If your commute takes you through rural areas or mountainous terrain, then you're aware of how inconsistent cell signals can be. It's frustrating to lose a call because you've dropped into a valley or you're on a long stretch of road in an unpopulated area. These areas are also a drain on your phone's battery because it has to constantly search for a consistent signal. With a cell phone booster, you can turn the blinking single bar on your phone's reception meter into a solid five bars, which results in fewer dropped calls, better call quality and a longer battery life for your phone.
Cell signal amplifiers aren't mini cell towers. They can't create a cellular signal out of nowhere. They work by amplifying an existing signal emitted from a cell tower. The weBoost Drive 4G-M, SureCall TriFlex2Go and SmoothTalker Mobile X1 are excellent examples of cell phone boosters for cars that amplify 4G, 3G and 2G frequencies and have the maximum range allowed by law. For more information, you can check out our articles on cell phone signal boosters.
There are two types of cell phone boosters – wireless and cradle. A wireless cell phone booster amplifies the signal into a wireless coverage area that can support multiple callers and data downloads at a time. The wireless coverage area allows you to use your phone as you normally do, but they also cost a lot more. Conversely, a cradle cell phone booster requires you to place your phone in a holder and can only support one phone at a time. You have to use the speakerphone or a Bluetooth connection for calls, but they are considerably more affordable.
Below is the criteria you should consider when buying a cell phone signal booster.
The most important characteristic of any cell phone booster is the amplifier. This device amplifies the signal that the antenna receives. In 2014, the FCC enacted strict rules regarding how much an amplifier can magnify a signal in a vehicle. This was done to ensure that drivers weren't accidentally interfering with cell towers with over amplified signals. As a result, the best cell signal amplifiers max out with a 50 dB gain.
The next factor to consider is the frequency bands a cell phone booster covers. Most cellular companies broadcast on two frequency bands – 800MHz and 1,900MHz. However, the best cell phone boosters cover five bands, boosting 4G, 3G and 2G signals.
Cell phone boosters don't require professional installation, but there are some important installation features to consider. If you choose a wireless cell phone booster, then you'll have to consider the length of the outside antenna's coax cable and the inside antenna's coax cable. The length of these cables determines where you can install the amplifier and both antennas. If you choose a cradle cell phone booster, the cradle is both the amplifier and the inside antenna, which means that you only need to concern yourself with the length of the outside antenna's coax cable.
The outside antenna, which attaches to the roof of your car with a magnet, receives the signal that the amplifier boosts, so it's a critical component. The inside antenna emits the boosted signal to your phone. The best cell phone boosters come with high-gain antennas of 5 dBi or higher, meaning they can pick up signals from a long range. These are ideal for rural areas where you're far from a cell tower. Antennas with lower average gains are better for mountainous terrain where physical objects are blocking signals.
Help & Support
Most cell phone boosters come with a two-year warranty. You have to register your device with your cellular provider. The best cell phone boosters' manufacturers offer phone, email and live chat to help you with registering your cell phone booster and technical issues. You should also be able to access manuals, user guides, FAQs, blogs and other educational resources.
Your commute no longer needs to be plagued with inconsistent cell coverage that drains your phone's battery and results in poor call quality. With one of the best cell phone boosters, you can turn areas where you only receive one bar of reception into areas where you have a solid five bars.