The best HDTV antennas for watching free TV
Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of folks abandoning traditional cable packages in favor of digital streaming. The reasoning is simple – services like Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video give you more control over the content you are buying, and are often much cheaper too!
Of course, regular television still has benefits, such as watching it live. Now, most of us probably never use the majority of channels that come with cable subscriptions, but channels like ABC and CBS have vast amounts of quality programming. Even better, did you know you can get them for free? That’s right, free TV is possible even in 2017 — and all you need is a quality HDTV antenna to get it.
With that in mind, here is our round-up of the best HDTV antennas currently available.
Channel Master Flatenna
The Flattena gets its name from its incredibly thin design and flexible nature, measuring at just 0.2 inches thin. You will be limited in terms of where you stick it because of its short, 6 ft., coax cable which is attached to the product. But this can be easily remedied by purchasing an extension. It boasts a range of 35 miles, and at just $ 10 it is the cheapest antenna on the list, but still performs quite admirably.
Mohu Leaf 50
The Leaf is quite a bit more expensive than our first pick, but makes up for its premium price of $ 69.99 by boasting a range of 50 miles. The leaf uses a USB cable to prevent the antenna from pulling energy from the TV all the time — only when in use, thus saving energy. You also get RF filtering, which will make picture quality better. In comparison to the Flattena, the Leaf comes with a 16 ft. coax cable. All in all, this is easily one of the very best HDTV antennas on the market.
HD Frequency Cable Cutter Mini
This one takes a departure from the flat panel, and instead is a rectangular frame with two smaller frames inside it. It comes with a 12 ft. coax cable and a 3M adhesive hook which will ensure that you don’t tear up the wall when removing it. The range is up to 35 miles, which should be good enough to get most of the important channels. The ability to use it indoor and outdoor is a bonus!
Antennas Direct ClearStream Eclipse
Also coming in a distinct shape, the Eclipse is circular. It’s selling point is that it comes with a 20dB inline amplifier to help weak signals. Combined with the excellent 50 mile range, you should have no problem getting a good amount of channels. The antenna is also paintable so you can colour match it to furniture and walls. The antenna comes with a 12 ft. coax cable.
Channel Master Smartenna
The Smartenna is a compact antenna that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Unlike the others, the Snartenna does not come with a coax cable, so you will need to purchase one separately. It does come with excellent range: ~35 miles indoors, and ~50 miles outdoors. It has a mount for use outdoors and rubber feet for tabletop use indoors. Despite its lacking a coax cable, it is still an excellent antenna!
So that’s it for our list of best HDTV antennas for watching free TV! As a standard disclaimer, mileage will vary with any antenna depending on where you put it. Natural obstructions, such as mountains, and urban impediments, such as the city and roofs, will often result in less than great performance. If you have an antenna that you have been using, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.