WiFi antennas are an efficient and cost-effective solution to Internet connectivity problems or issues with the speed and bandwidth capabilities of your router.
These antennas work well for those who need to transmit or receive data from a nearby shed or detached garage—as well as boost speeds for those using intensive bandwidth during gaming or live streaming sessions.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Wifi antenna for your home, read on—because we’ll be covering five of the best antennas on the market, going over some key points about using an antenna & improving your Wifi signal, and naming our pick for the best Wifi antenna.
Here are some of our contenders:
WiFi Antenna Terminology & Features
Before we crown the best overall WiFi antenna for use in and around the home, we’ll be breaking down some of the features and terminology behind WiFi antennas. A better understanding of what makes a WiFi antenna tick will help you choose the best and most valuable antenna for your specific needs.
Indoor & Outdoor Antennas - Find Your Wall Blaster
The first question most commonly asked when purchasing a WiFi antenna is the difference and necessity of an indoor or outdoor antenna.
While there are no easy answers, and not every antenna in each category is the same, we’ve noticed that there are pros and cons to each variation.
If you’re trying to reach an area that has low-to-no signal and is a great distance away from your router, an outdoor antenna might help bridge the gap between the two locations. In this distance is indoors, using an outdoor antenna is often too bulky or infeasible—and wouldn’t work as well as a WiFi repeater.
Despite the name, indoor antennas can cross considerable distances—both in and out of doors.
Indoor antennas tend to produce faster speeds at the cost of a smaller range and work best for locations that already have a low-to-mediocre WiFi signal.
Every home setup is different, and each home has different needs to consider. Think about your specific desires and requirements for a WiFi antenna before making a judgment call.
Like A Good Neighbor...
While it may seem obvious, there’s more to WiFi antennas than being able to access the Internet further away from your router.
WiFi antennas can often provide more a reliable connection, faster connection speeds, and eliminate dead zones in your home or office. You’ll be able to pick up further signals and amplify your signal—as well as catch other signals nearby that are too weak for the average router.
That comes with an important note—since you can access further sources of the Internet, many people purchase WiFi antennas with the intent to “steal” Internet from neighbors and other nearby sources.
Using other people’s WiFi—and even WiFi intended to be free—utilizing a WiFi antenna is ethically ambiguous, legal ambiguous, and possibly not legal depending on where you live.
To be clear—we don’t condone using a WiFi antenna for such usage. Be aware of your local laws and use your antenna wisely.
Most people don’t take too kindly to thieves of any kind.
Don’t purchase a WiFi antenna without ensuring that you have all the tools at your disposal to get the antenna operational.
A lot of WiFi antennas use what’s called an N-style connector—which can connect to most standard routers. Others use USB connectors—which require some basic knowledge of how to access your router to set it up. Some antennas will come with CD-ROMs to help you connect to the Internet and get online.
Whatever an antenna offers, be sure that you look at the technical specifications and check to see if you have the relevant ports and software available to get your antenna online.
Otherwise, you’re purchasing a wonderful piece of plastic and metal.
Okay, with that said, lets take a more detailed look at the best in class Wifi antennas...
Gamers and other heavy bandwidth users may enjoy the fast speeds and portability of the Inamax USB WiFi Adapter.
As the name suggests, the Inamax adapter has a simple design—one antenna connected via 90-degree angle to a USB port. The adapter works with 802.11ac devices and offers speeds up to 1200Mbps with USB 3.0.
Other features of the Inamax adapter includes a 5 dBi gain, driverless operation, and range of 2.4 GHz all the way up to 5 GHz.
Again, compared to products like the TP-Link, the range may seem small. But in a package as powerful and as small as the Inamax Adapter, the range appears far more sufficient. The antenna is also omnidirectional and remains patently efficient and moving a signal throughout your space.
The Inamax adapter packs a lot of speed at a reasonable price and is perfect for live streamers, gamers, and power users.[/expand]
If you’re looking for a way to transmit a stronger signal without bulky dishes and wires, the Alpha APA-M25 is a great and affordable option.
The APA-M25 features a frequency range of 8 dBi, which is strong enough for most indoor spaces. The antenna also features a frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz and plugs directly into the back of most routers.
The antenna is also directional—so angling the device may be an issue for some needing to transmit data through thick walls or around corners.
The relatively low gain also works as a disadvantage to the APA-M25 but is counteracted by a good price and a relatively simple installation process. Just unscrew your router’s stock antenna, replace, and connect.
The APA-M25 is a good option for those looking for a simplistic solution, those that need a strong signal over smaller ranges, or those wanting a step up from their stock router antennas.[/expand]
The last option on our list is another outdoor antenna and—as the name would suggest—boasts an incredible 1 mile range.
The CC X is an omnidirectional antenna, so laser-focused installation like on the TP-Link isn’t necessary.
The CC X also features a 30-foot USB cable to run a sizable length towards your outdoor installation space (like a shed or a barn) and promises easy installation onto a wall or pipe mast.
The antenna works with 2.4 GHz WiFi and 802.11b/g/n and works with both Mac and PC. A separate 15 dBi point-to-point antenna can also be purchased to customize your antenna for a specific need—making this the most customizable option on our list. You can expect respectable speeds of up to 150 Mbps as well.
The CC X is a good outdoor antenna for most basic antenna needs and users looking for future customization and a simple USB operation.[/expand]
Just a quick glance at the Huacam HCM82 can set it apart from the monolithic styling of the other antennas on our list.
Two twin antennas on the unit provide for excellent dual band transmission and a stronger gain than most others at this size and price range.
The Huacam HCM82 offers a range of 8 dBi from each of the two antennas and features a range up to 5.8GHz. The antenna also makes use of a parabolic reflector to increase gain. That makes it great for gaming.
The antenna is designed to screw into most routers—although, for obvious reasons, isn’t compatible with any routers without room for both of the antennas. The unit also comes with a WiFi booster antenna cable.
Much like the APA-M25, unfortunately, the Huacam is limited in usability to specific routers and won’t carry a signal as far as an outdoor antenna or even some indoor variants of the same product.
The Huacam HCM82 is a good all-around option for those looking for a simplistic and effective way to increase speeds for general use.[/expand]
The TP-Link is a powerful outdoor WiFi antenna that offers massive reach within a parabolic (point to point) range.
As an outdoor antenna, the TP-Link is focused on giving the largest range to a specific area—so it is perfect for improving WiFi connectivity at a specific outside location.
At 24 dBi—a measurement of gain that affects the direction and concentration of the signal—the TP-Link is far and away the antenna on our list with the strongest offering in signal quality.
The TP-Link is mounted vertically on a pole or wall and is compatible with 802.11b/g/n devices—making it a great choice for almost any device.
However, the bulky size of the antenna makes it a good option only for specific problems and won’t help out with any connectivity issues within larger homes or spaces. Consider looking into a WiFi repeater for such issues.[/expand]
The best WiFi antenna is dependent on far too many criteria to crown a single winner—but we’re comfortable enough to recommend one indoor and one outdoor WiFi antenna for overall quality, offerings, and price.
The best indoor antenna is easily the Inamax USB WiFi adapter.
No other antenna—inside or out—can offer the incredible speeds that the Inamax is capable of. Thanks to the USB connection, the Inamax is also portable and easy to use. Gamers and casual users alike will be pleased with the range, speed, and power packed into a small package.
The best outdoor antenna goes to TP-Links Directional Grid Parabolic Antenna. While setting the antenna may be more complicated than the other options on our list, the TP-Link offers the strongest range by a factor of three—and boasts connectivity to almost any device using WiFi of any type.
We hope that this guide has given you an understanding of the ins and outs of a WiFi antenna and provided a few ideas for your next Internet connectivity investment.
Shop smart, choose wisely, and get faster internet in your home today.