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4 Things to Know Before Getting a Signal Booster

on November 15, 2018

Do Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work?

Yes. No. Kinda.

It can be baffling to see these kind of responses if you are simply trying to find out if a product works.

Fortunately, most of these responses can be understood better with a little education.

So, without further ado, these are the four things everyone should know before buying a signal booster.

1. Boosters are Dependent on Your Outdoor Signal Strength

A cell phone signal booster is like a megaphone - it takes an existing signal and makes it louder. How much coverage you can expect depends on how strong the outside signal is, and how powerful is your amplifier.

Places with poor signal such as remote, hilly, or wooded areas might need a more powerful booster to get any significant change in signal strength. Areas with strong signal may get away with a cheaper option, but your coverage can be greatly expanded with a more powerful amplifier.

2. Know What Area You’re Trying to Cover

If you’re only interested in better signal in a single room, great. If you want it in your entire house, that’s also great. However, the booster you need will change depending on your square footage, coupled with the outdoor signal strength in your area.

Booster performance varies depending on the inside layout of your home. Open spaces generally have better booster coverage, while multi-walled and thick-material homes may have reduced booster coverage.

Buying a booster with the appropriate power specs to cover what you’re wanting to cover is essential, and if you have a very complex layout, multiple indoor antennas might be necessary, as well.

3. Ditch the Bar Talk

Cell phone signal strength is actually measured in decibels (dBm). Cell phone bars are subjective to the phone manufacturer and carrier. So what might be 1 bar of service on a Samsung Galaxy might be 3 bars on an iPhone, or 2 bars on any other Android phone!

Similarly, what may be 1 bar of service on Verizon could be 2 bars on AT&T or 3 bars on T-Mobile - despite getting the exact same signal and performance.

Decibel measurements are standard, and work across all manufacturers and carriers. -50 dBm is considered great signal (full bars) and -120 dBm is considered poor signal (a dead zone). Most signal boosters work very well with -95 dBm or better outside signal. From -95 dBm to -120 dBm, a signal booster can work but results will vary.

Knowing your outside signal strength in decibels will go a long way toward figuring out whether or not a signal booster will work for you.

See our blog post on finding your signal strength the right way for more information.

4. Booster Kits Come With Everything Needed for an Easy Install

Cell phone signal boosters are required by FCC Regulations to come supplied in a kit with all the requisite parts needed for a proper installation.

For the vast majority of our customers, what comes in the box is all that’s required, and with the exception of some common tools and items (a drill, a hammer, a power strip, and perhaps others depending on the situation), everything you need to install your booster is at your fingertips. The kits also come with an easy-to-follow instruction manual.

And that's it! If you know these four things, you should have a much easier time enjoying your new boosted signal.

Below are our top recommendations.

Cell Phone Signal Boosters For Home

Our Pick 

weboost connect 4g signal booster

weBoost Connect 4G (470103)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Messages, Internet 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For Whole Home Coverage
  • Up to +65 dB Gain

Our Review:

The weBoost Connect 4G has been the most recommended home booster three years in a row for good reason. It's a dependable performer that covers most homes for better service.

The average home size in North America is around 2,500 sq ft. Under absolute best conditions, the Connect 4G covers up to 5,000 sq ft with great outside signal and an open-spaced layout home.

Real world results and customer reviews put it around 2,500 to 3,000 sq ft, a little less for rural areas.  

Great option for most homes, small offices, farm houses, and buildings under 5,000 sq ft wide. If you're getting some spotty reception, we'd recommend to start with this first since this tends to be the Goldilocks or "just right" model. 

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weboost connect 4g-x commercial signal booster

weBoost Connect 4G-X (471104)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Messages, Internet 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For Large Building Coverage
  • Up to +70 dB Gain

Our review:

The weBoost Connect 4G-X is absolutely the most powerful consumer line booster you can get. With an additional +5 dB over the Connect 4G, it's roughly a shade over 3x more powerful. 

Best case scenarios can expect coverage up to 7,500 sq ft. More likely results can at least expect 4,000-5,000 sq ft even with below average outside signal. Again, fringe zones can expect a little less.  

If you have extremely poor signal (remote area) or need wide coverage for a building 5,000 sq ft and over like a warehouse, the weBoost Connect 4G-X is your new best friend. 

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weboost home 4g signal booster

weBoost Home 4G (470101)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Messages, 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For 1 Room Coverage
  • Up to +60 dB Gain

Our review: 

The weBoost Home 4G is a nice cheap option if you're on a budget and only need spot coverage.

Depending on the outside signal, you may get 1-2 room coverage under best conditions. But you're not here because of best conditions, so it's more realistic to say desktop to small room coverage (about 250 to 500 sq ft). 

Most customers have told us they're much closer to the inside antenna than anticipated for better signal. Great option for single office, home office (SOHO) and small areas like cabins and apartments. Good starter kit if you have decent outside signal but doesn't cover the whole home and not a strong performer in rural areas with poor signal.  

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Cell Phone Signal Boosters For Vehicles

Our Pick 

weboost drive 4g-m signal booster

weBoost Drive 4G-M (470121)

  • Boosts Voice, Text, 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For a multiple cell devices
  • Up to +50 dB Gain

Our review:

The weBoost Drive 4G-M is the most popular & recommended car signal booster in North America. 

A slim outside antenna picks up signal. An indiscreet inside antenna (usually Velcroed to the driver seat) broadcasts signal inside. You have to be about an arm's length to get the boosted signal, so it's best for your typical sedan, truck, or SUV.

Majority of customers in the city say they're getting at least 2 to 3 more bars. For off-the-grid areas, a few did say they have to be closer to the inside antenna than anticipated to get more bars and amplified signal. Boosts signal up to 4 devices.

The new & improved version of the weBoost Drive 4G-M features a stronger inside antenna with +5.1 dB gain compared to the +4.3 dB gain of the previous model (# 470108). Links have been updated to point to the new version.

Buy from Wilson Amplifiers

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weboost drive 4g-x signal booster

weBoost Drive 4G-X (470510)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Message, 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For multiple cell devices
  • Up to +50 dB Gain
  • Pro Model: 60% More reach from and to cell tower

Our review:

The weBoost Drive 4G-X has 2x the uplink power compared to the Drive 4G. 

So that means about 30-60% more reach to the cell tower than your typical car booster.

For drivers in extremely rural or poor signal areas, the Drive 4G-X is the first option to look at. Boosts signal up to 4 devices.

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weboost drive sleek 4g signal booster

weBoost Drive Sleek (470135)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Messages, 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For a single smartphone
  • Up to +23 dB Gain

Our review:

The weBoost Drive Sleek is about price and performance for the single user.

It uses a magnetic vent mount and when paired with a bluetooth headset, it really shines for regular talk & text and hands-free navigation. 

Smartphone has to be in the cradle to get maximum signal boost. New design allows for wider smartphones and small tablets. 

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Cell Phone Signal Boosters For Commercial Buildings

wilson pro 70 plus signal booster

WilsonPro 70 Plus (463127)

  • Boosts Voice, Text Messages, 3G & 4G LTE Data
  • For Commercial Building
  • Up to +70 dB Gain

Our review: 

There are many cellular solutions for buildings with a range from 25K to 100K sq ft. This model happens to be the sweet spot with best coverage up to 35,000 sq ft. Many of our professional installers and their enterprise customers have been happy with this one.

Buy from Wilson Amplifiers

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Want to learn more about cell phone boosters? Read more with our definitive guide:

How We Can Help:

Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. They amplify 3G & 4G LTE for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.

  • Free consultation (ask us anything) with our US-based customer support (sales@wilsonamplifiers.com).
  • Free shipping.
  • Better signal or money-back guaranteed.

We want everyone to be satisfied, so we provide lifetime technical support and a 2-year warranty.

Read real reviews from our customers.

Ask us anything and we'll be glad to help.

Need help? Email us today ( sales@wilsonamplifiers.com) or give us a call at 1-800-568-2723. A cell phone signal expert will gladly assist you in getting better signal instantly.

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