No Bars, No Signal? Try a Cellular Signal Booster

Category: Mobile

Sometimes your mobile phone can't pick up a good signal inside your home, a building, on the road, or in remote areas. In some cases, a cell phone signal booster might help. Here's the scoop on which ones work and which to avoid...

Try These Cell Phone Signal Boosters

Cell phone boosters can help improve the signal you can pick up on your cell phone. The boosters work sort like of a TV antenna. It gives you more range, and more power is put into amplifying the signal, to give you a better connection to the cell phone signal outside of your house, car or building. Some boosters do actually work, depending on the circumstances. Some boosters absolutely don't work. Here's the scoop…

Most cell phones usually work better while you're on the road, or outside in most cities. Cell phones were designed to be the tool you use while you weren't able to call on a landline phone. Most people have grown so accustomed to using their cell phones; many have dropped their landline phones. So the need for a cell phone to work in additional areas is of high interest.

Boosters, in general, won't increase your cell phone signal to super strength, as advertised on some products, but they can improve it enough to make it usable on the fringes of a coverage area, or where the signal is weak. Many reviews suggest that the quality boosters will improve signal by at least a full bar or two. If you're in a cement basement, or a metal structure, you probably won't see these results, but if you want to be able to walk away from your window and further into your house or apartment, these devices might be useful. In some cases, the boosters also improved the sound quality of the call.

cellular signal booster

The WeBoost Home Room Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit ($379) is designed for residential spaces up to 1,500 square feet, and promises improved indoor cellular reception, fewer dropped calls, better voice quality, and faster data speeds. It works with all U.S. mobile carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and others). The Home Room has two antennas, one inside and one outside antenna that can easily mount to a deck railing or other surface.

Weboost is a brand of Wilson Electronics, one of the leading manufacturers of cell phone boosters. Wilson has been making cell phone booster products for many years, and their products reliably boost cellular signals in home and business settings.

Wilson also makes mobile signal boosters that include an antenna which can be mounted on your car's window or roof. The antenna captures the signal and feeds it into an amplifer, which can be directly connected to your cell phone via a special cable. The in-building amplifiers come in two forms. The first includes a roof-mounted antenna connected to an amplifier, which beams the amplified signal wirelessly into a certain area of the home or building. No physical connection to your phone is required and the signal can be used by multiple phones and/or laptop cellular data adapters. The second type is very similar but in this case the amplifier has a built-in antenna, and can be mounted outdoors (on a pole or wall) or indoors on a window.

More Cell Phone Booster Products

Another option is the SureCall Fusion4Home Cell Phone Signal Booster ($298) which covers up to 2000 square feet and boosts weak cell signals. Both voice and data signals (4G, LTE, 3G) can be amplified. The Fusion4Home is compatible with all North American carriers and is FCC approved. Like the WeBoost product, this one also has one inside and one outdoor antenna. The outdoor antenna is omnidirectional, so you don't have to worry about which direction to point it.

SureCall sells a full line of cellular signal boosters for home, office, and in-car settings. Their products receive good reviews from customers, and tend to be a bit less expensive than Wilson models.

Cell phone providers like Verizon and AT&T also offer similar products as well. Contact your cellular provider to check into these offerings, and compare with the products mentioned above.

For the boosters that work, the prices can range from $279 to $500 or more. Most also require that you do your own installation, or if you want someone else to do it for you, expect to pay more. While the systems are generally easy to install, you may need to climb into your attic or onto your roof in order to install the antenna.

Your signal might improve by only a bar or two, but that improvement seems to be worth the price, according to people who have these systems. However, it is highly recommended that you work with a dealer that offers different types of boosters, and that they have a return policy available. Try a couple of different devices to find the one that works with your phone, your cell phone provider, and in your area, etc.

Scam Cell Phone Boosters - The Ones That Don't Work

There are many products that have come out over the years that simply didn't work. You might remember a product where a sticky strip was applied to the cell phone battery, and that was supposed to improve your cell phone signal. There were many complaints about the product that it didn't function as advertised. In fact, one study showed that the sticker simply did nothing, and in some cases weakened the signal. I bought one at a Radio Shack store several years ago and found that it didn't help to boost my celluar signal.

Other boosters that offer a simple antenna attached to your cell phone, or perhaps other gimmicks more than likely do not work. Bottom line, to get a better mobile phone signal, you need something that will reach outside and bring the signal to your phone.

Some systems that do include an antenna might work well, until you leave the room where the base is located. Different products operate in different ways, depending on your environment. Factors affecting the usefulness of signal boosters include your location, cell phone signal availability in your area, which mobile phone company you use, the phone you use, and even the weather.

Do you have a cellular signal booster? Tell me how it works (or not) by posting a comment below…

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Most recent comments on "No Bars, No Signal? Try a Cellular Signal Booster"

Posted by:

Jim Jaeger
20 Jan 2020

One important thing to note in installing boosters with separate antennas is to follow the instructions for the required separation between the inside and outside antennas. Mount them too close to each other and you can get a feedback loop going. The booster will shut down until the problem is corrected.

Posted by:

gary gittelman
20 Jan 2020

I have 3 Wilson boosters, and when the power goes out i get no service, in use I get two or three bars
long live wilson !!!!

Posted by:

20 Jan 2020

I simply use WiFi calling...much cheaper AND uses less(no) cell phone data plan.

Posted by:

20 Jan 2020

Many years ago, I had horrible service inside the house (AT&T). I went to the store one day and said I was going to change providers if they could not help. They gave me a 3G Microcell which I still have, several phone generations later. It is so old it does not help LTE but does 4G giving me 5 bars in the same room. Much better than leaning against the window like I used to have to do!

Posted by:

Henry Peck
20 Jan 2020

My iphone automatically switches to wifi when there is a poor signal.

Posted by:

Robert Hicks
20 Jan 2020

I live out in the boonies and the cell signal is marginal at best outside and non existent inside my metal roofed house. I have an unlocked phone so my carrier won't allow the wifi calling on my phone (that's another story). I bought the SureCall Fusion4Home Cell Phone Signal Booster and installed it myself. It works great, I now have signal anywhere in the house. I highly recommend it. The installation was easy other than running the coax cable through my attic, this 70 y/o doesn't function as well in the attic as I did 30 years ago.

Posted by:

Frank szenher
20 Jan 2020

Another house solution is a Bluetooth cordless phone that links to your cell phone. This allows you to put your cell phone in a home location that gives reliable reception And can also charge the cell you can roam around the house only limited by the range of the cordless phone. I use an ATT unit that came with 4 handsets and can be paired with 2 cell phones as well as a landline. I use a Straighttalk base station wired to the ATT cordless phone unit. I hope this gives some folks an option.

Posted by:

20 Jan 2020

Be careful should you install one of these signal boosters.If the two antennas to allow the setup to work are too close together,it will cause a feedback loop as stated in the article.This could also cause interference to any cellular telephone towers nearby,denying service to other users.This is not desirable and will cause phone providers and the FCC to come looking for you.

Posted by:

James Bauer
20 Jan 2020

My wife was given a personal cell tower by T-Mobile and it is very helpful.

Posted by:

20 Jan 2020

The typical cost of a cell phone is ridiculously expensive and now you imply I need to spent $200-500 more to get it to function properly. My my, what has technology brought us to?

I still pay $12 a month for my house phone, it always works, and if anyone wants to reach me they know where I am.

How stupid does one need to be to be carrying a phone around with them ALL the time. Must think themselves pretty important.

Posted by:

Kathleen Dombrowski
21 Jan 2020

I live in North Central NC, Cell reception is Bad. For years I've tried everything, Wilson, Yagi, Zyxel, Verizon Extender of the Month, to no avail. We have a landline and Internet through Centurylink. We all got new Cell Phones recently and I just wanted them to work without WiFi Calling which is hard to set up without a strong cell signal. Google Talk is crystal clear but that is only for out going calls and different than actual WiFi calling. So last week I got P O'd and called Verizon for the umpteenth time to vent my frustration w/the Tower Situation where I live and why my phone constantly searches for Alltel. I got a tier 2 Rep. and after checking my signal etc. saw how bad my very expensive service was. He told what I needed was a Samsung Verizon 4G LTE Network Extender 2, I replied great what is that gonna cost me? He said nothing it's free because of your situation and I replied I'll take it. It came last Fri. I followed the directions and in 1/2 hr. I had full bars everywhere in our Home. This extender costs $250.00 but can be found on Ebay cheaper and there are specs to be met w/internet speed etc. I highly recommend it.

Posted by:

James Ford
21 Jan 2020

I am with T-Mobile and had a bad signal in the house. I spoke with a rep and they sent me an extender, no cost and they paid for shipping. The only caveat is you are borrowing the unit. If you leave T-Mobile they want their unit back or you pay $300 for it. It works great but don't lose it.

Posted by:

Jay R
21 Jan 2020

For hundreds of dollars, I will simply continue to walk outside when I need a better signal. I praise GOD that I live in the south. My strategy might be a colossal failure in the frozen north.

Posted by:

21 Jan 2020

How odd:
First, to protect the phone; we had to buy a case.
Then, we had to put that anti-scratch film on the screen.
Next, we had to get a few extra battery packs for binging.
Later, we bought ourselves a ring and/or a magnet to go hands free.
We won't count all of those USB chargers/cables we stashed in our cars, backpacks, bedrooms, etc.
We should also ignore all those apps, photos, music and the kitchen sink that we painstakingly jammed in our phones.
And, now, we are in need of some booster doohickey so that the whole shebang works copacetically, while attempting to text on a virtual keyboard that is one-third the size of the teeny-weeny screen.
Good on you JamesBauer; perfect present for the wife!🤨

Posted by:

21 Jan 2020

Bob, I live in Israel and have a new Samsung A50. Whether I get bars or not, cellular provider or wifi, it barely notices the web. The place that sold it to me insists it isn't the phone cand I for sure ain't gonna spend more than the cost of a phone on a dubious extender. Any ideas?

Posted by:

21 Jan 2020

The area in very rural central Kentucky where I now reside is served by AT&T. I tried to get a copper landline connection onto an existing main line. The tech who came out to install thought that I must have wanted a landline so that i could use an ankle cuff monitor to avoid jail/prison. I explained that no, I wasn't a criminal; just someone who was trying to get a reliable Internet connection. The tech ended up recommending using a cell phone and an AT&T creature called a wireless home phone instead as the copper line by my home is no longer well-maintained. I got an AT&T-linked Apple 8 cell and the wireless home phone system. They did not perform any better than my current Verizon linked cell. I returned the AT&T phones...and had to pay $90 in restocking fees. Then, AT&T started dunning me for the 10 days of phone service that hadn't really worked. When contacted, the response from AT&T headquarters was that it wasn't AT&T's problem that their products didn't work as advertised - so pay up.

Now I'm back where I started - I set my Verizon Apple 5 on a table by a window and use the phone's speaker setting. This way I can make and receive calls plus get intermittent Internet services. I'll look into the systems described in the article. I'm also considering the advise in the Ask Bob article about Satellite Internet.

Posted by:

23 Jan 2020

We have a remote cabin in Northern California that is at the edge of a cell node. We can get signal outside intermittently with our $10 Huawaei Tracfones (one of the few phones that will work there because they are phones only, not smart phones). A few years ago we got a Wilson booster and it made a significant difference: we can put the outdoor antenna outside on a stepladder and sit inside and converse normally and receive calls most of the time. It's not perfect, but a vast improvement over having no booster.

Posted by:

22 Apr 2020

Where I live in Quakertown, PA I have fair to poor cell reception in my home (log home construction). On a good day 3 bars, on a bad day 1 to 2 bars. Tried Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and all have the same results. Even outside the home signal strength is 3 bars, and SOMETIMES 4 bars. There are many tall trees that's probably killing the signal. Half a mile in any direction and signal is 4 to 5 bars.

My solution is to use a smartphone that supports WiFi calling, allowing calls to be made or received over WiFi. With this setup I can call from anywhere in the house, even the cellar as my WiFi signal is strong. This also helps when in a store where there is no cell reception but the store has WiFi access. Currently use AT&T, but using this method I could use any carrier as long as they do not block WiFi calling.

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