What Is The Best RV Cell Phone Signal Booster?
The purpose of an RV cell phone booster is to amplify an existing cell signal and make it stronger.
There’s a common misconception that cellular amplifiers can create cell phone reception and you can get a signal pretty much anywhere.
Related Product: Use a booster with a standard wall plug in an RV or car using a 200 Watt DC to AC Power Inverter (click to view on Amazon)
That’s why there are so many disappointed people. They can’t figure out why they don’t have cell phone service in rural areas even though they are using the best cell phone signal booster on the market.
If you are in a rural area with absolutely zero cell phone service then a mobile phone booster is not for you.
What a cell phone booster is made for is taking a weak signal, and amplifying it to make it stronger.
Luckily most areas in the United States have at least a little bit of a signal and a booster will be a great help most of the time.
So, which RV cell phone signal booster is best?
I’m very happy with my cell phone booster and its been very helpful when camping. You can read more about my specific set up below.
Not all cell phone boosters are made for the same application. You can get boosters made specifically for the home, the office, camping, RVing, cars, semi-trucks, and even hiking.
Below are some of the best boosters on the market today and the information you will need to find the best one for your cell phone booster needs.
Best For RV Use
Best RV Cell Phone Boosters Reviews & Info
The Phonetone is a great cell phone signal booster for home or office use that can also work in an RV. The kit includes everything you need to get boosting.
There’s the 5 band booster box itself that includes features like an inactivity mode, automatic gain control, manual gain control, oscillation elimination, and automatic power shut-down.
It is compatible with all carriers and can connect to multiple devices.
The max gain is 65 dB which makes this booster the most powerful on this list.
The antenna is a large 50 ohm omnidirectional that mounts to the roof of your house, office, or Camper. You don’t want to mount it inside because walls and windows can weaken the antenna’s ability to pick up a signal.
The antenna will receive a mobile signal from all directions and there is no need to point it towards a specific cell tower. But it’s still a good idea to make sure there is nothing between the antenna and the tower like a tree or another building.
There is a 50 foot cable included that is used to connect the outside antenna to the booster. A small whip antenna connects to the booster and is what outputs the boosted signal into your home or office. It can cover about 1,500 – 2,000 square feet.
The cell phone signal booster is powered with an AC wall outlet plug. If you’re dry camping in an RV and don’t have any electricity a good option is to get a small battery bank with an AC outlet. (click to view an article on the best portable power bank options)
You can charge them with a generator and even a solar panel (click to view article on power stations that come with solar panels). Depending on the size you could power an RV cell phone booster for days before needing to recharge.
The Phonetone 5-Band Cell Phone Booster Kit is a great option for small homes, offices, and RVs that are close enough to a cell tower to get one or two bars of service.
It should give enough of a boost for a few more bars and will increase data speed and voice clarity when talking on the phone.
Note: The inner antenna must be at least 30 feet away from the outer Omni antenna so they don’t disrupt each other. If you use this service extender in an RV make sure the outer antenna is on the opposite end of the inner antenna so they don’t mess with each other.
- High Max Gain (65 dB)
- All Carrier Compatible
- Included Antenna Can Mount To RV Or Vehicle
- Antenna Doesn’t Need To Be Taken Down For Driving
- Comes With AC Plug (Not Optimal For RV Use)
- Only Really Works If Area Has At Least 2 Bars Of Signal
- Not 5G Compatible
WeBoost is made by Wilson Electronics. They are a company that makes some of the best cell phone signal boosters on the market today and they have a different booster for almost every application imaginable.
The multiroom cell phone signal booster kit is intended for home and office use but it can also work for RV and van camping.
The kit includes every you need to get started. It’s one of the most powerful and best cell phone signal boosters you can buy.
The max gain is 65 dB which is compatible with other cell service amplifiers on this list but the extra powerful directional antenna is where this model really shines.
The booster itself is compatible with all carriers and data speeds (3G, 4G, LTE, and even 5G!) and can connect to multiple devices at one time.
The antenna is one of the most powerful cell phone signal booster antennas you can buy for a consumer signal booster (75 ohms).
It’s directional which means you will need to point it towards the cell phone tower you are trying to connect to.
For stationary home use, directional antennas are better because they are more powerful and if you live between two towers it won’t get confused and try to connect to both of them.
Since your home and the cell phone tower won’t be moving all you have to do is point it in the right direction when you mount it to your roof and you will be good to go.
For RV use directional antennas are still the best way to get a signal in a rural area, especially if you between two cell towers. Sometimes omnidirectional antennas will have a hard time connecting to the right tower for the fastest speeds.
If you have a directional one like this you can make sure it’s always pointed to the fastest tower. The only downside is you have to set it up and take it down before and after travel.
The inside antenna is also very powerful and can cover areas up to 5,000 square feet. It’s a box covered in grey fabric which makes it look like a stylish speaker. You can hang it up on your wall and no one will know it’s an antenna.
If you need more coverage than 5,000 square feet weBoost also makes a home cell phone booster with a stronger inner antenna that can cover 7,500 square feet (click to view on Amazon).
Included with the booster and the antennas there also everything else you will need to get set up including a 15 foot and a 30 foot cable, a flat cable for going under windows, the AC (wall outlet) power cable, wall mounting brackets with 3M command tape, cable mounting clips, and outside antenna mounting brackets.
If you want the ability to put the outside antenna on a pole so it’s more adjustable you can get a compatible mounting pole (click to view on Amazon). It’s great for RV and van use as well.
The weBoost Home MultiRoom Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit is one of the best home, office, and RV cell phone signal boosters you can buy.
It has all the added features you want from a signal booster and it’s 5G ready, which means it will last for years to come.
- 5G Compatible
- 75 ohm Outer Antenna
- All Carrier Compatible
- Covers A Huge Area (5,000 sq ft)
- Directional Antenna
- Must Be Taken Down Before Driving
- Comes With AC Plug (Not Optimal For RV Use)
The weBoost RV 65 is known as the best RV cell phone signal booster on the market today and for good reason. WeBoost included everything you need for an easy to use high powered set up that can go anywhere.
The booster itself is compatible with all carriers and boost 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G data. It has a max gain of 65 dB which is extremely powerful for a camping/RV cell phone booster. It can also connect to multiple devices at one time.
The outer directional 75 ohm antenna is what makes this boost so perfect for camping. Not only is it one of the most powerful you can buy it comes with a telescopic pole that can be extended up to 25 feet.
The pole mounts to the side of your trailer and is easy to set up.
It’s directional which makes it better at focusing on a single distant cell phone tower.
The RV cell phone booster on my travel trailer uses an Omnidirectional antenna which works fine for the most part but it can have trouble finding a tower sometimes.
I think in the future I will get a directional antenna because they work better for camping applications. The only downside to it is having to set it up and take it down whenever I move the trailer.
Included with the booster, antennas, and 25 foot telescoping pole are all the brackets, cables, and things you will need to properly install the cell phone booster to your RV, travel trailer, 5th-wheel, truck camper, or van.
The weBoost Connect RV 65 Cell Phone Signal Booster works if you use it the right way.
Like all cell phone signal boosters it won’t work if you are in a rural area with absolutely zero cell phone service especially if there are mountains in the way.
Being able to extend the outer antenna up to 25 feet helps and most of the time if there is a least a little service and it works perfectly to boost data speeds and make phone calls clearer.
As a side note make sure you never use the booster when in motion, it is a stationary booster only.
- 25 foot Telescopic Pole
- 75 ohm Directional Antenna
- High Max Gain (65 dB) for RV Booster
- Strong Inner Antenna For Multiple Devices
- 5G Compatible
- Has To Be Set Up & Take Down To Travel
- Comes With AC Plug (Not Optimal For RV Use)
The weBoost Drive Reach is a great option for both RV and vehicle use. It’s mostly meant for use in a car or truck but it’s very powerful and can also be used for camping if you get a better outer antenna for it.
You can read about my set up and how I use this cell phone booster for my travel trailer down below.
If you are going to use this cell phone booster for a car, van, or semi-truck it’s one of the most powerful you can buy. It can be used while in motion and is very easy to install.
It also has a range that’s 74% higher than its RV specific counterpart (click to view on Amazon). If you don’t mind getting a better outside antenna it’s going to be the better choice in the long run.
The booster is powered by a DC 12V plug like a normal 12 volt car appliance. The plug has a USB input on it so you can power the booster and charge your phone with the same 12 volt outlet.
It has a max gain of 50 dB which is very high for standard vehicle use and it can connect to multiple devices. It’s also compatible with all carriers, and all current common data speeds (3G, 4G, LTE). It’s also 5G ready!
The outer antenna is very small with a powerful magnet on the bottom and is meant to attach to the roof of your vehicle.
For RV use you will want to buy a more powerful antenna like the Wilson Electronics Omnidirectional spring mount RV antenna. You can see it on Amazon here or scroll down to read more about it.
Even though it’s small the outer mini antenna is still a powerful 50 ohm and does a good job for vehicle use.
The inner antenna is small and very low profile but fairly weak as it’s only meant to cover the inside of a vehicle. You will need to be close to it in order to use it inside an RV.
The booster box can be mounted with velcro and is easy to install inside a vehicle or RV.
The weBoost Drive Reach Cell Phone Signal Booster is the perfect multifunctional cell phone booster.
We can use it in the RV for regular cell phone signal and data needs and also take it into the truck when driving to use as a signal extender while driving.
- Very Powerful For A Car Booster
- Compatible with Stronger Outer Antennas
- Can Connect to Multiple Devices
- Easy Installation (Magnetic Antenna)
- All Carrier Compatible
- 5G Compatible
- Uses 12V Plug
- Need To Buy Better Outer Antenna For RV Use
- Inner Antenna Won’t Cover Entire RV Area
The SureCall cell phone signal booster for home, office, and RV use is compatible with all North American carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and more.
It boosts all 4G LTE data and talk speeds and will be able to boost the 4G on 5G phones but not the 5G signals.
It does support multiple users and the inner antenna can boost a phone’s cell phone service in spaces up to 5,000 square feet.
The outer antenna is decent omnidirectional that comes with a cable you can thread from the roof of your home or RV to the booster box.
The inner antenna is a small whip antenna that can send a boosted cell phone signal in spaces up to 2,000 square feet.
It’s powered using an AC plug which means you will need power in your RV or a power station (click to view best ones) with a battery and inverter.
Unlike all the cell phone signal boosters on this list, you can actually adjust the frequency for different signals to fit your carrier specifically.
This is a great way to make sure you are getting the best speeds for your specific phone signal.
The SureCall Fusion4Home Cell Phone Signal Booster is perfect for both home and RV use.
The adjustable frequencies make it even better for RV use and rural areas because you can fine tune the signal to make it work for your mobile carrier.
- All Carrier Compatible
- Included Antenna Can Mount To RV Or Vehicle
- Outer Antenna Does Not Need To Be Removed For Travel
- Powerful Inside Antenna
- Comes With AC Plug (Not Optimal For RV Use)
- Not 5G Compatible
The MJOOSE cell phone signal booster is a cool product and a great way to make those large bulky power bank phone cases more multifunctional.
Getting cell phone service when you are out in the wilderness can sometimes be a necessity and every little bit counts.
The MJOOSE iPhone case is a 2,500mAh external battery, a radiation protection device, a way to protect your phone, and also a mobile signal amplifier.
The battery has 120% additional charge for your phone which can make your phone’s battery last for days before needing to be plugged into a power source.
This is both great for camping, hiking, and any time you won’t have access to power for a while.
The signal amplification has a 20 dB max gain, which doesn’t sound like much compared to full-sized cell phone boosters but everything is packed into one small phone case.
The power this little booster has is pretty impressive. 20 dB is 100x signal gain and it works with all carriers and all network bands including 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE.
The only downside is this case is only made for iPhones. But it is Apple MFI (Made for iPhone) certified. This particular case is made for iPhone 7, 7s, and 8.
I think products like these can get a bad rap sometimes because people expect them to work better than what is possible.
From a booster this size, you are only going to maybe get one more bar of service. And you aren’t going to get anything if you are blocked from cell phone towers or have zero cell service.
The technology is cool though and it gets better and better every day. I hope they come out with improved models for more phones in the future.
The MJOOSE Cell Phone Signal Boost Phone Case is great for people who need just a little more signal amplification for making calls or getting faster data speeds.
Some find that a small amplifier like this one works well in areas that have low cell services like a large building or even a basement.
- All Carrier Compatible
- Very Portable
- Charges Phone
- Protects Phone
- Not 5G Compatible
- Weak Amplifier
- Won’t Work As Well As Antenna Amplifier
What To Look For In An RV Cell Phone Signal Booster
The Right Antenna
There are two main kinds of antennas for cellular repeaters also known as range extenders or cell phone signal boosters.
The first kind is an omnidirectional antenna. These are the antennas the look like tubes. They send and receive signals from all sides and can be mounted on an RV, van, or vehicle permanently.
You won’t need to take it down when you want to drive.
Not having to set it up is a clear pro for this style of cell phone booster antenna but there are a few cons. With omnidirectional antennas, you won’t be able to focus the signal in a specific direction.
This could create problems if you are in a rural area between multiple cell phone towers. The antenna could be constantly switching between towers which might slow down your data speeds.
The second kind of antenna is a directional one. These are the triangular looking antennas you have to put up on a pole attached to the side of your RV. You point it in the direction of the cell tower you want to get a signal from.
The pros with this kind of antenna are you can focus all the power in one direction which often results in a strong signal. You can also use it to choose a specific cell phone tower. Sometimes the closest cell phone tower isn’t the fasted.
If a lot of people are connected to a specific tower data speeds will slow down. If you have a directional antenna you might be able to connect to a tower that is further away but less crowded.
The con to this style of antenna is you have to take them down any time you want to move your RV or van. You will also need to take it down if it gets too windy outside.
You also need to know where the cell phone towers are in your area. There are apps you can get on your phone to help you locate cell phone towers near you. You can read more about that in the FAQ section below.
Some of the more basic cellular repeaters are not compatible with every cell phone carrier like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile & more.
The reason for this is different mobile carriers use different cellular frequency bands to put out a cell phone signal. The lower end cell phone boosters are sometimes only compatible with a few of the different bands.
All of the RV cell phone boosters on this list are compatible with all US cell phone carriers.
Included Cable Length
You want to make sure there is going to be enough cable included for you to run the necessary wire from the antenna to the booster inside your RV or even home.
Most of these cell phone boosters are made for home use which means they will come with plenty of cables to work with.
The few that are for vehicle use might not come with enough cable necessary for your RV. You may need to get more.
Inner Antenna Strength
Cell phone range extenders/boosters will also have an antenna for inside your RV or home.
These come in a wide variety of strengths. Some are only strong enough to boost your phone’s cell phone signal when it’s right next to it, others are made to boost areas as large as 5,000 square feet.
If you are using it for your RV chances are you won’t need the strongest inner antenna like the ones for covering an entire house but the cell phone signal boosters intended for vehicle use often will have a weak antenna that can only boost phones within a couple of feet.
12V or AC Power Usage
If you are planning on using your cell phone booster inside an RV, van, or vehicle you are going to want to think about what the main power source for the cell phone booster is.
Most of the home use ones use an AC power plug. You can get adapters to turn them into 12V plugs but it’s something extra you will need to think about.
If you are using the cellular amplifier inside your RV and you mostly camp with electrical hookups you will be fine using a home cell phone booster with an AC wall outlet plug.
5G is making its way through the United States and soon it will become the standard technology used on cellular devices in crowded areas like cities.
If you want to get the most out of your cell phone signal booster for years to come you may want to look at models that are going to be able to boost 5G as well as 4G and LTE.
All of the Wilson weBoost cell phone boosters on this list are advertised to be 5G ready which might make them a better option in the long run than some of the other range extenders that are only able to boost 3G, 4G, and LTE.
That being said 5G isn’t coming to rural areas any time soon, which means if you are mostly using your cell phone booster when camping you probably won’t even be in an area where 5G is available.
If you like to stay in RV parks in cities getting a 5G compatible booster might help you get faster speeds.
My RV Cell Phone Signal Booster Setup
As I mentioned before I use the weBoost Drive Reach Cell Phone Signal Booster in my travel trailer.
So far it’s been great for getting faster data speeds when camping in rural areas. In my experience it really does work and I don’t even have the best antenna you can get for this style of cell phone booster.
I power my entire trailer using a solar setup that includes four 100 watt solar panels and the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 solar generator.
The Yeti1000 has a 12 volt outlet so I can power the weBoost Drive Reach using the original 12V plug.
If you don’t have a 12V outlet and want to use a wall outlet you can get an adapter like this one on Amazon. The cell phone booster only uses around 20 watts so you don’t need a very powerful adaptor.
The small antenna that comes with the weBoost Drive Reach is fine for a vehicle but I wanted something a little more powerful for the trailer.
I use the Wilson Electronics 4G Truck and RV Spring-Mount Antenna (click to view on Amazon).
It’s perfect for mounting on the roof of a travel trailer, van, RV, or semi-truck because you don’t have to take it down when driving and it has a spring mount that will make the antenna flop over if it ever hits something like a tree branch.
How To Install A Cell Phone Signal Booster Antenna On The Roof Of An RV
The Wilson Electronics Antenna comes with a round mount so you can attach it to a mirror or something on a semi-truck.
You can buy the antenna plus a magnetic antenna mount for the metal roof of a van or an RV.
I installed mine to the roof using a 1/4 inch aluminum plate cut 6″x6″ and two 6″ pieces of 1″x1″ aluminum tubing.
I used 3M double-sided tape to secure the tubing to the plate and drilled a hole in the center for the spring mount.
I also had to drill a second hole into the aluminum plate for the cable to go through and holes on all 4 corners to secure the antenna to the roof with screws.
Make sure you use plenty of lap sealant after screwing it to the roof so there will be no leaks.
How To Get The Cell Phone Booster Into The RV
Next, we needed to get the cell phone booster antenna cable into our RV. I threaded the cable down behind the fridge, and out through the furnace vent located under the fridge.
I keep the booster box in a drawer next to the furnace vent and when I want to use it I just connect the antenna cable to the booster.
The power cable and the inner antenna cable are long so I’ve never had any problems reaching my Goal Zero to power the booster. The small inner antenna works best if you have your phone right next to it.
The RV fridge vent is normally the easiest way to get any cables into your RV.
If you don’t have a fridge vent on the roof of your RV you may need to drill a hole into the roof to get the cables through. This requires a little more thought, tools, and stuff.
If you drill a hole in the roof of your RV to route cables through make sure it’s in an area where you can access inside the wall. The area behind the microwave is a common choice because normally the area under the oven is open and easy to access.
You can thread the cables through the walls behind the microwave all the way to the floor under the stove.
If you drill a hole in the roof you are going to need a conduit pipe to connect the ceiling with the top of the roof.
There is a small area between the ceiling and roof where all the insulation and support beams are. Use an electrical box or something you can waterproof on top of the roof to seal the hole.
Another option is to run the cables through the grey tank vent. This option can work well if you can figure out where to access the vent inside your RV.
Data Speed & Signal Without RV Cell Phone Booster
The dBm for the signal is -111 without the cell phone booster. The lower the dBm the worse the signal is.
The closer the dBm gets to 0 the better the signal strength. The download speed was 38.9 Mbps and the upload speed was 2.6 Mbps.
Not too bad for how far out in the middle of nowhere we were camping when I did this test. It’s conditions like these where cell phone boosters work best.
Data Speed & Signal With RV Cell Phone Booster
As you can see using the booster increased the signal strength by 41 dBm. My phone went from having 2 bars of service to having 4 bars.
The download speed increased to 55.5 Mbps and the upload speed became 7x faster than what it was without the booster.
Using a cell phone booster both increased my signal strength and my data speed. I use Verizon and also AT&T and the weBoost Drive Reach works fantastically for both.
Conclusions About RV Cell Phone Boosters & My Recommendations
Using a cell phone booster will increase your data speed and your cell phone service. That being said you have to make sure you are using the signal booster the right way.
It works best when you already have 1 or 2 bars of service. Sometimes you will be able to go from no cell service on your phone to a few bars if you are in a large open area and there’s nothing blocking your cell phone booster antenna and the closest cell phone tower.
Most of the places I’ve camped have at least a little bit of cell phone service and using a booster to increase my cell phone data speeds has helped a lot.
If you live out in the country and only have a few bars of service the right kind of cell phone booster is going to work wonders. I’ve never regretted getting mine.
I hope this little review has helped you understand what cell phone boosters are meant to do and what you should expect when you purchase one.
Best Cell Phone Signal Booster For RV Use – Wilson weBoost Connect RV 65 Cell Phone Signal Booster
The Wilson weBoost Connect RV cell phone signal booster is going to be the very best option for RVers and possibly even regular campers and van dwellers depending on how much set up you are willing to do.
The main reason it’s the best for RVers is because of the 25 foot telescopic pole the RV weBoost comes with.
When not extended the aluminum pole is 6 feet long and easy to store when traveling. You use the included plastic mounts with double-sided tape to clamp the pole to the side of an RV or van.
When it’s time to set up simply extend the pole and clamp it to the mounts.
The max gain is 65dB which is really high for a cell phone booster and the directional antenna will sit up really high and give you the ability to get a clear path to a cell phone tower even with trees and small hills blocking your RV.
Most Portable Cell Phone Signal Booster – Wilson weBoost Drive Reach Cell Phone Signal Booster
The Wilson weBoost Drive Reach cellular repeater is made mostly for semi-trucks, vans, and cars but it’s also fantastic for RVs as well.
If you use the included magnet antenna, it’s extremely easy to just secure it on top of the metal roof of your van, car, or RV and start driving with a boosted cell signal.
But you can add this Wilson Electronics 4G Truck and RV Spring-Mount Antenna (click to view on Amazon) that comes with a round pole mount you can use to connect it to a cargo rail on your van, the mirror of a semi-truck, or even the ladder on your RV or trailer.
With the better omnidirectional antenna, you will get a better signal range and you can even drive with it. You don’t have to mess with it at all after installation.
The only downside for use in a large RV is the inner antenna is fairly weak and you must have your phone next to it to get a boosted signal.
The cable for the antenna is pretty long which means you can put it in the area you need it most in your RV.
Best RV Cell Phone Booster Brands
weBoost by Wilson Electronics
You’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of weBoost cell phone boosters on our review.
That’s because Wilson Electronics really does make some of the best cell phone boosters available today. We use a weBoost cellular amplifier in our own RV and even have one of their antennas.
Wilson Electronics was started in 1999 in Utah as a manufacturer of cellular signal booster technology.
They have been making some of the best antennas and boosters for over 20 years. They know what they’re doing and they make cell phone boosters that actually work.
Frequently Asked Questions About RV Cell Phone Boosters
How do I find the nearest cell phone tower?
One of the best ways to get the most up to date info on cell towers and their locations is to use a website called cellmapper.net (click to view).
This website will show you all the known cell phone towers on a map and tell you the information about a specific cell tower. It also has apps you can download to your phone.
If you don’t have any way to google where the nearest cell phone tower is (you’re in an area with no cell service) you can use your own phone’s antenna to try and figure out what direction it’s in.
You do this by opening the part of your phone that will tell you your true signal strength in dBm. Read below for how to access that information depending on the type of phone you have.
Once you can see the measurements walk around.
The numbers are going to be around -50 (full service) to -120 (no service) if the dBm signal starts to get close to -50 when you walk a certain direction that tells you that’s probably the direction you should point your RV cell phone booster antenna because that’s where the cell tower is.
Find Signal Strength in dBm on iPhone
- Make sure Wifi is turned off
- Open call
- Dial *3001#12345#* and press the call button
- This will take you to the iPhone field test menu
- Go to the “All Metrics” tab which is the one under the little hamburger line menu thingy
- Look under the LTE section and click on “Serving Cell Meas”
- The number value next to “rsrp0” is what the current signal strength is from whatever cell tower your phone is connected to. It should be between -40 and -140 on an iPhone
See Also: Which iPhone Has The Best Battery Life
Find Signal Strength in dBm on Android Phone (may vary depending on phone)
- Go to Settings
- About Phone
- Status or Network
- SIM Status
- The dBm is under Signal strength
Which cell phone booster do I need?
When choosing a cell phone booster the first thing you need to think about is what you will be using it for.
If it’s for boosting the cell phone signal in your home then a stationary multi-room booster is going to be a great option.
If you want the best booster for your RV or camping then a cell phone booster with a telescopic antenna pole is going to be the best choice.
If you want one for the car or a semi-truck then a booster that is made to work while moving is going to be right for you.
Once you know what the booster will be used for you need to think about the kind of outer antenna you want.
Omnidirectional antennas are easy to install and you don’t need to point them in the direction of a cell phone tower.
If you already have a few bars of cell phone service and want to boost it to full bars then an Omni antenna will be great for you.
If you only have 1 bar of service you may want to use a directional antenna and point it right at the cell phone tower. This will be more effective than an omnidirectional because the signal is weak.
For home use, I normally suggest a directional antenna because the home and the tower will not be moving and you only need to point the antenna in the right direction once.
For vehicles and even RV use, omnidirectional antennas work great because you don’t always know where the cell phone tower is located and the Omni antenna will find it for you.
Then you need to think about what cell phone provider the signal booster is compatible with.
The higher-end cell phone boosters are normally compatible will all carriers while the more basic range extenders are sometimes only compatible with certain providers.
You can read in this article about the different features of some of the best cell phone boosters on the market today. There are options for all applications including home and office, camping and RVing, vehicles, and even hiking.
How does a cell phone booster work?
The basic function of a cell phone booster is to take a weak cell signal and boost or amplify it. A cell phone booster will not create a signal and it will only work if there is already a signal for it to boost.
The way it works is by using an antenna to pick up the signal the cell phone tower is putting out.
This antenna is normally at the highest point possible like the roof or the end of a pole. The antenna sends the signal to the booster which will be located inside.
The booster box then takes the signal which is measured in dBm and increases its value. The amount of dBm the booster or amplifier will be able to increase depends on the quality of the booster.
You normally want the booster to have a max gain of at least 60 dBm for home use and at least 50 dBm for RV or camping use.
Once the booster has increased the dBm as much as possible it then puts out the boosted signal using the inner antenna located near the booster.
The inner antenna is important because it decides the area the boosted signal will be located in.
Home cell phone boosters have strong inner antennas that can put out a boosted signal from 1,500 square feet to 7,500 square feet depending on the size of the antenna.
Vehicle and RV cell phone boosters tend to have smaller inner antennas because they don’t need to cover as much ground as a home cell phone booster.
Uplink is the signal that leaves your phone and travels to a cell phone tower.
Downlink is the signal from the cell phone tower that travels to your cell phone.
The speeds of these signals are important for clear phone calls, and fast data speeds.
What does max gain mean with cell phone boosters?
The max gain of cell phone boosters is how much the booster can strengthen the signal from and back to a cell phone tower.
Government regulations cap cell phone boosters at +70dB. dB is the measurement used for signal strength.
Cell phone signals strength ranges from -50dB to -120dB. -50dB being full service and -120dB being no service.
A cell phone booster’s max gain is the highest amount in dB the booster can amplify the cellular signal.
Since +70dB is the most allowed by the government a commercial cell phone booster that will boost between 50dB and 65dB is really good.
Do RV cell phone boosters actually work?
A high-quality cell phone booster with a powerful outer antenna will boost your cell phone signal if you already have 1 or 2 bars before using it.
Cell phone boosters are made for boosting an existing signal but they do not create a signal.
The more open an area you are in is the better it will work. If you have trees, buildings or hills between the antenna and the cell phone tower the cell phone booster will not help at all.
Which is better a directional or an omnidirectional antenna?
Technically a directional antenna is better because it can focus all of its power in one direction.
Directional antennas are fantastic for home use because you can point the antenna towards the best cell phone tower when you install the system and never have to worry about it again.
Omnidirectional antennas are not as powerful as directional ones but they are less work because you don’t have to point it in any direction to find a cell phone tower.
Omni antennas work best for camping, RV, and vehicle applications because it’s a lot of work to set up a directional antenna every time you move to a new location and find the direction a distance cell phone tower is in.
That being said if you are fine with the setup and time it takes to use a directional antenna it will be the more effective option.
I use an omnidirectional antenna in my RV and so far I haven’t needed anything else. I like not having to take it down and set it up every time I move to a new campsite and so far it’s been powerful enough for my cell phone signal needs.
Do Cell Phone Boosters Work For Data?
Cell phone boosters when used in the right way work fantastically for data. I have one in my trailer for this very reason.
I can camp in an area with 1 bar of service and slow data speeds and then use my cell phone booster to get a few more bars and much faster speeds.
I did a test to show my data speeds with an without a cell phone booster, you can see the results in the “My RV Cell Phone Signal Booster Setup” section of this article.
Sometimes when using the booster in an area where there are lots of people using the network the data speeds won’t increase.
The reason for that isn’t the cell phone booster not working but the cell tower is overloaded and there just isn’t enough data to go around.
Is there a portable cell phone booster?
Yes, most of the vehicle and RV cell phone boosters are very portable. The Wilson weBoost Drive Reach Cell Phone Signal Booster is one of the most powerful portable cellular amplifiers on the market today.
You can read more about it in the RV cell phone booster reviews section above.
If you want even more portability there is also the MJOOSE Cell Phone Signal Boost Phone Case.
It’s the size of a phone case and very easy to carry around. The main downside to it is it won’t be nearly as powerful as a regular booster but it will give you up to +20dB of boosting power in an open area.
What is the best cell phone booster for rural areas?
If you live or camp in a rural area that has some service but you want more then any of the cell phone boosters on this list are going to be a fantastic option.
I personally suggest any of the weBoost cellular repeaters. There are multiple boosters by them on this list for home, RV, and even vehicle use.
How can I make my cell phone signal stronger?
Besides climbing a hill and holding your phone in the air the most effective way to make a cell phone signal stronger is to use a cellular repeater also known as a range extender or a cell phone booster.
These devices use an antenna to take in a signal from a cell phone tower. The signal from the antenna is then sent to a box with the necessary technology to amplify and strengthen the signal.
The box has another smaller antenna connected to it that puts out the amplified signal your phone can pick up.
Do cell phone boosters need Internet?
No, the only thing cell phone boosters need to work are cell phone signals.
They can make your phone’s internet faster by boosting data speeds but they are also good for boosting talk and text speeds. Which means clearer phone calls.
Are cell phone signal boosters harmful?
No, commercial cell phone boosters don’t produce enough energy to be harmful.
The FCC regulates them to a fairly low output. If you want to make sure you are not at risk make sure you get a cell phone signal booster that is approved by the FCC like all of the ones on this review.
Are RV mobile phone signal boosters illegal in the USA?
Any RV cell phone booster certified by the FCC, like the ones on this list, are legal to use in the USA. The only requirement is that you register them with your mobile carrier.
The reason you are required to register your cell phone booster with your mobile carrier is in the unlikely event of any signal interference they can locate the problem and fix it.
Is there an app to boost cell phone signals?
Not technically. An app cannot amplify a cell phone signal like a cellular repeater can, the technology and hardware just isn’t there.
Normally when an app says that it’s a cell phone signal booster it means that it can help you find out where the nearest tower is to you can get closer to it to get better service.
Some of the apps might do other things to try and speed up your phone like clearing caches and things like that. But they aren’t technically boosting the cellular signal in any way.
Have any more questions about RV cell phone amplifiers and boosters? Leave a comment below.