Home Cell Signal Boosters: The Complete Guide
Answers to your questions about cellular amplifiers for homes
Selecting the right cell phone signal booster for your home can be very confusing. (It's difficult enough trying to decide if one will even work in your home!) Here's the information you need to make the right decision.
- Do I need a home cell phone signal booster?
- What will a home cell phone booster do for me?
- How does a cell phone booster work?
- Will a cell phone signal booster work in my home?
- Should I buy a 4G or a 3G signal booster system?
- What kinds of home cell signal boosters are available for home use?
Do I need a home cell phone signal booster?
There are many reasons you might need a cell signal booster in your home:
- The most common reason is to improve voice and data connectivity in homes that suffer from dropped or missed calls and poor data performance.
- Cell signal boosters can target specific carrier towers using directional antennas. This allows you to choose a specific cell tower that may have a lower user load, thus providing better voice and data performance.
- Sometimes you'll get acceptable signal in your home because your carrier has a cell tower located nearby, but you want to accommodate friends and family members who use a different carrier that doesn't have the same level of signal quality in your home.
- A strong cell signal will reduce your cell phone's battery consumption. Cell phones use more power when operating with weaker tower signals.
What will a home cell phone booster do for me?
A stronger cell signal in your home can:
- Improve cellular reception throughout your home or in specific problem areas.
- Improve your voice signal, helping to eliminate dropped calls and missed text messages.
- Improve 4G data transfer rates for faster email, web browsing, and other apps.
- Reduce your phone's battery consumption.
How does a cell phone booster work?
There are four basic components in a residential cell signal booster kit (with some slight variations in entry-level systems):
- A cell signal booster.
- An exterior (outside) antenna.
- An interior (inside) antenna.
- Coax cables that connect the antennas to the cell signal booster.
Let's look at each component in detail and see how it's used:
A cell signal booster system uses coaxial ("coax") cables to connect the exterior and interior antennas to the cell signal booster.
Coax cable comes in many different forms that work best under different circumstances. The longer and/or thinner the length of a piece of coax cable, the more signal is lost as it makes its way from the booster to the antenna. (Higher frequencies also experience more signal loss over a given length of cable than lower frequencies.)
There are three main types of coax cable used in home cell phone signal booster systems:
Will a cell phone signal booster work in my home?
Cell signal amplifiers have been available for many years, and the technology is very solid and well-developed, so the answer to this question is "probably." There are certain conditions under which a booster system will not perform, including:
- There is no signal in your area. A cell phone booster cannot amplify something that does not exist (just as you can't multiply by zero).
- The cellular amplifier is too weak. If you expect to fill your 2,500-square-foot home with a usable cell signal, then you need to purchase a cell signal booster that has the right level of performance. Make sure your expectations match the system you are purchasing.
- The amplifier boosts the wrong frequencies. Make sure the booster you purchase amplifies the frequencies your carrier uses. For example, Sprint's LTE Plus service—previously called "Spark"—operates in the 2500 MHz spectrum, which no cell booster on market will amplify. Older and less-expensive 3G boosters also don't handle the newer, faster 4G LTE frequencies (see below).
Should I buy a 4G or a 3G signal booster system?
There are two kinds of cell signal booster technologies available on the market:
- 4G, also known as "five-band," which is newer and more expensive.
- 3G, also known as "dual-band," which is older and less expensive.
In our opinion, you shouldn't buy a 3G cell signal booster. The major cellular carriers no longer sell 3G smartphones, and they are in the process of converting their 3G cell towers to 4G. 3G service may not be available at all by 2020.
If you use a 4G smartphone, a 3G cell signal booster won't improve your reception; your phone is using frequencies that your booster doesn't amplify. If you use a 3G phone, though, a 4G amplifier will amplify its frequencies.
What kinds of home cell signal boosters are available for home use?
Boosters for one room
Single-room boosters are designed to cover small work areas or a single small room within a home or apartment. The boosters used in these kits have lower power and performance; they're entry-level systems in the $350–400 range.
Boosters for small homes
The next step up from one-room cell signal boosters are systems that cover two to three rooms—a large apartment or a small house. These cell signal amplifiers are larger and more powerful than single-room units, so they're also a little more expensive (in the $550–570 range).
Boosters for large homes
The final level for home cell signal boosters is coverage for larger homes, around 2,000 to 3,000 square feet (possibly more, if the outside cell signal is strong). These are the largest and most powerful cellular amplifier systems for residential use, and so they're correspondingly more expensive than the previous units in this review (in the $900–1,100 range).
Call Powerful Signal at 866-912-3444
…or click here to contact us online. We can help you find the right cell phone signal booster system for your house, condo, apartment, or other residence.