The Best Cell Phone Boosters for 2024

Cell phone boosters help improve a weak signal whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the road by amplifying what’s already available. But it can be slightly intimidating to decipher all the technical differences between each model. PCMag has been covering the category for well over a decade, so we’re here to help you find the best booster for your needs. Among those we’ve tested, the SureCall Flare 3.0 and weBoost Drive Sleek, respectively, earn our Editors’ Choice award for homes and vehicles thanks to their easy setup and reliable performance. One of the other selections on our list could be a better fit for you depending on the size of your space and how much of a boost you need. For more details to keep in mind while you shop, scroll down past our picks for a detailed buying guide.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Best for Homes
SureCall Flare 3.0

Pros & Cons

Simple setup

Flexible placement

Boosts multiple carriers

Doesn’t boost T-Mobile bands 41 and 71

Why We Picked It

The SureCall Flare 3.0 is affordable, supports AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, and combines a directional outdoor antenna with an omnidirectional indoor antenna. That means you can fiddle with the outside antenna to get the strongest possible signal, place the inside antenna anywhere you want, and still get coverage. It worked across three indoor rooms in our tests.

Who It’s For

This signal booster is ideal if you are looking to improve cell coverage in a small-to-medium-size house. It’s also quite easy to configure, which adds to its appeal.

Learn More
SureCall Flare 3.0 Review

Best for Cars
weBoost Drive Sleek

Pros & Cons

Improves signal on all carriers

Secure phone cradle

Easy to use

Only boosts one device

No band 41 or 71 support

Why We Picked It

The weBoost Drive Sleek offers an excellent, secure cradle that fits pretty much any phone, while the USB-A port on its power adapter ensures you can keep your device charged. In testing, we got about a 17-18dB improvement on T-Mobile and Verizon, which was enough to keep our in-car navigation going for that extra mile we needed.

Who It’s For

This is for road warriors who often find themselves in places with a spotty cell signal. It helps keep your GPS going for your entire journey and might prove invaluable if you ever need to place a call from a remote spot.

Learn More
weBoost Drive Sleek Review

Best for Smaller Homes or Apartments
HiBoost Sidekick

Pros & Cons

Improves 4G and 5G performance

Works with multiple carriers

Helpful LCD

Includes mounting hardware

Impractical setup distance recommendations for small spaces

Why We Picked It

The HiBoost Sidekick is a two-piece booster that can improve 4G and 5G reception throughout smaller houses and apartments. We like its low price, and its understated design means it can blend into most homes’ decor. The installation process is somewhat tedious, but HiBoost includes all of the necessary mounting hardware and a comprehensive guide that expertly explains each step. Most importantly, we found it provided a good in-home boost.

Who It’s For

If your home is under 2,000 square feet, a single HiBoost Sidekick booster can provide enough signal improvement to cover the entire area. Importantly, it works with all major US carriers.

Learn More
HiBoost Sidekick Review

Best for Large Homes or Weak Signals
Cel-Fi Go X

Why We Picked It

Cel-Fi’s devices can get you 100dB of signal improvement because they boost the frequencies of only one carrier. Just keep in mind that its premier Go+/Go X home boosters cost much more than other consumer models and that this approach means you can’t switch carriers without switching your booster.

Who It’s For

If you need more of a boost than most consumer models offer (around 70dB of improvement), you should check out Cel-Fi’s specialty products. That extra bit of signal can make for a massive improvement, especially in rural areas.

Best for Large Areas
HiBoost 15K Smart Link

Why We Picked It

Most consumer signal boosters cover a few thousand square feet at most, but the HiBoost 15K Smart Link covers several times that amount. HiBoost’s devices also have a unique and cool feature: LCDs on the front that show signal strength for each of the bands they cover. Keep in mind that you’re probably going to want to use a splitter and additional panel antennas for a large home installation—one panel won’t cut it for 15,000 square feet.

Who It’s For

If cost isn’t a concern and you need to cover an extremely large space, you won’t find a more suitable consumer option than the HiBoost 15K. If you’re just looking to get cellular connectivity in a traditionally sized home, however, the SureCall Flare 3.0 above is a more reasonable choice.

Best for RVs
SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV

Why We Picked It

RV boosters are a sort of hybrid between car boosters and in-home boosters. SureCall’s Fusion2Go 3.0 RV, for instance, uses an omnidirectional outdoor antenna—useful because your RV is always moving around—and offers two antenna options inside. It works with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, so you can pick it up no matter which carrier you prefer.

Who It’s For

Although this model isn’t as powerful as a home booster (it offers just 50dB of gain), it’s still better than regular car boosters. RV owners just need to make sure to place the indoor and outdoor components far enough away from each other and in the proper direction.

Best for Pro Installation
WeBoost Installed Home Complete

Why We Picked It

The weBoost Installed Home Complete solution gets you the same 72dB of signal improvement as most other boosters, but with the guarantee of absolutely optimal indoor and antenna placement—after all, WeBoost installs everything for you.

Who It’s For

If the prospect of DIY work scares you, weBoost’s professional installation package might be worth the hefty price. It’s also suitable if you just want to ensure the best possible performance.

Buying Guide: The Best Cell Phone Boosters for 2024
What Are the Best Cell Phone Booster Brands?Booster manufacturers have to use various tricks to detect the best signal from surrounding towers and then amplify them without messing up the carriers’ systems. That’s why you need to stick with boosters primarily from the big four companies: Cel-Fi, HiBoost, SureCall, and weBoost. Cheaper boosters available from Amazon often aren’t FCC-certified, which means they can cause trouble with surrounding cell sites and networks.Do Cell Phone Boosters Really Work?Boosters help the most when you have a weak signal—not when there’s none at all. Whereas your phone shows bars, wireless industry folks measure signal in -dBm. A number higher than about -90dBm (like -80 or -70) is a strong signal. Anything below -110dBm is definitely weak, and you might not hold onto any signal below -120dBm. Services like CellMapper can show you the signal you’re receiving on your phone.If you’re hesitant to invest in a home booster and primarily need coverage to make phone calls, be sure to try Wi-Fi calling. All of the major carriers support this feature, and you can often get better call performance over your home’s Wi-Fi connection.How Do Cell Phone Boosters Work?The basic principle behind signal boosters is simple: A big antenna is better than a small one. Instead of relying on the tiny antenna in your phone, boosters capture a cellular signal using a large antenna in your window or outside your house (or car), pass that signal through a device that cleans and amplifies it, and send it out through a rebroadcaster inside your home.Boosters generally have three main components: an external antenna that sits outside your home, a booster that cleans and amplifies the signal, and an antenna you keep inside your home. A coaxial cable connects them all.Some of SureCall’s products combine the booster and indoor antenna in one unit, therefore making them easier to install and place. But if you own a larger home and are willing to run some coax cable, you can greatly extend the booster’s range with some splitters and several panel antennas. This can get complicated, so, at this point, you might want to get a professional installer to set the system up (especially to reduce interference between multiple in-home antennas).Most boosters handle bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 17, and 66. That includes base coverage bands for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The important missing band is 71, T-Mobile’s 600MHz rural coverage band. Because it took a while for TV stations to get out of that band, the FCC hasn’t approved any consumer boosters for band 71. If you want to boost that band, you need to get an industrial booster such as the WilsonPro 710i or SureCall Force8.Most home boosters also boost between 64 and 71dB of signal. Once again, that’s due to FCC regulations. If you need more of a boost than that, you need to move up to Cel-Fi’s single-carrier booster line, which can get to 100dB by boosting only the frequencies from one wireless carrier at a time.The booster store Waveform has a comprehensive guide to how boosters work on its site.What Is the Best Cell Phone Booster for Cars?Boosters for your car are similar to in-home boosters, with one exception: You can only get single-device, in-car cradle boosters. These are much less powerful than in-home boosters (the ones we tested boost by 23dB instead of between 65 and 75dB) but are less expensive, take seconds to install and remove, and don’t radiate beyond the cradle that grips your phone. We like the weBoost Drive Sleek as a single-device booster.

The little fin on top of the car shows that a booster is in use (Credit: Sascha Segan)

RV owners and people who need to boost multiple devices in a vehicle can get in-car boosters with small radiating antennas that handle several devices. These can be tricky, though, because of how close the output antenna is to the input antenna. How Do You Install a Cell Phone Booster?You can install all retail cellular boosters by yourself without any drilling, although ideally, you should hide the cables against your baseboards. You also need to find the optimal antenna position outside your home.Both SureCall and weBoost have options that let you lean on a professional installer to handle the tricky bits, like sticking the antenna on your roof and orienting it properly. SureCall works with Dish subsidiary OnTech to install any of its boosters for an extra fee. weBoost sells a specific product, the $1,499.99 Home Complete Installed, which includes the installation fee. If you want to do the setup yourself, the standalone Home Complete booster is $999.99.

Recommended by Our Editors

Can You Boost 5G Signal?Cellular boosters generally can’t boost the “good parts” of 5G networks. AT&T and Verizon carry a small amount of 5G on the old cellular bands 2 and 5. Boosters handle that, so a booster may summon you a 5G icon, but that signal doesn’t give you an experience that’s much different from 4G. The fastest 5G networks for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are currently on bands n41, n77, n260, and n261; no consumer boosters support those bands reliably.There is a sneaky way around this. Although no powered boosters work with these bands, passive antennas can still improve the signal. They may only get you 10dB to 20dB of gain as opposed to 70dB, but that isn’t insignificant (and even just the fact that the antenna is outside can help). If you are willing to take on a bit of an installation project, the Waveform’s Griddy parabolic antenna and MIMO panel antennas improve signal on the 5G band n77. Connecting an outdoor cellular antenna to a Wi-Fi hotspot that has a TS9 connector, such as the Netgear Nighthawk M6, can also turn an outdoor cell signal into an indoor Wi-Fi signal. Don’t Forget to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal

TP-Link AC1750 WiFi Extender (Credit: TP-Link)

Cellular signals aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a boost. Check out these quick tips to improve the wireless signal from your router, extend and optimize your Wi-Fi coverage, and speed up your surfing. Or go right to our roundups of the best range extenders.Ben Moore, Dave LeClair, and Sascha Segan contributed to this story.

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