Where Can I Buy A Cell Phone Signal Booster
I'm that 5G guy. I've actually been here for every "G." I've reviewed well over a thousand products during 18 years working full-time at PCMag.com, including every generation of the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S. I also write a weekly newsletter, Fully Mobilized, where I obsess about phones and networks.
where can i buy a cell phone signal booster
With that in mind, these are the best boosters for homes, apartments, cars, and anywhere else you might need better coverage. Below these picks, we cover everything you need to know before your purchase.
The SureCall Flare 3.0 is affordable; supports AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and combines a directional outdoor antenna with an omnidirectional indoor antenna. That means you can fiddle with the outside antenna to get the strongest possible signal, place the inside antenna anywhere you want, and still get coverage. It worked across three indoor rooms in our tests.
This is for road warriors who often find themselves in places with a spotty cell signal. It helps keep your GPS going for your entire journey, and might prove invaluable if you ever need to place a call from a remote spot.
The weBoost Home Studio is a two-piece booster with a particularly small, low-key indoor emitter, so it won't crowd an already cluttered room. Like other weBoost products, it relies on a directional antenna you mount on a pole or roof outside to capture the best possible signal. Within the room it covers, its boosting potential is about the same as the larger SureCall Flare 3.0. But because it's compact, it offers a bit less range than the Flare and much less coverage than a whole-home system like the weBoost Home Multiroom.
Cel-Fi's devices can get you 100dB of signal improvement because they boost the frequencies of only one carrier. Just keep in mind that its premier Go+/Go X home boosters cost much more than other consumer models and that this approach means you can't switch carriers without switching your booster.
Don't fret if you don't own a home where you can install an outdoor antenna for a signal booster: This indoor Cel-Fi model still offers powerful boosting of up to 100dB. Though like the other Cel-Fi Go X, this one also supports just a single carrier and is quite pricey.
Booster manufacturers have to use various tricks to detect the best signal from surrounding towers and then amplify the signal without messing up the carriers' systems. That's why you need to stick with boosters primarily from the big four companies: Cel-Fi, HiBoost, SureCall, and weBoost (we also include one from Wilson for a special use case you can read about below). Cheaper boosters available from Amazon often aren't FCC-certified, which means they can cause trouble with surrounding cell sites and networks.
Boosters help the most when you have a weak signal, not when there's none at all. Whereas your phone shows bars, wireless industry folks measure signal in -dBm. A number higher than about -90dBm (like -80 or -70) is a strong signal. Anything below -110dBm is definitely weak, and you might not hold onto any signal below -120dBm. Apps like CellMapper(Opens in a new window) can show you the signal you're receiving on your phone.
If you're hesitant to invest in a home booster and primarily need coverage to make phone calls, make sure to try out Wi-Fi calling. All of the major carriers support this feature and you can often get better call performance over a connection to your Wi-Fi network.
The basic principle behind signal boosters is simple: A big antenna is better than a small one. Instead of relying on the tiny antenna in your phone, they capture cellular signal using a large antenna in your window or outside your house (or car), pass that signal through a device that cleans and amplifies it, and send it out through a rebroadcaster inside your home.
Boosters generally have three main components: an external antenna that sits outside your home; a booster that cleans and amplifies signal; and an antenna you keep inside your home. A coaxial cable connects them all.
Most home boosters also boost between 64 and 71dB of signal. Once again, that's due to FCC regulations. If you need more of a boost than that, you need to move up to Cel-Fi's single-carrier booster line, which can get to 100dB by boosting only the frequencies from one wireless carrier at a time.
Boosters for your car are similar to in-home boosters, with one exception: You can only get single-device, in-car cradle boosters. These are much less powerful than in-home boosters (the ones we tested boost by 23dB instead of between 65 and 75dB) but are less expensive, take seconds to install and remove, and don't radiate beyond the cradle that grips your phone. We like the weBoost Drive Sleek as a single-device booster.
You can install all retail cellular boosters by yourself without any drilling, although ideally, you should hide the cables against your baseboards. You also need to find the optimal antenna position outside your home.
Cellular boosters generally can't boost the "good parts" of 5G networks. AT&T and Verizon carry a small amount of 5G on the old cellular bands 2 and 5. Boosters handle that, so a booster may summon you a 5G icon, but that signal doesn't give you an experience that's much different from 4G. The fastest 5G networks for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are currently on bands n41, n77, n260, and n261; no consumer boosters support those bands reliably.
There is a sneaky way around this. While no powered boosters work with these bands, passive antennas can still improve signal on bands 41 and 71. They may only get you 10dB to 20dB of gain as opposed to 70dB, but that isn't insignificant (and even just the fact that the antenna is outside can help). Meanwhile, Waveform's Griddy parabolic antenna(Opens in a new window) and MIMO panel antennas(Opens in a new window) improve signal on the new 5G band n77. Connecting an outdoor cellular antenna(Opens in a new window) to a Wi-Fi hotspot that has a TS9 connector, such as the Netgear Nighthawk M5, can also turn an outdoor cell signal into an indoor Wi-Fi signal.
There's one small caveat here: none of the boosters on this list support what AT&T calls "5G+" or what Verizon calls "5G UWB" that run on ultra-high frequency "mmWave" bands. Fortunately, it's quite unlikely that you have mmWave 5G signal: coverage is limited to a sliver of the US population who live in the densest urban areas. Unless you see 5G+ or 5G UWB in your phone's status bar, you needn't worry about it.
We realize that not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on an signal booster. That's why we carefully vetted the products in this list to make sure that they offer the best value for money of the boosters on the market today.
Verizon sells a device called a Network Extender. It uses a home internet connection to create an "LTE network" at your home. For most users, a Network Extender isn't a great choice: many people don't have reliable enough broadband at home to begin with, which is part of the reason they're boosting their cell signal.
To prevent interference, the FCC has very stringent rules that regulate sale and use of signal boosters. Any device that retransmits a carrier's signal needs to be certified as compliant with the FCC's "Network Protection Standard" rules.
We don't recommend buying the GO X (or, in fact, any booster) if your T-Mobile phone is in range of their 5G network. Instead, look at using a hotspot or 5G router with MIMO external antennas to get the fastest possible data rates.
You're going to see a much bigger coverage area and much faster data rates with the GO X than with almost any booster out there, particularly if your outdoor signal is weak. This also makes the best cell phone booster for rural areas.
If you have an Android phone handy, take signal measurements outside first. This booster will work best if your signal strength (RSRP) outdoors is at least -80 dBm if you're hoping to cover more than a few hundred square feet.
When OnTech's technician arrives they'll be carrying an excellent signal meter: the Wilson Pro Cellular Network Scanner. They'll use the Network Scanner to find the best location and direction for the outdoor antenna.
Make sure your signal is "usable" for data and calls outdoors before you buy. While cell phone signal boosters will spread that signal indoors, they won't necessarily make the signal faster or better.
The weBoost team has partnered with OnTech for signal booster installation. The Office 200 package includes a special code that you can use to book your install appointment online. Installation slots can often be booked as soon as the next business day. OnTech's technicians will come armed with the excellent Cell Linq Pro Signal Meter to help them get installation right.
The Pro 70 Plus is a broadband cell signal booster. While its relatively strong downlink power can support a coverage area of up to 20,000 sq ft, you'll only cover that large of an area if outdoor signal is quite strong.
We recommend taking signal measurements outside the building before purchasing a broadband signal booster. You'll want at least 3 bars of signal outdoors to get a solid coverage area out of the Wilson Pro 70 Plus.
If you're on a budget, the Wilson Pro 70 Plus is a solid choice for boosting cell signal in buildings of up to 20,000 square feet. However, you'll only achieve that coverage area in ideal conditions, with quite strong and clear outdoor cell signal.
The Pro 70 Plus is available in kits that include either dome or panel antennas. Up to four indoor antennas can be added to the system using our add-on antenna kits or by reaching out to our signal specialist via phone or live chat.
When you're driving around, you move from areas with very strong signal to areas with very weak signal. It's when you're at the very edge of cell coverage and signal is the weakest that a booster makes a difference. 041b061a72