WE'VE come a long way from the awkward, sprawling TV antennas of old – today’s best TV aerials combine style and function for an affordable price.
If you’re looking to get decent signal in rooms without fixed aerials, or watch TV on the road, we’ve selected the best TV aerials around.
Should I get an aerial or is Freeview enough?
Virtually every new TV today comes with a Freeview tuner, an internal antenna that will allow viewers to get a wide range of channels without the need for a subscription or additional devices.
Despite a 98.5% Freeview coverage in the UK, however, there are people struggling to get a good signal in certain areas, and that issue can only be solved through an additional aerial.
Rooftop aerials still get the best TV signals, but you may not want or be able to install one in your house, and that's where indoor aerials come to your aid.
Do smart TVs need aerials?
Smart TVs are great to watch online TV channels and to check out your latest social media videos, however, TV is ultimately a legacy medium, and as such, some channels are still not available online.
Because of this, if you want to get the most out of your smart TV, you'll still want a good aerial to pair it with.
You won't get the same range of channels and shows just using the apps you can access with a WiFi connection. For instance, The Great British Bake Off wasn't available to watch live on All 4 until last year.
Plus, from a practical standpoint, it's much less hassle to use your TVs channel browser than having to open up four or five different apps to find something you want to watch.
For more information about aerials, scroll to the bottom to find our buying guide.
1. RGTech Monarch
- RGTech Monarch, £24.90 from Amazon – buy here
Invented by former NASA scientist Dr Argy Petros, the RGTech Monarch 50 is a paper-thin, multi-directional antenna that has an impressive range of 50 miles.
It receives the full spectrum of TV and radio signals, meaning 4K and 1080p content is clear and noise-free.
It also comes with a staggering 15ft, double-coated cable meaning this antenna can help you get signal in all corners of your home, and even your garden, car or anywhere you want to watch TV.
It additionally comes with a filter that stops mobile phone interference from messing with the signal.
Available in black, or with a transparent design, the RGTech Monarch is one of the cheaper models in this list yet offers the most bang for your buck.
2. One For All SV9465 Loop
- One For All SV9465 Loop, £30.99 from Argos – buy here
With a reception range of up to 15 miles and a signal gain of 48dB (thanks to a built-in amplifier), the One for All SV9465 Loop aerial offers great features for a decent price.
It’s HD-ready and can support content resolutions up to 4K.
In order to maintain a good signal, and prevent dips, One For All uses a number of boosting and stabilisation technologies including Signal Clear and Automatic Gain Control.
The former, along with an Active Noise Filter, helps to keep the signal clear from interference, while the latter is constantly checking the gain levels and adjusting where necessary.
An added bonus is a filter that blocks 3G and 4G LTE signals from messing with the reception.
It weighs just 21g and comes with a tiltable antenna to help you get the best possible position.
3. Philex SLx Gold 27769RG
- Philex SLx Gold 27769RG, £26.22 from Amazon – buy here
Arguably not the prettiest option on this list, the Philex SLx Gold 27769RG is the best indoor aerial you can get if you live in a bad signal area.
This log periodic aerial needs to be aimed in the direction of the nearest broadcast tower for the best results, but once you do that, it is capable to pick up on weaker signals, even in HD.
The Philex SLx Gold 27769RG has full reception capabilities (470 to 790MHz) as well as an integrated 4G filter to remove unwanted interference.
Just make sure you are aiming the aerial to your nearest broadcast tower. If you're not sure where that is, check where your neighbours’ rooftop aerials are pointing and direct your device in that direction.
4. 1byone indoor Freeview Portable TV Aerial
- 1byone indoor Freeview Portable TV Aerial, £12.99 from Amazon – buy here
Offering something a little different at a lower price point, the 4K-ready, Paper Thin TV Aerial Amplified Indoor TV antenna is extremely thin (238x138x0.7mm) and can be stuck to a window to boost range and signal strength.
In case your windows aren’t by your TV, it comes with a long cable and is easy to set up; just plug it in and scan for channels.
The range goes up to 25 miles, thanks to the fact that being stuck to a window should mean it doesn’t have walls obstructing the waves.
You could even lay it flat on a window sill, or table/desk if you don’t want it on your window.
5. August DTA240
- August DTA240, £10.95 from Amazon – buy here
Another of Amazon’s best sellers, the August DTA240 is even more discreet than 1byone’s model and has the added benefit of being able to be used outdoors.
Small enough to carry in a handbag, this antenna is ideal for both Freeview and DAB broadcasting.
Its magnetic base means it can be easily fixed to the side or roof of cars, caravans and even boats, while its long cable helps you run the antenna a greater distance, increasing your chances of finding the best signal.
Gain averages at around 3 dB but given its small size, and the fact you’ll likely only use this as a secondary antenna, this isn’t too bad for the price and convenience.
6. One For All SV9430 Curved Amplified Indoor TV Aerial
- One For All SV9430 Curved Amplified Indoor TV Aerial, £31 from Argos – buy here
If the slightly space-age look of the One For All SV9465 isn’t to your liking, its curved cousin, the One For All SV9430 might suit.
It offers almost identical features as the 9465: full HD support, an up to 15-mile range, a 3G/4G LTE filter and a slightly lower 45dB gain – but is more discreet and will likely suit your home’s general aesthetic better.
It’s marginally cheaper because it doesn’t have the Automatic Gain Control and you miss out on the tilting mechanism so you’re paying a slightly lower amount for more style but less substance.
7. SLx Pro Flat Amplified Indoor Aerial
- SLX Pro Flat Amplified Indoor Aerial, £28.75 from Amazon – buy here
Offering a similar design to One For All’s curved model, the SLx Pro Flat Amplified Indoor Aerial has been designed in collaboration with experts at Loughborough University.
Its detachable stand means it can be placed upright, or you can lay it flat.
A built-in amplifier gives a gain of 20dB and its range reaches up to 20 miles.
It additionally comes with a similar 3G/4G filter as the One For All models.
If you’d prefer the loop functionality of One For All’s SV9465, SLx additionally sells an antenna designed around a globe, so it blends better into your home.
This slightly quirky aerial has the same features as the Pro Flat with the added ability to adjust the loop element to boost reception.
8. One for All SV9494
- One for All SV9494, £88.31 from Amazon – buy here
A futuristic-looking concentrate of features, the One for All SV9494 is not cheap, but you pay for quality here.
The aerial is housed in a beautiful flat-bottomed sphere that you can place on any surface and looks more like an Amazon Alexa product than an aerial.
The One for All SV9494 LED bar lights up in the direction of the strongest signal so that you can place the device in the best possible spot in the house.
The aerial also has a decent built-in amplifier and 3G/4G interference filter, making it the whole package.
It is quite pricey, compared with other aerials with similar features, but its design and hardware make the One for All SV9494 a compelling option for anyone looking for a stylish and performant aerial.
9. SLx 27806R Pillar
- SLx 27806R Pillar, £16.42 from Amazon – buy here
Wrapped in grey fabric and resembling a smart speaker, the SLx 27806R Pillar is arguably the most stylish aerial you can get.
Unfortunately, this aerial does not have a built-in amplifier, and its maximum range is 15 miles, so if your house is far away from the nearest broadcast tower, you may want to consider other alternatives.
Still, SLx also sells the device with a separate USB signal booster, which is strongly recommended for optimal performance.
Like many of the models in this list, the SLx 27806R Pillar features a 4G interference filter, which is useful to optimise the incoming broadcasting signal.
However, the aerial's cable is quite short (1.5m), so make sure your TV is in a good signal receiving location before buying this.
How much should I spend on an indoor aerial?
As you might have seen from our list above, an average indoor aerial can cost anything between £10 and £50.
The main element bringing up the price of indoor aerials is the presence of an amplifier; the wider the range, the most expensive the aerial. If you live far away from a TV transmitter, you'll want to get an aerial with an amplifier.
Another factor affecting the price of indoor aerials is the length of the cable, which allows you to place the device as far from the TV as needed to get the best possible signal.
Finally, extra features can also contribute to a price increase. If you live in an area with several electronic transmitters causing interferences, for example, you will want to invest in an aerial with interference-blocking capabilities.
And if you intend to work in your aerial into your house design flawlessly, you can pay a few extra bucks for a sleek and elegant-looking device.
What is the difference between TV aerials?
When we talk about antenna gain, this is a formula used to determine how effective the antenna is at picking up signals, and is displayed in decibels; typically, the higher the better.
Range is how far your antenna can be from the nearest transmitting aerial before it drops signal.
Although there is often an optimum range within the maximum where the aerial will pick up the best signal.
Typically, aerials with greater range tend to cost more, but price also depends on extra features such as interference blocking and cable length.
What are the main types of TV aerials?
Aerials come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few features you'll want to see if you're spending extra money. Here is a breakdown of the most important ones.
Generally speaking, most Over-the-Air TV aerials feature distance ratings between 20 to 60 miles, but experts have estimated that ideal reception areas for TV antennas are within 35 miles of your local broadcast towers.
Moreover, if you are too far from any broadcast towers, it is worth noticing that the curvature of the earth begins to impact TV signal reception at 70 miles of distance. That means that even if your aerial can potentially reach such a distance, the signal you'd get may not be entirely clear.
That being said, if you know with certainty how far your nearest broadcast tower is, you can buy an aerial with a corresponding radius, thus saving some money as devices with a wider range are usually more expensive. The general rule is to try and get an aerial whose mileage rating is a bit higher than your actual needed distance.
Omnidirectional vs Polarised
In order to get the best possible TV signals, you'll want to position your aerial in such a way for its angle to be polarised to match the local transmitter that's beaming the TV signal you're trying to get.
Some aerials have omnidirectional antennas, and in that case, you won't need to worry about polarisation.
There are three main types of indoor aerials, one polarised and two omnidirectional.
The "log periodic" aerials are the ones that most resemble traditional outdoor aerials. Most of them have a fan-shaped panel and can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally.
"Rod" aerials, on the other hand, are mostly omnidirectional. Also known as "monopole" aerials, these devices look like car radio antennas.
Finally, the "loop" aerials – another type of omnidirectional aerials – are built in such a way that loops and antennas on the device are folded into a panel, making this type of aerials very useful for space-saving purposes.
Aerials with amplifiers are quite useful if the area where you live has tall buildings or other barriers obstructing the signal, as they can pick up signals from further away than aerials without amplifiers.
As most over-the-air broadcasts have started delivering signals in HD and FHD resolution since 2018, amplifiers are also a great way of getting higher-quality signals.
Look out for devices potentially causing interference around your home though. An amplifier could boost the interfering signals too, thus causing more harm than good.
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