There are so many TV antennas on the market today that it can get pretty overwhelming. Here is my advice on which antenna you should get.
Before You Buy Anything
Before buying an antenna, you need to find out how many channels are available in your area. To do this, enter your zip code (or full address) into the Station Finder to see how many channels are available in your area:
If you got a lot of green channels, congratulations! You should be able to use a simple non-amplified indoor antenna and get most of those channels, if not more! Check out my recommended indoor antennas below.
If you didn’t get any green channels, and just got yellow or orange ones, you probably need an amplified indoor antenna or an outdoor antenna. Skip ahead to my recommended amplified antennas and outdoor antennas.
The Best Antennas
You will get the most channels and best reception by using an outdoor antenna or attic antenna, simply because these are higher up and have fewer obstructions.
However, most people can't set up a rooftop antenna because they live in apartments, are renting, etc. If that is your situation, keep reading.
The Two Indoor Antennas that I Recommend
If you have a lot of strong stations in your area, and you don't want to set up an outdoor antenna, I would recommend the the Mohu Leaf or the Cable Cutter Aerowave antennas. I personally use both of them in my home and I love them!
The Mohu Leaf is a super-flat indoor TV antenna that you can hang on a wall or window, as shown below. It is made in the U.S. and has performance on par with or better than much bulkier metal antennas. The Leaf is fantastic in terms of performance, and hide-ability. You can simply hang it on a wall, and it doesn't look that bad! (See my comparison between the Mohu Leaf and a bulky metal antenna).
There are two versions of the Mohu Leaf that I recommend: the regular Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin antenna (usually $39.95) and the Mohu Leaf 50 Amplified antenna (usually $61.99). If you have a lot of green stations on the Station Finder, then go with the cheaper Mohu Leaf. The stronger signals can actually overwhelm an amplified antenna and give you worse reception. (Read more about why here).
If you have just a few or no green channels and mostly yellow and orange channels, go with the amplified Mohu Leaf 50. See below for these models. (Note, I don't recommend the Mohu Leaf Metro. Spend a little more to get more reliable reception.)
My only beef about the Leaf is that it comes with a under-performing RG59 coax cable. I highly recommend swapping that cable out for a higher-quality RG6 coax cable which will give you more stations and better reception. Many readers have confirmed this, and I've seen it first hand myself. (For independent information on why RG6 is so much better than RG59 coax cable, see this article). Happily, the cable is removable so you can attach any cable to the Leaf. Here are some RG6 cables that should work well:
The Cable Cutter Aerowave Antenna
My other favorite TV antenna is the HD Frequency Cable Cutter Aerowave. This is a nearly flat metal antenna which you can hang on a wall, and is also made in the U.S. Unlike the Leaf, these already come with a high quality RG6 coax cable, so you don’t need to buy a separate cable for best performance!
The Aerowave is especially good at picking up VHF stations, denoted by “Hi-V” in the Station Finder. If you have a lot of “Hi-V” stations, I would go with the Aerowave antenna.
Check out the full line of Cable Cutter antennas, including the Aerowave, which I recommend:
Which should you get? I’ve tested the Mohu Leaf and HD Frequency Aerowave extensively and they are the best indoor TV antennas I’ve found. Which one is better depends on your particular location and conditions; it’s impossible to say without trying.
I would say the Leaf looks nicer, is a bit cheaper, and tends to bring in more channels, but many of those tend to be the higher-numbered foreign-language ones. The Cable Cutter Aerowave brings in fewer channels, but gives better reception for VHF channels and lower-numbered channels that most people watch. From my testing, it’s a toss-up as to which is better. Both are excellent antennas!
This all assumes you buy the better RG6 cable for your Leaf though. The Leaf with the included coax cable is NOT as good as the Cable Cutter Aerowave. So, if you go for the Leaf antenna, get the RG6 cable that I recommend!