Should you try a smaller antenna before buying a larger one?

Friends, you don’t need me to tell you that the price of everything has gone up. This isn’t a financial blog and it’s for sure not a political one so let’s not get into the reasons why that might be happening. But, it’s a fact that we all have to be more careful with our money than we have in a long time.

That’s one of the reasons why so many people are rushing to buy over-the-air antennas lately. With a one-time investment, about 95% of people can get a lot of free entertainment. No monthly fee, no buffering, no problems if other people are using the internet. Sounds great, right?

Which antenna to choose, that’s the question​


When TV antennas got popular in the late ’00s, the government tried creating a color-code system to help people figure out what antenna they needed. It didn’t work. Practically no one even remembers it anymore.

Why? Because a simple color code isn’t going to help you really figure out which antenna you need, especially if your goal is the smallest one possible. It can vary from home to home, and even by the number of TVs you have in the house. So what can you do? Here are some very basic tips to consider, before we get into antenna choice.

1. Bigger is always going to be better​


A bigger antenna is going to receive more signal than a smaller one in general. You may not need the biggest one, depending on the channels in your area. But, no matter what a bigger antenna will outperform a smaller one. It’s possible to use an amplifier to make up for some of the limits of a small antenna. In fact sometimes a small antenna with an amplifier will do better than a large antenna without one, but that’s rare.

2. Higher and closer, that’s what matters​


The closer you are to a major city, the better reception you’ll generally get. The higher up you are, the better reception you’ll generally get. That’s a simple way of looking at it. You’re not going to be able to move your home closer to a city, but you might be able to put the antenna up higher. The higher you put it, the less likely that the signals will get blocked.

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Definitely.​


If you see an antenna the size of your laptop and it says it gets 120 miles, it doesn’t. If it says it’s a miracle of engineering, it isn’t. If it comes with a remote or some other gadget, it’s going to break. The best antennas don’t need to make grandiose boasts. They don’t need to include gadgets. Be smart and read between the lines to see if what they’re promising seems like it’s even possible.

4. Quality matters, but don’t jump to conclusions​


A lot of times you can just look at an antenna and see that it’s got quality construction. But don’t assume that an antenna is good or bad just because you see a lot of plastic or you don’t recognize the name.

Some of the top names in antennas from the 20th century are now owned by Chinese companies putting out the worst possible products. Some of the names you’ve never heard of are doing quality work. And, those top manufacturers sometimes encase their antennas in high-quality plastic to protect electronics inside.

So should you try a smaller antenna?​


That’s the question you came here to answer, right? So let’s get into it.

I generally don’t recommend people start with a smaller antenna just to see if they can get away with it. Why? Because there are going to be two kinds of smaller antennas. The first kind is reliable but it’s going to be about the same price as a larger antenna. The other kind, which is going to be very cheap, won’t work at all unless you’re so close to the towers that virtually anything would work.

It’s a much better idea to get the right antenna the first time. Luckily, there’s a way that you can get a great antenna recommendation from a real person. Apps can give you a pretty good idea, but to really get the best answer you still need a real person. Maybe AI will get good enough in a couple of years, but today your best bet is a recommendation from a real engineer.

Luckily, Solid Signal has a free service where you can get that recommendation. Call us at 888-233-7563 and you’ll reach an antenna tech who will ask the right questions. Then they’ll recommend the antenna you need and suggest accessories. The whole process is free! The team’s here for you during East Coast business hours and ready to take your call. If it’s after business hours, fill out the form below. We’ll get right back to you!


The post Should you try a smaller antenna before buying a larger one? appeared first on The Solid Signal Blog.

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Bigger doesn't necessarily mean more expensive (outside of shipping costs).

Your placement options have a lot more to do with what antenna is best for you. Putting the fanciest amplified antenna in an attic isn't going help much.
 

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