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Best Buy essentials - Amplified Ultra-Thin Film Indoor HDTV Antenna - Black/White

Watch your favorite TV shows and channels for free with great clarity and signal reception. With the Best Buy essentials BE-ANT500HA Amplified Ultra-Thin Film Indoor HDTV Antenna, access free channel broadcasts by connecting it to your existing HDTV. An amplified design reaches further signals for optimal performance and signal transmission. VHF and UHF signals provide you with HD channels without having to pay for a cable package. A range of up to 50 miles ensures strong signal reception, while a 10-foot coaxial cable offers easy routing. Providing flexible placement, this ultra-thin antenna can be mounted on the wall or set on your TV stand. A two-sided black-and-white design lets you choose what side blends in best with your wall and other electronics. Backed by Best Buy, enjoy free quality television with an antenna that is made to impress.
* Non US customer - check your local stores
for pricing and availability

Product Features

Boosts performance by reaching further while minimizing interference.
Operates with your existing television.
Delivers HD channels.
Ensures a quality signal.
Offers easy routing with a 10 ft. (3.1 m) coaxial cable.
Provides flexible placement options.
Gives a discreet and sleek look.
Blends with light- or dark-colored walls
For quality and reliability that you can trust.
*NOTE: Mile range will vary, depending on a wide range of environmental and geographic factors.

What's Included

  • Best Buy essentials™ Amplified Ultra-Thin Film Indoor HDTV Antenna
  • Antenna stand
  • Power inserter
  • Double-sided tape
  • Quick Setup Guide
Key Specs
Antenna TypeAmplified Antenna
Indoor or Outdoor UseIndoor Antenna
Maximum Operating Range50 miles
Amplified ReceptionYes
Product NameAmplified Ultra-Thin Film Indoor HDTV Antenna
BrandBest Buy essentials™
Model NumberBE-ANT500HA
Color CategoryMulti
Maximum Operating Range50 miles
Channel ReceptionUHF, VHF
Frequency174-230MHz, 470-700MHz
Impedance75 ohms
Signal Strength MeterNo
Manufacturer's Warranty - Parts12 Months
Manufacturer's Warranty - Labor12 Months
Amplified ReceptionYes
Removable AmplifierNo
Parental ControlsNo
Product TypeHDTV antenna
Hardware IncludedYes
Coaxial Cable IncludedYes
Antenna TypeAmplified Antenna
Indoor or Outdoor UseIndoor Antenna
Mount LocationWall
CompatibilityCompatible with most HDTVs
Height11.7 inches
Width8.3 inches
Depth0.5 inches
Weight0 pounds
Product Height11.7 inches
Product Width8.3 inches
Product Depth0.5 inches
Product Weight0 pounds

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The best TV antennas of 2021: Tested and rated

Getting one of the best TV antennas is your quickest route to hours of entertainment without paying a cent in subscription fees. Over-the-air (OTA) programming brings you news, sports and popular shows for free, and all you need is an HDTV antenna and a TV. Whether you want to cut the cord or just have a backup option when the cable is out, a good antenna is a must-have.

Our TV antenna reviews combine careful testing and hands-on evaluation to find the best TV antennas available, from basic indoor antennas to amplified models and larger outdoor antennas. In every review we examine not only performance, comparing the number of channels pulled in and whether those channels are watchable, but also the equipment that's included with an antenna, and the ease of setup and use. We also offer advice from industry experts on how to get the best reception with whatever TV antenna you have.

What are the best TV antennas?

The best TV antenna overall is the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro , which combines that basic flat mudflap design with an extra wide profile and a built-in built-in amplifier to boost the number of watchable channels. An integrated signal strength meter even helps you find the spot for best reception.

If you need the best reception, you'll want to upgrade to an outdoor antenna, and our favorite is the Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna. With a 70-mile range, it's perfect for pulling in channels that are harder to get with smaller indoor antennas.

Our budget pick is the Mohu Leaf Metro. With a small size and good reception in a channel-rich environment, it's a great option for city-dwellers. And the low price doesn't hurt, either.

The best TV antennas you can buy today

1. Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro

Best TV antenna overall


Range: 65 Miles

Channels Received: 42

Amplified: Yes

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 16 Feet

Size: 12 x 21.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Solid reception+Simple set up+Detachable cable

Reasons to avoid

-Sizable presence on your wall

For the best overall TV antenna, it's hard to beat the capable Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro. The wide design goes big to pull in more stations. With a bigger and thicker design than most flat antennas, this chunky antenna boasts a built-in amplifier with an integrated signal-strength meter, helping you find the optimal spot for pulling in channels.

And pull in channels it does, leveraging it's wide surface area to nab more than 40 watchable stations, outperforming some of our favorite indoor antennas. The antenna has a unique detachable coax cable and includes a 3-foot USB power cable for powering the amplifier, but it comes rolled up in the box, and does need to spend some time unfurled before it will lay flat. But all of the quirks are worth it for the solid reception it offers, and the Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro is an excellent indoor antenna for suburban areas that may need a boost to get the most channels.

Read our full Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro HDTV Antenna review

2. Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna

Best outdoor antenna


Range: 70 Miles

Channels Received: 73

Amplified: No

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: N/A

Size: 30 x 17.5 x 5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Excellent reception+Excellent interference suppression

Reasons to avoid

-Somewhat loose construction-Plastic roof mount

Sometimes an indoor antenna just won't cut it. When you need an outdoor antenna with excellent reception, the Winegard Elite 7550 is the smart option, and the best TV antenna for outdoor installation. It may cost a little more, but the Winegard Elite 7550 pays dividends, delivering a whopping 73 channels in our tests. Whether you're in a crowded city or a rural community, this outdoor HDTV should get the job done, pulling in more channels with better signal than any indoor model can offer.

If you're having difficulty getting local stations you want — or you just want better, more consistent reception — the Winegard Elite 7550's $120 price tag is worth every penny, pulling in dozens of free channels for less than a month's cable subscription.

Read our full Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna review.

3. Mohu Leaf Metro

Best budget TV antenna


Range: 25 Miles

Channels Received: 12

Amplified: No

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 10 Feet

Size: 11.5 x 3.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive+Very small+Solid, dependable reception

Reasons to avoid

-Not amplified-Limited range and channel selection

A longtime favorite of ours is the Mohu Leaf Metro, a compact TV antenna that has an unobtrusive flat design that's smaller than most inexpensive antennas, yet pulls in channels with solid, dependable reception. It's not amplified, but with a 25-mile range capable of pulling in dozens of channels in cities and nearby suburbs, it doesn't need to be. The small size and city-friendly reception make it great for urban apartment dwellers, and the Mohu Leaf Metro lives up to its name.  If you want the most affordable option for over the air channels, this is it.

The compact antenna has a reversible design, with white on one side and black on the other, so you can flip it to whichever color is less obtrusive, or you can simply paint it to match the wall it's on. It even comes with mounting hardware. It's the best option for most people, since it gives you a dead simple way to pull in plenty of local channels without paying much money.

Read our full Mohu Metro Leaf review.

4. 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna

Frequent best-seller


Range: 50 Miles

Channels Received: 46

Amplified: Yes

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 10 Feet

Size: 13.25 x 9.25 inches

Reasons to buy

+All necessary components included+Moderately priced+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Inconsistent performer

For a simple, indoor antenna that offers everything you need to cut the cord, the 1byone Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna offers a 50-mile range and included amplifier, all for a fairly reasonable price. With slick packaging and a basic black design, it's not only an Amazon best-seller, it's also one of the best TV antennas we've reviewed.

Measuring just 13.3 x 9.3 inches, the antenna includes everything you need to connect to the TV, with a 10-foot coaxial cable and included adhesive patches for mounting. The simple design and included amplifier delivered dozens of watchable channels, and can plug into any wall outlet or USB port. There's a good reason the 1byone is a top Amazon seller: It performs well and doesn't cost a lot.

Read our full 1byone Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna review.

5. Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel Antenna

Best indoor/outdoor antenna


Range: 85 Miles

Channels Received: 68

Amplified: Yes

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 40 Feet (plus two, 5-foot coaxial cables)

Size: 21.7 x 10.4 x 4.1 inches

Reasons to buy

+Excellent reception+Indoor or outdoor use+Variety of mounting materials included

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive than most-Bulky

Made for use inside and out, the Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel offers some of the best performance we've seen, easily topping many of the indoor/outdoor models  we've reviewed. And with an adjustable amplifier, included mounting hardware and optional FM connection for radio, it's a versatile best HD antenna option for anyone who's serious about cord cutting.

The Antop AT-800SBS also has a table-top stand for indoor use, but this 85-mile antenna was at its best out in the elements, where it pulled in 68 watchable stations. A 40-foot cable is included for easy installation, and the adjustable amplifier lets you dial in the right amount of power boost to help you grab the stations you want. It's the best indoor/outdoor antenna we've tested, and well worth the premium price.

Read our full Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel Antenna review. 

6. ClearStream MAX-V HDTV Antenna

Another great indoor/outdoor antenna


Range: 60 Miles

Channels Received: 51

Amplified: No

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: N/A

Size: 17.25 x 27.5 x 3.5 inches

Reasons to buy

+Good reception+Works indoors or out

Reasons to avoid

-An eyesore in living rooms-Necessary cable not included

While its aesthetics may leave something to be desired, the ClearStream MAX-V is a very capable antenna that delivers more stations than even competing amplified antennas, even models costing much more. If you want to improve over-the-air TV reception, it's one of the best TV antennas we've reviewed.

Rated to capture stations as far away as 60 miles, the ClearStream MAX-V from Antennas Direct will work indoors or out and is competitively priced. Not only did it do better than many of our favorite indoor antennas, it also matched some of the best outdoor antennas, making it a great choice for mounting on a roof, hanging in an attic or just tucking it out of sight – which may be difficult given the bulky figure-8 design.

Read our full ClearStream MAX-V HDTV Antenna review

7. Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301

A double-duty antenna for TV and radio


Range: 70 Miles

Channels Received: 33

Amplified: Yes

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 10 Feet (plus two 5-foot coaxial cables)

Size: 8.9 x 17.6 inches

Reasons to buy

+Amplifier that can be tweaked for specific stations+Built-in FM antenna

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Modest overall performance

With a 17-inch wide side-by-side design, the Antop SBS-301 is essentially twice the size of typical flat indoor-HDTV antennas. But it also does more than most TV antennas, doubling as an FM radio antenna, complete with a second output to connect to your sound system. With a simple two-sided design that's white on one side and black on the other, you should be able to set it up easily without disrupting your home decor much.

The indoor antenna includes a snap-on stand for tabletop, as well as pins and Velcro patches for hanging it on a wall, sticking it behind your TV, or even more permanent mounting with included drywall anchor screws. Antop beefs up the SBS-301 with the Smart Boost adjustable amplifier, which lets you dial in the right power boost to pull in the channels you want to watch – depending upon the amplifier setting, we pulled in between 23 and 33 channels during testing.

Read our full Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301 review. 

How to choose the best TV antenna for you

If you're shopping for a TV antenna, you're in luck, because there's no better option for getting live TV for the lowest price possible: Free! But before you pick up the first TV antenna you see at the store, you want to make sure that you're getting one that will work for you.

Location and range: If you're in or near a city, there's a good chance you can make do with a small indoor antenna, since you'll have several stations within a 10 or 20 mile radius that can be pulled in without a big aerial or powered amplifier. If you're more than 30 miles from your local broadcast tower, you'll want to step up to an amplified model. Any antenna that's rated for 50 miles or more will either be a large outdoor unit, or come with an amplifier to boost the signal it gets, if not both.

Indoor or outdoor: Whether or not to get an outdoor antenna will largely depend upon the building you're in and the surrounding environment, since obstacles like house walls and even trees can prevent signal from getting through to an indoor antenna. Outdoor antennas are larger, and work better when positioned as high up as you can get it – a rooftop mast being the ideal installation.

Non-amplified or amplified: An amplified antenna uses an additional signal strength booster that can help weak signals come in clearly with a little extra juice. But that also means having another device to plug in, and another power outlet to give up. It also means a slightly higher price.

Non-amplified indoor antennas generally sell for between $20 to $40, but there are plenty of cheap TV antennas that sell for less than $20 that offer acceptable performance. An amplified antenna offers better performance, and will cost between $30 and $100. For the best performance, consider an outdoor antenna, which costs $100 or more.

Our best TV antenna advice

Simply having an antenna won't automatically solve all of your over-the-air TV woes. Better antennas and optional amplifiers will go a long way toward bringing in more channels, but that's only part of the equation. 

We recommend researching beforehand to determine what range of antenna you need, and whether you want an indoor model or an antenna made for outdoor installation. The best place to start is, which lets you enter your address or ZIP code and see what stations are broadcasting in your area, as well as how far away the broadcast towers are.

Worried about future proofing for ATSC 3.0 as it rolls out to new cities? The good news is that your existing antenna will work, and may even pull in more channels under the new standard. The bad news is that you'll need to buy a new tuner or an ATSC 3.0-equipped TV, and these are only now coming to market.

And check out our other advice for TV antennas to help you get yourself properly equipped and set up for the best reception:

Using a TV antenna with smart TVs and streaming devices

While streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max may be taking a more prominent place in the living room, there's still room for over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV. Whether you want free access to local news or just want to get more sports without shelling out for another subscription service, an HDTV antenna can still provide plenty of great stuff to watch, and having a smart TV or one of the best streaming devices doesn't prevent using an antenna.

All of the best smart TVs for streaming also have built-in tuners for pulling in broadcast channels, and getting your TV channels programmed is an automatic process, with the TV scanning for stations and putting together a browsable channel guide in just a few minutes.

And several streaming devices are built with OTA content in mind. The Amazon Fire TV Cube, for example, can switch over to your TV's built-in tuner seamlessly, without having to swap TV inputs or juggle extra remote controls. You can even get something like the Amazon Fire TV Recast, a DVR that lets you record OTA content, and enjoy it all using the same Fire TV interface your TV might already be using.

How we test TV antennas

All of the TV antennas we review are tested in the same location in New York City, an apartment that receives dozens of channels from a variety of broadcasters. Each antenna is connected to a Samsung 4K TV, so the TV tuner remains consistent, and each one is placed in the same position to generate comparable results.

With more than 100 over-the-air channels available in Manhattan, it provides an excellent testing location for antenna reception of any range, with more sensitive, long-range antennas pulling in a higher number of channels. It also gives us a chance to determine the quality of that reception, by seeing whether or not those channels are clear and watchable. The best antennas will pull in more channels, with a higher number of watchable results.

Your experience may differ from our test results. Depending upon how many stations broadcast in you area, and unique geographical impediments to over the air signal – such as buildings, trees and mountains – your own channel selection will vary considerably.

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Top cheap TV antennas (under $20) ranked best to worst

The best cheap TV antennas let you pull in local channels for free without spending a lot. Even a basic antenna can do a trick Netflix can't, pulling in over-the-air channels that offer shows, movies, sports and news without any sort of sign up or subscription fee. But not every cheap TV antenna offers acceptable performance. We've tested several of the most affordable TV antennas on the market, and found some of the best, giving you a selection of great performers. The best cheap TV antennas offer performance to match some of the models seen on our best TV antennas list, but some of the top sellers go for $20 or less.

Buying something for under $20 may not get you huge range or amplified signal, but our favorite inexpensive antennas still pull in dozens of channels, have flexible mounting options and offer some interesting designs.

  • Check out the best TV antennas for indoor, outdoor and amplified models 
  • Time to upgrade? The best TVs you can get right now

The best cheap TV antennas get the job done for less. And the best news? Even as broadcasters start switching to ATSC 3.0 in 2021 – bringing 4K broadcast to over the air TV – these antennas will all work with the new tuners.

These are our favorite budget-friendly TV antennas.

What are the best cheap TV antennas?

The best cheap TV antenna overall is the Mohu Leaf Metro, our longtime favorite thanks to its excellent performance and a design that's great for small apartments. It's small, simply designed and the best budget antenna you can buy.

For solid performance at a low price, we also like the 1byOne Paper Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna. It may not have the best performance in the budget-friendly category, but it's one of the most affordable antennas on the market, and it's more than capable of pulling in your local broadcast stations.

For something completely different, the Chaowei DVB66 Digital HDTV Indoor/Outdoor Antenna can be used inside or out, but has a distinctive design that features a magnetized base for attaching to an RV or car for use on the road or at a campsite.

The HomeWorx Digital Flat Antenna is also distinctive thanks to it's colorful design, which is a nice change of pace for those who want something other than basic black or white. And at half the price of competing budget TV antennas, it's also one of the most affordable we've seen.

Finally, the Antop AT-108 Paper Thin Indoor TV Antenna is another good inexpensive option, provided you can make do with mediocre performance. It's likely insufficient for people who want an antenna for their daily watching, but it's perfect for pulling in the local news when the cable or internet connection is out.

The best cheap TV antennas in 2021

1. Mohu Leaf Metro

The best budget antenna you can buy


Channels Received: 31

Rated Range: 25 miles

1080p Reception: Yes

Size: 11.5 x 3.4 inches

Cable Length: 10 feet

Amplified: No

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive+Very small+Solid, dependable reception

Reasons to avoid

-Not amplified-Limited range and channel selection

Experienced antenna company Mohu offers one of the best-performing antennas in the under-$20 category with its Leaf Metro. In fact, it's the best cheap TV antenna you can get. The non-amplified, reversible (black on one side, white on the other) antenna is of modest dimensions (11.5 x 3.4 inches) and is designed to be tacked or stuck to a wall with velcro patches.

The Mohu Leaf is rated to pull in channels with a range of 25 miles, and comes with a detachable 10-foot cable but doesn't have an amplifier — yet it turned in very respectable results, receiving a total of 31 stations. That makes this antenna a great choice for dorm rooms or smaller living spaces, and the excellent price makes it the best bang for the buck in affordable antennas.

Read our full Mohu Leaf Metro review. 

2. 1byOne Paper Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna

Solid performance for a low price


Channels Received: 28

Rated Range: 35 miles

Size: 13.25 x 9.25 inches

1080p Reception: Yes

Cable Length: 10 feet

Amplified: No

Reasons to buy

+All necessary components included+Moderately priced+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Inconsistent performer

Demonstrating that larger, flat indoor antennas tend to make it easier to capture more stations, the very reasonably priced 1byOne Paper Thin (Model OUS00-0187) antenna was able to receive 28 watchable channels in our metropolitan test area. So long as you don't need something with a detachable cable, the 1byOne Paper Thin is simple to use and reliably pulls in a decent number of channels. Major stations looked clean and crisp, and it was able to receive 28 stations, giving you most of the same channels the top performers pulled in.

The 13.25 x 9.25-inch plastic antenna is by no means the most inconspicuous nor the most stylish model in this group, but it gets the job done. Included mounting pins and stickers make it easy to hang on the wall or on a window, so you'll always be able to find the sweet spot for pulling in the best signal.

Read our full 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna review

3. Chaowei DVB66 Digital HDTV Indoor/Outdoor Antenna

Good for RVs and cars


Channels Received: 14 (indoor), 45 (outdoor)

Rated Range: 35 miles

1080p Reception: Yes

Size: 2 x 5.1 inches

Cable Length: 16.5 feet

Amplified: No

Reasons to buy

+Competitive price+Compact, vehicle-friendly design

Reasons to avoid

-Subpar reception-No amplifier

The Chaowei DVB66 is an indoor/outdoor antenna that sells for under $20, but offers a unique compact design that stands apart from the mudflap aesthetics of most inexpensive antennas, plus it can be used outdoors as well as in the living room. When tested indoors, it pulled in a respectable 14 channels.

It's also an excellent choice for use on RVs and other vehicles. With it's small, sturdy design and magnetized base, it's easy to pop the indoor/outdoor antenna onto the roof of your Winnebago or Volkswagen Vanagon and start pulling in channels from miles around. In our testing, the outdoor performance was dramatically better than indoors (grabbing 45 clear channels), making it ideal for use on the road or at a campsite. Just don't try to use it when the vehicle is in motion – the magnet in the base isn't quite strong enough to handle corners.

Read our full Chaowei DVB66 Digital HDTV Indoor/Outdoor Antenna review. 

4. Mediasonic HomeWorx Digital Flat Antenna

Decent performance and a colorful design


Channels Received: 19

Rated Range: 25 miles

1080p Reception: Yes

Size: 8.25 x 4.75 inches

Cable Length: 4.7 feet

Amplified: No

Reasons to buy

+Most affordable price+Includes clip-on stand

Reasons to avoid

-No amplifier-Short cable

The bright-blue HomeWorx antenna (model HW110AN) stands out, not only for the colorful design, but because it's also a respectable performer that sells for less than $10. Whether it's for a freshman dorm or your home living room, it's a sweet deal for basic cord cutting. It comes with a clip-on stand, allowing the 8.25 x 4.75-inch antenna to sit on a tabletop or, with the aid of an included suction cup, adhere to any window.

When we tested it in our New York City testing environment, we were able to view 19 different channels playing everything from McCloud to Miffy. And since the HomeWorx antenna doesn't have an amplifier, there's no need to worry about finding a USB port or adapter. The only limitation: a very short 56-inch cable, which will limit your placement options for receiving signals.

5. Antop AT-108 Paper Thin Indoor TV Antenna

A good backup antenna


Channels Received: 8

Rated Range: 30 miles

1080p Reception: Yes

Size: 9.37 x 5.43 inches

Cable Length: 10 feet

Amplified: No

Reasons to buy

+Inexpensive+Simple setup+Compact design

Reasons to avoid

-Poor reception

Small, flat, oblong-shaped antennas are the name of the game when it comes to inexpensive TV antennas, but they aren't all made the same. The Antop AT-108 Paper-Thin antenna shows that quality can vary widely, even in the under-$20 price range. The 9.37 x 5.43-inch design is made of flexible material and matte black finish make it easier to tuck away in an inconspicuous spot.

This basic non-amplified HDTV antenna is rated for a 30-mile range, but it pulled in only 8 stations. That's likely not enough for folks who rely on broadcast channels for the bulk of their viewing, but it might be enough for someone who wants a backup option so they can check the news when the internet goes out.

Read our full Antop AT-108 Paper Thin Indoor TV Antenna review. 

Should you get a cheap TV antenna?

The best cheap TV antennas are a good fit for areas with plenty of TV signal to pull in – if you're in the city or neighboring suburbs, you can usually get a good selection of channels with a small antenna like these. The TV antennas listed above will be a great fit for many readers, but not everyone will be well-served by these inexpensive basic models.

While these non-amplified indoor antennas are great for city dwellers and towns where local stations are broadcast from 20 or 30 miles away, they aren't well-suited to rural environments that may not have many stations to begin with, and even fewer within that short range. In those cases, we recommend looking at our best TV antennas page and focusing on antennas that offer outdoor mounting or built in amplification, or both. To see what channels are available in your area, check your ZIP code at

That said, if you aren't sure you want to spend a lot of money on free local channels, a $20 TV antenna is a great way to dip your toe in the waters without having to spend more or deal with a more involved installation process.

How to choose the best cheap TV antenna for you

When it comes to inexpensive TV antennas, you'll obviously want to start by figuring out your price range, and the models here are generally sold for $20 or less. While these basic antennas are capable of pulling in a handful of local stations for free, it is worth noting that they won't be a great option for everyone. 

If a small, inexpensive antenna is right for you, then consider the options above. Some have subdued designs that can be easily mounted out of sight, or even painted to match your walls. Others are flashier, or have something other than a flat design. While these different designs might not be a great fit for your apartment, they might be just the thing for an RV or other vehicle.

But the main factor, aside from price, is performance. We test all of the antennas we review, and provide details about how many channels they pull in – and how many of those channels are clear enough to watch.

 How we test cheap TV antennas 

All of the TV antennas we review – in any price range – are put through the same testing process to determine how many channels they will receive and how many of those channels are watchable.

All of our testing is done in the same location in New York City, an apartment that receives dozens of channels from a variety of broadcasters. Every individual antenna is connected to the same Samsung 4K TV and built-in TV tuner, and each one is placed in the same position to eliminate variables of environmental interference and to produce comparable results.

The Manhattan testing environment has more than 100 over-the-air channels available in the area, making it an ideal testing location for antenna reception of any range, with more sensitive, long-range antennas pulling in a higher number of channels. It also gives us a chance to determine the reception quality, by seeing whether or not those channels are clear and watchable. The best antennas will pull in more channels and a higher number of watchable results.

Brian Westover is an Editor at Tom's Guide, covering everything from TVs to the latest PCs. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.
Best Buy Tv Antenna

If you're fed up with the high cost of subscription TV -- whether you're getting it via a live TV streaming service, from a satellite dish or over a coaxial cable -- it may be time to cut the cord and look into an antenna. That's right, TV antennas still exist and they are now much less finicky than the "rabbit ears" that people had to fiddle with in years past. If you are in an area with a decent signal, you can watch some of the most popular TV shows, specials and sports for free with an antenna and some antennas can even bring in HD channels.

For the purposes of this article, we'll be discussing over-the-air, or OTA, antennas. This type of antenna feed is great for events you want to watch live, such as sports and the evening news. Depending on where you live and your signal reception capabilities, you can watch anything on NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, PBS and some other channels like MyNetworkTV and The CW. While a roof-mounted television antenna or outdoor TV antenna would do the job, your TV already has a built-in tuner, and adding an indoor antenna can cost less than $20 shipped. 

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And if you're really serious about cutting the cord, check out our Streaming TV Insider for even more tips.


The downside is that in some places, the TV signal of some channels is spotty or nonexistent due to either your proximity, or lack thereof, to a broadcast tower or obstructions that break up the signal. Unlike a live TV streaming service, OTA TV is restricted to a single television, and the broadcast signal from an OTA TV antenna won't work on phones or other devices. Unless, of course, you kick it up a notch with an OTA DVR.

Now playing:Watch this: How to cut the cord for $10: installing an indoor antenna


We tested seven different indoor antennas with prices ranging from $10 to $90 (all much less than the most basic cable TV). The best TV antennas were able to pull in more channels than the others and delivered stronger, clearer TV signals, even on "problem" channels. We tested in two different locations: urban Manhattan and suburban New Jersey. We'll keep this updated as we review new products. Here are the seven TV antennas we originally looked at:

  • Channel Master Flatenna 35 ($10 plus $7.50 shipping)
  • AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor TV Antenna ($20)
  • 1byOne Upgraded Digital Amplified Indoor HD TV Antenna ($27)
  • Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse ($40)
  • Mohu ReLeaf ($30, discontinued)
  • Channel Master Smartenna Plus ($49, discontinued)
  • U Must Have Amplified High Definition Digital TV Antenna ($29)

The best TV antennas we tested

Best TV antenna overall

Channel Master Flatenna 35/Duo

Sarah Tew/CNET

Dec 2016

  • Detachable coaxial cable? Yes
  • Number of channels: 50 in Manhattan, 61 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 9 out of 13 checked, both locations

The Flatenna 35 has been upgraded with a removable antenna since our original test. It seems that signal performance has also improved -- it's now the best of our seven models at pulling in channels, beating our previous recommendation, the Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse. 

And yes, the best TV antenna is just $10 (plus $7.50 shipping) from Channel Master's website. (It's called either the Flatenna 35 or Duo depending on where you buy it from.) Best TV channels reception and low price? We have a winner.

Read our Channel Master Flatenna 35 review.

Best TV antenna for power users

Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Detachable coaxial cable? Yes
  • Number of channels: 39 in Manhattan, 65 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 9 out of 13 checked, both locations

Maybe you've tried the Flatenna with so-so results and want to give it another shot. The $80 Antennas Direct Eclipse won our original comparison and performed very well again this time around at receiving a broadcast signal for many TV channels. 

With its ankh-shaped and multidirectional reversible compact design, the ClearStream antenna is definitely unique. It comes with sticky tabs for attaching it to your window, which is handy. And if you need more signal oomph, there's a $20 antenna amplifier available as well.

While the Eclipse is still available, be aware that there's now an upgraded Eclipse 2 model, though we have yet to test it.

Read our Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse review.

Other top TV antenna picks

Best TV antenna for weaker TV signals

1byOne Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna

Sarah Tew/CNET
  • Detachable coax? No
  • Number of channels: 34 in Manhattan, 49 in New Jersey
  • Number of watchable channels: 6 out of 13 checked, both locations

The 1byOne is one of two antennas in this list with a nonremovable coax cable, and at only 10 feet long, it may not work in some rooms where it cannot pick up a very weak signal. The black plastic feels a little cheap compared with the others, though the HD antenna model does come with a powered gain amplifier. It was toward the bottom of the pack in terms of signal performance, but this indoor HDTV antenna was the only television antenna to pick up CBS from a TV tower at our Manhattan location (see below for details).

The current price is cheaper than the others, but in our book the Channel Master is worth another buck or two.


Tv antenna buy best

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Indoor TV Antennas Compared: Cheap vs Expensive

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