How to Boost Cell Signal at Home (Free and Paid Options)

How to Boost Cell Signal at Home (Free and Paid Options)

Written By Alejandra Jasso
8th Apr 2024

Top 11 Ways to Boost Cell Signal at Home

Slow internet, choppy connections, dropped calls and missed messages. If you frequently experience at least one of these then you definitely have poor cell signal.

But you’re not alone. In fact, according to a Pew Research Study on mobile phone problems, 72% of Americans drop calls and 77% of them experience extremely slow internet speeds every week.

This is why we have developed a thorough list of free and paid options on how to boost cell signal at home to help improve your cell phone reception and coverage. Let’s get started!

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1. Find the Spot in Your Home Strongest Cell Signal

If you’re not getting a good signal, you might want to walk around your house to find a better place.

The best way to do this rather than aimlessly walking around looking at your bars, is by testing your signal strength using dBm readings. The bars on your phone vary from one company to another. For example, what might be 2 bars on Verizon, maybe 1 bar on AT&T and full bars on T-Mobile. Thus, dBm is much more reliable.

Cell phone signal strength typically ranges between -50 dB to -120 dB. -50 dBm is a great signal or full bars while -120 dBm is basically a dead zone.

While you could use a dedicated signal meter for super-accurate results, any iPhone or Android phone can show dB readings just fine. To see how strong your signal is, use the following instructions:

How to Find dBm on iPhone

  • 1. Turn Off WiFi
  • 2. Dial and Call *3001#12345#*, Filed Test Mode Will Open
  • 3. Find the RSRP to See Signal Strength in dBm

*Unfortunately, rsrp is not available on all iPhones. It depends on the chipset and carrier. The best alternative are speed tests. The area of your house with the best results is the area with strongest signal.

How to Find dBm on Android:

  • 1.Go to Settings
  • 2.Tap About Phone
  • 3.Tap Status or Network
  • 4.Tap SIM Card
  • 5.dBm is Under Signal Strength

Walk around your house and look for the area that gets you closest to -50 dB. That is the best area in your house for cell service.

2. Move to an Area with Less Obstructions

girl outside to boost cell signal

Cell signals are basically radio waves, the same as AM/FM. This means that they're great for covering long distances, but they're terrible at penetration. Almost everything can affect cell signals, including:

Outside Interference:

  • 1.Trees
  • 2.Hills
  • 3.Mountains
  • 4.Any Tall Structure
  • 5.Weather

Inside Interference:

  • 1.Thick Building Material
  • 2.Electrical
  • 3.Magnetic
  • 4.Metal
  • 5.Lots of Clutter

As you can see, a lot can get in the way of incoming cell signals. To mitigate this, get near a window or balcony and avoid basements or lower-level areas of your house.

3. Wait Until the Towers are Less Congested

Overloaded Cell Tower Causes Weak Connection

Ever noticed your cell phone substantially slows down in public places, especially at venues and crowded events? That's because cell towers are only able to hold a certain number of devices simultaneously.

This is called tower congestion and you will also experience this if you live in a densely populated area. While the bars on your phone may show that you have a reliable connection, calls will drop and applications will not load. During these times, all you can do is wait.

4. Make Sure Your Battery is Fully Charged

Phone Charging to Improve Connection

This may come as a surprise, but given smartphones aren’t used only for making phone calls these days, your cell phone needs to use more battery to not only make a call but also find a signal.

So, if you’re also using your cell phone as an internet device, music player, calendar, book reader, game player, etc., it's best to keep your phone fully charged and at least above 10%. After that, your phone may go into conservation mode and affect its performance.

5. Try WiFi Calling

wifi calling

While apps like Skype and WhatsApp have been doing internet calling for some time, the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) are embracing WiFi calling. iPhone and Android owners can go to settings, type “WiFi calling” and the option will show up right away.

Instead of relying on your cellular signal, or lack of it, when connected to WiFi, your smartphone will use it instead to make and receive calls. For more information, visit our guide on WiFi Calling.

6. Check SIM Card

Sometimes the fault can lie with the SIM card itself. Inspect your SIM card and try cleaning it gently with a soft cloth and restarting your device. If there are any visible signs of damage, such as scratch, bending or crack, your only solution might be to contact your carrier and get a replacement.

7. Don’t Block Phone Antenna

While it’s not visible on the outside, smartphones typically have a cellular antenna on the upper half of the cell phone. Blocking or gripping around these areas of your cell phone can affect your cellular connection.

Additionally, avoid thick or bulky phone cases that can potentially interfere with the antenna’s ability to receive signals. Switch to slimmer phone cases or try removing it temporarily to see if it helps.

Other Ways to Boost Your Cell Signal

1. Get a Cellular Signal Booster

Cell phone signal boosters (also known as repeaters and extenders) are powerful devices that take your existing signal (even if weak), amplify it, and rebroadcast it inside your home.

They’re able to bypass building materials that block cell signals as well as fine-tune your connection with your cellular tower. Thus, you’ll experience a more reliable connection for talk, text, and data. This means the frequency of dropped calls and slow download speeds will significantly reduce. Check out our blog on How Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work for more information.

Cellular signal boosters for homes vary in power and coverage area to cater to different needs. Here are our most popular units:

Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel Cellular Signal Booster

Overview of the Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel:

  • For Small to Medium Size Homes and Offices
  • Covers Up to 4,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +72 dB Gain
  • Up to 26 dBm Uplink Power
  • Supports All Carriers Simultaneously

The Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel cellular booster is our top multi-carrier pick for small to mid-size homes. Under optimal conditions, it can blanket up to 4,000 sq ft with stronger cell reception, which is more than enough for most people. Featuring up to 26 dBm uplink and up to 72 dB gain, it has incredible reach and can significantly amplify your existing cellular signal.

Strategically paired with the Bolton Quicksilver Outdoor Yagi Antenna, it works wonders in remote locations. There is also an omni antenna option available.

Nextivity Cel-Fi GO X Cell Signal Booster

Overview of the Cel-Fi GO X:

  • For Large Homes and Offices
  • Covers Up to 15,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +100 dB Gain
  • Amplifies One Carrier at a Time

The GO X by Nextivity is the most powerful cell phone signal booster available. It’s designed with up to 100 dB gain, the highest on the market. This unit can seriously make all your signal woes disappear. The caveat is that it can only boost one carrier at a time. Though, through the Cel-Fi WAVE app, you’re able to switch between carriers as you need.

Super customizable, you have multiple outdoor antenna options to really maximize the amplifier's performance.

Rated to cover up to 15,000 sq ft, it's best for large homes and small businesses. Indoor coverage will vary based on the strength of your outside signal.

SureCall Flare 3.0 Cell Signal Booster

Overview of SureCall Flare 3.0:

  • For Small Homes or Spot Coverage
  • Covers Up to 3,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +72 dB Gain
  • Up to 26 dBm Uplink
  • Supports All Carriers Simultaneously
  • 2-in-1 Amplifier/Indoor Antenna Combo for Ease of Installation

The SureCall Flare 3.0 cellular booster packs a signal punch for the price. It includes a Yagi antenna and a sleek amplifier. The indoor antenna is built into the amplifier, making the Flare 3.0 one of the easiest units to install yourself.

With up to 72 dB gain and 26 dBm uplink, it offers good amplification and reach to distant cell towers for a booster of its kind. While power is similar to that of the Bolton Victory, the Flare 3.0 offers less coverage. It’s rated to cover up to 3,000 sq ft.

Not Sure Which Cell Phone Booster is Best for You?

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2. Try A Femtocell

A femtocell (also known as a microcell) is like having a mini cell tower in your home. They work by using your broadband landline internet and converting it into cell signals. While powerful and convenient, there are some drawbacks.

First, it's only carrier-specific, meaning an femtocell from AT&T will only work with AT&T phones and services. AT&T refers to theirs as Cell Booster and Verizon calls theirs Network Extender. So, to make your investment worth it, try not to switch carriers.

Secondly, femtocells for residential applications can cost between $200 to $300 and need a monthly subscription fee on top of your internet and phone bill, making the other options more practical. You’ll also need an internet speed of at least 10 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload for it to work properly.

3. Change Carriers

After you've done everything you could, it just may be time to switch carriers. Whether it’s the possibility of more cell towers closer to you or a better deal, it's worth giving it a shot.

4. Upgrade Your Phone

Keeping up with the newest technology allows you to make the most of cell networks. If your phone is outdated, then it's likely that you will have a bad signal. Simply updating your phone can help transform your connection.


Why Is the Cell Signal in My House so Bad?

Various things can impact your cell signal. The biggest reason for consistent bad cell signals is the distance. Cell towers have a limited range, and if your house is far away, the signal weakens as it tries to reach you.

Building materials like metal siding or concrete act like walls, further reducing the strength. Even your environment can be a big reason – dense trees, heavy rain, or even certain electronics can disrupt the signal.

For more details, visit Reasons You Have Bad Cell Signal.

Is There an App that Boosts Cell Signal?

Even if the claims say otherwise, no app can truly boost your cell signal. Cell reception relies on your phone's hardware and its connection to cell towers, neither of which an app can control.

While these apps can't directly amplify the signal, some can offer helpful features. Signal meter apps can identify strong reception areas within your home, and network info apps can provide details about your connection that might be useful for troubleshooting.

Does the *3370# Secret Code Boost Cell Phone Reception?

There are claims that the *3370# code can access a secret battery reserve and boost cell signal. But it’s important to understand that those two things are not the same. A fuller battery is better for cell signal than an empty one, but it won't improve it. Secondly, there is no such thing as a “secret battery reserve”.

The truth is that many years ago certain old Nokia phones could switch to a different mode after the user punched in a “secret code”. The first mode sacrificed battery life for better voice quality, and the second sacrificed voice quality for more battery. The keys *3370# turned on the Enhanced Full Rate Codec (EFR) mode which gave you a battery boost. No modern phones can do that.

Do Cell Phone Signal Booster Stickers Improve Cell Service?

No, cell phone signal booster stickers are a myth and do not improve cell service. Real cell signal boosters use amplifiers that use electricity to function. Stickers are passive devices with no power source to connect to the internal antenna, so there’s no way they can amplify the signal. Besides, even if the stickers find a way to connect with your cell phone’s internal antenna, they’re simply too small to make any noticeable difference.

Let Us Help You Get Better Signal

Signal Boosters is a leading provider of cell phone signal boosters for homes, vehicles, and commercial buildings. We’ve helped over hundreds of customers in North America improve cell signal reliability where they need it most! If you find that a cell phone signal booster is the best option, give us a call at 1-800-470-6777 so we can help you find the best unit for your situation or take our simple cell phone booster quiz.

Interested in Learning More? Check Out Our Cellular Info Hub / WiFi Info Hub

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