What Is A Cell Phone Booster Used For?
The purpose of a cell phone booster is to amplify an existing cell signal and make it stronger. There’s a common misconception that cell signal boosters can create cell service and you can get a signal pretty much anywhere. That’s why there are so many disappointed people. They can’t figure out why they don’t have cell phone service in the middle of nowhere even though they are using the best cell phone booster on the market.
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If you are in an area with absolutely zero cell phone service then a cell phone booster is not for you. What a cell phone booster is made for is taking a weak signal, and boosting 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.
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 go 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.
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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.
Comparison of All Types of Cell Phone Boosters
Best For Home
Best For RV
Best For Car
Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones
A Quick Look & Review of Cell Phone Boosters
The Phonetone is a great cell phone signal booster for home or office use. 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 70 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 or office. 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 signal from all directions and there is no need to point it towards the 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.
The Phonetone 5-Band Cell Phone Booster Kit is a great option for small homes and offices that are close enough to a cell tower to get a 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.
- Highest Max Gain (70 dB)
- All Carrier Compatible
WeBoost is 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. The kit includes every you need to get started and combining all the components it’s one of the most powerful and best home cell phone signal boosters you can buy.
The max gain is 65 dB which is slightly less powerful than the other home booster on this list but the extra powerful directional antenna makes up for it.
The booster itself is compatible with all carriers and data speeds (3G, 4G, LTE, and even 5Ge) 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.
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. You can click here to buy that version 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 on Amazon here.
The weBoost Home MultiRoom Cell Phone Signal Booster Kit is one of the best home and office cell phone signal boosters you can buy. It has all the added features you want from a signal booster and it’s 5Ge ready, which means it will last for years to come.
- 5Ge Compatible
- 75 ohm Outer Antenna
- All Carrier Compatible
- Covers A Huge Area (5,000 sq ft)
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 a high powered set up that can go anywhere.
The booster itself is compatible with all carriers and boost 3G, 4G, and LTE 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 cell phone booster on my travel trailer uses and 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 stet 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 an 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 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.
- Comes with 25 foot Telescopic Pole
- 75 ohm Directional Antenna
- High Max Gain (65 dB) for an RV Booster
- Strong Inner Antenna For Multiple Devices
The weBoost Drive Reach is a great option for both RV or 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 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.
The booster is powered by a DC 12 volt 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).
The 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. The booster box can be mounted with velcro and is easy to install inside a car or truck.
The weBoost Drive Reach Cell Phone Signal Booster is the perfect multifunctional cell phone booster. We can use it in the trailer for regular cell phone and data needs and also take it into the truck when driving so we don’t lose a signal.
- Very Powerful For A Car Booster
- Compatible with Stronger Outer Antennas
- Can Connect to Multiple Devices
- Easy Installation (Magnetic Antenna)
- All Carrier Compatible
The Phonetone cell phone booster for car and RV use works well as a booster but the main downside is it’s only compatible with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It also only boosts 4G LTE data speeds. If you use one of these carriers and don’t camp super far away from cell phone towers so you still get 4G and just want to boost your data speeds then this is a great affordable option.
It does support multiple users and can be used while in motion. The outer antenna is 50 ohm and uses a magnet to secure to the top of your vehicle, RV, or van. The max gain is 45 dB which is still pretty good for use in a car but you may want to get something a little more powerful if you will be using a cell phone booster to get faster data for every day or work use.
It’s powered by a 12 volt plug and uses a slim low profile inner antenna that comes with 3M double-sided tape on the back.
The Phonetone Cell Phone Booster (Car & RV) is a great affordable option for those who use Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. It’s also perfect for people who camp pretty far away from cell towers but not super far away. All-in-all it’s a decent cell phone booster and a very affordable option.
- Easy to Install
- Can Connect to Multiple Devices
Now, this 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 sometimes 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 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. It does not work for iPhone plus-size models. There is also an iPhone 6 and 6s version you can check it out on Amazon here.
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 tower 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 service like a large building or even a basement.
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 out in the boonies. 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 set up that includes four 100 watt solar panels and the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 solar generator. You can check out the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 on Amazon here or read more about different solar generators here. The Yeti1000 has a 12 volt outlet so I can power the weBoost Drive Reach using the original 12 volt plug.
If you don’t have a 12 volt plug 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.
It 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 roof of a van or an RV. I mounted 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 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. Next, 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.
Below is a test I did to show how the cell phone booster affects my phone’s signal and data speeds.
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 Cell Phone Boosters
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.
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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 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. If you have any questions about cell phone boosters for the home, office, RV, camping, or even hiking; leave a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cell Phone Boosters
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 option. 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 it 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 affordable boosters 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.
Do cell phone boosters 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.
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.
Have any more questions about cell phone amplifiers and boosters? Leave a comment below.