If you live in a rural area receiving free over-the-air TV signals can be challenging at times.
TV broadcast signals follow a line-of-site, so the terrain can be a big factor when receiving a signal.
With that said, there are some TV antennas that work better for long-distance rural areas.
There are several sites online to show where the transmission towers are and what stations can be received.
Directional vs. Omni Directional TV Antennas
Directional TV antennas, also called Yagi, work very well when pointed directly at the TV towers.
While Directional TV antennas need to be pointed directly at the source they work very well once set up correctly.
There are different ways to dial in a Directional antenna with the most common and simplest method to turn it until the best signal comes in.
Omni-Directional TV antennas can pick up a signal from any direction and don’t need to be pointed at the source.
This works well when the broadcast towers are close but not so well for distance.
For these reasons, it is usually best to stick with a Directional TV antenna in rural areas.
Indoor vs. Outdoor TV Antennas
Indoor antennas have a hard time picking up signals unless the TV towers are very near.
Indoor units often work well in a city but will not work well in a rural area.
An outdoor TV antenna is almost a must-have to pick up the best signal.
Amplifier or Booster
Using a combination of an amplifier and booster often gives the best results.
A pre-amplifier can be set up at the antenna and a booster added to the TV to improve a signal.
An amplifier or booster can not pick up a signal but can improve it greatly.
So what is the best TV antenna for a rural area?
Opinions will vary as to the best TV antenna with many good units available.
Some of our favorite options are below. If you have a good unit that has worked well for you, let us know in the comments.
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best TV Antenna for Rural Areas 2020
- RCA Outdoor Yagi
- Clearstream 4Max
- Channel Master CM-4228HD
TV Antenna – RCA Outdoor Yagi Satellite HD Antenna with Over 70 Mile Range – Attic or Roof Mount TV Antenna, Long Range Digital OTA Antenna for Clear Reception, 4K 1080P Silver
The RCA Outdoor TV antenna has been available for a while and a good option for a rural area.
It is directional with different mounting brackets to mount it on a wall or pole.
The unit will need to be assembled which should be no problem for a handy type of person.
No amplifiers or boosters are included which if needed will need to be bought separately.
Antennas Direct Clearstream 4Max TV Antenna, 70+ Mile Range, UHF/Vhf, Multi-Directional, Indoor, Attic, Outdoor, Mast W/Pivoting Base/Hardware/Adjustable Clamp/Sealing Pads, 4K Ready, Black – C4MVJ
The Clearstream 4Max is a very good antenna for a rural area and built for those serious about getting the most OTA channels possible with the best reception.
Since it can also pick up UHF and VHF signals it boosts the available TV channels that can be received.
The unit is designed for indoor or outdoor installations but in suburban and rural areas it will work best outside.
Channel Master EXTREMEtenna Long Range Multi-Directional Outdoor TV Antenna – 80 Mile Range – Preassembled – Install on Rooftop or Attic | CM-4228HD
The Channel Master CM-4228HD is a big square antenna that works very well picking up signals from a distance.
The unit will need some assembly and includes brackets to mount it in the best location.
It is built to receive VHF or UHF signals which boost the number of channels that can be picked up.
If you live in a rural area and want to cut the cord using an antenna is a good option.
All the basic TV channels can be received, including Fox, CBS, ABC, PBS, and much more.
Using good amplifiers and boosters can also greatly improve free OTA signals.
Something being introduced in 2020 is called ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV which is a big upgrade to the currently used ATSC 1.0.
ATSC 3.0 is mainly known for broadcasting 4K TV but also is a huge improvement at transmitting a signal at a distance.
When ATSC 1.0 was introduced HD 1080p was a big upgrade at the time but the range lacks compared to older analog signals and the new ATSC 3.0.
40 plus TV markets in the USA have committed to broadcasting ATSC 3.0 in 2021 so check your area for news of an upgrade.
There will be no need to upgrade an antenna once ATSC 3.0 is introduced with any of the current units working well.
The TV tuner or external TV tuner will need to be upgraded to receive an ATSC 3.0 signal.