Best RV Antenna

When you’re on the road with your RV, your family will want to watch the same collection of broadcast TV shows that they do when they’re at home, but you won’t be able to do it without a high-quality RV antenna.

RV antennas are difficult to differentiate between, however, and many may be incompatible with your RV’s roof mounting brackets. In this article, we’ll run through a few of our top picks for the best RV antenna and let you know what to look for in an RV antenna.

How To Choose an RV Antenna

If you’re like most people, you haven’t needed to worry about getting a TV signal from an antenna in quite some time.

With RV antennas, however, you’ll need to pay attention to a variety of factors that can make the difference between being able to see your favorite program and needing to watch a rerun when you return from your trip.

Type of Reception

With RV antennas, you can either receive signals from satellites or from terrestrial broadcast stations depending on the type of antenna. Each type of antenna has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Antennas for terrestrial broadcast reception are lower-tech, lightweight, and maintain their reception quality in inclement weather more effectively.

However, these antennas require some finagling for the user to find the channels that they want to watch, as channel selection is always limited by the local signals rather than the standard set of channels that you might find at home.

You’ll also need to orient your antenna towards the signal that you want to receive, which can be difficult for some users.

Antennas for terrestrial broadcast reception also have the added benefit of being effective transmitters, should you have any interest in broadcasting a signal of your own.

In contrast, antennas that receive satellite signals are heavier, more complicated, and more prone to degrading reception quality during poor weather.

Reception Quality

Antennas need to be able to receive enough of the TV broadcast signal to provide a clear image in your TV. If your RV antenna doesn’t receive enough of the broadcast signal, your image and sound quality will suffer, and you may not be able to access some channels at all.

Reception quality is impacted by your distance from the broadcast station, your local terrain, the shape of the antenna, the quality of the antenna, and the weather.

To get around long distances from stations and local terrain obstructions, many RV antennas can extend upward at the user’s behest. 

Extending the antenna upward increases the reception quality, but it typically requires some additional maintenance to take care of the unit’s moving parts.

Ease of Maintenance and Cleaning

If you ever use your RV in inclement weather or leave it outside in your yard when it isn’t in use, you’ll need to perform at least a little maintenance on your RV antenna. Everything from leaves to bird nests can get lodged around your RV antenna.

The more modern the RV antenna, the fewer surfaces there are for problems to accumulate. Older antennas with waffle-pattern wires or tree-like structures are the biggest offenders, and you’ll need to regularly wipe them down to make sure that they can receive signals effectively.

In this vein, satellite antennas are typically more important to keep clean than terrestrial broadcast antennas. The reason for this is that satellite antennas require freedom of motion around their base to automatically orient the antenna towards the satellite.

RV Antenna Reviews

Now that you know about the different types of antennas and why they matter for your RV antenna choice, it’s time to review a few of the RV antennas that we think are market leaders.

Best RV Antennas Under $150

KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna with Mount and Signal Finder

Our choice for the best RV antenna for under $150 is the KING OA8500 Jack HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna with Mount and Signal Finder as a result of its intuitive signal finding system, ease of cleaning, and aerodynamic design.

With the King antenna, you’ll gain access to ultra-high frequency channels as well as very-high frequency channels, meaning that you will have a wider array of choices than you might have otherwise.

You’ll need to use the signal finder to orient the antenna properly. While it’s a bit of manual effort, the antenna is easy to swivel, and you’ll know when you have found the optimal position.

The only downside to the King antenna is that it can’t be extended to help receive signals over ground-level obstructions. You may also find that the mounting system is difficult to use, but it’s plenty secure.

Pros:

  • Easy to rotate towards signal sources
  • Great for accessing local channels while on a trip
  • Won’t harm your gas mileage with poor aerodynamics
  • Easy to clean
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Can’t extend upward to maximize reception
  • Difficult to mount properly

Winegard 8551203.400S White RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna

Winegard’s 8551203.400S White RVW-395 Sensar IV HDTV RV Antenna is our runner-up choice for the best RV antenna under $150 as a result of its long-range receptivity and high durability.

While it doesn’t win any awards for its looks, the Sensar antenna is very capable as a result of its extending functionality. 

Extending the antenna upwards provides the antenna with additional range and receptivity, though few users will enjoy the scraping noise of metal on metal that’s necessary to fully extend the antenna.

The antenna itself will never require any cleaning, nor will it require much orientation towards specific broadcast stations. Overall, this antenna provides an excellent reception quality after being extended, so there isn’t much finagling required.

Pros:

  • Extendable for better reception range
  • Very durable
  • Receives HD signals as well as SD signals
  • Works well in bad weather

Cons:

  • Antiquated aesthetics
  • Metal scrapes awkwardly while extending antenna

Best RV Antennas Under $250

Winegard RZ-6035 Rayzar z1 RV TV Antenna

The Winegard RZ-6035 Rayzar z1 RV TV Antenna is a capable and durable terrestrial broadcast receiver antenna that is easy to mount and great at keeping up with the shows you crave while you’re camping in your RV.

With this antenna, you’ll get access to the entire spectrum. While technically you will need to orient the antenna towards broadcast sources, for the most part, its extra-wide reception surfaces make it less finicky than other RV antennas on the market.

Likewise, the mounting system on the Winegard antenna is significantly easier than many of its competitors. You’ll still need a screwdriver, but you should only expect to spend five minutes or so on the job.

Unfortunately, the Winegard antenna is an eyesore as a result of its exposed reception wires.

Pros:

  • Great reception quality
  • Fast and painless mounting
  • Minimal need to struggle with orientation towards the signal
  • Lightweight and compact design

Cons:

  • Poor aesthetics
  • Debris easily gets trapped in the exposed antenna wires

Winegard PL-7000R DISH Playmaker Portable Antenna with Wally HD Satellite Receiver Bundle

If you’re looking for a satellite antenna that’s low-hassle, the Winegard PL-7000R DISH Playmaker might be the right choice for you. With the Playmaker, you’ll get a fully mountable satellite receiver which orients itself using a built-in motor unit.

This means that you won’t need to climb on the roof of your RV to point the antenna in the correct direction to access the satellite feed. Likewise, when you install this antenna, you won’t need to worry about difficulty stemming from poor instruction sets or bad mounting hardware. 

The mounting bracket for the Playmaker is easy to attach, and it’s compatible with most RV mounting systems for antennas. 

The only drawback of the Winegard is that the mechanisms which orient the dish are fragile and prone to jamming if any debris gets inside. You should be careful using the satellite antenna in poor weather, as it won’t perform very well under those circumstances anyway.

Pros:

  • Automatically orienting receiver
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • High reception quality in good weather
  • Easy and secure mounting brackets

Cons:

  • Poor reception quality in poor weather
  • Fragile

Best RV Antennas Overall

Winegard PA-6002 Company PA6002 Pathway Satellite Antenna

Our selection for the best RV antenna overall is the Winegard PA-6002 Company PA6002 Pathway Satellite Antenna thanks to its easy orientation, high signal quality, and versatile deployment tripod.

Unlike many other RV antennas, this Winegard antenna is detachable and can be deployed on a tripod as needed. This means that you could lend your antenna to a friend, or potentially use it to provide satellite reception at a cabin even when your RV isn’t around.

The signal quality of the Winegard satellite antenna is among the best on the market thanks to its wide and flat surface. Inclement weather won’t harm the reception quality on this unit as much as it might with other satellite antennas.

For people who would rather have an antenna that sits on top of their RV and never needs any attention other than the occasional orientation, the Winegard is a bit high-maintenance.

Pros:

  • Very high signal quality
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • No installation necessary
  • Stable tripod
  • Weather interference-reducing dish surface

Cons:

  • Might harm your gas mileage with poor aerodynamics if secured to the top of your RV
  • Requires regular cleaning to maximize reception quality

Magnadyne RVTV-W2 Omni-Directional Amplified TV/AM/FM Antenna and Distribution Plate

When you’re looking for an antenna solution that’s elegant and effective, the Magnadyne RVTV-W2 Omni-Directional Amplified TV/AM/FM Antenna and Distribution Plate is one of our top picks. 

With the Magnadyne, you’ll get a saucer-shaped antenna that never needs to be adjusted to get the best reception quality possible from any given station. As far as low-interaction terrestrial signal antennas go, the Magnadyne is impressively capable.

Furthermore, the Magnadyne is easy on the eyes in comparison to many other terrestrial receiver antennas.

The limitation of the unit is that the reception quality is only average. While you won’t struggle to get a decent signal quality, you will not be able to play with the antenna’s settings to fine-tune your picture.

Pros:

  • No orientation needed
  • Highly aerodynamic design
  • Very lightweight and surprisingly durable
  • Great instruction set

Cons:

  • Average reception quality
  • Few color options

Listening In

When you decide to move forward with an RV antenna, try to keep in mind what you’ll need to do to watch your favorite shows. 

Remember, there’s no such thing as a zero-maintenance antenna, so you should think about how to minimize the amount of time you spend on cleaning.

If you detest spending time moving your antenna to receive the signal at optimum efficiency, the King antenna is a great choice because of its easy-seek channel finder.

On the other hand, if you want an antenna that is as versatile as it is receptive, the Winegard satellite antenna might be a better option.