Despite how much we all use the internet, we’re still fairly reliant on cell network coverage for communication when away from the city. Usually, this isn’t a problem but when you live out in the middle of nowhere you’re out of luck if your internet goes down. Or are you?
Not necessarily. With a cell phone signal booster, you can actually increase the strength of your phone signal by a considerable amount. To help find one that’s right for you, we’ve researched some of the best cell phone signal boosters around. Take a look at the table below.
|Best Budget Signal Booster||Mingcoll 4G Signal Booster||Verizon|
|SolidRF SOHO||Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint,US Cellular, Metro PCS, AT&T|
|Best Mid-Budget Signal Booster||weBoost B00RHMFQSA||All US and Canada|
|zBoost ZB545||AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel, Cricket|
|Best All Carriers Signal Booster||SureCall Signal Booster||All US|
|SolidRF BuildingForce 4G-M||All US and Canada|
|Best Vehicle Signal Booster||weBoost Drive 4G-S 470107||All US|
|weBoost 460106||All US|
|HiBoost C27G-5S||All US|
|Editor's Picks||Wilson Electronics DT||All US|
|SureCall Fusion4Home||All US|
Now, signal boosters are fairly straightforward. Nonetheless, we feel there are a few things you should know before you spend any money on one. This can help prevent buyer’s regret in the long run so the following paragraphs are well worth reading.
How does a cell phone signal booster work?
You know how your phone receives signals from the cell phone towers nearby? Well, the signal booster does too. The difference is that it also amplifies these signals, enabling your phone to actually work as intended.
It’s worth noting that you will need at least one bar of signal for your booster to work properly. After all, it can only amplify signals if it’s actually receiving them. For this reason, placement is vital. Try and find the area of your home with the strongest signal and put the booster there.
Some signal boosters only pick up signals from specific carriers. These single carrier boosters are usually less expensive but if your friend is on a different network, they’ll be stuck with the same poor reception. If possible, try to find a booster that works with all US carriers – it might cost more, but there’s less fuss.
Frequencies also matter. For instance, if your carrier’s 4G signals are 1800MHz but your booster only receives up to 1000MHz, you won’t get 4G speeds. Instead, you might have to settle for just the basic 3G.
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Best Budget Signal Booster
If your signal is already pretty good but you could use a slight improvement, you don’t really need a high-end signal booster. Instead, you could make do with a budget model – it’d get the job done but have a far lesser impact on your bank balance. That’s the best of both worlds.
The first product we’ll be taking a look at is the Mingcoll 4G signal booster. This model boosts Verizon signals to improve your reception. Now, it is designed for home use and as a result, it comes with an antenna to mount outside your house. This is a little more involved but at least you’ll only need to set it up once.
This antenna isn’t for everyone. After all, it costs around 140 USD and only picks up signals from one network. That said, we believe it’s worth the money and could be very useful to a particular niche of people.
The next product is the Mingcoll B01MTRBXK7. It’s very similar to the last product except this one receives AT&T signals instead of Verizon. This model provides around 2000 square feet of coverage so it’s good for use at both residential and commercial properties. Not bad, right?
Well, it gets better. This model costs around 150 USD and offers a considerable boost to signal reception. In fact, you can expect to see an increase of three or more bars on your cell phone once you’ve pointed the antenna towards the nearest phone tower. That’s the difference between making that crucial call and being totally isolated.
As well as the antenna and booster, this product comes with a 32-foot coaxial cable. If this is too short, you can buy a longer one but bear in mind that the longer the cable, the weaker the signal your booster receives. To be fair, this shouldn’t present too much of a problem.
All in all, this model represents good value for the price. It provides an incredible boost to signal and although it only covers a single network, sometimes that’s all you need. However, if you need to boost signals from several networks, perhaps you’ll be interested in the next product.
Take a look at the SolidRF SOHO. Now, this is something special. It’s a booster that receives 3G signals from Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, AT&T, and Metro PCS. You’ll notice that 4G is not catered for, so bear this in mind before spending any money on this product.
So how much is a product like this worth? Less than you might think – it retails for around 120 USD, making it one of the most affordable boosters we’ve covered in this list. Despite this low price, it supports connections from multiple devices at once and even provides a good boost to signal strength.
How good? Well, it’s powerful enough to boost the signal to an area of around 3000 square feet. Obviously, signal strength will drop the farther you get from the booster but you should still see a significant improvement.
Best Mid-Budget Signal Booster
The products we’ve just covered will do the job but if you can increase your budget slightly, a whole new world of boosters opens up. The following models provide greater versatility, higher performance and easily justify their higher costs. Don’t believe us? See for yourself!
Let’s kick this category off with the weBoost B00RHMFQSA. Now, we know this signal booster doesn’t have the catchiest name but it does something that no other model so far can – it works with every major mobile carrier in not just America but Canada as well.
There has to be a catch, right? Well, it does have a slightly smaller coverage area, however, at 1500 square feet, it’s unlikely you’ll run into any issues. Plus, you’ll be able to use both 3G and 4G networks for most providers. This really is a “fire and forget” system – in fact, you’ll be surprised how poor the signal is when you leave home in future.
This booster does come with a roof-mount antenna but you can also just attach a smaller antenna to a window instead. This speeds up the installation process considerably, and weBoost claims the whole setup takes around ten minutes which is not bad at all. There’s one last feature we think is worth mentioning, though.
This product uses mains power but it also allows you to use a battery in case of power outages. When the power goes off, the last thing you want is to be stranded and helpless. As such, this booster can be the difference between knowing what’s going on and just hoping for the best.
Here’s a question: if you can buy a signal booster that works with most networks for around 400 USD, why would you pay nearly 300 USD for one that only works with AT&T? Well, the Cisco DPH151-AT (also known as the Microcell) proves that sometimes the higher investment is better. After all, it has one job and does it exceptionally well.
This is an attractive little model that allows you to access both 3G and 4G AT&T signals. It doesn’t even require a coaxial input like all the others – you can just plug in any old Ethernet cable and as long as you have broadband, you’ll be just fine. Satellite broadband is a little too slow, however.
Because there’s no antenna, you aren’t limited in terms of where you can use this booster. Take it to the office if you’d like. All you have to do is log into the AT&T website and re-register the device at a new address. There are no delays and nothing to stop you from making those important calls.
Okay, this isn’t technically a signal booster. Essentially, it uses the internet to create a portable cell tower. However, for all intents and purpose, it works in the same way while being more convenient. At the end of the day, isn’t that all that really matters?
Last but by no means least, let’s take a look at the zBoost ZB545. This model costs around 230 USD and provides boosted signals for the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel, and Cricket networks. That’s already pretty decent considering the price but this product has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
You’ve probably already noticed that this booster doesn’t come with a flat dish-style antenna. Instead, it’s omnidirectional. This means it can pick up and boost signals from several towers at the same time for the best results. To make matters even better, it provides dual-band coverage for all the major networks.
Even the initial setup is pretty straightforward. The booster itself can automatically adjust itself for optimal settings. Really, all you have to do is ensure there’s 15 feet between the base unit and antenna, plug it all in, and relax. If you’re looking for a no-fuss installation, the ZB545 would be an excellent choice.
If you already have a decent reception, this model provides up to 2500 square feet of coverage. This does decrease slightly as you get further from the nearest tower but it should still be enough for any residential property. To be fair, you’ll even have good reception out in the yard.
Best All Carriers Signal Booster
The real problem with the signal boosters above is that they might not work for people visiting your home or office. However, there is a solution. The products below work with all major US networks so you don’t have to worry about individual devices not being able to connect.
The first of these models is the SureCall Signal Booster. This uses a mini antenna and a flare shaped booster that not only offers excellent coverage but looks great too. With up to 2500 square feet of coverage, this product ensures that it’s worth every cent of its roughly 300 USD price.
You don’t even have to worry about additional costs because a 50-foot coaxial cable is included as standard. Despite its small stature, the antenna does its job very well – it’s omnidirectional so placement isn’t as important. Rather, just make sure there are no obstructions and you’ll be fine. So how could this booster get better?
How about if SureCall threw in a three-year warranty? Still not convinced? What if there were LED status lights that took the guesswork out of troubleshooting? Maybe you’d like to manually adjust the gain or tune each band individually? This model has all these features and more, making it one of the most advanced boosters on the market.
We get that the SureCall might be a little expensive for some people, and that’s okay. After all, it’s a premium product and is priced accordingly. However, if you want a signal booster that “just works”, there are few that can contend with it.
If you’re looking for a simple, reliable 4G signal booster that works across all networks, the SolidRF BuildingForce 4G-M might be right up your street. It costs around 300 USD and has some characteristics that make it an excellent choice for multi-story buildings. Whether office or home, this is a strong choice.
First of all, this product is delightfully simple to set up. Simply mount the antenna somewhere high, attach the coaxial cable and adapter, flick the switch, and you’re done. There are four LED lights on the front showing the availability of different signal frequencies too, so resolving problems becomes very simple.
The BuildingForce isn’t just for Americans, either. It works with every major provider in the US and Canada, so you can count on unparalleled signal strength no matter where you are in North America. There’s even automatic gain control that kicks in if your signal becomes worse than usual.
Let’s say you have multiple people over, all of whom are using different networks. That’s no problem! Even if you’re only receiving a single bar of signal, this product will provide around 200 square feet of coverage. Of course, this rises considerably with your signal strength.
Best Vehicle Signal Booster
We’ve all been there: taking a call in the car when the signal starts to drop and the line goes dead. However, things don’t have to go that way. With the following signal boosters, you’re guaranteed an exceptional coverage no matter where you are. At home, on the road, or anywhere, you’ll be alright.
Our first recommendation is the Drive 4-GS 470107 from weBoost. This one costs a little under 200 USD and can boost signals from every carrier in the US. What’s even more impressive is how compact this unit is – it’s actually built into a cell phone holder that sits right there on your dash. Neat, isn’t it?
Of course, there’s more to it than that. You have to run a cable out of the window to the magnetic antenna that sits on your vehicle’s roof. Once you plug the dock into your cigarette lighter, though, you’re all set up and good to go.
Now, because this is designed for vehicular use, it doesn’t have incredible range. However, even in a bus or other long vehicle, it’s still powerful enough for everyone to use at once. Realistically, the only time you might have an issue is if you’re driving through an area with no signal at all.
In short, the Drive 4-GS is an affordable, versatile signal booster that you can take everywhere you go. It supports every network you can imagine and is very easy to install. Sure, you can’t really adjust any of the finer options, but when you’re on the road all that matters is that you can keep taking those calls.
Next up we have another weBoost product, the 460106. This one manages to be even less expensive than the previous, clocking in at less than 100 USD. It supports all US networks, includes a magnetic antenna, and is shaped like a phone holder. We know what you’re thinking: “what’s the catch?”.
Well, you can’t use this product to receive 4G signals. However, if you’re on the road, you don’t really need these. After all, you’re not going to be watching HD video or going for crystal clear audio. The 460106 allows you to make and take calls without worrying about your signal, so while it’s a little basic, this helps keep the price low.
If we had to find a flaw with this model, it’d be that after extended periods of time it does start to heat up. This isn’t a major issue, but it’s one worth being aware of. To be fair, it can be rapidly cooled down by briefly turning on the AC, but this shouldn’t be necessary.
For a product this inexpensive, there are bound to be some kind of compromises. To be fair, though, they’re very minor things and the improvements to your cell phone’s signal are undeniable. If you need a high-quality booster and don’t have the budget for one of the other models, this might be just what you need.
Let’s say you do want 4G though. You still have plenty of options, including the HiBoost C27G-5S. As you might expect, it’s priced a little higher than some of the other models we’ve seen, at around 350 USD. For the price, though, you’ll be pleased to hear it does everything you could ever want.
Although this model doesn’t store your phone when not in use, it features a metal casing for added durability. It’s a little larger, however, and has to be stowed in the footrest or on the dash. The antenna, if nothing else, is fairly similar. It’s a standard, magnetic aerial that goes on your vehicle’s roof.
It should be noted that this antenna only sticks to steel surfaces, not aluminum. That said, we’re sure you’ll be able to find a suitable spot. Another couple of advantages is that this signal booster works with all US network carriers and allows up to ten users to connect simultaneously.
If you’re the kind of person that spends a lot of the time on the road, you’ll need a product that’s as durable as your vehicle is. There aren’t many steel-cased signal boosters on the market and that, combined with the sheer versatility of the C27G-5S make it worthy of your consideration.
This is the part where we highlight some of the best overall signal boosters. The products above are great for specific situations, but maybe you just want something that is simple, works well, and won’t break the bank. Let us introduce you to the Wilson Electronics DT – a product that meets all these criteria.
The DT costs a little under 190 USD and boosts signals from all US carriers. Like some of the products above, this one keeps the cost down by omitting 4G signals entirely. That said if you’re just looking for clear, consistent voice calls that don’t drop, 3G signals will work just fine. What else is good about it?
This booster features two dials on the front that allow you to change the gain values for both the 800MHz and 1900MHz frequency bands. This is a small addition but it can have a huge impact on the quality of signal you receive, so we’re glad to see it included, especially on such an affordable model.
The package includes everything you need to get started and although you have to mount an antenna outside, this should be relatively straightforward thanks to the detailed instructions provided. Plus, if anything goes wrong, the unit is covered by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty so you don’t have to worry.
Well, we’ve reached the end of our list. We’ve decided to go out with a bang, however. Our last product recommendation is the SureCall Fusion4Home. It costs just under 400 USD, boosts signals from every US carrier, and even improves 4G LTE speeds. That’s not half bad, but it only gets better.
Its coverage area is huge! You can provide excellent reception to up to 3000 square feet – that’s enough for a reasonably sized home or office. Can multiple users connect at the same time? Of course! They don’t even have to be on the same network, which is excellent.
While this model may be slightly more expensive than the rest, it offers something the others don’t: peace of mind. There’s no need to worry about if a particular device or carrier will work because it just will. If you want a no mess, no stress product, the Fusion4Home will fit your requirements perfectly.
Electrician and DIY specialist Justin deleted his own successful tech blog to write expert product reviews and buying guides together with his friend Robert.