When you live in a rural area, TV reception can be tricky. There are even situations where local cable service providers won’t offer their services where you live, making it difficult for you to watch TV. This is where an outdoor TV antenna comes in, and that’s what will enable you to watch TV, without even paying for subscription services.
But before you get an outdoor TV antenna, you’ll want to take a look at your options. Do you get an outdoor one, or an indoor one? What are the important considerations that you should keep in mind? To help, we’ve got a list of some of the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas options on the market today. We’ll also talk about a few specifications and considerations that will make your buying decision easier.
Best overall antenna for rural areas with 360 degree rotaton
*Simplest to set up
A good alternative to our top pick with a simple installation
Excellent when you're surrounded by towers
The Tree New Bee amplified antenna is great for just about everyone.
A long enough coaxial cable is included so that you can quietly install this antenna. You will not need to point this antenna at any one place. The signal pickup has a 360° operation that you will be able to receive signals from all directions.
This antenna will be able to receive signals in HD quality and up to a range of 150 miles. It does include an amplifier that provides excellent gain. This means that you will be able to enjoy the excellent quality and sharpness of any image that you will be able to enjoy free, and high-quality television.
The interesting thing about it is that even though it is a directional antenna and comes with all the benefits of one, it has a motor that allows the entire antenna to rotate 360 degrees. This way, you also get all the benefits of an omnidirectional antenna, without the downsides. The rotation is controlled with a remote, making things as simple as possible.
The antenna supports 720p, 1080i and 1080p signals, which is great. You can connect two TV sets to it, and there’s a built-in amplifier with super low noise. An excellent choice for the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas.
The best multidirectional option
The CM-4228HD is a great pick if you've got a few towers in a similar direction
Our runner-up comes from Channel Master, and is another great pick for people who have a broadcast tower nearby. It performs great, and has also been proven to last a good while as well.
This is a multidirectional antenna which receives signals from up to 180 degrees. There’s a 12dB gain on the antenna which results in up to 80 miles of range. It’s not as good as our top pick’s 150 miles, but if you have a broadcast tower nearby, that won’t be an issue.
Installation is simple, as it comes almost completely preassembled. This is another antenna that works with both VHF and UHF signals, and you’ll receive channels in uncompressed HD.
The most versatile option
The 1byone is simply perfect if you have multiple towers in your vicinity
Even the best best omnidirectional tv antenna isn’t the best choice in all rural areas, but it actually works really well if you have a few towers nearby but in different directions. This is a very compact design, one which isn’t impacted as much by things such as rain or thunderstorms. There’s also the anti-UV coating which adds some shielding and reduces interference.
Install it outdoors, and you’re getting 150 miles of range. If you’re surrounded by towers, it’s great. You’ll be able to get UHF and VHF channels, as well as FM radio ones, and reception is possible with up to full HD video quality.
A timeless design that works great, but only with UHF channels
The 8 Element Bowtie is one of the most popular outdoor TV antennas nowadays. If you come across a guide on making your own antenna, chances are this is the inspiration for the guide. It comes with a 70 mile range and really easy installation.
Even though the antenna works great and can receive full HD, 1080p signal, it only works with UHF channels. For some, this may actually be enough, but we would’ve liked to see VHF, and potentially FM radio support.
In terms of construction and durability, the Bowtie is a champ. It’s made to last, and the lifetime warranty on parts only confirms that. If you’re after the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas and want one made by a reputable manufacturer, this is a great option.
A very popular model with a great reputation
Another extremely popular option is RCA’s Yagi outdoor antenna. It’s a directional antenna that boasts over 70 miles of range, and has a really great reputation anywhere you look.
The antenna supports 1080i HDTV signals, and it has support for both UHF and VHF channels. The multi-element, cross-phase design gives you better reception, so you can have a better viewing experience.
In terms of build quality, the Yagi is excellent. It comes almost fully pre-assembled, and there’s a fold-out UHF reflector which easy-locks, as well as other elements that all snap-lock into place. Add to that the included mast, all the mounting hardware, and the transformer, and you’ll have the Yagi up and running in no time.
The promised 70-mile range is very close to what we got in ideal conditions. Even when the signal is over 50 miles away, we had a great signal, even with hills and other minor obstructions, which makes it perfect for rural areas.
It receives both UHF and VHF channels, and all of them are received in a surprisingly high quality. Setting it up is very easy, especially since it comes somewhat preassembled. With the included 75-ohm transformer, just about anyone can set it up.
An attractive option with a signal that isn't impacted by the weather
Xtreme Signal’s HDB91X is a similar design to the RCA Yagi, making it a great alternative. The high-gain design allows the antenna to receive signals from over 70 miles away if you’re dealing with UHF signals, as well as from over 25 miles away if you have high band VHF signals.
It’s a completely weatherproof design which won’t be impacted as much from rain and thunderstorms, and you’ll still get the full range. It also has a 60 degree beam width, and you’re getting all the mounting hardware in the box.
An expensive antenna which performs excellent
Last but not least, we have a truly premium option by Winegard. It’s their HD8220U antenna from their Platinum series, a long range antenna which is 4K UHD ready. The range is over 65 miles, and you can receive both UHF and VHF signals. It’s also capable of ATSC 3.0, which will eventually add higher frame rates and 3D.
Make no mistake, this is a large antenna. However, it performs admirably, and is one of the best options if you want the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas that can receive a 4K signal – none of the other competitors on our list can do that.
Even though the price may be a bit too high for some, make no mistake that you’re getting a very durable and high quality product. If you can afford it, it is more than worth it.
Things to consider before you buy an outdoor TV antenna
Unfortunately, things aren’t as simple as just buying the antenna and watching everything your heart desires. There are limitations to consider, and some of them might make the purchase not worth it. Let’s see a few of these things that should be considered.
The first one is finding out what channels you can access. In rural areas, you’ll most likely get less channels than you would get in a metro area. This depends on how far you are from the broadcast tower, as well as the type of residence and how high you install the antenna. There are online tools that help you figure this out before you buy. Just type in your details, and you’ll get an estimate of the channels you would be able to watch.
The alleged power of an antenna is also a thing to consider. You should know, though, that what is advertised as power is actually the antenna gain, as an antenna doesn’t generate power. The gain has a huge impact on the reception, so pay attention to this.
Reception is key in rural areas, so you’ll want to go with either a rooftop installation, or an attic one. However, with an attic installation, make sure the antenna can easily penetrate the roof’s materials. If you have an aluminum roof, this is out of the question, and you must set it up outside.
Next, we have frequency. The TV channels broadcast over both UHF and VHF frequencies. If you want a larger number of channels, the antenna you buy should have both UHV and VHF capabilities. A single frequency range antenna is actually very restrictive, and we wouldn’t recommend it. While we’re at the frequencies, you should consider a directional versus a multi-directional antenna. A directional antenna will point towards a single direction and improve the signal coming from there. A multi-directional one, on the other hand, will receive signals from multiple directions at the same time.
Last but not least, you should consider interference and antenna height. This is a much larger issue in the cities than it is in rural areas. Interference is mostly a problem due to tall buildings, but you shouldn’t neglect electronic interference either. All of your appliances in the home, especially wireless ones, contribute to more electronic interference. However, placing your antenna outdoors, above the ground, can help quite a bit. You don’t have tall buildings in rural areas, so you’re good with that. Height does boost reception quality, though, because even trees and hills can deflect and weaken signals. Placing the antenna in an elevated space, such as the highest point of your rooftop, ensures best quality and
Wrapping things up
At the end of the day, picking the best outdoor TV antenna for rural areas isn’t that easy. You have a lot of options, and not all of them are optimized towards being used in a rural area. Some are made for areas with a lot of obstacles and plenty of towers nearby, which is the opposite of what you need.
However, if you go through our list, you’ll see five excellent options for rural areas. They all have great reception, and the range is also good on most of them. Weather doesn’t hinder them much, which is an essential thing for rural areas. All that’s left for you is to choose the one that fits your environment best, and order it!