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The best TV antennas of 2021: Tested and rated

Best TV antennas
(Image credit: Mohu)

The best TV antennas give you live over the air (OTA) programming, without ever paying for a subscription. Broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC offer hours of free content, and all you need is an HDTV antenna and a TV. Enjoy shows, movies, sports and news, without spending a cent. 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 rely on hands-on evaluation and careful testing to find the best TV antennas available, whether it's a simple unamplified antenna that hangs on the wall, an amplified unit that's set on a shelf, or even a larger outdoor model that pulls in stations from miles away. In every review we examine not only performance, but also the equipment that's included with an antenna, and the ease of setup and use.

What are the best TV antennas?

The Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro is our favorite general use antenna, offering a simple indoor design that combines a wide surface with a built-in amplifier to pull in dozens of channels. It even has a signal strength meter to help you find the spot for best reception. Whether you're in the city or out in the suburbs, this antenna should do the trick.

If you need to pull in the most channels, you'll want to upgrade to an outdoor antenna, like 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.

For a less-expensive option, we also like the Mohu Leaf Metro. The small size and decent reception make it good for urban areas with plenty of channels to pull in, but the lower price makes it a great pick for inexpensive cord-cutting.

The best TV antennas you can buy today

Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro HDTV Antenna review

(Image credit: Mohu)

1. Mohu Leaf Supreme Pro

Best TV antenna overall

Specifications
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

Best TV antenna: Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna

(Image credit: Winegard)

2. Winegard Elite 7550 Outdoor HDTV Antenna

Best outdoor antenna

Specifications
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.
  

Mohu Leaf Metro

(Image credit: Mohu)

3. Mohu Leaf Metro

Best budget TV antenna

Specifications
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.

Best TV antenna: 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna

(Image credit: 1byone)

4. 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna

Frequent best-seller

Specifications
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.
  

Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel Antenna

(Image credit: Antop)

5. Antop AT-800SBS HD Smart Panel Antenna

Best indoor/outdoor antenna

Specifications
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. 

ClearStream Max-V HDTV Antenna

(Image credit: ClearStream)

6. ClearStream Max-V HDTV Antenna

Another great indoor/outdoor antenna

Specifications
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

Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301

(Image credit: Antop)

7. Antop HD Smart Antenna SBS-301

A double-duty antenna for TV and radio

Specifications
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 with a basic indoor antenna. 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. 

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.

Non-amplified or amplified: 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.

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 AntennaWeb.org, 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.

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 mountains – your own channel selection will vary considerably. We also offer a handy guide to better antenna reception to help you cut the cord more easily.

Brian Westover
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.
  • bumpandrun
    If the RCA ultrathin has the best reception, what keeps it from being a 9 or 10?
    Reply
  • PAMID7
    Do I need to buy an indoor antenna for each television?
    Reply
  • Andrew_B20017
    I have a rather large antenna in a spare bedroom on the upper floor of my home. I got a powered splitter that I attached to it and connected the upstairs TV's as well as connecting an existing cable that ran to the basement. I attached another powered splitter in the basement to connect cables for my downstairs TV's. 1 antenna and 4 TV's. I'm in a rural area and I still pick up over 30 channels. If you do a set up like this make sure the first splitter is close to the antenna for the best signal distribution.
    Reply
  • t.bargy
    If you order from these people.......BEWARE ABOUT RETURNING....COST ALLMOST AS MUCH TO RETURN ITEM ..IF NOT MORE... WITH THESE PEOPLE AS IT DID TO BUY IT....SO IF YOU THINK YOUR GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK ....YOUR NOT......SO YOUR SCREWED......I'LL NEVER ORDER FRROM THIS PLACE AGAIN
    Reply
  • rgd1101
    20352579 said:
    If you order from these people.......BEWARE ABOUT RETURNING....COST ALLMOST AS MUCH TO RETURN ITEM ..IF NOT MORE... WITH THESE PEOPLE AS IT DID TO BUY IT....SO IF YOU THINK YOUR GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK ....YOUR NOT......SO YOUR SCREWED......I'LL NEVER ORDER FRROM THIS PLACE AGAIN

    Who are these people? the article only use amazon. And what with the all caps?
    Reply
  • klevisnowlle
    The MOHU Leaf/Releaf antennas are available at Fry's and Walmart (can be returned). MicroCenter sometimes has a Yagi style mini antenna for about $14.99 which works reasonably well.
    Reply
  • bigtdavis608
    may want to update your article, the mohu airwave looks to have been pulled from the market. the product was an absolute disaster.
    Reply
  • klevisnowlle
    I am using an $19.00 Mohu Leaf antenna from Wal Mart plugged into a $25.00 Digital converter from e-bay. Mohu rates it 30 mile capable - although it may receive up to 40 miles. One thing almost all companies fail to mention is that the antennas are directional. My antenna receives regular HDTV positioned N-S best and medium powered religious stations best lying flat.
    Reply
  • wmy77
    Purchase these antennas only from a retailer where you can return them without any extra costs or hassles.....depending where you live such as cottage country, the TV signals are too weak to allow any type of satisfactory reception...they may work in your area & they may not...placing the antennas outside & as high as possible will give the best reception...good luck...
    Reply
  • cwoodphotos
    This review of antennas has both misinformation and omitted information.

    First, there is no such thing as an HDTV antenna. Antennas are designed for the frequencies and polarity of the transmissions they need to cover. The antenna is agnostic. It responds to analog and digital transmissions and care less whether or not the signal is 480, 720 or 1080. And by the way, there are no 1080P over the air transmissions in this country.

    Some locations that have strong multi path reflections (city buildings, mountainous regions) will require an outdoor antenna, with a yagi being the preferred design as simple dipole or dipole with reflectors have a broad beam width and will reject unwanted signals/reflections more poorly than a yagi design
    Reply