Your cell phone service is bad and you don’t know what to do. You’re having a hard time making calls, sending texts, and connecting to the internet. One solution for poor service is a signal booster, which can help your phone connect to nearby cell towers. In this article, I’ll explain why phones have bad service and tell you about the best cell phone signal boosters!
What Is A Cell Phone Signal Booster?
A cell phone signal booster is a device that improves your phone’s connection to your wireless carrier’s network. Every signal booster has three essential components: the booster, an internal antenna, and an external antenna.
Do Signal Boosters Really Work?
Yes, cell phone signal boosters do work and can help you get better reception whether you’re at home or on-the-go. Jonathan Bacon, the VP of Marketing for SureCall, says signal boosters work by “capturing a nearby cellular signal, amplifying it, and then broadcasting that signal inside the space that needs a better cell phone signal.”
The booster then amplifies the signal back to a nearby cell tower, creating a reliable connection.
Sina Khanifar, the CEO of Waveform, added, “An antenna is placed outside the building or vehicle that communicates with the tower, and another indoor antenna transmits signals to your phone.”
Will A Signal Booster Work If My Phone Says “No Service”?
No, cell phone signal boosters typically won’t work if your phone says No Service. Bacon says that these devices can only boost a signal that’s present, regardless of how weak it may be. He also added, “In some instances, a booster can capture a very weak signal and give you enough of a boost to make a call or send and receive texts due to its ability to send a signal from further distances over your phone alone.”
Do Signal Boosting Apps Work?
Cell phone “signal boosting apps” don’t actually have anything to do with your phone’s signal. Instead, these apps primarily work by freeing up Random Access Memory, allowing your phone to focus primarily on connecting to your carrier’s network.
While this may be beneficial and occasionally help your phone to get better signal in spotty areas, they technically aren’t boosting your phone’s signal.
Home Signal Boosters Vs. Car Signal Boosters
Each of the experts we talked to were quick to point out that home signal boosters have a higher gain than car signal boosters. The higher the gain, the more the booster is able to amplify the signal, according to Khanifar.
As a result of this difference, the FCC deemed home signal boosters “too powerful for a vehicle,” according to Bacon.
Kenny Trinh, the Managing Editor of Netbooknews, says that universal home signal boosters generally have up to 70 decibels (dB) of gain, while universal car signal boosters generally have up to 50 dB of gain.
You could theoretically use a vehicle signal booster inside your home. However, since they have a lower gain than the standard home booster, they may not be as effective.
Bacon added that unlike vehicle boosters, “…home and building signal boosters are also designed to maximize the indoor coverage area even when the signal outside is strong.”
Single-Carrier vs. Multi-Carrier Signal Boosters
Another important distinction to make when shopping for a cell phone signal booster is the difference between single-carrier and multi-carrier boosters. As the labels suggest, single-carrier boosters only amplify the signal of a specific wireless carrier, while multi-carrier boosters can amplify the signal of many or all of the major carriers.
Khanifar says that single-carrier cell phone signal boosters are “better suited for users with weak signal outside their homes” because they have higher amplification levels than multi-carrier boosters. Some single-carrier boosters have a maximum gain of 100 dB!
Who Should Consider Getting A Signal Booster?
The experts we spoke to didn’t have trouble coming up with a laundry list of use cases for signal boosters. Bacon presented us with a simple litmus test for those considering getting a signal booster:
[Get a signal booster] if you find yourself in a place where you have a signal but are experiencing dropped calls, slow data speeds, or trouble sending texts and it is impacting your life. Whether for safety or productivity, a signal booster will help bring the confidence needed to continue with your plans, whatever they may be.
Bacon says that some common signal booster use cases include RVers and other travelers who want to maintain a reliable cellular connection and business professionals who rely on mobile hotspot to get work done.
Khanifar, who says his company has seen an uptick in sales since the coronavirus outbreak, says that many people buy signal boosters as a backup in case of an internet outage. They want to make sure they’ll have a solid internet connection if they need to use cellular data for an extended period of time.
He added that some people don’t have many broadband internet options. They rely on cellular data as their primary source of connecting to the internet. A signal booster helps them maintain a reliable internet connection.
What Can Cause Poor Cell Service?
A lot of different things can cause poor cell phone service. A lot of the time, poor service is the result of your wireless carrier’s network not having coverage in your area. Check out our coverage maps to see which carrier has the best coverage near you. Make sure to check your workplace, your favorite vacation spot, and any other place you visit often too.
However, if your carrier does have coverage in your area, there are a lot of things that could cause poor cell service. If you can relate to one or more of the scenarios listed below, a cell phone signal booster might help you get better service!
Cell towers have a certain capacity. It’s hard for everyone to get good service when lots of people in a small area are trying to connect to the same cell tower simultaneously. This often happens during sporting events, concerts, and rush hour traffic.
Does your house have a metal roof? Do you work at a building with thick concrete walls? If so, that may be why you’re experiencing poor service at home or the office. Wireless signals have a harder time penetrating certain metals and building materials such as concrete.
Those who live in rural areas are less likely to have consistently good coverage than those who live in urban areas. Wireless carriers simply haven’t invested as much in rural network infrastructure as they have in urban network infrastructure.
The Natural Landscape
It’s less common, but your local landscape can cause poor service. If you live by a mountain range or a forest of tall trees, it’s possible that cell towers on the other side simply can’t get through the natural objects in the way.
Your Cell Phone Case
Phone cases are another less common cause of poor service. Most cases today are lightweight and built with flexible TPU. However, if you have an extremely thick case, or a case made of metal, it could be preventing your phone’s antenna from connecting to your carrier’s network.
Cell Phone Hardware Problems
If you recently dropped your phone in a lake or fumbled it onto a sidewalk, it’s possible that the antenna responsible for connecting to wireless networks is broken. It doesn’t matter how good your carrier’s network is — if the antenna or modem is broken, it won’t connect!
Are Signal Boosters Legal?
Yes, signal boosters are legal in the United States and most other countries. Signal boosters in the United States have to be certified by the FCC, so keep that in mind when shopping for one of your own. Every signal booster we’ve recommended below is FCC-certified!
However, signal boosters aren’t legal everywhere. In some countries, you can only purchase a signal booster if it’s provided directly from your wireless carrier. Trinh says this is because wireless carriers have “purchased the right to transmit in [a]spectrum and only authorized devices are legally allowed to transmit in it.”
You now know everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision when purchasing a signal booster! Below, we’ll discuss the best cell phone signal boosters for your home or vehicle.
Best Cell Phone Signal Boosters For Home
BoosterRange (square feet)Max Gain (dB)Price
The SureCall Fusion4Home is a great signal booster for homes and offices, as it has a maximum range of 5,000 feet. This booster has a max gain of 72 dB and is compatible with all wireless carriers in the United States. The Fusion4Home can maintain and boost Voice, 3G, and 4G LTE signals thanks to its 2XP technology.
You’ll find the best deal on the Fusion4Home on Amazon, which includes free shipping from Prime members!
weBoost Home MultiRoom (5,000 Square Feet)
The weBoost Home MultiRoom signal booster is a great option for those who live in large homes or work in big offices. This booster has a range of up to 5,000 square feet, meaning you’ll get targeted coverage for up to three rooms. It has a gain of up to 65 dB, is compatible with all US wireless carriers, and can be installed without the use of power tools.
You can purchase this weBoost signal booster for $549.99 plus shipping. Prime members can save on shipping by purchasing directly from Amazon!
Cel-Fi Go X
Need an extremely powerful cell phone signal booster for your home? The Cel-Fi GO X may be the perfect option for you.
This signal booster is able to amplify a signal up to 100 dB of gain because it only amplifies one wireless carrier at a time. While this wouldn’t be ideal for an office environment, it is a great fit for families on the same cell phone plan.
You can get a Cel-Fi GO X with a 1–2 panel or dome antennas. Panel antennas help you get better service in a particular part of your house, such as the kitchen or living room. Most signal booster companies will recommend trying a panel antenna before a dome antenna.
Dome antennas are capable of transmitting amplified signals 360 degrees. This means the signal will be less targeted to a specific part of your home, but you’ll be able to reach a wider total area. Dome antennas work well in homes with low ceilings and open floor plans. Otherwise, a panel antenna is a better option.
You can purchase a Cel-Fi GO X signal booster with panel or dome antennas on Amazon! The one-antenna booster costs $999, while the two-antenna booster costs $1149.
SureCall Flare 3.0
SureCall has received special recognition for the innovation of its Flare signal boosters. The Flare 3.0 is the latest model of this award-winning product.
This cell phone signal booster has a range of 3,500 square feet and a maximum gain of 72 dB, making it a good fit homes, cabins, and offices. It’ll boost Voice and 4G LTE cellular signals and support multiple devices simultaneously.
The Flare 3.0 is able to provide more coverage than other traditional signal boosters because of its omni-directional and Yagi antennas, which are housed together with the booster.
You can purchase this cell phone booster from Amazon and Best Buy for $379, but Prime customers may get a discount.
Samsung 4G LTE Network Extender 2
Verizon is one of the few wireless carriers which hasn’t discontinued signal booster sales. Verizon has the best wireless network in the United States, but even they don’t have 100% coverage. The Samsung 4G LTE Network Extender 2 is a great option for Verizon customers, as you’ll be able to get support directly from your wireless carrier.
Samsung’s 4G LTE Network Extender 2 provides coverage for up to 7,500 square feet, making it a great fit for large homes or office buildings. It can support up to fourteen devices at the same time. Even though this booster was manufactured by Samsung, it supports all 4G devices, including iPhone and other Android models.
However, this booster does have some limitations. It requires a solid, always-on internet connection with minimum speeds of 10 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up. This device can only boost 4G LTE signals.
You can purchase the Samsung 4G LTE Network Extender directly from Verizon for $249.99. The original version of this product is available on Amazon for $199.99, but it can only support seven devices at the same time.
Best Car Cell Phone Signal Boosters
BoosterCarriersMax Gain (dB)Price
SureCall Fusion2Go Max
SureCall’s Fusion2Go Max is an award-winning vehicle signal booster. It can boost Voice, 3G, and 4G LTE signals on every cellular network in the United States. The Fusion2Go Max has a gain of up to 50 dB, which is a quite a bit stronger than the standard cell phone signal booster for vehicles.
This booster can support multiple devices simultaneously, including the latest smartphones with 5G connectivity.
You can purchase a SureCall Fusion2Go on Amazon for $499.99.
weBoost Drive Sleek
The weBoost Drive Sleek is another great booster for people on-the-go. This car signal booster is designed with a cradle for 5.1–7.5 inch cell phones or personal hotspot devices. It has a gain of up to 23 dB and is compatible with every cellular network in the United States.
Don’t just take our word for it. Jordan Schwartz, the President of Pathable, has this signal booster and highly recommends it. Schwartz says this signal booster helps him run his company on the road while he’s taking trips with his family in their camper van.
He added that the weBoost Drive Sleek signal booster “can take one bar and turn it into three, and that’s a big deal when you’re on a Zoom video conference with a client while camped by a butte in the middle of the desert.”
This booster costs $199.99. Prime members can save money on shipping costs for a weBoost Drive Sleek by purchasing directly on Amazon.
Phonetone Dual Band 700MHz
Phonetone’s Dual Band 700MHz car signal booster is a solid option for people on a tighter budget. This booster isn’t as universal as the other boosters we’ve recommended. It’s compatible with Band 12 (AT&T), Band 13 (Verizon), and Band 17 (T-Mobile). If your cell phone uses one of those 4G LTE bands, this booster will work great for you!
This Phonetone booster has a maximum gain of 45 dB and can simultaneously support multiple devices. It comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty and thirty day money back guarantee.
You can purchase the Phonetone Dual Band 700Mhz on Amazon for $159.99. Phonetone has more universal car cell phone signal boosters as well, but they cost a little more.
weBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Trucker Kit
Truckers always need a reliable cell signal so they can stay on course and provide updates on their deliveries. However, cell phone service will inevitably be inconsistent as you drive across the country. Fortunately, weBoost has a signal booster specifically designed for truckers.
The weBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Trucker Kit is compatible with all carriers in the United States and can boost signal strength up to 32x. This booster can support multiple device simultaneously and comes with everything you need for hassle-free installation.
You can purchase the weBoost Drive 4G-X OTR Trucker Kit on Amazon for $499.99 upfront or in six installments of approximately $83.
Cell Phone Signal Boosters, Explained
We hope this article helped you find a great cell phone signal booster from your home, office, or vehicle. Poor signal strength can be a nuisance, but now you have a solution to the problem.
Have any other questions about cell phone boosters? Leave them in the comments section down below!
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