Cell signal boosters increase the range of your cell phone service. If your calls are frequently dropping or you find yourself with the dreaded "No Service" notification more often than you'd like, a cell signal booster is just what you need.
What Is a Cell Signal Booster?
A cell signal booster, also called a cell repeater, is a device that increases the signal that your phone sends to a cell phone tower and the signal that the cell phone tower sends to your phone. By amplifying the signal, you'll be able to get services in places you otherwise wouldn't. These are not wifi boosters and will not increase WiFi signal (Wi Fi signal) since they operate solely on your cell service.
How Does a Cell Signal Booster Work?
A cell signal booster captures the LTE signal sent from the tower, boosts it, and then rebroadcasts it where you need it. It uses three components to amplify your available cell signal, including:
These are usually installed on the roof of your building or the window of your car. They send and receive signals from the nearest cell tower.
An amplifier increases the signal coming from the tower and the signal going to the tower. It's sometimes referred to as a bidirectional amplifier (BDA) booster or a repeater. It's connected to both the outside antenna and the inside antenna.
The inside antenna rebroadcasts the amplified LTE signal to your cell phone. It also picks up the signal from your phone so that it can be sent back to the amplifier and then rebroadcast with the outdoor antenna.
What Is Signal Booster Gain?
Signal booster gain tells you how much the signal from the outside antenna is amplified. The bigger the number, measured in decibels (dB), the more the signal is amplified.
Another aspect of amplifier power you should be aware of is downlink output power. It is measured in decibels per milliwatt (dBm) and tells you the maximum signal that the amplifier can retransmit through the inside antenna.
To figure out which specification is more important for your situation, you need to understand these terms. If you have a weak outdoor signal, for instance, or if you're far away from a tower or there's an obstruction blocking your reception, the most important factor will be the signal gain. You want a booster that will maximize the signal you do receive from the tower.
If you have a strong signal from the tower reaching your outside antenna, then your main concern will be downlink output power. You already have a strong signal to amplify, so you want it rebroadcasted as widely as possible.
Can I Get a Better Cell Signal in a Car or Other Vehicle?
Bad cell service reception when you're in a vehicle is usually caused by one of several factors, including:
- Distance from cell tower
- Interference from other devices
- Materials used in vehicle construction blocking signals
You can improve your cell reception when you're in a car, RV, or even a boat. Signal cell boosters work the same way in a vehicle that they do in a building. The components will include:
- an outside antenna attached to an exterior window
- an amplifier in your car
- an inside antenna in your vehicle
The outside antenna captures the signal, while the amplifier boosts it and the inside antenna retransmits the amplified signal.
Since the best cell signal booster will depend on your circumstances, we've compiled a list of the best-performing boosters by category.
Cell Phone Signal Boosters for Houses, Condos, Vacation Homes, Cabins & More
weBoost Home MultiRoom Signal Booster Kit
The weBoost Home Multiroom Signal Kit provides up to 5,000 square feet of coverage depending on the outside signal strength. WeBoost is a cell phone signal booster company in Canada that offers a range of cell phone signal boosters.
This unit wins in this class because it's perfect for houses or condos with multiple rooms where more than one person will be using it. It is a workhorse that provides a lot of coverage and works well in remote locations. It's easy for the DIY-er to install with no tools required. It includes everything you'll need to install it.
You should choose this kit if you:
- Live in a rural area with a weak outside signal
- Live in a large house with a strong outside signal
- Have a strict building code
- Want an attractive, discreet booster
- Max Gain: 65 dB
- Max Coverage: 5,000 square feet
Top Mobile Signal Booster
weBoost Canada Drive Reach Cell Phone Booster Kit
Another great product from weBoost Canada, the Drive Reach, is a vehicle signal booster that gives you up to twice the signal strength even when you're twice as far away from cell towers. This is one of the best mobile cell phone boosters in Canada.
We picked Drive Reach for the best mobile signal booster because it has the highest uplink output of any vehicle booster available. It provides better 4G LTE data speed, improved voice quality, and fewer dropped calls.
This booster is ideal for:
- Most cars, sedans, and SUVs with multiple users
- Urban, suburban, and some rural areas
- People who frequently experienced dropped calls while driving
- Max Gain: 50 dB
- Uplink Output: 29.5 dB
Perfect Signal Booster for a Home Office
weBoost Home Room Signal Booster Kit - 652120 (up to 1500 sq ft.)
A lower-cost option for single rooms. It provides enhanced coverage for small areas such as an office or apartment, up to 1500 square feet. The outside antenna is placed right on your window, so there's no need for tricky installation, and you don't need to run cable.
We chose this for the best home office booster because it offers good coverage at an affordable cost with minimal installation.
You'll love the weBoost Home Room Signal Booster Kit if you:
- You don’t need to cover a large area
- Are looking for super-simple installation
- Want a small desktop unit
- Max Gain: 60 dB
- Max Coverage: 1500 square feet, but real-world coverage of 200 to 500 square feet
Must-Have Small Business Signal Booster (up to 13,000 sq ft)
Cel-Fi PRO Smart Signal Booster
The Cel-Fi Pro Smart Signal Booster is a powerful solution for when you need a lot of coverage. It uses the most advanced radiofrequency and signal processing technology available. This kit offers a simple setup. Just plug in the network and coverage units to eliminate slow data, dropped calls, and poor cell service.
We picked this kit for Best Small Business Booster because it offers up to 100 times more power than other multi-carrier boosters. It provides a large coverage area with simple installation and the option to monitor performance with the Cel-Fi WAVE app. Keep your business moving by enhancing the 4G, LTE, and 3G cell service for everyone in your office.
This kit is a good match for you if:
- You have a large office or home to cover
- You live in a rural area
- You want to be able to monitor your booster's performance
- You want multi-level coverage
- Max dg of Gain: 100 dB
- Max Coverage: 13,000 square feet
Best Rugged Mobile Signal Booster
Cel-Fi GO+ X / M
The Cel-Fi Go+ X/M is an all-around booster that works in all types of buildings and vehicles. This is a portable cell signal booster that you can use at home and on the go. In addition to its portability and versatility, this is a powerful booster, offering 100 dB in buildings or stationary use and 65 dB in mobile mode. This is one of the best cell phone boosters for rural areas in Canada.
We chose the Cel-Fi Go+ X/M as the top in this class because you can't beat its combination of power and versatility. It's worth noting that part of the reason this unit is so versatile is that the components are sold separately. Along with the main unit, you'll need to buy antennas and associated accessories for where you'll be using it. We still think it's a bargain compared to buying two or more complete units.
The Cel-Fi Go+ X/M should be a top pick for you if you:
- Live in a remote or rural area
- Need coverage in multi-level buildings
- Use a lot of IoT and M2M (machine to machine)
- Need coverage for a large home or office and one or more vehicles
- Max db of Gain: 100 dB stationary, 65 dB mobile
- Max Coverage: 15,000 square feet
This booster requires inside and outside antennas as well as cables to complete the system. You'll need to purchase two sets of antennas if you want to use them for both buildings and vehicles.
Most Effective Enterprise Signal Booster
Cel-Fi Quatra 2000
The Cel-Fi Quatra 2000 is the most powerful cell signal booster solution available. It provides all-digital coverage that works over ethernet and gives you a signal that is 1000 times stronger.
The Quatra 2000 is our hands-down winner for Best Enterprise Signal Booster because of its power, ease of installation, and remote monitoring and management available in the WAVE platform.
This is the solution for you if:
- You need carrier-grade security
- You have a large office or warehouse space that needs coverage
- You're in a remote or rural area
- Max db of Gain: 100 dB
- Max Coverage: 50,000 square feet
There are several range extenders for the Quatra 2000. The Cel-Fi QUATRA Range Extender is a device that connects via an ethernet port and extends the maximum distance between the network unit and the coverage unit. The QUATRA Fiber Range Extender increases the maximum possible distance between the network and coverage units by up to 2 kilometers.