that there are hundreds of antennas to choose from, and it isn’t always clear what the advantage of one over the others is. This makes choosing the right one a minefield. Even for those who are more technically minded, many of the tech specs used in describing an antenna’s capabilities will be new and unfamiliar.
The good news is that rather than spending hundreds of hours digging into the ins and outs of each of the antennas on offer, you can use this simple guide. The following 5 antenna manufacturers are ones that you can trust and buy from with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will perform their role without a hitch.
Before we dive into the reviews themselves, it’s worth quickly explaining what criteria we have used. We have scored these antennas based on 5 key metrics: signal performance, durability, ease of installation and use, cost, and an overall rating which considers the product as a whole. By sticking to these criteria, it is easy to directly compare features and specifications for individual models.
Channel Master’s range of attic antennas offer great signal performance. They advertise ranges of between 35 and 85 miles, depending upon which model you choose. In our experience, the antennas reliably perform at the full ranges advertised. This high performance and reliability is made possible in large part by the physical design of the antennas themselves; they are well built and larger than average. They aren’t the prettiest antennas out there, and they will stand out quite a bit on most buildings, but the signal quality is superb.
These large antennas can appear fragile, but in fact they are very well built. They are resilient enough to handle everyday weather conditions and it would take something quite major to dislodge a Channel Master antenna once it has been installed. The high-quality construction methods are paired with premium, high-grade materials to give a final product which you can be confident will last a reasonable amount of time. Many of the cheaper models on the market are prone to failing under moderately severe weather conditions.
Channel Master antennas come mostly pre-assembled, making installation easy. As with other larger antennas, some extra care is needed when transporting them up to your roof. However, once you’ve got it up there, everything you need to install it is included in the box.
Channel Master antennas offer fantastic build quality and excellent performance, but you will have to pay for the privilege. These antennas are more expensive than the average, in fact some of the high-end models are among the most expensive antennas available anywhere. However, if you are looking for the best performance and build quality, the price is justified.
Xtreme Signal antennas offer fantastic signal performance throughout their range. The exact capabilities and specifications will vary according to the specific model you are looking at. The range of Xtreme Signal antennas is in the 50-70 mile range, assuming optimal conditions. Xtreme Signal’s credentials in this area are further boosted by the long beam widths they are able to offer, and these range from 30 degrees up to 360 degrees. Signal strength is strong enough across their entire range to allow them to easily handle HD and 3D signals.
Physically, Xtreme Signal antennas are very well built. The excellent construction quality makes for a durable antenna and ensures that it will be able to withstand any of the knocks and scrapes that it is most likely to receive. To look at some of the Xtreme Signal antennas, you might think that they were a little flimsy and uninspired. However, despite appearances, build quality across the range has proven to be fantastic. By designing their antennas in a cross-phase, multi-element array, each piece is able to reinforce the ones around it.
Xtreme Signal antennas are waterproof, keeping them safe from rain, and are sturdy enough to withstand even strong gusts of wind.
Despite being larger than most antennas on the market, Xtreme Signal antennas are still simple to install. They come with higher weight ratings, and as such they can be a little more difficult or costly to transport initially. However, once you have it in place, getting it set up is no more complicated than it is with a smaller antenna.
Most of these antennas come more or less fully pre-assembled, all you need to do usually is mount it and plug it in.
You will pay a little above the average for an Xtreme Signal antenna, yet they offer excellent value. They offer a range of products to suit a variety of environments and usage scenarios.
For antennas of their size, antennas from Antennas Direct offer great performance. The raw specs aren’t as high or impressive as some of their competitors, but what they’ve managed to fit into a relatively compact package is impressive. In fact, the small size and light weight of these antennas has led to a number of the outdoor models being installed inside by customers. While the specifications for these antennas on paper might look less impressive than some of their rivals, however, the specs that are reported are accurate and the real-world performance is superb.
Despite being on the smaller side, these are very well built and durable antennas. You can expect these to easily stand up to the usual weather conditions that they are likely to encounter. They are waterproof, as you would expect of an outdoor antenna today, and are resilient to wear and tear, as well as other knocks and scrapes. Whether inside or outside, Antennas Direct antennas stand up to the durability test.
A smaller antenna is easier to transport to your home, and then to your roof. Some of the Antenna Direct antennas come pre-built, or close to it, and once they are out the box they only need to be mounted in place.
While these antennas are on the more expensive side, they also offer unbeatable performance, especially for their size. Not only is the performance great, you can also expect these antennas to last for a number of years, saving you the costs of having to replace it prematurely.
RCA manufacture antennas to suit a variety of usage scenarios which means that the signal ranges can vary considerably. At the lower end of the spectrum, RCA offer models with a range of between 25 and 30 miles. This can go all the way up to 100 miles for the highest end models. Whichever model you ultimately decide to purchase, you can be confident that the advertised specs will closely match real world performance.
RCA antennas are well built and designed to last. Whether you opt for one of the more affordable and shorter-range options, or go all in on a big, long range antenna, you will have something that will last a number of years. The heavier antennas come with heavy duty clamps to help keep them in place during windy weather.
The fantastic build quality and high-quality components come at a price. Especially on the larger models, there are a number of heavy pieces which must be assembled prior to mounting. Transporting the larger antennas into place might require more than one person, and in some cases other equipment might be helpful.
RCA antennas represent fantastic value for the quality of the product that you will receive. In terms of raw numbers, the cost of RCA antennas is around the mid-range level. However, when you factor in quality and performance, they represent exceptional value.
Stellar Labs antennas cover ranges of around 25 to 60 miles, depending on the model. While these ranges are fairly standard, where Stellar Labs stand out is in the fact that their antennas have a good range angle. This means that you will be able to ‘catch’ more channels when the antenna is pointed in any given direction. There is no magic at work here, Stellar Labs have simply applied the age-old principles of using large metal rods and amplifiers to optimize signal strength.
Stella Labs antennas are on the heavier side, but they are so well built and durable that you are unlikely to mind too much. There are no shortcuts taken here, the manufacturing and the materials used combine to offer a product which is every bit as durable as you would hope.
In spite of the extra size and weight that many of Stella Labs antennas have, they remain easy to install. Most of the components come pre-built and ready to go, with only some minor assembly required. As long as you are able to carry the antenna up a ladder to the installation point, you will be able to install it with ease.
The cost of Stellar Labs antennas might be their biggest selling point. When you factor in the quality of the materials and build techniques used, Stellar Labs antennas represent incredible value.
Choosing the right antenna will depend a great deal on your exact circumstances. If you are looking to spend as little money as possible, opt for Stellar Labs. If you are after the very best in quality and performance, regardless of price, Channel Master is your best bet.