Consumer Reports

How to Choose the Right TV Antenna

With more and more people dropping cable to cut down on expenses, antennas have become increasingly popular

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Consumer Reports recently tested indoor antennas of different shapes and sizes in homes both in the city and in the suburbs.

TV antennas have come a long way from the days of rabbit ears covered in tinfoil. And with more and more people dropping cable to cut down on expenses, antennas have become increasingly popular.

But which one should you buy? Consumer Reports offers some top picks from its latest tests.

Consumer Reports recently tested indoor antennas of different shapes and sizes in homes both in the city and in the suburbs. Most models were able to receive dozens of free over-the-air channels.

One that did well is the Winegard FlatWave Amped FL5500A for $60 ($110 in Canada). It has a super-thin design you can mount on a wall or a window.

And some good news for bargain shoppers: Tests found little correlation between price and performance. One example is the budget model from Naxa NAA-308 for $15 ($80 in Canada), which combines the rabbit ears and loop design of classic antennas with more modern features.

No matter which antenna you choose, there are several factors that will have an impact on the number of channels you’ll get. Some you have control over, others you don’t.

Where you place your antenna is important. CR suggests placing it as high as you can and preferably close to a window.

Other factors, like where you live and what’s around your home, like buildings or trees, can also have an impact on reception. That means you may need to try several models before finding the best antenna for your space. So CR suggests you shop somewhere with free returns and exchanges.

One last tip: CR says to rescan for channels every month or so, because you might pick up some new stations you couldn’t get before.

Copyright CR - Consumer Reports