Top 5 Small Home Cell Phone Boosters for 2020
Updated September 28, 2020
Cell phone signal boosters that can cover homes under 2,000 square feet are available at a wide range of prices and performance levels.
Small-home boosters typically have more modest gain (60–65 dB) than large-home boosters (70–100 dB).
Powerful Signal has tested small-home cell phone signal boosters from leading manufacturers; here are our top five recommended systems for this year, sorted by price:
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¹ Most cell phone signal boosters are carrier agnostic—they boost signal for all major cellular carriers at the same time. Cel-Fi boosters from Nextivity boost one carrier at a time; you can boost your choice of Verizon (4G only), AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, or GCI Alaska.
² Coverage figures are estimates based on a single inside (broadcast) antenna under optimal conditions. (SolidRF’s Signal Plus estimate is with two antennas.) Your coverage may vary.
³ Measured in RSRP. Gain is the increase in the strength of the signal received by the booster. The higher the maximum gain, the stronger the signal the cellular phone will receive. Gain is measured in decibels (dB), which are logarithmic: An increase of 3 dB doubles the signal strength, an increase of 10 dB is ten times the signal strength, and an increase of 20 dB is one hundred times the signal strength. A booster’s maximum gain varies across the different cellular frequencies it supports; some frequencies will have a higher maximum gain; others, lower.
⁴ Uplink power is the amount of output power the booster uses to communicate with the cell tower’s antenna; the more uplink power, the farther the booster can reach to distant towers. Uplink power is measured in decibel-milliwatts (dBm), which are a logarithmic measurement of milliwatts (mW): 20 dBm is 100 mW (one-tenth of a watt); 25 dBm is 316 mW (about one-third of a watt), over three times the power of 20 dBm. The figures in the table above are the booster’s average uplink power across all the cellular frequencies it supports and are drawn from test data submitted to the FCC.
⁵ Downlink power is the amount of power the booster uses to reach cellular phones and devices inside the building. The more downlink power, the larger the area of indoor coverage and the greater the booster’s ability to penetrate walls and floors to reach phones. Downlink power is measured in decibel-milliwatts (dBm), which are a logarithmic measurement of milliwatts (mW): 10 dBm is 10 mW of power (one-one hundredth of a watt); 13 dBm is about 20 mW of power (one-fiftieth of a watt), twice that of 10 dBm. The figures in the table above are the booster’s average downlink power across all the cellular frequencies it supports and are drawn from test data submitted to the FCC.
⁶ Powerful Signal offers a bonus kit for this booster that includes optional features not in the manufacturer’s kit.
⁷ Cell signal booster systems must use coax cables that match the booster’s impedance. 50-ohm boosters use 50-ohm coax (including plenum air, 400, 240, 200, 195, and RG58); 75-ohm boosters use 75-ohm coax (including RG11 and RG6).
⁸ Powerful Signal offers a 90-day return on most products. (See our complete returns policy.)