One of the best indoor HDTV antenna for 2021
1byone’s round omnidirectional 30 mile antenna is the smallest of the antennas we tested and one of the cheapest. Honestly, it also feels cheap, which can be a problem if you plan on repositioning it frequently or if you otherwise need your antenna to endure a lot of abuse. The built-in 10 foot cable is very slim, which suggests that it is not very well insulated. Things went well in Pennsylvania, but not so well in New York, where it was exposed to more multipath interference.
The AmazonBasics Ultra Thin indoor antenna is another mimicked antenna from Mohu Leaf. Things did well in Pennsylvania, with the exception of The CW and Fox. It was also one of the lower powered antennas in New York, and it had particular trouble with Ion, even though it could produce an observable image.
We liked the Channel Master Flatenna when we originally tested it, but found it weak and discovered that its six foot cable is too short. It now comes with a 12 foot detachable, but otherwise it’s the same antenna.
The Mohu Curve 50 is a table antenna with a power amplifier integrated in the cable. As a table or shelf antenna, it is more difficult to find an ideal placement for what affects reception. We prefer the flexibility of flat wall antennas like Eclipse or ReLeaf for most situations. The amp increases the price, but you won’t know if the amp helps until you try.
The Mohu Leaf 30 is the antenna with which flat antennas are placed on the card. I’ve been using one myself for two years and have no complaints about its performance. The US-made sheet is significantly better constructed than any of the counterfeit flat antennas. The two plastic sheets (one side black, one side white) that cover the antenna elements are sturdy and contain a detachable 10-foot RG-6 cable. We don’t like the wall mount push pins because they leave holes. It attracted channels almost as well as our top pick, but Philadelphia’s FOX network wasn’t as good.
The HD frequency Aerowave hit 41 channels, 10 fewer than the Eclipse or ReLeaf, and its performance has only been fair on our hard-to-reach channels, particularly Fox and The CW. Due to its metal construction, it is heavier than other wall antennas and harder to hang. It comes with a 12 foot detachable cord.
The HD Frequency Cable Cutter Mini is the newer, smaller cousin of the HD Frequency Aerowave. This antenna has attracted most of the channels in our area, but less than all of our picks, and its rigid metal construction makes it more difficult to mount and hide than our picks. It comes with a 12 foot detachable cord.
The outdoor HD Frequency Cable Cutter Indoor Antenna was the best performance in a previous version of this manual. Upon retesting, we found that while it went pretty well, it didn’t match the best antennas in our summary and was even surpassed by its little siblings. That, the higher price, and the fact that it’s relatively large for an indoor antenna and more difficult to hang on a wall due to its weight and size means we can’t recommend it through our top picks.
The Direct ClearStream Max antennas are one of the indoor / outdoor antennas we tested to find out what advantage a larger antenna had over the small and flat version. It turns out: not much. It is a large directional antenna that provides more passive amplification (gain) than the small, flat, indoor-specific antennas we tested. If pointed in the right direction, it can attract stations from further away, but the closer target channels were not received better than the small antennas. While the design is technically small enough to fit indoors, it doesn’t aesthetically fit in any room other than an attic.
RCA’s Slivr uses a rigid plastic instead of the flexible plastic from Eclipse and ReLeaf to hold an antenna element, making it bulkier and heavier and not entirely flat. Only half of the channels that had the better antennas were pulled in.
The Terk Omnitwr is a table antenna that looks like a smart speaker and even has a built-in LED light. It comes with a power amplifier with three settings, but none of those settings gave us better reception than our selection.
The Winegard FreeVision is an indoor / outdoor antenna that takes a few minutes to assemble and is better suited for placement in the attic or outdoors. It didn’t go so well in Pennsylvania, but it went well in New York, even though it was very directional.
My “Trashtenna” garbage antenna was made from a square of cardboard, covered with aluminum foil and fitted with a length of coaxial cable glued to the foil. In New York things actually went very well and 100s were drawn on five of the target channels. In Pennsylvania, the Trashtenna did not fare as well and completely missed some of the target channels. While it was the cheapest (basically free), it was also the least durable as the foil tore the first time you moved it.