Published March 28th 2019
Written By: Joseph Geizen (Electrician)
Buying a long range TV antenna may sound like a trivial task. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, some of which may make or break your TV viewing experience. Therefore, you’ll want to get the best long range TV antenna you can find, one that won’t make too many compromises and will work well no matter what.
The thing is, choosing which one to get isn’t all that easy. You’ve got plenty of factors to consider, and even when you think you’ve got the specifications figured out, you have a host of options to choose from, not all of which are good.
All of this can make an informed buying decision difficult to make. Fortunately, we’re here to help. To begin with, we’ll give you a short buying guide on all the factors that constitute the best long range TV antenna. We’ll discuss antenna types, gain and range, frequencies etc. Afterwards, we’ll talk about a few options that are all excellent in their own regard. Whichever one you choose, you won’t be making a mistake. You can find a more general guide to the best outdoor tv antenna here.
Without wasting any more time, let’s start things off with our options.
Low on time? Heres a quick roundup of our top 3 picks and why you need them!
Excellent as an overall outdoor TV antenna with a lot going for it
A good alternative if you don't need too much range, but need durability
A champ in terms of range
The Best Overall Long Range TV Antenna
The Free Signal TV Marathon antenna doesn't have the best range, but it's respectable and has a host of other features.
Even though the design is somewhat unconventional, the Free Signal TV Marathon may very well be the best long range TV antenna. Sure, there are others that offer more range, but they lack quite a bit in terms of other features.
To begin with, the promised range is 100 miles. The great thing is that you’ll actually achieve this promised range in good conditions. And even when the weather is subpar, you’ll find that there’s minimal quality loss. There is 40dB gain, and less than 3.5dB noise, which makes this one of the best long range options on the market today.
The built-in signal amplification allows it to receive 4K signals, and there’s an LTE filter that deals with all the noise from any LTE/4G towers nearby. It’s really easy to set up, and you can even connect multiple TV sets to it. All things considered, a great option!
The Most Durable Long Range TV antenna
Xtreme Signal's HDB91X is as durable as they come, and it still has a good range
Coming in at a range of only 70 miles, it’s obvious that the range of the HDB91X isn’t its strongest suite. However, it is still very respectable, and very much qualifies for a long range antenna. You’ll get those 70+ miles with UHF signals, and you’ll also get around 25 miles of range for high band VHF signals. This is a great combination, one that should cover most of the users out there.
The design and construction of the HDB91X make it weatherproof and very durable. There’s a strong back reflector which improves the overall signal quality by reducing the interference from the back. You’ll also get a built-in pigtail transformer which helps with the signal. With a maximum gain of 16dB, this is our runner up for the title of best long range TV antenna and can be great for rural areas aswell.
The Best Range On Our List
The 1Plus HDTV Antenna is the pick with the best range, but it doesn't perform as consistently as our top two.
Our third option is the one on our list that has the most range. It comes courtesy of 1Plus, and you can expect an impressive 150 miles of range for HD TV signals reception. It works with 720p, 1080i and 1080p, and you can receive both VHF signals at 40 to 300 MHz, as well as UHF signals at 470-890 MHz.
It is completely weather resistant, including the motorized part. Yes, there is a motorized part that allows it to rotate 360 degrees, and you control it with a remote. This means that even though this is a directional antenna, changing the direction, and therefore the broadcast tower you’re receiving from, is very easy.
The 8 Element Bowtie is a very popular option, and it does great as a long range antenna
The inspiration for many DIY guides on outdoor TV antennas, the Antennas Direct 8 Element Bowtie is an excellent long range option. With a 70 mile range, out of all options on our list, this is the antenna that is least susceptible to things such as rainy weather and thunderstorms.
The antenna allows for easy installation, and you get all-weather mounting hardware. You can receive channels in full HD, where available, and the beam angle is 24.5 degrees at 470 MHz, to 16.3 degrees at 698 MHz, which is the UHF range for this antenna.
If you need a durable option, you should definitely consider it – it does come with a lifetime warranty on parts, after all.
Another Antennas Direct option, this time for both indoor and outdoor use
While most of the best long range TV antenna options are meant to be used outdoors, the Antennas Direct ClearStream 4 can be used both indoors and outdoors. Like the 8 Element Bowtie, it also has a 70 mile range, but unlike it, this one is more susceptible to interference.
The multidirectional elements do allow you to receive a signal from more locations, though, and you can get 1080p TV where available. It’s also 4K ready, but there aren’t many channels that you can get in 4K. Also like the 8 Element Bowtie, the ClearStream 4 has lifetime warranty on the parts, so you can be sure that you’re getting a very durable antenna.
Somewhat shorter range compared to the competition, but the promised range is what you're really getting
Compared to the competition, which usually has at least 70 miles of range, the 1byone’s 50 miles may not seem like much. But the thing is, most of those 70 mile antennas won’t get 70 miles of range, which isn’t the case with the 1byone. Regardless of the weather and how bad it is, or other interference, you’re still getting 50 miles of range, much thanks to the built-in amplifier.
It has reception for UHF and VHF channels, as well as FM, and has 28dB of gain. There’s also a noise figure of less than 3dB, which is excellent. It’s powered via a USB power adapter, and if you care about your home’s outside looks, you’ll be happy to know that you can safely paint it without affecting reception or losing signal.
A very durable option with both UHF and VHF support
We’re wrapping up our list with another antenna by Xtreme Signal, this time their HDB8X-NI. It has a range of over 60 miles for UHF signals, and around 25 miles for high band VHF ones. Even though it’s a large antenna by design, it is one that’s very durable and weather resistant, and will last you for a good while.
An interesting addition is the fact that you can have each side aimed independently to pull broadcasts from two directions at once. If you wanted to add some versatility to the antenna, this is how you do it. All things considered, it’s a great option for people who have two broadcast towers nearby, in a different direction, and want to get the signals from both.
Best long range TV antenna 500 miles
When it comes to long range TV antennas for very long ranges, you will find that even the best long range TV antennas top out at around 150 miles. Chances are you won't find anything with a better range, and the 1Plus HDTV antenna we mentioned earlier, at position number 3, is our top pick here.
But, why can't you find something with a range longer than 150 miles? The thing is that you won't need anything more than that. Wherever you live, chances are there is a broadcast tower within 150 miles (often much closer). This basically negates the need for a longer range.
Now that we got the options out of the way, let’s take a look at how to choose the antenna, and what all those numbers, benefits and terms mean.
The first thing you’ll notice when shopping for the best long range TV antenna is the different antenna types. There are three main types – directional, multidirectional and omnidirectional. They’re all good in some specific situations, but which one you go for can depend on your exact requirements.
The first antenna type are directional antennas. They only see in one direction, so you’ll want it to point towards the broadcast tower you’ll be receiving your signal from. Something like OTA DTV’s service should allow you to get that right. Even though they require a bit of set up to get everything working well, directional antennas can receive signals from much further away, making them possibly the ideal choice for the best long range TV antenna. Thanks to them only seeing in one direction, they’re also fairly resistant to distortion and noise from other directions.
Next, we have multidirectional antennas. They have a wider range in terms of signal reception, which allows them to receive signals from multiple directions. Even though this can be useful in a populated area which has multiple broadcast towers, a multidirectional antenna will usually be susceptible to distortion and noise from those other directions as well. They’re not really great if you need something with a long range and minimal susceptibility to interference.
Last but not least, there are omnidirectional antennas – they have 360 degree coverage and can receive a signal from just about any direction. These are the best choice for densely populated areas, such as cities, where there are plenty of broadcast towers surrounding you, and they’re all nearby. However, when it comes to range, this is the weakest type of antenna you can get, so it’s not a good choice for the best long range TV antenna.
With a long range TV antenna, this is usually the most important factor you’ll want to consider. A few things to note here, though. First, not all antenna manufacturers advertise the real range. Some may add a mile or two to it, to make the antenna seem like a more attractive choice. The catch is that even if the antenna can achieve that range, chances are that you’ll only get that in absolutely perfect conditions – ideal weather, no interference, etc. Most of the users also need the antenna to work when conditions aren’t ideal, so take the advertised range with a grain of salt.
On the other hand, many manufacturers lately have seemed to figure out ways to reduce how much of an impact weather and other interference has on the range, especially when we’re talking about directional antennas. We’ll talk about the range later on, when we take a look at the options, but you’ll want the range to be your top priority when you’re choosing the best long range TV antenna.
When you’re looking at antennas, you should definitely consider the maximum video quality that the antenna can pick up. There are two main types. Generally, a good antenna will be able to easily pick up a Full HD signal at 1080p. Most TV sets are 1080p today as well, which means that you should be able to take advantage of your TV set’s full resolution.
However, if you have a more expensive TV set, it may be an ultra high definition panel, where the resolution is 4K. If you want to best take advantage of it, you should invest a bit more and get an antenna that can receive signals in 4K.
The decision is up to you, but you should be aware that antennas that receive 4K signals may cost quite a bit more than ones that don’t.
Whatever antenna you’re looking at, you’ll find it being advertised as either UHF or VHF, or both. These are terms that are used to explain what frequencies the antenna works at. VHF channels, which stands for Very High Frequency, are usually transmitted at channels 2 to 13. On the other hand, UHF, or Ultra High Frequency, transmits signals at channels 14 to 83. As a general rule, today’s TV transmission is done on the UHF channels, but you might want to inquire about your specific situation before you order.
Yes, you’ll come across antennas that are advertised as ones that work with both VHF and UHF. They do, it’s not a marketing thing, but the main design requirements for both types are somewhat different. According to the design of the antenna you’re looking at, you can recognize what type of signals it works better with.
For example, with VHF, the wavelengths are usually fairly long. Therefore, a VHF antenna requires longer elements in order to work at its best. On the other hand, those frequencies are more efficient when it comes to inducing current, therefore requiring less elements.
With UHF, on the other hand, you have shorter wavelengths, and therefore you need shorter elements. They require a lot more elements, though, making them a bit more complex.
The last thing you’ll want to consider when you’re shopping for the best long range TV antenna is whether the antenna has a built-in amplifier. With an outdoor TV antenna, an amplifier will usually boost the range by a significant amount, but you also get better reception at shorter ranges. To the end user, this translates into higher quality, and an overall better TV viewing experience. When it comes to longer ranges, you should get an amplified one if possible.
Our overall top pick would be the Free Signal TV Marathon.
With an unconventional design, it is our choice for the best long range TV antenna.
Even though there are options with more promised range, we'd still pick the Marathon for its consistency and extra features.
Finding the best long range TV antenna can be tricky, but we hope to have given you a few options, as well as an informative guide on how to choose the right one. Good luck with your shopping!
Joseph is an electrician with 10 years of experience he moonlights as a writer and works for Serif TV on some key articles.