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Indoor vs Outdoor Antenna

Whether you’re streaming video or watching the old-fashioned boob tube, having an antenna is imperative to get reception. And, with so many advancements in technology, should you get an indoor vs outdoor antenna?

We’ll explore the difference between indoor vs outdoor antenna and what situations for which they’re most ideal. Briefly, the major differences between the two are price, installation requirements and any interference you experience in receiving the signal.

It’s also important to note that a digital antenna indoor vs outdoor one will always be less expensive in the interim. But this is mostly going to depend on your location, how many things are obstructing the broadcast signal and what you can reasonably manage.

Which Is Better: Indoor vs Outdoor Antenna?

To know which one will be most appropriate for your situation, it’s important to know the difference between an indoor vs outdoor antenna. Obviously, the price is going to be a major factor in this. However, consider the following questions:

  • Which channels are most important to you?
  • Where will you put the antenna?
  • Is having one on your roof an option?
  • Are you using a high-tech TV or an old school one?
  • Is there a good place inside to put an antenna?

What Is an Indoor Antenna?

Indoor antennas are smaller and less powerful than outdoor ones, coming in a range between 30 to 50 miles. Many manufacturers took the rabbit ears of yesteryear and turned them into modern, inexpensive devices that look like thin pieces of plastic. They usually cost about $100, more or less. The Novawave TV Antenna is one such perfect example.

Ideal Locations

Many indoor models are discreet, easy to use and simple to move around. Although the design moves away from the traditional styles of antennae, they’re good for places where installing one on the roof isn’t feasible. They’re also good if you live near a broadcast tower. This means urban apartments and condos are most ideal.


If you go with an indoor vs outdoor antenna, you have to determine how clear you need the signal for your home. If you’re tucked away between buildings or tall mountains, this can interfere with reception. But, it’s important to understand it’s you won’t likely get channels that are difficult to receive.

This will be true if your home comprises stucco, metal, wood or brick along with a host of certain household appliances. Things like computers, refrigerators, telephones and even high-tech washing machines can affect your TV’s ability to receive a clear reception.


So, you’re going to have to place an indoor antenna as high as possible inside your home or put it close to a window. This way you can ensure the least amount of interference with the trajectory of the broadcast signal.

Traditional TVs

If you have a traditional TV, rabbit ears are no longer as available as they once were. But, there are more modern, digital ones that work with any TV; yes, even your old jalopy. You will have to get an adapter to make it work, however. But the good news is these usually aren’t very expensive.

What is an Outdoor Antenna?

Outdoor antennas are exactly what they suggest: you put them outside on roofs, garages or other structures that are high up. They’re large, powerful and very obvious. These can cover between 60 and 100 miles and oftentimes cost more than $150.

Ideal Location

These are good for areas far away from a broadcast tower and people who want difficult-to-receive channels. The only time it’s a good idea to use an outdoor antenna when living near a broadcast tower is when there are obstacles around the entire perimeter of the home.

Cost ; Installation

But these are clearly going to be more expensive to buy and to install. However, they do offer the clearest signal possible. If you aren’t one for rooftops or aren’t mechanically inclined, then you’re also going to have to hire someone to install it for you.

Breaking down the Differences

When deciding whether to get an indoor vs outdoor antenna, it’s a good idea to compare their basic functions and what they can offer.

General Size Small Large
Range 30-50 miles   60-100 miles  
Ideal Location Apartments, condos or places where there’s little interference   Large homes or in cases of large obstructions to the signal  
Suggested Placement Near a window   Rooftop or Garage  
Installation Difficulty Easy Difficult
Average Price ≤ $100   ≥ $150  
Additional Costs No, unless an old-style TV   Likely for installation  
Signal Quality Could be some Interference   Clearest signal possible

Weighing Options

A digital antenna indoor vs outdoor doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. But, you want to ensure you’re in possession of the facts when it comes to being able to receive a broadcast signal. Plus, installing your antenna indoor vs outdoor will come into the equation.


So, if you live near a broadcast tower, then it might be better to get an indoor vs outdoor antenna. But, even in this ideal situation, you may have lots of big buildings around or you. This means you won’t get a very strong signal and may have to opt for an outdoor one.

Likewise, if you live in a wide open area but far from a broadcast signal, you may want to go with an indoor TV antenna vs outdoor. As long as you have no major obstructions, there shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But, if you live around mountains or in a heavily wooded, thick forest, then getting an outdoor one will be better.


Deciding on an indoor vs outdoor antenna will depend on many factors. The main two are proximity to a broadcast tower and the kind of interference you experience. But, your budget, installation capabilities and location will also come into play.

So, sit down and thoroughly investigate each and then weigh the benefits against the risks. Taking your time with this will ensure you get the best one for your situation.

October 7, 2021


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