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I couldn’t believe it when I bought my 1976 travel trailer and it had a huge old TV antenna on top of it. People were watching TV while camping, even back in the 70s!?
Having a television in your RV stands the test of time, and rightly so. There’s nothing like spending a wonderful day in the great outdoors, then coming back to your cozy motorhome and watching television until bed.
Plus, if you’re living in an RV full time, a TV feels more and more like a necessity! Even if you’re hooked up in a rural location, you still deserve to watch the local news every night.
What do you do to pick up that television signal, especially if you’re living in a more remote area? How can you watch cable TV when you’re traveling all the time? Thankfully, there are antennas for you, and they’ve been updated from their 1976 relatives!
This article will go over my favorite 6 which should cover just about every situation along with a full buyer’s guide so you know exactly what kind of antenna you need. But if you just want to see our top 6 you can see the full lists here:
- Best Long-Range Choice: KING OA8300 HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna
- Best Satellite Choice: Winegard Pathway X2 PA6002R Satellite TV Antenna and DISH Wally Receiver Bundle
- Best Budget Choice: Luxtronic Digital HDTV Antenna
- Top Indoor Choice: GESOBYTE Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna
- Best Outdoor Choice: Antop Omni-Directional 360 Degree Reception Antenna
- Full-Timer Choice: Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV White DTV/HD TV Antenna
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about selecting the perfect antenna and detailed reviews of every item on our list!
How Does An Antenna Work In Your RV, Anyway?
So you’re hoping to watch TV on the road. No problem! Even vintage RVs and trailers had this desire in mind when building rigs back in the day. But how do TV antennas possibly work when you’re traveling all of the time?
The simplest answer is: the antenna will find and utilize certain signals, or it will pick up local and satellite channels, depending on the model of antenna you get. Some models have more range than others, which means if you’re camping somewhere more rural you will still get the channels you’re looking for.
Some antennas offer HD or digital channel options and boosted signal strength. This is quite an update from the antennas of the seventies!
Types of RV Antennas
While all antennas do essentially the same thing, there are still different types that you should consider before making your final decision.
Are you hoping to watch the local news and not much else? Are you in a more populated area, or a place with good signal strength? Then an indoor antenna may be a good choice for you!
These models are often the most compact and most reliable given that they can remain in one spot indoors. This means that you won’t have to battle the elements and you can safely keep your antenna in a convenient location.
However, your signal will not be very strong given that it is indoors. Your walls, ceiling, and windows block a lot of signal options, despite most RVs not having very thick walls!
You may also struggle to find a good spot to keep your antenna if you’re moving often and hoping for the best signal strength. You may not be able to keep your antenna in one permanent location as signal strength varies from spot to spot, even inside the walls of your rig.
However, these units are the smallest and easiest to maintain. If you’re only hoping to get a couple of local channels for your RV TV without needing to struggle outside, this may be a good option for you!
If you have a satellite subscription, it’s a no brainer to get an outdoor antenna. An outdoor antenna may have the same trouble as an indoor antenna in terms of finding the perfect spot to capture a signal. But once you find the ideal setup, an outdoor antenna will bring you a stronger, more reliable signal and many more cable options and channels.
You will have to consider a bulkier antenna and how to store it when you’re not on the road. There’s also the risk of inclement weather and debris damaging your outdoor antenna, but it will provide you with the strongest signal possible.
As mentioned above, satellite antennas are a popular option with RVers. Many satellite channels are HD as well as mainstream, which means you won’t be bored by the local news and weather all night. You’ll have access to all of your popular shows and channels.
If you have a cable subscription in your traditional home, many cable providers offer an antenna to bring with you on your travels. This means you can access all the channels you routinely pay for on the road, though of course, there is a subscription fee to keep in mind.
UHF/VHF Digital Antenna
Looking for free cable channels but still hoping for HD quality? Then you should keep a UHF and VHF antenna in mind. These two acronyms go hand in hand with most antennas and are there to bring you the best picture quality of digital channels.
Sometimes, however, antennas are only able to pick up one or the other, so keep this in mind if you are hoping to have access to both UHF and VHF channels.
What to Consider When Purchasing an RV TV Antenna
There are many factors to consider in order to find the TV antenna that best suits your needs. You may already have some ideas in mind. Here are the top things to think about before purchasing your new RV TV antenna:
- Reception and signal strength
- Installation location
- Dimensions and weight
- Wifi abilities
Keeping these things in mind when shopping will help you prioritize your needs. Chances are, you’ll narrow down the options and find a product that works great for you and your rig!
Reception and Signal Strength
It’s pretty much a no-brainer to prioritize reception and signal strength. There aren’t too many bells and whistles to be distracted by when shopping for a reliable RV TV antenna. So make sure you find a product with larger coverage, and if you’re truly camping remotely, perhaps consider an antenna signal booster for your needs.
Where you install your tv antenna matters! Depending on your needs, choosing an indoor or an outdoor antenna will be one of your biggest decisions when purchasing an antenna.
Outdoor antennas have broader signal capabilities, though they will be exposed to the elements. However, these are your best bets for finding that hard to reach signal!
Indoor antennas are often more compact and convenient, located inside your RV. However, this means the walls and ceiling of your RV can block valuable signals.
No matter what option you go with, choosing a convenient installation or setup location is important. Choose an indoor location that isn’t going to be in the way but is also accessible in case you need to move the antenna. Though more often than not, RVers choose a permanent spot for their indoor antennas.
The same goes for your outside antenna. Choose a location that is open, but still close to your rig. Watch out for possible obstructions from trees or other falling debris. It will take some trial and error, and may not be a permanent installation location! Just make sure you know the height of your RV after your antenna is installed so you don’t have any clearance issues.
Dimensions and Weight
So you’ve decided whether or not you’d prefer an indoor or outdoor antenna. Great! Now it’s time to find what fits either inside or outside your rig.
Indoor antennas are often small, compact, and lightweight which is excellent news considering that it needs to fit inside of your rig. That’s one thing every RV owner can relate to: we only have so much space!
Make sure to choose an indoor antenna that will fit in many places inside your rig, as signal needs change from location to location. Choosing a small and easy to transport model will be your best bet.
In terms of outdoor antennas, these are often built larger, bulkier, in order to stand up to the elements and wind. However, some outdoor antennas will be installed on the roof of your rig, so choosing something with the ability to lay flat while you’re driving should be considered.
You may also want a lighter weight model of outdoor antenna if you plan to install it on the roof of your rig. Having something too heavy on the roof may damage it in the long run!
Hoping for reliable internet while on the road as well? Some TV antennas come equipped with wifi capabilities for those tech-savvy travelers out there. This might be a huge selling point for full-timers as well as anyone planning to camp for an extended period of time.
Just like cable signal, however, if you’re camping somewhere too remote, you may need to consider a signal booster to ensure your antenna is working to its fullest capacity.
Just like any major purchase, it is easy to get caught up in features and convenience and forget your budget. Some TV antennas have features that drive up their prices, but they may not be features that you necessarily need.
It is easy to get overwhelmed, but keeping a solid number in mind for how much you are able to spend is important and may narrow down some options for you.
The Best TV Antennas for Your RV
Hopefully, you’re feeling confident about your antenna needs and wants! There are so many options out there, but with the right priorities in mind, you’ll be able to find your perfect match, no problem.
Do you know whether you need an indoor or outdoor antenna? How about a cable subscription? Ready for install on the roof, or perhaps you’ve got the perfect place mapped out inside your rig?
My goal is to make it as easy as possible and point you in the right direction.
Let’s get started!
Best Long-Range Choice: KING OA8300 HDTV Directional Over-the-Air Antenna
- Suitable for indoor/outdoor use
- Far-reaching signal picks up many channels
- Can have stability issues
- Does not work with satellite subscriptions
The reviews agree that the King OA8300 HDTV Antenna is one of the best bangs for your buck. A trusted brand among new RVers as well as old school full-timers, King makes antennas with travel in mind.
This antenna weighs just above a pound and includes universal mounting brackets which means you should have little to no trouble installing this antenna on the roof of your RV yourself. It also upgrades your current antenna (should you have one) to receive digital HD channels. However, this little guy can be easily installed inside your RV too; it is capable of finding signals in both locations!
Not only is this versatile antenna simple and reliable, but it also includes upgraded technology that enhances UHF signal reception while still receiving remaining VHF broadcast channels. If you’re worried about finding your channels without a signal booster, this antenna utilizes broader reception coverage and quickly locates the strongest signal while maximizing your reception.
Overall, this compact antenna is a winner among RVers. It is affordable and wide-reaching without a signal booster. It’s a great starter, especially for those of you without a cable subscription. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further than King!
Best Satellite Choice: Winegard Pathway X2 PA6002R Satellite TV Antenna and DISH Wally Receiver Bundle
- Pay-as-you-go DISH programming available
- Works in many weather conditions
- Automatically finds the best signal
- Price includes receiver
- Can watch TV on multiple devices
- Accessories sold separately
Are you looking for the simplest satellite option on the market? Hoping for wifi as well as portability and the maximum amount of channels available to you? You may find yourself leaning toward the Winegard Pathway X2 PA6002R Antenna. This little satellite antenna is compatible with DISH network as well as any local channels you’re hoping to pick up.
Don’t have a DISH subscription yet? Well, this Winegard antenna is capable of a month-to-month cable subscription option, which means those of you only hoping for channels while you camp won’t have to pay for more than you want! This antenna is also listed as part of a bundle, which means you will also be purchasing a receiver.
This receiver allows access to DISH month-to-month programming as well as built-in streaming apps. It will also allow for more than one TV to be playing at once. If you have more than one TV in your RV and want the kiddos to watch their own shows while the adults view something more age-appropriate, you have that option!
An HD receiver is sold separately for those high definition channel needs, as well as a tripod. You may find yourself stretching your budget to get exactly what you want, so keep this in mind when shopping for satellite antenna options!
Best Budget Choice: Luxtronic Digital HDTV Antenna
- Tiny design
- Easy to set up and operate
- 4k HD ready
- Not satellite capable
- Occasionally suffers from a weak signal in more rugged areas
Looking for digital channels on a budget? The Luxtronic Digital HDTV Antenna might be the perfect choice for you! Simple to set up, this antenna works both indoors and outdoors, which means you have every location available to you.
This antenna attaches magnetically wherever you need it, and boasts a moderate signal reach of 50 miles. It is HDTV ready, and may even be able to get you 4k Ultra HD channels should they be within range! It is compact, easy to install because you simply plug it into your TV and watch it work, and it is within anyone’s budget.
With 360 degrees reception, the location should be less of a worry for you. This tiny antenna can find the signal whether it be outside on the roof or inside on a bookshelf! It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but if you’re looking for the easiest set up on a tight budget, look no further!
You can check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Top Indoor Choice: GESOBYTE Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna
- Unique compact design
- Top-rated indoor antenna
- HD ready
- Wide-reaching signal
- Indoor only
- May need additional purchases to work on your TV
If you’re hoping to set up your antenna inside and forget about it, you’re looking for something like the GESOBYTE Amplified HD Digital TV Antenna. This top-rated indoor antenna boasts a 200-mile signal range, which means you don’t need to worry about getting channels if you’re camping more remotely.
The HD channel options have been updated for 2020, and this handy device is capable of working with even the oldest of televisions. You may need to purchase an additional tuner to make this work on older models of televisions, but it is smart TV ready! It is compatible with Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick, and many more.
Are you worried about where to keep this antenna given that it is for primarily indoor use? Well, don’t worry! It’s about the size of an average picture frame, and wall-mountable so that you should have very little trouble finding a place for it! If you’re looking for an indoor antenna with many uses and top reviews, this may be the antenna for you.
You can check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Outdoor Choice: Antop Omni-Directional 360 Degree Reception Antenna
- Sturdy outdoor design
- HD and 4k ready
- Easy to set up
- Omnidirectional signal search
- Only average signal distance
Hoping to set up your antenna and never worry about adjusting it to find a signal while traveling from place to place? Well, there’s an option for you: the Antop Omni-Directional 360 Degree Reception Antenna. This outdoor antenna attaches without tools or too much effort to the roof of your rig and has an omnidirectional signal search. This means you won’t have to bother rotating your antenna in an attempt to find the best signal. You can set it and forget it!
This antenna includes a 4G filter, which means your channels will have the clearest possible picture. It is capable of bringing you any HD or 4k channels, as well as TV to multiple television sets with an additional purchase. It is a great workhorse of an antenna, capable of finding channels with a 65-mile range.
The outdoors don’t scare the Antop! This antenna is built for inclement weather (which is great if you’re RVing in the winter) and features no signal blind zones and waterproof construction. It has been reviewed to withstand winds up to 100 MPH! Plus it also features a sturdy UV resistant coating. If you’re hitting the road often and are looking for a permanent fixture, this may be the antenna for you!
You can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Full-Timer Choice: Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV White DTV/HD TV Antenna
- Outdoor antenna adjustable from inside your RV
- Easy to set up
- Sturdy and top-rated among RVers
- Raisable, rotatable, and lightweight
- More expensive
- Only average signal strength
The most reliable choice on the market for RVers, especially full-timers, is the Winegard RVW-395 Sensar IV White DTV/HD TV Antenna. From the outside, this antenna may appear a bit old school, but don’t be fooled. The name Winegard has long been regarded as an RVer favorite, and they’ve only gotten better at what they do. This antenna receives all VHF and UHF programming available within a 55-mile radius as well as coated in durable materials, which means this antenna is ready to last for years to come.
Optimized for digital HD reception, this antenna can be raised, lowered, and rotated from inside your parked RV to pinpoint the exact angle for best reception! This antenna is easy to install and a perfect replacement for your old antenna should you have one. It also utilizes a 12V power supply, which means it is ready-made for RV life!
This may not have all the bells and whistles you need, but it is among the topmost reliable antennas on the market for RVs. It will bring you all the non-satellite channels you are hoping for, as well as maintaining a reliable reputation for quality warranties and customer service.
You can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Frequently Asked RV TV Antenna Questions
Have you ever used a TV antenna before? Will this be a new experience for you and your family? Naturally, you have questions that need to be answered, and hopefully, these FAQs will help!
How Do I Set Up My New RV TV Antenna?
Depending on your model and location, more often than not, your new RV TV antenna can be set up simply. Once you have installed it where it can pick up the maximum amount of signal, chances are, all you have to do is plug it in and begin scanning the channels.
Most antennas simply need to be plugged in to work, but make sure to read your manual thoroughly. There may be additional steps before you can settle in and watch TV. No matter what, checking your signal strength and reception is the most important step when it comes to setting up your antenna.
How Can I Get Better TV Reception in My RV?
This is the trickiest part when it comes to setting up your new RV TV antenna. Everywhere you travel and camp will have different levels of signal strength and reception, so you may find yourself setting up your antenna in a different location every time.
The easiest way to maximize your signal is trial and error. If you’re dealing with an indoor antenna, it should be easy to move the antenna around and check the signal strength on your devices.
If you are trying to set up an outdoor antenna for maximum signal strength and reception, you may need a second hand from within your rig. Move your antenna in different directions and have someone inside let you know what the signal is. Move your antenna again and scan for channels.
Having someone inside your rig informing you of your reception and signal strength may help save you time while setting up your new RV TV antenna, though it is something you can do alone too!
My Signal Isn’t Strong Enough. What Do I Do?
So you’re all set up but still not accessing enough channels. This is a common problem for RVers, especially those of you camping in more remote locations.
Unfortunately, if you’re having trouble accessing channels, you may need to purchase a signal booster in addition to your new TV antenna. I’ve mentioned signal boosters in this article before, and you may find them useful in your travels.
A signal booster will be your best bet when it comes to maximizing your new antenna. It may be something that is outside of your budget, but it is worth considering if you know you will be camping in more remote locations.
You don’t have to sacrifice the comforts of home to enjoy life on the road. These RV TV antennas are designed to make your life easier and more comfortable, from set-up to sitting down in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn. Whether you’re a full-timer or a weekend warrior, you don’t have to sacrifice your TV shows and movies! Bring everything with you, and enjoy any one of these reliable TV antennas today.