FM radio is still free, and we want you to enjoy it to the fullest! One of the keys to great FM reception is antenna selection. Without a good antenna, even the best radios and most expensive tuners are useless. Take a good look at these great antennas for your car, home and office.
How We Reviewed These FM Antennas
We split the review section here into two sections: one for home antennas and one for car antennas. We included a variety of models, each with its own distinct advantages, in each section. One of them is sure to fit your needs.
As we decided which antennas to include in our list, we kept in mind what people are looking for. Some people want a cheap antenna that will pull in a decent signal, so we included a budget pick for both car and home antennas.
Some want a really good top-of-the-line antenna, even if it means spending a little more money. The Terk FM50 and the Metra car antenna will appeal to you if you are wanting to up your FM game to stratospheric heights.
We found that most of the people who are in the market for a new FM antenna, whether it be for their home or car, are simply looking for a high-quality antenna that is better than what they have now. The rest of the antennas we reviewed here fit that bill nicely.
No matter what, we always kept quality, value, performance and the manufacturer's reputation in mind.
COMPARISON DATA - HOME ANTENNA
Best Home FM Antennas Reviewed And Compared
This is our pick for the best overall home FM antenna. It fits nicely on a bookshelf and has a six-foot 75 ohm slip-on coax cable that will fit most tuners. A push-button transformer adapter is included with this and all other Terk models on our list for multiple connection options. Also included is the necessary AC/DC adapter that powers the integrated amplifier.
The Edge pulls in FM broadcasts from all directions at a distance of up to 50 miles. The amplifier boosts weak signals for clearer reception of stations that are usually ridden with static.
The Terk Tower also features a built-in amplifier, but it is not quite as powerful. It is still miles ahead of the old extendable metal rods and dipole wires that come with most radios though. The truth is that you will only be able to tell the difference between the Edge and this model if you are trying to tune to a station that is difficult to pick up. In that case, the Edge would be best. But if you are just trying to get better reception than you are currently getting from your rabbit ears, the Tower is the way to go.
The Tower also receives AM broadcasts.
This is an amazing antenna that can be mounted indoors or outdoors. It has a powerful amplifier that pulls in distant stations from up to 80 miles away with unsurpassed clarity.
We like the power injector. The plug-in power line joins the antenna wire at a point close to where it connects to your tuner. The antenna gets its power from the antenna wire. This way, you do not have to wires running to the antenna.
If you want to expand your reception range, the Terk FM50 is the way to go.
This is a non-amplified antenna, but it provides great reception because of its design. Think of it as an old-school TV antenna, but it's for FM radio. Its range of 50 miles is comparable to some of the better indoor amplified antennas, but there is no need to provide power to it. There is only one wire, and that is the antenna wire itself.
Many people mount this type of FM antenna in their attics, just like HDTV antennas. Doing this is almost sure to enhance your reception because you will be pulling signals from a greater height where there are less line-of-sight obstructions.
COMPARISON DATA - CAR ANTENNA
Best Car FM Antennas Reviewed And Compared
Asa Electronics Dipole Wire Antenna
Let's start with our car antenna budget pick.
This simple antenna is a lot like those wire antennas on cheap home radios. You are probably thinking: "Those cheap radios don't get good reception, so why would I want an antenna like this in my car?" Well, have you ever noticed that even low-end car radios usually get better FM reception than some high-dollar home stereo systems? That's because car radios are designed to work with cheaper antennas!
You just plug it into the antenna port in the back of your radio. The wire is the antenna, and you can lay it anywhere. Let it sit on your floorboard, route it up behind your dash or even coil it up behind the radio. It may take some experimenting to find the best way to lay the wire, but you can save quite a bit of money if you go with this antenna. Its reception is not quite as good as the old 24" mast antennas, but it should do fine in any city. Don't expect much if you live and drive more than about 20 miles from the main broadcast towers.
This is a 3" antenna that replaces the whip or mast antenna on just about any car. Its reception ability is a step above Asa Electronic's wire antenna and is comparable to the stock antennas that come on most new cars today.
It comes with several threaded adapters. Installation is simple: you try the different adapters until you find the one that matches the threads on your car's antenna mount. Then you just screw the adapter into the mount and screw the antenna onto the adapter. It's that simple.
This flexible antenna is designed to be mounted on the roof of a car, but I see no reason why it can't be used to replace a fender-mounted or trunk-mounted antenna. LinkStyle claims that it is a universal replacement antenna, but that is not the case. It may fit most cars, but some cars will need an adapter to go between this antenna's threads and its antenna mount. Once installed, it adjusts forward or backward 30 degrees. This type of adjustment doesn't effect the reception ability of car antennas much, but some people prefer a roof-mounted antenna to be swept back to some degree.
We are impressed with its durability. It can literally be bent in half without breaking. The reception is equally impressive. It outperforms the OEM antennas that come standard on most of the luxury cars rolling the assembly line this year.
This is our pick for the best car antenna because of its exceptional value. It is hard to find the durability, sleek style and great reception that this model offers even in antennas at triple the price.
If you are in your thirties or older, you probably remember seeing these long whip antennas on just about every car on the road. Good news: They still get the same great reception!
Length is not the only factor that decides how well a car antenna can pick up FM signals, but longer antennas do generally pull in distant stations better than shorter ones. They also tend to give clearer sound. This simple antenna is 36 inches long, which is about 30 inches longer than most antennas seen on the road today. If you don't mind having a three-foot mast antenna sticking up out of your fender or out of your trunk, you may love this signal-sucking whip! It really pulls in FM broadcasts out in rural areas far away from broadcast towers.
This is a top-mount model made for a one-inch hole, but Metra offers similar models with different mounting options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use A Home FM Antenna To Receive TV Broadcasts?
No. All FM stations fall into a relatively narrow transmission band. Nearly all HDTV antennas are capable of receiving FM broadcasts, however. If you use a good antenna to watch free over-the-air television, you may be able to use that same antenna to listen to free FM radio as well.
Is An Integrated Amplifier Necessary In A Home FM Antenna?
Maybe. What do you have now? If you are using a non-amplified antenna and you are getting a lot of static on the stations you want, then an amplifier will probably clear those stations up.
An amplifier also extends the range of an antenna by boosting weak signals. So if you want to try to pick up some extra stations, try an antenna with an integrated amplifier.
Why Does My Car Radio Sound Better Than My More Expensive Home Stereo System? Is It The Antenna?
We covered some of this earlier, but here are some more details.
First, car radios are designed to be paired with cheaper antennas.
Car radios are also designed to maintain decent sound while on the move with different obstructions constantly blocking the radio transmissions.
Simply put, even ordinary car stereos are usually designed better than home systems.
Trying to use a car antenna on your home system will not work. Not only would it be hard to hook up, but the quality of sound and reception would be lacking. If you want better sound or more range from your home stereo system, try using either an outdoor FM antenna or a good indoor antenna with an integrated amplifier.
The Final Verdict
FM antennas come in all shapes, sizes and prices. We sure have come a long way since the rabbit ears and short wire antennas of yesteryear.
There are many cheap antennas available for both cars and home radios. Sometimes they will do just fine. If you live in or very close to a major city with several broadcasting towers, a cheap antenna may be all you need.
Most car antennas are very reasonably priced. There really is no reason to spend more than $25 on one.
Home antennas are a different story. Some of the best ones are priced well below $30, but we have seen some impressive antennas that cost over $100 and are worth every penny. The Terk FM50 is one of them.