Amateur Radio Wiki is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

7 Best AM/FM Antennas 2020 – Indoor & Outdoor Radio Antenna Reviews

You might think radios are outdated. Especially if you live in a world of YouTube and Spotify. But in many parts of the world, the radio is people’s main source of news and entertainment. Plus, you might be out on the open highway during a camping excursion or road trip.

During those lulls in conversation when the GPS goes bonkers, your FM signal could save your life … and your sanity! So whether you’re shopping for a mobile home or getting a new antenna for your country-living meemaw, let’s look at the best FM radio antenna on the market.

 

Best AM/FM Radio Antenna Comparison Chart 2020

Product

Frequency

Accessories

Our Rating

best indoor FM radio antenna

TERK Omni-Directional Indoor FM Antenna

FM: 88-108 MHz

6ft 75 Ohm coax, 75 Ohm transformer

best fm antenna

Ancable Electronic Indoor FM Telescopic Antenna

FM: 88-108 MHz

75 Ohm F Type Male

best outdoor FM antenna

Stellar Labs Omindirectional Outdoor FM Antenna

FM: 88-108 MHz

None

best FM antenna for home stereo

TERK Amplified AM/FM Stereo Indoor Antenna

FM: 88-108 MHz
AM: 540-1700 KHz

6ft 75 Ohm coax cable, 75 Ohm matching transformer and AC/DC power adapter

best fm radio antenna

Dual Electronics Long Range Marine Radio Antenna

FM: 88-108 MHz
AM: 540 -1700 KHz

180 degree swivel base and a 54 inch cable

best indoor AM FM antenna

RGTech Monarch Indoor AM FM Antenna

DAB: 170-240 MHz
FM: 88-108 MHz
AM: 540-1700 KHz

F-type connector and an F- type connector to PAL connector adapter

best AM antenna

Terk Indoor AM Antenna Advantage

AM: 540-1700 KHz

6ft connection cable, 75 Ohm transformer

 

The Best AM/FM Antenna Reviews 2020

1. Best Indoor FM Radio Antenna: TERK FM+

OUR TOP PICK
best indoor FM radio antenna
TERK Omni-Directional Indoor FM Antenna
  • Receives more stations with less noise
  • Installs easily; mounts on wall or sits on shelf
  • Compatible with digital HD FM radio broadcasts

Antennas come in lots of different styles, but as one expert succinctly puts it, it’s a piece of wire that takes an RF signal and puts it into a box. This is the type of antenna where the wire is encased in a plastic box. This box has a slim-line vertical design and a square shape with rounded sides. You can mount it vertically against the wall or you can stand it on a shelf or table.

Ideally, antennas should have a 31-inch vertical plus a 31-inch horizontal reach for best results. That’s the standard dimension for car radio antennas. Indoor antennas are different. This one is a newer 75-ohm model and it connects using a 6-foot co-axial cable. The box also has a 75-ohm transformer to go with the antenna. And it can recognize digital FM signals sent in HD.

Like all FM receivers, it catches signals from 88MhZ to 108 MHz, and it surpasses CEA guidelines for indoor antennas. Unidirectional antennas will catch stations from a given region since all their signals will be transmitted from towers in the same general direction. The antenna weighs half a pound (8 ounces) and measures 6 to 7 inches across at its widest point.

With Terk, you can catch FM signals from multiple transmission towers and other sources. Of course, these enhanced volumes come with noise, so the antenna uses Gamma Loop technology to clean up your feed. The flattened silhouette of the antenna offers a larger surface area for signal reception so you don’t have to turn, tweak, or adjust its sturdy base after mounting.

That said, you do have to choose the best receiving position. Unlike a whip or rod that you can fidget with, your Terk is permanent. Especially if you mount it on the wall, so pick the right position. You could stand it vertically so it receives signals from both sides, but the sturdy stand is still narrow, so there’s still a chance the antenna will tip if it’s not kept out of reach.

Pros:

  • This is a US-made product, which is a crucial feature for some buyers.
  • It’s omnidirectional so you get more FM radio stations than a one-direction antenna.
  • Its slim-line silhouette doesn’t take up much space.

Con:

  • It’s an indoor antenna, so it’s not suitable for external use. You’ll also suffer a signal loss if you use a two-screw balun connector rather than a direct f-type connector.

Check Price on Amazon

 

2. Best for Money: Ancable Indoor FM Telescopic Antenna

best indoor FM antenna
  • FULL RANGE Of FM CHANNELS, Great extending antenna for FM Radio. Improved reception 100% in poor reception area
  • RUGGED & HEAVY HIGH QUALITY, made of brass copper with 10 extension section, thick, durable and long lasting
  • UNIVERSAL COMPABILITY, this radio antennal comes with Male "F " connector and 3 types of adapter, PAL male & PAL female & 3.5mm, Widly work with these Radio, HiFI and Mini system: Bose Wave Sangean Cambridge Audio One Pure Evoke Tivoli Audio Demon Roberts Sony Marantz Yamaha Hitachi hi-fi DAB Radio etc

What comes to mind when you think of a car antenna? This is probably it. It’s styled like a whip car radio antenna, but you can use it in the house as well. The stretchable stalk gets close to 21 inches, either vertically or horizontally. And it won’t break no matter how much you expand it, because the metallic stalk is divided into ten sections to reinforce its hollow internal structure.

That said, the stalk does tend to drop if you don’t secure it. Many radio enthusiasts overlook the bold that secures the stalk to its horizontal axis. Tighten it sufficiently and the whip will stay up. Also, while the type of radio influences the kind of antenna you can buy, Ancable has an easy fix. The antenna ships with three connectors – a 3mm port, a male PAL, and a female PAL.

These connectors are metallic bits you can connect to any relevant cable, so this universal antenna will fit any hole. They have threads that screw directly onto the male F-type horizontal base of your Ancable. The antenna is compact though – it folds down to a tight 5 inches when closed. Ancable covers its antenna with a 100% guarantee for 12 months after purchase.

To strengthen reception, Ancable widened the diameter of the stainless steel shaft to 10mm. It’s a telescopic shaft – meaning it pushes out like a telescope. And the joints have a copper lining for enhanced signals and stronger structuring. But because the antenna plugs directly into the radio rather than a cable, it can be awkward if there’s less room or if the ports have limited access.

The upside of this configuration is you don’t need special skills or tools to mount your antenna. A wrench in the right size or a pair of pliers – that’s all you need. And because it’s a manual antenna, you don’t need electricity to power it so it won’t mess with your utility bills. It weighs 1.41 ounces and it’s fully portable, but don’t unscrew it too often – you’ll wear out the threads.

Pros:

  • It has three connector types included in the shipping box.
  • The stalk can extend via ten subsections for a total height of almost 21 inches.
  • This antenna comes with a 1-year warranty.

Con:

  • If you don’t install it securely, the stalk will flop over. Tighten the screw at the joint and double-check to ensure the antenna stays upright.

Check Price on Amazon

 

3. Best Outdoor FM Radio Antenna: Stellar Labs Omnidirectional Antenna

best outdoor FM antenna
  • Price For Each Product Range -

In many ways, a coiled conduction rod is more effective than a straight or curved one. This because more of the rod’s surface s exposed to whatever substance, element, or material you’re trying to conduct. In this sense, this coiled antenna is already a hit. At roughly 20 inches in diameter (after assembly) and with two coiled loops, that’s a huge receptive surface.

The antenna comes in three pieces – the two coils plus a cross-piece. You have to snap the three pieces together and hold them using the included fasteners. But the two coils aren’t a snug fit – you’ll have to finagle them into place. Take a quick look through the instruction to be sure you have lost or broken any essential pieces. Also, get a roof mast – it doesn’t come inside the box.

The effectiveness of your antenna is largely driven by how high it hangs, so make sure the mast is tall enough. The two loops have about 4 inches between them, and their circular shape lets them receives signals from all directions. The shipping box doesn’t have a transformer either, so buy one with the right specs. And watch out for birds – those coils make perfect perches.

Many product descriptions claim this antenna is pre-assembled, and the finer sections are. But you still have to make a circle, cross it, and mount it to a vertical pole on your roof. The antenna weighs 1.6 ounces, but it will weigh a lot more once the birds and squirrels find it. It receives both analog and HD digital signals and is rugged enough to withstand harsh weather.

Because of the shape and lightweight nature of this Stellar Labs antenna, you can stack several together. This saves space in storage, but you can also stack them during active use to double, triple, or quadruple the strength of your signal. Just ensure your TV mast or radio mast is strong enough to hold them all. The maximum gain on this unit is 4dB, and its impedance is 75 ohms.

Pros:

  • The coiled dipole provides a larger surface area for signal reception.
  • It has a pretty round silhouette that looks good on the roof.
  • All the necessary hardware is included.

Con:

  • It’s a little tricky to assemble because the two loops have to be maneuvered before they snap together. But most people can figure it out by glancing at the manual.

Check Price on Amazon

 

4. Best FM Antenna for Home Stereo: Terk Tower Amplified AM/FM Antenna

Sale
best fm antenna for home stereo
  • Omni-Directional reception dramatically improves reception of AM/FM stations
  • Air Coil technology isolates AM and FM elements for increased radio reception and minimized static and noise
  • Built-in low-noise amplifier boosts weak signals.Band Frequency:FM 88 MHz - 108 MHz, AM 540 KHz - 1700 KHz.

When you’re looking for simplicity, Terk Tower is it. You can’t get more basic than a lit-up stick on a pedestal. This stick stands about 17 inches tall, so it’s a decent reception surface. It’s mounted on a disc that’s 4 to 5 inches in diameter and comes with a 6-foot co-ax cable to connect it to your radio. The Tower receives both AM and FM signals, separates by an air coil.

This separation may seem like a gimmick, but by segregating frequencies, each individual AM or FM station is clearer. And it’s an especially useful feature because with the wire all curled up inside the mast, any form of segmentation is helpful. The antenna also has a green nightlight.

That can be a convenient touch when you need a middle-of-the-night bathroom break and you don’t want to get too wide awake or stub your toes on the bed. The antenna is surprisingly heft at 1.5 pounds. (The Terk FM+ weighs a third of that but looks much larger.) Of course, being a thin tower, this antenna is fully omnidirectional. But it only has a limited receptive surface.

The Tower has signal gains of 15dB and the ELN amplifier (extremely low noise) helps minimize interference even further. And while this antenna does have a long cable, it’s not as permanent as the Terk FM+. Unfortunately, this sometimes works against the antenna because bumping it slightly could cost your signal. Pick your position carefully for maximized reception.

It’s really easy to install this antenna. It comes with a 75-om transformer and a 75-ohm co-ax. It also has push-button connectors for your AM and FM wires. It uses an AC/DC adapter though, so it does need 110v electricity outlets and it doesn’t have an option to use batteries.

Pros:

  • Its sleek silhouette hardly occupies any space.
  • It can receive signals from both AM and FM stations.
  • The antenna has air coil technology to clarify your signal.

Con:

  • This antenna has a decent-sized wire. But it’s so tightly coiled to fit inside the compact rod. The confinement reduces its effectiveness in receiving FM signals.

Check Price on Amazon

 

5. Best Long Range Marine Antenna: Dual Electronics Long Range Radio Antenna

best outdoor fm antenna
  • EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE & RANGE – your flexible mast and long range marine antenna provides a range of up to 10 miles for all Marine Band frequencies
  • EXTREMELY DURABLE –given its flexible mast this marine radio antenna will provide exceptional sound quality while withstanding bracing winds
  • WEATHER RESISTANT DESIGN – the sealed rubber exterior ensures the your marine antenna will not succumb to salt and spray for excellent reception and longevity

You know that iconic scene from Baywatch, Miami Vice, or any TV seaside TV show? The scene where a speedboat is bobbing up and down chasing a drug shipment? Or maybe harpooning big fish? You know the way the antenna bounces around like a maritime bobble-head? That’s because of its suspension – it’s built that way to avoid breaking every time you hit a wave.

And this marine antenna is exactly the same way. It sits on a springy base that lets it swivel 180° without breaking its neck. And because the outside of the antenna s coated in rubber, your equipment won’t be damaged by sun, sand, salt, or surf. It does look a little like a lightsaber, right down to the hilt. Or a fluorescent bulb. And its 54-inch cable lets it reach your radio.

Because this is a marine device, its connectors are a bit different. It has a longer, single prong that’s similar to a headphone jack, though you may need an adapter for the right fit. The antenna sits on a 16-inch mast and while 54 inches seem like a lot, you may still need an extension cable for bigger boats, depending on where your radio and power sources are located.

Dual Electronics covers this antenna with a 1-year warranty for both parts and labor, so don’t struggle to install it yourself – they’ll gladly do it for you. It’s an outdoor antenna and is designed to be extra-rugged because ocean conditions are rougher than the toughest off-road circuit. It’s a lightweight unit at just 7oz which is crucial – you can’t afford any excess weight on the ocean!

Pros:

  • It can receive signals as far as 10 miles away.
  • The outer surface is sealed with rubber to prevent corrosion.
  • The antenna swivels 180° on its base.

Con:

  • While this antenna is presented as receiving all marine bands, it’s really a car radio for your boat. So it will receive seaside AM and FM stations. You might even catch someone broadcasting from an island. But it won’t boost boat-to-boat or sea-to-shore channels.

Check Price on Amazon

 

6. Best AM FM Antenna: RGTech Monarch Multidirectional Reception Radio Antenna

Sale
best am fm antenna
  • Invented by NASA Space Technology Hall of Fame scientist Dr Argy Petros
  • Allows you to listen AM / FM radio with unprecedented sound quality
  • True 60-mile reception range - Multidirectional Reception – 2.2 dBi gain - DAB frequency range: 170 - 240 MHz - FM frequency range: 87.5 - 108 MHz – It comes with an F-type connector and an F- type connector to PAL connector adapter is included in the box

What do rocket scientists do in their free time? Some invent nerf guns. Others create radio antennas like this one, developed by NASA scientist  Dr. Argy Petros, who holds 23 patents. And if you have a busy home theater system with lots of bits and bobs, this antenna will easily blend in.

Surround sound towers can easily mask its appearance, especially with its super-slim silhouette that’s 0.05mm and its narrowest point and 0.85mm at the widest spot.

It’s a lightweight antenna – little over 4 ounces. This is helpful for installation. How so? Well, the RGTech antenna ships with two sticky pads that you can press directly onto the wall, door, or your selected mounting surface. The adhesive pads have two-sided tape so you can push the antenna onto the sticky pads and the antenna will stay in place. But these pads are removable.

And they’re reusable in case you want to shift your radio to a new spot. The antenna is multidirectional, but if you install it on the wall, its rear surface is partially obstructed. It’s 7cm wide though (and nearly 60cm tall) so you can mount it vertically as a freestanding unit. The antenna has an impressive 60-mile signal range and receives AM, FM, and DAB signals.

DAB stands for the digital audio band, meaning this antenna recognizes and picks both manually and digitally generated stations. The RGTech connects to your radio via a 15-foot cable and an F-type PAL port. Gains range from 2.2cB to as much as 20dB for certain stations, meaning the signal can be up to 100 times cleaner with this antenna. Plus it has a 5-year warranty. Nice!

Pros:

  • You can install it vertically or horizontally.
  • It has see-through sticky pads for easy mounting.
  • The antenna doesn’t need electricity to run.

Con:

  • The antenna is bulky so you need sufficient room to mount it.

Check Price on Amazon

 

7. Best Indoor AM Antenna: Terk Indoor AM Antenna

best am antenna
  • Channel reception will vary depending on what's being broadcast in your area, signal strength, how far away you are from broadcast towers, as well as your surroundings (i.e. obstructions between your home and the towers).
  • 6 Ft connection cable - Pin-Dot Pre-Tuning
  • Omni-directional reception pattern, 300ohms output impedance

People keep saying AM radio is dead. But it has distinct advantages. It spreads over a longer distance and isn’t blocked by physical objects like cars, buildings, trees, and even people. But while it’s cheaper, it’s also noisier than FM. So if you’re attached to your AM stations and want to keep connecting with your DX buddies, try the Terk Advantage with its space-age silhouette.

It looks oddly contemporary for a device that receives allegedly archaic signals. But it does have an older model impedance of 300 ohms, modified via the 75-ohm transformer. And its hollow circle lets it receive signals from all directions. The ring diameter is 9.5” and it’s 2.5” thick.

The antenna is mounted vertically on a pedestal that sits on your shelf or tabletop. It’s wide enough to be sturdy, but since it’s a circle, it may still tip so keep it high enough to avoid tempting kids and pets. It weighs about a pound though, which does help it stay on its foot.

Terk AM Advantage has pin-dot pre-tuning to help you discover hidden channels in your locality. This feature is especially helpful for DX excursions. This is a ‘wireless’ antenna that doesn’t plug into your radio. Just place it on top of or beside the radio and it will pick and clarify the relevant signals. This does mean you’ll have to move the radio plus the antenna as needed.

Pros:

  • It has an aesthetically pleasing design and looks great on your work surface.
  • It works both with and without wires so a bare co-axial is included in the box.
  • The antenna has a 60-mile range but has been known to ‘travel’ as far as 90 miles.

Con:

  • The antenna seems slight so it’s easily underestimated. Also, the co-ax that comes with the antenna isn’t very high quality.

Check Price on Amazon

 

What to Consider When Buying a Radio Antenna

Best Indoor FM Radio Antenna

You may be too young to remember balancing on the roof to get the TV signal just right. Or listening to that eerie whistling of stray signals on the wireless. Wireless here being a retro radio device, as opposed to the modern digital technology that powers smartphones. But even modern radios need antennas to better receive signals, so let’s look at some buying tips for radio devices.

Typical Usage

Where and when do you listen to the radio most frequently? Do you have a portable receiver you use on your commute, or is the antenna for your car radio? Are you more of a DXer interested in tropospheric ducting? These are all factors that will influence the type of antenna you buy. For example, car antennas need to be lightweight to reduce the resistance that could affect your driving.

But they also need to be long enough and sensitive enough to receive signals in various driving conditions. Similarly, if you mostly use your radio indoors, you can get a smaller antenna with a shorter range. But for outdoor use, the antenna has to be physically larger. It also as to be constructed from tougher, waterproof, weather-proof materials so it’ll probably cost more.

Location of Use

This seems similar to the previous point, but it’s a bit different. Yes, we’ve considered car use versus household use. But where exactly is that house or daily drive? Do you live out in the country with populations below 5,000 and a few local radio stations? Do you drive city routes that have millions of frequencies from smartphones and broomsticks to stop sign signals?

Or maybe you’re in a quieter, more retro space where AM stations are still chugging along. In that case, you’ll need an antenna that can receive both AM and FM signals. If your residential area is saturated with radio stations, you need an antenna with more fine-tuning capacity so you can differentiate stations. But if your usage crosses borders, consider an omnidirectional one.

Design of Antenna

There are several facets to consider here. One, how does the antenna connect to your radio? Is it a wireless router with a power plug or a corded connector? In the latter case, the ports for your radio and your antenna have to match. Double-check this, as older retro radio receivers have 300-ohm connectors while newer ones have 75-ohm connectors. Check the frequency too.

Especially if you’re buying a TV antenna. You want one with VHF because that’s close to FM frequencies. Shape-wise, it could be a wire, a hoop, a folded or coiled metal, or a block full of microchips. Think of the mounting spot, the available space, portability, proximity to power sources, and other related features that are sure to affect the size and structure of your antenna.

Is This Thing On?

After reviewing the best FM radio antenna in various specified categories, we believe the best antenna overall is the Terk FM+ Omnidirectional Radio Antenna. Here’s why:

  • It spins in multiple directions so you get broader signal diversity.
  • Its black understated appearance matches any decorative theme.
  • It has a 75-ohm transformer plus a 75-ohm 6-foot co-ax cable.
  • The antenna uses a Gamma Loop to maximize reception and minimize noise.

What antenna are you using at the moment? Show us a photo in the comments and tell us why you picked that particular model. What do you like about it? Are there any aspects you dislike?

Leave a Comment

0 Shares
Pin
Tweet
Share